Perth Glory youngster Luke Bodnar in action against Ulsan Hyundai

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27.11.2020

RAWLINS MAKES CHAMOIONS LEAGUE HISTORY

Perth Glory defender Josh Rawlins has made Asian Champions League history as the youngest player in the Qatar-based tournament. While his Chisholm Catholic College mates are kicking back on holiday, the Glory scholarship player is kicking around in one of football’s biggest arena’s.

Rawlins made his debut against Shanghai Shenhua at 16 years, six months and 26 days. While he is the seventh youngest player in 18-years of ACL, he is yet to make his A-League debut. However, he did get a taste of the big time against Manchester United at Optus Stadium in July last year.

“It’s been a bit weird but the more experienced players are helping me and including me,” said Rawlins, who represented Australia at youth level, including at the 2019 Under-17 World Cup. “Once you get into the game you forget about everything else and focus on the game.”

Coach Richard Garcia has kept his eye on Rawlins in two seasons at the Glory academy. “We were a bit wary that he was so young but he’s conducted himself very well,” Garcia said. “This trip has been excellent for his development. He’s always shown maturity on the park. Off the park he is starting to mature being around the older guys.”

26.11.2020

GLORY SIGN FIVE FOR NEW W-LEAGUE SEASON

Natasha Rigby will once again lead Perth Glory’s W-League team, after being named captain for the 2020-21 season. The defender wore the captain’s armband for the first-time last year and started all 12 games, and has over 50 appearances for the side, and she will be joined by Sarah Carroll, Patricia Charalambous, Caitlin Doeglas and Jamie-Lee Gale.

Rigby, whose form was recognised with selection in the Women’s Talent Identification Camp in Canberra this week, said she was looking forward to working with new coach Alexander Epakis. “I am really looking forward to this season,” Rigby said. “Our team has a really exciting home-grown feel to it and it is such an incredible opportunity for more local players to step up and experience the W- League.

“We are all eager to see what Alex can bring to the team. He has a great deal of experience in women’s football and I think he will bring an injection of passion and professionalism into the team. If we continue to work hard, stay focused and foster a positive culture, I think we will be very competitive this season.”

Epakis acknowledged Rigby’s strengths as a player and leader. “I know Tash has been a big part of the Glory squad for a number of seasons now and has always played a key role within the team,” he said. “I have learnt very quickly that she has a great energy and attitude about her. She bleeds Glory and I am very excited to work closely with her as footballer and as a leader within the group.”

Carroll has been a familiar figure in the famous purple since making her debut during the 2011/12 campaign and although usually employed as a defender in the W-League, the former Young Matilda showcased her versatility by scoring nine times while occupying a more advanced role for Northern Redbacks in last season’s NPLW WA competition.

26-year-old defender Charalambous also has a strong Glory pedigree having spent two seasons in the West before joining Cypriot side Apollon Limassol and then returning to Australia to link up with Canberra United last year. Pacy attacker Doeglas, meanwhile, featured in each of the club’s 12 games last term, claiming three goals which marked her best return in a single season. Now 24, the Perth local has been a regular member of the squad since 2015 and her goal after just 18 seconds against Western Sydney Wanderers in 2016 remains the second-quickest in Westfield W-League history.

Gale was another regular during 2019/20, the reliable and industrious full-back adding a further eight appearances to the 11 she made in what was her maiden campaign in 2018/19. Epakis believes that all four players will make a very positive impact this year. "Pat, Sarah, Caitlin and Jamie-Lee bring a strong background of experience from within the W-League and in particular. have a strong connection to the club," he said. "They each have a firm understanding of the type of environment we are wanting to create this season and will play an important part in helping to build that and guide the younger players on and off the field."

26.11.2020

GARCIA CONSIDERS RESTING CASTRO

Perth Glory coach Richard Garcia says he may have to "pull the reins" on Diego Castro to ensure the Spaniard doesn't get injured before the A-League season. The star midfielder has played full minutes in Glory's two Asian Champions League games in the Qatar hub, which included Wednesday's heartbreaking 2-1 loss to Ulsan Hyundai.

Glory's next assignment is against the same Korean side on Friday - giving Garcia's men just two days between games. They then have another match on Monday and Garcia is keen to swing the changes for Friday's clash to avoid any burnout. Castro, at 38 years of age, is tipped to be among the changes. "Look, he's a warrior," Garcia said.

"He's the type of guy who always wants to play and you almost need to pull the reins back on him and keep him out for his own good. He is 38, but he's got the mindset of a 21-year-old. It's so good to have senior professionals who are itching to get out there. We are going to have to make a few changes (to the side) to make sure people's bodies are not breaking down."

