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Perth Glory kick off their Hyundai A-League Premiership defence against Robbie Fowler's Brisbane Roar on Sunday afternoon. Tony Popovic's side were a cut above the rest over the course of 27 rounds in 2018/19, but fell short at the final hurdle, a penalty shootout defeat by Sydney FC in the Grand Final. But Glory will be hungry to immediately put a stake in the ground, but so too is one of their former players, Fowler who played for the Glory and scored nine goals for the club between 2010-2011. He’s now at the helm of Brisbane in his first role in full-time coaching, this match marks the beginning of a new chapter for him.

It’s not been a very successful pre-season for Glory, but Head Coach Tony Popovic said they can’t wait for the new season to begin. "The players are ready for Round One, it’s been a long off-season and you can see it in the players that they are raring to go and want to put the pre-season behind them,” he explained. “In the last couple of weeks, the players have been looking really fresh, energetic and focused for the start of the season."

Popovic is well aware it’s a much-changed Brisbane outfit this weekend, complete with a new coach, but while expecting the Roar to provide a stern first-up test, he is quietly confident that his charges can get off to a winning start. "We are just focusing on us, they [Brisbane] have a new coach in Robbie [Fowler] and a lot of new players’ similar numbers to what we've brought in as well,” he said. “I'm sure there's a lot of optimism in Brisbane about what they can achieve. We respect the work that they are trying to do and the ambitions that they have to get back to the top where they were accustomed to being.

“But we're also here ourselves to put on a performance in front of our home fans who haven't seen us at home since the Adelaide semi-final, so we're really determined to start on the front foot and get the three points. Last year the goal was to challenge for the title and we said that from the start, this year it's to try and do that again. We did something last year that hadn't been done by Perth before and now we have to do something that hasn't been done before again and that is to have success in two consecutive seasons. That's the challenge we have and it's an exciting one. It's a good way to come into a season; with plenty of expectation and we're enjoying that fact. We have to embrace that and tackle it head on."

In team news, the only confirmed absentee for Glory is Ivan Franjic who will serve a one-match suspension after seeing red in the FFA Cup clash with Western Sydney Wanderers. New recruits Gregory Wuthrich, James Meredith, Bruno Fornaroli, Kim Soo-Beom, Osama Malik are all in the Glory 20-man squad. Roar, meanwhile, are expected to hand Hyundai A-League debuts to a host of their new recruits including ex-Bury duo Tom Aldred and Jay O'Shea and livewire Welsh forward Aaron Amadi-Holloway and there could also be a place in the starting eleven for former Glory man, Scott Neville. Glory will be looking to secure a fourth straight win over Roar who have claimed three points only once in their last nine visits to HBF Park.

Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Tando VELAPHI, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Jacob TRATT, 4 Gregory WUTHRICH, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 8 James MEREDITH, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 12 Kim SOO-BEOM, 13 Osama MALIK, 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO (c), 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 27 JUANDE, 29 Kristian POPOVIC, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *Four to be omitted* - Unavailable: 5 Ivan FRANJIC (suspended – 1 week)

Brisbane Roar squad: GK Jamie YOUNG, RGK Max CROCOMBE, 2 Scott NEVILLE, 5 Tom ALDRED (c), 6 Macaulay GILLESPHEY, 7 Jai INGHAM, 8 Jacob PEPPER, 9 Roy O’DONOVAN, 10 Bradden INMAN, 12 Aiden O’NEILL, 13 Stefan MAUK, 15 Aaron REARDON, 20 Aaron AMADI-HOLLOWAY, 22 Jake MCGING, 23 Dylan WENZEL-HALLS, 24 Connor O’TOOLE, 25 Rahmat AKBARI, 26 Jay O’SHEA - *Two to be omitted* Unavailable: Nil - Referee Shaun Evans



The Socceroos attack is starting to click under coach Graham Arnold after they thrashed Nepal 5-0 in this evening's World Cup qualifier in Canberra. Australia were never challenged and dominated from start to finish against the Group B minnows as Jamie Maclaren scored his first international hat-trick.

Maclaren opened the scoring on 6 minutes by driving in the loose ball from Craig Goodwin's blocked drive. The second goal arrived when Aziz Behich's cross was headed back across goal by Ryhan Grant for Maclaren to net at point-blank range. Harry Souttar then made it three-nil by heading in from a Goodwin corner.

Souttar looked set to celebrate a brace on debut but his 59th minute effort deflected off Dinesh Rajbanshi for an own goal. Maclaren completed his hat-trick in the 90th minute after collecting the ball from Irvine's chest down inside the box. The Socceroos next face Taiwan away on Tuesday.



Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic reckons Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory deserve to be this season's A-League title favourites, saying his team can't call themselves a "big club" just yet. Glory won last season's Premiers Plate with two games to spare in a dominant campaign and fell just short of snaring the double when they lost the Grand Final to Sydney FC on penalties.

Glory are ranked third in most betting markets, which have Sydney rated as favourites with Victory expected to be their main challenger. It's a ranking Popovic feels is fair. "They should be favourites, they're the biggest clubs in the league," Popovic said. "We're not a big club. We're striving to become a big club."

"Sydney and Melbourne have shown over the course of the journey in the A-League that they've always been successful and they've always challenged for the title. And that is why they are big clubs. For us to become a big club that takes, for me, three to five years that you can be in that category."

Glory players have spoken openly about the pain of last season's Grand Final loss and Popovic is encouraging them to use it. "All players are motivated in different ways. Them to be hurting from a Grand Final loss is a good thing," Popovic said. "We had a fantastic year and came so close. If that's a driving force for the group, great. So be it."

Glory will field a new-look defence in Sunday's home clash with Brisbane Roar following the departure of Matthew Spiranovic, Jason Davidson, Shane Lowry and Scott Neville. Popovic thinks it will take a bit of time for them to hit full stride but he still expects them to perform strongly.



