Perth Glory celebrate Neil Kilkenny's opener in the big win against Adelaide United - Photo by Fotoenzo

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22.1.2021

GLORY OPEN SEASON ON A HIGH

Richard Garcia has got his Perth Glory tenure off to a flying start after his new look side beat Adelaide United 5-3 at HBF Park on Wednesday evening. Skipper Neil Kilkenny’s penalty had them in front early, before Nick D’Agostino doubled their advantage. The Reds, who went into the game unbeaten in the A League under new coach Carl Veart, pulled one back on the stroke of half time through Nathan Konstandopoulos.

But the home side dominated thereafter with Bruno Fornaroli, D’Agostino and Carlo Armiento adding other goals to make it 5-1. The coach would however been a little disappointed to concede two late goals from Mohamed Toure and Ben Halloran, but the damage had already been done, but their lack of match fitness after COVID quarantine showed, but the performance would have pleased Garcia and the Glory faithful.

The coach was delighted to get the season underway on such an emphatically positive note. "I was very pleased with the performance," Garcia said in his post-match media conference. "The older guys in the squad really stepped up and helped the younger players. I'm very confident in the leaders that we have in the squad and the fresh young talent we have and now it's about going on from here. There are a lot of improvements still to be made."

The win was even more impressive as skipper Diego Castro missed the game with injury, but Garcia put his stamp on the team, selecting a number of players he had coached in the club’s youth team. Teenager Josh Rawlins came in at left back, with Callum Timmins and Daniel Stynes in midfield. There were also club A-League debuts for Jonathan Aspropotamitis and Darryl Lachman, while Andy Keogh started after re-joining the club.

It was a bright start by Garcia’s boys and Fornaroli tried his luck early cutting in from the left, but his effort whistled over the top. But on nine minutes they hit the front. A ball into the box to Fornaroli ended with Red's keeper James Delianov clattering into the back of the Uruguayan striker, and referee Adam Fielding had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Kilkenny stepped up drilled the ball down the centre of the goal to give Garcia the perfect start.

He almost added a second six minutes later, Stynes raced into the left of the penalty area, his low cross found Fornaroli, but his first-time shot was well blocked by Noah Smith. But the home supporters were on their feet again just after the half hour. Timmins won a 50/50 ball in the middle of the park, the ball was eventually headed downwards by Stynes, which caused panic in the Adelaide defence and the ball fell to D’Agostino who fired home, despite an attempt goal line clearance from Jordan Elsey.

But their good work was undone in the shadows of half time. Their looked little danger when a ball was delivered into the box from the left, but the unfortunate Dane Ingham failed to clear and the ball fell kindly to Konstandopoulos, and with their first shot on goal they reduced the deficit. Glory almost snatched a third in stoppage time Kilkenny teasing free kick was met by Keogh, but the striker’s header drifted just wide of the post. But after being outplayed, Adelaide went into the sheds only one goal down

Glory started on the front foot again after the break and Timmins’ long-range shot was pushed around the post by Delianov, but on 51 minutes it was 3-1. Keogh was given far too much room in the middle of the park, and he played in to an unmarked Fornaroli, who side footed home, much to the displeasure of the Adelaide coach. Veart looked a forlorn figure in his technical area, but Louis D’Arrigo shot from the edge of the box flashed inches over the top as the Reds looked to get back into the game. But that was squashed on the hour, when Glory added a fourth. Kilkenny picking out D’Agostino unmarked at the back post to head home and he went off to celebrate with the shed.

Then seven minutes from time it was 5-1. Keogh, who was outstanding all game, chased a long ball and won his battle and passed into the path of substitute Armiento, who finished clinically from a tight angle. The Shed were in full voice and Garcia made a number of changes as fatigue crept in and two minutes from time Adelaide reduced the margin. Glory lost possession and Pacifique Niyongabire crossed to Toure, who finished well. They added a third deep into stoppage time, with Halloran powering home from inside the penalty area, but it was little to late and it was Glory celebrating a perfect start to their 2021 season.

Reds Coach Carl Veart made it clear that the display wasn't acceptable. "We'll look at the players we left behind. I said before coming here we left some players behind with Melbourne Victory in mind for Saturday night, and after tonight's performance, all positions are up for grabs,” he said. "I suppose we built up some momentum with the first two games, and then having that 17-day break … it wasn't great. We were slow, very lethargic. It didn't help us at all. It was very unlike the way we performed in the first two games. Too many individual mistakes.”

Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI (21 Bryce BAFFORD 78'), 10 Andy KEOGH, 18 Nick D'AGOSTINO, 19 Callum TIMMINS (16 Nick SULLIVAN 78'), 22 Josh RAWLINS (37 Riley WARLAND 77'), 23 Dane INGHAM (34 Mason TATAFU 89'), 24 Daniel STYNES (20 Carlo ARMIENTO 69'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 88 Neil KILKENNY – Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 25 Nick WALSH

Adelaide United: GK James DELIANOV, 2 Michael MARRONE (34 Yared ABETEW 73'), 6 Louis D’ARRIGO, 9 Tomi JURIC (24 Pacifique NIYONGABIRE 73'), 15 Noah SMITH (3 George TIMOTHEOU 60'), 16 Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS (37 Jonny YULL 71'), 18 Joe CALETTI, 19 Yaya DUKULY (17 Mohamed TOURE 60'), 22 Michael JAKOBSEN, 23 Jordan ELSEY, 26 Ben HALLORAN - Subs not used: RGK Joe GAUCI - Referee: Adam Fielding

22.1.2021

OXTOBY MAKING HISTORY IN ENGLAND

Tanya Oxtoby has come a long way from remote Western Australia to becoming manager of Bristol City in England’s Women’s Super League. Oxtoby has been coach of City for the past two-and-a-half years. In that time, she has won two Manager of the Month awards and led the club to sixth place in her first season in charge and 10th last season.

Oxtoby grew up in the tiny Pilbara mining town of Wickham, which is located 1572 kilometres north of Perth and has a population of under 3000. She made her way from the bush to go on to a professional playing career, then coaching, and is now a qualified sports psychologist who also serves as an assistant coach with the England Under-19s women’s national team.

“When you start to reflect a little bit you think 'god, that’s my journey and where I’ve come from',” she said. “I’m so proud of my heritage, my Aboriginal heritage and where I grew up and my family connections - to be the girl from the bush who’s come over to Bristol to work in one of the best leagues in the world.”

“It’s crazy to think that’s been my path. I’m so, so grateful that I get to work in this league and work in an environment that every single day where you get to try and help people reach their hopes and dreams, that’s amazing. To be where I am now from where I came from, it’s definitely a bit surreal I think.”

A proud Indigenous woman, Oxtoby believes we need to make sure the pathway is there for Indigenous kids to tap into in the beautiful game. “There seems to be a lot more thought going into how to increase participation within the Indigenous community and give them the opportunity to be able to really excel at football,” she said.

“I think that’s really important. Look, there’s so much talent out there, no matter what background they’re from. Let’s tap into all of it. We want every single young female to be playing football and everyone should have the opportunity to be able to do that. There seems to be a real conscious effort now that football for females is as accessible as possible, and that is so, so important.”

“In particular in remote and regional areas, we need to make sure that football is visible, is an option and is a pathway. I’m really lucky my mum and dad pushed me to move from where I was to open up doors. We need to make sure those barriers aren't there for kids in regional areas, and there’s a clear pathway for them to reach their potential and chase their dreams. You can’t be what you can’t see.”

