TEN-MAN GLORY HOLD OUT TO JETS
Perth Glory valiantly played with ten-men for close to an hour to hold Newcastle Jets 1-1 this afternoon at Ausgrid Stadium. Billy Mehmet struck early for the visitors but his joy was short-lived, the striker issued a straight red card just after the half-hour with the home team grabbing a share of the points through substitute Francis Jeffers’ second half equaliser. Glory coach Ian Ferguson was not a happy man after the final whistle, having again watched his side handicapped by a red card. “In the last four games now it’s cost us dearly,” Ferguson said. “We keep talking about the same things with referees and red cards and send offs ... these decisions are hurting us.”
Glory’s attacking start paid dividends in the 9th minute when Mehmet got inside Tiago at the near post to slot Joshua Risdon’s cross into the net for the opening goal. Mehmet should have had a second goal on the quarter hour but his free header missed the target from close-range. Newcastle had an ideal chance to equalise through an unmarked Taylor Regan, whose close-range strike crashed into the upright. The complexion of the game changed when Mehmet was issued his marching orders for a two-footed tackle on Tiago in the 34th minute, replays showing the striker clearly collected the ball cleanly in his challenge.
Newcastle stepped up the tempo after the break and on 62 minutes were level, Kasey Wehrman crossing for Jeffers whose tidy header snuck inside the back post. Glory were in no mood to sit back with Travis Dodd consistently threatening as the lone man up-front. At the other end Danny Vukovic was a man under pressure, the goalkeeper holding Sung-Hwan Byun’s powerful attempt from distance and later pressuring Michael Bridges to head high. Either team could have stolen victory via late set pieces but with both chances amounting to nothing the game ended level. The point gained keeps Glory seventh on the A-League table, two points shy of Melbourne Victory in sixth place.
DE VANNA PULLS STRINGS AS JETS UPSTAGE SYDNEY AGAIN
A best on ground performance by Lisa De Vanna has inspired Newcastle Jets to a thrilling 2-1 victory over Sydney FC at Campbelltown Stadium. The win pushes Newcastle into fourth in the W-League, leapfrogging Sydney and keeping alive their hopes of qualifying for the finals series. De Vanna’s pace, link-up play and through balls troubled the Sydney defence throughout the afternoon with the Matildas striker setting up Gema Simon and Nicola Bolger for Newcastle’s two goals. De Vanna could have also found herself on the scoresheet but on three occasions was thwarted by goalkeeper Allison Lipsher.
BORO FEND OFF INTEREST IN WILLIAMS
Despite transfer speculation linking Rhys Williams to one of several interested clubs, Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray insists the former ECU Joondalup junior will not be moving out of the Riverside Stadium. “I think Rhys falls into the category of being a big part of what we’ve achieved so far,” Mowbray told thenorthernecho.co.uk on the eve of the opening of January’s transfer window. “I think it would be hard to sell the idea to our supporters, to me, to the rest of the team to let Rhys go.”
Premier League side Newcastle United are a potential suitor for Williams, however, Mowbray says he has had no calls about the Socceroo. “Even if it was a scenario where Rhys thought ‘wow, such a big club has come in’, I think he understands the support and help this club has given him over the years through his injuries and I don’t see a scenario where we sell any players we don’t want to sell,” Mowbray commented. “No one has phoned, it’s just speculation at the moment, but it’s good that our players are being connected with Premier League clubs.”
SMELTZ STAYING HOME
New Zealand international Shane Smeltz will be missing from Perth Glory’s first eleven for the first time this season when they journey to Newcastle Jets on Saturday. And coach Ian Ferguson has also conceded defender Josh Mitchell won’t make the trip after he was sent off in last week’s loss Central Coast Mariners. However, not all the news in the Glory camp is bad with captain Jacob Burns returning to the fold following a week’s suspension while Todd Howarth has recovered from a groin injury.