Ten months ago Gregory Wuthrich helped Young Boys topple Juventus in the UEFA Champions League, now the Swiss defender wants to help Perth Glory win a maiden A-League Grand Final. Wuthrich swapped Switzerland for Western Australia last month, signing a one-year deal with Glory.

In December Wuthrich was part of the Young Boys side that upset Italian giants Juventus in the Champions League. The centre-back was a late substitute in the match, where he lined up against the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Douglas Costa and Mario Mandzukic at the Stade de Suisse.

“Oh man, that was crazy,” reflected Wuthrich, who endured an injury-interrupted 2018/19 season with Young Boys that limited him to just 18 appearances and saw him miss glamour European ties against Manchester United and Valencia.

“I was so sad that I couldn’t play the other game, because of the injury, that hurt because we also had Manchester United in the group. But yeah it was crazy to play against all the big names, a full stadium. It’s definitely something that I will remember for the rest of my life.”

Wuthrich had spent his whole career at the Bern-based club, coming through the Young Boys academy and debuting for the first-team in 2014. But now the 24-year-old is ready to sample the A-League. “I like it so far. We have a great team,” he said. “The coach is good, the coaching staff, they’re very detailed.”

“The quality of life is the same here (as in Switzerland). The beach is very nice. We have the river in Bern, which is also nice. But it’s a big experience for me. I had to travel 24 hours to get here. I’m thankful Dino (Djulbic) is here because he speaks German, that’s cool for me.”

Born in Bern, Wuthrich has been part of two title-winning campaigns with Young Boys. But the defender admits he needed a change of scenery away from home comforts, hence the move to join Glory. “I spent my whole life in Bern. I needed a change,” he explained.

“I wanted to play more regularly because I lost my starting spot because I got injured last season. I started the season as a starter and did all of the Champions League qualification and then one day before the first Champions League game I injured myself.

“Thank god I could play at least one game against Juventus, which was a great experience. This summer I wanted a new challenge and then my agent told me there was interest from Perth Glory. I checked out everything, spoke with the coach and it was very interesting for me.”

“The A-League, for me, is growing. It gets bigger every year. So I’m really happy to be here. I think it will be a great experience and I want to help the team. Unfortunately they lost the Grand Final last season, but they are a really good team and that’s why I wanted to join them.”

With experience of playing in the Champions League and Europa League, and with 11 appearances for Switzerland’s Under-20 and Under-21 national teams, Wuthrich hopes he can pass his knowledge on to his younger Glory teammates. “I won two titles with Young Boys, I’ve played a lot of games in the Europa League,” he said.

“I played until the Under-21s with the Swiss national team. I’m here to help the team because I saw that they had a really good defence here last year, many clean sheets, and I think we can have the same results this year.”

Wuthrich admits the appeal of working under coach Tony Popovic, a former Socceroos defender, provided a strong incentive to sign for the A-League club. “My agent told me first that he was a player in England and a defender,” he said.

“I watched some clips of him on YouTube and when he introduced himself to me he told me a little bit about himself. After the conversation with him I was sold. He wants to help me to improve, to get better and give me playing time. I was happy.”



Perth Glory captain Diego Castro believes an injection of fresh legs will help them prove the doubters wrong this A-League season. Glory were the dominant team last campaign, with the star-studded squad winning the Premiers Plate and qualifying for the Grand Final.

The exit of proven performers Jason Davidson, Matthew Spiranovic, Shane Lowry and Andy Keogh has left some wondering whether they have the talent to go one step further this time around. Spanish maestro Castro is optimistic about Glory's chances. "Maybe people doubt about what is this year or what Perth Glory looks like. I'm confident," he said.

"I'm looking to improve what we did last year. The players that have left have left a legacy. We will never forget that but I like it when you have a team with big potential. We need those fresh legs, we need that motivation. They come to training with all the motivation, which is fantastic."

Glory are rated third favourites for the title in most betting markets - behind Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory. They begin the new season at home on Sunday against a new-look Brisbane Roar coached by former Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler, who also spent the 2010/11 season wearing Glory colours.



Months after being cheered on in the A-League Grand Final, Brisbane Roar recruit Scott Neville isn't expecting a warm welcome against Perth Glory on Sunday. Just five months ago the 30-year old was being cheered on by his hometown fans in the season finale against Sydney FC.

On Sunday Neville is expecting those cheers to turn to jeers when Brisbane kick-off the new season against his former club. "Definitely not warm, no," Neville said when asked what kind of reception he's anticipating from Glory's notoriously parochial fan area known as the Shed.

"I've left there twice now. They've got a good set of fans and I'm sure they're going to hammer me and boo me or whatnot. That's part of the banter, I'll take it on board and hopefully we can get the win and stick it back to them."

Leaving Glory for Brisbane may seem a backward step for Neville given the difference in the clubs' performances last season. The former Sorrento player said the chance to be reunited with Liverpool legend and current Brisbane coach Robbie Fowler, who played for Glory in 2010/11, was impossible to resist.

"I'd worked under Tony Popovic for a few years and he's a great manager and obviously gets the results but once Robbie called and said what he wants to do here, the plan he had in place and the plan he had for myself ... it was something I was excited about and a new challenge," Neville said.



Perth Glory midfielder Brandon Wilson is one of four Olyroos at the centre of an investigation for alleged misconduct during a tournament in Cambodia in March. The quartet could potentially face fines or even suspension from the Olympic qualifying tournament in January after being issued with a show-cause notice by Football Federation Australia.

It is understood Riley McGree (Adelaide United), Lachlan Wales, Nathaniel Atkinson (both Melbourne City) and Wilson have been asked to explain their actions after breaking a curfew imposed by coach Graham Arnold following a game against South Korea, when one player contacted a local woman via Tinder. All four players were omitted from the Olyroos’ training camp being held this week in Doha.



