WOMEN'S PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TWO (by Penny TannerHoath)
Balcatta made it two win from as many starts by coming from behind to account for Subiaco United 4-1 at Graham Burkett Reserve. Played in hot and humid conditions, it promised to be a hard-fought battle from the get go between two teams with strong aspirations to win this year's Premier League title, and those who watched from the sidelines were not disappointed.
Both teams defences were put to the test early with Balcatta enjoying the controlling share of possession. Against the run of play the visitors went ahead through midfielder Ella Semmens who shrugged off a tackle and, spotting the goalkeeper well off her line, launched a shot terrific shot from 24-metres which flew over Chloe Coghlan's head into the back of the net.
Balcatta worked hard to get back into the game and after a few well worked plays were rewarded. Speedy forward Kylie Chatto slipped between two defenders to race on to a through ball from midfield and displayed great composure to level the score in a one-on-one with the Subiaco 'keeper. The quality of Chatto's execution showed exactly why she is a Western Waves scholarship holder. With no changes at half-time the two sides picked up where they left off upon the re-start. Balcatta's second goal came about following a harsh tackle on Lisa D'Ovidio wide on the right, the resulting free-kick was floated into the area and behind the Subiaco defence where D'Ovidio pounced with a hard, low shot that gave the 'keeper no chance.
Subiaco never gave up the chase but were continually turned away by a solid defence underpinned by State custodian Coghlan. Balcatta maintained their focus and Chatto pushed through a square defence to beat the advancing 'keeper with a clever chip. The result was put out of Subiaco's reach in the final minute as D'Ovidio beat her marker and slotted past a diving 'keeper.
Queens Park maintained their perfect win record by trouncing competition newcomer Mandurah City 5-0 at Bortolo Park. And East Fremantle had to settle for a share of the points for the second successive week when held 3-3 by Northern Redbacks at Wauhop Park.
MURPHY EYES A-LEAGUE GLORY COMEBACK
Former Australia international Shaun Murphy could make a comeback at Perth Glory - two years after being dumped by the A-League club. Murphy had a massive falling out with Glory management, specifically chairman Nick Tana, in 2004 after he was effectively sacked halfway through a two-year contract. "You always consider returning but someone would have to want me to pull the boots back on," Murphy told the "Sunday times" newspaper.
"The fire is still in the belly and I'd be pretty confident that after a hard pre-season I'd be up to the A-League standard," continued the one-time Sheffield United defender. "People might say I'm too old but I'm only a couple of months older than Bobby (Despotovski), so age isn't really an issue. The technical stuff you can brush up on, so it's just the fitness side of things. I've been out for two years so would need to do a hard pre-season, but I've been through it before in England."
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND FOUR (Bayswater City vs E.C.U. Joondalup courtesy E.C.U. Joondalup; Floreat Athena vs Wanneroo City courtesy Floreat Athena; Sorrento vs Perth S.C. by Joe D'Orazio; Stirling Lions vs Cockburn City by Don Evans; Western Knights vs Inglewood United courtesy Western Knights; Armadale vs Swan I.C. by Anton Coates)
A barnstorming second half saw E.C.U. Joondalup come from behind to defeat Bayswater City 4-2 at Frank Drago Reserve. Played in sunny conditions, the visitors threatened early through shots from Scott Blackmore and Jamie Kuzmanovich but neither caused much concern for Bobson Koroma. Bayswater were determined to end their dismal start of the season Damir Kudozovic had Peter Stewart at full-stretch as they strove for the opening goal. With 19 minutes gone the home team got the breakthrough they were after when Mark Lee's shot was parried by Stewart and in the blink of an eye Kudozovic had the follow-up in the back of the net. Midway through the half Scott Bushby was harshly dealt with by the referee who brandished a red card following the Joondalup midfielder's tackle on Kudozovic. And it really looked as though Bayswater would collect their first points of the season when Sal Marapodi latched on to a loose ball and put goal number two on the board after 32 minutes. Joondalup began the second half in devastating form and quickly tallied up three goals to take control of the game. Garin Collins got on the end of a fine cross from the left by Martin Ashworth to head in the visitors first, and three minutes late Ian McMurray brought the teams level when he finished off a good build-up involving Collins and Blackmore. Shortly after coming off the bench Oliver Hilton took on the defence and rifled narrowly past the post. Joondalup's fightback was complete when Collins gained possession wide on the right and arrowed a pass to McMurray who netted his second from a tight angle after 74 minutes. The knockout blow was delivered nine minutes from the end when Leon Russell sent the ball into the 18-yard box where McMurray skilfully laid it off to Dale McCulloch who slotted confidently past the advancing 'keeper.
Pre-match expectations of a comfortable home win proved correct as Floreat Athena steamrolled Wanneroo City 4-0 at Litis Stadium. It took Floreat just nine minutes to open the scoring through a sweeping move in which Branimir Mikulic delivered a cross from the left that was firmly headed into the net by Okwy Diamondstar. The visiting side weren't about to give up that easy as Michael Baczynski shot high when well placed, and Phil O'Callaghan shrugged off a couple of defenders only to drag the ball wide. After that Floreat upped the tempo and started to dominate proceedings. Boima Karpeh was unfortunate not to add the hosts second after beating his marker and unleashing a rasping drive that Diamondstar deflected away from goal. In the 34th minute Floreat did double their advantage when Scott Evans was judged to have handled inside the area and Karpeh made no mistake from the spot. Trailing by two goals, Wanneroo applied a no-nonsense approach in the second half that succeeded only in taking their number of bookings seven. Floreat responded with some neat football that saw a rising shot by Mikulic go high, and minutes later the same player beat Aleksander Vrteski only to have the ball cannon back off the crossbar. Karpeh's goalscoring instincts came to the fore in the 64th minute when he cleverly flicked a bouncing ball over the 'keeper and into the far corner for his second of the day. Great work on the right flank by Josip Magdic produced Floreat's fourth scored by Karpeh with a cracking drive from 8-metres. With the game well beyond their reach Wanneroo were allowed back in over the closing stages but a consolation goal was to elude them. O'Callaghan lobbed over the bar after breaking through and Will Hodges shot wide just before the final whistle.
A ten-man Perth S.C. showed great resilience by twice coming from behind to earn a draw 2-2 with Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve. The game was just a couple of minutes old when controversy erupted as Gareth Deeg was show a red card by Ton Klaver following his challenge on Todd Harnwell outside the 18-yard box, but after consulting with his assistant the referee rescinded his earlier decision and instead issued Deeg a booking. In the 12th minute Jeff Bright and Scott Bulloch combined for Barry Wood whose blistering strike was deflected wide by goalkeeper Neil Young. Eight minutes later Harnwell was brought down inside the 18-yard box by Gianfranco Circati who was subsequently send off, and from the spot Stuart Young put away the opening goal. Unperturbed, Perth continued their offensive and in the 34th minute a foul on Matt Danskin resulted in a penalty converted by Robbie Puca. But the sides were on level terms for only a few minutes when Young's pin-point cross found James Morgan who nodded over the advancing goalkeeper to restore the Gulls lead. Deeg and Young were called into action early in the second half to keep out goalbound efforts from Simon Harland and Danskin respectively. Danny Hill's clumsy challenge on Bright resulted in the game's third penalty which Bulloch tucked away to equalise. With the game now in the balance Perth went for broke as Bright, Christian DeBarro and Barry Wood went close. Sorrento, too, had their chances with Hill and Harland both missing the target with headers. Play swung wildly from end to end in the closing stages with Wood's long-range bomb grazing the bar, and a goal line clearance by DeBarro prevented Young from scoring. The games' last opportunity came the way of Aaron Cole but, like those before, him the defender's header was wide.
Stirling Lions would rue wasted opportunities as Cockburn City scored late to snatch a 1-1 draw at Macedonia Park. The game was only a few minutes old when Jordan Rhodes and Steve Porter asserted their authority and gained the ascendency in midfield for the hosts. Even so, the first chance on goal came via Cockburn's Johnny Mirco whose long-range effort was wide in the 7th minute. Stirling wasted little time in hitting back and a fine shot on the turn by Andy Brown flashed just past the upright, while a desperate clearance denied Rob Miller a goal in the 22nd minute. There would be no let up for Cockburn whose defence was put under red-hot pressure. Jordan Rhodes' cross picked out Ryan Jeans but his header was just wide, a spectacular save by Alan Dunlop kept out Porter's goalbound effort, and perhaps the best chance so far was wasted as Brown lifted over the crossbar from inside the 6-yard box. The Cockburn goal was eventually breached two minutes from half-time when Jeans cleverly evaded the defence and raced through to shoot past Dunlop much to the relief of the home crowd. A half-time spray from Billy Russell had fired up Cockburn and Daniel Palermo was thwarted in his efforts to equalise by Phil Straker just a few minutes after the re-start. This sparked both teams into action with the end result being some terrific attacking football. Rhodes was unable to beat Dunlop when sent clear, Johnny Mirco's long-range effort cannoned back off the crossbar, and a Brown header was scooped up by the Stirling custodian. With the clock ticking down Dusan Macura played a free-kick to the back post where ever-alert defender Shane Nunes nodded past Straker and gain the visiting side a share of the points.
Inglewood United opened their season account with a 3-0 win over Western Knights at Nash Field. In a game of contrasting fortunes, the Knights controlled the opening period but were unable to open up find the net while Inglewood's second half dominance was rewarded by three deserved goals. Both teams took their time to settle in the warm conditions and the only real threat coming from referee Hugh Best who was dishing out cards left, right and centre. Stuart Montgomery squandered a golden opportunity to put the Knights in front by heading wide a Jon Higgins cross that Oliver Taseski mis-judged. Paul Cooke weaved his way past four opponents before squaring to Montgomery whose fierce shot was pushed around the post by Taseski. Inglewood's only opening came though Albert Osei-Tutu who forced a fine save from Tommi Tomich. With the half coming to an end Cooke should have done better than screw the ball wide from 16-metres with the goalkeeper out of position. Within four minutes of the restart Inglewood had the lead through Louis Parkinson's long ball to Daniel Neiderberger who went evaded Claus Neilsen before arrowing his shot past Tomich. The Knights went within inches of equalising ten minutes later when Cooke headed against the bar from Ivan Zuvela's cross. Kevin Griffiths turned defence into attack by immediately releasing Anthony Danze who threaded a pass to Parkinson and the lively attacker cut inside from the left before firing in Inglewood's second goal from the top edge of the penalty box. The result was put beyond doubt not long after as Osei-Tutu played through to Jason Colli whose surging run was complemented with a terrific drive that Tomich got a hand to but was unable to keep out. The Knights hopes of a consolation goal amounted to nothing as John Thornley and Montgomery each failed to hit the target when called upon.
Armadale were left heartbroken as Swan I.C. struck a last minute winner to take out their encounter at Alfred Skeet Oval 1-0. It was a quiet opening from both sides with the first meaningful chance arriving after 14 minutes when Billy Kirkpatrick's cross from the left evaded the visiting defence and Marlon Ramirez was unable to make sufficient contact to trouble goalkeeper Corey Hugo. Good approach work from Scott Campbell and Miki Vujacic saw the latter cross to David Foster whose first time effort was saved down low by Nick Stone. James Isaia sent a neat free-kick into the area where Jason Goodwin just failed to connect as Armadale threatened once again, and Damien Scali's header was superbly tipped over the bar by Stone as the sides traded attacks. The second half was three minutes old when Ramirez slid a pass to through the defence to Ben Howe whose run at goal was halted by a crude tackle by Paul Baczynski who was rightfully red carded by referee Steve Muldoon. Howe crashed the resulting free-kick through the defensive wall but Hugo reacted smartly to keep out the low shot. Armadale pressed forward but couldn't make the most of their advantage as Isaia and Goodwin fired wide. As so often happens the ten men of Swan lifted and Scali should have done better than shoot wide from Trevor Hatton's through ball. The games best chance arrived with twelve minutes to go as Isaia and Goodwin liked with the latter opening up the defence for Kodi Madeley to side foot past Hugo only to rebound off the post. It took until the final minute for the game to be settled when Dom Ando's pass caught Armadale square and Shepheard was left unchallenged to slam the ball past Stone. Armadale twice went close levelling but Darryl Platten's shot was saved and Howe shot just past the post.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND FOUR (Dianella White Eagles vs Mandurah City courtesy Mandurah City; Forrestfield United vs Morley Windmills courtesy Morley Windmills)
Fremantle Spirit registered their third win from as many starts by outscoring Balcatta 2-0 at Graham Burkett Reserve. Both teams were quick to find their rhythm and inside ten minutes Jordan Conti and Steve Grant were called upon to keep out goalbound shots. The better opportunities were coming from the visiting team and it was only through a combination of good goalkeeping and solid defensive work that the Balcatta goal went unbreached. Ten minutes from the break Conti was called upon to spectacularly tip a goalbound effort over the crossbar. Fremantle's footwork was good, their teamwork commendable and their movement sharp, but Balcatta matched it and fought to keep the game scoreless at half-time. The second half was much like the first with the exception that Fremantle made the most of their chances whereas Balcatta did not. The game's first goal came in the 71st minute when Tyrone Fenwick beat the goalkeeper. With five minutes remaining the result was put beyond doubt as Mark Darby put away Fremantle's second goal.
Mandurah City's first away campaign of the season produced a hard fought 3-2 win over Dianella White Eagles. The visitors made their intentions clear from the outset by fighting and scraping for every ball. As the half wore on Mandurah began to dictate play with Steven Rhodes and Neil Connor punishing the opposition at every opportunity. Mandurah's game plan was running to schedule when Michael Bobridge's cross was met by Christian Paschewitz whose precise header was into the bottom corner. The second half started with a bang and in quick succession Dianella piled on goals via J.Jeremie and Dejan Djukanovic to steer the game in their favour. At this stage many sides would have been disheartened with the sudden turn of events but Mandurah showed their 'never say die' attitude and Paschkewitz unleashed an unstoppable shot to restore parity. Sensing the game was their first the taking, Mandurah received a major boost in the form of a couple of timely changes by coach Malcolm Rhodes. The visitors increased desire for a third goal was rewarded when Paschkewitz completed a deserved hat-trick in the 68th minute.
Morley Windmills returned home from Hartfield Park with maximum points after accounting for Forrestfield United 2-1. The opening exchanges were fairly tame as the two sides sized each other up and were very careful not to expose themselves at the back. All that changed in the 14th minute when Phil Bell curled a cross into the area and Lucas Whitehouse's half volley flew into the net to put the hosts in charge. Within a few minutes Matt Darling had single handed prevented Forrestfield from increasing their advantage with a terrific save from Grant Williams. Morley piled on the pressure and Ray Rose, Scott McIlroy and Danny Evans all went close. Three minutes after the break Damien Todorovic dribbled past a couple of defenders before squaring to Noong Naraphongt who made it one-each. Midway through the period Kayne Gordon-Davidson received his second yellow card and the home side were down to ten men. The decisive goal was struck with ten minutes left when Rose beat the offside trap and goalkeeper Scott Radford could only palm his powerful shot into the net. A second yellow card to Simon Messenger saw Morley reduced to ten men just before the final whistle.
South West Phoenix scored their first win of the season by defeating Rockingham City 3-2 at Dowling Street Reserve. Andrew Cowley netted twice for the visitors and Tomasz Kowalczyk once while Rockingham's goals came from Steve Hardie and an own goal. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
Canning City and Ashfield played out a 1-1 draw at Willetton Sportsman Club. Luke O'Neill put Ashfield ahead midway through the second half only for Ross Posthuma to equalise five minutes later. Both teams ended the day with ten men after Adam Purcell (Ashfield) Patrick Fitzgerald (Canning) were issued red cards. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
LAZARIDIS TOUTED AS GLORY SAVIOUR
Football Federation Australia has given its strongest indication that Stan Lazardis is the man to lead Perth Glory back to the top of the national league pile. FFA officially takes over the A-League licence from co-founder Nick Tana on Monday, with administration staff Eugenie Buckley and Mark Walker to start the process of reconstruction in Perth. And Matt Carroll, the governing body's head of operations, believes Lazaridis would be the perfect figure to help revive the ailing club.
Lazaridis is yet to be officially approached about joining Glory but is certainly aware of the interest. "It's a possibility - let's not rule that one out," commented Carroll. "Someone like Stan would be fantastic. It would build that connection with the western Australian community." Lazaridis, whose Birmingham City contract expires in June, is also being targeted by English club Crystal Palace and the A-League trio of New Zealand Knights, Newcastle United Jets and Adelaide United.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY (by Peter Simcox)
E.C.U. Joondalup moved to the top of the Premier League table with the completion of the fourth round of fixtures. Ian McMurray scored twice and Dale McCulloch and Garin Collins one apiece as the northern suburbs side came from behind to defeat Bayswater City 4-2. Floreat Athena claimed second place with a commanding 4-0 win over Wanneroo City through goals from Boima Karpeh (3) and Okwy Diamondstar. A late equaliser from Shane Nunes saw Cockburn City shared the points at 1-1 with Stirling Lions for whom Ryan Jeans was on target.
Sorrento were held to 2-2 draw on home soil by Perth S.C. who played much of the game with ten men after Gianfranco Circati was dismissed after 21 minutes. On target for the hosts were Stuart Young and James Morgan, while Perth's goals came via Robbie Puca and Scott Bulloch. Inglewood United collected their first win of the campaign by defeating Western Knights 3-0 through goals from Daniel Neiderberger, Louis Parkinson and Jason Colli. And Swan I.C. also earned their first win of the season when a last minute strike by Tom Shepheard saw them defeat Armadale 1-0.
Fremantle Spirit maintained their perfect win record by toppling Balcatta 2-0 to become outright leader of the First Division. South West Phoenix collected maximum points for the first time this season by defeating Rockingham City 3-2. Mandurah City came out on top 3-2 when they visited Dianella White Eagles. Morley Windmills came away from Hartfield Park with a 2-1 victory against Forrestfield United. And honours were even at Willetton Sportsman Club where Canning City held Ashfield 1-1.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
All eyes will be on Macedonia Park this Saturday afternoon when Stirling Lions square off with Cockburn City in the Premier League match of the day. Both teams are undefeated after the opening three rounds of competition and are confident of extending that run by at least another week. The key to the game will be across the middle where the likes of Steve Porter, Jordan Rhodes and Rob Miller match skills with Michael Mirco, Anthony Pereira and Jason Dos Santos.
Percy Doyle Reserve is the venue for the blockbuster between Sorrento and reigning champion Perth S.C. There won’t be much separating Western Knights and Inglewood United when they go head-to-head at Nash Field. Bayswater City showed a lot of spirit last week and will be confident of getting a result from their home clash with E.C.U. Joondalup. Floreat is expected to rack up a big score on home soil against Wanneroo City. A full 90 minute performance is what Armadale require to take so much as a point from the visiting Swan I.C.
First Division title favourite Balcatta are on home soil to an in-form Fremantle Spirit in the pick of the second tier action. An injury and suspension riddled Rockingham City welcome South West Phoenix at Dowling Street Reserve. Ashfield have started the season strongly and this week made the journey to Canning City. A tight match is expected at Dianella reserve where Dianella White Eagles take on Mandurah City. And in search of their points of the new campaign is Forrestfield United who has home ground advantage over Morley Windmills. Gosnells City has the bye.
GOOD NEWS FOR GARCIA
There was good news for Richard Garcia yesterday with confirmation he will not need a major operation. The 24-year old Colchester United attacker, sidelined since early last month with a knee problem, went under the knife for a minor procedure on Wednesday morning and facing the prospect of missing up to the next months if the exploratory operation showed damage to his cruciate ligament.
"The procedure was to address the meniscus (cartilage) tear in his knee, which should see him back to full fitness and function in four to six weeks," explained Colchester physio Stuart Ayles. "This will allow him to do his off season programme and be fully fit for the start of pre-season in July. This will be his first full pre-season during his time with the U's."
"The good news was that he didn't require a reconstruction of his cruciate ligament, which the surgeon examined whilst he was doing Richard's meniscus repair," Ayles continued. "On close examination, the surgeon was pleased what he saw, was happy that no further surgery was required and felt that it is strong enough to cope with the rigours of football."
It's been a season of highs and lows for Garcia whose made 31 League and Cup appearances for a return of eight goals. A shin injury forced him to miss the pre-season and it wasn't until late September before he made a first team appearance. After playing off the bench for three months Garcia broke into the first eleven just prior to Christmas. He hit peak form in late January by scoring six times in four games, but a knee injury suffered away at Swansea in early March ended his season prematurely.
CATCH WORLD CUP FEVER
A World Cup Quiz Night, to be held at Dorrien Gardens on Friday 2nd June, will give fans an early chance to get into the swing of the 2006 Finals. Apart from the knowledge testers - which will include football and general questions - there will be World Cup memorabilia up for auction, a World Cup raffle, videos highlighting some of the great moments of the FIFA championship and a prize for the best dressed in World Cup costume or colours.
A Celebrity Panel Show featuring World Cup referee Eddie Lennie and Australian internationals Shaun Murphy, Robbie Dunn and Gary Marocchi is sure to produce some lively discussion on the prospects of the Socceroo's as well as the other thirty-one competing nations. And all this for the cost of $10 per person - or get a team together with a table of 10 for $100!
Free nibbles, tea and coffee will be available on the night, while the bar will also be open. Russell Goodrick has been appointed quiz master of the function organised by the Committee of the Football Hall of Fame Western Australia. Tickets are available now from Bob Brown (9446 3338) or John O'Connell (0413 973 846).
COUNTRY CAMP A SUCCESS (courtesy Football West)
The annual Football West Country Camp has received the thumbs up from players and coaches alike. Hosted at Wesley College last week, the camp brought together eighty of the top junior players identified at Country Week as potential state footballers. Referees participated in the camp for the first time and received tips from the best in the business, amongst them former FIFA whistleblower Eddie Lennie. The camp included male and female players ranging from the under 13 age group through to under 17’s. Participants, who came from as far away as Karratha, Albany and Kalgoorlie, were given the chance to test their skills against metropolitan State players.
16-year old Jessica Bennett was thrilled to be involved in the vamp. “It was just an awesome, sensational week,” she commented. “I found the coaches this year were exceptional, we gained a lot of experience from high quality coaches.” Echoing those sentiments was 17-year old Kieran Kavanagh who said the camp was a great learning experience. “The camp was pretty good because it was really full on, you got to know a few people and it was tough work. It was good to learn a lot of things.”
Referees coach Dave Brady said the inclusion of referees in the camp was a success. “Coaches were watching and observing them at all times just like they would for a player,” he said. “The coach then goes and helps them with where they should be with positioning, points of law, etcetera.” National Training Centre representative Craig Cunningham said the camp had benefited him as a coach and as a player. “Before the camp I wasn’t really sure how to coach but when I came in all the guys were helping me out. It has definitely helped me as a player because you find when you coach the kids to do certain things then you actually do those things yourself.”
Football West development manager Andrew Bettel said the Country Camp was a great success and thanked its’ sponsors. “Healthway, through their Smarter Than Smoking funding, have gone a long way to supporting the camp, particularly the referees,” he said. “I didn’t see too many people not smiling for most of the day so you can assume they have enjoyed the camp.” All participants in the camp received a playing kit, a full size football, a smaller ‘skill ball’ and two instructional DVD’s dealing with the finer points of the game.
PUNISHMENT DELAYED FOR WANNEROO TRIO
The late arrival of a referee's match report allowed Wanneroo to field three Wanneroo players sent off the previous week. Derek Cooke, Dendle Morgan and Gerry McEwan were issued red cards in last weeks draw at Western Knights and, by rights, should have automatically been suspended for Saturday's game with Armadale.
But as referee Hugh Best's report on the Knights-Wanneroo game was not received by Football West until Friday, the association, in accordance with the '2006 Rules of Competition (State League)', had no option but to grant permission for the above mentioned trio to play against Armadale.
Under the '2006 Rules of Competition (State League)', "An expulsion automatically incurs suspension from the next official Football West fixture their club is participating in at the same level at which the suspension occurred" (Section 7, Disciplinary Code, Clause 2.4.3).
The rules also state that "For the avoidance of doubt a player should not play in another fixture in any competition or grade until the club has clarified eligibility with Football West or the suspension has lapsed in terms of fixture round dates served" (Section 7, Disciplinary Code, Clause 2.6.4).
As Wanneroo had not been notified of the suspension of their three players by Wednesday afternoon, the club sought clarification from Football West. And as Football West was yet to take receipt of the referee's report from the Knights-Wanneroo clash they again referred to the '2006 Rules of Competition (State League)'.
"If the referee's report has not been received by Football West by 12.00noon on the Wednesday following the fixture then Football West will not administer any penalty (including automatic penalty) for the next fixture round" (Section 5 (B) Official Referees - Duties, Clause 2.6.1).
In accordance with this Football West provided written permission to Wanneroo on the Wednesday afternoon for the three players in question - Cooke, Morgan and McEwan - to participate in the then upcoming fixture against Armadale. Had the club had not checked with Football West then the players would have been ineligible to play.
The above clauses were added to the '2006 Rules of Competition (State League)' after consultation with the clubs who requested clear guidelines as to what happened if Football West did not receive a referee's report. Football West has subsequently notified Wanneroo that Cooke, Morgan and McEwan are suspended for this week's visit to Floreat Athena.
JONES BACK IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Goalkeeper Brad Jones will stake his claim for a place in Australia's World Cup squad after Mark Schwarzer's season was cut short by injury on the weekend. Schwarzer, first choice 'keeper for both Middlesbrough and Australia, suffered a fractured cheekbone in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final loss to West Ham United. Jones is expected step into the breech and don the gloves for his clubs final four games of the English Premier League season as well as Thursday's UEFA Cup semi-final return leg clash with Steaua Bucharest.
ON THIS DAY … 1955
Gary Marocchi is arguably the finest player Western Australia has ever produced. Born in Subiaco on 24th April 1955, Marocchi is the youngest of four sons to Doris and Saverio Marocchi, who was a founding player of the 1948 Azzurri (now Perth S.C.) team. In a remarkable seventeen season playing career Marocchi won numerous trophies and awards for Perth, made over one hundred appearances in the national league with Adelaide City, and gained Australian youth and senior international honours. Upon hanging up his boots he successfully turned his hand to coaching at Perth, Perth Kangaroos, Perth Glory and Swan I.C.
It was as a bright eyed 16-year old that Marocchi made his senior debut for Azzurri against Swan Valley in 1971. In no time at all the talented young midfielder established himself as a starting member of the side which, over the next few seasons, would dominate the local game. Between 1971 and 1976 Marocchi featured prominently for the Blues who won three Premier League championships, two association Cups and two Night Series titles.
His representative career began at the 1975 Marah Halim tournament in Indonesia which WA won by defeating South Korea 2-0 in the final, a feat the State repeated twelve months later when they again downed South Korea in the decider. In total Marocchi was called up for State duty on twenty-two occasions which included games against touring European clubs Legia Warsaw, Middlesbrough, Glasgow Rangers, Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland.
After touring Indonesia with the Australian under-23 side in early 1975, Marocchi made his senior international debut that June against South Korea at the Jakarta Anniversary Cup Tournament in Indonesia. Over the next three years he’d don the green and gold on fourteen occasions and toured Israel, West Germany, England, Asia and China as Australia prepared for the 1978 World Cup. Undoubtedly the pinnacle of his playing days came in June 1978 when Marocchi captained Australia in a three-game friendly series against Greece.
Marocchi joined Adelaide City in 1977 for the inaugural season of national league football and would go on to play 117 games and score 8 goals for the club. The Zebras’ first trophy success came in 1979 when they defeated St George to claim the League Cup with Marocchi part of that side. Later that same year he lined up in an exhibition match against the touring American Cosmos side that featured stars such as Franz Beckenbaur, Carlos Alberto, Georgio Chinaglia and Dennis Tueart.
After six seasons in the national league Marocchi returned to Perth in 1983 and once again pulled on the boots for Perth. The following year he captained the State team at the DCM Tournament in India where the highlight was a 1-0 defeat of the Chinese national team. After spending 1985 with Inglewood Kiev Marocchi returned to Dorrien Gardens to see out his playing days. A trip to Singapore for the Epson Cup in 1987 saw Perth square off with the likes of Southampton and St Mirren, and the following year Marocchi brought the final curtain down on a successful seventeen-year career.
It was as coach of Perth that the next chapter in Marocchi’s career was written. In a sensational three-season spell commencing 1991 Perth captured a hat-trick of Premier League championships, two Top Four play-off titles, one association Cup and one Night Series trophy. During this same period he coached the State team on several occasions the highlights of which were memorable victories over then European Cup Winners Cup holder Werder Bremen and Greek side Iraklis.
His next port of call was with the Perth Kangaroos who took out the 1994 Singapore League championship without loss. Marocchi was the automatic choice to coach national league newcomer Perth Glory and during his two seasons at the helm the side claimed respectable mid-table finishes. After a few years out of the game Marocchi was lured back to first team coaching by Swan I.C. and in 2003 he lead them to a historic victory over traditional rival Perth S.C. in the final of the association Cup.
Along the way Marocchi has collected numerous awards and accolades. In October 1996 he became the first association football player inducted into the Western Australian Institute of Sport’s Hall of Champions. The following month Marocchi was inducted into the Western Australian Football Hall of Fame’s Hall of Champions. Marocchi gained the Award of Distinction from the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 1999. And in October 2005 he was one of four inaugural inductions into the Hall of Legends category of the Western Australian Football Hall of Fame.