Smeltz has been struggling with a groin problem and scans yesterday confirmed he has a strain that will keep him out of the New Year’s Eve clash. “There’s a bit of inflammation there and rather than take chances, he’ll miss the game,” said Ferguson, who will consider changing the set-up against the Jets. “We’ll try a few things in training to see what we do. Smeltzy is a player who can make things happen out of nothing and unfortunately we're going to miss that.”
After threatening to appeal against any suspension given to Mitchell, Ferguson softened his stance yesterday. Although the Scotsman was adamant Mitchell’s tackle had not been deserving of a red card, he confirmed the club would accept the one-match ban. “The rules are that if you appeal (against) it and they still think it’s a red card, the boy gets double,” Ferguson said. “It’s ludicrous because at worst it’s a yellow card but if they don’t see it that way, he gets longer.”
FELDA MAKE PERTH HOME
Malaysian Super League side Felda United will base themselves in Perth for the next week as they prepare for the coming season. Felda, who gained promotion to Malaysia’s top flight last season, arrive into town today for a week-long camp that will see them take on Premier League sides Bayswater City and Armadale. The new season squad boasts Malaysia international Fakri Saarani along with new Argentinean recruits Matthias Favano and Santiago Bianchi. Felda will play Bayswater City on Saturday 31 December (4.00pm) at Alfred Skeet Reserve before facing Armadale at the same venue on Tuesday 2 January (7.00pm).
BURNS REFUSES TO GIVE UP HOPE
Club captain Jacob Burns has not given up hope that a change in Perth Glory's fortune is just a game away. When Burns arrived in Perth three years ago he made it clear Glory would be a force to be reckoned with in the A-League. However, the club are still yet to reach the lofty heights they achieved in the old national league just a single finals appearance, in 2009/10, is all Glory have to show for their efforts with Burns on board.
With the new year comes new hope according to Burns, especially if Glory can get the better of Newcastle Jets on Saturday. "Newcastle are a pretty good side but they are in a similar situation to us," said Burns. "They are on the same points (as Glory) and haven't had great results of late. It's a great opportunity for us to finish the year on a high and to move into the second half of the season full of confidence and kick on from there."
The Christmas period has given Burns time to reflect on Glory poor recent run which has seen them take just four points from the 27 on offer over nine games. "We've only got ourselves to blame," he said. "I'm sick of doing interviews about what could've happened and what should've happened. I would much prefer to be here talking about teams we've beaten and about how we're sitting pretty. But I won't give up until we are where I feel we should be."
Burns is in the final season of a three-year Glory deal and is keen to stay on to finish the job he started when he quit a long career in Europe to come to Perth. "I'd love to stay here. I love Perth. I love the club and I'd love nothing more than to have the opportunity to play my career out here," he said. "I'd like to sort out my future sooner rather than later but I don't want that to affect this season."
HERD DETERMINED TO REPAY VILLA
Aston Villa utility Chris Herd has vowed to keep on improving after signing a new four-year contract with the English Premier League club. Herd had 18 months remaining on his current deal but has earned an extension after impressing manager Alex McLeish, particularly since switching from right-back to central midfield. "I am really happy to have signed a new contract and I'm pleased that I'm going to be here for the next four years," Herd, who joined Villa in 2005, told avfc.co.uk.
Herd, 20, attributes his successes this season to McLeish. "When we came back for pre-season the gaffer said he would give anyone a chance who deserves it and hopefully I can repay him and keep improving," commented Herd. "Coming through the ranks the fans have been great for me, both home and away - and I really appreciate it. Growing up here, coming through the youth team, the reserves and then eventually the first team, they see that and they are happy about that to see youth players coming through."
GLORY START BUILDING TOWARDS NEXT SEASON
Perth Glory are poised to ramp up their recruitment drive for next season as several high-profile players weigh up their futures. The club’s chief executive, Paul Kelly, said assessments had already been made of potential recruits and decisions would soon be made on which current players would be offered contract extensions. Former Socceroos Jacob Burns, Mile Sterjovski and Chris Coyne along with striker Billy Mehmet are among those whose contracts expire at the end of the season. Glory have already decided that Sterjovski will relinquish the marquee position, although a decision is yet to be made on whether he would be offered a standard contract.
