Subiaco defender Alex Castiello said it's a massive game against Cockburn City on Saturday.

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Don't miss The World Football Programme on Radio Fremantle 107.9FM this Saturday at 10am with Penny TannerHoath and Peter Szkiela. This week's show includes Tim Cash, (Subiaco AFC Women's coach), Kayla O’Connor (aspiring young Under 12’s player), Sarah Groube (Women’s football journalist) and Teo Pellizeri (Victorian Match Commentator). Join the conversation Saturday from 10am by texting in your comments to 0408 921 832.



After last week’s break for the cup, we’re back into NPL-WA action on Saturday as the second half of the season begins, and the ‘Match of the Round’ takes us to the E&D Litis Stadium where Floreat Athena entertain Forrestfield United. (3pm) Both sides sit in the relegation zone at present, and with three to be relegated this season, three points are vital, especially with only five points separating eighth and thirteenth on the ladder.

After taking out the NPL Night Series Floreat have struggled this season, and they sit second from the bottom. They have also conceded the second most goals (30) in the league, and they will need to tighten up if they are to move up the table, but they now have most of their injured players back and they will be hoping to push up the table, starting on Saturday. Keeper Jason Saldaris has been in outstanding form, and the number of goals conceded would be considerably more if it wasn’t for the Floreat custodian, but he said it’s been tough on the group especially with all the injuries. “The table doesn't lie, it has been a tough season for the club with the team regularly changing and needing to try and recoup our starting 11, week after week it has made our first half of the season very disappointing,” he explained. “But on a positive we have not lost anyone one from our list and we are dedicated to getting out of this drop zone.”

In their last league game Floreat fought back at the death to earn a point at Sorrento, and Saldaris said it showed the fighting spirit they have in their side. “We have started to get back our players back from injury, and the last league game was positive going into our cup clash with Perth SC,” he said. “We managed to fielded a strong starting 11, and in both games, we showed that we should be in the top half of the table competing for the league.”

Saldaris said Saturday’s game is crucial, and they are determined to start the second half of the season better than the first, but he said Forrestfield are a good side and they will need to be at their best. “Saturday's game will be tough, they are a good footballing side, but our season needs to start now,” he said. “We now have a bit of confidence behind us rolling into the second half of the season every point will count.”

Forrestfield are currently third bottom, only one point ahead of Saturday’s opponents, and midfielder Thomas Jebb said they have performed well so far in the NPL, but he is well aware there is still a lot of hard work to do. They have dominated games but haven’t put teams away when they’ve been on top and that needs to change in the second half of the season. “Completely agree, we could have turned a lot of draws so far into wins which we are working on,” he explained. “We just need to be clinical in those parts of the game and grab those few extra points, but we’re confident we can.”

United were beaten at Stirling last time in the league, and Jebb said it was a disappointing result, but that is now in the past. “We tried a new formation to start the game which I don’t think as a team we were fully prepared for, and Stirling took advantage of that,” the midfielder said. “But that is now in the past and we will learn from our mistakes and make sure it never happens again, starting on Saturday at Floreat.”

Jebb said Saturday with another test for their young side, and after resting six first team players with niggles in the FFA Cup defeat at ECU Joondalup, it will hold them in good stead on Saturday and three points will be vital to move away from the foot of the table. “We’ve had a very busy past few weeks so it was probably the right idea to rest some of the boys for the cup game as our main focus is the league season,” he said. “Floreat are a top side with some of the best players in the league so it will of course be a difficult game but not one in which we feel a win is out of our reach. Our squad will be near back to full strength and a good performance will defiantly be the start to the second half of the season we are looking for.”

League leaders Bayswater City hit the road this weekend, when they travel to Grindleford Reserve to take on Italian rivals Balcatta. Both sides have strengthened their squads in the transfer window, and Bayswater are coming off a hard-fought win against ECU Joondalup, while Balcatta were beaten by Inglewood. Balcatta midfielder Jon Corness said it was a disappointing result, but they need to stay focused. “It was a tough one against Inglewood, we played some good football in the first half, after going into the break at 1-1,” he explained. “We wanted to keep a good intensity in the second half, but Inglewood were that bit more clinical in front of goal and it cost us, which was disappointing.”

Corness said it’s been a positive first half of the season for the Grindleford Reserve club, but he knows Saturday is a huge test against the Champions and current league leaders, but they are looking forward to the challenge. “It’s not been a bad first half of the season but it could be better looking back, we've set ourselves a target for where we want to finish come seasons end and it starts with a big one against Bayswater at home,” the midfielder said. “We've had our best results when we play a fierce, aggressive and brave type of football which we need to replicate on Saturday to get the best result possible.”

Perth Glory will be looking to make it four games without defeat when they host Perth SC at Dorrien Gardens. (Note – Ashfield Arena is being used so the game has been changed to Dorrein Gardens). Glory maintained third spot on the table with a big win against Subiaco last week, while Perth, who have stumbled in recent weeks, bounced back to winning against Joondalup United. Perth midfielder Harley Orr said it was good to get the three points and end their poor league form “It’s been a disappointing run since beating Bayswater at their ground, and we’ve hit a real purple patch and things just weren’t going our way and we were certainly not playing the football that we know we can play which was the most disappointing thing,” he explained. “But the win against Joondalup was a really solid win, we played a full 90 minutes of good football instead of just 45 minutes like we have so many times this year so it was good to get back into the winners’ circles again.”

With Perth celebrating their 70th anniversary this season, Orr said the players are working hard to bring more success to the club, but he is aware they face a tough challenge against a talented Glory outfit on Saturday. “The players know how much success the club has had in those 70 years, and the squad that we have are trying to create our own little slice of success to add to the already big trophy cabinet, so it would be nice to do something this year,” he said. “Saturday is a massive game, as they have been playing some real good football this year. They have some really good players who can do a lot of damage, but if we just stick to what we have been getting told by our coaches I’m sure we can come away with the win and start to close the gap at the top.”

It’s the “City of Joondalup Derby” late on Saturday afternoon when Sorrento host local rivals ECU Joondalup at Percy Doyle Reserve (5pm). Both sides are coming off disappointing results, Sorrento threw away two points after Floreat scored late to take a point, while ECU were beaten at Bayswater. ECU skipper Daryl Nicol said it was a game they dominated but couldn’t break them down. “The result against Bayswater was hugely disappointing but we took a lot of confidence from the performance,” he said. “Failing to take anything from the game hurt, but you could see from the performance in the cup it didn’t dent our confidence.”

The Jacks moved into the next round of the FFA Cup, and Nicol said it has given the club a huge lift, ahead of the derby. “A good cup run lifts everybody at the club and to have the younger lads progressing in their competitions is fantastic also. But getting to the semifinal means nothing and we’ll be doing everything we can to make that final,” he said. “I think in derby games form goes out the window, but to be honest that’s been the case for most games in our league this season. League position has meant nothing, and it will be the same again this weekend. We’re in good form at the moment and we’ll need another strong performance to get the points on Saturday.”