Oxtoby played in the old Women’s National Soccer League as a defender, and went on to captain Perth Glory in the W-League. In 2012 she had a spell with English side Doncaster Rovers Belles and then managed Nottingham Forest. Following a stint as an assistant coach with the Glory back in her home state, and with the Young Matildas, she returned to England in 2016 as an assistant with Notts County Ladies and then Birmingham City.

Oxtoby joined Bristol City in 2018 and has witnessed first-hand the rise of the WSL and English women’s football in general, with an increase of Aussie talent flooding into the UK in the past nine months. “It’s fantastic for the Matildas and for Australia with Australian footballers over here playing,” she said. “It’s so great to see the girls here playing in the WSL across a number of different clubs.”

“It makes me really happy to see we’ve got so many amazing Aussies over here now. And then when you look at the infrastructure and all of the things behind the scenes for the league to be what it is - the commercial sponsorship, the media coverage. From a club point of view, making sure all clubs are meeting requirements and the support that goes with that - it shows just how far the women’s game has come.”

"I think at this point in time it’s the best league for women’s football in terms of its competitiveness and holistically with the support it gives its players to reach their potential. I’m just really grateful I can get a chance to be involved in that because it’s certainly what I dreamt of as a player, to have all of that in place. Hopefully our national team will benefit from that at the World Cup as well.”

The Vixens have two Matildas of their own in their ranks, in the shape of midfielders Chloe Logarzo and Ella Mastrantonio. “It was something we’ve worked really hard on,” Oxtoby admitted. “When I first came in we weren’t in a position to bring in some international players. I worked really hard with the board to make sure we were in a place to attract those types of players. Chloe and Ella are reaping the benefits of that, which is fantastic.”

Last week Oxtoby went on maternity leave, with former West Ham United coach Matt Beard taking the reins temporarily at Bristol City. The West Australian, who contracted COVID-19 late last year and is expecting to give birth in March, may be the first head coach in professional football to ever go on maternity leave. FIFA only approved new maternity cover regulations aiming at protecting women footballers in December.

“Maternity has probably come a little bit sooner than I initially planned,” she said. “But given what’s going on over here at the moment, the priorities have to be with the baby and make sure we’re both safe. I’ve already had COVID once so certainly don’t want to go through that experience again.

“You add in the pressures and stress of the day-to-day stuff going on at the moment at the club, it’s just the right decision in the current environment. It shows how far the game’s come, the women’s game, to be in the position to do what we’re doing at the moment with Matt coming in and me taking a step back. It’s a credit to the sport that we’re at that point and hopefully in the future it will just be the norm. We’ll see.”

Oxtoby's Vixens are fighting hard to stay in the WSL this season, and have one of the smallest budgets in the competition. After 11 matches of the 2020/2021 campaign City has yet to win a game, and are bottom of the ladder with two points. It has been a difficult season so far for the club, with COVID-19 raging across the country along with dealing with a crippling injury list.

“It’s been tough,” the 38-year old said. “I think everybody is really pleased we’re back playing with what’s going over at the moment with COVID. So we’re pretty privileged to be back playing the game that we love. But it’s been tough, I’m not going to lie. It’s a totally different world at the moment in terms of the protocols and the way that we operate.”

“Obviously our results in the league haven’t been what we would want them to be at this point but we’d had a tough start to the season with injuries. So hopefully we can turn the corner and the girls can pick it up for the second part of the season… [but] that’s what this group’s about. You look at what they’ve been through this season already, some of the hurdles that have been thrown their way and they don’t crack.

“They stay together and they fight. I’d said a few times there’s two key points for us for the second part of the season and that’s keeping everyone fit and healthy, so we’ve got a full squad to pick from. We’ve got one of the lowest budgets in the league, we're one of the smallest clubs in the league, and we need to keep everyone fit and healthy.”

“And also we need a bit of confidence and I think our victory on Wednesday in the Continental Cup went a long way towards that. The girls will continue to fight all the way through. We’ve been in this position before so we know exactly what it takes to get ourselves out. We did it last year and I’ve got no doubt that we’ll do it again this year."

22.1.2021

MARINERS HOPE DE SILVA CAN DELIVER

Alen Stajcic believes Daniel de Silva is one of the A-League's top players at his best but the Central Coast Mariners coach isn't ready to say he's found his feet just yet. The 23-year old midfielder was regarded as one of Australia's best young talents after making his A-League debut at just 15, but this season shapes as an important one to deliver on that potential.

Stajcic won't define de Silva's season in such strict terms, but says it's up to him to live up to the hype that has surrounded the Australian Under-23 international since he was a teen. "I wouldn't single him out as this year being a particularly important one for him," Stajcic said. "I just think everyone has talked about how good he is and it's up to him at some point to deliver on that consistently."

"We've seen glimpses of that in his game this year, that he's got a little bit more consistency in his game and he's showing his true quality. The other night was one of the best games I've seen him play - certainly for the Mariners, so I'd be happy if he could keep that up every week because at his peak he's one of the best players in the A-League."

De Silva found the net in Central Coasts' 2-0 win over Macarthur Rams on 3 January and backed that up with a strong performance against Western Sydney Wanderers on Tuesday night. And leading into Friday's match against his former club Sydney FC - where he played the winning 2018/19 season on loan - he will again be called on to deliver.

Central Coast are coming off their first loss of the season to the Wanderers just three days ago as they look to bounce back against the league champions. "(Sydney) have been up and down but they're without doubt the most prominent team in the country over the same period we've been down, over the last four or five years," Stajcic said.

"The first couple of games they've had some good moments where they control and dominate the game and show their real class, and then there's times I thought Wanderers got on top of them in the last 20 minutes the other day. They're without doubt the team to beat and the yardstick for other clubs to measure."

21.1.2021

FIVE-STAR GLORY CAME OUT ‘ALL GUNS BLAZING’ SAYS KEOGH

Perth Glory’s ‘tough few months’ served as motivation for their red-hot A-League start, according to returning striker Andy Keogh. After competing in the AFC Champions League in November and December last year, Glory's preparations for the new season were curtailed by a 14-day quarantine period while most of their A-League rivals were deep in their pre-season programs.

Returning to competitive action like animals released from their cages, the Western Australians ripped Adelaide United to shreds in a 5-3 triumph in their season opener last night. Neil Kilkenny’s penalty and Nick D’Agostino’s double helped clinch an emphatic start to the 2020/21 campaign, while 34-year old Keogh rolled back the years to record assists for Bruno Fornaroli and Carlo Armiento on his Glory return.

“I don’t feel that young any more,” Keogh quipped. “It’s been a tough few months but we’ve come out all guns blazing today so it’s a fantastic result. We were completely dominant, I think we could have had a couple more,” said Keogh, who netted netted 43 goals across four A-League seasons for Glory.

Keogh paid tribute to Glory’s youngsters that stepped up on the night, three of which were named from the start to make their first competition starts in the A-League. “Callum Timmins was excellent tonight, (Daniel) Stynes, Josh Rawlins - a 16-year-old - they have big futures and they did so well to come in today and show what they can do,” he added.

Glory coach Richard Garcia revealed he had no hesitation in throwing his young guns into the mix. “Having people like Neil Kilkenny, Andy Keogh around them, those guys really try and help (the youngsters) on the park,” Garcia said. “You can see that their confidence is growing every time they step out on the park with those senior guys.”