Kelly indicated Glory would take on a more youthful look in future, as per one of the recommendations of a report prepared by respected sports administrator David Hatt ten months ago. “Where recruitment is concerned there has been a fair amount of work done on that but January is when we will actually pump it up fully,” Kelly said. “The philosophy of the club is that we want to recruit young players and we want to look at locals and we’ll look at (other) Australian players as well.” It is understood Glory have identified potential recruits from the local scene and interstate as well as overseas-based Australians.
YOUNG DREAMS OF GLORY (by Jonathon Cook, the ‘West Australian’)
First there were trials - at Bolton, Crewe, Reading, Luton and Stockport - then came the tribulations of a near-death experience and a series of abdominal operations to save Neil Young's life. Perth Glory's back-up goalkeeper has survived both, although the latter was a test he almost failed. After having his insides reconstructed, the former Sorrento custodian could have given up. Doctors suggested he faced a long road back. Instead, he trained like he had never done before, fought his way back into the Newcastle Jets youth team and then clinched a two-year deal with Glory.
After a harrowing 2010, in which he had his large intestine and bowel removed in emergency surgery in Newcastle, the father of two was back on track, although it didn't last long. When Young was taken to hospital in October for a seventh operation, this time because of an intestinal blockage, he decided enough was enough. "I thought about not doing it and not carrying on," said Young, but when he raised the subject of retirement with wife Lauren she was not convinced. "She said, 'Why? You love doing it. You've got to play on.' And she was right. Playing football makes me happy," he said.
Young, 32, almost lost his life last in January last year when he received a boot in the face from then Gold Coast United striker Shane Smeltz, which resulted in a broken nose for the goalkeeper. At the time, it was little more than spilled blood. But a couple of weeks later, medication he was taking to help the healing process caused a bowel infection which sent his body into shock. "I was sitting at home alone because my wife was still in Perth," Young said. "I couldn't stop sweating so I went to the doctor. They took a blood test and not long after that they said I had to have my bowel out."
He spent four weeks in intensive care and when he came out of his drug-induced haze he had lost 22kg and his chances of returning to the elite level appeared over. "My way of life has completely changed," Young said. "I have to be really careful with what I eat. I can't have things that don't digest like nuts, corn, baked beans. If I have nuts there's a chance I'd get a blockage and I'd have to go to hospital to get it cleared out, so it's pretty serious. But the positive is that there's bowel cancer in my family; so I can't get that."
Those who have known Young over his career, from junior level at Yanchep, will also know that he is determined and, when he crosses the white line, aggressive. By his own admission, his temperament could have been better during his State League days, but that refusal to back down was probably the thing that saved his life and certainly saved his career. "The doctor gave me a bit of hope and said it was up to me if I wanted to play again. But they said they didn't know of any elite sportsperson who has got back to their sport after something like this," he said.
Young's determination to carry on also stems from the years it has taken him to reach the elite level, which has involved numerous trials and a short spell with Victorian side Melbourne Knights before he broke through at the Jets. "I was 29 when I turned pro and I'd been for trials in England when I was 15," he said. "I'd basically tried for 14 years to be a pro. When you get that opportunity after all that time, you don't want to let it go." He didn't and once he had forced his way back into the Jets reckoning, via the youth team, he was determined to carry on.
Young loved his time on-field with the Jets but living apart from his wife and boys Mitchell, 3, and Owen, 5, had been difficult. His preference was to return to Perth and play for Glory, the club he had wanted to represent almost from the day it was formed. Portsmouth-born Young migrated to Perth when he was seven and as far back as he can remember, he has always wanted to be a professional soccer player. "I had an apprenticeship as a cabinet maker when I was 16 but I dumped that because I wanted to go and play football, and that's when I went back to England (for trials)," he said.
