Perth Glory celebrate Antonee Burke-Gilroy opening goal in their 3-0 win against Melbourne Victory

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5.12.2021

GLORY STUN LEAGUE LEADERS FOR FIRST VICTORY

Perth Glory secured their first win of the new Isuzu Ute Men’s A-League season after a stunning league leaders Melbourne Victory 3-0 at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon. Without a host of first team regulars, Richard Garcia’s side put in a fighting performance to kick start their season. They were helped after Victory’s Spanish midfielder Raimon Marchan was shown a straight red card after a high kick on Jonathan Aspropotamitis just before half time. But after the break, Glory took control with a stunning strike from Antonee Burke-Gilroy, before youngster Ciaran Bramwell doubled their advantage. Skipper Bruno Fornaroli added a third to seal the win, and youngster Cameron Cook, who was making his A-League debut, helped secure their first clean sheet of the season.

Garcia was delighted with his sides’ performance and the three points. “I’m very, very pleased for a group of guys who are going through an impossible situation and tonight showed their selflessness and the trust they have in each other and they played like that, which was great to see,” he said. “We defended very well in the first half and I can’t really remember too many open chances, so that was very pleasing.

“In the second half, we had a lot of the ball and took our chances, which is great. We’ve always said that we wanted to bring young guys into the squad and, especially with the situation we’re in, they’ve been very mature about it. It’s fantastic that we have leaders within the group that are such shining examples not only on, but also off the park.”

Garcia was forced into one change to the side that lost against Western United last week, with 20-year-old keeper Cameron Cook, making his A-League debut, after his first appearance for the club in the recent FFA Cup game, also against Victory, replacing the injured Brad Jones. He was soon in the action, former Glory duo Jake Brimmer and Nick D’Agostino combined, the later heading wide, before Cook down well to save Gbenga Folami cross shot on 20 minutes. But it was the Glory who were creating the better chances and went close themselves four minutes later, Adrian Sardinero finding Daniel Stynes on the edge of the box, his curling effort was heading for the corner of the net, but Victory keeper Ivan Kelava got down well to save.

Aspropotamitis and Darryl Lachman were working overtime to keep Victory at bay as they ended the half well. Aspropotamitis produced a superb last-ditch tackle to deny D’Agostino, after Cook had parried away Brimmer’s long-range shot. But in the final minute Victory were reduced to ten men, after Marchan was sent off for a high challenge on Aspropotamitis. Having initially been shown a yellow card by referee Kurt Ams, after checking with VAR he sent the midfielder off.

Glory looked to make their numerical advantage count early in the second half, and Fornaroli should have done better nine minutes in, heading Aaron Calver’s cross from the right wide of the target when well placed, before Stynes’ deflected shot was saved low by Kelava, at the second attempt. But on 66 minutes the Glory pressure was rewarded with the opener. Jack Clisby picked out Burke-Gilroy, whose curling shot flew into the corner of the net. It was what they deserved, and 16 minutes from time they doubled their lead.

Burke-Gilroy’s pin-point cross from the right picked out Bramwell, who lost his marker to head home from close-range to bag his second senior goal. The icing was put on the cake late, with Glory adding a third, Fornaroli firing home from the edge of the box. The hosts were awarded a penalty late when Jason Davidson fell in the box, after a tussle with Stynes. It looked a little harsh, and VAR agreed eventually overturning referee Kurt Ams’ decision, allowing the visitors to secure a first clean sheet of the campaign. The action wasn’t over there, with Glory assistant coach Steven McGarry sent to the stands.

Former Glory defender Jason Davidson said the sending off turned the game. “That’s football. Red cards happen in games. It happened. I didn’t really see it from my point of view, and I don’t think Rai saw the player, but it’s the ref’s decision,” he said. “It’s a long season, those kinds of decisions go your way sometimes, they go against you sometimes and unfortunately tonight it wasn’t our night. We went into half-time saying we’ll keep a clean sheet and let’s battle, we knew it was going to be a tough second half and unfortunately once that first goal went in, it was a tough night for us after that.” The Glory are back in action on Wednesday evening at the same venue, when they take on Melbourne City (Kick off 4,45PM WA Time).

In other round three games Western Sydney Wanders beat Wellington Phoenix 2-0 at Win Stadium on Friday evening. Former Phoenix striker Tomer Hemed gave Wanderers the lead just after the hour, before John Koutroumbis secured all three points scoring in stoppage time. Then on Saturday Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United fought out a 0-0 draw at Moreton Daily Stadium, while Newcastle Jets came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Sydney FC at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium. Adam Le Fondre gave the host the lead from the spot early, before Elvis Kamsoba doubled their advantage on the half hour. But a second half doubled from Valentino Yuel secured a point for the Jets. In the late game on Saturday, Champions Melbourne City were beaten 1-0 at home by Western United at AAMI Park, with Dylan Wenzel-Halls scoring the winner. In the early Sunday game Macarthur FC moved to the top of the table after a 1-0 win against Central Coast Mariners at Panthers Stadium. The only goal of the game was an own goal by Oliver Bozanic.

Melbourne Victory 0 Perth Glory 3 (Burke-Gilroy 66', Bramwell 74', Fornaroli 89')

Melbourne Victory: GK Ivan KELAVA, 2 Jason GERIA, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Raimon Marchan VIDAL, 6 Leigh BROXHAM, 8 Josh BRILLANTE, 11 Gbenga FOLAMI (9 Francesco MARGIOTTA 68'), 17 Brendan HAMILL (16 Stefan NIGRO 12'), 18 Nick D’AGOSTINO (24 Noshan VELUPILLAY 68'), 22 Jake BRIMMER ( 26 Lleyton BROOKS 82'), 23 Marco ROJAS (10 Robbie KRUSE 82') - Subs not used: RGK Jerrad TYSON, 5 Matthew SPIRANOVIC - Red Cards: Marchan 45’

Perth Glory: GK Cameron COOK, 2 Aaron CALVER (22 Josh RAWLINS 59'), 4 Luke BODNAR, 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 7 Adrian SARDINERO (38 Ciaran BRAMWELL 68'), 8 Kosuke OTA (24 Pacifique NIYONGABIRE 61'), 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 14 Jack CLISBY, 18 Daniel STYNES, 21 Antonee BURKE-GILROY, 29 Darryl LACHMAN - Subs not used: RGK Nicholas SORRAS, 26 Giordano COLLI, 32 Aidan COYNE, 41 Chris DONNELL - Referee: Kurt Ams

4.12.2021

GLORY ROAR BACK TO OPEN SEASON WITH THREE POINTS

Perth Glory produced a stunning late comeback to beat Brisbane Roar 2-1 in their opening Liberty Womens A-League game of the season at Macedonia Park on Saturday evening. Roared on by over 1,000 supporters Alex Epakis’ side found themselves 0-1 down late in the game after Anna Margraf had given the visitors the lead in the first half. But second half substitute Susan Phonsongkham levelled on 88 minutes, and moments later the big crowd were on their feet again when a back pass from Jessie Rasschaert was missed by Roar keeper Georgina Worth, the ball rolling into an empty net to seal the three points and secure their first W-League win since round 14 In season 2019-20.

Epakis said the refusal of his side to give up was pleasing, but admitted the victory was a little unexpected, and also praised to the contribution of goalkeeper Morgan Aquino, who made some telling saves. “I’m so, so happy for the players. We stayed in for the whole 90 minutes of the match and you get your rewards sometimes and, in this instance, we were very fortunate to get the result,” he said post-match. “She (Aquino) knows that she made some really important saves at a really critical time so she certainly did her bit tonight.

“I think it was a typical Round One performance; there were ups and downs, but we got opportunities like today where we had a little bit of luck. It was just enough to get us over the line, but we’ll improve as we go forward. The crowd was as good as the win. I’m so grateful for everyone that came out and I think we did a good job in marketing the group, the game and the new venue. I really, really enjoyed their support and I know the players did as well; it was a special feeling.”

Lisa De Vanna was included in the starting line-up, in her third stint in purple, while 16-year-old Poppie Hooks was on the bench after signing in midweek. It was a tense opening with clear cut chances few and far between, but on 21 minutes it was the visitors who opened the scoring. Shea Connors found some space in the box, before the American sent Anna Margraf in on goal, who finished past Aquino to score her first-ever A-League goal.

Glory looked for a response and went close to finding the equaliser ten minutes before the break. Alana Jancevski almost capped her debut with a goal, but the strikers free kick flicked the bar on the way over the top. But moments before the break, the Roar went close to doubling their lead, the lively Connors shot from the edge of the box was heading goalward, but Aquino produced a smart save to deny her.

Glory lost De Vanna early in the second half, with Hooks replacing the former Matildas striker, to make her debut for the club. Moments later Margraf saw here effort crash off the post, as the Roar looked to take control. But it was the hosts who ended the game the better and the tireless Gemma Craine was instrumental, her long-range shot on 85 minutes failed to find the target. But three minutes later Glory did find the equaliser, and it was Craine again who was the provider.

The English striker raced down the right and her low cross was turned home by Phonsongkham, much to the delight of the home faithful. But they had only just sat down when the Glory won it. There looked little danger from a Kim Carroll long ball but with Craine chasing, Rasschaert was forced to play the ball back to keeper Worth, who mis-controlled the ball and let it into the unguarded net, triggering scenes of wild jubilation among the Glory faithful.

Despite not coming away with the win in their season opener, Brisbane Roar coach Garrath McPherson was proud of his team's efforts. "It sucks not being able to get back on the plane with three points in the bag, being that close. I think that one will sting with the player group," he said. "I think as athletes they will be angry and a little bit upset about losing and not winning points. But the message that we shared in there, is don't let three minutes define 93 minutes." The two teams are due to face off again in Brisbane next Friday, but Queensland's growing COVID crisis has the potential to alter those plans.

In other round one games, Wellington Phoenix first game in the competition saw them draw 0-0 with Western Sydney Wanderers at Win Stadium on Friday evening, while in the late game a late goal from Holly McNamara saw Melbourne City beat Canberra United 1-0 at Viking Park. In Saturday’s other game Sydney FC beat Newcastle Jets 3-1 at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium. Remy Siemsen and Princess Ibini gave the hosts a 2-0 lead, before Lauren Allan reduced the margin just after the hour.

But Cortnee Vine added a third for the hosts, and the Jets ended the game with ten men after Tiana Jaber was sent off. In Sunday’s game Melbourne Victory thrashed Adelaide United 5-1 at AAMI Park. The hosts lead 4-0 at half time, with goals from Lia Privitelli, Kayla Morrison, Claudia Bunge and Catherine Zimmerman. Fiona Worts pulled one back for the visitors after the break, but American striker Privitelli added her second to seal a comprehensive win for the hosts.

Perth Glory 2 (Phonsongkham 88', Worth (o.g.) 90+2') Brisbane Roar 1 (Margraf 22')

Perth Glory: GK Morgan AQUINO, 2 Sarah CARROLL (13 Sarah CAIN 73'), 3 Kim CARROLL, 4 Natasha RIGBY, 7 Liz ANTON, 8 Hana LOWRY, 11 Lisa DE VANNA (19Poppie HOOKS 56'), 12 Sofia SAKALIS (5 Deborah-Anne DE LA HARPE 73'), 18 Sadie LAWRENCE, 23 Alana JANCEVSKI (10 Susan PHONSONGKHAM 73'), 24 Gemma CRAINE - Subs not used: RGK Courtney NEWBON

Brisbane Roar: GK Georgina WORTH, 2 Anna MARGRAF (24 Ellen GETT 84'), 3 Jessie RASSCHAERT, 5 Jamilla RANKIN, 7 Ayesha NORRIE, 8 Mariel HECHER, 9 Larissa CRUMMER (10 Katrina GORRY 68'), 12 Shea CONNORS, 14 Rie KITANO (V 68'), 18 Annabel HAFFENDEN, 22 Cannon CLOUGH - Subs not used: RGK Mia BAILEY, 20 Lanni MCDOUGALL - Referee: Rebecca Durcau

3.12.2021

MELBOURNE VICTORY v PERTH GLORY – ISUZA MENS A-LEAGUE RD 3 PREVIEW

Perth Glory will go in search of their first win of the new Isuzu Men’s A-League season when they take on league leaders Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon. (kick-off at 3.45pm WST). After last week’s narrow loss against Western United Head Coach Richard Garcia will again be without skipper Brandon O’Neill, the midfielder missing again with wife Nicole due to give birth any day now. The coach will also be without striker Daniel Sturridge, and the injured Andy Keogh, while keeper Brad Jones is also in doubt with injury. The club have acted quickly to fill the void with Jones’ injury, signing 23-year-old Sydney Olympic goalkeeper Nicholas Sorras on an injury-replacement contract.

Despite missing these players, Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia is backing his side to maintain their positive start to the season, against a Victory side coached by his predecessor at Glory, Tony Popovic. “It’s been a decent start to the road trip under difficult circumstances,” he said. “The group has a great bond and has been having a good time together and that’s been pretty pleasing. The squad is a bit thin, but I thought the guys coped very well against Western United, did a great job and grew from the first game. They are definitely growing in stature and we’re continually seeing improvement as individuals and as a group.”

In addition to Popovic in the dugout, there will be a number of former Glory players in the Victory squad on Sunday, with Jason Geria, Jason Davidson, Matthew Spiranovic, Chris Ikonomidis, Nick D’Agostino and Jerrad Tyson, all in the Victory squad. But Garcia does not believe that the familiarity of the personnel will have a significant impact on the nature or outcome of the contest.

“They know us as well as we know them and I don’t think it gives you an advantage,” he said. “Maybe for the players there is a mental advantage as far as what to expect from those [opposition] players, but it’s still going to be a very tough game. They [Victory] look good because they’ve got results, but they’re still a team that is new to each other as well, so we’re definitely in the right mindset to be able to go there and get three points.”