Garcia believes Glory’s character shone through after waiting so long to open their 2020/21 campaign and he insists their team spirit was forged during 14-days of quarantine following their AFC Champions League exploits in December.

“It was a group mentality. The guys really pulled around each other and made sure everyone was doing ok, everyone was working hard,” Garcia added. “We did a lot of sessions over Zoom and made sure everyone was in constant contact. I think we’ve got a really good team spirit down here and great bunch of guys.”

20.1.2021

KEOGH HAPPY TO BACK IN PURPLE

Perth Glory returned to action on Wednesday night, and Andy Keogh put in a superb performance in their win against Adelaide United in the A-League opener. The Irish striker was pushed out of the club after a fall out with former coach Tony Popovic last season, and he went on to sign for Saudi Arabian club Al-Qadsiah in 2019, before a short stint at Indian Super League club North East United FC. But once Popovic left the club he contacted new Head Coach Richard Garcia to return and he quickly welcomed him back.

The 34-year-old striker, who coached Inglewood United in the NPLWA for a season, didn’t actually name Popovic but his comments were definitely aimed at the former boss. "When the staff changed," was Keogh's not-too-subtle response when asked when he finally felt he could return. "What happens behind closed doors stays behind closed doors. We're all professionals here, we move on. It's great to have him (Garcia) as head coach. It will be fantastic to work under him and give my all to help him achieve success."

Keogh scored 15 goals for Perth during the 2018-19 campaign, and he was looking forward to forming a potent strike force with Bruno Fornaroli, and after last nights performance it will have Glory supporters salivating at the prospect. Fornaroli has scored 60 goals from 99 A-League games, while Keogh has 55 from 123. "I feel we're both intelligent players that link up well," Keogh said. "He's got a proven goalscoring record, I have as well. We've got over 120 A-League goals going in to the season between us, so I don't think there are many strike partnerships that have had that in this league before."

20.1.2021

IREDALE HELPS CAMBRIDGE UNITED TO THE TOP OF THE TABLE

Former Perth Glory and ECU Joondalup defender Jack Iredale has helped Cambridge United back to the top of the English Division Two table, scoring in their2-1 win at Southend United. The CU’s had found themselves 1-0 down at the break but Iredale changed that early in the second half. Harrison Dunk’s cross found him 14 meters from goal, and he volleyed home spectacularly. They hit the front on 68 minutes when Paul Mullin's dangerous cross from the right was tapped home by Joe Ironside, the win leapfrogging Mark Bonner’s side over Newport County and Carlisle United to the summit.

Iredale said it was good to get the win, and goal was pleasing. “It was definitely a game of two halves,” he said. “The weather conditions certainly didn’t make it easy but a really important three points for us.” On his goal Iredale said he had plenty of practice at the Campus firing them past Jack's skipper Johnny Perkins at training. “I think Johnny was just trying to help me get my confidence up and it’s worked so thanks pal,” he joked. “The ball fell nicely to me in the box and my touch off my chest bounced in a nice spot, and I struck it really sweetly and it was nice to see it come off the bar on the way in.”

The 24-year-old, who also had spells at Greenock Morton, Queens Park in Scotland, and Carlise United in England, played in a more advanced position for Bonner’s side in the win, but he enjoyed it, but knows he has to perform to keep his place in the side. “I’ve been asked to play a little higher a few times this season, so it’s always fun to get a bit closer to the goal,” he said. “Any game time is good game time so hopefully I can keep playing wherever I’m needed.”

20.1.2021

FIXTURE CHANGES ALREADY FOR PERTH GLORY

After only one A-League game and two Westfield W-League games for Perth Glory the covid-19 restrictions around the country is putting the fixture list under great pressure, with news today that Football Australia have today confirmed a raft of February fixtures for both the A-League and Westfield W-League. It looks like trips to new A-League club Macarthur Bulls, Western Sydney Wanderers and Wellington Phoenix (all in NSW) are all postponed and will be re-scheduled, if and when the restrictions in those states are lifted or will the NSW clubs be forced into a bubble in another state, like Glory did last season?

Glory Glory's A-League trip to Adelaide United has been locked in on Friday 5 February (kick-off at 4.05pm WST), with home games to follow against Melbourne Victory on Saturday 13 February (kick-off at 6.20pm WST) and Melbourne City on Saturday 20 February (kick-off at 6.20pm WST).

In the W-League, meanwhile, Glory will be in away action on Thursday 4 February against Melbourne City at Frank Holohan Reserve (kick-off at 4.05pm WST). The following three fixtures for Alex Epakis' side are away at Melbourne Victory (Epping Stadium) on Sunday 7 February (kick-off at 1.05pm WST), home to Victory on Sunday 14 February (kick-off at 6.05pm WST) and away at Brisbane Roar (Lions Stadium) on Sunday 21 February (kick-off at 4.05pm).

18.1.2021

GLORY SUFFER NEW CASTRO BLOW

Perth Glory captain Diego Castro is in doubt for Wednesday night's A-League clash with Adelaide United due to a minor leg injury. The 38-year old pulled up sore from the club's pre-season game earlier this month and is yet to resume full training duties.

Castro is Glory's most important player and rookie coach Richard Garcia doesn't want to take any unnecessary risks, especially in a season where Perth will face a major fixture squeeze due to their delayed start. "He's done a little bit of a muscle injury," Garcia said just days before Glory's season opener.

"It's nothing too bad, but we want to make sure he's good for the whole season. It's very dependant on how he goes the next couple of days. He's one of our elder statesmen, so we want to make sure we take every precaution possible. We've been putting him in and out of training to make sure his load is being monitored."

Glory will enter their season opener missing a host of their front-line players. Brandon Wilson is carrying a leg niggle, Osama Malik (dislocated shoulder) and Chris Ikonomidis (knee) remain sidelined. Former Japan international Kosuke Ota only started his two-week quarantine period on Saturday, while former Bundesliga defender Sebastian Langkamp is yet to arrive in Australia.

Glory are yet to play a game this A-League season, while The Reds have already notched a win and a draw from their two outings. Glory's delayed start to the season - and the two-week quarantine period they were forced to undergo after arriving back from the Asian Champions League - means Adelaide will boast an advantage in terms of match fitness and touch.

But Garcia said his players would be up for the challenge. "Once they get out there, I'm sure the adrenaline will take them through it," he said. "I think they're very well prepared for the task ahead." Glory expect their fixture against Western United in Geelong to go ahead on Saturday followed by a few more games in Melbourne.

18.1.2021

JACKS ADD TRIO FOR NEW SEASON

After snapping up Daryl Nicol last week, ECU Joondalup have added talented trio Chris Harold, Jakub Prajza and Declan Hughes for 2021. The 2020 NPLWA Champions have acted quickly after losing Luke Bodnar, Callum Timmins and Riley Warland to Perth Glory. Harold said the club is as close to a professional outfit and is looking forward to his first spell in the NPLWA.

“I think reconnecting with Kenny was the major drawcard for me coming to ECU,” he told the clubs website. “Not considering all the other aspects of joining the club, having such a positive pre-existing relationship with Kenny was what got me excited to come and play. We know how each other operate and I respect how he looks after his players and invests in people. Coming from a professional context, the environment that I knew he’d create is exactly what I was chasing.

“The first impressions have been great, and I like what the club is trying to implement here. It feels as close to professional as you are going to get in the NPLWA and having spoken at length with Mark Donnelly the President, I think the club is only heading in a positive and successful direction. For me it is the perfect balance of feeling like an NPL club which has value in its culture and environment. But this is coupled with good coaching and facilities to make it more professional.”