Perth Glory recruit Bruno Fornaroli cannot wait to end his 11-month A-League exile when the new season kicks off this weekend. The Uruguayan striker hasn't been sighted in the A-League since he was frozen out by Melbourne City in November last year.

Denied a move to another A-League club in the middle of the season, Fornaroli has been a frustrated spectator ever since despite signing with the Glory in March. "One of my worst years in my career in terms of the way I leave Melbourne City," he said.

"I'm very grateful to the club and everyone knows this so it's tough to leave ... when I think I do very well for them. In that way it's not good for anyone. Now it's finished, now I'm looking forward. That's why now I can't wait to start ... I think we have a great team to fight for the title this year."

Fornaroli's move west is a massive coup for Tony Popovic's team. The 32-year old won the 2015/16 Golden Boot and has 46 goals in 70 A-League appearances. As Glory aim to go one better following their Grand Final loss last season, a fired-up Fornaroli says he couldn't be happier with his new club.

"I spoke with some players like Diego (Castro) before going; Popovic gave me big confidence to go with Glory and follow them," Fornaroli said. "Now I'm ready to play and give back to them the confidence they've given to me."



Perth Glory are about to embark on the biggest season in their history in a quest for silverware that will take them beyond the A-League and into the AFC Champions League. Last season’s success has brought expectation like never before as the Glory prepare to kick off a new domestic campaign against Brisbane Roar next weekend.

Coach Tony Popovic is confident his side can go one step further after the heartbreak of the grand final penalty shoot-out loss to Sydney FC. He will need to call on all of his experience to take Glory deep into the Champions League, but says they are hungry for more success. “I see their desire. They’ve had a taste and they want more,” Popovic said.

“Players have come back with a renewed attitude, to want to win more. It’s written all over their faces. It’s in their body language. Words are not required from me. I see their actions on the field and that tells me how determined they are. We did something last year that had never been done before. Our greatest challenge is to repeat that success again.”

The off-season has seen a squad transformation, with Brendon Santalab, Fabio Ferreira, Jacob Italiano, Jason Davidson, Scott Neville, Andy Keogh and Shane Lowry gone. But Popovic has recruited without fuss by bringing in experienced trio Bruno Fornaroli, James Meredith and Osama Malik and youngersters Nick D’Agostino, Jacob Tratt, Dane Ingham and Gregory Wuthrich.

Not all the new arrivals are household names, but Popovic has a knack of extracting the best from players who have not had success at other clubs. Recruitment has not been as settled as last year when Popovic had almost his whole squad together by July. Final additions have only arrived in the past two weeks.

“We’ve lost some very good players and we’ve brought in a lot of new players, especially in the back line,” Popovic said. “Last year we were fortunate that the players we wanted were available early. This time we have had to be patient and not just take a player for the sake of getting the numbers up.”

“New players have come in at different stages, at different fitness levels, from different backgrounds. We are excited by the quality, but it will take time for some of them to adapt. We will be good for round one. We know throughout the year we will get better. We want to win the championship.”



Jordan Lyden says the fresh vantage point at which he has been able to watch Swindon Town in recent weeks has left him in little doubt that over the quality they have at their disposal. The midfielder has missed Town’s last four League Two fixtures since limping off in their win over Leyton Orient on 7 September with a thight injury.

Lyden, 23, has since returned to full training this week and is expected to be back involved in the matchday squad for today’s trip to Bradford City. He concedes taking in the game from the stands rather than competing on the pitch is not a situation he is comfortable with. However, it has allowed him to be take in a full view of the credentials of Richie Wellens’ side – and it has left him mightily impressed.

“I feel good. I had a little setback against Leyton Orient, which was obviously disappointing as I felt like I started the season quite well, but I am back training, so I am raring to go for Saturday,” said Lyden. “Since I have been doing my rehab, I am generally in six days a week.”

I worked hard in the gym just to get that base strength and hopefully I can maintain that now I am back playing games. I struggle watching as I feel I can benefit and help the team. The most frustrating thing about football is not playing.”

“When you are injured, you can’t do anything about it. At least when you are not getting picked, you can do something about it on the training pitch to hope to get in the team. League Two football is about adapting to different styles of play.”

“We came up against a tough team last Saturday against Newport. I don’t feel that they played much football, but the physicality of some of their boys was a difficult test for some of our lads. There are one against ones all over the pitch, so you have to beat your opponent first and then see if you can help your team-mates out.”

“With the technical ability we have, I think we are good enough to play around those sorts of teams. If we move the ball quickly and take one or two touches, that’s how you break those teams down. With the technical ability we have in the squad, we are more than capable of doing that.”

Lyden’s time away from the pitch has granted him the chance to take in other aspects of the club. The former Aston Villa player arrived at the Energy Check County Ground over the summer and has praised the collective effort from everyone involved at Town both on and off the pitch and in the stands too.

“It is not just the eleven starters you see, it is the backroom staff, the kitmen, the physios, the sports science people. There are more people in football than just the players,” said Lyden. “Since I have come in, I have noticed this club is very family-orientated and very together.”

“That’s what you need at a club moving towards promotion. The fans have made me feel so welcome. That’s all I could ask for. You see the turnout we get at home games – 7,000-plus is very high for League Two. Even the away support has travelled in numbers, so that is a positive thing when we walk out and see that.”



Swan United will play State League Division One football in 2020 after they completed a comfortable 5-1 aggregate win against Murdoch University Melville in the Inter Divisional Play Off Final last week. It all started at the Murdoch Synthetic Sports Ground on Wednesday evening with United grabbing a 2-1 win. Brian Patterson pounced in the opening minute, before doubling the Black and Whites advantage on the half hour. Mark Lucas pulled one back for Gavin Brown’s side but it’s Paul Dundo’s side who headed into the second leg with the advantage. “It was a very hard-fought win, in a game where they dominated possession but we kept our shape well and made it hard for them to break us down,” Swan keeper Joey Smith said. “They scored from a penalty which could have gone either way but we dug in deep and got the away win, but we know Saturday will be an even tougher challenge for us, but one we are looking forward too.”