Garcia said Sturridge is not match fit and will not be rushed into the side, while Jones picked up a knock in training. “We want everyone to see the best of Daniel Sturridge and not see him for a week and then not see him for another month,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure we do the right thing by Daniel and make sure we get him fit. There’s been a lot made of it and I don’t see why. It’s the normality of an athlete trying to get fit and that’s where we sit with it. We’re confident that he’s doing well in the program so far and heading in the right direction.

“Brad picked up a little knock and is not travelling too well, but other than that, we’re all pretty good. We’ll give him every possible opportunity [to prove his fitness], but at the moment he’s touch and go.” Glory have won two of their last three games against Victory at AAMI Park, while in their two clashes last season, the sides shared a win apiece. The hosts come into the game having taken six points from their opening two games of the current campaign against Western United and Brisbane Roar.

Extended Perth Glory Squad: GK Brad JONES, GK Cameron COOK, GK Nicholas SORRAS, 2 Aaron CALVER, 4 Luke BODNAR, 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 7 Adrian SARDINERO, 8 Kosuke OTA, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 14 Jack CLISBY, 18 Daniel STYNES, 21 Antonee BURKE-GILROY, 22 Josh RAWLINS, 24 Pacifique NIYONGABIRE, 26 Giordano COLLI, 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 32 Aidan COYNE, 38 Ciaran BRAMWELL, 41 Chris DONNELL

3.12.2021

PERTH GLORY V BRISBANE ROAR - LIBERTY WOMENS A-LEAGUE RD 1 PREVIEW

Perth Glory head into their Liberty Womens A-League season-opener against Brisbane Roar at Macedonia Park on Saturday (kick-off at 7.05pm), looking for their first win in the league since round 13 in 2019-20, when Bobby Despotovski’s side beat Sydney FC 2-1. But new Head Coach Alex Epakis said there is an air of quiet confidence ahead of the opener.

There will be a new look to the Glory squad following a busy off-season, with the likes of Alana Jancevski, Sofia Sakalis, Mie Lath Jens, Sarah Cain, Aideen Keane, Courtney Newbon and Susan Phonsongkham in the frame to make their club debuts and Lisa De Vanna set to begin her third spell at the club, and the coach believes that his charges have what it takes to enjoy a successful campaign. “I don’t want to put a ceiling on what this team is capable of, the expectation is more on ourselves, and that we have a really strong performance in every match and that we prepare as best we can,” Epakis said.

“If we do that, there’s no need to put a ceiling on what that can look like in terms of results. With the players, in particular those that were involved last year, there’s a particular steel about what they’re doing and they’re extremely focused and hungry to ensure that we get off to a better start. Success is something that this group certainly deserves after the pre-season and also last year’s difficulties. It’ll be a fantastic start to the season if we can secure the three points.”

Last season the squad was hit hard with the COVID-19 restrictions, but the squad has enjoyed a full pre-season this time around and Epakis believes it has shown in training. “This season we’ve had the opportunity to ensure that every session is planned and prepared well in advance and the squad has been together for longer,” he said. “We’ve got a very clear understanding of how we’re going to play and have built a strong team environment, so it’s completely different to last year and I’m really hoping that come Round One, the performance shows that.”

In terms of squad news, Epakis confirmed that Demi Koulizakis will unfortunately be sidelined for anything up to eight weeks after sustaining a knee injury and neither Claudia Mihocic or US import Cyera Hintzen will feature on Saturday for quarantine reasons. But he will have former Matildas’ striker Lisa De Vanna available for the Roar game, and he backing the Matildas legend to make a major impact. “She’s a fantastic addition and we’re very privileged to have her joining us this season,” he said. “She brings a lot of experience on and off the field and she’s a larrikin as well, which lightens up the mood at times. She’s almost a perfect addition.”

Brisbane will arrive in the west off the back of an impressive 2020-21 campaign in which they secured a second-place finish, losing just once during the entire regular season. Saturday will mark Glory’s ninth home meeting with Roar and the hosts will be seeking to claim a fourth win, while Glory will look to Christian their new home with three points.

Perth Glory Squad 2021/22

GK Morgan AQUINO, RGK Courtney NEWBON, 2 Sarah CARROLL, 3 Kim CARROLL, 4 Natasha RIGBY (C), 5 Deborah-Anne DE LA HARPE, 6 Tijan MCKENNA, 7 Liz ANTON, 8 Hana LOWRY, 9 Demi KOULIZAKIS, 10 Susan PHONSONGKHAM, 11 Lisa DE VANNA, 12 Sofia SAKALIS, 13 Sarah CAIN, 15 Cyera HINTZEN, 16 Isabella WALLHEAD, 17 Abbey GREEN, 18 Sadie LAWRENCE, 19 Poppie HOOKS, 21 Aideen KEANE, 22 Claudia MIHOCIC, 23 Alana JANCEVSKI, 24 Gemma CRAINE, 26 Mie LETH JANS

3.12.2021

CARROLL READY FOR GLORY SWANSONG?

The new Liberty Women A-League season kicks off this weekend, and for Perth Glory defender Kim Carroll it could be her last. The veteran defender has played over 150 A-League games in the 13 years since the competition’s inception, and made her debut for Brisbane Roar back in 2008, spending six seasons at the club before making the move west to Perth Glory in 2015.

Now in her second spell in the west, Carroll sat down with The Football Sack to chat about the upcoming season, and said she is enjoying her first pre-season under coach Alex Epakis, and the decision when to hang up the boots can be a tough decision for many players, however, she is sure she will know when the time is right. “It’s been pretty difficult, but that’s like any pre-season. We’ve been training hard together as a team and as a squad,” the defender said.

“It’s often a thought that potentially it is the last pre-season, but I’ve always said, as long as I’m enjoying it and my body can keep up, I’ll continue. As I get older, it’s definitely harder to continue to play at such a high level. The older you get, the body reacts different, recovers differently. Outside of that, I’ve got work and everything else that also becomes more demanding.”

Off the football pitch, Carroll works as an operations manager for Veritas Engineering, and while balancing these professions can be a challenge, she has found ways to manage, and managing her body has also played a key part in prolonging her career. “I think I probably try to just relax a bit when I can nowadays, when I get a second to,” she said. “The staff as well are good at helping us manage. We do daily check ins, and they check how we’re feeling, how we’ve recovered. There’s a lot more sports science than there was when I initially started playing.”

She made over 60 appearances during her first spell at Glory, including the heartbreak of two grand final losses in 2017 and 2019. This experience will be invaluable for a Glory side that features Young Matildas Hana Lowry, Tijan McKenna and Isabella Wallhead, and guiding these players and providing leadership will be key to Glory’s success this season. “I think just talking at training and trying to guide players while on the field is my role. Trying to get an understanding of how Alex [Epakis] wants us to play and then sort of being that voice on the field,” Carroll said. “The young girls have got their own talent individually, and then it’s sort of just trying to give them some guidance around that.”

2.12.2021

HOOKS GETS GLORY OPPORTUNITY

Perth Glory have added teenager Poppie Hooks to their Liberty Womens A-League squad as an injury replacement for Demi Koulizakis. The Striker, who joined the Glory from Canberra United this season, is expected to be sidelined for up to eight weeks after sustaining a knee injury in training.

Hooks is a former Women’s NPL Under-23 Player of the Year, and the 16-year-old enjoyed another standout season with Murdoch University Melville FC earlier this year, helping the club to the league title and the Top Four Grand Final win against Perth SC. Glory Head Coach Alex Epakis is confident that Hooks can successfully make the transition to A-League football.

“It’s obviously very disappointing to lose Demi,” he told the Glory website, “but her injury is not as serious as we initially feared and she is working hard to be back in action at some point next month. Her absence has created an opportunity for Poppie which I’m sure she will seize with both hands.

“She is a very talented young prospect who has been training with us throughout pre-season and we are all excited to see her taking the next step in her development.” Glory’s 2021/22 Liberty Womens A-League campaign gets underway on Saturday when they host Brisbane Roar at Macedonia Park (kick-off at 7.05pm WST).

2.12.2021

DE VANNA REDISCOVERS SPARK AT GLORY

Perth Glory coach Alex Epakis says Lisa De Vanna has a glint in her eye and is back to being a larrikin ahead of the start of the A-League Women season. The 37-year-old rocked Australian soccer last month when she aired allegations of historical sexual harassment, abuse and bullying she suffered during her glittering international career.

De Vanna was also left disheartened at missing out on a spot at the Olympics, and she considered walking away from soccer. But the Matildas legend has rediscovered her love for the sport since rejoining the Glory last month, and Epakis is expecting big things from the star striker this season.

"In our professional sport you go through so many emotions all the time and unfortunately Lisa was in a bit of a rut," Epakis said. "We're just really grateful she felt this was a great environment for her to step foot in and just feel more focused on football and not worried about the other issues outside of that.

Epakis said De Vanna was in fantastic shape, but was tight lipped about whether he would hand the veteran a starting berth in Saturday night's clash with Brisbane Roar at Macedonia Park. "She does so well to maintain her level," Epakis said. "She's extremely professional with her preparation. There's no issues there."

"She's a fantastic addition. We're very privileged to have her this season and she brings a lot of experience on and off the field ... She's got a nice little glint about her eye and I think we're going to see a really rejuvenated Lisa De Vanna."

Glory were winless last season but they have enjoyed a much smoother lead-in this time around and they harbour hopes of making the finals. American import Cyera Hintzen is still in quarantine and will miss Saturday's game while versatile forward Demi Koulizakis is still sidelined by a knee injury.

2.12.2021

WA FANS MISS OUT IN WORLD CUP FIXTURES

It will be the biggest event to hit Australia since the successful 2015 Asian Cup, but the WA football family have missed out on the chance to watch homegrown superstar Sam Kerr lead the Matildas in the 2023 Women’s World Cup. The blow comes despite the State Government committing $35 million to upgrade HBF Park to ensure games can be played at the stadium. Better lighting, a pitch upgrade, better player facilities and temporary infrastructure including additional seating for players are part of the HBF Park upgrade.

The venue will host just five group fixtures, none of them with drawcard top seeds like current champion USA or Olympic champion Canada, reducing the potential of the tourism dollar. The Matildas will play exclusively in the eastern states, with their group games in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. If they advance as expected they will play their Round of 16 game and possible quarter and semi-finals in either Sydney or Brisbane with the final at Sydney’s Stadium Australia.

Sports minister Toni Buti said: “We love Sam Kerr and the Matildas as much as anyone and will support them wherever they play,” he said. “We know at some stage she’ll return home and we’ll get to see her play in WA.” Football West outgoing chief executive James Curtis said the fans will get behind the games played in the state. “Football West would have loved for Perth to host the Matildas and we are very confident Sam Kerr and the rest of the team will be coming to WA in the lead-up to the tournament,” he explained.

“After WA missed out on previous events such as the 2015 Asian Cup, we know the WA public are right behind this tournament and they will be out in force.” Perth Glory women’s captain Natasha Rigby said she was disappointed not to have Matildas in Perth. “But we’ll be so happy to have any of the games here,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for WA and for women’s football. We have to leverage that in terms of participation.”

1.12.2021

EPAKIS CONFIDENT OF SUCCESS

When Alex Epakis took charge of Perth Glory women last season he knew he had a big task ahead. Quite how big it was came as a shock. Almost the entire squad had already been signed before he took charge, he had just a couple of weeks to get them ready and they went winless in the tough COVID-battered campaign.

But before the season ended Epakis was already on a recruiting mission. And on the eve of the 2021/22 season, which kicks off with a home fixture against Brisbane Roar this weekend, Epakis has bdefore him a new-look squad with a balance of youth and experience from overseas and interstate, coupled with local talent.

“We needed good players but also ones that have a certain level of character, certain values, certain personalities and a level of resilience because of what COVID could bring again,” Epakis said. “We built momentum with early signings. That was a key part of the strategy. I knew other players would look at us and say they wanted to be part of what we were building.”

Glory have made a radical change off-field, signing several players on multi-year deals, a rarity in the Australian women’s game. “We needed to make fundamental changes and think outside the box,” Epakis said. “The W-League has been a circus, every year players moving club to club. We want to invest in a nucleus of players coming from national teams at youth level for two, three, four seasons, to build a foundation for success.”

Epakis said the club has created a good environment for young players leaving home and moving interstate for the first time. “I admire and respect what they’ve done, the decisions they’ve have made at such a young age, but I knew they had the character to do it,” he said. “They were waiting for opportunities, to get out of their comfort zone and embrace the challenge. A lot of these girls are 17, 18 but they are serious about their development.”

Epakis is quietly confident of a successful season. “I’ve got a very clear picture of where I believe Perth Glory can be,” he said. “I don’t want to put a ceiling on what we can achieve this year. We’ll certainly surprise a few people. We won’t surprise ourselves.” Glory women open the new season on Saturday by welcoming Brisbane to Macedonia Park.

30.11.2021

MATILDAS HIT BACK TO DRAW WITH WORLD CHAMPIONS

In their final game of 2021, the Matildas were aiming for some revenge against World Champions USA, after their heavy loss in the first game on Saturday. But they had to settle for a 1-1 draw on Tuesday night, in front of a record-breaking crowd of 20,495 at the McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle. The visitors were ahead early again, with Ashley Hatch scoring after only four minutes. They could and should have scored more, but the Matildas rode their luck, and created chances of their own and were rewarded two minutes from time when Kyah Simon saw her shot deflected home.

"Last game we talked about what wins and loses your games and I said, it's going to be in the 18 players," Head Coach Tony Gustavsson reiterated. "Some of the stats tonight was actually not as good as last game, in terms of possession final third entries, box entries. "But we said after that game that it's the conversion rate in and around the box. Last game, their goalkeeper kept them in the game and tonight our goalkeeper [Lydia Williams] kept us in the game.”

"In terms of what changed [since Saturday's game] it was the game-changers we've talked about. It's not just about the starting line-up, it's about the finishing line-up, and the game-changers actually changed the game for us, but also the tactical change to go to double line, as we call it. That had a huge effect positively tonight. The number one thing while we changed the game is to never say die attitude that Ellie (Carpenter) and all the players stand for. That's the DNA of this team and I'm so proud to be part of a team that has this attitude."