CAMPBELL SHOULDERS RESPONSIBILTY FOR SEND OFFS
Ronnie Campbell’s pre-match address was taken a little too far by a fired-up Western Knights who had two players dismissed in Saturday’s draw at Swan I.C. The Knights long-time coach had urged his players to be more aggressive against Swan after he felt they were too ‘soft’ in previous encounters with E.C.U. Joondalup and Wanneroo City. Campbell’s rally to arms certainly stirred things up with David Annall and Paul Devlin issued their marching orders against Swan. “To finish with nine men and get a draw - I suppose you have to be happy with that,” said Campbell. “I have no complaints about them (the players). We spoke before the game about being more aggressive but I think we went a bit too far. As a coach you have to take some of the blame.”
WOMEN’S PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND ONE (by Penny TannerHoath)
Balcatta outscored newly promoted Mandurah City in the game of the round between two of the hottest properties in the Women’s Premier League. The bold attacking style of Balcatta was pitted against a composed Mandurah side seeking to find their way in the top flight. Midfielder Deb Gorton lead the way as the home side peppered Mandurah's goal throughout the first half and made sure there was little respite for goalkeeper Natalie Dash who remained unbeaten at the break.
Ten minutes into the second half Balcatta went ahead through Jamie Carley who chipped a free-kick over the 'keeper. Only a few more minutes had elapsed when the margin became two goals courtesy of Kylie Chatto. Mandurah veteran Sylvia Loretto pushed her young troops forward and State junior representative Harriett Talbert slotted their first goal past Chloe Coglan. Melissa Spillman slammed a second goal in ten minutes later to tie the game up at two-all.
The deciding goal arrived just moments from the final whistle when confusion in the Mandurah defence saw the ball ricocheted to Lisa D’Ovidio who pushed it over the line. It was a good start to the season for Balcatta who have been installed as the red-hot favourite to take out the title. The result may not have been in their favour but Mandurah's young line-up gave every indication they'll be a competitive force in their first winter of Premier League football.
Queens Park made a superb start to the new season by toppling reigning Premier League champion Northern Redbacks 3-0 at Coker Park. The points were shared in the days other game at Rosalie Park where Subiaco City was held 1-1 by the visitors from East Fremantle.
SHOW ME THE MONEY : DESPOTOVSKI
Bobby Despotovski has threatened to quit Perth Glory next week if his contract is not increased. The veteran striker, who earns $50,000 a season with Glory, made his position clear to Football Federation Australia official Matt Carroll during his recent trip to Perth. The average A-League salary is $80,000 with the salary cap set to increase next season with $1.6 million per club. Despotovski was the A-league’s joint top goalscorer last season while his 231 games and 110 goal are both Glory club records.
“April 30 is the last day of my contract and if it’s not improved by then, I’m going to chuck it in,” Despotovski told David Davutovic of the “Sunday Times” newspaper. “I’ve been taken advantage of for the past eight year. I told them my contract’s unacceptable. I signed it, but circumstances have changed. The whole thing stinks and I’m sick and tired of it. I think I’m worth more to the club and to the A-League than what I’ve been paid for the past four or five seasons. I was on more money ten years ago which is ridiculous.”
“Matt Carroll was supposed to call last week and let me know what’s going on and I haven’t heard from him,” Despotovski continued. “I think it’s very, very poor from FFA. I’m not asking for a huge amount, or two or three-year contract, but I wouldn’t even be a middle earner for Glory and I’m only looking for a one-year deal.” A number of Glory’s Perth-born players have reportedly become disillusioned with the club after enduring protracted contract negotiations.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND THREE (Cockburn City vs Sorrento by Lennie Bavich; Inglewood United vs Stirling Lions courtesy Stirling Lions; Swan I.C. vs Western Knights by Peter Simcox; Perth S.C. vs Bayswater City by Andy Ferguson)
A second half revival enabled Wanneroo City to take the points by 2-1 over Armadale at Kingsway Reserve. But the win was embroiled in controversy as Wanneroo fielded three players who were sent off the previous week at Western Knights. Armadale settled the better and were unlucky not to go ahead through Matt Bennion who stroked the ball past Aleksander Vrteski and could only watch on as Morgan Dendle cleared from close to the line. Craig Anderson nodded a free-kick down to Jason Goodwin who swung it just past the post. A rare Wanneroo attack almost produced the goods in the 23rd minute as Derek Cooke knocked the bouncing ball over an advancing Nick Stone that drifted over the crossbar. Nine minutes from the break Armadale deservedly went ahead via John Dixon whose mis-hit cross from wide on the right looped over Vrteski and dropped inside the far upright. The introduction of Craig Bowman breathed new life into the home side and on 52 minutes the attacker’s low ball into the area evaded all expect Ryan Townsend who slammed in the equaliser from close-range. With this the game swung in Wanneroo’s favour and Bowman skidded a shot across the face of goal after a lightning attack down the right. Townsend went down inside the area under what appeared a legitimate challenge by Clarke Killoh in the 73rd minute, referee Steven Gregory pointed straight to the spot and Phil O’Callaghan sent Stone the wrong way to hand advantage to the home team. Armadale were in no mind to concede and Bennion flashed a low shot past Vrteski which came back off the post. But just a minute later the visitors were effectively out of the game after Anderson was issued his marching orders for a needless second yellow card. Not surprisingly, the closing stages belonged to Wanneroo who did what was required to register victory.
There was drama aplenty when E.C.U. Joondalup knocked over Floreat Athena 3-2 at the Edith Cowan University campus. The visiting team would consider themselves unlucky not to have gained at least a share of the points after finding the back of the net five times only to have three of those ruled out by referee Hugh Best. Chances fell at both ends of the park during the opening spell but a combination of poor finishing and solid defensive work kept the teams level. The opening goal came midway through the half after goalkeeper Alex Dunn brought down Ian McMurray while contesting a high ball, and from the spot Dale McCulloch made no mistake in putting Joondalup ahead. The home defence were kept on high alert by their fast breaking opponents and twice Okwy Diamondstar found the net but had both efforts disallowed for offside. They eventually drew level in the 36th minute when Boima Karpeh latched on to a defence splitting pass by Josip Magdic and expertly lobbed the advancing goalkeeper. It took just six minutes for Joondalup to respond through Martin Ashworth who floated past Adrian Sutton and Costa Socratous before skilfully shooting past Dunn to make it two-one. Floreat greeted the second half by laying siege to their hosts goals but few genuine chances resulted as Joondalup’s backline, under the guidance of Jamie Kuzmanovich and Chris Currie stood, up to the challenge. That said, Diamondstar put the ball in the net a third time but was again denied by the referee. With fifteen minutes left on the clock Joondalup struck third a third time as Ashworth’s deep cross was met by McMurray who nodded past the ‘keeper. There was still plenty of life in Floreat and six minutes later they pegged one back after Currie fouled Karpeh inside the area, and Diamondstar converted the resulting penalty.
Honours were even at Dalmatinac Park where Cockburn City were held 1-1 by Sorrento. The home team was quickly into stride and NeilYoung had his reflexes tested early by a Jason Dos Santos shot that took a deflection off Richard Watson. Andrew Cormell shot high not long after followed by a rasping strike from 20-metres by Anthony Pereira which Young took at the second grab. Sorrento’s first opportunity came via a free-kick from distance which Stuart Young blasted over the crossbar. Cockburn’s dominance was rewarded at the 13 minute mark when Dos Santos clipped a pass over the defence for Pereira who looped the bouncing ball over the on-coming goalkeeper and into the net. Shane Nunes was next to threaten for the home team with a thundering strike from 40-metres which Young got a hand too the ball and an acrobatic Michael Mirco could only steer the follow-up wide. As the half came to a close the momentum swung in Sorrento’s favour and Todd Harnwell delivered a promising cross which Simon Harland headed goalward but it was too close to Alan Dunlop who saved comfortably. Sorrento picked up the second half where they left off and only desperate defending by Nunes and Paul Oliver prevented thm from breaking through. As the half progressed Cockburn reasserted themselves and Michael Mirco shot into the side netting after good lead-up work from Dos Santos and John Mirco, while Cormell went past Watson only to be denied by Young. Sorrento’s equaliser arrived in the 59th minute when Pereira had the misfortune of heading a seemingly innocent long ball into his own net to stun the home crowd into silence. The home side almost snatched victory three minutes from the end through John Mirco whose fierce strike was brilliantly pushed over the bar by Young.
It was also one point each to Inglewood United and Stirling Lions who played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at the Kiev Sports Ground. The travelling supporters didn’t have to wait long before celebrating as a fine exchange of passes between Michael Pugliese and Andy Brown was smashed into the net from a tight angle by Ryan Jeans after only 5 minutes. Inglewood responded through a series of attacks in which Albert Osei-Tutu skimmed the crossbar and Darren Broxton shot wide. A fine save down low by Oliver Taseski shortly before half-time denied Jeans a second from a perfect through ball by Stevie Porter. Inglewood came out from the break in full flight and Osei-Tutu again came near with a header from Louis Parkinson’s cross. The ball was quickly channelled to the opposite end where Andy Brown slotted through to Jeans whose shot was blocked by Taseski and Porter sent the follow-up wide. Stirling slowly gained the upper hand in midfield where Rob Miller, Rhodes and Porter continually sent the side forward. In the 65th minute Brown should have done much better than shoot over the bar from close-range. Going the other way Anthony Danze and Daniel Niederburger combined only to have Phil Straker thwart the latter with a a brilliant finger tip save. The introduction of Steve Worthy immediately paid off for the hosts as he burst down the left to cross for Jason Colli tuck in the equaliser at the front post after 72 minutes. The pace quickened as both teams sought desperately to get a second goal and chances presented themselves for of Stirling brothers Leo Harman and Jake Harman, while Colli and Worthy went close for the home team. But rather fittingly the game ended in a draw with Kevin Henderson outstanding for the visitors and Danze played the starring role for Inglewood.
Swan I.C. and Western Knights played a hard fought yet entertaining 2-2 draw in the Swan Valley. Less than a minute had been played when an attempt to clear by Jovo Pavlovic rebounded into the path of Stuart Montgomery who slotted the opening goal past Cory Hugo. Things went from bad to worse for the black and whites when another defensive error gave Montgomery the opportunity to put away his second goal in the space of eight minutes. To their credit Swan rallied and both Tom Shepheard and David Foster went close to pegging a goal back before a Miki Vujacic connected sweetly with a free-kick some 25-metres out that flew into Tommi Tomich’s net after 28 minutes. There were chances at both ends as the sides wrestled for control with Foster firing narrowly wide and Montgomery and Paul Devlin causing a several nervous moments for the home defence. The scores were eventually levelled by Foster who fired home from close range after good work by Shepheard. The pre-match call of Ronnie Campbell for the Knights to show more passion and commitment was taken a little too literally just before break by David Annall who was sent off after retaliating to a no-nonsense challenge by Rory Mouttet. Swan should have made their numerical advantage count but the Knights stood firm with Ivan Zuvela and Evan Wallace outstanding at the heart of the defence. Midway through the half the visitors were reduced to nine players when Devlin was issued his marching orders for a second yellow card offence after 69 minutes. Although out numbered, the Knights proceeded to take control of the game and would have added a couple more goals to their tally if not for the shot-stopping abilities of Hugo. Swan, on the other hand, struggled to break down their opponents and would be left to rue wasted opportunities.
The expected goal avalanche at Dorrien Gardens did not materialise as Perth S.C. scrapped to a 2-1 win over traditional rival Bayswater City. Perth, cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd of several hundred, started by confidently stroking the ball around and making good use of wide men Matt Danskin and Jeff Bright who were constantly probing the visiting defence for any weaknesses. However, Bayswater were determined to improve upon their calamitous start to the season and, lead by goalkeeper Bobson Koroma, they turned away several early chances of which the best came the way of Barry Wood. Perth were made to pay for their wastefulness on 16 minutes when Sal Marapodi was sent clear of a suspiciously square defence and drew Gareth Deeg off his line before slotting in the go-ahead goal. Much of the remainder of the half had Perth camped in the Bayswater half and not far out from the break they were rewarded when Wood found himself clear of a napping defence to level the score. It was obvious from the opening minutes of the second half that Bayswater intended to shut up shop in the hope of gaining their first point of the season. However, their plans came unstuck midway through the period when Onoforo provided a sharp finish to another Bright cross, catching out Koroma who was slow off his line. The dismissal of Peter Lord for a second yellow card in the 72nd minute gave the visitors a chance of getting back in the game, and their the ten minutes which followed they applied the pressure without ever really testing Deeg. Control was soon back with the hosts as Wood hit the crossbar, and Onoforo was denied by a smart save from Koroma. Late in the game Onoforo could have secured the points when he pounced on a defensive error and rounded the ‘keeper but had his goalbound effort blocked by Michael Kovacevic.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND THREE (Gosnells City vs Rockingham City courtesy Rockingham City; Mandurah City by Balcatta by Silke Losch; South West Phoenix vs Canning City courtesy South West Phoenix)
Rockingham City went to the top of the First Division table after defeating Gosnells City 2-1 at Walter Padbury Reserve. The opening half was marred by some ugly tackling and with 35 minutes played the visitors went down a man as Fraser Brown was issued his marching orders for a late challenge on Darren Ingham. Shortly before the break Rockingham received another blow when coach Bryon Wood was dismissed from the bench area. The signs were a lot more promising in the second half with both teams creating chances on goal. Midway through the period Rockingham claimed the lead through Steve Hardie who stroked the ball into the bottom corner. That lead last just ten minutes before the ball deflected to Brian Cairney who beat goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock in a one-on-one. A few minutes later Rockingham regained the advantage as 17-year old Glenn Smith put the ball away following a corner. The visitors were then reduced to nine players after Sharrock was shown a straight red carded for handling the ball outside his area. The closing stages were tense as Gosnells pushed forward in search of an equaliser but Rockinghm had other ideas and held on for victory.
Balcatta came home from Peelwood Parade with a deserved share of the points after holding Mandurah City to a 2-2 draw. The colourful match saw the distribution of three yellow cards, two of which went to Balcatta, putting the players on high alert. Although Balcatta started strongly it was Mandurah who bagged the opening goal when Jordan Conti was beaten by Michael Bobridge after 10 minutes. This provided the hosts just the confidence boost they needed and through slick movement took control of the game. Six minutes after going ahead Mandurah struck a second goal through Christian Paschewitz. With little option but to attack Balcatta carved out several attempts on goal only to be held at bay by in-form goalkeeper Michael Green. They eventually found a way past the home custodian as Scott Broadley put his team on the scoreboard. The sides were greeted by light rain as they returned for the second half and Balcatta, fired up by the coaching staff, were immediately on the attack. But it took until the 68th minute for David Moschilla to equalise with a neat shot past the ‘keeper. Both teams worked hard on getting a decisive third goal but resolute defending ensured a draw would be the outcome of an even match.
Canning City scored their first win of the home and away season by a 1-0 scoreline at South West Phoenix. The home team, minus captain Trent Hathaway and James Bergin, were slow to get out of first gear and not surprisingly were punished on the quarter hour when Simon Versaico headed home at the back post from Ryan Allomes’ corner. Going a goal down seemed to wake up Phoenix who began to get on top by knocking the ball around with growing confidence. Andrew Cowley had a good chance to level when sent on-on-one with Jeff Cargill but he blazed disappointingly wide. Both defences coped well with the opposition attacks and the sides went in to the break with Canning one goal the better. The second half was only minutes old when a neat one-two between Pat Quinn and Steve Suttie saw the formers powerful strike kept out by Cargill. Phoenix may have had territorial superiority but Canning were holding firm and playing some very dangerous counterattacking football. The loss of Suttie to injury midway through the half took the sting out of Phoenix’ attack as Canning continued their fine record in Bunbury where they’ve lost just once in six visits.
Ashfield stormed to a 4-1 win on home soil over Forrestfield United. Luke O’Neill bagged a double and Daniel Webb and A.Lovic also found the target for the hosts while Forrestfield’s goal came via Phil Bell. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
Fremantle Spirit picked up their second successive win by out-scoring Dianella White Eagles 2-1. Marc Wingell and Jason Barrera were the scorers for the port side with Dianella’s goal coming from J.Jeremie. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs
BATISTUTA TEMPTED TO BUY INTO GLORY
One of the world’s greatest ever players, former Argentine international Gabriel Batistuta, is backing one of the consortiums chasing Perth Glory’s licence. Batistuta has settled in Perth with his family and has joined one of the local groups bidding for Glory, which also includes Asian giant World Sports Group and a Chinese businessman. FFA head of operations Matt Carroll said four groups remained interested in the Glory and that he was aware of a potential Batistuta link. “I’ve heard that he is interested in maybe being part of a local consortium,” Carroll told the Jonathon Cook of the “West Australian”. Batistuta, who wore Fiorentina colours for much of his stellar playing career and appeared at three World Cups, has the connections to help Glory’s player recruitment. Tom Galopoulos, whose business interests include the Driftwood Winery and Oceanus Restaurant, is one of the driving forces behind the bid.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
The third round of Premier League games produced its fair share of surprises. Cockburn City and Sorrento drew 1-1 at Dalmatinac Park where Anthony Periera scored at both ends of the park. E.C.U. Joondalup upset the visitors from Floreat Athena 3-with goals from Martin Ashworth, Dale McCulloch and Ian McMurray. Peter Lord was sent off when Perth S.C. came from behind to defeat Bayswater City 2-1. Barry Wood brought the teams level just before the break with David Onoforo hitting the winner midway through the second half.
The points were shared between Inglewood United and Stirling Lions at 2-2. Ryan Jeans gave Stirling the lead and Jason Colli levelled for the hosts. Stuart Montgomery took his tally to five goals in eight days by scoring both in Western Knights 2-2 draw at Swan I.C. for whom David Foster and Miki Vujacic found the net. Ryan Townsend and Phil O'Callaghan earned Wanneroo City their first ever Premier League win by a 2-1 scoreline against Armadale.
Steve Hardie and debutant Glenn Smith have sent Rockingham City on the top of the First Division table by scoring in their 2-1 defeat of Gosnells City. Jason Barrera scored the deciding goal in Fremantle Spirit's 2-1 home win over Dianella White Eagles which puts the port side second. Ashfield thumped Forrestfield United 4-1. Mandurah City threw away a two goal lead to share the points at 2-2 with Balcatta who finished the day with ten men. Canning City returned from Bunbury with their first points of the campaign courtesy of a narrow 1-0 win against South West Phoenix.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
There are some crackerjack fixtures in tomorrow’s third round of the Premier League season. Kingsway Reserve hosts the pick of the action as the top flight’s two newest sides, Wanneroo City and Armadale, who are each seeking their first win of the campaign. Phil O’Callaghan and Ryan Townsend hold the key for a Wanneroo side depleted by the absence of three key players through suspension. Armadale were unlucky not to gain at least a point from last week’s outing against E.C.U. Joondalup and with James Isaia and Jason Goodwin running the midfield they’ll be hard to stop.
Cockburn City and Sorrento are both undefeated and much is expected from their clash at Dalmatinac Park. Joondalup will need to produce something special if they are to stop a Floreat Athena for whom scoring has been no obstacle. Inglewood United’s difficult start to the season continues with a home clash against Stirling Lions. It’ll be a case of all hands on deck for Bayswater City who square off with traditional rival Perth S.C. at Dorrien Gardens. And Western Knights have their sights on taking all three points from their trip to Swan I.C.
The meeting of Mandurah City and Balcatta at Peelwood Parade promises to be one of the games of the First Division season. Fremantle Spirit were very impressive last weekend and are being tipped to claim victory at the expense of the visiting Dianella White Eagles. Ashfield are confident of collecting their first win when they host Forrestfield United. Nothing is going right for Canning City at the moment and they head to Bunbury to play South West Phoenix. Walter Padbury Reserve is the venue for Gosnells City against Rockingham City. Out of action due to the bye are Morley Windmills.
MOTHERWELL ‘A DREAM COME TRUE’ FOR MACDONALD
Former State Youth team defender Steve MacDonald will long remember his time in Scotland as a professional footballer. Spotted by Motherwell boss Terry Butcher while playing for Sorrento last year, MacDonald jumped at the chance when offered a six-month contract to join the Premier League club. “Playing football full-time was something I’ve always dreamt about since I was wee boy kicking a ball about the park every day after school,” MacDonald commented. “And so when the chance came to join Motherwell and be coached by Terry Butcher I wasn’t about to pass it up.”
The six months he spent with Motherwell was quite simply a dream come true for MacDonald. “To be coached by Terry Butcher, one of the best centre-halves to have ever played the game, was a dream come true in itself,” the towering 26-year old explained. “I idolised Terry as a kid and took on board everything he told me. My dad used to take me to Ibrox to watch Glasgow Rangers play so you can imagine how I felt when I made the bench for the game with Rangers at Ibrox … it was a feeling I will never forget.”
MacDonald feels the time he spent in Scotland has helped take his game to the next level. “My game improved immensely while I was at Motherwell, particularly my sharpness, awareness and reading of the game,” he said. “Compared to what I’ve been used to in Australia, the game in Scotland is a lot more physical and is played at a much faster tempo. And, of course, it’s a lot colder over there but having been born in Scotland and living in Glasgow for ten years I was well prepared for that change.”
With his time up at Motherwell, MacDonald chose to link up with former Sorrento coach Trevor Morgan in Singapore. “An offer to join Sengkang Punggol came from Trevor just after I was told that I was being released by Motherwell. It’s been a tough start to the season but we’re confident we can start picking up a few points.” MacDonald has started all four games for the Dolphins who are yet to collect their first point of the season. Joining MacDaonald in the squad are former Young Socceroos striker Jon Angelucci and one-time Forfar Athletic attacker Richard Waddell.
OLYROOS NARROWLY BEATEN TO SPRING CUP
The Australian Under-23's have been pipped at the post by Iran in this weeks four-nation Spring Cup tournament in Vietnam. The Olyroos finished the five-day series level on points with Iran whose superior goal difference put them on top of the table. There were plenty of positives to come out of the tournament for Australia who were undefeated in three games and didn't concede a goal. Amongst the Olyroo's 18-man squad were local pair and Perth Glory team mates David Micevski and Nick Ward.
The Olyroos began the series on Sunday with a 0-0 draw against Iran. The highlight of a game of few chances was a penalty save by Australian custodian Danny Vukovic in the 32nd minute. The closest Australia came to scoring was via Micevski who shot just wide four minutes earlier and following good work by Kristian Sarkies on the left. Iran hit the crossbar early in the second half while Vince Lia headed just past the upright from Sarkies' corner. Micevski was replaced after 58 minutes by Ward.
Australia's second game, against Vietnam's senior side, also ended in a scoreless draw. The game was dominated by the Olyroos as Sarkies, Ruben Zadkovich, Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Lia all went close inside the opening half hour. The defensive trio of Mark Milligan, Jacob Timpano and Adrian Leijer were outstanding with Vietnam unable to create any significant openings. Micevski, who came on for Ward in the 61st minute, appeared likely to break the deadlock in the final minutes but his goalbound effort was blocked close to the line.
The tournament ended for Australia with a lacklustre 1-0 win over Uzbekistan. The better of first half chances came from Uzbekistan while Australia showed a lot more enterprise in the second period. The deciding goal arrived with fifteen minutes to play when substitute Nikolai Topor-Stanley looped his header over the on-coming 'keeper from the top of the 18-yard box. Ward and Micevski both made the starting eleven with Ward placed by Jordan Simpson in the 61st minute, and Micevski replaced by Tyler Simpson in the 66th minute.
The Australian squad for the tournament consisted of Dez Giraldi, Danny Vukovic (Central Coast Mariners), Nikolai Topor-Stanley (Manly United), Adrian Leijer, Vince Lia, Kristian Sarkies (Melbourne Victory), Mark Bridge, Stuart Musialik (Newcastle Jets), David Micevski, Nick Ward (Perth Glory), Spase Dilevski, Jordan Simpson, Tyler Simpson (Queensland Roar), Mark Milligan, Justin Pasfield, Jacob Timpano, Ruben Zadkovich (Sydney FC) and Adam Casey (Wollongong Wolves). Glory midfielder Billy Celeski was a late withdrawal through injury.
BALCATTA VOTED THE FANS FAVOURITE
Balcatta have been nominated by the football family as the team mostly likely to end the year on top of the First Division table. Over 360 votes were cast in last weeks’ website poll which questioned ‘Who will take out the 2006 First Division champion?’ with Balcatta collecting an impressive 21.6% of the count. Dianella White Eagles (15.3%) were some way off the pace by well clear of Rockingham City (13.8%), Fremantle Spirit (11.7%) and Ashfield (10.2%). Mandurah City (6.9%) were nominated as the sixth most popular choice to claim the trophy and garnered just a few votes more than Gosnells City (6.3%) and Morley Windmills (6.0%). Canning City (3.6%), Forrestfield United (2.7%) and South West Phoenix (1.8%) bring up the rear of the field.
KNIGHTS GO FOR LAZARIDIS
A-League outfit New Zealand Knights have made a major play to gain the services of Australian international Stan Lazaridis. The Birmingham City wing-back is a confirmed target for both Newcastle United Jets and Adelaide United, however, the Knights have emerged as the front-runner to land Lazaridis courtesy of a reported $350,000-a-year offer. out of contract in June, Lazaridis has spent the past eleven seasons in England where he's made in excess of 300 appearances for West Ham United and Birmingham City. Lazaridis, capped 57 times by Australia, remains confident of gaining a place in the Socceroos World Cup squad despite falling out of favour since Guus Hiddink took charge.
MCCALLUM SENDS YOUNG MATILDAS TO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
The Young Matildas will line-up at this year’s FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Championship thanks to West Australian midfielder Collette McCallum. The talented 20-year etched her name in the history books by netting the decisive goal Australia's 3-2 win over Japan in the final game of the Asian Football Confederation qualifying tournament. The result ensured Australia finished third and join China and North Korea as Asia's representatives at the World Championship being hosted by Russia in August/September. The Australian youth team skated through the group phase with wins over China, Malaysia and Jordan before a semi-final loss to North Korea put them into the do-or-die play-off match.
Australia commenced the group stage by defeating pre-tournament favourites China 1-0. A far post header by Sasha McDonnell on 21 minutes forced a great save from the Chinese goalkeeper who, just before the break, tipped Collette McCallum’s long-range shot over the crossbar. The Young Matilda’s broke through nine minutes into the second half when McDonnell converted at close range from a McCallum cross. China twice struck the frame of the goal but it was Australia who dominated and were unlucky not to add a second as Leena Khamis and McCallum were both thwarted by the goalkeeper. McCallum played a full game.
McCallum wore the captain’s armband as Australia stormed their way to a 16-0 win over Malaysia on Tuesday, and secured a spot in the tournament semi-finals. Australia had opened up a six-goal gap by the break, and went on to score a further ten unanswered goals as the home team tired in the humid conditions. Jenna Tristram and Kylie Ledbrook scored four goals each, Victoria Balomenos bagged a hat-trick, there were doubles to be had by McCallum and Servet Uzunlar with Leah Blayney rounding out the scoring. McCallum, whose goals came after 10 and 27 minutes, was replaced at half-time.
The Young Matildas finished undefeated and top of Group B after easing to a 7-0 win over Thursday. After a delayed start to the game due to lightning near the ground, it didn’t take long Australia long to gain ascendancy as Caitlin Cooper netted after 11 minutes then added a second nine minutes later. Amy Jackson and Ledbrook scored within four minutes of each other midway through the period to take the difference to four goals by the break. Substitute McDonnell made it after 54 minutes, Renee Cartwright added a sixth goal in the 61st minute, and the scoring was wrapped up by an own goal in the 72nd minute. McCallum was rested and watched from the bench.
In the semi-finals, North Korea fended off a vibrant Young Matilda’s to win 4-2. Australia was always playing catch up in the heavy conditions with the Koreans scoring twice in the opening 15 minutes through S.H.Kim. The sparked Australia into life and after a handful of close calls, which included Uzunlar and McCallum hitting the frame of the goal, they were rewarded when McDonnell pulled a goal back five minute before the break. The second half was seven minutes old when Ra scored with a diving header to swing the game back in Korea’s favour. Australia again upped the pace and dominated with Sally Shipard bringing the gap back to a single goal with ten minutes remaining. Korean sealed victory in the final minute with a counterattack finished off from 10-metres by Ra.
Australia scored twice in the final quarter to snatch third place, and a place at the World Championship, from Japan. Japan went ahead on 11 minutes when Mizuho Sakaguchi converted a cross from the left. Australia replied when Blayney laid the ball into the path of Khamis who rounded the 'keeper and tapped into an open goal. Nine minutes into the second half Japan again took the lead through a diving header by Yuki Nagasato. Tristram set up a thrilling finish by equalising with fifteen minutes to play. And it seemed extra-time would be required to separate the sides when McCallum delivered the decisive blow in the 88th minute by calmly slotting past the 'keeper from the top of the 6-yard box after McDonnell's cross wasn't dealt with by the defence.
HARD WORK PAYS OFF FOR COCKBURN
When Billy Russell took up coaching duties at Cockburn City late last year he realised a lack of fitness was a major problem at the club. Russell drew up a fitness program during the summer months and has been rewarded with a dream start to the Premier League season. After thrashing Bayswater City in the season opener, Cockburn came away from Dorrien Gardens on Saturday with a hard-fought 2-1 win over title favourite Perth S.C. "It's unbelievable," Russell said. "Before the game I told my boys that everyone has written us off and we had nothing to lose. Perth are a great side and have set the benchmark for the other teams."
With the game tied up at one-each at half-time, off-season recruit Andy Cornmell scored his second goal of the afternoon to give Cockburn all three points and a memorable victory. "When we got in front in the second half it gave me a tremendous feeling," commented Russell. "My boys worked very hard against a class team. What is also exciting is that we had lost a couple of name players before the season. We are rebuilding, so our form is very pleasing so far. My team now is very fit and we are looking optimistically at the rest of the season."