Inglewood United make the trip to Macedonia Park to take on Stirling Lions and will be hoping to end a five-game hoodoo against Keegan Ashley’s side. The last time Inglewood beat the Lions was in 2015, and Andy Keogh will be hoping they can repeat that on Saturday. They are coming off a win against Balcatta, while the Lions have made great progress and are currently on a four-game streak without defeat and they easily beat Forrestfield last time out. Ashley has been delighted the way his side have turned their season around. “It was a great a great win against Forrestfield, we were solid across all lines and the younger lads showed plenty of maturity,” he explained. “It’s a long season, so I always had belief in the boys and knew that once we started to work as a team on and off the ball we are every chance to win games on matchday.

“The cohesion between the boys is starting to show and as long as we are prepared to put in the work rate and required effort, then the boys know they can beat anybody.” The Lions are seventh on the table, two points behind Saturday’s opponents, and the coach said it should be a great game. “All games we take seriously, and only go out there trying to play our brand of football in order to win the game,” Ashley said. “Inglewood are a strong outfit but we think we are as well, so we are looking forward to the game and the challenge ahead.”

Subiaco have home ground advantage when they host second placed Cockburn City at Rosalie Park. City are coming after a tight 1-0 win against Armadale last time out, while Subiaco went down to Glory. Subiaco defender Alex Castiello said they were disappointed with the result against Glory, but he said they did play well on the day. “I thought the 3-0 loss was not a true reflection of the game, in my opinion,” he said. “We conceded a goal from not being aggressive enough and we didn’t take our chances, so we need to be better and we will.”

Castiello said Cockburn are a good side, with some quality players but he is confident they can get their season rolling with a win on Saturday. “Saturday’s game is again a massive game for us as is every game at this point, so we will be putting every ounce of energy we have to grab those three points,” the defender said. “Cockburn are a good team, well organised and managed well, so we have to stay discipline in our defensive shape and be clinical, and we have some new additions who I think will really help us.”

The final game see’s bottom of the table Joondalup United hosting Armadale at Percy Doyle Reserve. (3pm) Armadale were beaten last time out by Cockburn but progressed to the Semi Finals of the FFA Cup last week, and they head into this game full of confidence. On the other hand, Joondalup were beaten at Perth SC last week, but Coach Nick Jennings said they were in the game for long periods. “Early on we rode our luck, but after that the boys executed our game plan and we more than held our own for long periods of the game,” he said. “But once again it was mistakes at either end of the pitch which caused our downfall and in the end the team with more quality came out on top even if they were flattered by the final score line.”

Jennings will be looking for another performance like when they beat Inglewood in their last home game, and he said it’s another tough challenge but one they are all looking forward to and the new signings will help them. “We lacked a real cutting edge in the first half of the season and bringing in two proven goal scorers in Jamie Gibson and Lee Jones will make a huge difference and ask a lot more questions of our opponents,” he said. “No one at the club is under any illusions of how difficult it will be to get out of our current predicament but we will have a real go in the last 13 games of the season, in football funny things can happen. Armadale like everyone it appears have strengthened in the transfer window will come to Percy Doyle super confident after progressing to the semifinal of the cup and sitting pretty in mid table. But we know the time for excuses has to stop and nothing but three points for us will do so like every game we’ll prepare properly and come out firing on Saturday.”



It's week seven of the State League Division One and the “Match of the Round” takes us to Hilton Park for the top of the table clash between second placed Fremantle City and league leaders Gwelup Croatia (3pm). Both sides had tough 3-2 wins last week, Fremantle beating Morley Windmills on the road, while Gwelup beat a fast finishing UWA-Nedlands.

Fremantle’s Alec Robinson said it was a good result at Morley, who are improving all the time, and to come home with three points has given them confidence going forward. “I thought it was a good win against Morley, who will take points off a lot of teams this season,” he explained. “This league is very tight and we saw how picking up points on a regular basis can propel you up this league very quickly, but we are aware the same is true if we have any slip ups like the Phoenix game earlier in the season.:

City have begun the season well and carried on from winning the State League Night Series, and Robinson said the club are working hard both on and off the pitch and NPL is the clubs ultimate aim. “The club do have big ambitions and that’s great, but for us it’s about performing well each week,” he said. “For us as a playing group we just need to concentrate on getting consistent results week in week out, and if we do that we will do our part.”

Robinson said Saturday will be a great game, against a good side, but he is looking forward to the challenge. “Going into Saturday it’s well documented what a good side Gwelup have been in rising through the leagues very quickly, so it should be a good challenge,” he said. “We are missing a few key players, but it’s early days and we would feel that despite picking up a few results we haven’t really played as well as we can, so if we can get it right Saturday it could be a very tasty game between two strong sides.”

Gwelup are still unbeaten after six rounds and skipper James Sammut said last weeks’ win against UWA was a good performance, and it should have been over by half time, but they scored two second half penalties to make it close. “It was a good win against UWA, but it was a game of two halves,” he said. “The first half, we played some of the best football we’ve played all year and in the second half we didn’t come out and credit to UWA who fought back late. It was good to get the 3 points but looking forward to when we string it all together for 90 minutes.”

It’s not been a bad season for the Wishart Street side, unbeaten in the league and an FFA Cup Semi Final against Floreat Athena to look forward to, and Sammut said they are focused on just one game at a time. “We have had a good run in the cup and playing some good football in the league, and hopefully we can continue our unbeaten run in the league this weekend and take that form into the FFA cup semifinal,” the skipper said. “Floreat are a strong side who have also beaten quality teams to reach the Semi Final of the Cup. They have quality players who can turn a game so it will be another good test for us.”

Sammut said Fremantle will be another big test and will be a great game, and he said they need to be at their best to get the win. “Every weekend is a big game and no one wants to be dropping points at any stage of the season, but especially early,” he said. “From all reports, Fremantle are also having a good season, and will be another test for our lads. We will be looking forward to getting out there and hopefully come away with another 3 points.” Gwelup new signing Angel Andres will be available for his debut in the game.

Ashfield have made a return to form after a slow start to the season and on Saturday they host Rockingham City at Ashfield Reserve. Ashfield are coming off a big win at Dianella White Eagles last week, which moved them up to seventh, and they sit one place and two points behind Saturday’s opponents. Rockingham are coming off the bye, and the cup break, but won the local derby with Mandurah in round five, and coach Cameron Lord, said the break wasn’t ideal. “The cup round after our bye probably wasn’t the best timing for the momentum we were creating after UWA and Mandurah,” he explained. “But it has given us the chance to work on a few things that we will be taking into the Ashfield game.”

Lord said Ashfield are a good side, especially on home soil, so he is expecting a tough game. “Every game is a challenge in this league, it is a new challenge against different opposition and another opportunity for us to show the way we want to play football,” he said. “However, we know that we need to perform at our maximum capacity if we want the three points. Having watched the Dianella v Ashfield game two weeks ago, we will be trying to exploit certain areas to put us in a position to win the game.”

In other games Joondalup City, whose game at South West Phoenix was postponed last round, host Dianella White Eagles, who were beaten at home by Ashfield at Iluka Sports Complex. It will be the first game in charge for new Eagles coach Salv Todaro. South West Phoenix will look to move up the table when they host fifth placed Western Knights at WML Stadium, while in the final game Mandurah City host UWA-Nedlands at Securitas Protect Stadium. UWA sit on the bottom of the table and were beaten at Gwelup in the last league game, but they are a good side and have been unlucky in recent games. Likewise, Mandurah, who came home from Nash Field with a point against the Knights. Mandurah coach Alex Grayson said it was a good performance. “A clean sheet was a big step in the right direction for ourselves, and to get it away at tough opposition was a huge bonus,” he said. “I don't think many teams will keep Western Knights off the score sheet all year so we took a lot of positives from the game.”