Midfielder Neil Kilkenny is expected to get more game time after coming on in the 79th minute against Ulsan in his return from injury. Defender Osama Malik, who played the second half, is another option to get more minutes as he builds up fitness. Glory are bottom of Group F with no wins from their three games to date.

25.11.2020

HEARTBREAK FOR GLORY IN DOHA

Perth Glory are still searching for their first point win in the AFC Champions League Group F after they conceded two late goals to lose 1-2 against Korean giants Ulsan Hyundai at Education City Stadium on Tuesday evening. Daniel Stynes has given a youthful Richard Garcia’s side the lead on 71 minutes, the former Gwelup Croatia midfielder firing home his first goal for the club. It looked like they would hang on for a historic first win on the competition but half-time substitute Kim Insung levelled in the final minute of normal time, before Brazilian striker Junior Negrao won it for Ulsan in the final minute of stoppage time.

"It was a fantastic performance from the group," Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia said post-match. “They were very patient, very disciplined and played well as a team. "They probably deserved more out of the game, but that's the harshness of football and there were plenty of positives to work off in that performance. I thought we kept controlling them without the ball very well and we've done that in both games. "We don't have the fitness that they [Shanghai Shenhua and Ulsan Hyundai] have as we're coming into our season and they're coming off the back of their seasons, so for us it's about trying to make sure we don't concede and are in a good position to score.

“I was very, very pleased with the back four. I feel that they've come on in leaps and bounds since they've come into the squad and a big part of that is down to the senior players in the group and how they have helped them and made them feel part of it and responsible for the way they play. We're constantly getting better and more confident within ourselves and in our bodies and are building towards where we want to be."

Ulsan were on the front foot early, with former Glory defender Jason Davidson in the thick of the action. There best chance fell to Lee Keunho, but he headed over the top. But Glory held firm and went close themselves on the half hour, but Stynes’ long-range shot flew over the top. Defensive duo Jonathan Aspropotamitis and Luke Bodnar were outstanding at the heart of the back four as Ulsan continued to press, but they couldn’t prevent Norwegian striker Bjorn Johnsen going close, but his shot went the wrong side of the post.

Glory ended the half well and started to create some good chances. First after good approach work from Diego Castro and Bruno Fornaroli set up debutant Nick Sullivan, but his shot was straight at keeper Jo Suhuk. Moments later Fornaroli shot from the edge of the box was deflected wide. But in the final minute Bodnar had to be alert, getting in a last-ditch tackle to deny Johnsen, who was proving a real handful, but at the break it was all square.

Garcia made a double change at the break with Osama Malik and Carlo Armiento coming on for Bryce Bafford and Sullivan. They started the second half well with Castro pulling the strings and Stynes was everywhere and a bundle of energy, while Fornaroli and Armiento were giving the Ulsan defence plenary of headaches. Glory gave another one of their youngsters a debut just after the hour with Nick Walsh replacing another teenager Josh Rawlins.

Ulsan weren’t going away and forced three consecutive corners as they searched for the opener, but Glory stood firm. Then on 71 minutes it was Glory who hit the front, Stynes cutting across the top of the penalty area before finding the bottom corner of the net with a low shot, much to the delight of his teammates.

It was backs to the wall for Garcia’s men, as Ulsan looked for the equaliser. In-Sung saw his curling effort flash wide, before Jung Hoondung’s shot was saved by Velaphi. It looks like they would hang on for the win but in the final minute of normal time Ulsan levelled. A cross from the right deflected off Castro, the ball fell Yoon Bitgaram, who laid it back to In-Sung whose first time shot beat Velaphi.

It was a huge blow for the inexperienced side, but they almost restored their lead sixty seconds later. Ulsan switched off and Fornaroli’s shot looked destined for the bottom corner, but Suhuk produced a stunning one handed save to deny the Uruguayan. The point would be a great reward for the performance on the night, but in the final minute of stoppage time Ulsan won it. A long clearance from the keeper was flicked on by Johnsen, and Dongho’s cross from the left found the unmarked Negrao who volleyed home superbly past Velaphi to seal the three points