Prajza has joined form local rivals Sorrento, but the Czech defender said he is looking forward to the new challenge. “I’m delighted to have sorted everything out to join ECU Joondalup,” he said. “Kenny (Lowe) contacted me before last season to join the club, but at that time I already signed with Sorrento. He contacted me again before this season, and I really like his thinking about football and his enthusiasm, it reminds me of European football. After a couple meetings with him I decided to join ECU, and I’m so excited about that and hungry to win some trophies.”

Hughes returns to the club after spells at Ross County in Scotland, Bayswater City and with Perth Glory in the AFC Champions League. “I’m delighted to be signing back at ECU, it’s a great club with a good coach who are heading in the right direction,” he said. “I think the team looks very strong and I hope that we can try and push for some silverware at the end of the season like they did last year. I will try to perform by best each week, hopefully bring some goals and assists but mainly get results for this club.”

15.1.2021

NEVILLE SCORES HIS FIRST GOAL IN ISL

Former Sorrento and Perth Glory defender Scott Neville scored his first goal for his new club SC East Bengal in the last minute of second half added time to help salvage a point against Kerala Blasters at the Tilak Maidan, on Friday. Jordan Murray put Kerala ahead in the 64th minute before Neville's 95th minute equaliser ensured that SCEB extended their unbeaten run to six games. The result mirrored that of the reverse fixture between the two, when Kerala had done the salvaging against SCEB with an injury-time equaliser. Neville is on loan at the Indian Super League club from A-League side Brisbane Roar.

SC East Bengal coach Robbie Fowler praised his players' grit to score a late goal and earn a draw against Kerala Blasters. "We tried to force passes out of our own, but once we got a foothold of the game, I think we looked okay,” he said. “We didn't play any games in six days so maybe that's why we weren't in our normal selves in terms of performance, but the boys showed lots of grit and desire to come away with that goal."

SC East Bengal looked threatening and could have scored more, but their forwards scuffed the lines. As a result, the ISL debutants couldn't take the lead and ended up chasing the match. "It's not ideal and something we plan towards. We go to every game with the belief that we can hit the right results,” Fowler added. “Sometimes, you put the onus on the opposition and make it incredibly difficult by getting a lot of men behind the ball. It was maybe easier for them to defend and we tried every player. So yes, it was tough, but we got a goal at the end, which is the main and important thing.”

14.1.2021

GLORY EDGED OUT BY REDS

Perth Glory were beaten for the second time in five days by Adelaide United, as the Reds claimed a 2-1 win in Thursday evening's Westfield W-League game at Dorrien Gardens. The visitors opened the scoring early, with English striker Fiona Worts scoring, but Alex Epakis’ hit back just after half time with Caitlin Doeglas on target. The game could have gone either way but it was the Reds who won it 16 minutes from time with Emily Condon scoring, and despite a late rally, the home side were unable to find another equaliser.

It was an improved performance from the side and Head Coach Alex Epakis had mixed feelings post-match. "It's actually quite bittersweet," he said, "because from a performance point of view, that was markedly better than our last game. "Our playing style really came to life and our individual players did their jobs much better than last week, so in that regard, I'm quite happy and it's a step in the right direction. But obviously from a result point of view, it's a bit of a sucker-punch. I thought we did enough to win this game and showed some very good signs and I feel for the girls that they haven't got anything from it."

It was warm night in Perth, and it was Adelaide who got off to a scorching start scoring in the first attack on six minutes. Mallory Weber's pass sending Worts racing through to finish clinically past Glory custodian Lily Alfeld. Glory went close themselves on 13 minutes, a surging run by Gemma Craine ended with a shot which flashed the wrong side of the post. The Reds should have doubled their lead eight minutes later when Emily Condon pounced on Sarah Morgan mis-judged pass on the edge of the box, but after rounding Alfeld, the midfielder somehow fired wide of an open goal.

Both sides had late chances as the game, like the temperature, hotted up. First Weber raced onto a long ball but she scuffed her shot and it went wide. Moments later Hana Lowry picked out Doeglas on the edge of the penalty area, but her volley was blocked by some desperate Adelaide defending. Then in the shadows of half time a pin-point pass from Morgan sent Doeglas clear, but Reds keeper Sian Fryer-McLaren was out quickly to deny her. At the break the Reds led 1-0 and Glory had it all to do.

Glory made a perfect start to the second half, and were level on 53 minutes. Some neat build up play ended with Marianna Tabain sending Doeglas into the left-hand side of the penalty area, she held off her marker before calmly finishing low past Fryer-McLaren, much to the delight of the home faithful. They almost hit the front on the hour. The impressive Lowry found space down the flank, the teenager crossed to Tabain, whose bicycle kick flew inches over the top. The game was there to be won by both teams, but Glory suffered a blow on 71 minutes, losing Craine with what looked like a hamstring injury, she was replaced by Katarina Jukic.

The Reds, who won last weekend’s game 1-0, lifted again and Glory keeper Alfeld produced a stunning fingertip save three minutes later, to deny Georgia Campagnale’s long-range effort. But there was nothing Alfeld could do moments later as the Reds won it. Weber delivered a pinpoint cross from the left and Condon climbed highest in a crowded box to head home. Glory pressed for the equaliser late but couldn’t find it.

Adelaide’s Condon was thrilled with the victory and delighted to atone for earlier squandering a golden chance in the first-half after rounding the goalkeeper. “I’m just so, so thankful we got that goal in the end,” Condon told Fox Sports after the game. “Obviously I missed that sitter in the first-half, so I think I had to try and redeem myself which I did. So, I’m just very happy with the overall team performance and just really happy to get the win.”

Perth Glory: GK Lily ALFELD, 2 Sarah CARROLL, 3 Gemma CRAINE (23 Katarina JUKIC 71'), 4 Natasha RIGBY, 5 Deborah-Anne DE LA HARPE, 7 Elizabeth ANTON, 8 Hana LOWRY, 9 Malia STEINMETZ (11 Patricia CHARALAMBOUS 77'), 12 Sarah MORGAN (6 Tijan MCKENNA 60'), 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS (15 Abbey GREEN 77'), 17 Marianna TABAIN - Subs not used: RGK Rebecca BENNETT

Adelaide United: GK Sian FRYER-MCLAREN, 3 Matilda McNAMARA, 4 Mallory WEBER, 5 Charlotte GRANT (2 Emily HODGSON 58'), 6 Georgia CAMPAGNALE, 7 María José ROJAS, 8 Emily CONDON (21 Lara KIRKBY 89'), 12 Isabel HODGSON (15 Meleri MULLAN 83'), 16 Dylan HOLMES, 19 Maruschka WALDUS, 23 Fiona WORTS - Subs not used: RGK Annalee GROVE - Referee: Georgia Ghirardello

14.1.2021

MAYNARD-BREWER READY FOR NEXT STEP AT CHARLTON

Former ECU Joondalup goalkeeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer is closing in on a league debut for English League One club Charlton Athletic after becoming the club’s number two keeper this season. Maynard-Brewer swapped the Jacks for south-east London in 2015 as a teenager and has spent the past five years working his way up the ranks at the Addicks. Two years ago, the keeper made his senior debut in a 1-0 EFL Trophy loss against Swansea City Under-21s. This season, he has already featured in two EFL Trophy matches. With Ben Amos Charlton’s first-choice shot-stopper, the youngster has regularly sat on the bench as his back-up and is close to a first team start.