Grayson said Saturday will be another tough game, with both sides need the points, but he said new signing Mitch Firth has strengthened his squad. “Mitch, who has recently returned from a spell in England, has been a good pick up for us, his experience from last year and the wealth of knowledge he has brought back with him, it's a fantastic addition for us,” he said. “On Saturday both sides are in desperate need for a win and both sides will be approaching the game thinking they can win it. It's going to be another great test for our boys and the work they have put in over the last two weeks has been tremendous. Mentally and physically we are still in great shape so hopefully we can start seeing some rewards from it.” - Morley Windmills have the bye this week.



The Match of the Round in State League Division Two takes us to the Murdoch University Synthetic Ground on Friday evening when Quinns FC take on Murdoch University Melville (8:30pm). MUM is coming off a hard-fought win against Curtin last week, while Quinns are coming off the bye. Quinns centre half Ross Edwards said their form has been up and down in recent weeks, a big win at Kelmscott, but a heavy defeat against Kingsway, but he said they will take positives and negatives out of both games. “The Kingsway game was good, we use games like that to fuel the passion and desire for the next,” he said. “They (Kingsway) pressed very well, were organised and had some good quality, three very good traits to have and something at Quinns we are trying to implement.”

Edwards joined the club from NPL side Joondalup United, and he said it was a tough decision to leave the club but is happy with his choice. The decision to move from Joondalup was extremely tough, as I had four very successful years there,” he said. “So yes, it was hard to leave the team and everyone involved, and I’d like to thank everyone involved at the club, from the President down. Everyone does so much, the love for the club, the emphasis on being one is addictive. “For me though I was lucky to have Quinns nearby and I know all of the boys. A number were with me at Wanneroo and Joondalup and I consider these to be very close mates and it made it easy for me settle in very well.”

The defender said Friday will be a challenge, against a side who are unbeaten in three games, but he said new Coach Ian Ferguson will have them prepared well for a tough game. “I think it will be a great game, and the bye last week and it gave the new manager 3/4 very good, hard and intense sessions,” he explained. “They (MUM) have started well this season and had a good win last week. We have been disappointing at the levels we should be achieving, so Friday should be entertaining with both teams having a point to prove and looking for three points - lets hope the weather stays decent.”

MUM midfielder Dean Thurston said the win at Curtin was well-deserved and kept their good form going. “Although the score line was 1-0, I thought that it could have easily been 3-0 or more and we would have been disappointed with anything other than the three points, especially with the quality of the lads we have at the club,” he explained. “We’re growing in confidence with every game, and our coach (Gavin Brown) always been a manager to give the young lads a chance and as such we have a fantastic culture and have a great mix of youth and experience.

“The young lads coming through are all playing with a smile on their face, showing plenty of promise and seem to get better and better. Our biggest strength, however, is the depth in the squad. We have 22 players in and around the first team that could easily get a game, it must be a nice headache for the gaffer to have.”

Thurston said Quinns have some dangerous players and will be another good game, but they are looking forward to i “I think Quinns’ players will be feeling the pressure to impress their new manager, and I think they’ll get a big shock when they see how massive our pitch is and how we play on it. We’ve scored 13 in 5 games for a reason, but whatever the result, it will be a very entertaining game I’m sure.”

League leaders Kingsway Olympic head back home and entertain Kelmscott Roos at Kingsway Reserve, looking to continue their perfect start to the season. Kelmscott on the other hand have struggled in recent weeks and are coming off a 1-4 defeat at Wanneroo last time out, but I’m sure Coach Aron Beatie will have them fired up for a big performance against the leaders. Kingsway came home with a 1-0 win from bottom of the table Shamrock last week, with Danny Hodgson scoring the winner.

The English striker said it should have been more on the day. It was a frustrating game against Shamrock. I think they had 1 shot on goal in the full game. They put 11 men behind the ball on a really small tight pitch and defended all game,” he explained. “But as a team we’ve showed that we can win scrappy games that we have to battle for 90 minutes which is good, and1-0 wins in hard games that are the games that win you leagues, so we were happy coming away with a 1-0 win.”

Hodgson said he is expecting more of the same against Kelmscott on Saturday, who will be desperate for the points. “We’ve had a little break with the cup round last week, and that’s helped us freshen up for the game, but Kelmscott are looking for points at the other end, so they’re not going to hold back on Saturday they’re going to give us a good game,” he said. “Where back playing at home where the pitch suits our style of play. There is a target on our backs now after the great start we’ve had, but we’ve been working hard since the night series. The next five weeks are going to define our season. We’ve got some hard games coming up which we know we need to win, starting on Saturday.”

In other games on Saturday, second placed Swan United entertain Curtin University at Francis Street, while the bottom two teams meet at Harold Rossiter Reserve as Shamrock Rovers host Canning City. In the final game fourth placed Wanneroo City make the trip to Walter Padbury Reserve to take on Gosnells City. It’s not been the best of starts for Gosnells since relegation last season, and they still in search of a new coach after Alan Dunlop resigned last week. They did show good signs at Balga last week, but still went down, and they will be hoping to make home ground advantage count.

Wanneroo were back in the winners’ circle last time out against Kelmscott and Coach Tim Kantor said it was good to bounce back after the loss to Swan. “It was a really good win against Kelmscott and the most pleasing thing was the way that we constructed the goals,” he explained. “The recent signing of Jamie Stewart has given us more options going forward and his experience in the final third is invaluable to the youngsters around him.”

Kantor said Saturday will be another tough test. “There are no easy games in this league this year and we are expecting Gosnells to be another tough game. They are a proud club and I’m sure they will want to turn their season around sooner rather than later,” he said. “We go into the game with a couple of injury concerns to key players but this year we have great depth and should be able to fill any voids created by injury. It’s a huge game for us Saturday and we will need to be at our best to take the points.” – Balga have the bye this weekend.



It's week seven of the Belt Up Amateur Sunday Premier Division and the – “Match of the Round’ is the game between Kwinana United and Jaguar FC at Kelly Park. Jaguar have started life in the league well and sit fifth on the table, level with Sunday’s opponents, but with a better goal difference. The Jags are coming off a huge win last week, when they beat Kingsley 5-1, with Michael Wantee bagging a brace. The striker said it was a great victory for the club. “The win against Kingsley was a great win for the boys, and we’re all excited to see where our season goes from here on,” he said. “As a striker I was happy to score some goals, but what matters more is that we got the three points and continue our good start to the season.”

Wantee said Kwinana will be another tough test for them, especially after their loss in the cup last week. “We know that Kwinana are a very good team, and it’s going to be a tough game,” he said. “But we are in good form and are looking forward to the challenge.” Jaguar Coach Chol Kong added. “The boys are looking forward to the challenge coming up against a tough Kwinana side. As we all know this league is full of surprises any team at any time can pull an upset and that’s what we plan to do,” he said. “I am sure they (Kwinana) are looking to continue their winning ways, but the game is an important game for us, as we are looking to maintain a status in the top half of the league. The opposition won’t make it easy especially at their home ground. It’ll be a tough game against them so we will go there and give it our all to get all three points."