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TWO (Perth S.C. vs Cockburn City by Lennie Bavich; Stirling Lions vs Swan I.C. courtesy Swan I.C.; Armadale vs E.C.U. Joondalup courtesy Armadale)
A goal in stoppage time gave Sorrento victory by 2-1 over a strong finishing Inglewood United at Percy Doyle Reserve. Sorrento could not have expected a better start as Stuart Young sent Oliver Taseski the wrong way from the penalty spot after Danny Hill’s downward header struck the hand of a defender after 6 minutes. The visiting side slowly got into gear and were back on level terms in the 24th minute when Louis Parkinson pushed down the right and sent in a low cross for which Daniel Niederberger squeezed between two defenders to volley firmly into the net. Inglewood were incensed at not being awarded a penalty after Kevin Griffiths was brought down inside the area by Andrew Bowyer in the minutes before the break. It was more of the same in the second half with the visitors dominating possession for lengthy periods and continually prying for a passage to goal. Inglewood twice had the ball in the back of the net through Anthony Danze but on both occasions his efforts were ruled out for offside. Andre Sarpe steered wide from a Parkinson cross, and appeals for a penalty for handball by Ord failed to sway the referee. The onslaught was relentless and when Bowyer was issued his marching orders for a second bookable offence with five minutes to go it seemed Lady Luck may be about to finally smile on the visitors. The next attack was led by Sarpe who turned provider for Griffiths but his glancing header was narrowly high. With the clock ticking down Harland gained possession near the halfway line and jinxed his way past several challenges before unleashing a shot from an acute angle which came off the far post and rebounded to Thomas who made no mistake in putting away a dramatic winner.
Cockburn City overcame the odds to score a memorable 2-1 win over title favourite Perth S.C. at Dorrien Gardens. The hosts were quickly on the front foot and created three good chances in rapid succession but Robert Sciascia, David Onoforo and Gianfranco Circati were unable to capitalise. Cockburn's first attacking raid arrived not long after with Paul Oliver shooting into the side netting. In the 9th minute Jason Dos Santos made his way down the left wing and sent a neat cross in that Andy Cornmell nodded past goalkeeper Gareth Deeg, much to the delight of the visiting fans. Peter Lord turned the ball over in midfield and transferred possession to Scott Bulloch whose explosive drive beat Alan Dunlop but not Oliver who rescued his side with a courageous goal line clearance. It was pretty much one-way traffic as Perth sought to equalise. In the 33rd minute Onoforo set up Bulloch who rifled over the crossbar, and seven minutes later Michael Icanovski flashed the ball wide from a Jeff Bright corner. Dusan Macura played a free-kick into the area at the opposite end which Cornmell glanced just beyond the upright. A minute from the break Barry Wood drew the attention of two defenders before laying the ball back to Bulloch who shot low past Dunlop to level the game. Both sides began the second half tentatively and it took a good twenty minutes before Perth again seized control. Gary Faria was thwarted by Dunlop, Lord pushed the ball wide from 8-metres in a goalmouth scramble, and Barry Wood's shot on the turn was turned around the post by a 'keeper at full-length. However, Cockburn weren't to be outdone and with two minutes left on the clock Michael Mirco manoeuvred into the area and having drawn Deeg off his line slotted the deciding goal between 'keeper and upright.
Floreat Athena cruised to a 5-0 victory over a spiritless Bayswater City at Frank Drago Reserve. A scorching John Migas drive that kissed the crossbar signalled Floreat’s intentions inside the opening minute. Bayswater had little to counter their opponents’ creativity as Stephen Guest and Adam Bachillor provided terrific service from out wide and in the middle of the park Josip Magdic worked his magic. It was always only a matter of time before Floreat broke through and in the 19th minute Branimir Mikulic rose unchallenged to glance Bachillor’s in-swinging corner into the net. Goal number two arrived via a superb defence splitting pass from Boima Karpeh which was into the path of Okwy Diamondstar who had no difficulty in beating a badly exposed goalkeeper after 33 minutes. Four minutes from the break Costa Socratous forced Jarred Smith to concede possession and pushed his way down the right before cutting back to Guest who blasted into the top corner from 9-metres. Koroma produced a world-class save to keep out a Josip Magdic thunderbolt ten minutes into the second half. Floreat’s fourth arrived in the 66th minute when substitute Peter Coci waltzed past two defenders before curling the ball around Koroma and in off the far post. The hosts showed greater composure in the second half but their efforts to get on the scoreboard were in vain as substitute Sal Marapodi and Mark Lee both shot high. The onslaught continued at the opposite end as Koroma made another stunning save to frustrate Mikulic, and not long after the ‘keeper was quick off his line to courageously smother at the feet of Magdic. With six minute remaining Mikulic sauntered down the left and delivered a low cross into the area which Karpeh got to ahead of two defenders and knocked past the ‘keeper for the games final goal.
Swan I.C. played out an entertaining 2-2 draw with Stirling Lions in front of a big crowd at Macedonia Park. The hosts could have gone ahead inside the 1st minute but Andy Brown’s header sailed over the crossbar from a Steve Porter corner. Much of the early running came from Stirling but between them and the opening goal stood the imposing frame of an in-form Corey Hugo. The breakthrough finally arrived after 25 minutes of pressure when Jordan Rhodes’ cross wasn’t properly dealt with by the defence and Brown arrowed his shot past Hugo from the edge of the 18-yard box. Swan countered as Damien Scali went one-on-one with Tom Straker who held his nerve and deflected the ball over the line. The resulting corner was played deep by Miki Vujacic to David Foster who lobbed the ball back into the 6-yard box where Rory Mouttet headed in the equaliser after 37 minutes. Swan were unlucky not to gain the upper hand after the break through Vujacic whose free-kick from distance ricocheted off the post to safety. With ten minutes to go substitute Jake Harman expertly controlled Riste Stefoski’s cross, turned his marker and rifled into the bottom corner from 12-metres. A great opportunity to seal the three points came about through Ludovic Boi who sent Jake Harman past the defence but his goalbound strike was brilliantly saved by Hugo. The closing stages produced chances at both ends as Hugo twice more denied Stirling a third goal while a shot from close-range by Scali was amazingly cleared off the line by a defender. With little under two minutes remaining Scali got himself on the end of a Tom Shepheard cross and nodded past Straker to send the travelling fans into raptures. Special mention must also be made of Angelo Nardi for his superb control of the game.
Western Knights scored a late equaliser to snatch a 3-3 with Wanneroo City at Nash Field. The opening exchanges were fast and furious as both teams sought to take the early advantage. As it turned out it was Wanneroo who drew first blood through Phil O’Callaghan after he converted a cross from Matt Donlevy. The gap could have been doubled by Ryan Townsend who benefited from poor defending but was unable to beat Tommi Tomich. The Knights hit back soon after as Aleksander Vrteski's attempted clearance crashed into Stuart Montgomery who reacted quickly by sliding the loose ball into an empty net from a narrowing angle. John Thornley went within inches of putting the hosts ahead when he shot past the goalkeeper only to see his effort come back off the upright. The visitors received a set back a few minutes from the interval with the dismissal of Derek Cooke for a questionable second yellow. The second half began with the Knights on the attack, however, it was Wanneroo who'd score next through Will Hodges who latched on to a long ball into attack which he rifled past Tomich. Again the Knights response was swift as Paul Devlin's miscued attempt on goal fell nicely for Montgomery to control then lash past Vrteski from 7-metres. Wanneroo went ahead for a third time when Michael Baczynski teed-up Ryan Townsend who made no mistake in beating Tomich. But the visitors hard was soon undone as Morgan Dendle was issued his marching orders for dissent, then Gerry McEwan was also red carded after bringing Montgomery down inside the area, and from the resulting penalty the Knights striker complete his hat-trick. In a desperate attempt to snatch victory the Knights threw everything forward but it wasn’t to be as David Annall hit the post and Kevin Correia’s close-range shot was cleared off the line.
E.C.U. Joondalup struck a last gasp winner to win out 3-2 victors over Armadale at Alfred Skeet Oval. The first shot in anger came from the hosts after 4 minutes when Kevin Bissett volleyed wide from a James Isaia corner. Martin Ashworth thought he'd put Joondalup ahead a few minutes later with a scorching left-foot drive that flashed past Nick Stone but was ruled out by an offside flag. The midfield efforts of Matt Bennion, Isaia and Jason Goodwin allowed Armadale to gain the upper hand and through a series of long balls caught the visiting defence out but neither John Dixon nor Bissett could capitalise. Captain Dale McCulloch was proving influential in sending Joondalup forward but the crosses of Ashworth and Anthony Jones were continually intercepted by Armadale's back four. The breakthrough arrived in the 27th minute when Stone's booming clearance was chased down by Dixon who held off two defenders before striking the ball wide of Peter Stewart. Joondalup drew level a minute from the break via a neat counterattacking move in which Ashworth sent Scott Bushby through to round the 'keeper and tuck away the equaliser. The second half began with Armadale on the attack and four minutes in Isaia's explosive shot from 20-metres found the bottom corner. The hosts could have added a third shortly after but Dixon was unable to convert when sent clear by Bissett. With Ashworth causing all sorts of problems down the left channel Joondalup upped the tempo to the effect of calling Stone into action on several occasions. They drew level in the 67th minute when Ian McMurray was brought down inside the penalty area and up stepped McCulloch to convert from the spot. Stewart responded brilliantly to keep out a goalbound effort from youngster Ryan Pearson not long after. With six minutes of regulation time left Ashworth’s cross was brought down by Ryan Newhill and Bushby rammed in winning goal at close-range.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWO (Canning City vs Fremantle Spirit courtesy Canning City; Balcatta vs Morley Windmills courtesy Morley Windmills; Rockingham City vs Ashfield courtesy Rockingham City)
Fremantle Spirit re-acquainted themselves with the First Division by whipping Canning City 5-1 at Willetton Sports Club. This was always going to be a difficult game for Canning who were without four key players from their triumphant Night Series squad. After a fairly even opening spell Fremantle gained the lead when a cross from Ben Kelly caught the home defence square and David Rodgers controlled well before drilling his shot past Jeff Cargill. Brothers Dale and Marc Wingell were running the show from midfield for the port side who doubled their advantage just before half-time when Peter Vukmirovic headed in at a corner. The second half continued in much the same fashion and the lively Callum Roberts outpaced the home defence before laying the ball into the path of Rodgers who put away his second of the day. Fremantle were running rampant and with Jason Barrera providing the drive when going forward and not surprisingly added two further goals through Roberts Canning could muster little in response and were making few in-roads against a defence anchored by seasoned campaigners Alex Christie and Vukmirovic. The hosts eventually found an avenue to goal close to the final whistle through the head of Dave Mahon.
Balcatta picked up maximum points by defeating Morley Windmills 2-1 at Graham Burkett Reserve. It didn’t take the hosts long to get into stride as John Nicolaou’s shot from just inside the 18-yard box forced a terrific save out of Matt Darling. A superb cross from the right by Rob Giorgi produced the opening goal on 33 minutes which was nodded in at close-range by Nicolaou. That lead was very nearly short-lived as Scott McIlroy’s lob drifted over Jordan Conti but also the bar just a minute later. David Moschilla was presented a golden opportunity to give the home team a two-goal buffer at the break but he shot wide with only Darling to beat. Balcatta were on the attack after the re-start and Nicolaou was thwarted by Darling at close range. Ray Rose brought the teams level after 55 minutes by his marker and slammed the ball into the top corner from an acute angle. Morley looked to have gone ahead with eighteen minutes left when Conti parried a free-kick which Rose netted only to have it disallowed for handball. The deciding goal arrived three minutes into stoppage time when Anthony Toutunzious’ deep cross found Shane Mitchell whose powerful header from 3-metres gave Darling no chance.
Rockingham and Ashfield played out a tough and gritty 1-1 draw when they meet at Dowling Street Reserve. Ashfield got themselves off to a flying start when Andy O’Neill’s free-kick was nodded in by Mohamed Komaderic at close range with just 4 minutes elapsed. The hosts rode their luck as Ashfield pushed forward in numbers and Komaderic, O’Neill and Mel Lovic each had shots kept out by Cyril Sharrock. It was against the run of play then that Rockingham equalised via Jason Peacock who lifted the ball over the defence and, under pressure from Chris Read, Daniel Webb had the misfortune of heading over Francis Allen and in to his own net. Komaderic then skipped past two defenders and unleashed a powerful shot which Sharrock did well to save and deny Ashfield the lead at half-time. Rockingham were more involved in the game after the break but opened up very few holes their opponents defence. The best chance of the half came in the final minutes through a long ball from Rob Crerar which was spilled by Allen and Steve Cramphorn amazingly pushed his shot into the upright from 2-metres. Few in attendance would disagree that a sharing of the points was a fair and just outcome.
Mandurah City defeated Forrestfield United 3-1 at Peelwood Parade. Christian Pascherwitz scored twice and Michael Bobridge once for Mandurah while the visitors goal arrived in the first half and via Lucas Whitehouse. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
The points were shared at Dianella Reserve where Dianella White Eagles and Gosnells City drew 1-1. Arthur Majewski put the hosts ahead on 21 minutes only to have Dragan Njegic equalise sixteen minutes from the end. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
INJURIES DON’T CONCERN NORMANTON
Despite injuries to two key players, Graham Normanton believes Perth S.C. can withstand the attacking prowess of Cockburn City when they meet this afternoon at Dorrien Gardens. Perth started the season with a 2-0 win over Inglewood United last week while Cockburn whipped Bayswater City 7-1. “Any team that scores seven goals is a coach’s delight,” said Normanton. “Though they have a lot of strength in attack, Cockburn is a good all-round side. Cockburn improved through the Night Series and have a fair midfield. I think the game will be won in the midfield.” Perth go in to the game without the services of Matt Danskin and Robbie Puca due to ankle and groin injuries, respectively, which opens the door for Robert Sciasia and Peter Lord to come into the starting line-up.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Cockburn City, Sorrento and Floreat Athena sit jointly atop the Premier League table at the conclusion the second round as the only sides with a perfect win record. Andy Cornmell marked his return to the top flight by scoring both goals in Cockburn's 2-1 defeat of Perth S.C. Sorrento defeated Inglewood United 2-1 through strikes by Stuart Young and Glen Thomas. Branimir Mikulic, Okwy Diamondstar, Stephen Guest, Peter Coci and Boima Karpeh found the net in Floreat's 5-0 mauling of Bayswater City.
Stirling Lions were surprisingly held 2-2 by Swan I.C. Armadale were minutes from collecting their first points of the season when they conceded twice to crash 2-3 at home to E.C.U. Joondalup whose goals came from Scott Bushby (2) and Dale McCulloch. Stuart Montgomery bagged a hat-trick for Western Knights in their 3-3 home draw against Wanneroo City in which from Will Hodges, Phil O'Callaghan and Ryan Townsend scored for the visitors.
Fremantle Spirit made a bold statement by whipping pre-season favourite Canning City in their opening game of the First Division season. A last minute goal gave Balcatta all three points over Morley Windmills by a 2-1 scoreline. Christian Paschewitz scored twice and Michael Bobridge once in Mandurah City's 3-1 defeat of Forrestfield United. The points were shared between Dianella White Eagles and Gosnells City at 1-1. And things also ended level at Dowling Street Reserve where Rockingham City came from behind to draw 1-1 with Ashfield.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Round Two of the Premier League season takes place tomorrow with the match of the day taking place at Percy Doyle Reserve where Sorrento and Inglewood United pit skills. Last week the Gulls came from behind to defeat Swan I.C. and with a defence marshalled by Danny Hill and Neil Young they’ll be hard to beat on home soil. Inglewood have an abundance of attacking options, particularly out wide where Louis Parkinson and Kevin Griffiths operate with menace, and are eager to mark themselves as a serious title contender.
There should be plenty of goals scored at Dorrien Gardens between Perth S.C. and Cockburn City. Bayswater City, still reeling from Frank Faraone’s sudden resignation, have a difficult home clash with Floreat Athena. Stirling Lions hit eight goals last week and will be looking to continue in the same vein when they host Swan. Western Knights are confident of picking up the points when Wanneroo City venture to Nash Field. Alfred Skeet Oval is the venue when Armadale go head-to-head with E.C.U. Joondalup.
The jockeying for early bragging rights continues in the First Division. Canning City meet Fremantle Spirit at Willetton Sports Club in the pick of the weekend’s action. Forrestfield United and Mandurah City are each looking to open their season accounts when they meet at Hartfield Park. Balcatta are expected out bounce back from last weeks opening round loss by taking maximum points from Morley Windmills. Dianella White Eagles have home ground advantage over Gosnells City, and at Dowling Street Reserve it’s Rockingham City against Ashfield. Out of action due to the bye are South West Phoenix.
INTO THE LOOKING GLASS, PART TWO …
Promotion and relegation between the Saturday Premier League and First Division remain a one-up one-down policy as last year. However, the late withdrawal of Bassendean Caledonian from the First Division threw a spanner in the works and, after careful consideration, Football West will offer two teams from the Sunday amateur Premier League promotion to second tier of Saturday football for next season. On the eve of the new season the First Division playing field is remarkably level with any one of a handful of teams capable of claiming top honours, and the battle to avoid the drop equally as tight...
Bayswater City has been rocked by Frank Faraone’s shock resignation as first team coach. Faraone’s decision, announced just prior to Saturday’s clash with Cockburn City, clearly unsettled Bayswater who slumped to a humiliating 1-7 loss on the opening weekend of the new season. Officially Faraone stepped aside for “personal reasons”, however, club insiders have suggested a growing frustration at not being able to influence the teams style of play as being a significant factor in his departure. Bayswater will be lead in the interim by Eric Bambaci and Tony Paolino.
FOOTBALL WEST COUNTRY CAMP (courtesy Football West)
The Football West Country Camp will see one hundred of the state's top regional footballers, male and female, come together for training and development by some of our best development coaches. Next week's five-day camp at Wesley College will give coaching staff an opportunity to assess players for potential State selection. "Country Camp is a wonderful event for our young regional players to develop and showcase their skills," said Michelle Phillips, chief executive officer of Football west. "We look forward to the matches with the metro teams which will assist coaches in their selection for regional State trialists. This week is about the regional players and also providing the players with the best opportunities for State selection."
PERTH INSTALLED AS TITLE FAVOURITE
A second successive Premier League title is within the capability of Perth S.C. according to the West Australian football family. The Blues were the runaway winner of our most recent website poll which asked 'Who will be crowned 2006 Premier League champion?' in which over 400 votes were received. Perth scooped a staggering 33.7%, or one-third of the count to be the clear favourite for top honours. Stirling Lions (11.3%) were a distant second but finished well clear of Sorrento (8.6%) and Floreat Athena (8.1%). The fifth most popular choice was Western Knights (6.4%) who tallied just a handful more votes than Inglewood United (6.2%) and Armadale (5.9%). There was very little separating E.C.U. Joondalup (4.6%), Wanneroo City (4.3%), Cockburn City (4.0%) and Swan I.C. (3.8%), and the feild was completed by Bayswater City (3.1%).
CONTRACT HURDLE HALTS WARD
A clause in his new Perth Glory contract may prevent Nick Ward from joining Leicester City. Ward recently trialled with the Foxes and was hoping to return to the English club upon the completion of the Australia under-23's up-coming tournament in Vietnam. However, under the terms of his new two-year contract Ward is entitled to just a single off-season trial. It now seems the only option Leicester officials have is to travel to Vietnam to watch Ward in action against Uzbekistan, Iran and the host nation.
INJURY ENDS COYNE'S WORLD CUP ASPIRATIONS
The World Cup dream of Luton Town defender Chris Coyne is over following confirming he'll miss the final stages of the English season through injury. The 27-year old has been hampered by knee problems this season and has decided to go under the surgeon's knife. "Chris will have an operation next week on his knee," Luton boss Mike Newell told the club's official website. "He has been struggling on with both knees all season. It is best that he has the operation done now, get his rehabilitation done, and then hopefully we have a new player for next season." Coyne, a 'veteran' of over 200 games for the Hatters, was considered an outside chance of making Australia's squad for Germany.
STANGE HEARTBROKEN BY GLORY PLIGHT
One-time Perth Glory boss Bernd Stange admits he's "heartbroken" to see his former club in it's current plight. Stange says the warning signs were there that the club was heading for a fall from grace. "I warned them three years ago this could happen," he told tribalfootball.com. "I could see the writing on the wall even back then. It breaks my heart to see the club that was the leader in Australian soccer to now be in the state it's in."
Although set to lead Apollon Limassol into next seasons' Champions League, Stange says he'd jump at the opportunity to work in Australia again. "My wife and I love the country," commented Stange. "I'm enjoying Cyprus, but I'd drop everything if an A-League club was to contact me." It was during Stange's three-year reign as coach that Glory enjoyed their greatest popularity. The club won the regular season title in 1999/2000, twice appeared in the Grand Final but lost on both occasions, and averaged home crowds of 12,642.
CACERES EXCITED BY NEW BEGINNING
Adrian Caceres has played in England and Argentina but rates signing for Melbourne Victory as the biggest breakthrough of his career. "I was lucky enough to sign for Southampton in the English Premier League when I was eighteen and I spent two years there, but joining Melbourne Victory is the biggest move I've ever made," commented Caceres on his recent arrival in Melbourne. The dynamic 24-year old will joined his new club for pre-season training at the start of the month and is expected to occupy an attacking role on the left wing next summer.
The left-sided player won two national league championships with Perth Glory during his three seasons with the club in which he in excess of fifty appearances. But it was a couple of stand-out performances in Glory colours against Victory last season that brought him to the attention of the club's coaching staff. "It wasn't so much a surprise, it was more of an honour that a big club like Melbourne was interested and could see my potential," Caceres said. "I feel Melbourne has the potential to be the biggest club in Australia. I've always wanted to win medals and I feel Melbourne is one of those clubs with a lot of ambition. There's a good vibe around the club and I've very excited."
GLORY READY TO OFF-LOAD COLOSIMO
Simon Colisimo will no longer be a Perth Glory player if the club can agree on a fee for his transfer to Melbourne Victory. An Australian international, Colosimo is contracted for another two years and is happy to remain a Glory player, however, if a mutual agreement can be struck it is understood he would welcome a return to Melbourne. “I haven’t spoken to Simon for a while but I’m hearing that he’s keen to look at alternatives,” said Glory’s technical manager Mich d’Avray. “By his own admission, he had a poor season and we signed him because he’s a good player and I still believe he’s a good player.” Colosimo played seventeen game for Glory last season but towards the end of the campaign fell foul of caretaker coach Alan Vest who questioned the midfielder’s commitment.
OLYMPIC TEAM PREPARES FOR VIETNAM
The Australian Under-23’s commence a five-day camp today ahead of their first international matches in a four-nation tournament in Vietnam later this month. Amongst the twenty-three players invited are Perth Glory trio Nick Ward, David Micevski and Billy Celeski. At the end of the camp eighteen players will be selected to represent Australia in Vietnam where they’ll compete with Uzbekistan, Iran and the host nation. The series will serve as Australia’s first preparatory matches for next year’s qualifying campaign for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
In camp this week are Dez Giraldi, Danny Vukovic (Central Coast Mariners), Nikolai Topor-Stanley (Manly United), Adrian Leijer, Vince Lia, Kristian Sarkies (Melbourne Victory), Mark Bridge, Stuart Musialik (Newcastle Jets), Billy Celeski, David Micevski, Nick Ward (Perth Glory), Spase Dilevski, Jordan Simpson, Tyler Simpson (Queensland Roar), Mark Milligan, Tolgay Ozbey, Justin Pasfield, Jacob Timpano, Ruben Zadkovich (Sydney FC) and Adam Casey (Wollongong Wolves).
MCCALLUM IN WORLD CUP FRAME OF MIND
Collette McCallum can't wait to get the ball rolling on Australia's qualifying campaign for this year's FIFA Under-20 Women's World Championship. The attacking midfielder is honoured to be named vice-captain of the national Youth team who'll take part in the Asian Football Confederation Under-19 Championship this week. "It's always great to be in the squad," McCallum commented. "As we're now going through Asia the qualifying tournament will be difficult, but I'm looking forward to the challenge and hopefully making this World Cup a memorable one."
McCallum has twice come back from career threatening injuries since first stepping on to the national stage for the Australian Youth team in August 2001. "It was always an ambition of mine to play for Australia and I received my first call up as a 15-year old," said McCallum. "When I think about it I'm quite amazed at how far I have come, especially after overcoming a knee reconstruction at sixteen, then another a year later. Anything is possible if you want it enough and I will always be proud to wear the green and gold."
With a couple of major tournaments on the horizon for the national team McCallum has set herself some definite goals. "I'm really enjoying my football at the moment and I want to keep playing at the highest level I possibly can," she said. "I'd like to consolidate my place in the Matildas and gain even more experience at that level. Coming down the track are the senior World Cup in China, 2007, then the 2008 Olympic Games in China and I'd like to be part of both those tournaments. The national team takes up pretty much all of my time so I haven't really looked much beyond that."
AMATEUR PREMIER LEAGUE ROUND-UP
University of WA made a great start to their 2006 Amateur Premier League season after they easily beat Perth Azzurri 3-0 to go top of Group B. Defending champions Colo Colo went down 3-2 to newly promoted Fremantle United in the port derby game. South Perth United were too good for Lynwood Colts 2-1, while a fiery encounter saw Spearwood Dalmatinac and Suburbs United share the points in a 2-2 draw. Stirling Panthers defeated Murduch University in a 5-4 thriller at Beale Park and Hamersley Rovers had a good 2-1 win against the fancied Subiaco United. In other games, CN Canning International welcomed Kingsway Olympic to amateur football in a game that could have gone either way, however both teams had to settle for the 1-1 draw. New signing Flavio L’Abbate scored twice for Shamrock Rovers against Queens Park, however a technicality over player cards has seen Football West overturn the result to 3-0 in Queens Park's favour.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND ONE (Wanneroo City vs Stirling Lions courtesy Stirling Lions; Cockburn City vs Bayswater City by Lennie Bavich; Floreat Athena vs Armadale courtesy Floreat Athena; Swan I.C. vs Sorrento by Kerry Slater; E.C.U. Joondalup vs Western Knights courtesy E.C.U. Joondalup)
Stirling Lions opened their Premier League campaign with an 8-1 thrashing of competition newcomer Wanneroo City at Kingsway Reserve this afternoon. Wanneroo’s first game as a top flight club began full of promise as Derek Cooke delivered a fine cross from the right which Phil O’Callaghan headed in after just a minute of play. Conceding so early had a galvanising effect on Stirling who stepped up the pace and drew level six minutes later when a slick interchange of passes led to Andy Brown flicking the ball on to Ryan Jeans who smashed it past the goalkeeper from 10-metres. It was pretty much one way traffic from this point on Steve Porter and Leo Harman flexed their muscle in midfield. Young full back Michael Pugliese sent in a delightful cross after 40 minutes which Brown headed against the crossbar and Jeans reacted quickest to head the rebound into the net. And shortly after Jeans turned provider with a replica cross which Leo Harman nodded down to make the difference two goals at the interval. Wanneroo came out with all guns ablaze for the second half only to be denied by a brilliant save from Phil Straker which kept out O’Callaghan’s low strike. Jeans completed his hat-trick on the hour by heading in Pugliese’s cross from a tight angle. Jake Harman replaced Jeans shortly after and wasted no time in adding his name to the scoresheet by smashing the ball home from close-range. The result was now beyond any shadow of a doubt and the only question being asked was ‘how many more?’ Leo Harman capped off a jinxing run by drilling in goal number six, and a memorable day for the visitors was made complete as Porter and Rob Miller got on the list with fine individual efforts to really blow out the final margin.
Cockburn City thumped Bayswater City 7-1 when they meet at Dalmatinac Park. The match could not have started much better for Bayswater who went ahead inside the opening minutes through Tony Cumace who converted from the penalty spot following Jason Godfrey’s push on Ben Rodgers. But Cockburn were having none of it and hit back after 12 minutes as Johnny Mirco shot across the area and Mileta Miletic was on hand to tap in the equaliser. Anthony Pereira slammed a shot into the crossbar and Jason Dos Santos had Koroma at full stretch as the home side upped the pace. Going the other way Daniel Micevski’s shot on the turn ws pushed wide by a diving Alan Dunlop. The second half was three minutes old when Daniel Palermo earned Cockburn a penalty which Koroma got a hand to but was unable to keep out Paul Oliver’s spot kick. From here there was no looking back for the home side who added a third in the 62nd minute when Pereira centred to Josh Kamaz who took a couple of steps before unleashing a thunderbolt from 22-metres. Six minutes later Johnny Mirco’s low strike was parried by Koroma and Godfrey headed in the follow-up at close range. Palermo was on fire down the right and deliver a fine cross into the area which was nodded in by Pereira after 69 minutes. Bayswater were provided an opportunity to peg one back when awarded a free-kick for a foul on Micevski but Mark Lee, who’d just come off the bench, rifled high from distance. All the pressure was on Koroma as the game drew to a close and in the 86th minute he was beaten for a sixth time as Dos Santos found the net. And in stoppage time Johnny Mirco laid the ball back to Michael Mirco who sent it past the Bayswater ‘keeper one last time.
Floreat Athena came from behind to defeat Armadale 4-1 at Litis Stadium. It was a positive start from Armadale who were firm in their resolve and clearly out to unsettle their hosts through the employment of a no-nonsense approach and solid tackling. Floreat seemed to have their opponents measure but on 17 minutes a defensive mix-up saw the ball spill to Kevin Bissett who gave goalkeeper Vas Vujacic no chance with a left-foot drive into the top corner. Matt Bennion could have twice increased Armadale’s but neither occasion required a response from Vujacic. Floreat eventually found a way through on 37 minutes when Adam Bachiller delivering a terrific cross that an Bran Mikulic headed in unchallenged. In the minutes that followed the hosts were unlucky not to go ahead as Mikulic who crashed a shot into the upright and shortly after headed high when unmarked at another corner. The new half saw Floreat step up a gear and set to take control of the game before an over enthusiastic challenge by Bajo Savic resulted in his dismissal. Unfortunately for Armadale, they too went down to ten men after Scott Patterson was harshly issued a second yellow card just a few minutes later. This swung the pendulum back in the hosts favour and Josip Magdic began to assert his authority in the centre of the park. The all important second goal arrived in the 64th minute when Okwy Diamondstar’s drive from 25-metres bounced awkwardly in front of Nick Stone and found the back of the net. Minutes after coming off the bench Stephen Guest added Floreat’s third by slotting in from an angle after being teed up by Boima Karpeh. And with eight minutes left Guest put away his second from a similar position to complete a solid first up outing by Floreat.