Maynard-Brewer, who turns 22 in June, is yet to feature in an official Football League or Australian youth international match – the latter due to red-tape – but key officials for club and country rate him highly and believe a breakthrough is nigh. Two months ago, Maynard-Brewer made his FA Cup debut, weeks after signing a contract extension until 2023, and many people believe he has a big future in the game. “I’ve had experience in (EFL Trophy) games, but this felt like my proper debut, Plymouth (Argyle) put up strong side. It was good game to be part of, intense,” Maynard-Brewer told Optus Sport.

“We lost one-nil but I was happy with my performance. Three days later we played Leyton Orient in the EFL Trophy, another League team – the first time in a long time I’ve started on a Tuesday, good to get two games in such close proximity. “Important I keep training hard and putting myself up for selection. I get confidence that I can step in if I get a chance for those league games. The main focus for me is breaking into Charlton team, the way to do that is improve every day and work as hard as I can with Ben Amos and keeper coach Andy Marshall. Next few years, in the medium to long term, I want to be an established Championship or Premier League keeper, that is the ultimate goal. I want to play in the Premier League, 100 per cent.”

Maynard-Brewer isn’t the only Jacks player to don a Addicks goalkeeper shirt, with former player and keeper coach Andy Petterson playing 85 games for the club between 1094 to 1999. Petterson admits the 190cm keeper is nearing the stage where he must play regularly, but cites Nick Pope – the Burnley and England keeper who at the same age had four loan deals to Conference clubs and had made just one appearance for Charlton – as the ideal role model.

“He just needs to put his head down and work hard and he will get an opportunity. We take Nick Pope as example and I put him into that category – if he gets an opportunity, he can emulate something like that,” Petterson told Optus Sports. “When he (Pope) first went there he was third or fourth choice and went on loan numerous times. A few years later he came into the first team and within six months he was sold to Burnley and not long after got into the England setup.

“Being number two Ashley is experiencing what’s happening on matchday and what is expected of him. He’s just waiting for that call, hopefully it comes soon. He’s really enjoying himself; he’s got a good personality and got the right attitude and wants to crack it. Dillon Phillips was there and won player of the year at Charlton but after they got relegated, he moved to Cardiff and instead of buying another keeper, they had faith in Ashley being number two - that shows you they have a lot of faith and belief because that means you could be called into action at any stage.”

Petterson revealed that Maynard-Brewer had received several offers to return to the A-League, but believes he will reap the rewards of persisting in the cut-throat environment of English football. “He’s had opportunities to come back to the A-League and - in my opinion – the A-League will always be there,” says Petterson, who recently departed Indonesian Liga 1 champions Bali United due to Covid cuts. “Back in my day there were maybe 10 or so keepers in the UK. I’m not sure how many there are now, but not many are playing. The NSL wasn’t an option for us – you stayed and waited for your opportunity and not enough are doing that now.

“Now they get trial, don’t play and come back (to Australia) instead of staying and battling it out. I’m hoping for his sake, when he gets his chance, the team is doing well and he can do well and he should keep his place. It’s a hard one. He’s getting to that age where he needs to start playing regular football – for a goalkeeper to progress you need games. He has had some loan deals at fifth tier levels and done really well in those. He needs to be patient also.”

Maynard-Brewer admits Pettersen’s impact has been profound. “He was massive, I started training with him when I first came to ECU in the northern suburbs of Perth and took my training to next level. He has a good CV – played almost 100 games at Charlton and 50-odd at Portsmouth,” he said. “He opened the door for me at Charlton, got in contact with Charlton head scout and that’s how I got over.”

A delayed FIFA clearance and Charlton’s reluctance to release him cost him a chance to officially debut for the Young Socceroos in 2018, where he was set to compete for the No.1 shirt with James Delainov (now with Adelaide United), before a fixture change again robbed him of a chance to officially debut a year later, instead playing a friendly against a Qatari club side. With the Tokyo Olympics among the key upcoming internationals, the Olyroos and Socceroos are firmly on Maynard-Brewer’s hit-list. “Olympics, very much on radar, would be unreal experience to be part of. I just need to get myself in best situation to be part of that squad to travel to Tokyo,” Maynard-Brewer said. “Socceroos, yeah that’s the aim.”

13.1.2021

MALIK MAY REQUIRE SURGURY ON HIS INJURIED SHOULDER

Perth Glory defender Osama Malik may require surgery after suffering a shoulder dislocation during their recent friendly against NPLWA side Perth SC. Malik is set for another frustrating stint on the sidelines after the injury last week, and he was restricted to just 11 games last season due to a serious hamstring injury, and his recent shoulder setback has sidelined the 30-year-old once again.

The club are still deciding the best way to treat the injury, and are getting further advice on whether it requires surgery. Even if it does require surgery, there's a chance Malik could return in a few weeks and play out the season before going under the knife. "He's pulled up a little bit sore," Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia said. "We are just waiting to see what type of rehab he needs for that. It might be a few weeks out. But it's also one of those that might be sooner rather than later, and possibly surgery in the off-season."

Garcia’s side are a little short at the back, and are still waiting on the arrivals of former Japanese international Kosuke Ota and former Bundesliga defender Sebastian Langkamp due to covid-19 protocol. The pair will miss the early part of the season given they have to complete two weeks of quarantine once they arrive in Australia. Glory's campaign kicks off at home against Adelaide on January 20.

The coach said Ota and Langkamp would provide vital experience to a squad that boasts plenty of youth. “We've got two experienced guys coming in that will definitely add to the young squad we've got and provide another set of mature guys to a bunch of young, aspiring footballers," Garcia said. "The quality and experience (Langkamp) has got from playing in the Bundesliga - he'll be a welcome addition to the already thriving defence that we've got so far."

13.1.2021

CASTRO SAID COUNT ME IN FOR HUB LIFE THIS SEASON

Diego Castro's future at Perth Glory looked bleak last year after a dispute with former coach Tony Popovic, but the Spanish skipper has made peace with the club, with new coach Richard Garcia playing a key role. Castro said he's committed to playing in an A-League hub this year if necessary, with new coach Richard Garcia proving to be the ultimate peacemaker. Castro's future was thrown into doubt last season when he didn't join his teammates in their NSW hub to finish off the campaign.

Rumours swirled about why Castro decided to stay in WA and holiday with his family instead of joining the hub. Glory owner Tony Sage even stated Castro threw his player contract back in the face of then-coach Popovic and football director Jacob Burns after being asked to take a sizeable pay cut. Castro remained silent during the saga, preferring to sort out the situation face to face with people at the club instead of getting into a slanging match via the media.

Glory's hierarchy underwent a major turnover during the off-season, with Popovic and Burns both among the departures. Garcia played a key role in convincing Castro to stay at the club and the waters have been smoothed to such an extent that the 38-year-old has retained the captaincy. Castro didn't want to get into details when asked exactly what happened last season, but said he had been unfairly treated and chose to stick to his morals and principles.

When asked if he would play in a hub this year, Castro was clear. "Yes, of course," he said at the clubs’ season launch this week. "The new coach, the new director, Terry McFlynn, they convinced me it's still a good place to be. "I've been playing ACL, and I've been doing the quarantine. That's a sign that it is clear that I (am showing) commitment. It wasn't good in the last hub, but for sure we can figure out what it's going to be in the next, because I'm feeling all the support from the coach and the club."