Kwinana beat Ellenbrook in their last league game to keep them in touch of the top four, and Coach Kris Donnell said it was a good team performance. “The win against Ellenbrook was the best we had played all season,” he explained. “It was also a new system which the team adhered to well.” Donnell said that win was good but the whole club were disappointed to go out of the cup last weekend. “Yes, it was disappointing to go out, but you have to give Cracovia the credit they deserved,” he said. “In the second half we threw everything at them and they defended very well so fare play to them.”

The coach said Jaguar’s have shown already they are a good footballing side, and he is expecting a tight encounter on Sunday. “This league is one of the most open I’ve been involved in as a coach and every team you play fight to the end,” Donnell explained. “It all comes down to who wants it more on the day. There really isn’t a great deal in it this year in terms of teams being far ahead technically. So, it’s a pretty simple team talk these days. - Go out and don’t leave anything in the tank - make sure when you come off your heads held high knowing you’ve gave everything you could for your team mates and the club.”

Southern Spirit will go in search of their first win of the season when they host North Perth United at Watsons Reserve. North Perth beat league leaders Leeming last time out to move to third, while the Spirit were edged out by Hamersley. They will be buoyed after a hard fought 2-1 win against Gosnells in the cup last weekend, and coach Jack Monaco said they are improving with each game. “Yes, we are not where we like to be on the league ladder, but with the new look we have come away with some poor results,” he explained. “Hopefully with the win on Sunday against a very good Gosnells side can propel us.” Monaco said North Perth are a dangerous side, but his players are looking forward to the challenge. “North Perth are a very competitive side and games between us have always been of high standard,” he said. “Hopefully we have turned the corner and back on track with Rob Pagnoni, who has been working very hard to select a side that can push any opponent in the Premier League. Sunday will certainly show how far we have progressed.”

In other games this weekend, second placed Kingsley are at home to Subiaco AFC, while league leaders Leeming Strikers entertain Belmont villa at John Connell Reserve. Ellenbrook United make the trip to the UWA Sports Park to take on UWA Nedlands. In the final game Wembley Downs host Hamersley Rovers at Butlers Reserve. Wembley were held to a 2-2 draw at Subiaco last week, while Rovers beat Southern Spirit 3-1, and three points took them above Sunday’s opponents. Rovers’ coach Joe Wright said it was an important win for the side, after back-to-back defeats. “It was a solid team performance against Southern Spirit who looked better than their results suggested,” he said. “We’d played well in previous games but hadn’t put our chances away so it was good to score three and get the win.” Wright said Wembley may have struggled early in the season after taking out the title last season, but he well aware the talent they have in their side. “We beat Wembley in the night series but they have strengthened since then with players like Banin coming back in,” he said. “We expect it to be a very tough game and we’ll have to be at our best to get a result.”



Spanish wizard Diego Castro is “99.9% certain” to re-sign with Perth Glory after owner Tony Sage held face-to-face talks with the playmaker. Resolving the future of the 35-year old has been one of coach Tony Popovic’s priorities as he seeks add to his ten currently contracted players.

While bringing in at least six fresh faces, nailing down fan favourite Castro for a fourth season appears a fait accompli. “Castro and I have an excellent relationship and I’ve visited his home in Spain twice now,” said Sage. “The first time was to sign him initially and then to subsequently re-sign him.

“The only issue is that his family want a full three-month break in Spain but it may be that they stay there and he comes out a bit earlier. I’m 99.9% sure that he’ll sign on the dotted line and be with us next season. Hopefully this time he remains injury free and has yet another huge year for us.”

Sage is hopeful Castro will be available for Glory July 23 glamour friendly against FA Cup winners Chelsea. “The length of Castro’s next contract will be up to Tony (Popovic) but if you look at the stats and data records for last season, he was third best across the board for passing accuracy etc, and he missed six games,” added Sage.

Sage has had to reach deep into his pockets to capture marquee coach Popovic, not to mention the influx of players he will bring. It’s probably cost $1 million more than I was budgeting for but we want to bring success to this club and he was the man I wanted,” Sage commented.

“He’s a proven winner and will bring a different mentality to the club and a desperation to win trophies. He’s the right man at the right time. He has a lot of players who also want to come to our club and play for him and it’s a chance for him to put his stamp on things.”

Sage is open to bringing in a business partner at Glory but insists he is not prepared to sell his controlling stake in a club he’s already ploughed over $20 million into. “I’m looking for an appropriate football-focused partner,” he said. “I want us to go into Asia and win trophies and we have a coach with the ruthless attitude to do that.”



Facing one of the favourites for the World Cup in the opening game of the tournament is a monumental task which some might shy away from. Australia's first opponents France boast some of the world’s undisputed superstars, including the likes of Paul Pogba, Antoine Greizmann and Olivier Giroud.

But the Socceroos are embracing the challenge ahead with right-back Josh Risdon keen to test himself against some of the world’s best. “It will be a tough test, they’ve got a lot of good players, world-class players so no better test in the first game than them,” said Risdon.

“It will be really hard, they can throw anyone in that squad, in the forward line and it will be unreal so a massive test for us but getting them first game is a real positive, adrenaline will be flowing and hopefully we can get a good result.”

If Risdon gets the nod and makes an appearance against France on June 16, he’s likely to be directly faced with the huge task of keeping Atletico Madrid winger Antoine Greizmann quiet. “For me personally, I just go about it the same as I’m playing any player and obviously you do a bit of background homework on the player,” said Risdon.

“In terms of mentality you go out and play like it’s anyone else, if you decide to let it get in your mind that this player is a world class player and that sort of stuff it plays on you a bit so I’ll just go out and play my normal game and hopefully I can do well.”

Should Australia perform well and secure a positive result against France, Risdon believes it would lay the foundations for further success. “Getting them first game is a positive,” said Risdon. “Hopefully we can get a good result and confidence will be up going into those next two games (against Denmark and Peru) and hopefully it can progress us out of the group stage.”

It’s been a roller-coaster ride for the right-back, who married his partner Ebony just last Saturday and then jumped on a plane just 24-hours later to link up with the squad in Turkey. “It’s not ideal timing, but full credit to my wife she’s supportive and she knows what kind of an opportunity this is for my career,” said Risdon.



Injury denied him the chance to play at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and Socceroos defender Trent Sainsbury isn’t going to let the 2018 edition pass him by. Despite being just 26, Sainsbury is the most experienced defender in Bert van Marwijk’s 26-man extended squad with 33 appearances for the national team.

Not one of those outings has come at a World Cup though, and the centre back is keen to right that wrong. “It will be hard not to imagine what’s ahead, what’s at stake and what the possibilities are of the games,” Sainsbury told “Every kid dreams of going to a World Cup and I still dream that to this day. Until I’m out there on the pitch, I’ll keep dreaming.”

The Socceroos haven’t made a secret of how tough their pre-World Cup camp in Turkey has been so far. Appearing nine times for Swiss club Grasshopper Zurich since February this season, Sainsbury is one of the more rested players in camp.