Perth Glory: GK Tando VELAPHI, 3 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 7 Luke BODNAR, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 10 Daniel STYNES (11 Declan HUGHES 90+1'), 15 Brandon WILSON (88 Neil KILKENNY 79'), 16 Nick SULLIVAN (13 Osama MALIK 46'), 17 Diego CASTRO (C), 22 Joshua RAWLINS (5 Nick WALSH 67'), 23 Dane INGHAM, 27 Bryce BAFFORD (25 Carlo ARMIENTO 46') - Subs not used: RGK Cameron COOK, 4 Darryl LACHMAN, 14 Giordano COLLI, 28 Mason TATAFU

Ulsan Hyundai: GK Jo SUHUK, 2 Jeong DONGHO, 3 Jason DAVIDSON (30 Jung HOONSUNG 76'), 4 Davy BULTHUIS, 8 Sin JIN HO (C) (6 Park JOO HO 76') 10 Yoon BITGARAM, 11 Lee KEUNHO (9 Junior NEGRAO 60'), 19 Bjorn JOHNSEN, 44 Kim KEEHEE, 72 Lee CHUNGYONG (22 Koh MYONGJIN 60'), 98 Lee SANGHEON (7 Kim INSUNG 46') - Subs not used: RGK Seo JUHWAN, 5 Kim MINDUK, 17 Kim SUNG JOON, 66 Seol YOUNGWOO, 99 Park JEONGIN - Referee: Muhammad Nazmi Nasaruddin

25.11.2020

FOOTBALLS COMING HOME

After weeks of uncertainty the A-League fixtures were released on Tuesday with Perth Glory set for home games, but only if the spread of Covid-19 is under control across the country and the borders are kept open. The official start date for the A-League is December 27, but a Glory’s will be delayed until January 16, with the squad being forced into two weeks hotel quarantine following their AFC Champions League campaign in Doha

First up for Richard Garcia’s side is back-to-back home games at HBF Park. They will take on Adelaide United on Saturday January 16, before hosting Brisbane Roar on Wednesday January 20, with both games kicking off at 6.20pm. They then hit the road for three away games in NSW in eight days, with games against Western Sydney Wanderers, Wellington Phoenix (who are based in NSW for the season) and Newcastle Jets.

Many Glory members and supporters have been concerned for many years about playing in the hottest part of the day, but the club have listened to their concerns and will be playing their home game in the evenings, and Glory CEO Tony Pignata said he can’t wait for the season to kick off and see the Glory family back at home. “We’re all hugely excited at the prospect of the Glory family returning to HBF Park and once again creating what we believe is the best match day atmosphere in the country," he said. "Absence has definitely made the heart grow fonder as far as seeing our team playing here in Perth is concerned, so starting the season with two home games is especially welcome.

"Having four consecutive home games during the run-in to the end of the campaign is also a major plus. Afternoon kick-off times during the height of summer have long been a bugbear of our Members and fans, so we’re delighted to see that this issue has been resolved this year. On behalf of the club, I’d like to thank Football Federation Australia and the Leagues for all the hard work they have put into creating this draw in extremely challenging circumstances and urge our Members and fans to get on board for what I’m confident will be another season to remember."

24.11.2020

ASPROPOTAMITIS LOOKING TO RELIEVE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PAIN

Perth Glory’s Jonathan Aspropotamitis hopes another impressive showing in tonight’s crucial Asian Champions League clash with Ulsan Hyundai will help him secure a long term future at the club. The defender, known as “Aspro”, scored Glory’s first ever ACL goal on his debut in last week’s 2-1 loss to Shanghai Shenhua.

Aspropotamitis, 24, is on a short-term deal for the ACL campaign but says there is no any extra pressure to perform and it will be “business as usual.” “I’d be more than happy to stay on but for the time being it’s just focussing on these next games,” said former Australian youth international Aspropotamitis. “Whatever happens after that...what will be, will be. From my perspective there’s no extra pressure at all. It’s business as usual.”

“It’s about me going out and playing on a stage that’s good for my development. It was nice to score my first professional goal but at the end of the day it’s about trying to get the three points. We’re disappointed we didn’t come away with the win because I thought we were really good value and we need to take that forward.”

Coach Richard Garcia said Aspropotamitis had shown maturity. “Jonathan’s come in and done a great job. He’s shown a very wise head from such a young guy.” Garcia said. “He’s conducted himself very professionally. It’s about him being consistent in performances and showing his leadership qualities ... we’ll assess (his future) when we get back and the dust settles a bit from this tournament.”

Glory’s ACL campaign could be left hanging by a thread if they go down to table-topping Ulsan. “They are fully fit and raring to go, focussed on trying to win this tournament,” Garcia said. “We need to go out with the same mind set as we had against Shanghai. The boys have carried a lot of confidence from that game as well as the belief that they are capable at this level.”