Castro has played the past five seasons as Glory and said he was thankful for the opportunity and the support he's received from fans. He said he's 100 per cent committed to the club's new direction and he's looking forward to helping the younger players develop further, and he was always keen to see out the remainder of his contract and he hopes fans didn't interpret his silence as disrespect. "I've always wanted to stay. I never said anything to the contrary," Castro explained. "I want to let everyone know that I have always been thankful of being here. The situation was out of my hands and the morals and principles are important for me. The new coach was the first person helping me and I had a year more on my contract, and here I am trying to do the best I can."

12.1.2021

VALE FRANK AROK AM

The WA football family is deeply saddened to have learned of the passing of former Socceroos coach and national football great, Frank Arok AM. Arok passed away in Serbia on Tuesday, 12 January 2021 due to illness. He was 88. Many WA fans will know of his time as Head Coach of Future Glory between 2001-2003, when he teamed up with another WA football legend Rod Banjac, who also tragically passed away last year.

Arok was born in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1932, and while he was a competent player in his nation of birth, he made the transition to coaching – a profession that he would dedicate much of his life to – in the early 1960s. In the late 1960s Arok migrated to Australia and commenced his esteemed career in the Australian game with St. George Budapest.

He was awarded National Soccer League (NSL) Coach of the Year honours twice, after taking out the 1982 NSL Playoff Series with a 3-1 win over Sydney City, and guiding a young St George team to the 1983 NSL Championship. Earlier in 1983, Arok was appointed as the Head Coach of Australia’s men’s national football team, the Socceroos – a post he would hold for seven years through to early 1990.

During his tenure as Socceroos boss, Arok managed Australia in 89 international matches all told, with 48 of these fixtures being ‘A’ internationals. Arok’s record as National Team coach was strong, with 41 of his 89 fixtures in charge ending in success for Australia, while he also recorded 22 draws. While Australia didn’t reach the FIFA World Cup throughout Arok’s tenure as Socceroos Head Coach, he did guide the green and gold to several great victories during his time in the role.

On October 8, 1985, Arok’s Socceroos defeated Israel in World Cup qualifying for Mexico 1986, securing a famous 2- 1 victory in front of over 50,000 fans in Tel Aviv, in part thanks to goals from David Mitchell and John Kosmina. In 1987 and 1988, Arok helped Australia seal just its second appearance in the men’s football tournament at the Olympic Games for Seoul 1988. Qualification came after success in a series of home and away fixtures against Taiwan, New Zealand, and Israel.

Ahead of the Olympic Games in 1988, Australia hosted the ‘Gold Cup’ to recognise Australia’s bicentenary. South American heavyweights Brazil and Argentina attended the tournament, as did Saudi Arabia.

Arok’s Socceroos managed to make it to the Final of the competition on home soil – which they lost 2-0 to Brazil at the Sydney Football Stadium, but not before thumping Saudi Arabia 3-0 and Argentina 4-1 along the way. Just shy of 19,000 fans saw Australia defeat Argentina on home soil in July 1988, with Paul Wade, Charlie Yankos (2) and Vlado Bozinoski scoring the goals for the green and gold.

At the Olympics two months later, Australia secured strong results under Arok. On 18 September 1988, Arok led Australia to 1-0 win over Yugoslavia in the team’s opening fixture. While Australia lost to Brazil in game two, a 1-0 win over perennial African powerhouse Nigeria on September 22 helped Australia reach the knockout phase. There Australia was eliminated by the eventual Gold Medallists, Soviet Union.

Arok’s final fixtures in charge of Australia, before continuing his time in Australian club football, came in January and February of 1990. In a two-match series held in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia played the touring Torpedo Moscow. On February 2 1990, a brace from current Socceroos Head Coach Graham Arnold complemented by a 19th minute strike from Alex Tobin sealed a 3-0 victory for Australia against the visiting Russians in Arok’s final match in charge.

After his time with Australia, Arok re-entered the Australian club coaching scene with a variety of famous Australia clubs. He returned to St. George Budapest, coached Marconi to National Soccer League Grand Final success in 1993, mentored South Melbourne between 1994 and 1996 (winning the Dockerty Cup in 1995 with former Socceroos manager Ange Postecoglou by his side), and the Gippsland Falcons from 1996 and 1998.

He coached a total of 429 NSL games, the second-most matches of any coach behind Zoran Matic. Arok also had spells with Port Melbourne, Sydney Olympic, and Glory, before moving to Serbia to retire in 2003. Arok’s contribution to football in Australia was formally recognised by the nation in 1990, when he was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Australia Day Honours for “service to soccer, particularly the Australian national coach”. Arok was also an inaugural inductee into Football Australia’s Hall of Fame in 1999.

Over the past 24 hours, dozens of current and former players, coaches, administrators, fans and media involved with Australian football have expressed their memories of Arok, demonstrating just how significant his contribution to the game was. Tributes will undoubtedly continue to flow over the coming days and weeks. Prominent Australian coaches including, but not limited to, Arnold, Postecoglou, Frank Farina, Gary van Egmond, Aurelio Vidmar, John Kosmina, Steve Corica, Ufuk Talay, Jean-Paul de Marigny, and John Hutchinson all played under Arok, undoubtedly influencing their careers in the game.

Arok is survived by his daughter Marijana Novakovic, and granddaughter Gordana, who was named after his late wife. On behalf of the WA football family, we extend our deepest sympathies to the immediate and extended Arok family, and those closest to Frank. RIP Frank Arok.

10.1.2021

KERR CELEBRATES A YEAR AT CHELSEA IN STYLE

Sam Kerr celebrated her first year at Chelsea in style, helping the Blues to a 5-0 win against Reading in the Barclays Women’s Super League. Ironically, Kerr made her debut for the Stamford Bridge club against the Royals as well, but it was Fran Kirby who made the headlines in the big win bagging four goals. Kerr set the striker up for her first on 16 minutes, before a deep cross to the back post from the Matildas skipper handed Kirby her hat-trick and took her above Kerr as Chelsea’s top goalscorer.

For Kerr the move has delivered even more than she initially hoped for. Having previously split her club career between Perth Glory and the United States in recent seasons, she decided to tackle Europe in late 2019 after shining at the Women's World Cup in France. Though initially struggling to fire as freely as she did back in the W-League, Kerr has since settled in North London and already struck eight times across 13 appearances this season for the Blues.

While COVID-19 has made her transition even harder, the 27-year-old has relished the challenge and concedes the move has actually exceeded her expectations. "It’s been really good and really enjoyable. It’s been everything I hoped for and a little bit more," Kerr told Chelsea's official website. "Obviously with everything going on around the world it’s been a little bit different but I’ve really enjoyed it. I think I’ve learnt a lot and we’ve won a lot so I’m happy.

"For us, in 2021, we have a lot of trophies that we could potentially win so hopefully as a team we can get our hands on as many of those. Personally, I hope to keep on scoring and helping the team get to where we need to be to win those trophies." The win moved Chelsea to second on the ladder, one points ahead of London rivals Arsenal, and three points behind leaders Manchester United, but they do have a game in hand.

9.1.2021

GLORY BEATEN IN W-LEAGUE OPENER

New Perth Glory Westfield W-League coach Alex Epakis’ first game in charge ended in a controversial 1-0 defeat against Adelaide United at Marden Sports Complex on Saturday afternoon. A harsh penalty ten minutes from time from Emily Condon was enough for the home side, but replays showed Glory skipper Natasha Rigby got the ball ahead of Maria Jose Rojas, but it gave United the points.