“I’m feeling good. It’s nice to be in camp again and have a professional staff who can take care of me and get the rig in order,” said Sainsbury. “We’re training the hardest we possibly can at the moment. The way you train is the way you perform on the pitch – we give our all in training and we’ll give the same when it comes to the match.”

Group stage matches against France, Denmark, and Peru are soon approaching but preparations aren’t being rushed. Friendlies against the Czech Republic and Hungary will give the squad a good idea of where they’re at ahead of the tournament – and the closer it gets, the more things will ramp up.

“(Van Marwijk) knows what he wants and he has to get that across to the boys. He’s teaching us slowly but quickly enough to be ready for what’s ahead. He has a specific idea which he’s implementing now,” added Sainsbury. “This team has untapped potential at the moment and we’re going to go on a good run in Russia.”

“I can feel it in my bones so I’m excited for the games coming up. It’s a bit difficult to say (how things will ramp up) at the moment because it feels like any other camp. But once the second week starts to roll around and we’ve been here for another week and another week then it will feel a bit different.”

“Preparations and the tackles might get a little bit more (frequent) and the desperation might be a bit higher and you’ll start seeing some of the boys not trying harder but the desperation will come out because everyone wants to be in that final squad.”



Tom Beadling has signed on with Scottish club Dunfermline Athletic after impressing while on loan from Sunderland. A graduate of the Black Cats academy, the 22-year old's performances in the centre of the park for the Pars have been rewarded with a two-year deal amid interest from several Scottish Championship clubs.

Beadling played locally with the National Training Centre and represented West Australia at Under-14 level before entering the Sunderland academy. While he didn't feature in the first team, he captained Sunderland's Under-23 side and made two appearances for Bury while on loan in early 2017.



Australian striker Stefan Valentini has no regrets about swapping Perth Glory for a crack at breaking into German football. Valentini played juniors for Balcatta and had a stint with South Melbourne before joining Glory's youth team at the age of 18. He progressed to the first team squad and made his debut aged 19 in the FFA Cup in 2015.

But after failing to get an opportunity in the A-League, Valentini decided in January 2016 to head overseas and chase his dream. "After the few games in the FFA Cup I was hoping my performances would secure a part with the Glory moving forward, but unfortunately, the club signed two more young strikers and I was overlooked," the 21-year old told

"I then decided to try my luck overseas, through a local agent. I bought a one-way ticket to Germany, where I trialled with few clubs. One of those clubs, Eintracht Braunschweig, offered me my first professional contract for 18 months with their under-23's team."

Valentini spent 18 months with Eintracht Braunschweig in the Regionaliga Nord, Germany's fourth tier, after securing a contract through a trial. “Eintracht Braunschweig was very professional, they had a plan to put me in accommodation and put me through German classes," he said.

"The first team at Eintracht Braunschweig was challenging for promotion to the Bundesliga so players were being dropped down to the under-23's, which play in the Regionalliga North. Game time became limited as I had to make way for these players. So I decided to move to a smaller club to ensure I could play first team football."

In July last year Valentini signed with TuS Erndtebruck. The club play in the Regionaliga West and the forward has scored nine goals in 29 appearances this season. He believes that while leaving Perth was difficult, it was necessary for his career to progress. He said his development in Germany, both on and off the field, has accelerated rapidly in the past two years.

"Whilst I have some family close by, I was prepared for living away from home as I have been to Germany previously, when I was younger," he said. "I dropped out of school to do this. It was a tough decision to leave my family, friends and my hometown comforts but at the end of the day it needed to happen to make football my life and career."

"There are the clichéd things such as becoming physically and mentally stronger, becoming fluent in German and maturing from a sheltered teen to an independent man. But the development on the pitch has come from what I have learnt off it ... I am very fortunate the sacrifices my entire family made to get me over here but it forces me every day work that extra bit harder."

TuS Erndetbruck play in the fourth division against the reserve teams of the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Monchengladbach, Cologne, Fortuna Dusseldorf, Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke. "One of my first tastes of football in this shirt was against Eintracht Frankfurt in front of 13,000 people booing us, which funnily enough was probably one of the best feelings I've had in my professional career," he said.

"Being new, no matter how good you might think you are, you need to build that trust and need time. I got my chance to get a string of games together, started to score and began to get more game time until our last four to five games got cancelled because of the weather. Then I got injured so it was back to square one getting back to fitness and started the last nine games of the season."

Valentini has also been inspired by the exploits of his cousin, Nurnberg right-back Enrico Valentini. "I speak to Enrico weekly, we are close and he is like an older brother to me," he said. "I look up to him, I saw how hard he worked and he just got promoted to the 1.Bundesliga, which shows me hard work really pays off and gives me so much more motivation."

"At times when I'm down or frustrated all I need is a five-minute conversation with him and I'm feeling much better. But that goes to the whole family over here, each and every single one of them are supporting me, which I can't thank them enough."

Valentini is unsure at this stage of where he will end up when his TuS Erndtebruck contract ends next month, with a return to Australia possible. "As my contract ends in June, I need to make the tough decision on whether to stay in Germany or test myself somewhere else in Europe," he said. "If the right offer comes from the A-League, I'd definitely consider it."



A boutique 15,000-capacity stadium at a redeveloped Fremantle Oval has been mooted as part of Fremantle City’s ambitious A-League push. Football Federation Australia’s A-League expansion process begins in earnest this week, with at least a dozen clubs/consortiums set to lodge submissions by Thursday’s Expression of Interest deadline.

Fremantle City claims to have at least $10 million pledged from local backers, amid ongoing talks with Italian giants Juventus about a football partnership. While initially playing out of Perth Oval, a redevelopment at Fremantle Dockers’ old training base would create a clear point of difference from Perth Glory and become the centrepiece of the new club, whose training and administrative bases would be south of the river.

It also evokes memories of Perth Glory’s early National Soccer League years when temporary stands were erected at Perth Oval - WAFL club East Perth’s former home ground - prior to its redevelopment. “Raising capital is not an issue,” Fremantle City president Maurice Oteri said. “It started four years ago and we brought together two clubs, East Fremantle Tricolore and Fremantle United, two staunch Italian-backed clubs and we got a junior NPL licence.”

“For the last 12 months we’ve had a separate taskforce in play, a core group of people of note working behind the scenes and waiting for the time for the political dust to settle before declaring our hand. We’ve got a heads of agreement already signed off (to play at Perth Oval), they’ve been very supportive.”

“The City of Fremantle have also been supportive. We’ve spoken about trying to make Fremantle Oval not just another training facility, but also, if an investor were to come along and redevelop Fremantle Oval into a little boutique 15,000-18,000 stadium, would the City of Fremantle keep an open mind about that?”

While they understand FFA is leaning towards expanding into Melbourne or Sydney, they believe there is a place for two professional soccer clubs in the west. “I’m no fool, I’m very conscious of what the FFA may consider. It would’ve been great if Glory had (grown quicker) but our pitch is different from other A-League bidders,” Oteri said.



It was a huge second round of the Belt Up Amateur Cup on Sunday, and the biggest shock came at the Cracovia Sporting Complex where last season’s Cup Winners Kwinana United were beaten 3-2 by Division 2 side Cracovia White Eagles. The home side were ahead when Ollie Taseski scored but United hit back with Alex Jones on target. It was end to end football and the hosts regained the lead with top scorer Jacob Wemyss finding the net. But United restored parity with an own goal, but the home side weren’t to be outdone and regained the lead just before half time with Taseski added his second.