24.11.2020

JARMAN AND BARDSLEY TAKE OUT ROVERS’ AWARDS

It was a successful first season for merged club Carramar Shamrock Rovers, and at the clubs Presentation Night at the Woodvale Tavern they celebrated winning the title. The big winners on the night were Ross Jarman, who won the Coach’s Award and Jack Bardsley who won the Players Player of the Year and the ‘Michael Harden Young Player of the Year. Jarman, who edged out Bardsley for the coach’s award, said to win the award capped off a great season for the club and him personally.

“It was a really good season at Shamrock with a talented group of players. We knew ourselves we had the quality to challenge for the title and backed ourselves each week to pick up points regardless of the opposition,” he explained. “I was delighted to win the coaches player of the year as the award could have gone to any one of us. Overall, I'm glad the club has performed well on the pitch as it reflects the hard work that all the players, coaches, board members and anyone associated with the club has put in.”

Bardsley, who started in his first season at the club, pipped Kieran Harrison to the players player award, and he was surprised to win his awards. “I felt extremely honoured when my name was called out for this award because there were multiple people in the team that had a great season and could’ve also been up there,” he said. “As a club we were extremely happy with this first season as a newly merged club and I was personally happy with my season being able to score some goals and finishing top of the league. I’m looking forward to what next season has to offer for us and hopefully we can continue this form and get promoted into Division One.”

Head coach Gerry McEwan said both players played huge roles in the club’s successful season. “Ross was a model of consistency, a coach's dream, so well worthy of his award. Jack Bardsley had a good presentation night. Jack is the first winner of our "Michael Harben Young Player of the Year" award, named after young Michael who was sadly taken away from us earlier this year at the age of 22,” he explained.

“Michael actually played alongside Jack last year in our first team, so I'm sure he would have deemed Jack a worthy winner. Michael was at Shamrock Rovers when I first arrived as coach, one of a nucleus of six or seven players who were holding the first team together at that point, so he helped lay the foundations of what we went on to achieve in 2020.” In other awards on the night John McNeil won the reserves coaches player of the yeaR, while Braedyn Rodgers won the under 18s coaches player of the year.

McEwan said the whole club are looking forward to 2021. “You never know in football, but as far as I'm aware, we have retained all our first team squad for 2021 and there's a few players interested in joining our squad that should increase competition for starting spots,” he said. “The great teams in World Football only sign two or three players every year, in order to freshen things up and keep everyone on their toes, so given the season we've just had, that's exactly what we're looking to do, to add to the fast-developing group of young men we already have committed to our club.”

20.11.2020

EPAKIS TAKES THE REINS AT GLORY

With the kick off to the W-League just around the corner, Perth Glory left it late to find a replacement for outgoing Head Coach Bobby Despotovski, but on Friday they appointed former Sydney University NSW Women’s NPL Coach Alexander Epakis to the role for 2021. He guided the Uni to three consecutive titles and has also worked as a senior assistant coach at W-League club Canberra United.

Glory are set to field an inexperienced W-League squad next season featuring mostly WA players. Former Matildas defender Kim Carroll left the Glory earlier this month to sign with Brisbane Roar, along with young keeper Morgan Aquino and striker Leticia McKenna, and the coach will be looking to improve on the clubs seventh place last season with just three wins and two draws from their 12 games.

Epakis has a great CV, holding an A-License as well as a master’s degree in sports coaching, and was Head Coach at the Sydney FC academy from 2015-2017. He is excited by the opportunity to work with a Glory squad which is set to be packed with talented young WA players this season. "We want to build a culture and environment that we are all proud of," he said. “It needs to be based on core outcomes that give us the best opportunity to develop as a team and be competitive in each match. A commitment to weekly improvement and working towards a style of play and process are important pieces in what I would like us to achieve as a team."

Glory CEO Tony Pignata is confident that Epakis is the right man to move the club’s W-League side forward. "Alex definitely has the range of experience, knowledge and passion required to be a successful W-League Head Coach," he said. "He is an outstanding coach and individual who will leave no stone unturned in his efforts to ensure that we have a strong, motivated and competitive W-League team this season. We will be fielding a young, hungry squad with a strong WA flavour this year and I would urge all our Members and fans to get along to the games and get right behind them."

The Westfield W-League 2020/21 Season fixtures are scheduled to be released later this month and Glory W-League Memberships are expected to be available shortly afterwards. The club have said further announcements regarding Glory’s playing squad for the season will also be made shortly.