Gustavsson made three changes to the side from Saturday, with Lydia Williams, Hayley Raso, Kyra Cooney-Cross coming into the starting line-up, with Teagan Micah and Jessika Nash dropping to the bench with Caitlin Foord missing out. The World Champions were on the front foot early, and Lynn Williams effort was straight at the Matildas custodian. But moments later they found the opening, some neat lead up play ended with Midge Purce, who cut the ball back from the bye-line to Hatch who finished low past Williams.

The Matildas hit back and Casey Murphy denied Tameka Yallop moments later, after being found by a neat Sam Kerr back heel. They went even closer on 21 minutes, Steph Catley’s corner picked out Cooney-Cross, her volley was touched onto the post by the alert Murphy, before Courtney Nevin’s long-range shot failed to find the target. The visitors had chances of their own and Lynn Williams fired wide, before Lydia Williams saved low to deny Margaret Purce. Kerr went close just before half time, but the skipper couldn’t keep her header down from Carpenter’s cross.

Gustavsson’s side opened the second half well and Raso found the lively Kerr, whose shot flashed wide. Rose Lavelle then fired wide, before Lydia came out on top again against Lynn, in the Williams duel, saving low to her right. With time ticking down and the game looking like it was going to end at 1-0, but the Matildas had other ideas. A ball up to Kerr from substitute Clare Wheeler, was well controlled by the skipper, and she lay the ball off to Simon on the edge of the box, and her first time shot deflected off a USA defender and found the bottom corner, much to the delight of the big crowd. But in stoppage time it looked like the USA had won it when Horan fired home, but the assistant’s flag was raised for offside, the game ending 1-1.

"I think for us as a team, the most important thing about a game is the two boxes and we need to be clinical enough in the final third, but then also aim for those clean sheets every game," Ellie Carpenter said post-match. “Obviously, this was a good test against the world number one and we've seen in the last few games that we can't switch off or have lapses in concentration, especially in the final third in our backline. So, I think we just need to tighten that up. The first game we said, this is kind of like a World Cup final, to experience putting that pressure on ourselves. We obviously didn't execute how we wanted to in the first game, but tonight, it was good to get the draw and build our confidence going into the Asian Cup."

Australia 1 (Simon 88’) USA 1 (Hatch 4’)

Australia: GK Lydia WILLIAMS, 3 Courtney NEVIN, 7 Steph CATLEY, 10 Emily VAN EGMOND, 11 Mary FOWLER, 13 Tameka YALLOP (6 Clare WHEELER 85’), 16 Hayley RASO (15 Emily GIELNIK 71’), 17 Kyah SIMON, 19 Kyra COONEY-CROSS (14 Alanna KENNEDY 71’), 20 Sam KERR, 21 Ellie CARPENTER – Subs not used: RGK Teagan MICAH, RGK Mackenzie ARNOLD, 2 Angela BEARD, 5 Karly ROESTBAKKEN, 8 Charlotte GRANT, 22 Bryleeh HENRY, 23 Remy SIEMSEN, 24 Jessika NASH, 25 Charlize RULE

USA: GK Casey MURPHY, 3 Sofia HUERTA (14 Emily SONNETT 87’), 5 Alana COOK, 6 Lynn WILLIAMS (8 Ashley SANCHEZ 83’), 7 Ashley HATCH (13 Morgan WEAVER 70’), 10 Lindsey HORAN, 11 Margaret PURCE (22 Kirstie MEWIS 70’), 12 Tierna DAVIDSON, 16 Rose LAVELLE, 17 Andi SULLIVAN (4 Becky SAUERBRUNN 86’), 23 Emily FOX (19 Imani DORSEY 77’) – Subs not used: RGK Jane CAMPBELL - Referee: Sejin Park

30.11.2021

KERR FINISHES THIRD IN BALLON D’OR

Australia captain Samantha Kerr has placed third in the prestigious Ballon d’Or Feminin award, which recognises the world's best female footballer. The 28-year old striker came in behind winner Alexia Putellas and runner-up Jenni Hermosoas, both who play for Barcelona and Spain.

Kerr scored 29 goals in all competitions for Chelsea last season, 21 of those earning her the English Women’s Super League Golden Boot, before netting six times for Australia at the Tokyo Olympic Games. It was the third time she has been nominated for the Ballon d’Or after finishing 5th in 2018 and 7th in 2019.

Putellas helped Barcelona win the Spanish league and cup double before guiding her club to the Champions League title. She ended ther 2020/21 season as the highest-scoring midfielder in Europe with 26 goals and was also named UEFA's Women's Player of the Year and Midfielder of the Year.

Barcelona team-mate Hermoso came second after finding the back of the net 40 times in all competitions to claim a fifth golden boot from the last six league seasons. Kerr took third spot ahead of Dutch pair Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal) and Lieke Martens (Barcelona), who placed fourth and fifth respectively.

The Ballon d’Or Feminin was inaugurated in 2019 when Norwegian international Ada Hegerberg (Olympique Lyonnais) collected the prize. United States star Megan Rapinoe claimed the 2019 honour and last year's ceremony was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

29.11.2021

GLORY’S SEASON FURTHER COMPLICATED BY BORDER CHANGE

Perth Glory’s nightmare start to the A-League season has been thrown into further turmoil with West Australia slamming shut the South Australian border following recent COVID-19 cases and the elevated threat of the new Omicron variant overseas. Glory are already criss-crossing the country on a 9000km, four-state, five-game, 33-day road trip but plans have been thrown into disarray by the move.

Glory opened with the controversial 1-0 loss to Western United last Friday and must leave Victoria after games on December 5 and 8 against Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City to allow the 14 days needed to be home for Christmas. They are then due to play Brisbane Roar on December 18 but because the Victoria-Queensland border is currently shut they plan to stay in Adelaide before heading to Brisbane.

They are due to head back to South Australia to play Adelaide on December 23 before arriving home on Christmas Eve. But WA’s move to change the border arrangement with SA to “low risk” now means travel from that state is only permitted for approved, doubled-vaccinated people who complete 14 days of self-quarantine and testing.

Glory chief executive Tony Pignata is in urgent talks with WA police, health authorities and A-League bosses. “It’s a mess. We are juggling a lot of balls at the moment,” Pignata said. “The first thing we have to ensure is getting out of Melbourne in time to get the 14 days out of Victoria to be allowed home for Christmas.”

“The borders between Melbourne and Brisbane are shut until December 17 at the moment so we can’t go there without quarantine. If they open earlier we might be able to go there but we have to leave Melbourne by the 9th of December regardless. We are not sure whether we will miss the Adelaide game, go straight to Brisbane and stay 14 days out of Melbourne if and when that that border is lifted, or do we just go to Adelaide?”

Glory are due to fly to Sydney after Christmas for three games in six days but that plan is now in jeopardy. Premier Mark McGowan said there was uncertainty about the recently-emerged Omicron variant, making it important WA had strong protections in place for States which have relaxed their international borders.

27.11.2021

MATILDAS HUMBLED BY USA

Despite the biggest crowd ever to watch the Matildas in Australia, 36,109, Tony Gustavsson side we’re humbled 0-3 by the USA in the first of their friendlies at Stadium Australia in Sydney. It wasn’t the best of starts for the hosts, the visitors hitting the front in the opening sixty seconds, with Ashley Hatch scoring. But missed chances hurt the Matildas and second half goals from Rose Lavelle and Lindsey Horan secured a comfortable win for the USA.

“We didn’t let it get to us, especially the young ones - they grew into the game,” Gustavsson said post-match. “It can go downhill really quickly if you’re not strong mentally, so I’m really happy with that. “We need depth in the backline and we need to be brave enough to get them into these types of games. I’m not blaming any players and I take all the responsibility for our defending. We’ve tried different formations … but we’ve also done some different type of defending.

“We’re trying to look at defending strategies from our ‘9’ (centre forward) all the way down to our backline. Our defending issues aren’t just about our backline, it’s about co-operation as a team defending. We’re trying to look at how we can get the most out of this team with the players available, so we can still have that attacking mindset. As long as I have the trust to coach this team. I’m going to be very attacking minded. We just need to get better at what we do … that’s what we’re going to do.”

Gustavsson made the gamble of playing two teenagers in the heart of defence against the world champions, starting Courtney Nevin alongside debutant Jessika Nash, and it didn’t start that well. Nash was caught ball watching as Hatch calmly struck the ball past Teagan Micah to put the visitors in front. They went close again four minutes later, Rose Lavelle effort flashing wide.

The Matildas pressed for the equaliser and Kyah Simon shot was saved by Casey Murphy, and Sam Kerr’s follow up flashed wide. The had a gilt-edged opportunity to level on 38 minutes, a cross picked out Simon, but with the goal at her mercy the Tottenham Hotspur striker blazed over the top. So at the break it was the visitors with the lead.

Gustavsson reshuffled his defence in the second half, but it began in much the same way as the first half, with the US scoring a second four minutes after the break. Lavelle finding the net after an excellent run and cut-back from Margaret Purce to double the visitor’s lead. Kerr came close to pulling one back for the Matildas, but her header went straight into the arms of Murphy, the US keeper having a superb debut between the sticks. Horan added a third goal from the spot when the US were awarded a dubious penalty for an innocuous foul by Ellie Carpenter. The Matildas now look ahead to Tuesday night’s second encounter in Newcastle to give a better account of themselves.

“Disappointing not to get the win but I think it’s pretty clear that the clinical moments, what happened in the final third and the back third, they were just clinical with their finishing and we obviously weren’t clinical,” Foord said. “These moments define games. It’s us learning and growing as a team and learning from these mistakes. I guess it’s about finding the best combinations as well because at the end of the day, we have to be solid all over the field and that’s something we are definitely working on and trying to find the best fit and the best structure and team to put out there.”

Australia 0 USA 3 (Hatch 1’, Lavelle 49’, Horan 68’ pen)

Matildas: GK Teagan Micah, 3 Courtney Nevin, 7 Stephanie Catley (2 Angela Beard 81’), 9 Caitlin Foord (23 Remy Siemsen 80’), 10 Emily van Egmond, 11 Mary Fowler (6 Clare Wheeler 81’), 13 Tameka Yallop, 17 Kyah Simon (16 Hayley Raso 46’), 20 Sam Kerr (19 Kyra Cooney-Cross 63’), 21 Ellie Carpenter, 24 Jessika Nash (8 Charlotte Grant 46’) - Subs not used: RGK Lydia Williams, 5 Karly Roestbakken, 25 Charlize Rule

USA: GK Casey Murphy, 5 Alana Cook, 6 Lynn Williams (8 Ashley Sanchez 84’), 7 Ashley Hatch (13 Morgan Weaver 74’), 10 Lindsey Horan, 11 Margaret Purce (15 Bethany Balcer 78’), 12 Tierna Davidson, 14 Emily Sonnett, 16 Rose Lavelle (22 Kristie Mewis 84’), 17 Andi Sullivan (4 Becky Sauerbrunn 84’), 23 Emily Fox (3 Sofia Huerta 46’) – Subs not used: RGK Jane Campbell – Attendance: 36,109 - Referee: Hyeon Jeong Oh

26.11.2021

GLORY EDGED OUT BY UNITED

Perth Glory’s first game on their arduous eight-game road trip ended in a 0-1 defeat against Western United at AAMI Park. The only game of the game controversially from substitute Dylan Wenzal-Halls 12 minutes from time, the striker tapping home Connor Pain’s cross, but the ball looked to have crossed the bye line before Pain got his cross away, but after a short VAR check the goal stood, much to the disappointment of Glory coaches and players alike. Glory had chances to take something from the game, but without skipper Brandon O’Neill, Andy Keogh and Daniel Sturridge, they couldn’t take them.

Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia praised his side’s display, but questioned the VAR’s decision to allow United’s goal to stand. “It was a massive step in the right direction,” he said post-match. “There were some very good individual performances, but as a team as well, it was a great performance, especially with some of the young guys coming in and having to fill some roles that they’re not used to. “I thought they were exceptional tonight… we just probably needed to be a bit more patient when we got into their half. I’ve seen the still now [of the cross from Pain for the goal] and I’ve seen that the ball is out. “What do I say to this? We can’t even talk about this anymore, and it’s an ongoing battle and we either fix the system or we don’t use it all because this is continuously happening in games over and over again. At the moment, we don’t seem to be getting the right decisions at the right times.”

The coach also explained the absence from the matchday squad of ex-Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge. “We always had a plan for Daniel to build through,” he said. “Last week was a hello to our fans, but he needs to be able to continue to build his fitness. He’s looking good, but we want to make sure that we have him at the right time. We don’t want to bring him back at the start and then lose him for a long time and we’re trying to do that with a lot of the guys that are coming back from injury or who have been overseas. We’re conscious that we need to make sure we have all our guns firing at the right time.”

It was the visitors for had the first effort on goal, Bruno Fornaroli found Jack Clisby, who shot was deflected wide. Then Alessandro Diamanti tried his luck from long-range, but his audacious lob was claimed by Brad Jones. Glory went close again on the half hour, Daniel Stynes slipping Spanish import Adrian Sardinero in on goal, but United keeper Jamie Young saved his shot with his feet.

Both sides had late chances first United’s Alexandar Prijovic’s low cross was only inches away from former Glory defender Josh Risdon, before in the final minute the best chance of the half fell to Fornaroli. A neat through ball from Sardinero sent the Uruguayan in on goal, but he dragged his shot wide of the target, and at the break it was scoreless.

The game opened up after the break and Jones saved Prijovic’s long-range effort early, before Young got down well at his near post to deny Fornaroli, after being sent clear by Stynes. Risdon then got back to block Fornaroli’s effort on the hour, before Jones saved well to deny second half substitute Wenzal-Halls on 75 minutes. But three minutes later the hosts found the opener, Pain took the ball to the by-line and his low cross hit the far post, the rebound falling to Wenzel-Halls, who scored from close-range. But replays showed the ball was out when Pain crossed, and you have to think why didn’t VAR see that. Glory pressed late looking for a goal that their performance merited, but they were unable to find one. United will face defending champions Melbourne City next week, while Perth remains in Melbourne to face Victory on Sunday.