United through everything at Cracovia after half time but the home side hung on for a memorable victory. Wemyss said it was a great win. “We had to defended manfully after half time and Kwinana pushed everyone up, including the keeper going up about five times in the last 5-10 minutes,” he said. “We were lucky not to concede, but we defended well and got the result.” United coach Kris Donnell was gracious in defeat. “We throw everything at them in the second half but it wasn’t our day,” he said. “But credit to Cracovia for doing the business in the first half, and defending very well in the second.”

In another upset Division 3 side Olympic Kingsway beat Premier League Ellenbrook United 3-0 at Ellenbrook Sports Hub. Calum How scored a brace, with Daniel Cuticone added the other for a comprehensive win. “The lads bounced back from a difficult result last week really well, and the work rate and effort on Ellenbrook’s hard pitch won us the game,” Sam Ellis said. “It showed our boys that hard work can always get a result and we can beat anyone on our day.” There was no upset at Challenge Reserve with Premier League side Kingsley thrashing South Perth United 14-0. David Ashworth scored four, with Mark King scoring a hat-trick, Jayden Drummond and Lee Thomas two, and others to Josh Waldock, Cameron Bishop and an own goal.

Southern Spirit progressed to the next round after a hard fought 2-1 win against Gosnells City at Walter Padbury Reserve. The visitors opened the scoring with a stunning strike from Jacob Ledo, but Gosnells leveled before half time, with Luke McCord converting a penalty. Both sides had chances to win it but it was the visitors who scored the decisive second, also from the penalty spot, with Matthew D'Antonio keeping his cool to score. “We thought the penalty they scored was a bit soft, but overall it was an even game with both teams having chances,” Gosnells Coach Peter Allen said. “I thought we had the better of the first half, but just couldn’t beat there keeper who was in fine form, but best of luck to them in the cup and for the rest of their season.”

Wembley Downs were taken to extra time by Perth Royals but run out 4-2 winners. Anthony Jones put Wembley ahead, but they then had centre half Juraj Garba sent half and Royals levelled from the spot. Substitute Banin Hashem came on and changed the game and gave Wembley the lead. But the home side pressed late and were rewarded six minutes from time with the equaliser. Wembley took over in extra time and Hashem added his second, and after good combination play between Banin Buic and Ryan Fish ended with Fish scoring to seal the win. Meanwhile Jaguar were made to work hard before beating Curtin University 3-2, with Akuei Guot, Michael Wantee and Gojam Nyuon on target.

Hamersley Rovers eased into the next round after goals from Dave Morris and Mike Howard gave them a 2-0 win against Fraser Park. “It was a solid effort from our boys, we contained their main threats pretty well and had the majority of play and chances on goal,” Rovers’ Joe Wright said. “They are a dangerous team though and you can see why they win so many games. They certainly wouldn’t look out of place in the Premier League.” Leeming Strikers beat Stirling Lions 3-2, with Ben Reaves, David Palin and own goal, Joondalup United moved through after a 4-0 win against Bassendean Caledonian at Beldon Park, Drew Kirkpatrick scoring a brace with others to Andreas Bouzinekis and Joshua Kennedy-Edwards, while Belmont Villa beat North Beach 2-1, with a brace from Ahmed Raheen. Goals from Myo Kyaw and Pum Arthur gave Westnam United a 2-0 win against Emerald at Shelvock Reserve.

In other games East Perth beat Peel United on penalties after the game at Bortolo Reserve, while Perth Hills United beat Wanbro Strikers 3-1 at Harry Riseborough Ground. Ballajura travelled to St Andrews Park and beat Yanchep United 4-0, while Stirling Panthers edged out Fremantle City at Yuluma Reserve. In the final game there was another huge upset with Division 4 side Woodvale FC beating Premier League side Subiaco at Timberland Park. The goal scorers for Woodvale were Steve Vinall and Glen Atkinson with two. “After taking the lead within two minutes of the kick off we then found ourselves 2-1 down early in the second half,” Woodvale Coach Martyn Day said. “But then two quick goals, both from set pieces saw us take a 3-2 lead, which we were able to hold onto for the last 20 minutes for a deserved victory.”



A brace from Gwelup Croatia striker David Heagney saw the State League Division One side produce the biggest upset in the FFA Cup Sixth Round with an extra-time win against NPLWA side Subiaco at Wishart Street on Sunday. Subiaco had led with a first half striker from Josh Booysen, but the former St Johnstone’s striker leveled to send it to extra time and he popped up again to win it. “Obviously it is a massive game for the club, and for us to come back and win it in extra time was a very special day,” Heagney said. “We showed great team spirit and in the end deserve to be in the semi-finals, and it’s always nice to score goals as well, but it was a great team effort.’

Subiaco opened the brighter in front of a good crowd, and player-coach Ian McMurray fired wide with the goal at his mercy, before Jonas Dorling effort forced a good save from Gwelup goalkeeper Riley Stephenson. Their good start was rewarded with the lead on 24 minutes, Manase Abendelwa’s corner was dealt with by Stephenson, and he was made to pay with Booysen firing home.

Gwelup looked to hit back immediately and Victor Brauner effort whistled wide, before winger Isaac Koomson shot flashed across the face of goal. Subiaco almost doubled their before half time, when a defensive error let in Robert Harding, who raced clear, but Stephenson made up for his error for the goal to deny him.

The home side were on the front foot early in the second half and Ryan Montgomery had to be alert to deny Heagney. But on 62 minutes the home side did level, second half substitute Benjamin Kouakou sent Heagney in on goal and the striker finished well past Montgomery much to the delight of the home faithful. Subiaco went close to regaining their lead three minutes later, Jackson Dongray’s long-throw found Booysen, but the winger couldn’t keep his header down. Subiaco were ending the game the better, and Dorling and Harding both went close to winning it so we were off to extra time.

Then 10 minutes into the first period of extra time the home side hit the front. A super through ball from Kouakou sent Heagney clear of the Subiaco off-side trap and he finished clinically past the on-rushing Montgomery. Subiaco pressed late but couldn’t find the equaliser and at the final whistle it was Gwelup celebrating the win. “I couldn’t be happier for the playing group and club to progress into the semifinal,” Gwelup Coach Taki Nicolaidis said. “Once again the boys showed some great character and hunger to get themselves back in the game after being behind at the break, and come away with a much deserved win.”

Gwelup Croatia: GK Riley STEPHENSON, 2 Michael PUGLIESE (18 Isaac NEHEMIE 74’), 4 Cameron YORKE, 5 Kwangmook LIM, 6 Brodie MARTIN (10 Benjamin KOUAKOU 53’), 7 James SAMMUT (17 Sebastian MUNOZ 99’), 9 David HEAGNEY, 11 Isaac KOOMSON, 14 Victor BRAUNER, 16 Stephen O’LEARY, 20 Bobby WILSON - Subs not used: RGK Connor CAMPBELL, 3 Nelson TSHONGO

Subiaco: GK Ryan MONTGOMERY, 4 Robert HARDING, 5 Manase ABENDELWA, 6 Jackson DONGRAY, 11 Joshua BOOYSEN (7 Leigh MORGAN 75’), 12 Nathan SMITH, 13 Jonas DORLING, 14 Ross JARMAN (8 Jack BARDSLEY 60’), 16 Dean APLEGREN, 17 Alex CASTIELLO, 19 Ian McMurray (2 Jack Andrews 60’) Subs not used: 9 Matthew CLARK, 21 Teophile BROWN - Referee: Michael Jasinski



Floreat Athena have come from behind to beat Perth SC 4-3 on penalties in an action packed FFA Cup Sixth Round tie at E&D Litis Stadium on Saturday evening. Richard Howles scored for the visitors 13 minutes from time, and it looked like they had done enough to win it. But a second yellow card to Niccollo Sabatini five minutes from time turned things around, and Floreat levelled four minutes into stoppage time to send the game to extra time.