The visitors made the perfect start in the this one and were ahead after only sixty seconds. Jay Lang sent a great through ball behind the MUM back four to John Monterosso, who eased past his marker and cut the ball back to Patterson who finished clinically via the post. It got better for the visitors on 28 minutes when they double their advantage. Some high pressure caused a rushed clearance and the ball fell at the feet of Patterson 40-yards from goal, and he saw MUM keeper Alec Radonich off his line and his perfect first-time lob saw the ball land in the net much to the delight of the travelling supporters.

But MUM hit back six minutes later, when referee Brendan skinner spotted a foul by Swan defender Chris Marshall and pointed straight to the spot. It looked a little harsh with both players going for the ball but Lucas finished calmly from the resulting penalty to make it 2-1 to Swan at the break. The home side pressed after half time and created a number of chances but they failed to convert, while Swan looked dangerous on the counter attack, but there were no more goals so it’s off to Francis Street on Saturday for the second leg with it all to play for. “I thought it was a real gritty win for us, but it’s only half time, we know that,” Swan striker John Monterosso said. “We knew we wouldn’t have much of the ball but we made our chances count and defended well to get a good result.”

Teams for first leg:
Murdoch University Melville: GK Alec RADONICH, 2 Beau RAHIM, 3 Tom PELLIZZARI, 5 Ryan TUCKER, 6 Broden BROWN, 7 Adrian CIAMPINI, 8 Mark LUCAS (14 Christian LONG 73’), 9 Kai JONES (19 Josip VUJICA 56’), 10 Sasa SLAVUJEVIC (13 Grant MOWATT 33’), 11 Declan TANNA, 12 Callum MELLOWSHIP—Subs not used: RGK Joseph GAN, 15 Godfrey ASIMWE

Swan United: GK Joey SMITH, 4 Luke COLLI (9 David FOSTER 66’), 5 Chris MARSHALL, 6 Liam MERIGAN, 7 Alan PATAROV (2 Marco TRIMBOLI 86’), 8 Aaron COLLI, 10 Brian PATTERSON, 11 John MONTEROSSO, 12 Lucas ALLENDER, 16 Jay LANG, 14 Brennan BORZECKI - Subs not used: 17 Thomas BLACK, 18 David PAONE - Referee: Brendan Skinner

The hosts were on the front foot early in the second leg and Paul Dundo’s side got off to the perfect start when David Foster and John Monterosso combined to punish some poor Murdoch defending inside five minutes. A long clearance from Joey Smith found Foster, and the former Derby County trainee slipped the ball neatly to Monterosso who finished clinically into the bottom corner. Murdoch, who had fought back from a similar deficit in the Semi-Final against Gosnells, went in search of a goal to get them back into the game, but Swan custodian Joey Smith produced a couple of smart saves to deny Declan Tanna and Adrian Ciampini.

But at the other end, Monterosso showed them how to do it when he doubled the Black and Whites lead on the half hour. Foster and Liam Merigan combined well to put the striker through on goal and he made no mistake with another cool finish. MUM needed a good start to the second half to get back in the game but found the home sides back line resolute, with skipper Aaron Colli and Chris Marshall solid, they struggled to create any clear-cut chances.

With the tie slipping away coach Gavin Brown throw caution to the wind and sent players forward. But a similar recovery to the one against Gosnells never materialised, and Swan were danger on the counter-attack and it wasn’t a surprise when they added a third five minutes from time. It was Man of the Match Foster that pounced on some poor MUM defending, and scored from the angle despite Anthony Lomma’s attempted clearance on the line to seal a 5-1 aggregate win.

At the final whistle there were wild celebration on and off the park as the once Premier League club Swan United were promoted to Division One. "We’re all very happy with the promotion win, we scored some early goals in both games which put us in control of the game," Foster said. "The players and the coaching staff worked tirelessly throughout the season and never gave up, I'm very happy for the club."

Teams for the Second Leg
Swan United: GK Joey SMITH, 5 Chris MARSHALL, 6 Liam MERIGAN, 7 Alan PATAROV, 8 Aaron COLLI, 9 David FOSTER, 10 Brian PATTERSON, 11 John MONTEROSSO, 12 Lucas ALLENDER, 16 Jay LANG, 14. Brennan BORZECKI - Substitutes: RGK Connor ANDERSON, 2 Marco TRIMBOLI 4 Luke COLLI, 17 Thomas BLACK, 18 David PAONE

Murdoch University Melville: GK Alec RADONICH, 2 Beau RAHIM, 3 Tom PELLIZZARI, 5 Ryan TUCKER, 6 Broden BROWN, 7 Adrian CIAMPINI, 8 Mark LUCAS, 10 Godfrey ASIMWE 11 Declan TANNA, 12 Callum MELLOWSHIP, 19 Josip VUJICA – Substitutes: RGK Joseph GAN, 8 Samuel COOK, 9 Christian LONG, 14 Anthony LOMMA, 15 Simon EL CHAMI – Referee: Arvin Shan



Striker Adam Taggart is the solitary West Australian in a strong Socceroos squad as the national team seek to build towards qualification for the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Coach Graham Arnold’s squad will convene in Canberra next week ahead of games with Nepal (10 October) and Chinese Taipei (15 October).

“Our group did very well in their first qualifier away from home, so I am pleased to be able maintain significant consistency within the squad as we seek to build upon our strong start to qualifying for Qatar,” Arnold said. “(West Australian) Trent (Sainsbury) is managing a minor injury but remains on standby for the squad should we need to call him in.”