United midfielder Steven Lustica praised the work of his teammates in securing the Club’s first win of the new Men’s A-League season and said everyone is behind the project and the systems that Aloisi and his coaching staff are implementing. “Great character from the boys to get the result, especially when we didn’t have our best performance. Overall, we’re very happy to get our first win of the season,” he said post-match. “It’s been so positive since the first day he (Aloisi) came in. We’ve worked on our structures, the way he wants us to play, and everyone’s bought into it, everyone’s on board. It will take a bit of time but every game is hard. Every game is going to be a battle and we’ve got to be on top of our game if we want to be up there winning games.”

Western United 1 (Wenzel-Halls 78') Perth Glory 0

Western United: GK Jamie YOUNG, 4 Leo LACROIX, 6 Tomoki IMAI (44 Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY 46'), 8 Lachlan WALES (5 Dylan PIERIAS 71'), 10 Steven LUSTICA, 11 Connor PAIN (27 Jerry SKOTADIS 90+2'), 17 Benjamin GARRUCIO, 19 Josh RISDON, 23 Alessandro DIAMANTI, 88 Neil KILKENNY, 99 Alexandar PRIJOVIC (9 Dylan WENZEL-HALLS 71') - Subs not used: RGK Ryan SCOTT, 26 Nicholas MILANOVIC, 34 Christian THEOHAROUS

Perth Glory: GK Brad JONES, 2 Aaron CALVER (24 Pacifique NIYONGABIRE 46'), 4 Luke BODNAR (22 Josh RAWLINS 79'), 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 7 Adrian SARDINERO (38 Ciaran BRAMWELL 46'), 8 Kosuke OTA, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 14 Jack CLISBY, 18 Daniel STYNES, 21 Antonee BURKE-GILROY, 29 Darryl LACHMAN - Subs not used: RGK Cameron COOK, 26 Giordano COLLI, 32 Aidan COYNE, 41 Chris DONNELL - Referee: Jonathan Barreiro

26.11.2021

INJURY KEEPS WILLIAMS SIDELINED AT COVID-STRICKEN OXFORD

Ryan Williams is expected to miss Oxford United's weekend game with his former club Rotherham United due to injury. The winger injured his thigh in last weekend’s FA Cup loss to Bristol Rovers and failed a fitness test before the mid-week win over Fleetwood Town.

Williams’ absence will be a blow for Oxford, who have seven players in isolation after returning positive tests for COVID-19. That has left coach Karl Robinson with just 13 senior outfield players available for the clash with League One leaders Rotherham.

Oxford are particularly light in defence, where Williams has already featured at right back this season. “He got a knock on his thigh, he’s struggling,” said Robinson. “He’ll be a big miss for us because he’s almost our only other defensive cover. He can play right or left back ... it really limits the opportunities we have with that defensive cover.”

26.11.2021

GLORY HIT THE ROAD AND FIRST UP WESTERN UNITED

Perth Glory hit the road this weekend, when they begin eight consecutive games away from home, when they take on Western United in week two of the Isuzu Ute Men’s A-League at AAMI Park. (kick-off at 4.45pm WST). Richard Garcia’s side started their season with a 1-1 draw against Adelaide United last week at a packed HBF Park, but it will be the last time the home faithful will see them for a while.

Head Coach Richard Garcia said they have to embrace the situation and get on with it, and he has been encouraged by his squad’s physical and mental response to Saturday’s opening-round draw, and he believes they will be fired up and desperate to claim all three points. “I think the guys felt a bit undercooked at the first game and started slowly,” he said.

“But you can tell that they want to come into this period with the mentality that we want to win every game. The guys are even more hungry, especially after almost taking the game out at the weekend. I think they felt hard done by that they didn’t take all three points at home. The mentality has been fantastic in the week, the training has been good and now it’s about us going out there and doing it on Friday night.”

The coach went on to confirm that Andy Keogh has been sidelined by the calf injury which forced him off against Adelaide, but that we can expect to see more of new signings Daniel Sturridge and Adrian Sardinero in Friday’s game. “We’ve got to be ready to build Daniel up and make sure that he’s ready to play a full game,” he said. “That’s going to be done in the coming games, so we’ll give him a bit more time come Friday and then build up from there.

“We’ve got an opportunity to be able to train a little bit more while we’re over here, so that’s going to be a great opportunity for us to get even more fitness into him and get him to a point where he can participate more and more every week. With Andy probably missing these three games in Melbourne, it opens up our thinking of how we want to play and opportunities for Adrian to come in. “I thought he was fantastic when he came on last weekend. He’s another one who’s slowly building and in the short time that he played last week, he showed glimpses of his quality and we’re expecting more of that come Friday.

“He’ll take a more active role in the team and will slowly build up on the same path as Daniel. Daniel Stynes [also] did very well when he came on the other day and made a real push for a starting spot. The squad at the moment, with the injuries that we’ve got, is pretty self-explanatory, but the good thing is we still have guys pushing for starting spots.”

Jon Aloisi’s men began their 2021/22 campaign with a narrow defeat at the hands of Melbourne Victory in Geelong last weekend, and on Friday Neil Kilkenny will come up against Glory for the first time as an ex-Perth player. Kilkenny played two and a half seasons at the Glory, registering 12 goals and 19 assists in his time across A-League and Asian Champions League matches.

But now in Green and Black he will come up against some familiar faces on Friday, but he took an opportunity to reflect on his time in Western Australia. “I got on with all the lads there. The boys were a good group of boys,” he said. “It was an unfortunate season last year which was frustrating, but obviously my first two seasons there were fantastic. To be part of most successful season in our history was an honour.” Kilkenny said he built a “fantastic rapport” with the fans at HBF Park, but all his focus is now on Western United and finding a way to take three points off his old employers.

25.11.2021

DE VANNA HEADS HOME FOR MORE GLORY

After a year of controversy, former Matilda’s striker Lisa De Vanna has put retirement on hold after heading back to Perth Glory for the new Women’s A-League season. The 37-year-old spoke out recently about her alleged sexual harassment, abuse and bullying during her Matildas career and said she would walk away from the game, but De Vanna, who has had two spells at her home club, has had a change of heart after training with Alex Epakis’ side recently.

De Vanna, a Perth local is the second most-capped Matildas player of all time having made 150 international appearances, during which she scored 47 goals. She had two previous spells with Glory, in 2008-09 and 2012-13 and played for a number of clubs around the world including Sky Blue FC, Orlando Pride and Washington Spirit in the USA, Fiorentina in Italy and AIK and Linkoping in Sweden.

Also on her glittering resume are W-League Championship titles with Melbourne Victory, Melbourne City, Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar. De Vanna is now looking forward to writing a new chapter in her remarkable career with a club that has always remained close to her heart. "I only very recently decided to get back on board," she told the Glory website. “Alex has created a safe, supportive environment and Tony Sage showed me great respect by going out of his way to meet me in person, which I really appreciated and am grateful for.

"Alex has put no pressure or expectation on me; just for me to fall in love with the game again. I started my career here and now I want to give back to the family, friends and fans who have supported me all the way along my football journey. I’m focused on being a good influence on the young players and helping bring the best out of them, and that was a real game-changer for me. A winning mentality never dies and that’s why I’m committed to doing everything I can to bring a first ever Championship to my hometown club."

Epakis, said he is delighted that De Vanna will be donning the famous purple once again this season. "Lisa is a proud West Australian and I know she is valuing the opportunity to represent her hometown club as part of what is shaping up to be a very dynamic and exciting squad to work with," he said. "She has a proven track record at every level of the game, is extremely motivated to succeed on a team level and will provide even further x-factor to our attack.

"Lisa has been involved with the team for over a month now, has fitted in extremely well into our environment and culture and is focused on working hard to ensure the team has a competitive campaign. I look forward to coaching her this season and am eager to see her combine with the other fantastic players we currently have in the team." Glory’s A-League Women season gets underway on Saturday 4 December with a home game against Brisbane Roar.

25.11.2021

KEOGH OUT FOR THE NEXT GAMES

Perth Glory have been dealt a blow on the eve of a month-long, A-League road-trip with key forward Andy Keogh rule out of action for at least three matches. The striker will miss Friday’s game at Western United and the following clashes with Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City due to a calf injury suffered in last weekend's home draw with Adelaide United.

Coach Richard Garcia revealed Keogh had been struggling with the injury for some time. “It was something that had been playing at him for a few weeks and slowly started to deteriorate,” Garcia said. “It’s minor but it’s not worth him coming on the trip. We’re hoping he comes back to fitness to possibly take part in the last two games of the tour.”

Garcia does not expect many changes without Keogh but star signing Daniel Sturridge is likely to get a more game time than the nine minutes he played last Saturday. “It’s a slow build, we’ve got to build Daniel up and make sure he’s capable of playing a full game,” Garcia said. “We’ll give him a bit more time come Friday and then build up from there.”

Spanish import Adrian Sardinero and local talent Daniel Stynes, who both came off the bench against Adelaide, can also expect more minutes. “It (Keogh’s loss) opens up our thinking on how we want to play,” Garcia said. “Adrian was fantastic when he came on. He’s another one who is slowly building ... Daniel Stynes did very well when he came on and made a real push for a starting spot.”

Garcia said it was crucial to get early away points. “If you do well on the road you’ve got a fantastic opportunity to win the league,” he said. “That’s something we’ve been focusing on since we’ve been made aware of the fixtures. We want to start this run of games with the right mentality and mindset. The guys are in a great state of mind.”

Garcia was full of prise for the young side beaten on penalties in the FFA Cup qualifying game by a strong Melbourne Victory. “I thought they were fantastic. They really stepped up,” he said. “They seemed to be a lot more mature than the average age of about 18, and we had guys that are 16 come off the bench. That’s a fantastic thing for the club.”

24.11.2021

PENALTY HEARTBREAK FOR GLORY YOUNGSTERS IN FFA CUP

A young Perth Glory side have been edged out of the FFA Cup after losing 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out against an experienced Melbourne Victory side in the Play-Off at Marden Sports Complex in Adelaide on Wednesday evening. Forced to play the game in Adelaide due to border restrictions, and Victory refusing to travel to Perth, the youngsters, all who played for the clubs NPLWA side last season, conceded in the first minute with Lleyton Brooks scoring a long-range strike. But Glory rallied and Josh Anasmo levelled on the half hour, and the youngsters, with an average age of just 18, dominated for large periods but couldn’t find the winner, and missed twice in the shoot-out to bow out.

Nonetheless, there was plenty to like about a spirited Glory performance which saw them go toe-to-toe with a significantly more experienced Victory outfit, with many players giving head coach Richard Garcia some food for thought. They couldn’t have made a worse start, with Victory, coached by former Glory coach Tony Popovic, scoring after 36 seconds, a shot on the run by Brooks dipped over the head of Cameron Cook.

But Glory grew into the game and were rewarded when Anasmo bundled home Giordano Colli’s free kick, after seeing his initial header parried by former Glory keeper Jerrad Tyson in the Victory goal. Moments later former Socceroo Robbie Kruse headed over the top when well placed, before Tyler Vecchio fired wide after good work by Adam Zimarino. Then just before half time Vecchio tried his luck from long-range, his shot whistled just wide of the post with Tyson scrambling, but at the break it was 1-1.

After the break, it was Victory who opened the better and New Zealand international Marcos Rojas fired over the top when well-placed early. The lively Joseph Forde then saw and effort whistle wide for Glory, before Cook got down well to deny Victory substitute Nishan Velupillay. Forde had a chance to win it deep into injury time, but his shot on the run was straight at Tyson, so it was off to extra time. Clear cut chances were few and far between in extra time, with fatigue understandably starting to creep in.

The best chance fell to Victory, but Cook was forced to make a fine save to deny Velupillay, however it would be penalties to determine the winner in this one. Ciaran Bramwell and Chris Donnell found the net with the first two spot kicks, but Aiden Coyne saw the third saved by Tyson. Tyson then missed his spot kick to bring the sides level again, and Josh Rawlins scored the fourth. But Colli saw his well saved by Tyson, to seal the tie for Victory, who will face Adelaide City at the same venue next week.

"It was a really good effort from all the boys, obviously going into the game as heavy underdogs and with such a young squad, and going down early didn’t help us, but the boys showed great character to stick together and get back on level terms and go on top for periods in the first half," Glory midfielder Chris Donnell said. "It’s always a cruel way to go out on penalties, but I think we can all be proud of ourselves and each other for the performance we put in."

Perth Glory: GK Cameron COOK, 26 Giordano COLLI, 32 Aidan COYNE, 35 Will FORMSTON, 36 Joseph FORDE, 37 Jacob MUIR (2 Judd MCDOUGALL 97'), 41 Chris DONNELL, 42 Josh ANASMO (39 Matthew GEORGE 76'), 43 Adam ZIMARINO (38 Ciaran BRAMWELL 97'), 45 Aidan EDWARDS (49 Jayden LEADER 97'), 47 Tyler VECCHIO (22 Josh RAWLINS 66') - Subs not used: RGK Sam REILLY

Melbourne Victory: GK Jerrad TYSON, 9 Francesco MARGIOTTA (24 Nishan VELUPILLAY 68'), 10 Robbie KRUSE (32 William WILSON 68'), 13 Birkan KIRDAR, 14 Jay BARNETT, 15 Aaron ANDERSON, 16 Stefan NIGRO, 23 Marco ROJAS (25 Luis-Lawrie LATTANZIO 68'), 26 Lleyton BROOKS (33 Ryan LETHLEAN 89'), 27 Zaydan BELLO, 37 Edmond LUPANCU - Subs not used: RGK Marko BULIC - Referee: Daniel Elder

24.11.2021

GRANT DENIED AS AL-HILAL LIFT ASIAN TITLE

Alex Grant has finished on the losing side in the Asian Champions League final after Pohang Steelers were beaten 2-0 by Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal. Herd's club were clear underdogs, missing key players and forced to play the final in front of around 50,000 opposition fans in Riyadh.