Both sides had chances to win it in the extra 30 minutes, but it went to penalties, where Floreat prevailed. “We showed great spirit to go right to the death and get the reward to push it to extra time,” Floreat Coach Howard Tweats said. “It was a close game, and we stuck in there and we were disappointed we didn’t kill it in extra-time, but (keeper) Jason (Saldaris) stepped up for us.”

It was a typical quarter-final cup tie, with both sides not giving an inch. Both sides haven’t been in the best of form in the league and first half chances were few and far between. The best for the home side fell to Jon Stynes, whose effort flashed the wrong side of the upright, before Jason Saldaris had to be alert, saving bravely at the feet of Howles.

Jason Saldaris was in splendid form after the break producing a great save to thwart young midfielder Kristian Santich. His Perth counterpart Malek Kuc was also called into action moments later, making smart saves to deny Phil Arnold and Keylun Pollard. But it was the visitors who opened the scoring on 77 minutes, Howles was sent clear with a long ball, before rounding Jason Saldaris and rolling the ball into an empty net from an acute angle.

It looked like Perth would hold on for the win, but the game took another twist on 85 minutes when Sabatini was shown a second yellow card by referee Steven Gregory, and sent off. Floreat pushed men forward, and with Perth missing skipper Adrian Madaschi, they couldn’t hang on to their lead and with the last kick of the game Whitney levelled. Pollard and Dean Evans combined on the edge of the box and Evans played in Whitney to fire home past Kuc.

Both teams had chances to win it in extra-time with Arnold’s header crashed off the crossbar before Jason Saldaris produced a great save to deny Howles. So it went it to penalties, and Jason Saldaris saved from Gustavo Catarcione in the shootout, and Jon Stynes stepped up to seal the tie and set off wild celebrations both on and off the park.

Floreat Athena: GK Jason SALDARIS, 2 Marco SANTALUCIA, 4 Andrew SCALDAFERRO, 6 Jesse FULLER, 8 Jon STYNES, 10 Calvin WHITNEY, 11 Dennis GALAN, 15 Chris SALDARIS, 17 Dean EVANS, 18 Phil ARNOLD (13 Hamza HINA 109’), 21 Keylun POLLARD - Subs not used: RGK Jordan BARBAS, 5 Jamie STREET, 12 Declan HUDSON, 20 James OWEN

Perth SC: GK Malek KUC, 2 Alex SILLA, 5 Niccolo SABBATINI, 6 Harley ORR, 10 Nicholas AMBROGIO (9 Gustavo CATARCIONE 91’), 11 Matt MILENKOVIC, 12 Jordan DE LEO, 14 Kristian SANTICH, 16 Kieran COLWELL, 18 Richard HOWLES, 19 Adam ZIMARINO (20 Paul ZIMARINO 87’) - Subs not used: RGK Daniel PASSARELLI, 7 Aleks JOVIC, 21 George FESTA - Red Cards: Sabatini 85’ - Referee: Steven Gregory



Armadale moved into the FFA Cup Semi-Final for the first time in their history, after a well-deserved 5-2 win against Dianella White Eagles at Alfred Skeet Reserve. Reds defender Billy Quinncroft opened the scoring early, but Eagles top scorer Angel Andres levelled two minutes before half time. Dannie Richman restored the Reds led in first half stoppage time, before Dhamon Kalamaras made it 2-2 with 20 minutes remaining. But three goals in a nine-minute spell from Ryan Haslett, Josh Kuser and Chris Jackson gave the home side a comfortable win.

“It was a good win for us, but they didn’t make it easy for us,” Quinncroft said. “They were well organised and worked hard as a unit, but I’m glad we had enough quality to pull off the result but it came with a few lumps and bumps. Worse for me as I ended up with a broken nose ha ha. But now we’re in the semifinal so only one win away from getting into the national draw, which would be a massive experience for Armadale.”

The home side made the perfect start and were ahead on 10 minutes. Nathan Costello’s free kick picked out Quinncroft who headed past Joel Driscoll. It was nearly two a couple of minutes later, Josh Kuser cross from out wide found Jackson, but the strike blazed over the top. Dianella lifted and began to take control of the game and they were level in the shadows of half time, Andres finishing well on the turn. But there was still time for Armadale to regain the lead, Charlie Kenna’s cross headed home by Richman.

The second half started on a low key but it was Dianella who started to get in good areas and on 70 minutes they restored parity. Ibrahim Hamad corner was met by substitute Kalamaras who headed home past Sam Hutchings. It looked like a cup shock was on the cards but Armadale had other ideas and they went in front again four minutes later. Jackson laid the ball off to Haslett, who finished at the near post.

Armadale added a fourth four minutes later, Haslett’s raced to the bye line and cut the ball back to Kuser at the back post who scored from close-range. The icing was put on the cake for the home side seven minutes from time, a quick throw in from Kenna sent Jackson in on goal and he finished with aplomb much to the delight of the Armadale faithful. “We had a very makeshift side today so I’m very proud of the players and thought they did very well,” Dianella Coach Robbie Dunn said. “I think we had a chance of winning it at one stage but as we pushed forward Armadale kept punishing us on the break. “We’ve lost five or six players in the last few weeks to injury so we will work with the players we have and see how far we can get in the league.”

Armadale: GK Sam HUTCHINGS, 2 Joshua KUSER (13 Hasan EL YASSIRI 64’), 3 Delan DE SILVA, 4 Nathan COSTELLO (C), 7 Charlie KENNA, 9 Billy QUINNCROFT, 10 Chris JACKSON, 11 Michael RIZIDIS (22 Ryan HASLETT 61’), 12 Dannie RICHMAN (16 Milan OGNJENOVIC 7’4), 15 Ali GHOLAMI, 21 Beau RAHIM - Subs not used: RGK Duncan LENNON-BLACK, 17 James ATKINS

Dianella White Eagles: GK Joel DRISCOLL, 2 Sotiris THEODOSIADES (15 Dhamon KALAMARAS 66’), 3 Spiro NENADIC (7 Yves MWILA 69’), 4 Bojan RADINOVIC (C), 6 Josam MUWOWO, 8 Ibrahim HAMAD, 9 Angel ANDRES, 10 Jose ZUNIGA, 12 Branimic DRAGOJEVIC, 13 Jimmy TABAN, 16 Mordecal APPIAH (11 Komando SIKAZWE 74’) Subs not used: 14 Phil ANGELO, 23 Mackenzie FERGUSON - Referee: Tom Glavovic



ECU Joondalup have moved into the FFA Cup Semi-Final after thrashing Forrestfield United 5-0 at the ECU Football Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Sam Pollard opened the scoring before skipper Daryl Nicol took over, bagged a hat-trick before half time. After the break Tom Hough scored his first senior goal for the Jacks to round off the scoring to move them into last four of the FFA Cup in WA.