The Australia squad to play Nepal (10 October) and Chinese Taipei (15 October) is Mustafa Amini (AGF Aarhus), Aziz Behich (Istanbul Basaksehir), Brandon Borrello (SC Freiburg), Milos Degenek (Red Star Belgrade), Apostolos Giannou (AEK Larnaca), Craig Goodwin (Al-Wehda), Rhyan Grant, Andrew Redmayne (Sydney FC), Ajdin Hrustic (FC Groningen), Jackson Irvine (Hull City), James Jeggo (Austria Wien), Mitchell Langerak (Nagoya Grampus), Mathew Leckie (Hertha BSC), Massimo Luongo (Sheffield Wednesday), Awer Mabil (FC Midtylland), Jamie Maclaren (Melbourne City), Mark Milligan (Southend United), Aaron Mooy, Mathew Ryan (Brighton and Hove Albion), Brad Smith (Seattle Sounders), Harry Souttar (Fleetwood Town), Adam Taggart (Suwon Bluewings) and Bailey Wright (Bristol City).



Fringe Socceroo Rhys Williams has retired from international football. The Saudi Arabia-based defender was called up to the Socceroos squad as recently as last June, but remained an unused substitute for the friendly away to South Korea.

Coach Graham Arnold has since preferred Olyroos duo Harry Souttar and Thomas Deng, who was a late call up for injured Mark Milligan in the last camp. 31-year old Williams is believed to have been on standby for every Socceroos squad since Arnold has taken charge.

Williams has defied the odds to overcome two torn achilles’ which threatened to end his promising career. The former ECU Joondalup junior worked tirelessly to recover and get himself back into Socceroos contention, in a bid to fulfil his childhood dream of playing in a World Cup.

However, Williams did not make a 50-man shortlist for the 2018 World Cup under Bert van Marwijk. Sources close to the defender have indicated that missing the 2018 cut and the string of setbacks en route to trying to win back his Socceroos spot have taken an emotional toll on him.

“Australia was deprived of the opportunity in seeing the full value of Rhys Williams due to significant injuries at the prime of his career,” Williams’ agent Tony Rallis said. “One of the most talented players of the back end of the golden era he could have had a significant Socceroos career.”



Perth Glory is delighted to confirm Riley Warland has signed a two-year scholarship contract with the club. The 17-year old returns for a second spell at the club following a stint with English Premier League side Fulham.

Warland took plenty of positives from his twelve months at Fulham. “It was a dream come true for me to go over to England,” he said, “and obviously the dream is not over just yet.”

“But I think maybe I was just a bit too young. Family is such a massive thing for me and moving away from home and family at such a young age is a tough thing to wrap your head around.”

“I think I gave it a good go, but it was great to get the opportunity to come back to my hometown club for a couple of years and it’s going to be another fantastic experience for me.”

Warland is particularly looking forward to working under coach Tony Popovic. “He’s a great coach and being a central defender myself, it’s fantastic being able to learn from one of the best,” he said. “It’s going to be a great experience for me.”

Warland played juniors at Quinns and ECU Joondalup before entering the Glory Academy at the age of 10. He progressed up through the clubs ranks, playing in the National Youth League and National Premier Leagues while representing the State.



Veteran defender Dino Djulbic has made an astonishing recovery from an injury that almost ended his career to re-sign with Perth Glory for another season. The 36-year old tore an anterior cruciate ligament early in the second half of last season’s heartbreaking Grand Final loss.

Glory gave Djulbic until the end of the year to prove his fitness when he opted out of surgery but recovery has been quicker than expected and the key figure in last season’s maiden Premiership is ready to go. Talking about the injury for the first time Djulbic said he had no idea how serious the problem was when he felt the pain.

"I knew I had done something because of the discomfort I had in my knee,” Djulbic said. “But with all the adrenaline and being the first club’s Grand Final there was no way I was going off. When I found out what it was I was pretty disappointed, everything was up in the air, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to play again.”

He was offered surgery but chose to take the hard work option. “We discussed it with the club and the medical staff and decided to give it a go without surgery,” he said. “If I had had surgery I would have been out for a longer period, probably 12 months. I knew there was going to be lot of work to do. If I was younger I probably would have rushed into surgery.”

“I’ve worked really hard. From day one I was straight in the gym. Some people thought it was impossible but when people tell me I can’t do something, I say ‘I can’. I love a challenge. That’s what drives me. I had the full support of the club and the boss (coach Tony Popovic) was unbelievable.”

“He thinks I’ve got something I can contribute to the team and the club and I feel good. I thought I had a pretty decent season last year and I don’t want to give that up. It excites me. There was a lot of success last season but there’s that little thing that happened right at the end and I think we can achieve that this year. That’s a big driving factor.”

Djulbic, a former Perth SC junior, has made 112 appearances for Glory across three spells following his debut in 2007. Since then he has also turned out for Rot Weiss Ahlen (Germany), Gold Coast United Guizhou Renhe (China), Al-Wahda (United Arab Emirates), Felda United (Malaysia) and Melbourne Victory, along with two Socceroos outings.

“It means a lot to re-sign for another season. We’ve got our first Asian Champions League campaign, which is a massive achievement for the club,” he said. “To win the premiership last season was huge. With the boss here I know we can achieve more success and that’s why I wanted to continue to be a part of this club.”



Daniel De Silva has hailed the influence of coach Alen Stajcic as Central Coast Mariners close in on their first FFA Cup Final. After a few lean years in the A-League, Central Coast are on the cusp of reaching the Cup decider when they host Adelaide United in Wednesday's semi-final.

De Silva is likely to play a key role for the Gosford club and has started all three previous matches of their Cup run. Having spent last season on loan at A-League champions Sydney FC, the 22-year old returned to his parent club and has thrived working under Stajcic.

“He (Stajcic) has come in with a lot of new faces and a new philosophy and everything, it’s been awesome and obviously the results are telling,” De Silva said. “I’m looking forward to continuing to work hard during pre-season and hit the season running. I think you’ll see an attacking style of play from us this season.”

“Staj loves to play combinations, and that’s something I think we’ve shown so far. We’ll continue to work on that and get better at that, but hopefully it’s an entertaining style of football and a style that will help us to win games.”