20.11.2020

CLUB IN PROFILE - SWAN UNITED FOOTBALL CLUB

Swan United Football Club was formed in 1984, after the Swan Italian Club on Francis Street in Middle Swan approached Frank Arvino and Tony Scali to help establish a new football club. The name of the new outfit would be the Swan IC United Soccer Club.

The club's first season was in 1985 in the amateurs under coach Andy Clues and were based at Jack Mann Oval. During that summer, the club applied to join the old Fourth Division of the Soccer Federation of Western Australia, and they were accepted entry into the competition.

1986 would see semi-professional football at the club, with their very first game at that level being a 2-0 win against Mirrabooka United at Jack Mann Oval. Harvey and Giorgi were the goal scorers. The club had a great season, finishing third and just missing out on promotion by two points!

In 1987, Swan IC United would finish fourth, however promotion was even closer. Albany in second place and Leederville Espanol in third all finished on 35 points with Swan, however Albany got the all important promotion spot on goal difference.

The team moved to their current ground at the Swan Italian Club premises in 1988. R. Hutchins would replace Andy Clues as the new first team coach. This would also be the first year where the club would wear the black and white colours that they are now known for. Once again, the club was right up there contesting for the top spots, however as in previous seasons the club just missed on going up, this time by only one point.

In 1989 coach Hutchins made sure of a top two finish and promotion that came with it, and were only four points away from the Fourth Division title. As it ended up, the Fourth Division was to be abolished that summer and merged with an expanded Third Division.

Swan were finally out of the fourth tier in 1990 and now in the old Third Division (known today as Division Two). The club also dropped the "United" from their name to become Swan IC. State football legend Len Dundo would become their new coach. In the fifteen club league, Swan had a good season, finishing sixth and winning fourteen games from twenty-eight. M. Romeo scoring the most goals for the team.

Dundo continued on as coach in 1991, and it what would be a very good season. Sixteen teams competed in the league that season, and the black and whites finished runners-up and gained promotion. They were only two points short of Canning Corinthian in the race for the championship.

Swan IC were now in the second tier in 1992, and once again had another good year. Due to the PSL breakaway, there were two associations controlling the game that season. Swan joined the new break away competition and were still able to play in the Second Division. The club finished runners-up, seven points behind champions Bassendean Caledonian who were promoted.

In 1993, the club were one of the favourites of winning the title. With the controlling body now back under one umbrella, it was decided the top two teams would be promoted to the top flight. After a four way struggle with Dianella Serbia, Melville Corinthian and Stirling Toscany for most of the season, the black and whites got the promotion they wanted. Swan finished runners-up, two points behind Serbia, but won promotion on goal difference with Corinthian and Toscany all locked on the same number of points.

Just nine years after their first competitive game, and only five years since leaving the Fourth Division, Swan IC were now in the top league of Western Australian football. It was a great achievement by the club. Swan however didn't just want to make up the numbers. Coach Mickey Cairns signed a number of quality players, including ace striker Peter Murphy. He helped the club have a great debut top flight season, with Swan just missing out on a place in the Top Four Cup on goal difference to Perth Italia. It was to be an even better season in 1995, with the black and whites making it all the way to the Night Series Final before losing to Stirling Macedonia, and also finishing fourth in the league!

Tony McGuire took over as first team coach in 1996 after a number of experienced players left. It was to be a hard year, with Swan finishing ninth, however there was to be no relegation that season. The following year proved just as difficult, winning only six games and the team was relegated. The club's four year stay in the top flight was over.

Steve White was at the helm in the 1998 season, with the club hoping for a quick return back to the Premier League. With only one team going up, it was a neck and neck race with Ashfield/Bunbury and Rockingham City, however Swan had to settle for third.

1999 would end up being one of the best seasons in the club's history. New coach Eric Williams helped the team dominate the league, only losing three games and winning the First Division championship by ten points.

The black and whites were back in the Premier League in 2000 and once again showed they would be no pushover, finishing fifth and making the Top Five finals series. Swan IC easily beat fourth placed Inglewood United in the Elimination Final 3-0, before losing 2-1 to rivals Perth SC in the Minor Semi-Final.

A number of players left during the summer and 2001 ended up being a disaster for the club, winning just two games and finishing last. However, luckily there was no relegation that season.

2002 also was to be another difficult year. Carlo Scali took over from Paul Wozny as coach during the season, and he safely guided them away from the relegation zone, but they still finished eleventh.