Perth S.C. started their campaign for back-to-back titles with a 2-0 win over Inglewood United at Kiev Sports Ground. In perfect conditions and before a large crowd, the game got underway at a cracking pace with Perth straight in to attack through Scott Bulloch who cross was headed goalward by an unmarked Barry Wood but Oliver Taseski was positioned to push it wide. Taseski came to the top of his box in the 24th minute to gather a long ball but failed to take it clearly and appeared to bring down Wood, the ball fell nicely for Onoforo but his chip at an open goal was high. A David Onoforo header flew past Taseski and glanced off the far post, then down the other end Louis Parkinson delivered a lovely curling cross to Andre Sarpe but the enigmatic striker missed an easy chance. Ten minutes from the break Perth took a deserved lead as Robbie Puca slotted through to Jeff Bright who unleashed a vicious swinging shot from an acute angle that flashed across Taseski and inside the far top corner. Perth should have gone two up when a great cross by Puca landed on the head of Onoforo who somehow headed wide. Chances flowed at both ends of the grounds in the second half but Daniel Neiderburger and Parkinson placed wide for Inglewood, while Taseski thwarted Bright and Onoforo’s effort was cleared off the line by Daniel Stoitis. The margin was doubled in the 67th minute when Matt Danskin and Wood joined forces for Onoforo to net after his initial shot was kept out by the goalkeeper. However, Inglewood refused to concede defeat and Anthony Danze combined with Jason Colli to set up Albert Osei-Tutu who shot wide. The closing stages was end-to-end as Gareth Deeg saved a neat strike by Colli, and Wood shooting just high from 20-metres.
Sorrento emerged from their opening fixture of the new season with a narrow 2-1 win over home side Swan I.C. The opening exchanges were largely forgettable as attacks at both ends of the park continually amounted to nothing. It took until the 25th minute for either goalkeeper to be called into action as Neil Young tipped a free-kick from Miki Vujacic over the crossbar. The resulting corner came in from the left and Tom Shepheard’s deft header came to nestle in the back of the net despite Chris Smith’s desperate attempt to clear on the line. Eight minutes later Swan were denied a second goal as Young produced a save to remember by somehow turning away Damian Scali’s downward header. Sorrento’s only opening of the half came shortly but Glen Thomas sliced wide of the post. A half-time talking to from Steve Neville worked a treat for the Gulls who started the second period full of life. James Morgan’s cross into the area found Simon Harland who controlled well but placed his shot to the left of the target. Danny Hill headed corner to Michael Johnson whose shot was hit too close to goalkeeper Corey Hugo. Another chance fell to Johnson a few minutes later and this time it was Danyal Bennett who came to the hoss rescue by heading off the line. The pressure valve was finally released on 72 minutes when Smith put in a low cross which Johnson cracked first time under the body of the Swan ‘keeper to equalise. Chances came and went as both teams sought their second goal. The decider arrived in the final minute of play after Paul Baczynski brought Simon Harland down inside the 18-yard box and referee Hugh Best had little option but to award a penalty which was coolly converted by Stuart Young. There was still time for one last roll of the dice by Swan and Rory Mouttet’s powerful strike was gathered at the second grab by Young.
E.C.U. Joondalup and Western Knights played out an entertaining yet scoreless draw at the Edith Cowan University campus in Joondalup. The game started at a cracking pace and it didn’t take long for the hosts to threaten through Tom Jones who cross into the area was sent wide by Ian McMurray. Stuart Montgomery looked to have given the Knights the lead when he shot past Peter Stewart only to have Jamie Kuzmanovich sweep the ball to safety off the line. The Knights were in control of the game and good chances came the way of Montgomery, Kevin Correira and Andrew Jennings but by and large there was little of genuine concern for Stewart. Tom Jones went close just before the break but his shot was also the wrong side of the post. The second half was a different story with Joondalup able to assert a bit more influence over proceedings. Even so, it was the visitors who carved out the first opening of the new period as Shane McNally threaded a pass to Jennings who shot wide. Scott Bushby created a couple of good chances for himself but on both occasions stubborn defending forced him to miss the target, while a fierce strike from Scott Blackmore crashed into the crossbar. The introduction of Tom Amphlett almost brought immediate dividends but the teenagers shot sailed narrowly over the bar. However, it was far from one way traffic with the Knights carving out some good chances of their own but unable to find a way past a workman-like defence marshalled by Kuzmanovich and Chris Currie. The final scoreline would have pleased both teams and was a fair indication of a game in which both teams held the balance of power for periods.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND ONE (Mandurah City vs Rockingham City courtesy Rockingham City; Morley Windmills vs Canning City courtesy Morley Windmills)
A workman-like Rockingham City opened the new First Division season with a 3-1 away win over rivals Mandurah City. The game was only a minute old when Brian Hastie was brought down inside the area after latching on to a long ball, and from the spot goalkeeper Cyrill Sharrock sent his opposite number the wrong way to put the visitors ahead. Rockingham continued to apply the pressure and with 20 minutes gone Rob Crerar whipped in a cross which Alex Smith nodded past the goalkeeper to send the visiting fans into hysterics. Graeme Matthews was denied at the other end by an alert Sharrock as Mandurah sought to reel in the gap. Ten minutes from the break Christian Paschewitz’ powerful free-kick took a deflection off a defender and flew inside the upright to put the hosts back in the hunt. It didn’t take long for Rockingham to hit back and just before the interval Paul Colkin’s free-kick was helped over the line by an unfortunate Jake Loreto. The second period began with Mandurah pushed forward in numbers in an effort to score for a second time but genuine chances were few and far between on a day which Rockingham were well served by a tight backline.
Morley Windmills got their season off on the right note by defeating Canning City 2-0 at Wotton Reserve. Played in warm conditions, Canning was quickly into stride and created several good early opportunities courtesy of slick passing. Controversy erupted in the 39th minute when Daniel Trevisol slotted in from close range after Aaron Barnett’s cutback but the goal was ruled out by the assistant referee who deemed the ball had gone out of play before Barnett’s centre. This scare forced Morley to increase their workrate and shortly after Jeff Cargill parried Bobby Irving’s strike and then could only watch on as Ray Rose tucked away the loose ball. The second half saw Morley start the stronger with Aaron Beattie asserting his control in the centre of the park. The hosts were stringing together some good moves and a 52nd minute foul on Rose resulted in a free-kick which Adrian McBride lashed in to the net from just outside the 18-yard box. With nothing to lose Canning launched an all-out assault which saw Barnett crash a shot against the crossbar and Shane Laing head narrowly wide. Morley came close to adding a third late on as another McBride free-kick was palmed over the bar by the ‘keeper.
Gosnells City made a flying start to their First Division campaign with a 4-2 defeat of eastern corridor rival Forrestfield United. Brian Cairney and Andrew Daffin each scored twice for the hosts with Forrestfield’s goals coming via Jason Kindon and Phil Bell. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
Dianella White Eagles returned from Bunbury with all three points after accounting for South West Phoenix 4-3. Rydeen Botha bagged all four goals for the visitors with Gary Mayers (2) and Steve Suttie on target for Phoenix. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
The points were shared at Ashfield Reserve between Ashfield and Balcatta at 1-1. Rob Giorgi put Balcatta ahead after 45 minutes only to have Mohamad Komadaric equalise twelve minutes into the second half. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
DENNIS QUITS AS GLORY CEO
Football Federation Australia are preparing to take over control of Perth Glory following the departure of long-serving chief executive officer Jeff Dennis. The Glory boss yesterday told Matt Carroll, FFA’s head of operations, that he would not take up an offer of continued employment with the club, which is in the throes of an ownership change. “I’ve been at the club for nine years and it’s time to move on to new challenges,” Dennis told “West Australian” reported Jonathon Cook.
“It’s disappointing to see the club in the position it’s in after so many people put so much work in over the years,” added Dennis, who’ll step down from his position at the end of the month. “But we were punching above our weight and it was only a matter of time before it caught up with us. We’ve been running a club which is cash poor. We’ve been focused on marketing and entertainment in the past and now the club needs to be aspiring to achieve excellence in football.”
Glory have virtually ground to a halt in recent weeks as FFA prepares to take over their A-League licence from chairman and co-founder Nick Tana on 30th April should new investors not be finalised by then. The resulting uncertainty has allowed Glory’s A-league rivals to take advantage with Melbourne Victory set to poach midfielder Simon Colosimo and Newcastle United Jets making a play to sign western Australian most successful player, Stan Lazaridis.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
A staggering twenty-eight goals were scored across the opening six game of the 2006 Premier League season. Wanneroo City were given a footballing lesson by Stirling Lions who ran out winners by 8-1 thanks to goals from Ryan Jeans (3), Leo Harman (2), Jake Harman, Rob Miller and Steve Porter. Cockburn City had seven different scores in their 7-1 thrashing of Bayswater City. On target for the home side were Miletic Miletic, Paul Oliver, Josh Kamasz, Jason Godfrey, Anthony Pereira, Jason Dos Santos and Michael Mirco.
Floreat Athena defeated Armadale 4-1 through goals from Stephen Guest (2), Branimir Mikulic and Okwy Diamondstar. Inglewood United went down 0-2 at home to Perth S.C. whose goals came via a sensational first half strike by Jeff Bright and David Onoforo. Michael Johnson and Stuart Young found the net to earn Sorrento a 2-1 away win at Swan I.C. And goals may have been flowing freely across the metropolitan area but not in the north where E.C.U. Joondalup played out a scoreless draw with Western Knights.
Gosnells City made a flying start to their First Division campaign with a 4-2 defeat of eastern corridor rival Forrestfield United. Mandurah City went down 1-3 at home to Rockingham City whose goals came from Cyril Sharrock, Alex Smith and an own goal. South West Phoenix also suffered a loss on home soil when Dianella White Eagles took out the points 4-3. Ray Rose and Adrian McBride were on target in Morley Windmills' 2-0 win over Canning City. And the points were shared by Ashfield and Balcatta when they drew 1-1 at Ashfield Reserve.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The 2006 home and away season kicks off tomorrow with a full round of Premier league and First Division fixtures. The pick of the top flight action takes place at the Kiev Sports Ground where Inglewood United square off with Perth S.C. Inglewood will be seeking retribution after being denied a place in the last four of the Night Series by the Blues. In the opposite corner are a Perth line-up which took out the pre-season tournament without loss and clearly have set their sights on bringing another Premier League trophy to Dorrien Gardens.
E.C.U. Joondalup begin the new campaign by welcoming Western Knights to the far north. The Dalmatinac Park meeting of Cockburn City and Bayswater City could go either way although the formers’ experience should tip the scales in their balance. Armadale are in for a tough afternoon when take on Floreat Athena at Litis Stadium. With their focus on attack, Sorrento are tipped to take the points over home side Swan I.C. Wanneroo City could not have expected a more difficult start to their time in the top flight than a home meeting with Night Series finalist Stirling Lions.
A couple of derbies highlight the opening round of First Division fixtures. Mandurah City has home ground advantage over Rockingham City in what promises to be a cracking match, while Gosnells City welcome Forrestfield United to Walter Padbury Reserve. Ashfield will have their mettle tested by Balcatta who are still smarting from missing out on the Night Series trophy. Morley Windmills are in for a tough afternoon against Night Series winner Canning City, and Dianella White Eagles make the long journey to South West Phoenix. Fremantle Spirit (formerly City) has the bye brought about by Bassendean Caledonians’ withdrawal from the competition.
INTO THE LOOKING GLASS, PART ONE …
The forty-sixth season of semi-professional football in Western Australia commences in earnest this weekend with the opening round of home-and-away fixtures. Over the decade fourteen clubs have finished top of the regular season table with by far the most successful being Perth S.C. who have been crowned champions on no less than seventeen occasions. The Blues are widely tipped to add to that tally in 2006, but before they do they need to negotiate a tricky path past their challengers. Brett Klucznik takes a close look at each of the Premier League clubs, assess their strengths and weaknesses, and makes a few bold predictions as to how the year will play out …
CARROLL CONFIDENT OF SECURING NEW GLORY OWNER
Football Federation Australia's head of operations, Matt Carroll, is confident that a deal can be reached to secure new owners of Perth Glory soon and insists the club will be competitive in season 2006/07. Carroll has been in Perth over the past two days meeting with Glory officials and players to ensure that the club is fully prepared for the second A-League season. “We’re committed to Perth Glory being a success, we are committed to an A-League team here in the west,” he said. “We are in conversation with four interested parties - two more earnestly - that will continue during April. We’re confident we will reach a comfortable conclusion in late April or early May. After that, hopefully we (the FFA) will be able to make a withdrawal but if it takes longer than that then we’ll go the distance.”
Carroll insisted though that the FFA would make sure a new owner would be right for Glory and the club has a bright future. “They have to demonstrate to us that they know how to run a modern, professional, sporting franchise,” Carroll commented. “Equally important is that they have to fit. They have to have the fit with the A-League and the other seven clubs and they have to have the fit with Perth because one of the important things we want to do with Glory is get them back in the community even more than they have in the past. We want to ensure that the football community at large comes in and fills this ground (Members Equity Stadium) on a regular basis, we want to get the players associated with the community, (and we) very much want to get Football West and Perth Glory basically in partnership so that we have one brand of football here in Western Australia.”
WOMEN’S ELITE PROGRAM ON THE HORIZON
Great strides are being taken to ensure local female players can reach their potential without having to head to the east coast. Football west have been working closely with Football Federation Australia, the Department of Sport and Recreation and the Western Australian Institute of Sport to establish full-time National Training Centre programs in Perth for both make and female players by 2008. An interim female NTC program has been in operation since 2004.
In line with FFA guidelines, the interim NTC female squad will participate in the boys Under-14 Premier League this winter with all players not taking part in the women's competitions. Over the past two years the side have played in excess of thirty games against Under-14 opposition and, while they initially struggled to adapt to the quicker and more physical style of play, recent outings indicate the side is progressing.
The sixteen player squad includes seven players who donned Western Waves colours in their debut season. The complete interim NTC squad is Kate Burns, Danielle Cauluiti, Kylie Chatto, Katie Coghlan, Ciara Conway, Edwina Forbes, Molly Forbes, Stephanie Grant, Lindsey Jobling, Leigh Kelly, Stacey Learmont, Collette McCallum, Ella Mastrantonia, Tanya Oxtoby, Marianna Tabain and Nicola Williams. The side is under the guidance of Alistair Edwards, Jessine Bonzas and Tracey Wheeler.
These are exciting times indeed for the women's game in Western Australia. Plans are afoot for football to be added to the WAIS program, and the state will be represented in the soon to be relaunched women's national league. The pathway is almost complete and soon the days of our best players having to leave the state in pursuit of their dreams will be a distant memory.
WAVES BOOK NOW AVAILABLE
History was made in late 2004 with the state's first venture into the women's national league venture, the Western Waves. The squad did themselves proud during their shortened six game season and showed what an abundance of talent there is available on the west coast. In commemoration of the Waves inaugural campaign Penny TannerHoath has compiled a season diary which brings together press clippings, media statements, match reports and photographs from a variety of print and online sources. To secure yourself a copy of the season diary, at the bargain basement price of $15.00, please contact TannerHoath on 0408 921 832 or via email@example.com
FRIDAY PREFERRED FOR PRE-SEASON FINAL
Last week's dual website polls produced some interesting results regarding the Night Series. The final of the pre-season tournament should be moved to Friday evening according to the West Australian football family who also voted to retain the minor place play-off. Friday was by far the most popular response to 'On which evening should the Night Series final be held?' with 41.0% of the vote. Saturday and Sunday ended the polling level with 29.5% each. The response to 'Should Football West continue with the Night Series 3rd/4th Place play-off?' was an overwhelming 'Yes' which collected 58.2% of the vote. 'No' received the remaining 41.8%.
COONEY GOES ON LOAN
Finn Harps have signed former State junior representative Sean Cooney. The 22-year old defender agreed to a one-year loan from Bohemians three weeks ago and shortly after made his Harps debut when handed a starting berth for the 5-2 away win over Kildare County. Seven days later he played a full game in the loss to Kilkenny City, while on the weekend a hamstring injury forced Cooney from the field midway through the clash with Galway United.
Cooney, a State under-14 representative, turned out locally for Inglewood United before heading abroad in 2000 to accept an offer to join Coventry City. After four years with the Sky Blues, during time he featured regularly for the Youth side and made a handful of appearances for the Reserve, Cooney was released and spent time at Woking before joining Bohemians last year. Cooney made his international debut for Ireland in early 2004 when he featured for that nations Under-21 team against Italy.
WOMEN’S NIGHT SERIES GOES TO BALCATTA
Balcatta have been crowned women’s Night Series champion after defeating East Fremantle 1-0 this evening under lights at Wotton Reserve. There was plenty to keep the big crowd on edge from the opening whistle as the two sides traded attacks. Balcatta’s greater mobility allowed them to carve out the better of goalscoring opportunities but they could find few ways through as the port teams’ backline held firm. However, it was far from one-way traffic with East Fremantle threatening to breakthrough on numerous occasions without success. The game looked set for extra-time when Renee Forth sent Balcatta into seventh heaven by scoring the decisive goal. Balcatta were well served by the experience of sweeper Jessine Bonzas along with goalkeeper Chloe Coghlan who displayed a maturity beyond her years. For East Fremantle it was goalkeeper Naomi Lewis who stood out while 15-year old Emily Williams showed herself as a player to watch out for with her superb distribution from midfield.
Subiaco United took out the play-off for third and fourth by defeating Beckenham Angels 3-0. The scoreline was a fair reflection of Subiaco’s dominance on a night when shots rained down on the Beckenham goal. The decision of Subiaco coach John Warrington to experiment with his line-up during the pre-season tournament puts the club in a strong position for the coming home-and-away series. On the night their goals came from three different sources with Siani Lynch bagging the opener, Carol Howes doubled the margin and the icing was put on the cake by a stunning long-range strike from Elle Summers. There were stand-out performances for the victors from sister Lauren and Sian McCreery as well as left-sided midfielder Alycia Panayotou. The pick of Beckenham’s players were ‘veteran’ Lizzy Scott, goalkeeper Tina Beattie and 18-year old Alex Kearley.
SOUTH MELBOURNE LURE PERTH TRIO
South Melbourne have swooped to sign former Perth S.C. players Andreas Oliveira, Antonio Naglieri and Dino Djulbic. The trio walked out on South’s Victoria Premier League rival Frankston Pines late last week and are expected to go straight into the line-up for today’s clash with Altona Magic clash. Oliveira, Naglieri and Djulbic joined Frankston during the summer in the hope of catching the eye of A-League scouts. Oliveira did his chances of stepping up to the national league no harm by netting three times in six appearances for the club. Naglieri and Djulbic were first team regulars during their short stay at Frankston in which they started all six of the clubs games.
ASSOCIATION CUP, ROUND ONE (Stirling Lions vs Bayswater City courtesy Stirling Lions; Western Knights vs Dianella White Eagles courtesy Western Knights; Gosnells City vs Cockburn City by Lennie Bavich; E.C.U. Joondalup vs Balcatta courtesy E.C.U. Joondalup)
Sorrento have been dumped out of the association Cup at the first hurdle by Floreat Athena who ran out 2-1 winners at Litis Stadium. The game could not have got off to a better start for Floreat as Adam Bachiller delivered a cross into the area where Boima Karpeh contested possession and the ball spilled for Okwy Diamondstar to poke in from 10-metres with just two minutes elapsed. It took until midway through the half for Sorrento to really threaten when Simon Harland chested the ball down to Glen Thomas who was denied an equaliser by the agility of Vas Vujacic. The Gulls continued to apply the pressure and were awarded a free-kick inside the 18-yard box for a dubious pass back to Vujacic, but the Floreat wall did its' job and the danger passed without further incident. Perhaps the best move of the afternoon arrived shortly before the break when Floreat turns defence into attack with three swift passes and Diamondstar sent in a low cross which Bachiller smashed into the roof of the net to double the margin. Sorrento made a concerted effort to claw their way back into the game after the turnaround and with five minutes gone Danny Hill's searching ball was headed on by Stuart Young for Thomas drill a low half volley which deceived Vujacic to make it two-one to the host club. Possession was evenly shared for the remainder of the afternoon as play swung from end to end but neither team able to make the most of their chances on goal. Few who witnessed the game would disagree that Floreat deserved victory on an afternoon when the deft touches of Josip Magdic in midfield along with a commanding performance from team captain Adrian Sutton proved decisive.
Stirling Lions snared four second half goals to account for a spirited Bayswater City 4-0 at Macedonia Park. Bayswater started at full pace and carved out a handful of early chances all of which went unconverted. A foul inside the box on Oliver Langdale after 12 minutes presented the visitors with a golden opportunity to go ahead, however, goalkeeper Phil Straker saved the day with an acrobatic save which thwarted Daniel Micevski from the penalty spot. Stirling were also denied a goal when, on the half hour, Steve White had the ball in the net only for an offside flag to rule it out. The introduction of of Jake Harman late in the half swung the game dramatically in Stirling's favour and he twice had goalbound efforts kept out by Bayswater custodian Bobson Koroma. Six minutes into the second half Koroma again denied Jake Harman but on this occasion ball ricocheted to Andy Brown who tapped in from close range. Sensing the game was now theirs for the taking, Stirling slowly but surely took their opponents apart. A neat set-piece from Jordan Rhodes put the ball on the head of Jake Harman who cleverly flicked in his side's second after 63 minutes. The home team were in complete control by this stage and added a third via Brown who finished clinically after latching on to Leon Harman's precise through ball. The icing was put on the cake three minutes later by Leo Harman whose curling shot evaded the gloves of Koroma. At the end of the day the main difference between the teams was the workrate and distribution of Stirling midfielder Steve Porter along with the shot-stopping abilities of Straker. Bayswater were similarly well served by the central partnership of Micevski and Mark Lee.
A bumper crowd of around 1,000 turned out at Nash Field where Western Knights defeated Dianella White Eagles 4-1 to advance to the next round of the association Cup. Any later-comers would have missed the opening goal which arrived after just 45 seconds when Dianella goalkeeper Aleks Lackovic spilled Claus Neilsen's high cross and Stuart Montgomery instinctively struck the ball into an empty net from 14-metres. Although the Knights were the dominant side chances presented at both ends of the park as an unmarked Luka Jukic blazed high following a corner and in a similar situation Dejan Djukanovic shot just wide of the post. Dianella’s persistence was rewarded just before the break after a under-hit back pass by Jon Higgins allowed Miladin Gligoroski to rob Tommi Tomich of possession stroke the equaliser into an empty net. The second half began with Rydeen Botha sending Dragan Njegic one-on-one with Tomich who produced a stunning reflex save, Goran Radinovic pounced on the loose ball but had his shot cleared off the line by Ivan Zuvela. With 74 minutes played the knights reclaimed the lead when a free-kick looped off a defender and into the path of Jukic who slid in to knock the ball past Lackovic from close-range. The momentum was back with the hosts and Montgomery missed an easy chance from a couple of metres following Seb Trim’s jinxing run into attack. Their third came when Montgomery’s header was parried by the ‘keeper and Shane McNally rammed the follow-up in from 5-metres. A second yellow card to Slavisa Blagojevic resulted in Dianella going down to ten men with four minutes of regulation time to play. The final goal came in stoppage time when a booming clearance by Tomich was run on to by Montgomery whose brilliant volley from 18-metres flashed past the ‘keeper. Jeremie Jeanne squandered a chance to peg one back for the visitors shortly after when he failed to hit the target with Tomich unsighted.
Cockburn City out-classed First Division side Gosnells City 3-1 when they meet at Walter Padbury Reserve. The home side were on the back foot early as Jason Dos Santos provided a stream of crosses from the right but neither Joshua Kamasz or Anthony Pereira were ale to capitalise. There was no let up as Johnny Mirco’s in-swinging corner was met by Jason Godfrey who nodded straight at Jason Mehnert, and a few minutes later the Gosnells goalkeeper cut out a dangerous cross from Shane Nunes. Gosnells’ first venture into attack came via a speculative shot by Brian Cairney that Alan Dunlop palmed over the crossbar. The resulting corner was played in by Ian Maguire and Cairney sent it past Dunlop but not an alert Dos Santos who made an invaluable goalline clearance. Johnny Mirco gave his side some much-needed breathing space by lashing the ball into the net from 12-metres after being teed-up by brother Michael Mirco in the 20th minute. Mehnert showed great courage in diving at the feet of Dos Santos as he lined up the target. Gosnells received a major setback nine minutes from half-time when Sean Cowman was sent off for bringing down Johnny Mirco with a tackle from behind, the Cockburn striker then picked himself up to convert from the penalty spot. Even though down to ten men Gosnells weren’t about to give up as Darren Francis forced Dunlop to push a shot from distance over the top. The post denied Kamasz just before the interval and with the rebound Dom De Felice placed wide. Thirteen minutes after the re-start Steve Gillibrand nodded on a long throw-in and Darren Ingham made no mistake in netting at the back post. Cockburn secured their place in the next round via a Johnny Mirco corner which was confidently headed in by Nunes after 69 minutes.
Swan I.C. took out a scrappy encounter at Wotton Reserve 3-0 over host club Morley Windmills. The black and whites were on top early but it was Morley who went closest through Ray Rose on 16 minutes. Swan got the goal they were after on 22 minutes when Miki Vujacic unleashed a powerful 20-metre drive which goalkeeper Matt Darling could only paddle into the top corner following a quickly taken free-kick by Damien Scali. Darling denied Swan a second just five minutes later by sharply responding to a close-range effort from David Foster. The black and whites continued to dominate possession but it took until a couple of minutes from the break to increase the lead when Rory Mouttet set-up Foster who, after dodging one challenge, slotted low past the ‘keeper. And Morley were lucky not to go in a further goal behind as Tom Shepheard’s glancing header was narrowly beyond the top corner shortly after. The second half opened with a bang as Aaron Beattie’s volley came back off the crossbar, and with the very next play Darling pushed a blistering shot from Vujacic wide. Simon Messenger was fortunate to stay on the park after denying Damien Scali a clear goalscoring opportunity with a rugby tackle. Danyal Bennett headed high, and Leighton Smith brought a fine save out of Hugo. The game was put beyond doubt in the 65th minute when Vujacic sent Scali down the right and his high ball into the area evaded two defenders but not Foster who nodded confidently into the far corner. The end to end nature of the game continued unabated with Rose denied by a last ditch tackle from Bennett. Darling has his reflexes tested by both Scott Campbell and Damien Catalano, while Danny Evans half-volley beat Hugo but was narrowly high of the crossbar.
E.C.U. Joondalup dominated Balcatta to win 3-1 at the Edith Cowan University campus. The opening twenty minutes were fairly uneventful with much of play taking place between the two 18-yard boxes and neither goalkeeper called into action. Once the teams had settled and sized up their opponent there were a few probing attacks but still nothing which caused concern for Peter Stewart or Jordan Conti. The game finally burst into life on 36 minutes when Martyn Ashworth and Leon Russell combined for the latter to deliver a cross to Ian McMurray whose shot was blocked by Conti and at the second attempt the Joondalup striker put his side ahead. Joondalup quickly won possession following the re-start and Scott Bushby's shot was deflected wide by a defender. Minutes later Anthony Jones cross into the area was cleared only as far as Scott Blackmore who hit an unstoppable shot beyond the reach of Conti from just outside the 18-yard box. The same pattern continued after the break as the hosts sought to kill the game off with a third goal. And seven minutes in they looked to have it when McMurray found the net only to have it disallowed by referee Steven Gregory. Chances flowed for Joondalup who were time and time again turned away by the brilliance of Conti. Joondalup's dominance paid off in the 66th minute when a superb cross landed on the head of Bushy who nodded it over the advancing 'keeper to make it three-nil. Tom Jones was presented with a great opportunity to add a fourth to the tally but the lively midfielder was denied by Conti's reflexes. With the result in the bag Joondalup eased off and seven minutes from the end Marc D’Ascanio beat the offside trap to score Balcatta a consolation goal.
South West Phoenix stumbled 1-3 to an impressive Ashfield unit in an all-action encounter at Ashfield Reserve. The home side quickly got down to business and seized control after just five minutes through a neat move down the left which was centred to Daniel Webb who took one touch before lashing his shot past the goalkeeper. This had a settling effect on Phoenix and as the minutes ticked by the increasingly exerted pressure on the home defence. A penetrating attack down the right was crossed into the area where Steve Suttie headed narrowly over the crossbar. So it was against the flow of play that Ashfield increased the gap through Andy O’Neill who pounced on a defensive error and surged into the penalty area before slotting past ‘keeper. Just another two minutes elapsed before Phoenix were handed a lifeline as Patrick Quinn’s precise cross was volleyed in from 8-metres by Suttie. The visitors would have been disappointed to go in at the break a goal down after James Bergin headed just beyond the upright and David Murphy was twice denied by an advancing ‘keeper. If Phoenix were to progress into the next round they had to shut Ashfield down in the second half. But a swift counterattack on the hour saw young Julian Piromalli slot in Ashfield’s third goal and effectively end the game as a contest. Even so, Phoenix continued to work hard and close to the final whistle Sean O’Gorman should have done much better than shoot high after a neat one-two with Suttie.