Asked about the challenge of facing the Reds, who are aiming to qualify for a fourth FFA Cup final, De Silva said: “They’ve made some good signings and lost a good player in (Craig) Goodwin but I think for us we’ll just focus on ourselves and preparing for the game as best as we can.”

“We have a style of play, we’re adaptable and we’ll have a look at them in the coming days and prepare for the game as best as we can tactically. It’s a good squad this year with plenty of depth and I think it’ll be a great match and we’re looking forward to it.”

“We’re very excited to be staying at home and playing in front of the fans. Hopefully we get a really great turnout, it will be great to see all the fans there, and we really can’t wait to play our first game of the season at home and we’re all hoping to get the job done in front of them.”



Central Coast Mariner Mark Birighitti knows he still has time to be the best Australian goalkeeper after he was lauded as the greatest teen prodigy at Adelaide United. Now 28, and with him and his partner Carly expecting their first child - a boy - in January, Birighitti believes he hasn’t peaked as a gloveman.

Birighitti cites the Mediterranean football culture, where mature-aged ‘keepers are constantly making their marks, as one that gives him hope that his career is yet to flourish. “It’s been a great journey experiencing football in different parts of the world - Italy, England and in Holland and now it brings me back with Central Coast,’’ Birighitti said. “Life is good - I’m back playing and enjoying what I’m doing.”

Birighitti isn’t bitter about his awkward stint at Melbourne City last season in which his former Adelaide United mentor Eugene Galekovic played every A-League game. Now the former Adelaide United keepers will face off in different roles in a curious FFA Cup semi-final. Birighitti aims to keep the Reds out as the Mariners seek their first knockout final at Central Coast Stadium on Wednesday night.

Capped by the Socceroos once in 2013 against China, Birighitti was mentored by Galekovic at Adelaide. After a five-year apprenticeship as Galekovic’s understudy, he played for Newcastle Jets and had a stint in arguably the toughest second division on the planet for Varese in Italy’s Serie B. He signed for then English Premier League club Swansea City before moving to the Netherlands’ NAC Breda.

Birighitti is now looking forward help prove that Central Coast are the most improved A-League outfit since the arrival of Alen Stajcic. “We can create history in Gosford,’’ Birighitti said. “Staj (Stajcic) is just a great coach, from the moment I’ve arrived he has given me that confidence and he is a very intelligent coach. We have analysed Adelaide, their weaknesses and their strengths and we’re putting it all into practice.”



Kingsley have completed a league and cup double after beating Carramar 6-2 in a pulsating Belt-Up Amateur Cup Final at Macedonia Park on Sunday evening. It was a blistering start to the game with Jamie Gibson and Joel Gibson scoring doubles for their respect teams early, before Simone Sichel and Josh Waldock gave Kingsway the lead at the break. Steven Dimitrovich’s side went on with it after the break with Sean Johnson and Baily Salmon added two more after the break to seal the win, and add the cup to their Premier Division title.

“They made it hard for us early, and we had spoken about their physicality before the game and we needed to be on our game early, but we gave away two soft goals,” Dimitrovich said. “But once we got the game on our terms we dominated and went on with it which is pleasing. We have worked on our set-pieces all season and it showed tonight, we scored some good goals and we’re delighted to have secured the double for the club and we look forward to next season in the State League.”

There was a big crowd on hand for this one, and it burst into life early when Carramar took the lead after only seven minutes. Josh Justice was brought down in the penalty area by Jesse Higgins and referee Walter Ciotti pointed straight to the spot. Gibson stepped up and sent Ryan Moss the wrong way from the spot to give Carramar the lead. But Kingsley were level four minutes later, Gillespie’s in-swinging corner wasn’t dealt with and it went straight in off the back post. But sixty seconds later Carramar hit back to regain the lead. A poor back pass sent Gibson clear and he raced into goal, rounded Moss and finished into an empty net much to the delight of the Carramar faithful.

What a start to the game and the excitement wasn’t over there and on 21 minutes a superb through ball from Jayden Drummond sent Waldock clear, but he was brought down on the edge of the box by Carramar keeper Matt Evans, who was lucky not to see red. But from the resulting free kick Gillespie curled the ball up and over the wall into the corner of the net to restore parity again for Kingsley. Kingsley were now on top and Gillespie had a perfect opportunity to give them the lead and complete his trick on the half hour.

He was sent clear by a long clearance from Moss, but his shot on the run flashed inches wide of the target. But that miss was forgotten two minutes later when Kingsley hit the front for the first time. Gillespie’s corner found the unmarked Sichel at the back post to head home. It was 4-2 on the stroke of half time. Sichel turned provider this time his long ball sent Waldock in on goal and there was some hesitation at the back and he raced clear and finished low past Evans.

The second half was a little more subdued, Sichel firing wide for Kingsley early, before Carramar half time substitute Baily Seppings shot was saved low by Moss. But Carramar hopes took a blow on 74 minutes when they were reduced to ten men when Lee Blackwell received a second yellow card and was sent off. Kingsley continued to press and their supporters were in full voice again eight minutes from time, when Lee Thomas’ free kick picked out substitute Sean Johnson who headed home to make it 5-2.

Carramar had a chance to get a consolation goal in the first minute of stoppage time when Moss brought down Gibson in the box and they were awarded another penalty, but Gibson stepped up and fired his spot kick over the top. Kingsley put the icing on the cake two minutes later, a great cross field pass found Salmon, and he raced into the penalty area and finished low past Evans to seal a comprehensive victory.