Young made nine first team appearances for the Jets prior to injury but is yet to make his senior debut for Glory. That said, he is pushing to return to the youth team next month and is adamant he can achieve that long-held dream of playing an A-League game for the West Australian side. "I was on my deathbed," said Young, who is determined to unseat Danny Vukovic from the first team role between the posts. "So I look back now and think nothing can stop me. I can do anything I want and that's what I teach my kids."
GARCIA ON TRACK FOR NEW TIGERS DEAL
Richard Garcia is hopeful of earning a new long-term contract with Hull City but his immediate priority is to land a lead role in Nick Barmby's plans. A cruciate ligament injury suffered in April threw Garcia's career into turmoil with his then current contract expiring just three months later. The 30-year old attacker has since been on a rolling month-by-month deal and in the past fortnight two appearances off the bench along with a 70-minute run-out for the reserves have him champing at the bit for a return to the first eleven.
While he is keen to extend his stay, Garcia is content to shelve talks over his long-term future until he can prove his fitness to the Tigers. "I'm still waiting to see what's happening with that (a new contract)," Garcia told the 'Hull Daily Mail'. "I've just been concentrating on football and I haven't really been thinking about that. All I want to do is get back playing and do my best. It's pretty much a month-by-month thing at the minute so we'll sit down in the next month or so and sort it out."
Garcia suffered a bitter twist of fate at the end of last season when a delay to signing a new deal left him facing an uncertain future. "It's one of those where things didn't really pan out exactly as they should have," explained Garcia. "I had specific reasons why I hadn't signed a contract and the club understood that … We were still in negotiations and you don't just do it out of haste. Unfortunately the injury happened at the wrong time but you've just got to take that."
Garcia's patience has finally brought dividend in recent weeks and he was afforded a huge reception when emerging off the bench late against Coventry City and Millwall before hitting back of the net in the reserves mid-week fixture with Sunderland. "It was nice to get such a good reception," he commented. "I've had a lot of nice, supportive comments throughout my injury and going to games I've always had people wishing me well. It always helps when you know the fans are behind you and you know that you've got a spot in people's hearts."
Another chance may come Garcia's way today when Hull travel to Middlesbrough where victory would lift his team to third in the Championship. "After a lot of arduous work it looks as though we're heading in the right direction," said Garcia, who was part of the Hull side which won their spot in the English Premier League in 2008. "Our aim is to be promoted and we have to be a squad. It's not about a team of 11, it's about a squad of 22. That's the way it was when we were last promoted and again we've got to make sure we're pulling in the same direction."
OUT OF AFRICA, A RICH SEAM OF POTENTIAL STARS (by Michael Cockerill, smh.com.au)
Kenny Lowe was in the middle of a training game at McGillivray Oval in the Perth suburb of Mount Claremont last week when a car pulled up next to the field. The first person out was one of his former players in the National Training Centre program, Manny Linga. “I’ve got five new ones here for you,” Linga said. Normally, a coach in the middle of a session would take exception to the interruption, but Lowe has become used to it by now. So he stopped the game and allowed the five newcomers to join in - five African refugees, the latest in a long line of players who have arrived in Australia from Africa hoping for a new life in this country, and who are starting to find it through football.
Six years ago, Sierra Leone-born Julius Davies turned up unannounced to join Lowe’s son’s team. The former Perth Glory assistant coach knows a good player when he sees one - Davies is now on the books of Bayern Munich. Across town, Congo-born Million Butshiire will be signing a deal with 1860 Munich in the January transfer window. Both players played under Lowe in Western Australia’s elite academy. Linga was a teammate, and headed in the same direction, before a cruciate ligament injury followed by a broken leg slowed his progress. For now, the 19-year old acts as an unofficial scout for Lowe in suburbs such as Balga and Cannington, where many refugees have settled. It’s a rich seam.