A ten man Rockingham City fended off a late charge from Fremantle City to triumph 2-1 at Dowling Street Reserve. The game started with Fremantle quickly into stride and knocking the ball around impressively without causing too much concern for the home defence. So it came as a surprise when Rockingham took the lead through a neat move down the right which ended with Terry Flynn slotting home from 9-metres. This spurred Fremantle into action and just minutes later Rockingham defender Paul Colkin deflected a high cross towards his own goal which Cyril Sharrock kept out acrobatically. But the visitors didn't have to wait too much longer before getting back on level terms through David Rodgers who sprung the offside trap and found the back of the net at the second attempt. The second half began with Rockingham on the attack and Flynn unleashed a powerful drive from 20-metres which soared into the top corner to put the hosts back in control. Cheered on by the home crowd and buoyed by their second goal Rockingham upped the pace would have put the game beyond their opponent if not for some early season rustiness in front of goal. Fremantle were thrown a lifeline when Rockingham went down to ten with the red carding of Luke Rennie. And while good opportunities to level presented themselves to Dale Wingell and Peter Taylor neither was able to capitalise and Rockingham held on to advance to the next round.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
The First Round results in the 2006 association Cup, sponsored by Soccer Pools, went pretty much as expected. With the regular season just a week away, Floreat Athena sounded a warning by downing Sorrento 2-1 through goals from Owky Diamondstar and Adam Bachillor. Stirling Lions smashed Bayswater City 4-0 at Macedonia Park where Andy Brown (2), Leo Harman and Jake Harman found the net. Shane McNally, Stuart Montgomery (2) and Luka Jukic were on target in Western Knights 4-1 thumping of Dianella White Eagles.
Gosnells City went down 1-3 to Cockburn City for whom Johnny Mirco (2) and Shane Nunes netted. Scott Bushby, Scott Blackmore and Ian McMurray were the scorers for E.C.U. Joondalup who beat Balcatta 3-1. Swan I.C. triumphed 3-0 over Morley Windmills thanks to two from David Foster and one from Miki Vujacic. New signings Andy O'Neill, Daniel Webb and Julian Piromalli orchestrated Ashfield's 3-1 defeat South West Phoenix. And a Terry Flynn double lead Rockingham City to a 2-1 victory over Fremantle City.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW (by Peter Simcox)
The opening round of the association Cup, sponsored this year by Soccer Pools, takes place tomorrow with games right the way across the metropolitan area. The match of the day is undoubtedly the all Premier League showdown between Floreat Athena against Sorrento at Litis Stadium. Sorrento will be hard to beat and with a number of new signings at their disposal,however, they'd be wise not to underestimate Floreat who have improved markedly on last season.
Stirling Lions are tipped to progress to the next round at the expense of Bayswater City when they meet at Macedonia Park. Stirling are coming off an excellent Night Series campaign and under the guidance of Mike Lyons will be hard to beat. The new coaching staff at Bayswater will be looking for an big effort from their players who'll be lead from midfield by Gold Medal winner Mark Lee and exciting young prospect Daniel Micevski.
The first round draw has brought together some interesting ties with a number of First Division sides fancying their chances against top flight opposition. Passions will be running high when Western Knights welcome traditional rival Dianella White Eagles to Nash Field. The game has all the hallmarks of being a classic with the Knights coming off a poor Night Series while Dianella coach Vesko Zmukic will no doubt have his side primed for victory.
Morley Windmills will be out to put one over Swan I.C. when they venture to Wotton Reserve. However, it's expected Swan's creative midfield, which includes Miki Vujacic and Damien Catalano, will prove the difference on the day. Cockburn City face a tricky trip to Walter Padbury Reserve where they meet Gosnells City. With Michael and Johnny Mirco sure to creating chances, and Mileta Miletic eager to carrying his goalscoring form into the season proper, the money is on Cockburn taking this one out.
Balcatta travel to the arena at Edith Cowan University to square off with E.C.U. Joondalup. Basil Lenzo's side did well in last year's Cup competition but will need to be on top of their form to upset the host club. A new-look Ashfield have been drawn at home to South West Phoenix in a match which could go either way. And Dowling Street Reserve is the venue for the south of the river derby meeting of Rockingham City and Fremantle City.
The remaining seven clubs - Armadale, Canning City, Inglewood United, Forrestfield United, Mandurah City, Cup holder Perth S.C. and Wanneroo City - have been granted a bye into the next round. The Second Round of the association Cup is scheduled for Saturday 3rd June.
BERTO'S BECOMES GLORY'S LATEST ADDITION
New Zealand international Leo Bertos has become the fifteenth player to sign on with Perth Glory for the second season of A-League football. The 24-year old winger has played the majority of his career in England and joins fellow Kiwi midfielder Jeremy Christie at the club. Currently with non-League outfit Worksop Town, Bertos played 89 League and Cup games for Rochdale during a two-season spell at the club. He turned out for Barnsley prior to joining Rochdale and after leaving Spotland has worn the colours of Chester City, York City, Scarborough and Barrow. Bertos has signed a two-year deal with Glory.
APELGREN NAMED PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT (by Peter Simcox)
Dean Apelgren added another feather to his cap on Sunday evening when named the Night Series' Player of the Series. The versatile 22-year old won the award voted for by officials who attended each of the tournaments' group games. "It's always nice to win individual awards, but it's a team game and our team played well so that helped me out," said the Inglewood United player. "We've been a little bit shaky by the clubs own personal standards and things haven't been going our way, but we'll work on it and hopefully get things right for the League season."
A State representative, Apelgren's star continued its ascent when he scooped the Rookie of the Year award in 2003. Time with Perth Glory followed during which he made his national league debut against Sydney United in early 2004. "I had a taste of football with the Glory for a season, and it's definitely made me hungry for more and I'd love to get that opportunity again," he commented. "But I'll have to play my best for Inglewood and hopefully I'll get noticed. Eventually I'd love to play overseas, which is every young lads dream"
Although his contract with Glory wasn't extend beyond its single season Apelgren remains confident he can re-capture the clubs attention and draws inspiration from some of the clubs recent signings. "I'd love to play for the Glory again," he said. "It's great to see local boys like Nick Ward, who is a great mate of mine, David Micevski, Ryan Townsend and Aleks Vrteski - all boys that I've played with and grown up with - signed by Glory. Seeing their success has made me more determined to have a good season at Inglewood and, hopefully, also get picked up."
MICEVSKI EARNS TWO-YEAR GLORY DEAL
Perth Glory have secured the services of David Micevski for the 2006/07 A-League season. The 20-year old midfielder, a product of the highly successful Perth S.C. youth system, enjoyed a loan spell with Glory at the tail-end of last season and quickly showed that he has the credentials to play at national league level. Under the Pathway to Glory partnership with Football West, Micevski has been involved with the first team since the middle of 2005 and now looks forward to furthering his professional career with his hometown club.
Micevski featured regularly for Glory after being signed as a replacement for Matt Horsley in January. A strong work ethic and silky skills brought Micevski to the attention of national selectors who have twice invited him into camp with the Australian Under-23 side in recent months. "David has already shown that he can make the step up from being one of the best young players in the Premier League to making his mark on the A-League," said Glory's technical manager Mich d'Avray. The versatile midfielder has agreed to a two-year deal with Glory and becomes the eighth West Australian, and the fourteenth player in total, to commit to the club for next season.
"I was really happy to play the five games that I did from the start and I felt more confident the more touches that I got in the games so to be rewarded with a two-year contract is excellent," Micevski said. "It was great getting the call for the Under-23 squad because to represent my country is something I've always wanted to do and it was great to work with all of the national team coaches. My aim now is to carry on playing as many games as I can in the A-League, hopefully we can have a better season and play finals football next year."
GRIFFITHS OVERCOMES INJURY
Blackburn Rovers midfielder Rostyn Griffiths has got his career back on track following a lengthy lay-off caused by injury. The 18-year old has been sidelined since September when he suffered a broken leg while in camp with the Australian Under-20 side. Griffiths marked his return by scoring for the Blackburn Youth in their 3-1 win over West Bromwich Albion at the start of last month. Further Youth team outings against Crewe Alexandra, Bolton Wanderers, Sheffield United and Newcastle United preceded his appearance on the bench for the Reserves clash with Manchester United last week. It's understood Griffiths, an Australian Under-17 international, is having his progress closely monitored by Welsh national youth team coach Brian Flynn.
BIRTHDAY TREAT FOR MCCALLUM
An international call-up was the perfect birthday present for Collette McCallum. The left sided midfielder, who turned twenty two days ago, has been named vice-captain of the Australian team to compete at next months Asian Football Confederation Under-19 Championship. The Young Matilda's have been allocated a spot in Group B alongside China, Malaysia and Jordan with the top two sides qualifying for the knock-out phase. The two finalists, plus the winner of the third place match, will progress to the 2006 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Championship.
McCallum is no stranger to international football having made her Young Matilda's debut as a bright-eyed 15-year old. Since that outing in August 2001 she has been a mainstay of the Australian midfield, wearing the green and gold on eighteen occasions and scoring eight goals. Amongst these were appearances at the 2004 Women's World Championship in Thailand. In January of last year McCallum stepped up to ranks of the senior national team and has since played eleven times for the Matildas.
The complete Young Matildas squad for the AFC Championship is Grace Gill, Nicole Somi, Lydia Williams (Australian Capital Territory), Leah Blayney, Danielle Brogan, Renee Cartwright, Caitlin Cooper, Olivia Kennedy, Leena Khamis, Kylie Ledbrook, Sally Shipard, Servet Uzunlar (New South Wales), Alison Logue, Jenna Tristram (Northern New South Wales), Kim Carroll, Sasha McDonnell, Clare Polkinghorne (Queensland), Vicki Balomenos (South Australia), Amy Jackson (Victoria) and Collette McCallum (Western Australia).
GLORY'S FUTURE ASSURED
Football Federation Australia has given assurance that Perth Glory's future is in safe hands. The national body will takeover the club as of the start of May as discussions with groups interested in securing the club's A-League license continue. The current Glory owners and FFA have reached a mutual agreement to terminate its existing participation licence on Sunday, 30th April. However, a number of parties have declared a serious interest in purchasing Glory's licence, assuring the West Australian club of its future.
>From May 1st, FFA will assume interim control of Glory to assist the club with day-to-day management until a new owner is installed. Players' contractual arrangements will be managed by FFA and club staff will be offered continued employment on a casual basis. FFA's head of operations, Matt Carroll, insists a new owner was likely to be installed in the not too distant future. "The FFA is committed to having Perth Glory in the Hyundai A-League competition and we are confident that a new owner of the club will be confirmed in the near future," he said.
Outgoing chairman, Nick Tana, thanks all Perth Glory sponsors for their support of the club over the years. There have been many corporate supporters who have backed my vision for the club," he commented. "I thank them all for their commitment and trust that they will continue to support the club moving forward." Tana, who founded Glory in late 1995 with then business partner Paul Afkos, is keen to sell his majority share of Glory in order to stake a claim for a place on the yet-to-be-formed A-League board.
LAZARIDIS PUTS A-LEAGUE ON HOLD (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
If he must leave Birmingham City in the summer, Stan Lazaridis hopes to continue playing in the Premiership. The Australian international has been linked with several A-League clubs in the past few months but has his heart set on another season abroad. "The club have a twelve-month option on me but if we do go down, the club will have to curb their expenses. It is probably more than likely that I will go but there is no bitterness at all if that happens," he said. "If I was to leave, I would love to leave with the club still in the Premier League - that would be great. Who knows, if the club decided to keep me, it will be fantastic."
"I have had seven great years at Birmingham. I think the world of this club and they will always have a place in my heart. If I go it will be the end of an era as I'm the only one playing really from before the manager came," he continued. "But I am not really thinking about it to be honest. I am just thinking of doing a job here and keeping the team up. That would mean so much to me and everyone worked so hard to get Blues up." With his children now approaching school age Lazaridis says he's planning on another season in England before heading back downunder.
NIGHT SERIES, FINALS
Perth S.C. have been crowned the 2006 Night Series champion after downing a gallant Stirling Lions 4-2 in pulsating final this evening at Litis Stadium. With the score level after 90 minutes, Perth netted twice in extra-time to take out what will go down in history as one of the greatest ever Night Series finals. The opening exchanges were fast and furious with Perth the quicker to get into rhythm. Jeff Bright forced a terrific reflex save from Phil Straker, then a minute later David Onoforo glanced the ball of the crossbar from a narrow angle. Straker did well to push a glancing header by Gianfranco Circati over the bar, and shortly after Gary Faria's strike from 16-metres was just inches wide. Much of Perth's drive was coming from the left where the combination of Bright, Scott Bulloch and Aaron Cole worked a treat. Stirling were unlucky not to go ahead in the 29th minute when Rob Miller picked out Jordan Rhodes whose shot cannoned back off the post. The big crowd on the edge of their seats as Brendan Ross' effort from 15-metres was parried by Straker who then worked in tandem with Darko Ilmanoski to thwart Onoforo at the follow-up. The pressure was relieved two minutes from half-time by Robbie Puca whose speculative effort from distance caught the out-stretched gloves of Straker but he was unable to prevent the ball from hitting the back of the net.
The second half was six minutes old when Stirling levelled as Miller played a free-kick to the far post where Andy Brown knocked it down and Rhodes nipped in ahead of his man to nod past Gareth Deeg. What followed was some terrific end to end football. Bulloch had a header hooked from under the bar by Kevin Henderson, then Brown was sent clear of the defence but shot weakly at goalkeeper. As the pressure again began to mount and challenges became reckless Stephen Gregory asserted his authority by cautioning players from both teams. Perth's efforts to regain the advantage lead to frustration as Riste Stefoski thwarted Onoforo, Michael Icanovski side-footed high and Cole rifled across the face of goal. So it was against the run of play that Stirling snatched the lead on 77 minutes when Jake Harman helped Brown's cross on to Rhodes who pounced on some hesitant defending and bobbled the ball past a badly exposed 'keeper. But Stirling's hopes of lifting the trophy were dashed with just six minutes left on the clock as Faria laid the ball off to substitute Peter Lord whose rasping drive from the top of the 18-yard box gave Straker absolutely no chance. Stirling were then fortunate not to go down a man when Rhodes was issued his second yellow card but an oversight by Gregory allowed him to stay on the park.
Stirling kicked off the extra-time period but were quickly on the back foot as Perth's superior fitness came into play. Onoforo's shot on the turn was pushed away by Straker who, a few minutes later, got the slightest of touches to deflect a low shot from Puca wide. Faria played a corner to the near post where Circati's glanced past Straker only to have Steve Porter rescue Stirling with a goal line clearance. Immediately after the turnaround Perth pushed forward down the left through Faria who delivered a tantalising cross into the path of Ross and the young striker made no mistake in netting from 5-metres. The knock-out blow came just four minutes later when Onoforo raced clear of a flat-footed defence and, after drawing Straker out of position, centred for an unmarked Bulloch to put away goal number four. With the final move of the game Perth almost added another to their tally through substitute Trent Kay whose powerful downward header bounced over the bar from a deep Faria corner.
Perth S.C.: Gareth Deeg, Gianfranco Circati, Aaron Cole (Trent Kay
110), Michael Icanovski, Jeff Bright (Peter Lord 61), Robert Sciascia
(Matt Danskin 73), Scott Bulloch, Robert Puca, Gary Faria, David
Onoforo, Brendan Ross
Stirling Lions: Phil Straker, Riste Stefoski, Darko Ilomanoski, Kevin Henderson, Michael Pugliese, Leo Harman (Ludovic Boi 116), Steve Porter, Rob Miller, Jordan Rhodes (Peter Dunn 90), Ryan Jeans (Jake Harman 48), Andy Brown
Cautions: Bright (52), Rhodes (59), Lord (65), J.Harman (83), L.Harman (86), Rhodes (88), Danskin (117)
Referee: Stephen Gregory
Floreat Athena ended the Night Series in third place by out-scoring Sorrento 4-3 on penalties after the game was tied up at 1-1 at the completion of regulation time. With the two side meeting again in six days in the opening round of the association Cup coaches Michael Roki and Steve Neville took the opportunity to experiment a little with their line-ups. The opening half was largely uninspiring with the first shot not arriving until the 24th minute when Adam Bachiller blazed across the face of goal. Sorrento's only chance of the period came from Carlos Vega who shrugged off his marker but shot straight at goalkeeper Jason O'Byrne. The second half followed much the same pattern with neither showing much desire to get the breakthrough. In an attempt to inject some spark into proceedings Roki and Neville both looked to their benches. Sorrento strung together a neat passage in the 72nd minute which ended with Michael Johnson shooting narrowly wide with O'Byrne beaten. Ten minutes later Josip Magdic crossed into the area where Boima Karpeh's stinging volley flashed past Neil Young for what looked like being the game's only goal. But with under a minute to play Brad Hassell played a free-kick to a crowded area where Michael Ord slammed in a equaliser. Branimir Mikulic, Simon Barber, Kareph and Saul Contera all converted in the shoot-out for Floreat while Sorrento's successful penalty takers were Lewis Flatt, Brad Hassell and Liam McCallum.
PERTH TIPPED FOR PRE-SEASON SILVERWARE
Two thirds of the West Australian football community believe Perth S.C. will take out tomorrow evenings' Night Series final. This weeks' website poll posed the question "What will be the outcome of Sunday's Night Series final?" with Perth by far the most popular choice. The Blues collected 65.% of the overall count compared to Stirling Lions' 34.5%.
The most popular option is for Perth to win by two goals or more (47.5%). A single goal victory by Stirling was a distant second (23.1%) followed by a Perth win by one goal (16.4%). A Stirling win on penalties (8.2%) and by a two goal margin (4.9%) were next. The most unlikely outcome is for Perth to win on penalties which garnered just 1.6% of the count.
FRIENDLY FIRE (Inglewood United vs E.C.U. Joondalup courtesy E.C.U. Joondalup; Ashfield vs Swan I.C. courtesy Ashfield)
E.C.U. Joondalup fended off a second half revival by Inglewood United to triumph 3-2 in their friendly encounter. The opening half was fairly even with both teams showing promise when going forward only to meet strong resistance from the opposing backline. Joondalup took a two-goal advantage into the break courtesy of strikes from Garin Collins and Scott Bushby, while new recruit Leon Russell showed the value he'll add to the northerners this season. A half-time roasting from the coaching staff saw a fired Inglewood emerge for the second period. Daniel Neiderberger reduced the margin then wit his second goal of the afternoon brought the teams level. As the game came to a close Joondalup upped their workrate and with ten minute remaining Tom Amphlett lobbed the advancing goalkeeper to snatch victory.
Rockingham City received a major confidence boost on the eve of the new season by holding top flight opponent Armadale 1-1 this afternoon. It was Rockingham who showed the greater determination and continually got in behind the Armadale defence during the opening twenty minutes as Terry Flynn and Chris Read each went close. Against the run of play Armadale took the lead through a cross from the right which was powerfully headed in to the top corner by Darren Kingston. Rockingham quickly regained control and equalised through Read who prodded the ball under the advancing 'keeper. It was more of the same in the second half with Rockingham well on top but unable to capitalise despite numerous opportunities, while Armadale's late charge was halted by a resolute defence.
Ashfield gave a very good account of themselves despite going down 1-2 to top flight outfit Swan I.C. when they meet at Ashfield Reserve. Goals from David Perich and David Foster may have put Swan in a commanding position at the break but the real talking point was the form of new Ashfield goalkeeper Francis Allen. An off-season signing from Bayswater City, Allen kept his side in the game by moving sharply to keep out a well-struck free-kick from Tom Shepherd, and later in the half pulled off an excellent reflex save to deny David Foster with a close-range header. Ashfield showed greater enterprise in the second half and were eventually rewarded close to the final whistle with a nicely taken goal from Mel Lovic.
MATILDAS COACH TOM SERMANNI VISITS PERTH
Tom Sermanni, coach of the Australian women's team, will visit Perth this weekend as part of his nationwide talent identification tour. Sermanni and national Under-20 coach Alistair Edwards will put local players through their paces during an intense three-day camp commencing Sunday. "I have been telling Tom about the number of talented players that we have in Western Australia and this is a great opportunity for them to impress the national coach", said Edwards. "The inaugural FIFA Under-17 Women's World Championship will be held in 2008 and I believe that we have a number of players that are definitely in contention for places on this national team."
Andrew Bettell, Football West's education and development manager, is equally enthusiastic about Sermanni's impending visit. "The women's game has been going from strength to strength in WA," he commented. "Trials for our Under-15 and Under-17 State teams have commenced with record numbers and with the girls National Training Centre program now taking the next step and going full-time we are excited at the prospect of future National presentation in the various age groups." WA is currently represented at senior Australian level by Lisa De Vanna and Collette McCallum, the latter also being vice-captain of the Young Matildas.
OLYMPIC TRIALS BEGINS
The next breed of Olympians have completed this week's training camp in Canberra by winning both friendly outings against local opposition. The Australian Under-23 squad followed Wednesday's defeat of Capital Football All-Stars with victory against the Australian Institute of Sport the following afternoon. The five-day camp served as preparation for next month's four-nation tournament in which Australia meet Iran, Uzbekistan and host nation Vietnam.
The Under-23's defeated the Capital Football All-Stars 2-1 under lights at the Australian Institute of Sport on Wednesday evening. Mark Bridge bagged a second half double to hand the national team victory after the home side, made up of players selected from the Australian Capital Territory Premier League, scored a minute from half-time through Matt Valeri. Defender Ryan Townsend, whose signed on to spend the winter with Wanneroo City, played a full game for the Under-23 side.
The following afternoon the Under-23's played out a scoreless draw with an AIS side comprised almost entirely of players who featured for the Young Socceroos in the recent Asian World Championship qualifying series. Kristian Sarkies and Tolgay Ozbey went close to scoring for the Under-23's with the AIS's best chance coming the way of Bruce Djite. Perth Glory trio Nick Ward, David Micevski and Billy Celeski featured for the Under-23's, while Tando Velaphi and Nikita Rukavytsya were in the AIS starting line-up.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Perth S.C. have been crowned the 2006 Night Series champion after downing a gallant Stirling Lions 4-2 in pulsating final this evening at Litis Stadium. With the score level after 90 minutes, Perth netted twice in extra-time to take out what will go down in history as one of the greatest ever Night Series finals. The minor place play-off was taken out by Floreat Athena 3-2 on penalties after their clash with Sorrento was tied up at 1-1 at the completion of regulation time.
The Blues created the better of first half opportunities and deservedly went ahead just before the interval through Robbie Puca. Jake Harman levelled early in the second half and when Jordan Rhodes added a second in the 78th minute it looked like Stirling were home. But with six minutes left Peter Lord's blistering drive sent the game into extra-time. Brendan Ross put Perth back in the driving seat in the 106th minute, and Scott Bulloch secured the trophy four minutes later.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The year's first major trophy is up for grabs on Sunday evening with the final of the McInerney Ford sponsored Night Series at Litis Stadium. Two of the top flight's best midfield's will pits skills as Perth S.C., a fourteen time winner of the pre-season tournament, take on Stirling Lions in the series finale from 8.10pm. The evenings entertainment starts at 6.00pm with the curtain-raiser between host club Floreat Athena and Sorrento in the minor place play-off.
It's little surprise that Perth have been installed as pre-match favourite. A watertight defence which has conceded just twice in close to 550 minutes of Night Series football underpins Graham Normanton's side. And give their attackers even the faintest sniff of goal and you'll next find the ball nestling in the back of the net. Captain Aaron Cole has had a superb tournament while the non-stop efforts of midfielders Robbie Puca and Gary Faria will no doubt have a significant bearing on the outcome of Sunday's game.
Stirling have been the surprise packet of the pre-season tournament, qualifying for the final without loss and as the Night Series' highest goalscorers. There are few remnants of last seasons' squad but under Mike Lyons the many newcomers have gelled quickly into a competitive cohesive unit. Their strength lies across the middle of the park where Jordan Rhodes operates with menace alongside imports Steve Porter and Rob Miller. Having come this far Stirling are now just ninety minutes away from claiming their first trophy since returning to the top flight in 2002.
Preceding the main game is the play-off for third and fourth between Floreat Athena and Sorrento. It promises to be a cracking match with both teams eager to stamp themselves as title contenders just a fortnight out from the commencement of home-and-away fixtures. Floreat have shown great character in bouncing back from losses in their first two outings of the tournament, while Sorrento dipped out on a place in the decider when out-shot by Stirling on penalties last week. Entry to the Night Series is $6 for adults and $4 for concession holders with children under the age of 15 admitted free.
CANNING EASE TO VICTORY IN NIGHT SERIES FINAL (Canning City vs Rockingham City by Malcolm Watson)
Canning City claim victory in this evenings' First Division and Amateur Night Series final with a comprehensive 4-1 defeat of Rockingham City at Coker Park. Five years of hard work and commitment to fostering young talent were rewarded with the first trophy of the fledgling clubs short history. It was clear from the early exchanges that the Canning were out to make amends for the 0-3 drubbing handed out by Rockingham a fortnight ago. As such, Canning dominated the opening exchanges and deservedly took the lead through Shane Laing who scrambled the ball home from close-range after 12 minutes. It took until the 26th minute for Rockingham to threaten but Terry Flynn's long-range flew well wide of the target. Canning increased their stranglehold on the game just two minutes later when captain Paul Van Dongen jinxed his way into attack before sliding a superb pass into the path of Danny Trevisiol whose first time shot was into the bottom corner. Rockingham could muster little in response with their only genuine chance leading into the break being a speculative strike from distance by Fraser Brown.
The second half was two minutes old when Andy Brown streamed down the left, danced past two opponents and rifled a fierce shot on target which Rockingham goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock miraculously pushed over the crossbar. It became apparent this this wasn't going to be Rockingham's night shortly after when Canning custodian Adam Horsley failed to hold a long throw which fell to Chris Reid who blasted the loose ball high from 5-metres. In an attempt to swing the game in their favour Rockingham made a couple of substitutions, but it was all to no avail as Canning continued their onslaught. The result was put beyond doubt in the 70th minute by Simon Versaico who raced clear of the defence only to be brought down for a penalty which the attacker coolly converted. Two minutes later man of the match Shane Laing put Trevisiol through to slot goal number four under the 'keeper. Rockingham bagged a late consolation goal when Steve Cramthorne found the back of the net.
A young Balcatta line-up took out the play-off for third and fourth with a goal in extra-time to defeat Dianella White Eagles 3-2. Further details of this game will be added as soon as they become available
ON THIS DAY … 1992
Paul Strudwick added a fairytale touch to his State team debut by scoring in the 2-0 defeat of Malaysian league champion Selangor at Macedonia Park on 23rd March 1992. 24-year old Strudwick became the first Second Division player to wear State team colours in over a decade and showed no signs of an inferiority complex. In fact, the Bassendean Caledonian attacker could well have bagged himself a first half hat-trick if not for the goalkeeping of Othman Kathmon who produced a series of brilliant saves which frustrated Strudwick and strike partner Ori Colli.
WA started the game at full pace and in no time at all had Selangor on the ropes. Kathmon showed great reflexes in pushing a Colli header on the crossbar. That set the pattern of near misses for the State side who kept their focus by continually pressing forward and putting Selangor under pressure at the back. In addition to Strudwick there were impressive performances from defenders Shaun Murphy and Craig Naven, midfielder Gareth Naven and the ever-lively Colli.
The last twenty minutes of the first half saw WA force the visitors into performing defensive duties almost exclusively. But no matter how hard they tried the State team were unable to conjure an opening goal. Gareth Naven scooped the ball over the crossbar after the goalkeeper spilled Strudwick cross. Strudwick headed the ball high from close-range, Alex Cummings’ goalbound strike hit Kathmon in the back, and Colli got the ball past the ‘keeper only to see it cleared off the line.
WA failed to muster the same momentum in the second half and very nearly paid the price in the 71st minute. But just a couple of minutes later Stan Lazaridis made a loping run down the left before crossing to Strudwick whose glanced the ball on to the far post where Colli powered it under the body of the ‘keeper. Five minutes from the end Taki Nicolaides speared a long throw to the far post where Strudwick almost nonchalantly nodded it past Kathmon to put the icing on a superb senior State debut.
Western Australia (squad): Willie McNally, Taki Nicolaides, Shaun Murphy, Alex Cummings, Craig Naven, Stan Lazaridis, Lou Collova, Brian Sweeney, Gareth Naven, Paul Studwick, Ori Colli, Tommy Maras, Rene De Koenig, Brian McLatchie, Jim Merkouris, Ray Kastropil.
LYONS SEEKS STIRLING GLORY (by Peter Simcox)
It'll be a confident Stirling Lions which take to the field for this weekend's Night Series final with Perth S.C. Stirling emerged as the surprise packet of the pre-season tournament after negotiating the qualifying rounds without loss. Under former Everton great Mike Lyons and his coaching assistant Paul Simmons the team have played some fine football over the past two months and, according to Simmons, have no reason to fear Perth in the series decider. "I have never been one to worry about stopping the opposition playing," he commented. "It's all about us working and concentrating on how we play and ensuring our playing methodology is carried out by each player."
Sunday's game will be Stirling's eleventh appearance in a Night Series final and Simmons is of the very strong belief they can capture the trophy for the seventh time. "When you look at our squad we have sixteen to eighteen genuine hard working guys who have blended as a team," he said. "They all know no matter who they are playing alongside that guy next to them won't let them down. We know we will score goals and we know we will never stop working. I think we can expose the back three of Perth by getting behind them and I feel our midfield will be more than competitive against Perth's."