2003 saw a marked improvement, with the team finishing eighth in the league. But it was their cup form that surprised many. Former Perth Glory coach Gary Marocchi took over from Scali during the year, and he guided them all the way to the Cup Final, beating Perth SC 2-1, and making sure Swan IC won their first major honour.

The following year in 2004 was almost identical. Another decent season in the league saw them finish eighth, but once again it was their form in the Cup that saw them make the final for the second year running. Swan IC became the first team since Dalmatinac ten years earlier to win back to back Cup Final wins after they beat Fremantle City 2-1.

There was to be no run to the Cup Final in 2005, however the club did make it to the Night Series Final, but they lost 3-0 to Inglewood United. Marocchi resigned during the season, and Carlo Scali once again became coach and he got them to another eighth spot finish in the league.

For the fourth time in a row, the club ended up eighth in the Premier League in 2006. They again went on another great Cup run, but after a 4-4 thriller, they lost 3-0 on penalties to Stirling Lions in the final. The following season Swan IC ended up in ninth.

Paul Lincoln took over as coach in 2008, and he guided them to seventh, before they finished ninth in 2009. This would also be the first season that the club played under the new name of "Swan United Football Club" after Swan IC and Swan Districts merged. It would end up being a difficult year in 2010, and Jamie Goodman who took over mid-season could not save them from last place and relegation that came with it.

John O'Reilly became the new boss in 2011 to start life back in Division One, and he was hopeful he could get them straight back up. The year started in great form, with the club making it to the final of the Lower Division Night Series. At Wotton Reserve, the black and whites beat Wanneroo City 3-1 to start the year with some silverware. In the league, Swan were one of the favourites, however Bunbury Forum Force took all before them as champions, and finished nine points clear of Swan who had to settle for runners-up.

Mid-way through 2012, O'Reilly left the club with Mick Skowron being appointed as new coach. The team finished fifth. The following season was more difficult, Damian Scali took over as the new coach during the season, and the club ended up in tenth.

Salv Todaro was signed as coach in 2014, and Swan improved to seventh. However, a number of players left during the following summer. With a young squad at Todaro's disposal, he could not save them from relegation after they finished last with only two wins.

2016 would see Swan United back in the Second Division for the first time in twenty-five years, and the club was determined to go straight back up. Matt Debarro was hired as the new boss. The club's goal of promotion was not realised, however the club had a good year and finished sixth.

The black and whites had another good season in 2017. With one game to go, Swan United met Kingsway Olympic in the last game of the season, both needing a win to make the top four and the promotion play-offs. With almost the last kick of the game, Swan won 2-1 and now had a chance of going up. In the promotion semi-finals, the club met Gosnells City over two legs, with Gosnells winning the first at home 3-0. This meant the club had a mountain to climb to get to the final, and it proved too difficult with Gosnells gaining victory in the second leg winning 3-1.

Mike Ford initially became the new coach in 2018, before Paul Dundo took over soon after. It was to be a great season, with the club ending up in third to qualify for the play-offs. Swan took a 3-2 lead in the first leg over Dianella White Eagles before easily winning the second leg 3-0. The team was now only one fixture win away of returning back to Division One. Their opponents in the final were Mandurah City, who were hoping to avoid the drop into Division Two. The Mandurah outfit took out the first leg 2-1. Swan had their backs against the wall in the second leg in Mandurah. But it was to their credit they came back to win the game 3-2 in extra time. With scores tied on aggregate, the game went to a penalty shoot-out. But it was Mandurah who prevailed and won 5-3.

With play-off disappointment the last two seasons, Swan were hoping it would be third time lucky. For most of the second half of the season the club were in a fight with Balga for that important final play-off place. With only a few games to go, it looked all over after the black and whites lost 5-3 to them. However, the team fought back strongly to win their last three games, and with other results going their way, Swan were in the promotion play-offs for the third season in a row. The team started their play-off semi-finals on fire, by easily beating Morley-Windmills 4-0 in first leg before losing the second leg 4-3. This was enough to put them into the final, however with most expecting Murdoch University Melville to win the fixture, Swan were hoping to prove the pundits wrong. They won the first leg away from home 2-1, before easily winning the second leg 3-0. After four years, Swan United were back in Division One!

Eric Williams took over as the new first team coach in 2020, however a number of experienced players left. It was going to be a hard season in the higher division. Williams resigned just prior to the season re-starting in July. Paul Dundo once again became the new boss. The first stage of the season would see Swan finish last with only two wins. The second phase which determined the final league overall positions, the team drew two from the five games, but that was enough for the club to avoid bottom place and finish eleventh.