Epakis felt that there was plenty to like about the teams’ performance. "I think we did well in certain periods and both teams had control of the game at different times," he told the Glory website. “We created enough chances to get a result, we got in behind them enough to do more with it, so I feel like when we do that, we give ourselves a chance. I don't think there was much in it and I felt that we were good for some kind of result.

"The penalty was a bit of sucker-punch at the wrong time in the game. Tash [Rigby] is a pretty honest player who would have been the first to put her hand up if she'd got it wrong. It looked as if she got the ball... it looked like a fair challenge. I thought in the last 15-20 minutes with the fresh players coming on and their ability, that we'd have enough freshness and quality to get over the line, but it wasn't to be on this occasion. Ultimately, we just have to be a little bit more clinical and make sure that the efforts we're having on goal are meaningful.

“If we're better in that area next week, we'll give ourselves a chance and the girls are already dissecting and analysing how we can do what we do better to get a result on Thursday. I told the girls after the game that we did ourselves very proud. We know that it was a good performance, not a great performance and we are capable of great performances. We're very lucky that we have a quick turnaround to help us put that in place in the next match."

Glory gave starting debuts to six players for this one, and one of them went close after only two minutes. Former Fremantle City striker Gemma Craine was sent clear down the flank, her angled shot beat Sian Fryer-McLaren but the post came to the rescue of the Reds custodian. Both sides then went close as the game became end-to-end and Marianna Tabain's free-kick flashed over the top for Glory, before a stunning fingertip save from New Zealand keeper Lily Alfeld, prevented Emily Condon putting the Reds in front.

Craine was a constant handful and she went close again on 27 minutes. She was sent in on the left of goal, but Fryer-McLaren stood tall to deny her with her legs. The home side ended the half the better and went close to the opener just before the break, Alfeld producing another smart save to deny Emily Condon and at the break it was all-square and everything to play for.

Adelaide started the second half like they finished the first and went close twice in as many minutes. First Dylan Holmes’ powerful shot crashed off the crossbar, before Rigby did well to block the follow up shot from Mallory Weber. Moments later the lively Rojas raced past a number of Glory defenders but her effort on the run flashed over the top. Glory managed to weather that storm, but they were undone with ten minutes left.

Rojas raced into the penalty area and Rigby’s tackle looked to have cleared the danger but referee Georgia Ghirardello had other ideas, pointing the spot, to the amazement of the Glory players. The decision prompted prolonged protests from the Glory players, but it fell on deaf ears and Condon eventually stepped up to fire the Reds in front from the spot, the ball going straight through a hole in the net. Glory pressed late looking for a deserved point, but Tabain's late free-kick was saved by Fryer-Mclaren, leaving Epakis' side to switch their focus to Thursday's meeting with the same opponents at Dorrien Gardens.

Adelaide United: GK FRYER-MCLAREN, 2 Emily HODGSON, 3 Matilda McNAMARA, 4 Mallory WEBER, 6 Georgia CAMPAGNALE, 7 María José ROJAS, 8 Emily CONDON, 12 Isabel HODGSON (5 Charlotte GRANT 67'), 16 Dylan HOLMES, 19 Maruschka WALDUS, 23 Fiona WORTS (15 Meleri MULLAN 57') - Subs not used: RGK Annalee GROVE, 13 Ella TONKIN, 21Lara KIRKBY

Perth Glory: GK Lily ALFELD, 3 Gemma CRAINE, 4 Natasha RIGBY, 5 Deborah-Anne DE LA HARPE, 7 Elizabeth ANTON, 9 Malia STEINMETZ, 12 Sarah MORGAN (6 Tijan MCKENNA 58'), 13 Jamie-Lee GALE, 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS (15 Abbey GREEN 65'), 17 Marianna TABAIN, 23 Katarina JUKIC (8 Hana LOWRY 57') - Subs not used: RGK Rebecca BENNETT, 31 Isabella WALLHEAD - Referee: Georgia Ghirardello

9.1.2021

GLORY HELD BY PERTH SC

Perth Glory’s pre-season continued on Friday evening when they were held 1-1 by NPLWA side Perth SC at a packed Dorrien Gardens. Niccolò Sabatini gave Ramon Falzon’s side the lead on the half hour, but Bruno Fornaroli levelled four minutes later. It was a hard-fought game in sweltering conditions, and both sides had chances to win it, but had to settle for a draw.

Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia said it was great to play another side after only just completed their hotel quarantine after returning from their AFC Champions League campaign. "It was fantastic to see the crowd out tonight, have a game against a competitive team and get some minutes under our belts," he said. “It'll be great for us to now be able to review the performance and see how the boys did.

“There were definitely a few cobwebs... and they have a long way to go in terms of the chemistry with what they're doing, it was ok. It wasn't what I wanted, but at the same time, the guys got to play for an extended period against an opposition that wasn't us, which was fantastic. I wanted a bit more fluidity. At times it was broken up a little bit and some players were a bit unsure still, so we still have to work on a few things and make sure that come the 20th [January], those guys know what we want."

The ground was packed at kick off and it was the home side who opened the brighter and new signing Cameron Teece, who has joined from Sorrento, went close on a number of occasions early. Glory first real chance came on 22 minutes, skipper Diego Castro’s free kick flashed over the top. But it was Perth who hit the front on the half hour. Sabatini cutting in from the flank and raced into the penalty area and finished with aplomb past Tando Velaphi.

But their lead last only four minutes. Nick Walsh made ground down the left and his low cross was finished clinically by Fornaroli past Adrian Sinagra. The goal lifted Glory and Nick D’Agostino headed wide moments later, but on the stroke of half time Brendon Wilson lift the pitch injured and was replaced by former ECU Joondalup midfielder Callum Timmins.

Glory opened the second half well and half-time substitute Daniel Stynes went close on 58 minutes. Good approach work from Carlo Armiento and Fornaroli set up the former Gwelup Croatia midfielder, but his shot could only find the side netting. Stynes was a real handful and he went close again on the hour. His effort was well saved by Perth custodian Sinagra, the rebound falling to Bryce Bafford, whose effort crashed against the crossbar and away to safety. Glory lost Osama Malik with injury on 73 minutes, not a good sign with the season opener next week against Adelaide United.

Sinagra then made a smart save to deny Fornaroli moments later as Glory looked for lead, but Perth SC weren’t finished and went close themselves on 77 minutes. Former Glory Youth striker Yacoub Mustafa raced down the flank and he set up former Fremantle City midfielder Riley van Dieken, but he failed to find the target when well placed. Glory thought they had won it three minutes from time. Sinagra had done well to thwart Stynes’ snap shot, the rebound falling to Andy Keogh who finished well, but his celebration was cut short with the assistants flag up for offside. But at the final whistle both sides shared the spoils.

Perth SC Head Coach Ramon Falzon was delighted with his side work rate and performance. “We were very pleased with our performance tonight,” he said. “We matched a professional side for approximately 60 minutes, where we even managed to take the lead, however that was only short lived since Perth Glory levelled a few minutes later. Their fitness levels were definitely better than ours and in fact Perth Glory took over and were superior in the final 20 minutes of the game, however we managed to hang on to the 1-1 score line.”