Stirling are looking to be one of the new seasons' big improvers following an active recruitment drive over the summer. Amongst those who now call Macedonia Park their home are former Liverpool apprentice Steve Porter and one-time West Ham United youth team defender Rob Miller, both of whom the Stirling coaching staff rate very highly. "Steve Porter for me is the best midfield player in the state and will fit in to any side in the League. His work rate is awesome, his tackling ferocious and he leads by example," said Simmons. "And anyone who saw the semi-final against Sorrento will tell you that Rob Miller dominated the midfield with Jordan Rhodes."
And while Porter and Miller are considered the jewels in the crown Stirling have a number of potential match winners. "Darko Ilmanoski has been brilliant and getting more vocal and leading example with every game," said Simmons. "Leo Harman was tremendous against Sorrento and the kid is a true clubman, you can ask him to play anywhere and he will give 100%. Harman, Rhodes, Porter and Miller make up quite a formidable midfield. Riste Stefoski started slowly but has trained very, very hard and is getting stronger with each session. The addition of Kevin Henderson into the defence has been a bonus and Phil Straker has been outstanding in goal."
Another pleasing aspects of Stirling's Night Series form has been the progress made by the younger members of their squad around whom they hope to develop the clubs future. "We have tried many young lads in the Night Series," added Simmons. "Phil Arnold has been outstanding and will obviously move on to bigger and better things, it's disappointing he will miss the final and probably another six to eight weeks due to injury. Boi Ludovic is another coming along nicely and will get stronger and more confident with every game, and Michael Puglese has had two very good games at right back."
LITTLE BETWEEN FINALISTS FOR NORMANTON (by Peter Simcox)
Perth S.C. have picked up the new season exactly where they left off 2005. The reigning Premier League champion and association Cup holder consistently out scored their opponents during the group phase of the Night Series before accounting for Floreat Athena in the semi-finals. While Perth go into Sunday’s series decider as the red-hot favourite coach Graham Normanton has been on the scene long enough to know that no opponent should be underestimated. “We as a group treat every player in the whole League with total respect,” he commented. “Any player can do damage if you give them the time and space to perform, and we can’t allow Stirling to do that.”
Normanton, whose led Perth to thirteen trophies in six seasons, believes is side are good enough to outdo Stirling. “I would expect this to be a very tightly fought contest,” said Normanton. “Stirling has performed brilliantly to get to the final and I totally respect Mick Lyons as a coach. They will be well drilled, confident and enthusiastic. We will have to match all of those things and stick to our own game plan and I’m sure we can gain a positive result. We pride ourselves on the quality of our performance week in week out, and this is just another week where we have to perform to gain the desired result. We won’t be taking anything for granted - this is a final where anything can happen! I truly hope that it is a great advert for WA football.”
The summer months saw a number of last years’ double winning squad move on to greener pasture. Normanton responded to the losses through clever recruitment and promotion from within the ranks. “My job is to ensure that Perth stay at the top of football in WA so the need to replace players is obvious,” he explained. “I have brought in some of our top juniors and they have performed admirably but I realise that they can’t be expected to fill the shoes of players like Andreas Oliviera, Antonio Naglieri, Dino Djulbic, David Micevski and Mark Pottier at this early stage of their development. The signing of players like Gary Faria and Scott Bulloch was essential to us maintaining our position, they are quality players with a tremendous work ethic which is vital to the overall team performance. I am sure that they will figure prominently in any of our performances.”
Normanton believes Perth’s culture of youth development has helped several of their youth players make the smooth transition to senior football during the Night Series. “Robert Sciascia and Brendon Ross are two of our up and coming stars,” he said. “They have come through the Under-18’s and Reserves at our club and are testament to the system and coaching quality we have in place. Aldo Trinca and John Coyne have done, and continued to do a great job with our youngsters. Contrary to popular belief we do develop our kids to first team level and beyond. The criteria for gaining a place in the first team is that they have to better than what’s already available and if they are not and I feel we are weak in a certain position then obviously I’ll go outside the club. These two boys have tremendous potential which I hope we can help them to fulfil.”
Perhaps the Premier League’s most consistent player over the past seven years has been Perth captain Aaron Cole. “Aaron is a quality player, how he has not played national league is beyond me. He is without doubt the best central defender going round,” Normanton said. But while Cole’s pre-season form has been without fault, Normanton feels there is still room for improvement amongst his squad. “We are still not totally happy with our overall strength at this stage of the season. Any team that wins the League will have to have a strong squad of sixteen to eighteen players. I think the players that we have can do very well but we understand that injuries and suspensions can take their toll on the squad as the season rolls on so I think there is definitely room for one more quality player in the squad.”
MORLEY OPENS FOOTBALL INSTITUTE
Morley Senior High School are taking their football seriously. The school established an elite program six weeks ago under the guidance of former international development coach Nigel Jones, and with the assistance of Perth Glory star Bobby Despotovski. Referred to as the Institute of Soccer, the program provides identified students specialist coaching and the opportunity to play competitively. Despotovski has been involved in skills coaching and selecting players for the institute’s squad.
Jones said the institute provides students with incentive to excel in both sport and the classroom. “It’s a carrot and stick scenario,” he said. “We’ve had kids with behavioural problems who are now getting back into line with their academic requirements. It was set up to provide professional training and skills development for children with ability.” Jones added that it was imperative that students grades me maintain and the failure to do could results in a students removal from the institute.
There are close to eighty students enrolled in the program which has established links with English clubs Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton. “It would be great to eventually see some of our own students get a chance to try out ad even be offered professional contracts,” commented Jones. The school will field teams in May’s Championship Schools Soccer Competition and hopes to go one better than last year when their first team lost the final.
DESPOTOVSKI URGES ACTION ON COACH (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
A-League Player of the Year Bobby Despotovski has called on Perth Glory management to make a quick decision over the new coach. “We’re going the same way as last season,” Despotovski told ‘Radio SEN’s 90th Minute’. “Players are being signed before the coach. We can’t have what happened last season where the coach could turn around and say he can’t work with half the squad.” Despotovski said Glory technical director Mich d’Avray should be made coach if the club can’t appoint a new man soon. He also revealed that new player contracts included a clause regarding Glory’s pending change of ownership.
NIGHT SERIES, SEMI-FINALS (Sorrento vs Stirling Lions by Elliott Leonard)
Perth S.C. are through to their fourth Night Series final in six years after defeating Floreat Athena 2-0 this evening at Litis Stadium. A large crowd was on hand to witness the much-anticipated clash between the two long-time rival clubs. The centre of the park held the key and it was Floreat who gained the upper hand through the non-stop efforts of Bajo Savic and Josip Magdic. Even so there were early opportunities at both ends of the park with Brendan Ross blazing high from 15-metres and Branimir Mikulic unable to make the most of a cross from Boima Karpeh. The opening goal arrived with 15 minutes played as Scott Bulloch’s fine control allowed him to deliver the ball to Ross who turned sharply to fire past goalkeeper Vas Vujacic from a narrow angle. Floreat were seeing a lot of the ball but could find few ways to penetrate a no-nonsense Perth defence in which Aaron Cole was outstanding. The second half started at a brisk pace and with Floreat forcing the pace. Gianna Papalia made saves from Costa Socratous and Savic before being replaced by Gareth Deeg due to an ankle injury. Karpeh was the next to threaten with a close-range effort which Deeg superbly tipped over the crossbar. Perth’s second game in less than 48 hours was beginning to take a toll on its players and only some resolute defending kept their opposition at bay. The game was there for the taking by either side but some fine goalkeeping prevented any addition to the scoreline. Magdic’s cross from the right wasn’t sufficiently dealt with by the Perth defence and Deeg produced a world-class smothering save to thwart Mikulic, then Vujacic thrust out a glove to keep out David Onoforo’s near post strike. Victory was secured by Perth with just three minutes remaining on the clock as a superb pass from Faria found substitute Felim Rugel who slipped a low shot past Vujacic from 12-metres.
Stirling Lions required penalties to get past Sorrento and qualify for their first final in a decade. With the game level at 2-2 after extra-time Stirling emerged victorious by out-shooting their opponent 3-0 from the spot. Following a dull opening, the pace quickened in the 33rd minute when Dejan Gurovski headed a Jared Love cross against the crossbar. Three minutes later Sorrento gained the advantage through Love who latched onto a long ball from James Morgan and, with the luck of an awkward bounce, evaded two defenders before slotting past goalkeeper Phil Straker. However, their lead was short-lived as Jordan Rhodes converted from the spot just before half-time after Michael Ord was judged to have handled the ball inside the area. Stirling continued to press forward after the interval and with 63 minutes gone Riste Stefoski blasted a free-kick from 20-metres through a crowded goalmouth and into Neil Young's net. A goalline clearance by Rhodes kept out Danny Hill's header and maintained his sides lead, and a few minutes later Andrew Bowyer cleared the ball off the line from an under-hit shot by Rhodes. Sorrento equalised six minutes from the end of regulation when a long ball from Carlos Vega found Simon Harland lurking at the back post where he slammed it past Young at close-range. Shortly after Stirling had strong claims for a penalty turned down after Peter Dunn was brought down inside the area. The best chance of the extra-time period came the way of Lewis Flatt whose fierce shot was well saved by Straker. However, neither side was able to apply the decisive touch and the game moved into a penalty shoot-out. Darko Ilomanoski, Andy Brown and Kevin Henderson successfully converted for Stirling but it was Straker who emerged as the hero in saving the spot kicks of Love, Harland and Hill.
LOWRY CALLED-UP BY IRELAND
Aston Villa’s Shane Lowry has been named in the Republic of Ireland Under-17 squad for the UEFA Championships Elite phase being held in Dublin later this month. Although born in Perth, the former E.C.U. Joondalup defender qualifies to play for the Irish through his parents and has been called up by coach Sean McCaffrey after a series of impressive displays for Villa’s Under-18 team this season.
GLORY QUARTET INVITED TO UNDER-23 CAMP
Perth Glory players will feature prominently when the Australian Under-23’s go into camp this week in preparation for a four-nation tournament in Vietnam. Locally produced trio Nick Ward, David Micevski and Ryan Townsend along with ‘import’ Billy Celeski are amongst the twenty-seven players invited to attend the five day at the Australian Institute of Sport. At the conclusion of the camp national team assistant coach Graham Arnold will select a squad to travel to Vietnam in mid-April when Australia pit skills with Iran, Uzbekistan and the host nation.
The complete squad for the AIS camp is Robert Cornthwaite, Tony Hatzis, Michael Mattricianni (Adelaide United), Danny Vukovic, Russell Woodruffe (Central Coast Mariners), Matthew Deegan, Nikolai Topor-Stanley (Manly Warringah), Adrian Leijer, Vince Lia, Kristian Sarkies (Melbourne Victory), Mark Bridge, Tarek Elrich, Stuart Musialik, Jobe Wheelhouse (Newcastle Jets), Mark Geria (O'Connor Knights), Billy Celeski, David Micevski, Ryan Townsend, Nick Ward (Perth Glory), Tyler Simpson (Pine Rivers), Spase Dilevski (Queensland Roar), Mark Milligan, Tolgay Ozbey, Justin Pasfield, Jacob Timpano, Ruben Zadkovich (Sydney F.C.) and Adam Casey (Wollongong Wolves).
Balga will be hosting local rival Ballajura in their annual fund raiser for the Starlight Foundation on Sunday 2nd April. Each pre-season the two clubs meet to decide a perpetual shield with games through the day between their senior, reserve, women's and veterans teams. The overall winner on the day will be the club who has won the most games. There will also be a junior exhibition match commencing at 11.30am.
This season's game will be the first hosted by Balga and to celebrate the event they'll also be holding a Family Fun Day between 12.00noon and 5.00pm. Coinciding with the on-field activities will be numerous rides, games and fun activities for children, while for older attendees there'll be prize draws, raffles and displays. The Balga club invite everyone to join them for what promises to be an enjoyable day from lunchtime on Sunday 2nd April at Brian Burke Reserve (Princess Road, Balga).
NIGHT SERIES, WEEKEND EIGHT (E.C.U. Joondalup vs Swan I.C. by Peter Simcox)
E.C.U. Joondalup missed out on a spot in the last four of the Night Series when beaten 3-2 by Swan I.C. in the final Group B fixture this evening at Litis Stadium. The team from the far north opened brightly as Garin Collins’ strike hit the base of the post after good work from Scott Bushby. However, it was Swan who bagged the night’s first goal on 15 minutes when a surging run by Trevor Hatton down the left ended with his cross being fired past goalkeeper Peter Stewart by David Foster. What followed was a period of sustained pressure from Joondalup who were held at bay by a stubborn Swan defence, although Bushby did test Daniel Agudelo with a rasping low shot. Their perseverance was rewarded nine minutes from the break when Steve White skipped down the left and delivered the ball on to the head of Collins who nodded in the equaliser. The second half began with Swan on the attack and ten minute in they regained the lead through Damian Scali who swept the ball into the net after a neat move down the left involving Brendan Knox and Damian Catalano. Joondalup went in search of a reply and, while they played some excellent football, they were guilty of wasting a couple of golden opportunities as Ian McMurray headed over from point blank range and Scott Blackmore fired wide when well placed. They eventually got back on level terms via a Dale McCulloch free-kick which was flicked past the ‘keeper by Anthony Jones in the 80th minute. However, you got the feeling it wasn’t going to be Joondalup’s night when McMurray and Bushby placed high within minutes of each other. Swan delivered the knockout blow with the last play of the game in which Tom Shepheard crashed a header into the bar and Renato Rechichi reacted by firing into the net.
Inglewood United's dreams of back-to-back Night Series titles came to a crashing halt when defeated 0-3 by Perth S.C. in the final Group A game. Perth started in commanding style with Gary Faria, Scott Bulloch and Robbie Puca seizing control of the midfield. Early attempts on goal from Bulloch and Puca were kept out by Oliver Taseski before the inevitable happened on 11 minutes with Gianfranco Circati side footing in at the far post from a Bulloch free-kick. Inglewood's back three of Danny Kovacevic, Shane Pryce and Danny Stoitis were working overtime to repel wave after wave of Perth raids on goal. Rookie Robert Scascia beat two defenders in the 17th minute before centring to Brendan Ross who, under pressure from a defender, drilled a fine shot into the far corner from 15-metres to increase the difference. Stung into action, Inglewood responded with a flurry of activity which saw Louis Parkinson’s shot from 16-metres fly narrowly wide and Andre Sarpe find the side netting. Sarpe then squandered a golden opportunity by blazing high from the top of the 6-yard box before Darren Broxton's strike from 20-metres whizzed the wrong side of the upright. Perth further increased their grip four minutes from the break when David Onoforo's clever chip to Puca saw him bravely head goal number three past the oncoming goalkeeper. Inglewood needed to make the most of their chances in order to get back in the game but in the fifteen minutes after half-time Dean Aplegren, Parkinson and Jason Colli each missed the target when well positioned. As the minutes ticked by the game dropped off in intensity. Inglewood must have been wondering what had happened to their goalscoring boots as Sarpe and Colli failed to hit the target while the former also had a good effort saved by Gianni Papalia. The final whistle was greeted with glee by Perth who, although under the hammer for much of the second half, were deserved winners on the night.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Next weekend's Night Series final will be contested by Perth S.C. and Stirling Lions after both emerged from the qualifying rounds without loss. Perth's passage into the series decider was made safe by Brendan Ross and Felim Rugel who bagged the goal in their 2-0 semi-final defeat of Floreat Athena this evening. Stirling required a penalty shoot-out to get past Sorrento after the game was tied up at 2-2 at the end of extra time.
On Friday night, E.C.U. Joondalup were robbed of a place in the last four by a last minute goal from Swan I.C. who triumphed 3-2. David Foster, Damien Scali and Renato Rechichi found the net for the black and whites with Joondalup’s goals coming via Garin Collins and Anthony Jones. Perth S.C. steamrolled a wasteful Inglewood United 3-0 in the late game courtesy of goals from Gianfranco Circait, Brendan Ross and Robbie Puca.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW (by Peter Simcox)
Two semi-final positions are up for grabs in this evenings final group stage games of the 2006 Night Series at Litis Stadium. The action commences at 6.30pm with the Group B clash between Swan I.C. and E.C.U. Joondalup. A draw is enough to put Joondalup into the last four, while should Swan rake out maximum points it'll be Floreat Athena who go through to the last four. Stirling Lions are already through to the next round as group winner.
The late game, which kicks off at 8.30pm, is the do-or-die showdown between inner city rivals Inglewood United and Perth S.C. Anything other than an Inglewood victory will see that club eliminated from the tournament and, although a share of the points will put Perth into the knock-out phase you can be guaranteed they'll be playing for nothing less than another win. Sorrento have already qualified for the semi-finals from Group A.
The semi-finals will be played on Sunday and the exact make-up of the games won't be known until after this evening's final round. However, we can tell you the first semi-final starts at 6.00pm and will feature the Group A winner (Inglewood, Perth or Sorrento) against the group B runner-up (Joondalup or Floreat) Stirling Lions meet the second placed team from Group A (Inglewood, Perth or Sorrento) in the late game at 8.10pm. Entry fees for the 2006 Night Series are $6 for adults and $4 for concession holders with children under the age of 15 admitted free. Get along and support your team.
INTERIM SQUAD STEPS TOWARDS WAIS ENTRY
Football West have taken steps towards having football admitted to the Western Australian Institute of Sport program with the establishment of an interim National Training Centre squad. Western Australia is currently the only state which does not have an institute-based football program, but under plans drawn up by Football West that is about to change. "We are working with WAIS and the Department of Sport and Recreation to establish both male and female programs from 2008," explained Andrew Bettell, Football West's Education and Development Manager. "In conjunction with Football Federation Australia we have continued an open age interim NTC program for girls, and this year we have put in place an interim program for boys who are believed to have National team potential."
The interim NTC boys squad had their first competitive hit-out this week when they met the visiting Singapore Under-17 national side in a three game series. The opening match saw the State team run out winners by 3-1 courtesy of goals from Keith Clevenger, Sean Doyle and Michael De Souza. The following evening a disputed penalty allowed Singapore to claim victory 1-0, although Phil Arnold had a late goal disallowed for offside. The series was taken out by the State side who won the deciding game 1-0 at Members Equity Stadium last night. The games only goal arrived shortly before half-time when De Souza netted in a goalmouth scramble. The agility of Mark Birighitti prevented the visitors from grabbing a second half equaliser on more than one occasion.
The interim National Training Centre squad which played Singapore consisted of Sean Doyle, Liam Harvey, Ryan Pearson (Armadale), Dejan Aleksic (Cockburn City), Jake Geddes, Sadmir Jukovic (Inglewood United), Michael Curry, Howard Fondyke, Mark Tebbett, Jason Trepevski (E.C.U. Joondalup), Mark Birighitti (Perth S.C.), Craig Cunningham, Scott Neville, Cameron Yorke (Sorrento), Phil Arnold, Ludovic Boi, Keith Clevinger, Dean Evans, Chris Harlond, Matt Italiano, Adam Luca, Dannie Richman, John Walmsley (Stirling Lions) and Michael De Souza, Craig Thompson (Western Knights). Players who step up to the mark over the season will be added to the squad while those who don't take their chance will be replaced.
ARNOLD FAVOURED AS TOP SCORER
One of the state's hottest young talents, striker Phil Arnold, is the popular choice to score more Night Series goals that any of his rivals. The Stirling Lions teenager was a narrow winner of last week's website poll which asked "Who will be the Night Series' leading goalscorer?" Arnold topped the count with 21.2% of the vote to beat away Inglewood United's Albert Osei-Tutu (16.9%) and Perth S.C. midfielder Gary Faria (16.1%) and. Fourth place was shared by Jared Love (15.3%) of Sorrento and Cockburn City's Mileta Miletic (14.4%). Stirling newcomer Ryan Jeans (8.5%) and towering E.C.U. Joondalup forward Ian McMurray (7.6%) made up the rest of the field.
FIRST DIVISION/AMATEUR NIGHT SERIES, SEMI-FINALS (Balcatta vs Rockingham City courtesy Rockingham City; Canning City vs Dianella White Eagles courtesy Canning City)
Rockingham City are through to the final of the First Division and Amateur Night Series after stunning Balcatta 3-1 in this evening's opening semi-final at Coker Park. It was a cautious start from both teams who were very evenly matched during the first ten minutes. The spark which ignited the game came courtesy of Terry Flynn who expertly side-stepped a defender before curling a superb shot from 20-metres into the top corner of the net. Balcatta appeared shocked to be a goal down so early and were on the back foot as their opponents went in search of a second. It arrived shortly after when a string of neat passes saw Fraser Marr send in a cross which Erik Kuzmar volleyed beyond the reach of the goalkeeper from 14-metres. After the break Balcatta showed greater purpose as Rob Giorgi began to assert his influence over procedings. it came as no surprise then that, with twenty minutes left, Perry Ielati unleashed a blistering shot from long-range to reduce the deficit. As Balcatta pushed to level they were ran the risk of being caught short in defence and Chris Keane ensured Rockingham's safe passage to the final by slotting in his sides third on the counter attack.
The late game ended in a 3-1 win for Canning City over Dianella White Eagles. Details of this game will be added once they become available. Canning started in a positive mood and dominated the first twenty minutes while Dianella struggled to get much possession outside their defensive half. Then, with what was pretty much their first meaningful attack, Dianella went ahead when Canning defender Patrick Fitzgerald diverted a low cross into the area past his own goalkeeper. This changed the whole complexion of the game as Dianella flooded the midfield and were seemingly content to push forward only on the odd occasion. Twenty minutes into the second half Dianella appeals for a penalty were waved away by the referee after a striker went to ground in a one-on-one with 'keeper Adam Horsley. Canning were back in the hunt when Simon Versaico's quickly taken free-kick found Andy Brown in space at the back post from where he slotted in after 72 minutes. With just a few minutes left Canning struck for a second time asDave Mahon set Brown free on goal to blast home from 12-metres. A rousing comeback was made complete when Mahon beat the offside trap and pulled the ball back for Brown to tap-in from close range.
VRTESKI HAS THE WORLD IN HIS HANDS (by Peter Simcox)
New Perth Glory recruit Aleksander Vrteski literally has the football world in his hands. The 17-year old shot-stopper signed a one year contract with Glory earlier this month and hopes his time with the A-League club will act as a launch pad to a career abroad. “The Glory have been great, and this is an ideal situation for both of us,” he said this week. “I’m planning to use this as a stepping stone for me to go overseas, as opposed to me being thrown into the wilderness as a young player and heading straight overseas.”
Having already represented Australia at the Under-17 and 20 levels, Vrteski has set his ambitions high. “My ultimate goal is to hopefully one day represent Australia at senior level and be playing for a power club in Europe ... but there is still plenty of work a head of me.” Vrteski got a taste of life as a professional footballer during trials with English club Wolverhampton Wanderers and is keen to again try his luck overseas. “Wolves haven’t been in touch recently, they’ve left it for the time being due to visa problems. They’ll possibly have a look at me when I turn eighteen and the paperwork side of it can be sorted out.”
In order to meet that aim Vrteski took up an offer to join the Australian Institute of Sport in January. “I find the AIS is brilliant,” he commented. “I get to full-time goalkeeper training with Paul Jones who is helping me work on and improve my game.” The teenager says he wouldn’t have made it to Canberra if not for local coach Willie McNally. “What can I say about Willie, he’s been my mentor for a long time. Ever since he met me he was the one saying I have what it takes and he put so much of his time into me over the past few years. In fact, I can honestly claim him as a second father.”
Vrteski, who played locally for Future Glory, Sorrento and Stirling Lions, says the tremendous level of support he’s received from his family over the years is another big motivation to go on and forge a successful career in the game. “If it wasn’t for my family I wouldn’t be able to handle the pressures’ that football puts you through,” commented the teenager. “My parents are both very supportive and as for my little brother, he constantly calls me up asking for advice about improving as a footballer. I really appreciate everything they have done for me this far.”
Last year Vrteski was one of Stirling’s star players but the goalkeeper with a bright future say the club will have to do without him in 2006. “I’d love to play in the Premier League but my scholarship at the AIS finishes in July which leads straight into pre-season for the Glory.” The strongly build goalkeeper feels there are several others on the local scene capable of stepping up to the A-League in the same way he, Nick Ward and David Miceski have done. “I believe there are a lot of youngsters playing in the State League who are potentially good enough to play A-League. One is Jon Higgins was training regularly with Glory and did not look out of place.”
COYNE FEARS WORLD CUP DREAM MAY BE OVER
Luton Town defender Chris Coyne believes his outside chances of making Australia's World Cup squad will be hindered by his need for surgery during the English off-season. The influential centre half has been playing with injuries in both knees and admits an operation could come sooner than planned if the problems get any worse. "Australia is in the back of my mind, but I also need surgery in the summer and if I break down again I might need it before then," Coyne said. "I should have had it done last year, but didn't realise it was getting progressively worse."
BASSENDEAN A LATE WITHDRAWAL
Bassendean Caledonian have withdrawn from semi-professional competition less than a month before the opening round of the 2006 First Division season. "It is with deep regret that I have to advise the members of Bassendean Caledonian Soccer Football Club that we have been forced to withdraw our nomination from Football West for a team to compete in the 2006 season," read a statement from Bassendean president Brian Lockyear posted to the club's new website this week.
"This has come about through the persistent rumours, smear campaigns and innuendos which have resulted in our inability for recruitment of players," continued the statement. "In the club's ninety-four year illustrious history it has never happened before that we have not been able to fill a Saturday side. The committee stresses very strongly that our doors will not be closed now, or in the future, as we are still fielding teams in Masters, Ladies (two teams) and for our approximately two hundred Junior players. It is a truly sad day in the history of the 'Callies' but we will be back with a force in the near future."
KOULIZOS IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL (by Elliott Leonard)
There are many people who have put a great deal into the local game who don't get the recognition they deserve. One such individual is Floreat Athena president Peter Koulizos, whose hard work in both the West Australian and South Australian leagues has paved the way for new success in local football. "It's been very hard work over the years but I am glad to see that some of that work is beginning to pay off, with the structure of Football West and the new A-League," said Koulizos this week.
Koulizos migrated to Adelaide in 1965 from his native country Greece and nine years later accepted a position on the committee of the then State League side West Adelaide Hellas. When the National Soccer League began in 1977, Koulizos sat on the initial national board as a representative of South Australia which put both West Adelaide and Adelaide City on the national map. Between 1977 to 1982 he worked in the national league as assistant coach of West Adelaide under the guidance of current Perth Glory coach Alan Vest. When Vest departed in 1983, Koulizos became head coach of the team before deciding to move to Perth in 1985.
Throughout the late 1980's and early 1990's Koulizos coached at a number of State League clubs including Gosnells City and East Fremantle Tricolore. He stepped back behind the scenes in 2000 by joining the Floreat board, and in 2003 took on the role of club president as well as being made chairman of the Soccer Administration of Western Australia. As SAWA chairman he moved for Football West to take over the administration of the local game towards the end of 2004, and today combines his work as Floreat president with a position on one of Football West's standing committees.
"I think things at the moment are very different to what they used to be but I also think that we are on the right track to improving the standard of the game at a local level," Koulizos said. "It has been the vision of people like myself, Don Evans, Kerry Slater and many others who have been trying to move the local game forward and I think with Football West, that is exactly what they are doing." With his knowledge and experience of the local game, Koulizos is well aware there is still a lot of work to be done in achieving his aim of returning Floreat to the top of the State League pile.
FOOTBALL WEST CALL FOR REFEREE COORDINATOR
As part of the ongoing integration and development of the game within Western Australia, Football West are looking to recruit a full-time Referee Coordinator role at their Maylands office. The successful applicant will play a significant role in efficiently and effectively coordinating refereeing activities across the state. The role will be a central point of contact between Football West, the referees, affiliated branch representatives, and other stakeholders. This position is seen as an important addition to the Football West team and will play a key role in developing existing relationships, process improvements and the profile of refereeing within W.A. For further information including the Job Outline and application details please visit the Football West website.
FIRST DIVISION/AMATEUR NIGHT SERIES, WEEK EIGHT (Dianella White Eagles vs Floreat Athena amateurs courtesy Dianella White Eagles; Forrestfield United vs Fremantle United courtesy Forrestfiled United)
Dianella White Eagles booked a spot in the last four of the First Division and Amateur Night Series by triumphing Floreat Athena amateurs 3-1 at Coker Park this evening. The game was just 12 minutes old when Miladin Gligoroski jinxed his way past three opponents before rifling past the goalkeeper at close-range. Dianella proceeded to carved out numerous opportunities to extend their advantage without success. Floreat hit back shortly before the break when Theo Christou came out of a tackle with the ball at his feet and coolly slotted into the net. The second half may have belonged to Dianella but the star of the game was the Floreat goalkeeper who performed heroically in keeping the game level. He was eventually beaten three minutes from the end as Mario Lucic and Gligoroski combined for David Mrdja to sent a 20-metre drive into the top corner. The sealer arrived shortly after as Dragan Njegic set up Gligoroski for his second of the night.
Forrestfield United missed out on the semi-finals by the narrowest of margins after thrashing Fremantle United 8-3 in the late game. Jon Greenwood put Forrestfield ahead, Fremantle equalised midway through the half before Lucas Whitehouse made it two-one to Forrestfield leading into the break. Roger Miron won a penalty early in the second which Whitehouse converted, only for the port side to peg a goal back shortly after. Sensing a fightback, Fremantle pushed a extra man forward but it was Forrestfield who gained a stranglehold on the game after Whitehouse completed his hat-trick. Miron got in on the act with a goal of his own, then the result was put beyond doubt by Greenwood who scored from the spot. The goals continued to flow with Miron getting his second and Ryan Corp headed in to make it eight-two. But Forrestfield were denied a play-off spot on goal difference when a Fremantle attacker found th eback of the net from 25-metres in stoppage time.