“Getting to a semi-final of a cup competition is a great feeling, and that was what we focused on this week, and the boys were magnificent today,” Nicol said. “We were clinical and put in a very professional job, and you could tell from the start the lads were up for it and we want to go on and win the cup. I’m delighted to have got the goals today, and it gave us a good cushion at half-time. But it was also good to get a clean sheet today, especially after we copped six against them last time.”

The home side looked switched on early and Nicol’s cross picked out Gordon Smith after only two minutes, but his header was saved by Ben Parry. But on eight minutes their early pressure was rewarded with the lead. A short corner caught Forrestfield napping, Pollard found Nicol on the edge of the box, who gave it back to the youngster, and his shot from the right of the box beat keeper Ben Parry at the near post. It was 2-0 five minutes later, Doyle made a darting run into the box and was brought down by Will Tshubangu and referee Josh Mannella pointed straight to the spot. Nicol stepped up and sent Parry the wrong way to score from the resulting penalty.

ECU were totally dominating and it wasn’t long before they added a third. Shane Cassidy’s ball was flicked on by Doyle, and Nicol finished clinically past Parry. Then in the shadows of half time Nicol completed his hat-trick. A great through ball from Doyle sent Nicol clear and the Jacks skipper lobbed the on-coming keeper to round a great first half for himself and the home side.

ECU went close to a fifth early in the second half, Pollard and Doyle linked up well, and Pollard’s shot from the edge of the box flashed wide.

Forrestfield went close to pulling one back on the hour, Kristian Despotovski played in Jamie Duncan, but his shot was saved low by Johnny Perkins. Moments later Sani Sinclair’s long-range shot flashed wide of the target. The home side still looked dangerous going forward, and three minutes from time they added a fifth. Nicol’s corner was met by Hough, his first effort was well saved by Parry, but the teenager defender made no mistake with the rebound. “I think they had a point to prove today after what we did to them in the league. They started well and got the early goals and it was tough from there on in,” Forrestfield skipper Rhys Loxley said. "We had a few senior players out today but it was good to blood a few youngsters. But we now turn our attention to league matters, which is our main priority, and staying in the NPL, so we will put all our focus into that.”

ECU Joondalup: GK Johnny PERKINS, 2 Cian HIRRELL (12 Ryan MCDARBY 69’), 3 Ross MILLARD, 4 Steven MCGARRY, 5 Shane CASSIDY, 6 Tom HOUGH, 8 Josh WHITMORE (18 Declan HUGHES 60’), 9 Daryl NICOL (C), 10 Gordon SMITH, 11 Paddy DOYLE, 13 Sam POLLARD (7 Cameron MURRAY 79’) – Subs not used: RGK Jack NUNN, 17 Lukas DE LIMA

Forrestfield United: GK: Benjamin PARRY, 2. Will TSHUBANGA, 4 Jamie DUNCAN, 5 Mitchell NORMAN, 6 Kristian DESPOTOVSKI, 7 Mitchell CROCKER, 8 Josh APPLEBY, 9 Hasani SINCLAIR (10 Ben ROGERS 73’), 12 Callum DOBBS, 14 Antoine LEMARIE, 23 Rhys LOXLEY (3 Leslie MARI 60’) – Subs not used: RGK Luke MARTINO, 16 Sammy ATTA – Referee: Josh Mannella



Former Socceroo Robbie Dunn has stood down head coach of Dianella White Eagles, due to work commitments. Dunn joined the Eagles in 2016 and helped them avoid relegation and has took them on two good FFA Cup runs, but he said it's in the best interest of both parties to move on. “Due to increasing business pressures I have to stand down as head coach of the Dianella White Eagles Soccer Club effective immediately,” Dunn said.

“It is something I don’t want to do but as I would be away for eight games and 17 training sessions between now and the end of the season, so it is in the best interest of the players and the club that I stand aside now and let another coach come in and give him a decent chance to stamp his mark in the job.

“I came to the club at the end of 2016 to help my good mate Vesko try and avoid relegation and we achieved that. Vesko convinced me to stay on last year and with his help and my assistant Steve Huxtable we turned the club around and with the hard work of a newly assembled amazing playing group Dianella again became a force to be reckoned with.

“I will miss the players and the great supporters who have been nothing but terrific with me during my tenure. There is a very good core of players and I know that it is only a matter of time before they come good and start winning again. I wish Vesko, the players, the new coach and the club all the very best and am sure that they will continue to be a big part of WA soccer.”



ECU Joondalup have added experienced defender Kieron Stallard to their squad, after the Scotsman joined from Cockburn City. The 28-year-old played for Falkirk in the Scottish Premier League, after coming through the youth ranks, before signing for Airdrieonians for two seasons before coming to WA, where he is has played for Balcatta and Cockburn. He also joined the A-League Central Coast Mariners Academy side in the NSW Premier League in 2013.

Stallard said he’s delighted to head to the Campus. “Dale got in contact late last week and said he was after a defender to add to the squad and asked if I was interested at all, and I jumped at the chance,” he said. “Whether I signed or not the quality is already there to be pushing for the title, but hopefully I can contribute to an improved second half of the season on the park and off it.

“The ambition of the club is fantastic but I’m a big believer in just approaching each game at a time in the correct manner rather than looking too far ahead, as everyone’s seen this season, if you’re not 100% up for the fight each game you will drop points. So the way I see it, pushing for the title should be at the back of our minds, winning the next match each week should be the only focus.”

Jacks head coach Dale McCulloch Stallard is a great fit for the club. “We’re delighted to have signed Kieron, he’s a great defender and with injuries within our squad in the first half of the season, he was the one we wanted and the committee at the club have back me, and to get him on board has given us a huge boost for the second half of the season,” McCulloch said.

“He brings vast experience in the game, after a number of season’s playing in Scotland, and has shown in his time in the NPL he is a great organiser and leader and will add some strength to our back four, and I’m delighted to have him.”

Stallard said the decision to leave Cockburn was hard, but he believes it’s the best for him going forward. “To be honest I loved it at Cockburn and it wasn’t an easy decision at all to leave. They are a fantastic club who are doing very well and I think a lot of clubs should be looking at how they go about their business on the park at all levels,” he said. “They have a very close group of lads and have Scotty Miller as manager, who is a mate as well as the coach. I wasn’t looking for a move but I live in Wanneroo and when ECU contacted me I had to have a good think about it as it’s an opportunity that probably wouldn’t have come my way again. For me the ambition of the club, welcoming atmosphere around the place, and the quality that’s already here in the squad made my mind up.”

The defender will fit in well and he is hoping to bring success to the Campus. “I bring a lot of organisation to the team, a voice who will try to encourage and organize the boys on the park, though some might say I just moan,” he joked. “I always try have a laugh and a joke as the most important thing for me is about having a laugh and enjoying it, and when everyone’s enjoying it the good results usually follow. So hopefully I can slot in easily with the lads and hit the ground running.”

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

since the 26th June, 2002

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