Kingsley: GK Ryan MOSS, 2 Simone SICHEL (9 Sean JOHNSON 77), 3 Bailey SALMON, 4 Aaron LICKISS, 7 Lewis FLATT, 8 Joel GILLESPIE, 10 Jayden DRUMMOND, 12 Josh WALDOCK (11 Ryan BROWN 70), 13 Lee THOMAS, 15 Ryan CARR (5 Adam O’NIELL 55), 16 Jesse HIGGINS - Subs not used: RGK Rob ANDREWS, 6 Luke COLTMAN

Carramar: GK Matt EVANS, 2 William DALZELL, 3 Matt CLEMANS, 5 Matt THOMAS (11 Baily SEPPINGS 46), 6 Lee BLACKWELL, 7 Wayne GUEST, 8 Kerion HARRISON, 9 Jamie GIBSON, 10 Harley CURRAN, 12 James MCKNIGHT (81), 14 Gary JAMES, 13 Josh JUSTICE (17 Lucas REID 70) - Subs not used: 4 Phil SIMMONS, 41 James MACE - Red Cards: Blackwell 74 - Referee: Walter Ciotti



North Beach Soccer Club have completed a successful season by winning the 2019 Belt-Up Amateur Reserves Cup Final after a 6-5 penalty shoot-out victory against Wembley Downs at Macedonia Park on Sunday afternoon. North Beach, who also won the Belt-Up Amateur Division Two title, had fought out a tough 0-0 draw against their Premier Division opponents in normal time, but keeper Jackson Hughes was the hero in the shoot-out saving the final penalty to seal the win.

North Beach coach Mick Frost was a happy man after the final whistle and paid credit to his players. “It was a great result for us today, and we’ve got a great bunch of young lads, who have worked really hard this year, so full credit to them, I’m really proud of them,” he said. “They (Wembley) came at us late, but we stuck to the game plan and got the result and it’s the icing on the cake after winning the league.”

Both sides had early chances in this one. First North Beach’s Callum Parker’s long-range shot was saved at the second attempt by Tom Livingstone, before Diarmaid Ryng’s shot whistled over the top at the other end. Wembley went close again on the quarter hour, Gary McCarthy raced down the right and cut inside the penalty area, his shot was turned towards goal by North Beach defender Finn McMahon, but Hughes reacted well to make a vital save.

It was a real arm wrestle and the hot weather was taking its toll on the players, but Jason Doherty was leading the line well for North Beach, while James Mackie was doing likewise for Wembley, but at the break it was scoreless. It was Wembley out of the blocks early after the break and after some neat build up play Ryng’s shot from the edge of the penalty area was well saved by Hughes.

Wembley were well on top and created a number of chances. First McCarthy’s cross was headed wide by Ryng, before Nicholas Riveros’ long-range shot flashed wide of the target. Then in stoppage time Wembley almost won it. A long clearance was flicked on by Dave Mohan and Darragh Wright was in on goal, but his shot flew inches wide of the target, so we were off to penalties. All penalties were successful scored and we went into sudden death, and Alec Etheridge scored North Perth’s sixth, but Hughes managed to save Nick Richards’ spot kick to win the cup for North Beach.

North Beach SC: GK Jackson HUGHES, 14 Jason DOHERTY, 15 Kane GRAVES, 17 Darrell GIBNEY, 19 James PAYNTER, 20 Alec ETHERIDGE, 21 Marko VIDOVIC, 22 Ali WESTWOOD, 23 Jordan FUTTER, 24 Dennis PERRIE, 25 Arron ROBERTS, 26 Tom VINCENT, 27 Callum PARKER, 28 Finn MCMAHON, 29 Billy SIMMONDS, 31 Ben SMITH

Wembley Downs: GK Tom LIVINGSTONE, 8 Gary MCCARTHY, 9 Zack KILLORAN, 12 Dylan MOORE, 14 James BOWLAND, 16 Karl FISHER, 17 Nicholas RIVEROS, 28 Darragh WRIGHT, 30 Danny D’AVOINE, 34 Dave MOHAN, 35 Daragh LINDSAY, 40 Anton MITTRA, 46 Diarmaid RYNG, 48 James MACKIE, 51 Nick RICHARDS, 99 Ben NOBLE - Referee: Stewart Beatie



Perth Soccer Club’s NPL Finals Series run has come to an end after a 0-2 defeat against NPLNSW side Wollongong Wolves in the Semi-Final at Albert Butler Park on Sunday afternoon. A first half striker from Wolves top goalscorer Thomas James gave the hosts the lead at the break, and with the Azzurri pressing late for the equaliser Tekeru Okada added a second to book their place in next weeks Grand Final against NPL Queensland side Lions FC.

Ramon Falzon’s side were on the front foot early and Andres Theodosiades sent Matthew Milenkovic in on goal, but his shot was saved low by former Central Coast Mariners keeper Justin Pasfield. But it was Wollongong who hit the front on 29 minutes. A long ball sent James in on goal, the English striker’s initial shot was well saved by Francis Soale, the Wollongong top goalscorer fired home the rebound.

Perth were struggling to break down a tight Wollongong back four with Nikola Djorjevic and Nicholas Littler outstanding, while Luke Wilkshire’s side created the better chances. But Perth throw caution to the wind and second half substitute Michael Domfeh header was blocked with fifteen minutes remaining. But that was as close as they got and in the fourth minute of stoppage time Wollongong added the vital second. James picking out Japanese striker Okada, who finished low past Soale from a tight angle. making no mistake from a tight angle.

Perth, who beat Victorian Premiers Heidelberg United last week, battled hard all game, but the NPL WA is still waiting to boast a national champion, with Bayswater City the state’s sole finalists in 2015. Wollongong, who are playing in the NPL Finals Series for the first time, will host 2018 runners-up Lions FC in the Grand Final after the Queenslanders beat Maitland 2-0 on Saturday.