Pohang's challenge quickly became even harder when they conceded after just 16 seconds, Nasser Al-Dawsari unleashing a fierce shot from outside the area. "When you concede a goal that early in the game, you are always going to be against it," Grant said.

After that early shock Pohang settled and nearly levelled 10 minutes later when midfielder Sin Jin-ho hit the bar from range. But Al-Hilal controlled most of the game and secured the trophy on 63 minutes when Moussa Marega scored after being released by Gomis.

Pohang rarely looked like finding their way back into the game as Al Hilal clinched a record fourth Ascian Champions League title. "They were the better team," commented Grant. "We knew coming into the game that it was going to be tough as they have great quality players."

23.11.2021

KERR NOMINATED FOR FIFA PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Former Perth Glory skipper Sam Kerr has been short listed for the 2021 FIFA Player of the Year, as the striker continues to find the net for English Women’s Super League club Chelsea. In her last match the Matildas striker bagged a first half hat trick as the Blues beat Birmingham City 5-0 at Kingsmeadow to move within one point of league leaders Arsenal, while Birmingham City remain winless. Chelsea will face Arsenal in the FA Women's Cup final next month.

Kerr first found the net on 18 minutes, before added a second on the half hour. She then nodded in a simple header for third in the final minute of the half, to take her tally to 23 goals across the WSL calendar year. The 28-year-old celebrated her third goal with a trademark backflip and she said the team are enjoying their football at the moment. “I'm really enjoying it. It shows in the way we're playing, we're all playing with a smile on our faces,” she said. "Scoring a lot of goals is always fun... it's an amazing club and an amazing team. I'm enjoying it a lot."

She also confirmed her backflip celebration was requested by her teammates, who had been giving her "stick" for not celebrating enough. "I haven't [been practising the backflip]," she added. "The girls have been giving me stick, saying I don't celebrate that I hadn't done the backflip since however long ago. The girls always give me stick that I haven't [backflipped] at Kingsmeadow, so I thought I would bring it out."

Meanwhile it's the fifth-straight year Kerr will be considered for the FIFA Player of the Year, and it comes just days after Kerr signed a contract extension with English giants Chelsea, which will keep her at the club until 2024. She won last year's golden boot in the Women's Super League, scoring 21 times in 22 appearances. Kerr in 2020 finished seventh in the voting for Best FIFA Women's Player award with 20 points, in what was the closest she has ever come to taking out the honour.

Other nominees in Kerr's category include four players from Barcelona's historic treble-winning team (Aitana Bonmati, Caroline Graham Hansen, Jenni Hermoso and Alexia Putellas), two from Manchester City (last year's winner Lucy Bronze and Ellen White), and one each from Swedish Champions BK Häcken (Stina Blackstenius), the NWSL's Portland Thorns (Christine Sinclair), and Arsenal (Vivianne Miedema).

23.11.2021

RADINOVIC WINS PERTH SC FAIREST AND BEST

Perth Soccer Club won their 24th Premier League title last season, and they will go into 2022 with a new man at the helm, after Marc Wingell replaced Ramon Falzon. But before they head into the new season they celebrated their title at the club’s presentation night, and it was skipper Bojan Radinovic who took out the Fairest and Best. The defender had an outstanding season and he finished ahead of midfielder Calvin Whitney, who recently won the Football West Gold Medal as best player in the NPLWA. Wingell said Radinovic improved each week and played a major role in the club’s success.

“Bojan had a great season for us, and he continued to improve over the season, and he played a huge part of the club’s success,” Wingell explained. “We had a few long-term injuries early in the season and we brought some of the younger players into the squad and they never let us down, but the likes of Bojan, Ryan Montgomery and Calvin led from the front to help the youngsters settle in the side.”

One of those youngsters was Lachlan Byrd who won the Robert Giorgi Memorial Award on the night, the defender didn’t look out of place, and Wingell said he grew in to the role. “Like I said we did have injuries and we brought Lachlan into the squad to cover, and he showed straight away he could play at this level,” he said. “He had his ups and downs during the season, like all youngsters do, but overall, he had an outstanding debut season in the senior side. It’s a shame he is moving on to Dandenong Thunder in the NPL Victoria, but we wish him all the best in the future, and he knows he is always welcome back at the Gardens anytime.”

In other awards on the night Carl Morgan won the Under 20s Fairest and Best, ahead of keeper Adrian Sinagra. In the under 18s Zayn Bukhari won the Fairest and Best, ahead of Cody Tana, while Daniel Zivkovic won the Youth Development Award. Zoee Spadano won the Fairest and Best in the Women’s first team ahead of Nadia Harvey, while Safyr Iriks won the under 23s Fairest and Best, ahead of Katie Ritchie. Finally, congratulations to club photographer Rob Lizzi who won the Peter Giorgi Club Person of the Year Award.

23.11.2021

NPL CLUB AWARDS WRAP

All NPLWA clubs have wrapped up their season, with most of them holding their Presentation/Awards night’s recently, and we give you a wrap of all the rest of the club’s award winners. First at Balcatta it was Jon Corness who won their Most Valuable Player Award ahead of Jack Leech, and the midfielder said it was an honour. “I'm very proud to win the award in a very challenging season,” he said. “There was lots of ups and downs but when things got tough, we managed to do what was needed to stay up. We’re looking forward, the team will be eager to have a more successful season in 2022, and that starts with a lot of hard work in pre-season.”

In other awards at the club Nick Walsh won the Coaches Award, while Calum O’Connell won the Club Captain Award. There were joint winners of the under 20s Most Valuable Player Award, with Michael Scafetta and Luke Alessandrino sharing the top honour, with Nicholas Burmei taking the runners up, while Coby Sutton won the Coaches Award. In the 18s Joshua Bosevski won the Most Valuable Player Award, ahead of Ben Ford, Sean Paterson won the Coaches Award. Scafetta capped off a good season by being awarded the Luke Beyer Rising Young Star Award.

At Cockburn City it was Ali Gholami who won the Fairest and Best Award ahead of Jesse Lazzaro. Gholami also won the Players Player, while Daniel Robinson was the top goalscorer. In the under 20s it was Callan Baker who won the Fairest and Best Award, with Alex Basto the runner-up. Baker was also voted the Players Player, while Michael Lino was the top goalscorer. In the 18s Ben Henley won the Fairest and Best, ahead of Anton Guarino, while Luke Caceres won the Players Player, with James Toth the top goalscorer. Finally, the Jacob Richards Memorial Award was won by Sam Cook.

Inglewood United striker Steve Sokol swept the board at their awards night, winning the Fairest and Best Award, ahead Robert Petkov, and he also won the Players Player and top goalscorer, while Ajak Riak won the Rising Star Award. “It was well deserved, Steve put in a lot of hard work on his own and in training,” Inglewood Head Coach Andres Oliveira said. “You could see the talent just needed to be more consistent, which he raised to the challenge over the season.” In other awards Darko Ristoski won the 20s Fairest and Best Award, ahead of Liam Alderson, and Ristoski also won the Players Player, with Toby Robertson taking out the Golden Boot. In the 18s Gordon Perkins also swept the field, winning the Fairest and Best, ahead of Daniel Radeski, and the Players Player and Golden Boot.

At Sorrento it was Dean Cummings who won the clubs Best Player Award, ahead of Jordan Brown. Scott Witschge won the Golden Boot, while Jordan Pokler was awarded the Most influential Goal/Save of the Season. “Obviously happy to receive a personal award but overall disappointed we never won anything after being written off at the start of the season,” Cummings explained. “We have a decent squad of players now so hopefully we add another couple and build on last season and go one better and win something.”

In other awards at Percy Doyle Reserve Ethan Banks won the 20s Best Player Award, with Thro Gilsenan the runner-up, while Banks also won the Golden Boot. In the 18s it was Nial McKeon who won the Best Player Award, ahead of Zech Dabbs, with Phoenix Lee winning the Golden Boot. Finally, Victor and Gil Guidicatti won the Club Persons of the Year.

At Rockingham City it was Feisal Zaw who the Fairest and Best Award, Hamish Van Dieken won the Players Player, while Harry Bolan won the Coaches Award. Van Dieken also won the Outstanding Senior Player of the year (The Mike Tetlow Award) while Robbie Duckmanton won the Golden Boot. Eli Holdsworth won the 20s Fairest and Best Award, with Luke Trower winning the Players Player and Roy O’Neil winning the Coaches Award. In the 18s Dylan Bale won the Fairest and Best, Jack de Groot the Players Player, with Jack Corp winning the Coaches award. Unfortunately, we didn’t receive conformation of the Floreat Athena award winners, while ECU Joondalup have cancelled their awards night with their striker Danny Hodgson still in a critical condition hospital.

23.11.2021

YOUTHFUL GLORY TO TAKE ON VICTORY IN FFA CUP

Perth Glory start their FFA Cup campaign on Wednesday evening when they travel to Adelaide to take on former Coach Tony Popovic’s Melbourne Victory. The game was scheduled for Perth, but with covid restrictions it was switched to the Marden Sports Complex, and with Glory in Isuzu Ute A-League action on Friday against Western United, the club will send a youthful side for the tie.

Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia is looking forward to seeing how they acquit themselves, as a number of the PGFC Academy First Team will get an opportunity to impress. “It’s going to be hard juggle between this game and our A-League game against Western United which, taking into account the time difference, is less than 48 hours later,” he told the Glory website.

“There are going to be at least four or five players that will play in Adelaide and then have to back up on the bench in Melbourne as well. It’s not a great situation and we’ve got quite a few injuries to contend with as well. We have five or six players out who are potential first-team candidates and we had Andy Keogh picking a knock up at the weekend as well.

“But the flip side is that these games provide a massive opportunity for some of our younger players to play at the next level and see where they’re at. Giving youngsters that opportunity is something we are firmly committed to as a club and it will be exciting to see how those players adapt to the challenges that they’ll face on both Wednesday and in some cases, Friday as well.”

Victory Coach Popovic also stressed the importance of managing his players throughout the coming weeks, especially after a pre-season that had no competitive action, due to border restrictions delaying the FFA Cup match. "We have five players that had played 60 minutes in a match prior to today," he said. Whether they can back up Wednesday and then back up again on the weekend, I doubt.

"We'll have to see who pulls up well tomorrow at training, we've got recovery tomorrow. We'll train Monday and Tuesday before we decide who will travel. But I'd like to think that a lot of the young players will get an opportunity on Wednesday. "What I'd like to see is that we take confidence from today into that match and the young players amongst the senior players can show their worth."

The last time Glory played Victory in this competition was in 2018 when the visitors ran out 1-0 winners at Dorrien Gardens, with Popovic in the Glory dugout. The game can be seen on 10Play, and on the FFA YouTube channel, with kick-off at 5pm WST (7.03pm Local Time).

23.11.2021

GLORY HOPING FOR MORE ‘FULL HOUSE’ SIGNS

Perth Glory hope to put out more ‘full house’ signs after fans flocked to Perth Oval for the weekend's 1-1 draw with Adelaide United. The crowd of 17,198 fell just short of Glory’s all-time record regular season attendance of 18,067 for the National Soccer League game against South Melbourne in November 1998 at the same venue.

Glory need to sell 7000 match-day tickets to top up 7000 members and corporates to break even. They struggled in the last two COVID-hit seasons, averaging just 4777 last year and 7716 in 2019/20. They notched a 13,700 average in their 2018/19 premiership season, boosted by 56,371 at the Optus Stadium Grand Final.

Chief executive Tony Pignata was pleased with the crowd and is now hoping for more. “It’s the first time for a long time that we can say we made a profit,” Pignata said. “It was fantastic. The noise was unbelievable, the atmosphere was electric. That’s what we want to see each week.”

Glory now face the task of getting fans back with the next home game not scheduled until mid-January after eight away matches. “It is tough but Saturday shows the supporters are there,” Pignata said. “We want them to come back week-in-week-out so we can be the biggest-supported club in the A-League.”

22.11.2021

YOUTH TO BE GIVEN A CHANCE IN FFA CUP

Perth Glory will be stretched to breaking point this week, playing two games in three days. Coach Richard Garcia must juggle sides to play in Wednesday's FFA Cup qualifier against Melbourne Victory in Adelaide and the A-League clash two days later against Western United in Melbourne.

Garcia's squad is already battered, with several players injured and others on restricted game time. He is committed to sending a second-string side to Adelaide with those first teamers making the that trip expected to be given limited minutes so they can be on the bench in Melbourne.

“There won’t be many senior players, if any, going to Adelaide,” said Garcia, who has prioritised league football over the knock-out Cup. “It’s more about us preparing for Friday. It’s pretty tough, we are a little thin at the moment. It’s a balancing act.”

Striker Andy Keogh has joined the injured list which also features Osama Malik, Callum Timmins and Carlo Armiento. Daniel Sturridge and Adrian Sardinero will have limited minutes after quarantine while captain Brandon O’Neill will not fly to Melbourne with his wife expecting a baby.

22.11.2021

FORNAROLI EAGER TO FORGE PARTNERSHIP WITH STURRIDGE

Perth Glory striker Bruno Fornaroli hopes he can form a special partnership with Daniel Sturridge when the pair finally get on the park together. The former Liverpool star trained with the team for the first time last Monday, and was limited to a 9-minute cameo in the weekend draw with Adelaide United.

Sturridge replaced Fornaroli late in the game and he won't be handed a start any time soon as the club attempts to slowly build up his training loads. It means It means Sturridge and Fornaroli will have to bide their time before being able to play significant game time together.

"The opportunity will come," Fornaroli said. "It's always great to play with the good players. Everyone knows him and knows his abilities and what he can give for us. I'm excited, I can't wait. You can feel the connection straight away when he has the ball."

Fornaroli started the season in fine fashion, scoring with a 30-yard thunderbolt in the first half against Adelaide. Glory will now embark on an arduous stretch of up to nine consecutive away games if the club is unsuccessful in its attempt of switching two of those to Perth in early January.