SEMI-PROFESSIONAL LEAGUE HONOURS (Using current divisional names)
First Division winners - 1999
First Division runners-up - 1992 (PSL), 1993, 2011
Second Division runners-up - 1991
Third Division runners-up - 1989
Cup winners - 2003, 2004
Cup runners-up - 2006
Night Series runners-up - 1995, 2005
Night Series Lower Division winners - 2011

20.11.2020

PALMATEER WINS GOLD MEDAL AT OLYMPIC

The rise of Olympic Kingsway Football Club continued in 2020 with the club winning the State League Division One title and winning the final series cup final. Their successful season officially came to an end on November 7, when the club held their Presentation Evening at their clubrooms, and it was skipper Luke Palmateer who was the big winner on the night, after taking out the fairest and best and players player of the year.

The central defender, who also polled well in the State League Division One Player of the Year, said it was a huge honour to win the awards, but was quick to thank his teammates. “I'm really honoured to be receiving this award,” he said. “Having come off a season where we had won both the league and the top four cup final, as a collective is something special, so to cap it off with an individual award is just the cherry on top. I've played with this club now for four years and to see each and every year a continuation of improvement and progress makes me proud to be a part of the Kingsway project.”

Olympic Head Coach Gary Williams said his skipper was a worthy winner and led by example all season. “The awards for Luke were fully deserved,” he said. “He was the model of consistency throughout the season and as a result his performances have also been recognized by his peers.” It’s also been a huge season off the pitch and under the leadership of club President Steven Nelkovski and his hard-working committee, the club have built a new grandstand and will be pushing for a NPLWA spot next season.

Nelkovski said 2020 was a good one for the ‘Green Machine’, but he said it was a tough for everyone in the football family with covid-19. “While winning the league and cup double was very special for Olympic, all clubs, players, coaches, support staff and fans should be congratulated on the 2020 season,” he explained. “In difficult circumstances, all clubs committed to a new format and played out an enthralling season.”

In other awards on the night Tyler Garner was the runner-up in the first team fairest and best, with Ajak Riak the top goalscorer. In the reserves Charlie Lacey won the F&B, with Regis Gatambiye the runner-up, Stan Kindness won the players player of the year, while Ethan Casey was the top goalscorer. In the 18’s Danel Higgins won the F&B, with Nedim Kujovic the runner-up, Naresh Magesan won the players player of the year.

The 2020 Clubman of the Year was won by Kim Michailidis. “Kim goes above and beyond to help our club in any way possible,” Nelkovski said. “On behalf of every member of the OKSC community we would like to thank Kim for his tireless work. He is a great example of the hard work done off the pitch to help us achieve our two trophies this year.”

19.11.2020

GLORY TO LEARN FROM ROUGH CHAMPIONS LEAGUE TACTICS

Perth Glory coach Richard Garcia said his players need to become more street smart to deal with the roughhouse tactics of their Asian Champions League opponents. A young Glory outfit suffered a 2-1 loss to Chinese powerhouse Shanghai Shenhua in Qatar on Wednesday.

Diego Castro, Bruno Fornaroli and Nick D'Agostino were particularly targeted throughout the match. D'Agostino copped a boot to the head and a knee to the backside in separate incidents, Fornaroli was cut down from behind on numerous occasions and Castro had to deal with some tight marking.

Garcia said his side learned a valuable lesson about what tactics they can expect to deal with for the remainder of the competition. "It now becomes international football, and there's a completely different set of rules in international football," said Garcia said.

"There were some feisty challenges and some manhandling. But that's all part and parcel of Champions League football. We need to become a little bit more street smart with that to learn to be able to cope in these environments." Shanghai ended the game with four yellow cards and numerous other warnings from the referee.

But Garcia was proud of his team's performance, especially given that the starting line-up featured five debutants. Luke Bodnar, Declan Hughes, Bryce Bafford and 16-year-old Josh Rawlins were among the youngsters in the starting side in Garcia's first game in charge.

"The way the boys went about their business and played was very encouraging," Garcia said. "There were some massive positives out of the game. I think they (the young players) started with a few nerves, but grew into the game. As the game went on, their belief in themselves grew and their performances were very good."

18.11.2020

YOUNG GLORY SIDE EDGED OUT IN DOHA

The Asian Champions League kicked off again this week and a young and inexperienced Perth Glory side were beaten 1-2 by Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua in Group F at the Education City Stadium in Doha. With only Bruno Fornaroli in the starting line up from their last A-League game, Richard Garcia gave a number of younger squad members an opportunity in the clash, and they ever let him down.