NPL Finals - Semi-final
Wollongong Wolves 2 (James 29’, Okada 94’) Perth SC 0

Sunday 29 September 2019 @ Albert Butler Park
Referee: Michael Mammis - Assistant referees: Aleksander Liber, Max Hanlon

Wollongong Wolves: GK Justin PASFIELD, 2 Taylor MCDONALD, 4 Nikola DJORJEVIC, 7 Chris PRICE, 9 Thomas JAMES, 11 Takeru OKADA, 14 Harry CALLAHAN (Darcy MADDEN 69’), 15 Nicholas LITTLER, 17 James STOJCEVSKI (10 Brendan GRIFFIN 83’), 24 Lachlan SCOTT (13 Stefan DIMOSKI 76’) - Subs not used: 6 LIAM WILLE, 12 LUKE KAIRIES - Yellow Cards: Madden 84’

Perth SC: GK: Francis SOALE, 2. Alex SILLA, 3. Andreas THEODOSIADES (9 Gustavo CATARCIONE 61’), 6 Harley ORR, 18. Michael DOMFEH, 11. Matt MILENKOVIC (17 Frank FURFARO 70’), 12. Jordan DE LEO, 14. Kristian SANTICH, 16. Kieran COLWELL, 19. Bojan RADINOVIC, 20 Paul ZIMARINO - Subs not used: RGK Dejan ALEKSIC, 4 Tom SOUTHGATE, 7 Aleks JOVIC - Yellow cards: Radinovic 83’



It was a busy day at Macedonia Park and it all started at 9.00am when Fremantle City came from behind to beat Joondalup City 3-2 in the Belt Up Metro Cup Final. It was Joondalup who opened the scoring on seven minutes, when Stephen Connolly cross picked out Roshann Frederic, who headed home. But Fremantle hit back and levelled on 18 minutes Joe Williams scrambling the ball over the line. That goal lifted the port side and they hit the front five minutes later. Williams was played in on goal and his first effort was saved by Rory Lister, but he was quickest to the rebound to score. They added a third six minutes before half time, Riley Burns raced down the flank and cut inside the box and finished well to send them to the beak with a handy lead. Joondalup hit the woodwork early in the second half, Frederic shot smacked the post and back into the grateful arms of Fremantle keeper Oisin Blaney. But on 50 minutes Fremantle did reduce the margin, Frederic’s free kick giving them hope. They should have levelled on 70 minutes, but Gavin Brady fluffed his lines, before Craig Highet header was well saved low by Blaney. The win for Fremantle sees them complete a league and cup double.

In the Belt-Up Masters Cup Final at 11.15am Hillary’s have beaten Kingsley 3-2 in an entertaining game. Hillarys were ahead on 35 minutes with Anthony Jones on target, and Jones went close to a second moments later, but his effort smacked the crossbar. Hillary’s doubled their lead on 70 minutes, Jonathan Byrne lobbing keeper Kevan Towers. It looked game over when Hillary’s add a third seven minutes later, Dean Hall finishing well past Towers. But Kingsley weren’t finished and seven minutes from time they pulled one back, Allan Brady slotting home a penalty after Robbie Fanning was pushed in the box. They added another two minutes from time, Luke Dove raced clear and finished clinically past Lawrence Walsh, but they couldn’t find another and it was Hillary’s lifting the trophy.

Then it was the Over-45’s Cup Final at 1.30pm and Joondalup United proved too strong for Bayswater City 6-5 on penalties after the game ended 1-1 in normal time. Bayswater dominated early and Kouresh Norooz scuffed his shot at the last minute, before Joondalup keeper Darren Loosely produced a great smoother to deny Paul Lincoln moments later. But Joondalup went close themselves when Alan Croft picked out Danny Middleton, who shot crashed off the crossbar and away to safety. But in the shadows of half time it was Bayswater who hit the front. Norooz played a great through ball to Vas Kalogeracos and the former Perth Glory striker made no mistake. After the break Bayswater were well on top and Richie Casey saw a shot flash wide before Trim Morgan forced a couple of good saves from Joondalup custodian Loosely. But Joondalup were still in the game and Chris Holmes’ effort was cleared off the line by Michael Casey. But from the resulting corner Joondalup found the equaliser, a powerful header from Ray Clarke sent the game to penalties. Holmes couldn’t get Joondalup off to a good start in the shootout as his effort was saved first up but Looseley saved from Richie Casey to level it up. Karl Merrie and Nicky Dyer both hit the woodwork for their respective teams from their successive penalties before Norooz had his effort saved, leaving Joondalup to lift the trophy.



Experienced defender James Meredith has joined Perth Glory on a one-year deal. The 31-year old moves to the A-League fresh from 85 appearances for English Championship side Millwall between 2017 and 2019, during which time he was a member of the Socceroos World Cup squad in Russia.

"(Tony Popovic) sold it to me," Meredith said. "I really liked the way he talked about his plans for the future of the club and when I looked at the squad list, I know it's a strong group of players. We're looking to become Champions. The club did so well to finish top last season, so we'll be aiming for that again and I can't wait to be a part of that campaign."

Melbourne-born Meredith was just 16 when he headed abroad to enter the youth system at English club Derby County. Spells with Sligo Rovers, Shrewsbury Town and AFC Telford United lead to a move to York City, where he played in excess of 150 games across three seasons. A switch to Bradford City brought similar rewards with over 220 games during a five-season stay

Glory's defensive stocks have been hit hard since their Grand Final loss to Sydney FC. Jason Davidson and Scott Neville departed, there's still no word on out-of-contract centre back Matthew Spiranovic while Dino Djulbic is out with an anterior cruciate ligament injury. They have signed Swiss defender Gregory Wuthrich and Osama Malik during the off-season.

Football Director Jacob Burns labelled Meredith's signing as a major coup and said the club had fought off stiff competition from a host of Australian and overseas clubs to secure his services. “This move speaks volumes,” he said. “The fact we’re attracting players of Meredith’s calibre is a testament to our growth as a club.

“With international experience to his name and having spent over a decade in the UK, we’ve signed a player of great pedigree at a prime time in his career. This shows the endeavour of the club to build sustained success on the back of our Premiership-winning campaign. James is another high-quality signing ahead of a big season for us domestically and in the Asian Champions League.”

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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