Perth SC: GK Adrian SINAGRA, 3 Jordan DE LEO (15 Emerson ALEXIS 80’), 4 Lachie BYRD, 5 Niccolò SABATINI (12 Daniel MCKENZIE 75’), 9 Cameron TEECE (6 Sam FLORES 75’), 10 Michael DOMFEH (7 Yagoub MUSTAFA 60’), 11 Riley VAN DIEKEN, 13 Calvin WHITNEY, 16 Jackson MORGAN (11 Jayden GORMAN 60’), 19 Bojan RADINOVIC, 22 Kristian SANTICH (15 Will GORDON 75’) - Substitutes: RGK Ben RATAJCZAK, 14 Carl DIAS, 18 Carl MORGAN, 21Nathan BRYDE, 22 Max BLACKSHAW

Perth Glory: GK Tando VELAPHI, 6 Osama MALIK (16 Nick SULLIVAN 73'), 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 13 Luke BODNAR, 15 Brandon WILSON (19 Callum TIMMINS 45'), 17 Diego CASTRO (10 Andy KEOGH 59'), 18 Nick D'AGOSTINO (24 Daniel STYNES 46'), 20 Carlo ARMIENTO (21 Bryce BAFFORD 59'), 23 Dane INGHAM, 25 Nicholas WALSH (27 Jack PAINTER-ANDREWS 46'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN - Subs not used: RGK Liam DRISCOLL, 26 Giordano COLLI, 34 Mason TATAFU - Referee: Adam Fielding

9.1.2021

DEANS SEES A BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR RESILIENT JETS

Newcastle Jets' interim coach Craig Deans says he can see light at the end of the tunnel for the club following the implementation of new temporary ownership by A-League investors. Football Australia ended a stalemate with Chinese businessman Martin Lee earlier this week, cancelling his licence and handing it to a consortium led by A-League clubs Sydney FC, Western Sydney Wanderers and Western United.

Deans took over as interim coach following the sacking of Ernie Merrick and was later replaced by Carl Robinson. "Ernie left in January last year and there's probably been half a day where the players haven't been focused on their job," said Deans, a former Western Knights and Perth Glory player.

Deans said there is no way he would invest his time and energy in the club if he thought it would fail. "I wouldn't sit here now if I thought I was wasting my time," he said. "Even 12 months ago, I wouldn't have put my hand up to step in. You have to be positive in sport, you can't walk around feeling sorry for yourself. There's no time for that ... I'm sure there's bigger and better things to come."

Newcastle are now able to sign players and coaches under the new ownership model, and Deans has previously stated that he wants to be considered for the job. Robinson recently returned to the club having coached Newcastle last season before signing with Western Sydney at the end of 2020.

9.1.2021

RIGBY READY TO ROLL FOR GLORY WOMEN

Perth Glory captain Natasha Rigby says the new-look squad is brimming with enthusiasm and confidence as they prepare for a new W-League season. They finally get to start their campaign against Adelaide United tomorrow after two false starts with games postponed because of COVID-19.

The silver lining to that was coach Alex Epakis had an extra week to prepare and Rigby believes they can go one better than two years ago when beaten 4-2 by Sydney FC in the Grand Final. “A new coach, a new squad, a new chapter ... finals, finals, finals. It’s very exciting,” Rigby said.

“It’s phenomenal to see the improvement in the few weeks that Alex has been here. He has a direction and clear vision, he knows how he wants to play and he’s good at communicating it. We are a young squad with a lot of local girls which is very different. It’s so exciting.”

The pandemic forced a drop in the number of overseas recruits across the W-League but Epakis secured three New Zealand internationals. Rigby said all teams were in the same position and recruitment of local players would be a great competition leveller. “Every team is in a similar position with more local players and that will really help us,” she said.

“The whole league is playing with different squads because we have lost girls and have not got the international girls because of COVID. It can be anyone’s to win this year. It’s fantastic to see the local girls stepping up, particularly the younger girls, because they can see the opportunity of getting to the level they have been striving for.”

Rigby said Glory would play a structured, possession-based style. “Alex is very structured. He knows exactly what he wants, he breaks it down well and that has made it easy to understand,” she said. We are looking to play creative, free-flowing football but also play the ball a lot and keep it moving.”

“It’s different to how we have played in the past but it seems to be working for us. We used to go long but we are trying to avoid that this year. We still have some quick plays, but we want to play a possession game. It takes a lot of patience and a lot of smart football because you have to pick your times when you go forward.”

Rigby is in her second season as captain. “I’m so honoured and grateful to be able to captain the girls, especially this year because it has such a local flavour,” said Rigby, who grew up in Margaret River and joined Glory in 2016. “I’ll just lead by example and wear my heart on my sleeve.”

8.1.2021

GLORY SIGN EX-BUNDESLIGA DEFENDER LANGKAMP

Perth Glory have bolstered their A-League defence by signing former Bundesliga defender Sebastian Langkamp for the next two seasons. The 32-year old, a former German Under-18 and Under-21 international, spent much of his youth career with Bayern Munich before amassing nearly 200 Bundesliga appearances for Karlsruher SC, FC Augsburg, Hertha Berlin and most recently Werder Bremen.

During a six-year spell at Hertha Berlin, Langkamp helped the club secure three top-ten Bundesliga finishes along with qualification for the Europa League and as recently as June 2020 he was lining up for Werder Bremen against Bayern Munich. The 1.93m centre-back is now excited at the prospect of launching the next chapter of his career with Glory.

"After such a long time playing in Germany, I had to ask myself the question would it be great to have a new experience in another country for me professionally and us as a family," Langkamp said. "There were two or three options to stay in Germany, but we decided to try the new experience and it was an easy decision for us."

Langkamp said he'd previously tuned into the A-League to watch Sydney FC's Alex Baumjohann - his friend and former Hertha Berlin teammate - play. "Alexander Baumjohann is a friend of mine, I played with him at Hertha Berlin, so I watched some games that he played in last season, including the Semi-Final against Perth," he said. "I know about the big clubs and how Perth has been really successful in the last years and I am really looking forward to joining the club."

Glory coach Richard Garcia is understandably thrilled to have a player of Langkamp’s impressive pedigree on board for the 2020/21 campaign. "Sebastian is a great addition to the squad and someone who will bring a wealth of experience to the group," he said. "Having a player of his quality will bolster our defence as well as help improve our young defenders at the club."

8.1.2021

DARYL NICOL RETURNS TO ECU JOONDALUP (courtesy www.ecujoondalup.com.au)

ECU Joondalup have started preparation for the new NPLWA season, and their first signing of the new campaign is to bring Scottish striker Daryl Nicol back to the club for 2021. The 31-year-old had two seasons at Bayswater City, after joining the Jacks from Scottish Highland side Cove Rangers in 2016. The speedy forward had two successful seasons at the campus and became the first ECU player to win the Football West Gold Medal as the league’s player of the year in 2018. Nicol said was great to be back at the club and is looking forward to the new challenge.

“I’m delighted to be back at the campus where it all started for me in Australia,” he told the club website. “The club has changed a fair bit since I left but there are still a lot of familiar faces whom I’m delighted to team up with again. It’s really exciting to be joining the champions and its quite incredible what Kenny managed to achieve in his first season. Hopefully I can play my part and add something different to an already fantastic team. Winning trophies has to be our target once again and the way the squad is shaping up, I think that’s a good possibility.”

Nicol went on to win back-to-back Gold Medals in his first year at Bayswater, and enjoyed his time at Frank Drago Reserve, and although he won personal awards, he was disappointed the club didn’t win any trophies, despite all their hard work in his time at the club. “I had a fantastic time at Bayswater and it was a tough decision to leave. They are a fantastically well-run club with great people behind the scenes,” he said.




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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