The road trip begins with an FFA Cup match against Melbourne Victory in Adelaide on Wednesday, before Glory takes on Western United in Melbourne on Friday. The club will send a second-string squad to Adelaide for the FFA Cup clash so that their first-choice team will be fresh for the weekend's A-League Mens fixture.

21.11.2021

O’NEILL SAYS A-LEAGUE PLAYERS ‘VERY, VERY LUCKY’

There's no doubt it has been a rough 18 months for Perth Glory captain Brandon O'Neill. The midfielder was in Korea when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and struggled for regular game-time at the end of 2020 at Pohang before making a switch to Thailand with Buriram United.

While that was going on his father Myles was battling lung cancer, before sadly passing away in June this year. With the death of his father and expecting a baby on the way with his wife, the 27-year old decided the time was right to return to his hometown and his hometown team.

With the new A-League season kicking off, O'Neill is happy to be back where he made his first-team debut in 2012. "It’s good to be home. I haven’t had that feeling in a while, even in Sydney," he said. "To be able to come home, buy our family home, start moving things into where we see our future being – it’s pretty cool."

"Obviously, to be back playing for my hometown club, it was a decision that just felt right. It’s been well-publicised what my family and everyone close to me has been through, also my wife is expecting our first bub, and someone somewhere was pointing me in the direction of coming back home and settling here in Perth."

O'Neill says his family's loss and being away overseas has "put things into perspective". "In life you have to make decisions based on feel, and whatever feels right I back myself into," the one-time ECU Joondalup junior admitted. "It came to a point in Asia where there was a lot going on, both football-wise and obviously in our family life."

"And it just came to a point where we thought look lets make a decision that’s going to make sure we’re happy for our future looking forward, but also address how we’re feeling at the minute. To be at this stage now I know me 'Da' would be very proud, and I know I’ve made the right decision because every morning I’m waking up as happy as Larry."

O'Neill has no regrets about his time in Asia, heading north at the start of last year after five trophy-laden seasons with Sydney FC. "I loved it, I absolutely loved learning and the experience over there," he said. "I got to experience and grow so much as a person."

"As a footballer growing up in Australia we are very, very lucky and when we go overseas we really see the cut-throat nature of life as a footballer, and what it takes in these ruthless countries to be there, to succeed and do it year in, year out."

Now back in WA, O'Neill is excited about his future and what Perth Glory can achieve in the years ahead. Glory have never won an A-League title and the club is yearning for success, yearning for its National Soccer League days when it was a powerhouse of Australian football. "That’s the magical question, everyone wants to be a powerhouse," O'Neill said.

"What separates sustained success and a very good footballing club is you have a process-driven approach to your day to day, your week to week and your month to month. I think the outcome will always be there. If you focus on the process, rather than the outcome, that’s where you find fulfilment. That’s the journey that we’re on."

O'Neill earned his first and only Socceroo cap in 2019 and adding to that tally is another of his goals. "That’s one of the main decisions really why I needed to sit down with my wife and make this decision moving forward, as in order to get the best out of myself I need to be the best person I can be," he said.

"Being at home I have no doubt I can channel everything I need and more to be the best footballer I can be. I’ve had a little taste of it, and by jeez I want more. Throughout this year and next year it would be an absolute honour to represent my country again, but that’s out of my hands. All I can do is make sure I’m ready if and when that time comes."

21.11.2021

BIRIGHITTI TIPS CENTRAL COAST TO PUSH FOR A-LEAGUE TITLE

Central Coast Mariners goalkeeper Mark Birighitti expects his team to pick up where they left off last season as they travel to take on Newcastle Jets in their A-League Men season opener. Central Coast finished third in 2020/21, ending a seven-year finals drought after claiming the wooden spoon the year prior.

Birighitti hopes the standard set under departed manager Alen Stajcic will be continued under new boss Nick Montgomery from the get-go in today's F3 derby. "The boys are raring to go and what a game - a derby in Newcastle against my old mob," Birighitti said of the club he played for between 2012 and 2016.

"The boys are confident and really looking forward to getting going again. I harped on a little bit about last season, and that was a fantastic year. But that's forgotten about now, that's the benchmark we've set. We need to do better, we're pushing for finals football again and if not winning the competition."

Montgomery has looked to stamp his mark on Central Coast by bringing in Frenchman Beni Nkololo, former Tottenham youngster Cy Goddard and Brazilian striker Moresche, all of whom played in last week's FFA Cup win over Blacktown.

20.11.2021

GLORY ORIGINALS CELEBRATE CLUB’S MILESTONE

Twenty five years ago a bunch of footballers carved their names in West Australian sporting history when Perth Glory made their debut in the National Soccer League. They went down down 4-1 to powerful UTS Olympic in front of a huge 9639 crowd at Perth Oval but brought a new dawn for the game.

On the eve of Glory’s 25th anniversary season kick-off against Adelaide United at HBF Park on Saturday “The Originals” were back together for a reunion. The side was captained by Gareth Naven and coached by Gary Marocchi who said they were proud to be part of WA sporting folklore. “We were part of history,” Marocchi said.

“Everyone was working virtually full-time. They were training four nights a week and then travelling interstate. “They sacrificed a lot for the club to be where it is today. We went from local games with a couple of hundred spectators to 5-6000 people. At one game there was just under 18,000. “It was something never seen before in Perth.”

Glory’s historic first goal was scored in the 89th minute by Alan MacKenzie but Marocchi said the result was not a true reflection of the game. “We got beaten but it was a lot closer than 4-1 suggests,” said the former Socceroos captain. “It wasn’t a true reflection of the game. We should have scored a couple more.”

Glory needed victory in their last game of the season against Melbourne Knights to make the finals but lost and finished seventh. “Most pundits thought we would finish last in the first year,” Marocchi said. “They thought WA was the minnows of the game in this country. We changed that.”

Naven, who captained Glory from inception through to 2002 and along the way made 143 appearances for the club, said it was an era that transformed WA football. “Really good times, the atmosphere, the passion, the commitment,” he said. “It was a time that transformed everything in regards to football, culture, diversity and inclusion.”

“It was about making everyone proud. As players we couldn’t have had the opportunity to represent WA in the first national competition without everyone being involved, the supporters, our families, the whole state.”

Striker Bobby Despotovski, four times club Most Glorious Player, inaugural Johnny Warren medallist and leading scorer with 13 goals in the first season, had returned home from Melbourne club Heidelberg United. He has mixed emotions about that first game after missing a penalty and hitting the crossbar when the side was 1-0 down.

“The massive crowd took us by surprise. We didn’t know what to expect,” Despotovski said. “But we never looked back and now 25 years later here we are. Not many people in the Eastern States liked us back then. It was a revolution for soccer in Australia. We put the Eastern States to shame in so many respects.”

The Perth Glory XI that played IUTS Olympic in their first ever national league game was Tommy Maras, Doug Ithier, Gareth Naven, Gavin Wilkinson (Dale Wingell 67), Vinko Buljubasic, Paul McVittie, Paul Strudwick (Vladimir Beretovac 70), Slobodan Despotovski, Alan MacKenzie, Scott Miller, Craig Naven. The coaching team were Gary Marocchi and Mickey Brennan.

20.11.2021

GLORY SETTLE FOR A POINT IN SEASON OPENER

Perth Glory had to settle for a draw in the first Isuzu Ute A-League game of the season after an entertaining 1-1 draw with Adelaide United at a packed HBF Park on Saturday evening. The sold-out stickers were out before the game with the limit at the ground capped at 18,000, but they fell silent when Kusini Yengi gave the visitors the lead midway through the first half, before Bruno Fornaroli levelled with a stunner just before half time. Glory had the better chances after the break, while both sides had goals disallowed, but they had to share the spoils.

“It was a difficult game and we looked like a team who hadn’t had a competitive game since last season,” Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia said post-match. “But they worked their way into it. I thought that they were a bit nervy at the start, probably a bit apprehensive about not having had a competitive game, but I thought they grew fantastically and towards the end of the first half, started to find their feet. I thought it was a fantastic effort tonight and a step in the right direction.”

Garcia had seven players in the squad making their debuts, with Brad Jones, Antonee Burke-Gilroy, Pacifique Niyongabire all starting, Jack Clisby and Brandon O’Neill made a return to their former club, with O’Neill skippered his hometown club for the first time. While on the bench they had former England and Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge, Aaron Calver and Spanish import Adrian Sardinero.

The visitors opened brightly and went close on six minutes, Stefan Mauk’s header from Josh Cavallo’s free kick flashing wide of the post. Moments later they were almost handed the lead when Jones delayed a clearance, the ball deflected straight to Yengi, who should have done better from close-range. It was one-way traffic as Adelaide pressed for the opener, and they went within inches of that on 17 minutes, Ryan Kitto’s shot smacking the post.

But on 23 minutes they did find the opener. Ben Halloran eased past Kosuke Ota, before squaring the ball to Yengi, who finished clinically past Jones. Glory players were left furious after believing Halloran had bowled over Ota in the lead-up, but after a VAR check the goal stood. That seemed to lift the home side and the lively Burke-Gilroy’s effort brought the best out of Adelaide custodian James Delianov.

Then on 34 minutes there was a minute’s applause in the ground in memory of lifelong Glory fan Sam Peters who sadly passed away earlier this year aged just 34. R.I.P. Sam - gone but never forgotten. But five minutes from the break Glory levelled, and what a strike it was. Luke Bodnar found Fornaroli just inside the Adelaide half, the Uruguayan raced forward and had Andy Keogh and Niyongabire with him, but he didn’t need them firing home a screamer from 25-yards, going in off the post.

Adelaide had the ball in the net early in the second half, but referee Adam Kersey had already blown for a foul on Clisby. Then on 55 minutes the home faithful thought they had the lead when Burke-Gilroy finished low past Delianov, but Fornaroli was ruled offside marginally by VAR, a decision that took an age, but ultimately denied the young defender a goal on debut. The visitors weren’t out of this one and Jones had to produce a stunning save low to his right on the hour to deny Adelaide substitute Craig Goodwin.

Burke-Gilroy was a constant threat all night and his low cross was turned goal wards by Fornaroli, but Delianov got down well to save. Moments later Burke-Gilroy was in again, this time cutting in from the right, but his effort flew wide. The biggest cheer of the night from the 17,198 came five minutes from time, when Sturridge was introduced, but he didn’t have enough time to lift Glory to victory, and at the final whistle the points were shared.

“We’re disappointed to come away with a point,” Adelaide Head Coach Veart said post-match. “I thought our boys were tremendous tonight. The style of football they played is what we want. We just couldn’t get the ball in the net – we did everything but that. We created some great opportunities and pretty much had control of the game for large parts of the game. Coming to Perth it’s a very difficult place to come to, especially with the crowd that they had here tonight. So full credit to our boys, they worked extremely hard and very proud of them.”

In the other games this round, Champions Melbourne City opened their campaign with a 2-1 win against Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park on Friday night. Curtis Good gave them the lead five minutes before half time, and Connor Metcalfe doubled their advantage three minutes later. Luke Ivanovic pulled one back for the visitors 19 minutes from time, but they couldn’t find the equaliser. Then on Saturday a goal from Roderick Miranda gave Melbourne Victory a 1-0 win in the local derby against Western United at GMHBA Stadium, before Western Sydney Wanderers drew 0-0 with Sydney FC in the Sydney Derby.

On Sunday Central Coast Mariners won the F5 Derby 2-1 against Newcastle Jets at McDonald Jones Stadium. Joshua Nisbet and Jacob Farrell gave the visitors the lead early in the second half, and despite Valentino Yuel reducing the margin, the Mariners held on. In the final game Macarthur FC drew 1-1 with Wellington Phoenix. Gary Hooper gave the Nix the lead from the spot in the first half, before Lachlan Rose levelled on the hour.

Perth Glory: GK Brad JONES, 4 Luke BODNAR, 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS (2 Aaron CALVER 85'), 8 Kosuke OTA, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI (15 Daniel STURRIDGE 85'), 10 Andy KEOGH (7 Adrian SARDINERO 54'), 13 Brandon O’NEILL, 14 Jack CLISBY, 21 Antonee BURKE-GILROY, 24 Pacifique NIYONGABIRE (18 Daniel STYNES 54'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN - Subs not used: RGK Cameron COOK, 22 Josh RAWLINS, 38 Ciaran BRAMWELL

Adelaide United: GK James DELIANOV, 4 Nick ANSELL (23 Jacob TRATT 46'), 6 Louis D’ARRIGO (31 Bernardo OLIVEIRA 76'), 7 Ryan KITTO (11 Craig GOODWIN 50'), 8 Stefan MAUK (28 JUANDE 65'), 9 Kusini YENGI (17 Mohamed TOURE 76'), 10 ISAIAS, 21 Javi LOPEZ, 22 Michael JAKOBSEN, 26 Ben HALLORAN, 27 Josh CAVALLO Subs not used: 4RGK Joe GAUCI - Attendance: 17,198 - Referee: Adam Kersey

17.11.2021

SOCCEROOS LET IT SLIP AGAINST CHINA

The Socceroos 2022 FIFA World Cup hopes took a hit on Wednesday morning after being held to a 1-1 draw by China at the Sharjah Stadium in the UAE in their latest qualifying fixture. Mitch Duke had given Graham Arnold’s side the lead on the first half and they looked on course for a vital three points, but a penalty from Wu Lei twenty minutes from time secured a draw for the hosts. With Japan beating Vietnam 1-0 in the other group game, it meant the Socceroos slipped out of the automatic qualification spot and made it three games without a win, which has made their Qatar 2022 quest a little bit harder.

“We were a bit sloppy at times but until the penalty, there was pretty much one team in the game and that penalty gave them energy,” Arnold said post-match. “Dukey's done a great job and he works tirelessly upfront. He had a knock, which was the reason he came off, but Dukey is always a danger in front of the goal. We moved the ball well, and we created some decent chances and we've just got to be positive and move forward."