There were plenty of positives for the coach to take from a game in which he handed no fewer than seven players their senior debut for the club. "It was a decent performance," he said post-match. "The way the boys went about their business and played was very encouraging. There were some very good performances which is fantastic after such a short run-in to the tournament.

"Some of the younger players started with a few nerves, but they grew into the game and as it went on, I think their belief in themselves grew and their performances were very good. My message to the group after the game was that there were a lot of positives, we played well in patches and that we have a lot to work on to get to the next level, to where we want to be. But for a first game, it was very encouraging... and thankfully we don't appear to have picked up any injuries."

Former Ross County and Bayswater City midfielder Declan Hughes, ECU Joondalup defender Luke Bodnar, along with Glory NPL players Josh Rawlins and Bryce Bafford all started while Neil Kilkenny, Osama Malik and new signing Darryl Lachman were amongst the substitutes. Tando Velaphi made a return in goal, with Liam Reedy unavailable, while new recruits Jonathan Aspropotamitis, Brandon Wilson and skipper Diego Castro were also in the starting XI.

It wasn’t the best of starts for Garcia’s side and they found themselves behind after only seven minutes. Rawlins lost possession in the middle of the park and Zhu Jianrong played in Peng Xinli, who finished clinically past Velaphi from the edge of the box. Glory looked to hit back immediately, Wilson’s shot was deflected wide, before Castro shot on the turn was straight at keeper Li Shuai. Bafford’s pace was causing them problems down the left and on 20 minutes his run and cross was inches away from Fornaroli in the penalty area.

There were some physical tackles flying in and the referee was busy with the yellow cards, as Glory took the game to their more experienced opponents. Hughes shot from distance flew over the top on 37 minutes, but moments later Shanghai Shenhua doubled their advantage. Yu Hanchao was given far too much room in the box and his shot went through the hands of Velaphi to make it 0-2. It was a bitter blow for Glory, who hand held their own, but two mistakes were punished with goals. But in the final minute of the half, they went close to pulling one back. Dane Ingram found space on the left, his cross picked out Fornaroli whose header was saved low by Lu, so at the break Glory had it all to do.

Glory went close again early in the second half, Castro and Fornaroli combined, the later seeing his shot on the turn saved low by Lu. Second half substitute Carlo Armiento almost made an instant impact five minutes after coming on, he was picked out by Bodnar’s through ball, but he couldn’t keep his effort down from the angle. Bodnar was having a solid debut at the heart of the defence, and it was Glory who were on top and they found a lifeline nine minutes from time.

The lively Armiento raced into the box, his shot was saved low by Lu, but Aspropotamitis was on hand to fire home the rebound. That was the signal for the Shanghai Shenhua players to find cramp, and the physio was on and off, with time running out for the equaliser. There were only four minutes of stoppage time, obviously the cramp worked, but in the final minute Glory almost found it, a cross from the right found Fornaroli, but the Uruguayan's spectacular overhead kick was over the top. Glory are back in action on Tuesday (November 24) against Ulsan Hyundai at the same venue kick off 9.00pm WST.

Perth Glory: GK Tando VELAPHI, 3 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 7 Luke BODNAR, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 11 Declan HUGHES (16 Nick SULLIVAN 63'), 15 Brandon WILSON, 17 Diego CASTRO (c), 18 Nick D'AGOSTINO (14 Giordano COLLI 77'), 22 Joshua RAWLINS, 23 Dane INGHAM, 27 Bryce BAFFORD (25 Carlo ARMIENTO 63') - Subs not used: RGK Cameron COOK, 4 Darryl LACHMAN, 5 Nicholas WALSH, 10 Daniel STYNES, 13 Osama MALIK, 28 Mason TATAFU, 88 Neil KILKENNY

Shanghai Shenhua: GK Li SHUAI, 8 Zhang LU, 11 Yu HANCHAO, 15 Zhu JIANRONG (21 Zhu BAOJIE 64'), 18 Gao DI, 25 Peng XINLI (3 Bi JINHAO 64'), 30 Stephane MBIA (35 Feng XIAOTING 73'), 31 Wang WEI, 32 Fulangxisi AIDI, 37 Sun SHILIN, 43 Qian JIEGEI (26 Qin SHENG 88') - Subs not used: RGK Ma ZHEN, 4 Jiang SHENG LONG, 23 Bai JIAJUN, 29 Zhou JUNCHEN, 36 Liu RUOFAN, 38 Wen JIABAO - Referee: Mohammed Abdulla Hassan




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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