FRIENDLY FIRE (Fremantle City vs Swan I.C. by Peter Simcox)
Swan I.C. continued its preparations for the coming Premier League season with an emphatic 8-2 friendly defeat of First Division outfit Fremantle City at Midland Oval this evening. Dom Ando put Swan ahead on the quarter hour only to have Dave Rodgers level shortly after. Fremantle went within inches of taking the lead through Mason Lavitt whose shot crashed into the post. Just before the break Danyal Bennett picked out Miki Vujacic who finished clinically to restore the black and whites lead. Within a minute of the second half starting Fremantle were back on level terms as Dale Wingell found the net. Renato Rechichi opened his account for Swan before an unmarked Rodgers headed narrowly over the bar for the port side. After that goals flowed freely for Swan with Renato Rechichi and Damien Todorovic each ending the night with three goals.
DESPOTOVSKI 'BLOWN AWAY' BY A-LEAGUE AWARD
Bobby Despotovski was more than a little surprised when his name was read out as winner of the Johnny Warren Medal as the A-League's best player. 34-year old Despotovski was announced as the Players' Player of the Year at the inaugural A-League awards ceremony in Sydney last night. "I never believed I'd be standing here with the Johnny Warren Medal," he said after accepting the game's top individual prize. "It's beyond me - I didn't expect anything like this. I came here to collect one award as the top goalscorer, and to be named the footballer of the year by my fellow professionals, it's simply blown me away."
Despotovski said that he had not placed any expectations on his own performances at the start of the year, stating that at 34, he felt fortunate to be able to take the field. "I honestly didn't have much expectations about my own performances, at my age I was lucky to play with these guys. Deep down I knew that the league was going to work, with the great support from Hyundai and Foxtel and everybody else who is on board and especially with Frank Lowy and his team, definitely is going to work, but for me I was just happy to play."
WARD'S STAR CONTINUES ITS RISE
Even by his own admission, wining the A-League's Rising Star Award is the icing on the cake of an amazing year for Nick Ward. The skilful midfielder was named the national league's best under-20 player at last night's A-League Awards Night in Sydney. "It's been a great nine months for me," commented Ward after the awards ceremony. "I've gone from playing at an under-20 level World Cup, and prior to that in the State League, to being a regular first team player at Perth Glory and a call-up to the senior Australian national team." Ward recently signed a new two-year contract with Glory and spent last week trialling with English club Leicester City.
Ward was thrilled to receive his first ever Socceroos call-up earlier last month and is looking forward to the next opportunity he'll get to impress national selectors. "It was a good experience (to be in camp with the Socceroos). To go from the under-20's to the national team is a big step. You're treated completely different, you're like a young kid in the under-20's and with the senior side you're a professional player," he said. "You learn a lot from being in camp with the best players in Australia. I think the transition for me next time will be easier as I now know what to expect. There are a lot of Asia Cup games coming up and a lot of the big names won't be available so hopefully I can get a few caps."
STATE JUNIORS TO PLAY IN MALAYSIA
Football West are making great strides in strengthening ties with Asia following Australia's membership of the Asian Football Confederation. The local governing body have been nominated by Football Federation Australia to send a representative side to the Asian Festival of Football Under-14 Tournament being played in Malaysia in late May and early June. In addition to Western Australia and Malaysia, teams from the Philippines, Indonesia, the Maldives, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Myanmar and Brunei will take part in the event.
STAR DUO PICK UP TOP AWARDS
Bobby Despotovski and Nick Ward return from this evening's A-League Awards Night in Sydney with two of the most prestigious medals in domestic football. Despotovski will be coming home with the Players' Player of the Year and Ward the Rising Star Award. Perth Glory were also honoured with the Fair Play Award for accruing the least number of yellow and red cards. Other winners were Lawrie McKinna for Coach of the Year, and Mark Shield who picked up the Referee of the Year.
Despotovski collected the Players' Player of the Year, the Johnny Warren Medal. The award, voted on by all A-League players, was decided by just eleven votes with Despotovski accumulating 237 to Sydney F.C. star import Dwight Yorke on 226. The 34-year old also shared the Golden Boot Award Alex Brosque (Queensland Roar), Stewart Petrie (Central Coast Mariners) and Archie Thompson (Melbourne Victory) who each scored eight goals during the season.
Ward received his call up to the podium when named winner of the Rising Star Award as the best under-20 player in the A-League. The highly-rated midfielder featured in every game of Glory's campaign in which he contributed five goals, and was recently rewarded for his efforts with a call-up to the senior Australian squad for the first time. The Rising Star Award is judged by national youth team coach Ange Postecoglou, Matilda's captain Cheryl Salisbury and former Socceroo Hayden Foxe.
YOUNG STRENGTHENS SORRENTO'S TITLE AMBITIONS (by Peter Simcox)
Stuart Young can't wait to strap on his boots for Sorrento this winter. The veteran striker was limited to just a handful of games during Perth Glory's inaugural A-League campaign and has set his sights on getting in a full season in the local competitions. "Several State League sides were in contact with me regarding a loan deal which has been flattering," said Young. "It is always a positive thing when people think you can help their team. As for Sorrento, I have an excellent relationship with Tom Bartlett, who has been of enormous help to me both prior to and since I arrived in Perth, so agreeing to go there for a period of time is something I wanted to do once they showed an interest."
While Young has been champing at the bit to get in some much needed match time and keep his fitness levels up with Sorrento, his Gulls debut has been delayed while Football Federation Australia cleared him to play. "I can see where the FFA is coming from in their reluctance to let certain players ply their trade in local competitions during the protracted off-season," he commented. "They believe the A-League is the pinnacle of domestic Australian football and want its players to play exclusively in this competition. They have shown flexibility in some cases - including my own, as I have only played two games in the last two years and game time is imperative as I am not getting any younger! So after discussions between the Glory and the FFA the situation has been sorted out."
Young was a keen spectator at yyesterday's ten-year testimonial match for Scott Miller and Bobby Despotovski. "Bobby and Miller are two of the most respected players in the game," he said. "Their ability and loyalty are exemplary. Glory has been very fortunate to have had both for the time they have and this week's testimonial is recognition by the club of this. As players it is best I describe them from an opponents perspective. When you play against Bobby, you have that horrible feeling that whenever he gets the ball something is going to happen - not many players can you say that about. As for Scott, he was the only player Matt Horsley ever worried about playing against - I need say no more than that!"
And as two of the club's champions reach the twilight of their careers , Young says another star of the game is just beginning to flower. "Glory have unearthed a future star in Nick Ward, he is a great prospect," Young said. "He is young, super fit, enthusiastic and has no fear - all vital ingredients for a terrific career. Another component to the Nick Ward package is his willingness to listen and learn. There is a great respect shown by Nick to his peers which not all young players have and this endears him to his team-mates who all wish him the best because of this. That Nick has agreed to stay at the Glory for a further two years is great news for the club who can build on his talents and push for a finals berth next season."
TESTIMONIAL A TEN GOAL THRILLER
Retired Perth Glory star Scott Miller celebrated an amazing ten years in style by scoring twice in an entertaining 5-5 draw against close friend Bobby Despotovski in their testimonial match at Members Equity Stadium this evening. In front of a spirited crowd of 2,151 the Glory stars of old turned back the clock to produce an enjoyable game in honour of the club's two longest serving players. Miller captained his side brilliantly scoring a brace, Nick Ward bagged a double and Andre Gumprecht one for Scott 7. Glen Jakovich and Brad Maloney each scored twice for Bobby 10 whose remaining goal came via the boot of Despotovski..
The game was tight in the early stages and with 14 minutes played Bobby 10 took the lead when Despotovski beat an advancing Tommy Maras to a long ball before laying off to Maloney who made no mistake with an open goal. Parity was restored just a minute later when a surging run down the left by Gary Faria saw his low cross tucked away at the back post by Gumprecht. Miller was the next to score when he converted from the spot after a graceful 'dive' by Robert Zabica, who was under pressure from Danny Hay, drew the referee's attention.
Six minutes into the second half Nick Ward made it 3-1 with a stunning strike past goalkeeper Danny Milosevic from the top of the 18-yard box. Bobby 10 wasted little time in responding when Maloney added his second for the match after Tommy Maras could only parry Simon Colosimo's drive. And with 61 minutes played it was all level again after Jakovich headed powerfully into the top corner from an inch-perfect cross by Maloney, much to the delight of the Shed boys behind the goals.
However, Scott 7 gained the ascendancy once more with Miller scoring the goal of the match, a fine left foot volley from 15-metres following Matt Horsley's deep free-kick. Ward then added his second for the game with a powerful strike from a tough angle to make it 5-3 with seventeen minutes remaining. Bobby 10 rallied and Despotovski got on the scoresheet after being set-up by Dale Wingell. And a soft foul by Miller on Jakovich saw the former West Coast Eagle coolly slotted in the game's tenth and equalising goal from the penalty spot.
NIGHT SERIES, WEEKEND SEVEN (Floreat Athena vs Wanneroo City courtesy Wanneroo City; Armadale vs Cockburn City by Lennie Bavich; Stirling Lions vs Western Knights by Elliott Leonard; Bayswater City vs Sorrento by Kerry Slater)
Floreat Athena kept their hopes of qualifying for the last four of the Night Series by accounting for Wanneroo City 3-1 in Friday's early game at Litis Stadium. Wanneroo started confidently with Derek Cooke firing wide after 6 minutes. That served as a wake up call for Floreat who dictated terms from the moment on. Branimir Mikulic had two great opportunities to give his side the lead but on both occasions volleyed over the crossbar after being set up by Boima Karpeh. The Wanneroo defence were working overtime to hold their opponent but it was only a matter of time before Floreat broke through. A surging run from Adam Bachiller ended with Okwy Diamondstar firing powerfully past goalkeeper Gary Kent to put the hosts ahead after 34 minutes. Both teams carved out chances leading into the break with Kent saving well to deny Karpeh and Costas Socratous fired wide. At the other end Craig Bowman headed wide and Cooke's long-range effort met with the same result. It was a much more focused Wanneroo side that emerged for the second half and went in search of an equaliser. And they had to wait just ten minutes before Cooke delivered a fine cross to the back post where Sam Doherty who notched up his first goal for the club. Wanneroo enjoyed a period in control and although they carved out some good chances to take the lead were unable to capitalise. Karpeh made them pay the ultimate price by seizing upon some hesitant defending at a disputed throw-in to lash the ball past Kent. During a hectic final ten minutes Phil O'Callaghan was thwarted in his attempt to level the game by Vas Vujacic. All three points were secured five minutes from the end by substitute Saul Contera who scored Floreat's third with a great strike from the edge of the box.
Cockburn City completed their Night Series commitments by defeating Armadale 3-0 in the late game on Friday. It was clear Cockburn intended to end their campaign with victory as Mileta Miletic shot wide of the mark with just 4 minutes played. Four minutes later Josh Kamasz' shot was blocked by Nick Stone and Michael Mirco responded quickest by slamming the rebound into the net through a crowded goal mouth. With Domenic De Felice and Anthony Pereira controlling the centre of the park there were plenty of chances for Cockburn to increase their advantage but Stone proved himself a very difficult man to beat. He was eventually beaten for a second time by Kamasz who rifled a shot past the 'keeper after Armadale failed to sufficiently deal with a 17th minute corner. It was only now that Armadale began to get involved in the game with Darren Kingston's neat flick hitting the crossbar, and good work from Jason Goodwin lead to him teeing up James Isaia whose rising shot was pushed wide by Ken Ftynogiannis. The game was evenly shared at the start of the second half. Pereira's cross found Miletic who slid his shot inches past the post while down the opposite end Isaia drilled the ball straight at Ftynogiannis and Ben Howe rifled wide. Cockburn still looked dangerous with Pereira and Jason Dos Santos each going close, and Armadale's quest for their first goal of the tournament was thwarted by Ftynogiannis who kept out Jason Goodwin's effort. The result was put beyond doubt with nine minute left on the clock when Miletic sent a free-kick from just outside the 18-yard box into the dangerzone where Marko Aleksic slammed in goal number three. Armadale's misery was completed with the late dismissal of John Dixon for a second yellow card.
Stirling Lions guaranteed themselves of top spot in Group B courtesy of a 2-0 win over Western Knights on Sunday. The win tees up a semi-final showdown for Stirling with the second placed Group A team who will be decided next weekend. The first half started with Stirling eager to open their account and in the 10th minute Leo Harman went close with a shot from just outside the 18-yard box which was well saved by Knights goalkeeper Jakub Chudy. However, less than a minute later they had the lead after Phil Arnold drilled a corner into the area where an unmarked Darko Ilomanoski knocked the ball in from close range. The Knights slowly began to come into the game and Ivan Zuvela struck the ball over the bar from a corner, and a powerful free-kick by Seb Trim brought a superb save from Lions custodian Phil Straker. Stirling delivered a knock-out blow seven minutes before half-time when Ludovic Boi picked out Arnold on the right and his cross into the area was powerfully driven past Chudy by summer signing Jordan Rhodes. It was very nearly three-nil in the 54th minute when Steve Porter's corner was headed in by Ilomanoski but a foul on Chudy ruled out the goal. The evening ended sourly for Stirling who had a straight red card issued to Porter for a dangerous challenge on Luka Jukic just five minutes from the end.
Sorrento powered their way into the semi finals with a 4-0 spanking of Bayswater City in the weekend's final game. Youngsters Liam McCallum, Jesse Higgins and Dejan Gurovski each showed they are more than ready to step up to first team ranks for the Gulls who went into the game without regulars Neil Young, Andrew Bowyer, Chris Smith, Todd Harnwell and Richard Watson. The first opportunity of a tame opening came on 7 minutes when Jared Love's low shot scraped the outside of Bobson Koroma's post. Bayswater should have gone ahead in the 21st minute when a deflected shot by Stefan Smiljanic fell kindly to Daniel Micevski who somehow steered his shot wide of the target. The deadlock was broken on 38 minutes as Glen Thomas curled a free-kick into a crowded goalmouth where Gurovski headed past Komora. Sorrento laid siege on their opponents' goal at the start of the second half as goalbound efforts from Lewis Flatt, Danny Hill and Love was pushed away by Koroma. They finally found a way through in the 64th minute when Harland volleyed in after neatly controlling Thomas' lob. Bayswater squandered a great chance to reduce the deficit through Smiljanic who forced his way past two defenders only to shoot straight at Chris Ramsey. Punishment was swift as within a minute Thomas' corner was powerfully headed in by Danny Hill. The Gulls forth and final goal arrived with eighth minutes left when Carlos Vega delivered a low cross to the far post where Harland lashed it into the back of the net. Vega almost added a fifth after some fancy footwork took him inside the area only to for Koroma to smother at his feet.
MILLER GOING OUT IN A BLAZE OF GLORY (by Jonathon Cook)
There was a time, not so many years ago, when Glory stalwart Miller would seethe for days if he had performed poorly or his team had lost an important match. More recently, the former Socceroo defender has been les inclined to take home the emotional overspill of his sporting disappointments. Times changes an Miller, 33, has been around for quite a while. He has spent the last ten years at Glory - a rare display of commitment in a sporting world so used to accepting faithlessness - during which time he has married and taken on the added responsibility of fatherhood.
His dedication to WA's A-League, which he joined for its inaugural national league season in 1996, will be officially acknowledged tomorrow when he leads out a team of ex-Glory stars at Member Equity Stadium against opponents led by his good friend, Bobby Despotovski. The man with Australian soccer's most recognisable surname will share the big day as the only other Glory player to have featured in its foundation year and every other season since. The testimonial, the first in Glory's history, will jointly recognise Miller's 227 appearances for the club and Despotovski's 231.
This most honourable last act in Miller's Glory career - the testimonial will be his farewell to the club - would not have been reached if not for the influence of his wife, Georgie. Usually supportive and accepting of his sporting decisions, it was her defiant outburst that helped Miller overcome nagging doubts about his ability to carry on after a series of setbacks in 2002. The disappointment of losing the grand final that year compounded what Miller felt had been a personally poor season and he envisioned a retirement peg with his name on it.
"After we lost to Sydney (in the grand final) I thought I'd had a crap year; I felt it was my comedown year. I just thought 'I can't do this any more," he says in a resigned tone, almost as if he has been whisked back to those dark days of old. His wife's response, though, was as discordant as it was emphatic. "She told me to pull my head in. She said you don't finish like that," Miller says. "A year later I was sitting there with the players' player (of the year award), the MGP (Most Glorious Player) and we'd won the 2003 grand final. Sometimes we underestimate the influence our better halves have on us."
Georgie has arrived in Perth without conjugal ties, on the premise that the stay would last two years and then the pair would return to her home state of Victoria where they had met when Miller player for national league team Morwell Falcons. A decade later, and six years after their wedding, she still jokingly reminds her husband that somewhere along the line mathematics have been distorted. But the, almost every aspect of life has changed significantly for the pair since they moved together to WA.
Partly out of respect to the unflinching devotion of the club's fans, Miller is loath to admit that the game he loves carries less importance these days, having been put into perspective by fatherhood. The arrival of his daughter, Jessica, five years ago did not weaken his competitive spirit or his resolve. But it did, at the very least, affect the length of his post-match moods. "When you lose a game or play badly, you crack the shits over it. Then you go home and she wants to play My Little Pony or something and everything is forgotten," Miller says, contradicting his single-minded and battle-hardened on-field persona. "When you rock up at training a couple of days later, that's when you try and fix it. There's no point wasting two days sooking in the corner."
Miller was born in Fremantle and raised in the port's southern district by migrant parents from Ireland and Scotland. It was an environment hardly conducive to his pursuit of the round ball game; where Australian Rules was king. "When I was a kid soccer was non-existent at school. It was deep in South Fremantle Bulldogs territory. No one ever brought a soccer ball to school," Miller says. "Now we do clinics (with Glory) at schools and there are kids everywhere kicking soccer balls." Although soccer the battle, Miller retains fond memories on the banks of Fremantle Oval watching his Bulldogs do battle in a fiercely competitive WA Football League, long before the AFL extended its tentacles to Perth. "I love my footy but there's a difference between enjoying a game and having a passion for a game, and soccer always brought that out in me."
A career that started with Spearwood Dalmatinac in the WA State League brought him rich rewards, including appearances for Australia against Colombia and American Samoa in 2001 and a role in two National Soccer League championships. Remarkably, the international experience was not one that Miller particularly enjoyed - the whole thing passing him by like an apparition. "I never really felt like a Socceroo," he said. "I felt like I was just a guest."
The same can not be said of his enduring presence at Glory where he has been held in high regards by the loyal fans who have appreciated his honesty, his endeavour and commitment. "The thing that makes you want to play for these people is that they appreciate it when you work hard," he says. "People say that the crowd only comes when we're winning. But our crowd stands up and cheers as long as we're having a crack - especially the boys in the Shed."
The season past, the first in soccer's so-called new era, was filled with disappoint for Glory fans so used to seeing their team on top of the pile and Miller's impending retirement will touch an emotional chord on the terraces of the East Perth ground. But Miller, who has experienced the false dawns of soccer's bitter past, sees only a glowing future for the sport that finds itself in unprecedented territory after Australia reached its first World Cup in thirty-two years. "I hope in ten years we will be on the same playing field as Aussie Rules in terms of corporate dollars, wages for players and professionalism" he says. "I think five or ten years down the track the A-League is going to be fantastic to watch. And I'll be there with front row tickets."
MALAYSIAN GROUP MOVES FOR GLORY (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
An overseas group is interested in purchasing Perth Glory. The "West Australian" says officials from a sport promotion business, believed to be based in Malaysia, have met with 75% Glory shareholder Nick Tana and had discussions with Football Federation Australia officials regarding gaining ownership of the A-League club. FFA head of operations Matt Carroll confirmed the fresh interest. "It's very strong interest, which is good," he commented. "They are very substantial, and they certainly have credibility and they have a lot of knowledge about football franchises, clubs and so forth." Despite the new interest, Dennis Rodwell, who owns 25% of Glory, remains favourite to takeover the club.
FOURTH MGP FOR DESPOTOVSKI (courtesy Perth Glory)
Perth Glory's most celebrated player, Bobby Despotovski, has capped another superb season by winning his fourth Most Glorious Player award. The prestigious club award is selected by votes cast after each home and away game during the season by a panel of three judges, two of which vary week to week and the third judge being the head coach. Despotovski was presented with the award for a record fourth time at this evenings MGP Award Ceremony at Members Equity Stadium.
Having reversed a decision to retire before the inaugural A-League season, it was a sweet moment for Despotovski who finished the season as the national competition's top scorer with eight goals. And it was a double celebration for Despotovski who also took the Players Player of the Year award which is voted for by his fellow professionals, and presented by inaugural captain Gareth Naven.
Young midfielder Nick Ward, who was runner up in the MGP award, also went home with two awards. The Australian youth international walked away with the Supporters Player of the Year, voted for through the official Perth Glory website. Ward's other trophy was the SmokeFree WA Coach's Award which is selected by the club's coaching staff and presented to the player who has shown outstanding enthusiasm and commitment both in training and in games.
Goalkeeper Jason Petkovic picked up the Angelo Russo Volunteers Player of the Year which is voted for by match day volunteers after home games. Billy Celeski was recipient of the Mel Moffat Media Award, voted for by representatives of the football media at home matches. David Tarka collected the Sony Club Man of the Year as the player who has contributed the most to the club off the field during the year by way of promotions and appearances in the 'Glory in the Community' program.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Floreat Athena remain in the mix for a Night Series semi-final spot following their 3-1 defeat of Wanneroo City on Friday evening. Okwy Diamondstar, Boima Karpeh and Saul Contera were Floreat's goalscorers with Wanneroo's reply coming from Sam Doherty. Cockburn City ended their campaign with a convincing 3-0 win over Armadale courtesy of goals from Michael Mirco, Josh Kamasz and Mileta Miletic.
Stirling Lions will end top of Group B after downing Western Knights 2-0 in Sunday's early fixture. Goals either of the break by Darko Ilomanoski and Jordan Rhodes earned Stirling all three points. Bayswater City proved no match for Sorrento who stormed to a 4-0 victory in the weekend's final game. Simon Harland (2), Danny Hill and an own goal booked the northerner's place in the round of four.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW (by Peter Simcox)
It's down to the business end of the 2006 Night Series with semi-final places from both groups up for grabs. At 6.30pm tonight, Floreat Athena need victory over Wanneroo City to have any chance of going through to the round of four, and then keep their fingers crossed that other weekend results go their way. Wanneroo go into the game full of confidence after defeating Swan I.C. last week. There is little riding on the outcome of the late fixture, which starts at 8.30pm, between Cockburn City and Armadale.
Sunday's action kicks off at 6.30pm with the Group B showdown between Stirling Lions and Western Knights. The Lions need three points to ensure their progression beyond the group phase while the pride will provide the Knights motivation. The late game throws together Bayswater City and Sorrento for whm victory is a must if they are to qualify for the semi-finals. Entry fees for the 2006 Night Series are $6 for adults and $4 for concession holders with children under the age of 15 admitted free. Get along and support your team.
GLORY STARS OF YESTERYEAR COME OUT TO PLAY
The greatest players to have pulled on Perth Glory colours will reunite on Sunday to honour the club's two longest serving players, Bobby Despotovski and Scott Miller. Ten years loyal service to Glory have earned the Despotovski and Miller, who played a combined total of over 450 games for the club, a deserved testimonial match at Members Equity Stadium this weekend. The pair have personally selected two squads drawn from the club's history who'll compete on the day for 'Bobby 10' and 'Scott 7'.
Donning their playng boots for 'Bobby 10' are Tony Franken, Vince Matassa, Danny Milosevic, Shane Pryce, Jamie Harnwell, Danny Hay, Craig Naven, Tony Carbone, Simon Colosimo, Brad Maloney, Dale Wingell, Paul Strudwick, Damian Mori, Alan MacKenzie, Bobby Despotovski and guest player Glen Jakovich. The side will be guided by inaugural Glory coach Gary Marocchi and assistant Micky Brennan.
Called up for duty by 'Scott 7' are Tommy Maras, Robert Zabica, Jason Petkovic, Shaun Murphy, Vinko Buljubasic, Craig Deans, Matt Horsley, Brad Hassell, John Carbone, Paul McVittie, Andre Gumprecht, Scott Miller, Gary Faria, Alistair Edwards, Vas Kalogeracos, Michael Garcia and guest player Craig Foster. Bernd Stange's hadplanned to coach the side has unfortunately been forced to cancel those plans due to club commitments in Cyprus.
The gates at Members Equity Stadium open on Sunday at 2.00pm with coaching clinics for the kids, a junior game and pre-match entertainment by Midland Brass before the main event kicks off at 5.00pm. Tickets start at $16 for adults, $10 for concessions and $6 for children with free entry for those under the age of five. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster on 136 100 or at www.ticketmaster.com.au
YOUTHFUL PHOENIX STRIVE TO RISE FURTHER
Preparations for the new season are coming along smoothly for South West Phoenix. The Bunbury-based club has been in training for the past couple of months and star striker Steve Suttie is quietly confident of a strong showing in 2006. "We've made no secret that our aim this season is to finish amongst the top four clubs in the First Division for a third successive time," said Suttie. "The pre-season has been mostly revolved around building upon last seasons League squad and, more perhaps importantly, building a strong base for future years."
"The basis of the League team is much the same as that for the second half of 2005," Suttie continued. "The only real notable addition is veteran hard man Steve Rodgers. Overall our squad is quiet young with the likes of teenagers Patrick Quinn, Sean O'Gorman, James Monks and Robert Milligan all likely to feature prominently this season while there is a handful of other who'll be knocking on the door of first team selection. Such is the youthful nature of the squad that James Bergin, at the age of twenty-one, is considered a senior player and is fourth on the all-time playing list."
The abundance of talent on show at the clubs recent youth team try-outs has Suttie predicting a very bright future for Phoenix. "The trials exceeded our expectations," he said. "We had over fifty players attend the trials and, such was the quality of players, that the club decided to form two squads. Our youth team will be based around players between the ages of fourteen and sixteen, and there's also an older group of players who'll form the nucleus of this seasons reserve squad and be pushing for league selection. The foundation has now been laid for future success at the club."
PERTH STRIPPED OF POINTS
Perth S.C. have received a set back in their quest for Night Series glory after being deducted three points for fielding an ineligible player. A Football West investigation found that Barry Wood's transfer to Perth from Western Knights had not been finalised when he turned out for the Blues in their opening night win over Cockburn City. As a result of the investigation, and following discussions with the club, Football West have removed three points from Perth's Group A tally. Although stripped of competition points, the game will remain as a Perth win in accordance with '6.2 Penalties and Outcomes' of the association's 'Rules of Competition Men's Saturday State League'.
FIRST DIVISION/AMATEUR NIGHT SERIES, WEEK SEVEN (Canning City vs Rockingham City courtesy Rockingham City; Morley Windmills vs Stirling panthers courtesy Morley Windmills)
Rockingham City are back in contention for a semi-final place in the First Division and Amateur Night Series after inflicting a 4-1 loss on a previously unbeaten Canning City. Rockingham came out firing on all cylinders and went ahead in the 10th minute through Alex Smith who headed in from a corner. Canning by and large struggled find their rhythm against an opponent that was eager to take home all three points. The second half started at a frenetic pace with Rockingham continuing to show the greater determination and enterprise. The difference became two goals midway through the period courtesy of a superb individual effort from Terry Flynn who netted with a shot on the turn from 22-metres. The result was put beyond doubt five minutes later by goalkeeper Cyril Sharock who beat his opposite number from the penalty spot.
Balcatta picked up their fifth successive win by accounting for Queens Park 3-1 in a game much closer than the scoreline suggests. Much of the early pressure came from Balcatta who were rewarded on 33 minutes when Adrian Zonata raced through to centre for young Daniel Franklin to open his teams' account. Following that Queens Park came into the game more and early in the second half parity was restored by Brent Thomas who beat a marker before sliding his shot past the goalkeeper. The action flowed from end to end as both teams went close to adding a second to their tally. Balcatta got the all-important goal when awarded a free-kick just outside the 18-yard box which was expertly sent into the net by Goce Nikolski. Victory was assured shortly after when a low shot from outside the box by Nikoloski was parried by the 'keeper and Danny Carlino pounced to push the follow-up into the net.
Amateur Premier League side Stirling Panthers stunned Morley Windmills 2-1 in Thursday's late game. Stirling created their first chance on goal after just two minutes and went on to dominate the opening half. However, they fell a goal behind three minutes from half-time when Ray Rose shot into the bottom corner to give the goalkeeper no chance. Matt Darling twice denied Stirling in the minutes which followed and ensured Morley went into the break with the upper hand. Stirling's fightback began with ten minutes remaining when an attacker drilled his shot past Darling. And four minutes later Stirling snatched all three points when another player made the most of a one-on-one situation with the Morley custodian. Gosnells City and South Perth United drew 1-1 in Thursday's opening fixture.
DEVINE TACKLES NEW CHALLENGE HEAD ON (by Peter Simcox)
Scott Devine will continue to wear red this season, but it will be Armadale's shirt which he dons each weekend and not that of Western Knights. The nuggetty midfielder ended a lengthy stay with the Knights over the off-season by joining Armadale for the coming winter campaign. "Life at Alfred Skeet Oval is very good," said Devine. "It was strange moving to another club after eight years at the Knights but I'm very happy with my decision to join Armadale. I was surprised to find out how professionally the club is run and how ambitious they are, add to that the fact we've got a young, exciting team and I can't wait for the season to start."
The opportunity to re-kindle his association with Peter Murphy and to play in front of Armadale's vocal supporters influenced Devine to sign for Armadale. "I played with Murphs for a year at Maccies, he's a great player with a world of knowledge and experience in the game. He has already proven himself as a quality coach with the work he has done with State team and the job he did at Armadale last year," he said. "And if all clubs had support like the 'Army Boys' we'd have a great atmosphere on match days. It'll be good to have them on my side for a change."