Eager to bounce back from last week's 0-0 draw with Saudi Arabia, Arnold made two changes to the side, with Milos Degenek coming in for the injured Harry Souttar, while Duke replaced Awer Mabil, who dropped to the bench. The Socceroos were quick to put pressure on China and created two excellent chances early. First Jackson Irvine sliced his opportunity wide after he was found inside the box by Aziz Behich before Mathew Leckie stung the palms of keeper Yan Junling.

While China always looked to pose a threat on the counter-attack, it was Australia who continued to create the most threatening goal-scoring opportunities. Ajdin Hrustic was next to test the keeper, with his powerful free-kick into a crowded penalty palmed to safety by the alert Junling. But Australia's dominance of possession and territory was eventually rewarded seven minutes before the break. The dangerous Martin Boyle was the architect, swinging in a pin-point cross from the right, Duke lost his marker and his downward header from close range gave Junling no chance.

It was the strikers fifth goal for the Socceroos this year, including his late strike in the 3-0 win over China earlier in the qualifying phase. Leckie almost capitalised on a Hrustic cross soon after, but he was quickly closed down by Junling to keep China in the contest heading to the break. While scoring chances proved more difficult to come by after half time, Australia looked in control until China were given a lifeline back into the match midway through the second half.

After a lengthy VAR review, the referee adjudged a handball against James Jeggo in the box, with Wu Lei converting the penalty with 20 minutes to go. It looked like the midfielder was pushed in the incident, but the goal stood and the Socceroos had it all to do. Arnold brought on the likes of Jamie Maclaren, Awer Mabil and Riley McGree in the closing stages to try and find a winner but China held on.

"The qualifying campaign I've been a part of to get to Russia, we had results like Iraq away and Thailand away with a draw that were disappointing as well," keeper Mat Ryan said. “It's all part of it, you're wanting to try and get to the World Cup, that's the big prize, and everyone's giving all that they can take to try and get there.

“Obviously at this international level it's the little details, the little moments that decide those sorts of things and unfortunately tonight they didn't go our way. But the momentum's a funny thing. We had that winning run where a lot of things went our way, and now we have had a couple of times where it hasn't gone our way. But it's on us to change that around again, and I have full confidence we can do that moving forward."

China: GK Yan Junling, 3 Wang Shenchao, 5 Zhang Linpeng, 6 Jiang Guangtai (20 Wang Gang 46’), 7 Wu Lei (18 Zhang Yuning 93’), 9 Ai Kesen, 11 Alan (16 Ba Dun 80’), 13 Xu Xin, 14 Zhu Chenjie, 15 Wu Xi, 21 Aloísio (17 Wu Xinghan 80’) – Subs not used: RGK Liu Dianzuo, RGK Wang Dalei, 2 Li Ang, 4 Li Lei, 8 Hao Junmi, 10 Zhang Xizhe, 19 Chi Zhongguo, 22 Yu Dabao

Australia: GK Matt Ryan, 2 Milos Degenek, 4 Rhyan Grant (5 Fran Karacic 83’), 6 Martin Boyle (13 Nikita Rukavytsya 83’), 7 Mathew Leckie (Awer Mabil 77’), 8 James Jeggo, 10 Ajdin Hrustic (21 Riley McGree 76’), 15 Mitchell Duke (9 Jamie Maclaren 71’), 16 Aziz Behich, 20 Trent Sainsbury, 22 Jackson Irvine – Subs not used: RGK Lawrence Thomas, RGK Danny Vukovic, 3 Callum Elder, 14 Kenneth Dougall, 17 Denis Genreau, 19 Ryan McGowan, 23 Gianni Stensness – Referee: Adham Mohammad Makhadmeh (Jordan)

17.11.2021

KERR A BLUE UNTIL 2024

Matilda’s striker Sam Kerr will remain at Chelsea for another three seasons, after putting pen to paper on a new contract at the English Super League club. Following a stellar debut full season with the club, Kerr has become an integral part of the squad since joining midway through the 2019/20 season, with 39 goals and 56 appearances to her name. The former Perth Glory skipper said she is excited to extend her stay in London.

“It’s really exciting. I’m really happy at the club. We’ve had good success, being at a club like Chelsea is an amazing opportunity,” Kerr explained. “‘The time was just right. I feel really comfortable being here, and I think the club gives me every opportunity to succeed as a player.

“I can’t see myself going anywhere else in the world or leaving Europe, having what I have at Chelsea. The time was right, honestly, I didn’t feel like I wanted to rush into anything, just like signing here the first time, it just happened naturally.”

The Matildas captain also told the Chelsea website what drew her to stay at the club. “The team speaks for itself, every day at training playing with world-class players, getting challenged every day and winning trophies at the same time,” she said. “I hadn’t won much when I came here and after last season, I think it’s just a no-brainer for me to stay.’

Blues General manager Paul Green said Kerr is a huge part of their plans moving forward. “We are absolutely delighted that Sam has extended her deal with the club. Sam is quite simply one of the world’s best strikers and goalscorers,” he said. “We look to continue to build on our recent successes, and Sam will play a big role in achieving those targets in the future.”

The 28-year-old is no stranger to winning awards, having scooped the Golden Boot for the Barclays Women’s Super League 2020/21 season with 21 goals in 22 matches. It is an accolade she received two previous times as top scorer in the US and Australia, making her the first player to ever win it across three different leagues, in three different continents.

Looking back at the achievement, Kerr said you don’t win those awards without the player around you, but said she has worked hard on her game since heading to the club. “I don’t go out there to win golden boots, I just go out there to give everything I can to the team and help the team to succeed and win trophies,” she said.

“I'm not going to lie, it’s nice when I do win them but that’s not my main goal at the start of the year. It’s a nice reward, but if I won golden boot after golden boot and no trophies, it wouldn’t be that rewarding to me. So that’s why last season winning the golden boot and winning the league was really rewarding because finally it meant something.”

As well as the Golden Boots, during her time at Chelsea Kerr has also secured back-to-back league and Continental Cup wins and last season also came out top in the Community Shield, as well as reaching the final of the Women’s Champions League for the first time in the club’s history. The forward is also on the shortlist for the Ballon d’Or for the third time in her career and most recently, was nominated for BBC’s Footballer of the Year for the fourth time.

Kerr has also enjoyed a successful international career, mostly recently captaining the Matildas to their best-ever Olympic placing, at Tokyo 2020, and she sent a message to the club’s supporters saying it’s great to have them back in the stands this season.

“I’m just excited, especially after the Covid year and now welcoming them back to Kingsmeadow. It’s been such a buzz having them back,” she said. “I’m really proud to play for Chelsea and I feel our fan base at Chelsea is special. You see the same faces around Kingsmeadow, so for me I just want to make up for lost time. More goals and more trophies!”

17.11.2021

KNIGHTS STEALS THE SHOW AT STIRLING AWARDS NIGHT

Gavin Knight was the big winner at the recent Stirling Macedonia presentation night, the striker winning the clubs Fairest and Best and top goal scorer. He bagged 20 goals in his second season at Macedonia Park, and his goals helped the club to the Division One title and a return to the NPL after a two-year absence.

Football Operations Manager Keegan Ashley said Knight was a great contributor to their success. “Gavin had an exceptional season and with his experience led the way in front of goal for us,” he said. “We wish him all the best at Joondalup United next season.”

Knight said to win the award was special and it was a tough decision to move on. “Winning the fairest and best was an honour,” he said. “I had a good season at the club, but there were many other players who could have won it, so to hear my name read out was a huge. “It was a tough decision to leave, and they have been great to me and my family. But with the club being in NPL next season my game time would be limited as they are getting a few more players in to boost the attack, but I wish them all the best next season.”

In other awards on the night Sam Wynne was voted the first team player of the Year, while in the reserves Ben Eilff won the Fairest and Best with Matt Corrigan winning the Players Player, with Reece Corrigan winning the top goalscorer. In the 18s Alex Zaecis won the Fairest and Best with Taher Kelly winning the Players Player, while Galana Eba was the top goalscorer.

16.11.2021

ALL THINGS GO AT KINGSLEY WESTSIDE

Things are getting better on and off the park for State League club Kingsley Westside. Their fourth placed finish last season was the clubs best finish in State League football and they also made the promotion play offs for the first time. Meanwhile off the pitch the clubs proposed new club rooms at Chichester Park was confirmed by the City of Joondalup council this week, and President Chris Brady said it was a great day for the club.

“As a club we're delighted to finally see the construction works finally given the green light to start in 2022, after a five-year journey to get there,” he said. “As anyone who's visited or played at Chichester Park over the last few years would confirm, the existing 30-year-old facility is no longer fit for purpose and requires a complete rebuild. The new facility will feature four large unisex changerooms, large storage areas, modern kitchen facilities and a large meeting space, as well as more parking bays, so it's very welcome news for Kingsley Westside as the primary tenant, as well as the user groups and the wider community.”

It didn’t go all to plan and Tuesday’s meeting could have gone either way, but Brady said all the clubs hard work has come to fruition. “It was quite a tense Council meeting on Tuesday night with arguments put up for and against the award of the tender. The main sticking point really came down to costs, as the final price had come in over the pre-tender estimate, which would be no surprise to anyone given the current cost issues being experienced in the WA construction industry,” he explained.

“Ultimately, the Council agreed that any further delays would likely see the project costs increase further, and after five years of consultation and design, it was time to take the leap and get Chichester built. We have a great relationship with the City of Joondalup, so I'd like to give a big thanks to the admin staff for their continued engagement with our club, as well as the leadership shown by Mayor Albert Jacob, Councillor Christopher May and the Member for Kingsley Jessica Stojkvovski MLA for their continued advocacy for the project, as well as the other Councillors who voted in favour. From a club perspective, a big thanks to former Presidents Ben Fowler and Rob Andrews for their hard work and advocacy to get to this point, as well as all our committee and club members who helped get this over the line.”

Brady said they will look to build on last season, and it just wasn’t Steven Dimitrovich’s first team that impressed. “The club is very proud of what our State League squads achieved this year. Steven and his team were given the challenge of improving on last year's disappointing league placing and push for a top four finish, and they responded very strongly to sit in the top two for most of the season before just missing out on promotion through the playoffs.

“On top of that, the State Reserves won the league while the 18s narrowly lost the Top 4 Cup Final, so all up it was an all-round great performance from our state set-up. We are a small club competing with some very well-resourced outfits, but we are a club with a big heart and we'll always challenge our lads to make sure the club keeps punching above its weight. When the new Chichester Park opens in 2023, it will provide a platform from which the club can push for further State League success into the future.”

The club also held their presentation night at the Empire Function Centre, and it was midfielder Lewis Flatt that took out the Best and Fairest and Players Player of the Year Award. “It was well deserved for Lewis,” Head Coach Steven Dimitrovich said. “He was very consistent throughout the year and it showed with him winning both major awards on the night.”

In other awards on the night, Simone Sichel won the first team top goal scorer while Owain Thomas won the coaches award, Dimitrovich said the youngster made a big impression in his first season in the first team. “Owain came into our senior squad mid-way through the year and cemented his spot at centre back,” he said. “He showed a lot of maturity beyond his age and is a very classy defender and one we have high hopes for in the future.” Jamie Kane took out the Reserves Best and Fairest and the Players Player awards, Lucas Farley the Coaches Award, while Ilya Nebylytsya won the top goalscorer. In the 18s Louis Henriques won the Best and Fairest and Noar Leasor the Players Player. Ryan Steel won the coaches award, while Daniel Airns and Cameron Delvin were joint top goalscorers.

16.11.2021

GRANT LOOKING FOR AFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE MEDAL

Former Perth Glory defender Alex Grant is eyeing off an AFC Champions League medal after rollercoaster year for his South Korean club Pohang Steelers. The 27-year-old said it has been the hardest year of his life, but claiming the biggest prize in Asian soccer would make it all worth it. The ECU Joondalup product turned K-League defender could become the first ever West Australian to win the AFC Champions League when his side takes on Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Hilal in the Final next Wednesday (12am).

It comes after the centre back etched his name into club folklore in the semi-final, scoring the type of goal played out in the imaginations of kids around the world. With Pohang down 1-0 in the 89th minute against fellow Koreans and reigning champions Ulsan Hyundai, Grant connected with a free kick, looping a header over a stranded goalkeeper and into the net to send the game into extra time, with the Steelers eventually triumphing on penalties.

While Grant still holds fond memories of the Glory’s 2018-19 Premier’s Plate-winning season, he admitted the header was probably his personal best moment on a field. “To score the way I did, late into a game against a strong Ulsan team, and the game itself is classed as a local derby over here, so to nick the equaliser at the death was such a good feeling,” he said. “There’s been some challenging periods throughout my year whilst I’ve been in Korea, so it was kind of nice to have such a big moment, kind of a reward for the work and what I’ve put in throughout the season.”

The challenges Grant alluded to have been mainly off-field, as he faced not just a language barrier and adapting to a different culture, but also raising his 18-month-old son with his partner, away from family and friends. “It was extremely difficult coming over during a pandemic and it was kind of a bit nervy for the family, my partner Lauren and my son Lenny,” Grant said. “It’s been definitely challenging without family and not really knowing anyone here or having anyone to support us.”

Grant sympathised with every other Australian who found themselves stuck overseas at the moment with the covid restrictions, and he hopes to return to Perth soon, and hopefully with a winner’s medal. “It has been a really big challenge and probably one of the hardest years of my life I’d say in that respect, but it has been for many other people,” he said. “We’ve been looking to come back to Perth at the end of the season and we just feel in limbo because of the borders, it’s just making it very difficult. We’re one of thousands of Aussies who are in a similar situation and it’s just the way it is unfortunately.”

However, Grant said the Pohang’s Champions League run proved every cloud had a silver lining and he was relishing the chance to take on Al-Hilal. They will be underdogs against the three-time Champions League winners in a game to be played at the Saudi side’s stadium. “There’s not many (Australians) who have played in it, so it is an honour and something I’m extremely proud of going into the game,” he said. “I just hope I can be lifting the trophy at the end of it.”

On the field, Grant has overcome an ankle injury, which forced him out for three months, and has had to adjust to the K-League and its rigorous schedule, an issue compounded by Pohang’s deep run in the Champions League. “It’s a lot more physically more demanding, having to back up every three days,” Grant said. “The way you train is completely different because of the schedule, there’s a lot of recovery days. The squads don’t chop and change that much because it’s hard for players to break in and play well, it’s generally only if someone gets injured or suspended a new player will come into the team and I’ve found that a bit of an eye-opener. The pace of the game is a bit quicker as well, the Koreans are technically very good and they generally never seem to give up as well.” – Good luck Alex we’re all behind you!!!!

15.11.2021

GLORY HOST REDS IN SEASON OPENER

Perth Glory begin their 2021/22 Isuzu UTE A-League campaign on Saturday evening, when they host Adelaide United at HBF Park. (Kick-off 7.05pm) A bumper crowd is expected to see the Glory take on the Reds in a fixture which has produced plenty of fireworks and goals in recent years. The off-season arrival of a former Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has brought an air of optimism amongst the supporters, and the club is confident of resurfacing in the Finals Series after a one-season absence.

Sturridge, who only came out of quarantine at the weekend, will be part of the squad, but Head Coach Richard Garcia said they will not rush him in to early, as it’s a long season, but the player said he is ready, so we will have to wait and see. The club have been busy in the transfer market with new skipper Brandan O’Neill returning to the club, as well as Jack Clisby and Mitch Oxborrow, while former Liverpool and Socceroos keeper Brad Jones, Aaron Calver and Spanish import Adrian Sardinero, gives the squad a new look.

Garcia believes that the Glory supporters will have a key role to play in Saturday’s eagerly-anticipated season-opener, and he is adamant that those supporters can give his charges a significant boost in their bid to repeat their victory over the same opponents in the corresponding first-up fixture last season. “They [the supporters] have a massive, massive role to play,” he said. “Having not had a lot of match practice, it’s something like the crowd that actually takes you over the line and gets you that extra bit of energy that you need to push through.”

Not that Garcia is expecting his squad to be lacking in fitness following a very lengthy pre-season. “We’re confident that we’ve prepared in the best way possible, but you can’t prepare for something that you haven’t done. I feel that once we get out there, the adrenalin will take over and the boys will be pumped for it,” he said.

“They’ve been hungry for this for the last 16 weeks; it’s been a long pre-season, so for us to have a competitive game and especially in front our home crowd, is going to be fantastic. I feel like we’ve done everything possible to get that to that point [full fitness]. Of course, it’s the first game for them and that’s always going to be difficult, but we have a good enough bench for players to come on and make an impact.”

Adelaide United will head west looking to end a winless run at HBF Park which dates back to the 2017/18 season and Garcia is expecting the South Australians to ask plenty of questions. “In all their competitive games that they’ve had, they’ve looked pretty strong, especially going forward,” he said. “They’ve got some good attacking threats and we’ve got to be mindful of that, but at the same time we’ve got to focus on us and us being at home and playing in front of our home supporters in the big crowd that we’re going to have there [at HBF Park] on the weekend.”

Adelaide United Captain Stefan Mauk is looking forward to the prospect of facing ex-Liverpool star Daniel Sturridge, and he believes his signing will only benefit in building the Isuzu UTE A-League’s profile. “It’s massive for the league, he’s probably the biggest name since a (Alessandro) Del Piero,” Mauk said to the media on Monday. “He’s come at a younger age and if he gets himself right, he’s going to be one of the best players if not the best player in the league.”

The 26-year-old went on to add that he was happy to begin the season on one of the tougher away journeys in the calendar. “It’s probably the hardest road trip of the year,” he said about travelling to Perth. “But to do it first up I think is the best and we’re just excited to go. It’s a tough first up game. We always have good games against Perth Glory and it’s exciting just to be playing.”

15.11.2021

MACARTHUR MOVE FUELS DE SILVA'S ROOS AMBITION

Long touted as a top prospect for Australian football, Macarthur FC recruit Danny De Silva is hoping his latest A-League club can finally give him the platform to reach the international stage. De Silva burst onto the scene as a 15-year-old in 2013, making his professional debut for Perth Glory, and was part of Ange Postecoglou's initial longlist of players for the 2015 Asian Cup squad.

Despite that early promise however, De Silva arrives at the Bulls at a crossroads in his career. Now 24, the midfielder has made over 100 A-League appearances but appears to be a long way from Socceroos coach Graham Arnold's plans with young talent such as Riley McGree and Denis Genreau having emerged as national team regulars in the past 12 months.

Despite that, De Silva hopes Macarthur's footballing philosophy under Ante Milicic will give him the environment to force his way into Arnold's plans ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. "Any Australian player would want to play for the Socceroos," said De Silva, who helped Macarthur cruised into the FFA Cup Round of 16 with a 3-0 win over Newcastle Olympic on the weekend.

"I've had a few tastes and been on a few camps and stuff like that but definitely it's something that I would love to be able to achieve. The coach (Arnold) obviously is always watching the A-League boys, watching new players, things like that and players that he's got his eye on. If we have a good year, be able to score some goals and make some assists and things like that, hopefully, I'll be in the mix."

Having spent time at Glory, Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC as well as a loan stint in Holland with Roda JC, De Silva is excited about what can be achieved in 2021/22. "We have great players all around us but definitely in the attacking third," he said. "We've got a lot of good, exciting players and hopefully we'll be able to show that on the field. Once it really clicks it'll be really exciting time and something good to watch as well."

15.11.2021

SYDNEY TEAMS AGREE ON EARLY TRIP WEST

Perth Glory owner Tony Sage has struck a deal that will see the A-League Men's club host two games in early January - but only if the Western Australia State Government comes to the party. As it stands, Glory will play their season opener against Adelaide United in Perth this Saturday night, before playing their next nine matches on the road, one of which is an FFA Cup fixture.

But Sage has negotiated a fixture swap with the owners of Sydney FC and Western Sydney that will allow Glory to ease the travel burden. Under the deal, Glory will host the Sky Blues on January 2 and Wanderers on January 8 - games that are currently scheduled for New South Wales. In return, Glory will play Sydney FC and Western Sydney in NSW later in the season instead of in Perth.

But with WA not due to open its border until late January at the earliest, Glory's hopes of hosting early January games now rests with the State Government. Sage is hopeful a deal can be struck to allow the games to go ahead in Perth under strict quarantine protocols. "The protocol would be they (the opposing team) get tested, they leave their state on a plane, come straight to a hotel and they're not allowed to go out," Sage said.

"In our case (they will be here) just for a night. They will go straight to the ground, and then straight back to either the airport or the hotel. That's the protocol we've put forward, and it's being reviewed by the WA Health. Hopefully that happens, because it wasn't easy convincing the owners of Sydney FC and Western Sydney to give up home games in early January. But they see our plight."

NBL outfit Perth Wildcats and BBL team Perth Scorchers are among other Perth-based sporting outfits attempting to convince the WA State Government to relax its restrictions so games can be held in Perth in December and January. The fifth Ashes Test, scheduled for January 14, is almost certain to go ahead in Perth

14.11.2021

STURRIDGE READY TO MAKE HIS A-LEAGUE DEBUT

Star recruit Daniel Sturridge says he is ready to make an impact in his Perth Glory debut despite spending the past two weeks in hotel quarantine. Glory have vowed to do everything they can to unveil the former England and Liverpool striker to fans when they face Adelaide United on Saturday at Perth Oval.

Sturridge, who has signed a one-year deal with Glory, said he went into isolation in the best shape he had ever been. He admitted it was tough training in a cramped hotel room and was “very excited” to be out in the fresh air. “It wasn’t easy to train but I managed. It was a long two weeks,” Sturridge said. “It wasn’t easy but everybody has been through it. It’s not just me.”

“Any player who has come into a state that they have to quarantine in, is in the same position as I was in. People who aren’t training are in the same position I was in. I’m not any more special than anyone else. You have to follow the rules and have to do what is necessary to make sure the country is safe.”

The two-time Champions League winner is likely to make an appearance from the bench in his first game but said coach Richard Garcia would make his decision in the best interests of the team. “It’s about whatever the manager’s plans are. I’m not in control of those things,” he said. “I’m just excited to get going see what happens ... Hopefully we can start in a successful way.”

Sturridge make clear what his intentions are following a quickfire tour of Perth by club owner Tony Sage on Thursday. “I’m not here on holiday. I’m here to play football and help the team be successful.” Perth Glory kick-off their 2021/22 A-League season on Saturday, 20th October, by welcoming Adelaide United to Perth Oval.

11.11.2021

SOCCEROOS HELD IN THE RAIN

The Socceroos return to home soil didn’t go as planned, after drawing 0-0 with Saudi Arabia at a rain soaked CommBank Stadium in their FIFA World Cup qualify. Playing their first home game in over two years, Graham Arnold’s side were unable to stamp their authority over a well-drilled Saudi Arabia team playing their first game outside of the Gulf since the beginning of the pandemic.

Frustrated both by the conditions caused by incessant rain as well as spoiling tactics from their guests, the Socceroos could not send the majority of the 23,314 fans home happy, although the 3,000 or so Saudi fans were ecstatic at the final whistle. Saudi Arabia remain top of the group, three points ahead of the Socceroos, with a draw neither helping nor hindering either side's chances of finishing in the top two and qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

"Overall, we played well," Socceroos’ coach Graham Arnold said after the match. "We created the chances but they didn't go in tonight. "We're in a great position still, 10 points in five games. If we beat China [on Tuesday] we are in a fantastic position." It was a frenetic start to the match with the Socceroos pressing high and dominating possession in the Saudi half. Despite Australia’s positive start, it was the visitors who had the first real opportunity to open the scoring on 13 minutes.

They broke down the Socceroos left through Salem Al-Dawsari, who found Salman Al-Faraj unmarked in the box, but Stoke City defender Harry Souttar produced a great block to deny him. Following that opportunity, the Socceroos were largely comfortable in possession as they looked to break down a resolute Saudi defense. With minutes remaining in the first half, Boyle found himself free at the back post as he threw himself towards Mathew Leckie’s cross from the left, but it proved to be too far out of his reach and the half-chance fizzled out.

The Socceroos started the second half much like they started the first. Within minutes of the restart, Souttar found Boyle on the right, who took advantage of a slip from the Saudi fullback and drove towards the by-line to fire in a cross that deflected towards goal. While the deflected cross did not trouble the Saudi goal, minutes later, Awer Mabil registered the first shot of the match with a tame near-post effort from the edge of the box.

On the hour mark, two quick-fire chances for the Socceroos went begging. After using his strength to see off the defender, Leckie found himself with time to have a free shot on goal from the left, but Mohammed Al-Yami was able to palm it away. Moments later, Jackson Irvine found himself unmarked on the penalty spot after Mabil squared the ball from the left, but he could not get clean contact as he fired wide.

Pressure really began to mount for the Saudis as Australia smelt blood. After pawing away Mabil's long-range free-kick, Al-Yami sprung to his feet and blocked a goal-bound shot from Boyle. The hosts then lost Souttar on 78 minutes, with a knee injury, and it was the visitors who started to get on top, and Al-Faraj burst into the penalty area after beating Trent Sainsbury to the ball, but Matt Ryan was up to the task, saving low.

Saudi Arabia looked to have turned the screw as they had another two opportunities within quick succession. The best of which came from Saleh Al-Shehri as his glancing header narrowly brushed past Ryan’s far post. The Saudis ramped up their late game pressure and again, forced another fantastic save from Ryan. This time it was Al-Dawsari, who forced an impressive, one-handed save from Australia’s number one. Despite an onslaught of late chances, the match finished all square as both sides held their positions at the top of Group B. The Socceroos are back in action on Tuesday, against China in Sharjah.

"I think a little bit of frustration set in with the time-wasting and the tactics from the Saudis," Arnold added. "We have to learn to be better with that. I think that was when they got a couple of their chances. "It is what Matty [Ryan] is there to do, save those goals. I was proud of them." Striker Matthew Leckie said they had their chances. "I think the boys, we had a great performance today. It was just the centimetres that stopped us from scoring a couple of goals," Leckie said post-match. "They defended well as well. And that double opportunity after the free kick, the keeper pulled off a great save."

Australia: GK Matt Ryan, 4 Rhyan Grant, 6 Martin Boyle (21 Riley McGree 87’), 7 Mathew Leckie (17 Andrew Nabbout 78’), 8 James Jeggo, 10 Ajdin Hrustic (14 Kenneth Dougall 87’), 11 Awer Mabil (15 Mitchell Duke 66’), 16 Aziz Behich, 19 Harry Souttar (2 Milos Degenek 78’), 20 Trent Sainsbury, 22 Jackson Irvine – Subs not used: RGK Lawrence Thomas, RGK Danny Vukovic, 3 Callum Elder, 5 Fran Karacic, 9 Jamie Maclaren, 13 Denis Genreau, 23 Gianni Stensness

Saudi Arabia: GK Mohammed Al Yami, 2 Sultan Al-Ghannam, 5 Ali Hadi Albulayhi, 7 Salman Al-Faraj, 8 Abdulelah Almalki, 9 Feras Al-Birakan (11 Saleh Al-Shehri 73’), 10 Salem Al Dawsari, 13 Nasser Al-Dawsari, 17 Abdulelah Alamri, 19 Fahad Al Muwallad, 23 Mohamed Kanno – Subs not used: RGK Nawaf Alaqidi, RGK Zaid Al-Bawardi, 3 Ziyad Al Sahafi, 4 Ahmed Sharahili, 6 Mohammed Al-Burayk, 12 Saud Abdulhamid, 14 Ali Al Asmari, 15 Ali Al-Hassan, 16 Sami Al-Najei, 18 Abdulrahman Ghareeb, 20 Abdulrahman Alobud – Attendance: 23,314 - Referee: Hyung-Jin Ko




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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