The decision to leave the Knights was a difficult one for Devine to make. "It wasn't a big decision, it was a huge decision," he said. "There were a few things that happened off-season that made my mind up, but at the end of the day I feel my leaving was best for all parties concerned. I consider myself lucky to have played eight very enjoyable and successful years under Ronnie Campbell and Willie Kelly who work brilliantly together to bring out the very best in their players. I've played under them since I was about 21, they have been the biggest influence on my career, and I owe them a lot."
Devine began his football career as a junior in Scotland before migrating to Australia. He turned out for Gosnells City, Canning, Kelmscott Roos, Stirling Macedonia and Swan I.C. before linking up with the Knights in 1998. "I've been fortunate to have played at a number of clubs and it's difficult to single out any single highlight," said Devine. "At the Knights I was honoured to have captained the side, I treasure every League, Cup and Top Four trophy I've been lucky enough to win, and to play for the State team was a tremendous honour."
CUP DRAW MADE
The opening round draw for the association Cup was made this evening and produced some intriguing match-ups. Floreat Athena host Sorrento in one of only two all Premier League clashes, the other pitting Stirling Lions at home to Bayswater City. First Division title chaser Balcatta will be out to upset E.C.U. Joondalup, likewise Morley Windmills who have been drawn at home to Swan I.C.
Gosnells City have a difficult home clash with Cockburn City, while passions are sure to run high when Western Knights take on Dianella White Eagles at Nash Field. Fremantle City have home ground advantage over Rockingham City in the south of the river derby. And there's another derby of sorts when Ashfield face off with South West Phoenix.
The remaining eight clubs - Armadale, Bassendean Caledonian, Canning City, Inglewood United, Forrestfield United, Mandurah City, Perth S.C. and Wanneroo City - have been granted a bye into the second round. The opening round of the association Cup, sponsored by Soccer Pools, is scheduled for Saturday 1st April.
YOUNG MATILDAS WALTZ INTO ASIAN CHAMPIONSHIP
The Young Matildas are through to the Asian Football Confederation Youth Women's Championship. The Australian under-20 side booked their place at the tournament with big wins over Thailand and Myanmar at the Supachalasai National Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, this week. The Youth Women's Championship will be played in Malaysia next month with the three top ranked nations qualifying for the 2006 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Championship being histed by Russia in September.
The Young Matildas commenced their campaign by recording a resounding 6-2 victory over Thailand on Sunday. Striker Sasha McDonnell lead the way with two goal while Kim Carroll, Jenna Tristram, Caitlin Cooper and Leena Khamis also got on the scoresheet. Although Australia dominated the match which was played in high humidity, it wasn't until the final ten minutes that victory was assured with three late goals. The final tally could have been increased even further with Collette McCallum hitting the woodwork and Sally Shipard having a penalty saved. McCallum played a full game in midfield.
A place at the Championship was secured when Australia thumped Myanmar 6-0 on Tuesday. A hat-trick from Kylie Ledbrook was the highlight while Servet Uzunlar grabbed a double and McDonnell also added her name to the scoresheet. The match was once again played in high humidity with Australia dominant from the outset with Myanmar content to sit deep and let Australia make the running. After holding a two goal advantage at half time the Young Matilda's finished strongly by scoring four times in the final twenty minutes. McCallum again saw out the full 90 minutes.
The Young Matildas squad which competed in Thailand is Grace Gill, Nicole Somi, Lydia Williams (Australian Capital Territory), Danielle Brogan, Renee Cartwright, Caitlin Cooper, Olivia Kennedy, Leena Khamis, Kylie Ledbrook, Sally Shipard, Servet Uzunlar (New South Wales), Alison Logue, Jenna Tristram (Northern New South Wales), Kim Carroll, Sasha McDonnell, Clare Polkinghorne, Kate Stewart (Queensland), Vicki Balomenos (South Australia), Amy Jackson (Victoria) and Collette McCallum (West Australia).
GLORY LAND KIWI CHRISTIE (courtesy Perth Glory)
Perth Glory have secured the services of energetic New Zealand international Jeremy Christie for the 2006/07 A-League campaign. The 22-year old midfielder completed the recent A-League season with the New Zealand Knights for whom he made ten appearances and scored once. Christie previously spent three years with English side Barnsley before returning to his homeland to spend a year with the Football Kingz in the old national league.
Technical manager Mich d'Avray believes Christie will add muscle to the Glory line-up. "Jeremy Christie is a young midfielder who gets up and down the pitch and should prove useful from set pieces," d'Avray said. "Most importantly, he will add some bite to the Perth Glory midfield, which seemed to be lacking on several occasions last year. It is important for us to have a player with Jeremy's competitive qualities in the midfield and his versatility also means that he could fill in at right back if we were caught short because of injuries."
Christie has signed a two-year deal with Glory and was delighted to be offered an opportunity in Western Australia. "I was very pleased to get the call from Mich," he said. "Perth are obviously a big club and they have been successful in the past. Although they were not in the finals this year, I expect the club to be back up there next season. It is definitely a step up in my career, its great for me and I will be working hard to help make sure there is success at Perth Glory."
The midfielder, who made his debut for the All Whites last year, admitted that last season was a frustrating experience with the Knights, who finished bottom of the A-League ladder. "I had been out of the squad from time to time last season but played quite a few games towards the end of the season and I think the A-League is a very high standard, certainly much higher than the NSL," he insisted. Before Christie joins up with his new team mates for pre-season training he is hoping to represent New Zealand when they place Chile and Brazil in South America.
BULJUBASIC HAS GOAL IN SIGHT
Vinko Buljubasic returns on Sunday to the scene of some of his happiest football memories and one of the worst. Buljubasic became a cult figure in Glory's early years, forging a relationship with supporters that few players have ever come close to matching. "They were the heart and soul of the club," said Vinko from Melbourne this week as he looked forward to Sunday's Scott Miller and Bobby Despotovski Testimonial match. "I was a little wary, arriving from Melbourne, that interstate players might not be welcome in the west."
But the stylish defender need not have worried. "From day one the fans were right behind me and it was an incredible feeling," said Buljubasic. "There is no doubt that the first couple of seasons for Perth Glory were a watershed for the competition and showed the possibilities for the game." During those formative years Buljubasic cemented a place in supporters' hearts through his surging runs from the back and imperious defending.
A broken leg ended Buljubasic's Glory career after 63 games. He attempted a comeback but was unable to recapture his earlier form and left the club in mid-2001. Buljubasic's biggest disappointment was not scoring in front of the Shed - something he wants to put right on Sunday. "I actually scored a week or so before the injury, away at Gippsland. I was keen to repeat that in front of The Shed but didn't get the chance. Now I want to make up for that."
BALCATTA TIPPED FOR NIGHT SERIES SUCCESS
Balcatta are the red-hot favourite to take out top honours in the Night Series being played out every Tuesday and Thursday evening at Coker Park. Balcatta, undefeated and top of Group A, accumulated an impressive 29.4% of the vote in our most recent website poll that questioned 'Who will win the First Division and Amateur Night Series?' The second most popular choice was Canning City (20.6%) followed by Dianella White Eagles (18.6%) and Morley Windmills (14.7%). Rockingham City (8.8%) and Forrestfield United (7.8%) are considered remote chances of taking home the trophy.
NAVEN LOOKING FORWARD TO RETURN
Gareth Naven is looking forward to returning to action at the ground he graced as Perth Glory's inaugural skipper and is hoping plenty of supporters turn up to enjoy the party. Naven, who epitomised Glory in its first years of national football, says the chance to help Bobby Despotovski and Scott Miller celebrate ten years with the club was too good to pass up.
"We had a fantastic time in those early years," said Naven, who will take part in the Bobby and Scott Ten Year Testimonial at Members Equity Stadium on Sunday 12th March. "To have the chance to forge a career in our home state was a huge leap forward for players in Western Australia and it was an exciting ride. To got so close to the finals in our first season, it was a remarkable effort and as the crowds started to flock in it became the hottest game in town.
"I don't think anybody expected it to take off like it did," Naven continued. "The Hill, as it was then, took on a life of its own and the atmosphere was just incredible. To share that experience with a great bunch of team mates was very special. To meet up with the guys again will be great and I am sure the fans will have a super day out. This will be a reunion and party all rolled into one, with plenty of pride on the line for both teams."
NIGHT SERIES, WEEKEND SIX (Swan I.C. vs Wanneroo City by Kirk O'Connor; E.C.U. Joondalup vs Western Knights courtesy Western Knights)
Wanneroo City gained their first points of the Night Series with a hard fought 3-2 win over Swan I.C. at Litis Stadium on Friday evening. The match was no more than a minute old when Phil O'Callaghan swung in a free-kick from the right which evaded the defence and connected with the chest of debutant Ryan Townsend who pushed it into the back of the net to put Wanneroo one-nil up. But parity was restored very soon after when poor defending at the opposite end allowed David Foster to head past goalkeeper Kevin Miller from a David Perich cross. Swan were still celebrating when Derek Cooke pushed into attack and from 13-metres he arrowed a terrific drive across 'keeper Daniel Agudelo and inside the far post. It didn't take long for the game to again be back on level terms as Rory Mouttet delivered the ball to Perich who controlled superbly before despatching it past Miller. Two-all and just there had been just 12 minutes gone! Swan quickly went about finding a third goal by constantly testing their opponents defences and on more than one occasion Miller was called upon to rescue his team. However, it would be Wanneroo who'd get the all important go-ahead goal on 25 minutes when Craig Bowman touched on a superb through ball to Cooke who lashed it past a stranded Agudelo for the second time tonight. The remainder of the half produced few highlights and with no addition to the scoreline it was Wanneroo who held the upper hand after forty-five minutes. The second half was a far more intense affair with chances on goal at a premium. Swan may have enjoyed the lions share of possession but Damien Catalano, Foster, and Thomas Shepheard were unable to capitalise. Wanneroo also carved out a few chances of their own with Ben Yates troubling Agudelo and Cooke shooting high when well positioned.
An own goal close tot he final whistle allowed Inglewood United to snatch a share of the points from Cockburn City at 2-2 in Friday's closing game. There was little for spectators of either team to get excited about during the opening period as the sides sounded each other out by tentatively prodding forward. All that changed on 17 minutes when Daniel Niederberger delivered a corner to the far post where Dean Apelgren nodded the ball down and Louis Parksinon rifled past goalkeeper Alan Dunlop. Stung into action, Cockburn replied twelve minutes later when Mileta Miletic made his way down the right and drew the defence out of position before centring into the path of Michael Mirco who slammed it beyond the reach of Jason Razmovski from 10-metres. Cockburn were well on top by this stage with brothers John and Michael Mirco causing the opposing defence all manner of problems. For their part Inglewood seemed to lack any real purpose in their attacking half and with no addition to the scoreline the teams went into the break on level terms. Midway through the second half John Mirco threaded a pass to Miletic who expertly round the 'keeper and slotted in Cockburn's second of the night. Inglewood were now well and truly on the back foot and it seemed as though Billy Russell's side would hold on for a much deserved victory. However, four minutes into stoppage time, Apelgren's in-swinging cross was poorly dealt with by the defence and in the scramble which followed the ball was somehow bundled over the line off the legs of a defender.
E.C.U. Joondalup made light work of Western Knights by taking out Sunday's opening game 4-1. Both teams took their time to settle in the hot conditions with passes often going astray and neither able to assert much authority over play. The games first shot came from Knights newcomer Paul Devlin whose volley from just inside the 18-yard box was brilliantly kept out by Peter Stewart. Joondalup started to get show more endevour with Ian McMillan shooting high when well positioned. Just as the half looked like being scoreless Scott Bushby threaded a superb through ball to McMillan who calmly slotted under the on-coming Tommi Tomich. Joondalup picked up where they left off an two minutes into the second half doubled their lead through McMillan who seized upon a poor cross field pass by Jon Higgins knocked it past Tommi at the second attempt. Shortly after Stewart thrust out a glove to deny Devlin after he'd turned two defenders inside out and unleashed a fierce shot. The game was ended as a contest in the 49th minute when Scott Blackmore played a neat one-two with Garin Collins then chipped a stranded Tomich for Joondalup's third goal. There was a glimmer of hope given to the Knights by Andrew Jennings who pegged a goal back on the hour after being played through by Devlin. But within ten minutes that hope was extinguished as Devlin was issued his marching orders for a questionable second yellow card. Joondalup made the most of their extra man and with fifteen minutes remaining Collins raced past a static defence to round Tomich and wrap up the game. The northerners should have added a fifth goal late in the piece through substitute Tom Amphlett who crashed the ball into the upright with an open goal his for the taking.
The weekend came to a close with Perth S.C. securing their place in the last four of the Night Series courtesy of a drama filled 2-1 defeat of Sorrento. The big crowd were on their feet as early as the 4th minute when Gary Faria unleashed a fierce shot which was held by goalkeeper Neil Young. Shortly after Todd Harnwell had Gareth Deeg at full-stretch to tip away a long-range effort. Perth slowly took hold of the game and Scott Bulloch flashed a header wide, then David Onoforo struck the post and Jeff Bright sent the rebound wide. Their reward arrived on 28 minutes after some excellent work on the left by Bright and Onoforo which set-up Faria who finished clinically into the bottom corner. Young was required to keep out a shot from Trent Kay, then Onoforo against hit the post. Sorrento thought they were level on 39 minutes when Glen Thomas' free-kick was headed in by Danny Hill, however, the referee spotted an infringement and ruled out the goal. The northerners equaliser arrived just a few minutes later when Jared Love jinxed his way through the Perth defence before his powerful shot came to rest in the back of the net after taking a slight deflection off Gianfranco Circati. The second half opened with Love and Simon Harland each shooting wide in quick succession. The game reached flashpoint in the 55th minute when Andrew Bowyer was red carded for retaliating against a crunching tackle by Onoforo who was unbelievably allowed to escape unpunished. Thomas and Love were both thwarted by Deeg while claims for a Sorrento were waved away after Love was clattered in to by Circati. With twelve minutes remaining Bulloch surged down the left and having beaten two defenders rifled the deciding goal past Young. Perth ended the game with ten men following the dismissal of Peter Lord for a second bookable offence close to the end.
GLORY RETAIN INFLUENTIAL TRIO
Three of Perth Glory's most influential players from the inaugural A-League competition - Jamie Harnwell, Jamie Coyne and Naum Sekulovski - have all committed their future to the club. Harnwell and Coyne have extended their stays with the club for the next two seasons with Sekulovski agreeing to wear Golroy colours until the end of the 2006/07 campaign. The signing of the trio brings Glory's squad for the 2006/7 season to twelve.
As club captain, Harnwell spent more time on the pitch than any other Glory player last season and ws the only player in the squad to feature in all 21 games. The 28-year old defender has made 167 appearances in the national league since joining Glory in mid-1998, winning two regular season titles and two Grand Finals along with way. Harnwell celebrated at the beginning of this week when his wife, Karen, gave birth to their first child, Jenna Elizabeth.
Coyne played 17 games in 2005/06, scored his first goal for the club away at New Zealand Knights and was a key member of the Glory defence. A product of local champion Perth S.C., Coyne joined Glory in 2002 and has turned out for the club on 50 occasions playing on the right side of defence. The 25-year old was part of Glory's 2002/03 and 2003/04 Grand Final winning sides and prior to the start of the A-League send a season in the Netherlands with ADO Den Haag.
Operating on the left wing, Naum Sekulovski was one of the club's top goalscorers last season having found the target five times from 17 games. The 23-year old showed his versatility by filling in as a striker and at left back when injuries affected the squad. Sekulovski, a former Australian youth international, made 67 appearances in the old national league for Eastern Pride, Wollongong Wolves and Parramatta Power before his move west to play for Glory in 2005/06.
The club's technical manager Mich d'Avray says retaining the trio provides a strong foundation on which Glory can build for next season. "Both Jamie Coyne and Jamie Harnwell are local players who have served the club well in recent seasons. They are both strong and determined defenders who know what it takes to win Championships and their experience with Perth Glory over a number of years will be vital as the club looks to rebuild for next season."
"Naum Sekulovski is one of the most gifted left sided players in the A-League at the moment and weighed in with his fare share of goals last season," continued d'Avray. "He is still young and if he works hard can make an even bigger impact next season so we are pleased to retain his services for another year. It is vital that we have a competitive squad for next season and retaining three of our best players from the first season in the A-League will help ensure that is the case."
WEEKEND IN REVIEW
Wanneroo City earned their first points of the pre-season tournament by defeating Swan I.C. 3-2 on Friday's Group B fixture. Derek Cooke (2) and Ryan Townsend were on target for Wanneroo while Swan's goals came from David Foster and David Perich. A late own goal allowed Inglewood United to snatch a share of the points from Cockburn City at 2-2 in the night's closing game. Goals either side of the break by Michael Mirco and Mileta Miletic cancelled out Louis Parkinson's early strike, while the leveller arrived four minutes into stoppage time and via a goalmouth scramble.
E.C.U. Joondalup put themselves in the box seat for a semi-final berth by thumping Western Knights 4-1 in Sunday's opening match. Ian McMillan bagged a double with Scott Blackmore and Garin Collins also netting for the northerners. Andrew Jennings was the scorer for the Knights who ended the game with ten men after the dismissal of Paul Devlin. Goals from Gary Faria and Scott Bulloch saw Perth S.C. extend their unbeaten run to four games with a 2-1 win over Sorrento. Jared Love found the net for Sorrento who had Andrew Bowyer sent off for retaliation ten minutes into the second half.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
It's make or break time for a couple of clubs when the Night Series continues tonight and on Sunday at Litis Stadium. Wanneroo City stands a good chance of collecting their first points of the tournament when they take on Swan I.C. from 6.30pm this evening. The late game has Inglewood United seeking a third successive when they come up against a Cockburn City side which has so far struggled to make an impact in the pre-season competition.
Sunday promises to be an absolute cracker with a couple of all-important games. The early match at 6.30pm has E.C.U. Joondalup and Western Knights both requiring maximum points in order to stay in the hunt for a semi-final berth. This is followed at 8.30pm by the top of the table Group B showdown between Perth S.C. and Sorrento. Entry fees for the 2006 Night Series are $6 for adults and $4 for concession holders with children under the age of 15 admitted free.
CALLIES ALIVE AND WELL
Bassendean Caledonian has strongly denied rumours that they are on the verge of extinction. The state's oldest club, Bassendean are hard at work planning for the coming season in which they'll line up in the semi-professional ranks. "I'd like to set the record straight and make it clear that we will be taking our place in this years First Division," stated club secretary Linda Lockyear. "Caledonians as a club have a strong and proud tradition and we'll be carrying that on into the new season."
Founded by members of the now defunct Fremantle Caledonian Society, Bassendean have been crowned state champion on seven occasions and won six association cups since formation in 1912. Some of the greatest names in Western Australian football have worn the clubs familiar navy blue short, amongst them Hall of Fame inductees Alec Maar, William Waddell, Stewart Johnson, Jack Smethurst, John Beveridge, Willie McNally, Paul Strudwick and Craig Naven.
The club is interested in adding to its' playing options for the coming winter and invite players of all ages to join them for the pre-season. Training takes place every Tuesday and Thursday evening at Jubilee Reserve (Northmoor Road, Eden Hill) from 6.30pm under the watchful eye of coach John Castrilli. Players interested in joining Bassendean can contact assistant coach Allan Weir, himself a veteran of over 500 games for the club, on 0417 919 370 for further information.
VRTESKI SIGNS FOR GLORY
Perth Glory are clearly looking to the future with the recruitment of one of Australia's best young goalkeepers, Aleksander Vrteski. Having played first team in the local league for Sorrento and Stirling Lions, Vrteski is the latest young West Australian to be snapped up by Glory ahead of the 2006/07 A-League season. Currently honing his skills at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, Vrteski will link up with his new team mates for pre-season training later in the year and will be one of Glory's two required under-20 players.
Mich d'Avray, Glory's technical manager, invited Vrteski to train with the first team as part of the Pathway to Glory initiative midway through last year. "People who have seen Alex play will know he has huge potential," d'Avray said. "He's a young lad, a big lad and has a bright future ahead of him should he continue to improve the way he has." D'Avray was pleased Vrteski chose to continue his development in Australia rather than heading overseas in search of a professional deal. "The AIS know Alex very well and he will have a stint there (before coming back to Perth). Too many youngsters have headed overseas. Alex is being wise, he's been well advised by his family and the path that he is going on is the right one for him."
Vrteski admits that signing for Glory is a dream come true. "Since I have lived in Perth, from the age of seven or eight, I always came to watch Perth Glory. I have hardly ever missed a home game, even all through this season. It really is like a childhood dream come true for me to get a chance to play for the team and it certainly is a big thing," he commented. Vrteski believes that the experience he's gained from training with the club puts him in good stead for his first year as a professional player. "The fact that I have been able to train with the first team squad already makes me feel that there is already a level of acceptance with the playing group and a feeling of being involved."
PROGRAMME FAIR ON SUNDAY
Fans of the world game are in for a rare treat when the Football Programme and Memorabilia Fair rolls in to Dorrien Gardens this weekend. Organiser Bob Brown is hoping the local football family will embrace the concept. "Fairs like this are popular throughout the United Kingdom and I wanted to test the waters here in Perth," said Brown. "There's already been a great deal of interest in displaying and selling items on the day, and that interest hasn't only come from Perth but also the eastern states which has been encouraging."
The Football Programme and Memorabilia Fair takes place this Sunday, 5th March, between 10.00am and 2.00pm at Dorrien Gardens (corner of Gallop and Lawley Streets, West Perth), home of Premier League giant Perth S.C. A wide range of local, national and international memorabilia will be on display and for sale including match day programmes, magazines, photographs, badges, caps, scarves, pennants and much more. A $2.00 admission fee includes the opportunity to win a unique door prize.
Brown has been involved with local football since he arrived in Perth from the United Kingdom in 1959. As a player he wore North Perth and Perth City colours before injury forced his retirement. For close to two decades Brown performed a variety of coaching and administrative roles with Perth City and the West Australian Soccer Federation, and was a key figure in the establishment of the state coaching body. Between 1976 and 1998 he managed 'Sports Forum' which was Perth's leading outlet for all things football during that period.
FIRST DIVISION/AMATEUR NIGHT SERIES, WEEK SIX (Canning City vs Forrestfield United courtesy Canning City; Balcatta vs Dianella White Eagles courtesy Balcatta)
Canning City picked up their fourth successive Night Series win by knocking over Forrestfield United 4-1 at Coker Park on Tuesday evening. Shane Laing gave his side the perfect start by lashing home Mick Van Dongen's low cross after 2 minutes. Scott Radford produced a world class save to keep out Garth Lecky's header twelve minutes later but there was little the Forrestfield custodian could do as Laing forced the follow-up in from close-range. Forrestfield's night went from bad to worse with the red carding of Dennis Lee for retaliating to a crunching tackle from Laing in the 20th minute. Canning's third came early in the second half through Jix Loong who put the ball away after Simon Versaico's came back off the bar. Whitehouse managed to pull a goal back for Forrestfield but the final say came from Versaico who found the target just minutes from the final whistle.
Balcatta claimed maximum points over neighbouring Dianella White Eagles by 3-2 in Tuesday's late game. The opening goal arrived after only 2 minutes when some neat lead-up play was complemented by Carmelo Gumina's clinical finish. The free-flowing nature of the game produced good opportunities for both teams and kept the respective defences on heightened alert. With Dejan Djukanovic pulling the midfield strings, Dianella enjoyed the better of possession and a defensive mishap resulted in Dragan Njegic levelling the score on the half hour. But with three minutes Balcatta had reclaimed the lead through Perry Ielati who fired in from the top of the 18-yard box. The margin was increased shortly after when Rob Giorgi's chip from 30-metres floated over the goalkeeper and into the net. A tense finish was assured after Dianella bagged their second goal in the 78th minute but an equaliser eluded them despite a concerted focus on attack.
Fremantle United thrashed Stirling Panthers 4-0 in Thursday's opening match at Coker Park. A goal close to the final whistle gave Floreat Athena amateurs victory by 2-1 over South Perth United in the late game. Behind at the break, Floreat's equaliser came via Yianni Nikitas' free-kick which was nodded in by Martin Ireland. The decider arrived in the final minute which Nikitas played Chris Georganis through on goal and the attacker made no mistake.
CLUB FOOTBALL HOLDS WORLD CUP KEY FOR LAZARIDIS
Stan Lazaridis is planning to use Birmingham City's desperate battle to stay in the English Premier League as a springboard into Australia's first World Cup campaign in thirty-two years. Lazaridis, who recently shook off a groin problem, acknowledged there would be no further chances to directly impress coach Guus Hiddink. "I don't think there's another camp or any other games until May when we play Greece," he told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian" newspaper. "All I can do is play well for Birmingham and then wait and see. It will be down to Guus and (assistant) Graham Arnold regarding the squad they pick."
Perth-born Lazaridis is confident he can help himself to a double celebration by assisting the Blues in their fight for survival and taking his place in Australia's World Cup squad. "Football is strange and a lot of things can happen. There will be a lot of twists and turns before the end of the season," he said. "But as far as the World Cup squad goes, I think you'll see a maximum of one or two changes (from the qualification decider against Uruguay last November) because Guus knows the players he wants to work with. He's worked with those players and they know what he wants."
More immediately, Lazaridis' sights are set on reclaiming a place in Birmingham's first eleven and helping lift the club away from the Premier League's drop zone. "We've got Middlesbrough, West Brom and Spurs at home and obviously if we can get some points, that will get us out of the bottom three and then we can start looking up the table," he commented. A string of solid performances in Birmingham's rescue mission could catapult Lazaridis back into starting line-up contention for the Socceroos, who will need every ounce of savvy to successfully negotiate a way past Japan, Brazil and Croatia in the World Cup.
MILLER HANGS UP HIS NATIONAL LEAGUE BOOTS
Popular Perth Glory defender Scott Miller has announced his retirement from national league football. Miller has opted to hang up his professional boots after 276 appearances for Morwell Falcons and Glory in the domestic competition. "I have enjoyed my time with Perth Glory very much, I have made lots of friends and there have been many great times," commented 33-year old Miller.
"After ten great years and two championships it is time for someone else to have an opportunity to make a name for themself with Perth Glory and I have no regrets in leaving the playing squad," Miller continued. "It was a tough decision because I still have a lot of passion for the game but once you feel that your body is not up to the rigours of full-time professional football any more then you know it is time to call it a day."
"It was mainly (due to) injury, the rigours of football now in the A-League, and now it is time for a young bloke to do what the likes of Nick Ward and David Micevski have done," Miller explained. "It has been ten years of fun but my body told me it was time to throw it in so that's it. It's always a difficult decision - I have been playing now for thirteen years professionally so when I got to this stage it was a tough decision but, when it was made, it was like a weight off the shoulders."
Premier League outfit Sorrento is the next port of call for Miller who plans to see out his playing days in the local competition. "There was an opportunity to go over to Melbourne and play in the state league there but when it came down to it I didn't even think I could do that. Now I just want to drift off and have a kick-around in the state league, get back to enjoying myself one night a week without having to put 10,000 bags of ice on my leg."
Miller played locally for Spearwood Dalmatinac and Perth S.C., and in Singapore with Sembawang and Perth Kangaroos, before stepping up to national league football. During two seasons with Morwell he made 49 appearances before being lured back to Perth to be part of Glory's inaugural squad in 1996. Miller played 227 games for his hometown club during a ten-year spell in which he was twice named their Most Glorious Player, won two National Soccer League championships and represented Australia on two occasions.
Miller's decade of loyalty to Glory will be celebrated next weekend when he shared a testimonial match with veteran striker Bobby Despotovski. A host of Glory stars from throughout the club's history will take part in the match on Saturday 12th March. "Next week's testimonial match for me and Bobby is a great opportunity for me to say thank you to all of the many people who have been so kind to me over the past ten years and I am sure it will be a fantastic occasion," Miller added. Glory are keen for Miller to remain part of the Glory set-up in retirement.
JOHN DAVIDSON, THIRTY-FIVE YEARS AND STILL GOING STRONG (by Elliott Leonard)
He may have hung up the playing boots over twenty years ago but John Davidson continues to work hard behind the scenes for the good of the game. A former State representative, Davidson retains a keen interest in the local game while serving as vice president of top flight outfit Inglewood United. And when not involved in club duties he's working as the assistant sales manager of McInerney Ford, proud sponsor of the Night Series and a major sponsor of the Premier League.
Although this year's World Cup is sure to stimulate interest in the coming Premier League season Davidson says there's still work to be done to return the game to the heights he witnessed as a player. "I think the standard of the State League is pretty good for their respected younger age groups," he said. "However, back in the 70's and 1980's we were playing with top players and top coaches from everywhere, local and international. But now there does not seem to be a lot of experience among the league teams."
Davidson's lengthy association with the Western Australian game stems back to his teenage years. A Scotland youth international, he moved to Perth aged 17 and made an immediate impact as a versatile midfielder/striker with SMA Cottesloe and Inglewood Kiev. Short spells in Melbourne, Sydney and Hong Kong punctuated a career that included seven appearances for the Australian Under-23 side and 21 games for the senior State team. After a couple of years with Sorrento, Davidson's career was cut short at the age of 28 by a life threatening injury suffering while playing in 1985 for Perth Azzurri.
In retirement Davidson has held a variety of administrative roles at Inglewood where he is their current vice president. The injury that ended his playing days also brought about a change to Davidson's professional career. He moved into the motor trade and initially spent a decade working with Holden before joining the team at McInerney Ford where he's worked the past fifteen years as a car salesman. Davidson was recently recognised as one of the state's greatest one hundred players when inducted into the Western Australian Football Hall of Fame.
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This page was last updated on the 30th April, 2006