Slowly but surely Australian football is getting an African flavour. One day the Socceroos may be half black, like most of the best teams in the world. Alistair Edwards, Football Federation Australia’s assistant national technical director, hopes so. “Look at what players like (Thierry) Henry, (Claude) Makelele and (Nicolas) Anelka have done for France,” says Edwards, who has witnessed the rise of the African influence first-hand. “These guys epitomise the street football environment they come from. They do all the things with the ball a lot of our local players can’t. They’re the point-of-difference players, they’ve got so much potential. They can really change the style of the national team.”
Edwards, a former Socceroo, can’t wait for the change to occur. At the recent national NTC Challenge in Canberra, for instance, seven African-born players were selected in the All-Stars side. Five years ago that number was two. When the next Australian under-17 team is assembled early next year to prepare for the Asian qualifying campaign, the likelihood is that at least four players - Richard Darko, Mohamed Beyan, Jeremy Tshonga and Mark Ochieng - will be African refugees. Given where they’ve come from, there’s no questioning their drive to succeed. “The stories are heart-breaking, but also heart-warming,” says Edwards. “You sit down with these kids for 10 minutes, and you feel humbled. They’re so inspiring.”
Lowe sees it at close quarters. “'In our program we’ve got a kid who turns up in a Lamborghini, and then the African kids that walk there,” he says. “They’ve been up since 6am, and it’s taken them three different trains. One boy I’ve got has told me he can’t make every training session because he’s got three jobs. I asked him why. He said because he’s saving up so he can bring over his mum. When I first met Julius (Davies) he didn’t have money for boots, he didn’t have money for the train fare, he didn’t have money to get his passport. Thankfully, there’s a lot of great people who are prepared to help them out. And forget about the stereotype that they’re not disciplined. Hand on heart, I’ve never had an issue with any of them.”
With immigration to Australia from conflict-ravaged nations such as Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe increasing dramatically over the past decade, it’s no surprise that football should eventually reap the benefits. In many cases, football is the only release from the abject poverty these players are born into. And as soon as they arrive in Australia, often via refugee camps, it is football that provides a passage towards assimilation. In Perth, the first step is to form a team of kindred souls; there is an unofficial African Nations Cup held regularly, and an annual Ethnic World Cup held at Gibbney Reserve. From these events, the talent identification begins. Lowe now has eight Africans in his program.
On a national scale, the likes of Chahine Noujaim, Tedros Yabio, Kwabene Boahene and Kwame Yeboah have all been selected for the Joeys in the past four years. And now the winds of change are being felt in the A-League - Kofi Danning (Brisbane Roar) was born in Ghana, Bernie Ibini-Isei (Central Coast Mariners) in Nigeria, Kamal Ibrahim (Melbourne Heart) in Ethiopia and Golgol Mebrahtu (Gold Coast United) in Eritrea. Last week Teeboy Kamara (Adelaide United) set a new benchmark as the youngest-ever A-League player when he came off the bench at Hindmarsh Stadium to rapturous acclaim. Kamara was just 15 years and 212 days old when he made his debut, and can’t sign as a professional until he turns 16, but already the Reds have tied the Sierra Leone-born winger down for the next three years.
MILLWALL WANT LOWRY PERMANENTLY
Millwall are poised to table an offer for Shane Lowry which may see him move away from Aston Villa. Lowry is currently on loan to the Lions where he’s impressed manager Kenny Jackett to the degree he wants the young centre-half permanently and is willing offer £400,000 for him. Jackett hopes to persuade Lowry, who played locally for ECU Joondalup prior to entering Villa’s academy in February 2005, to commit to Millwall and is hoping to seal the transfer in the next few days. Lowry, however, would no doubt be interested in remaining in the top flight and recent interest from Blackburn Rovers and Wigan Athletic could sink Millwall’s hopes.
GLORY SEE RED AS MARINERS SET SAIL
Perth Glory were left seething after having a man controversially sent off in tonight’s 3-1 loss to A-League leaders Central Coast Mariners at Perth Oval. A contentious red card to Josh Mitchell midway through the first half paved the way for Bernie Ibini, Pedj Bojic and Matt Simon to put Central Coast in a commanding position before Steven McGarry grabbed the hosts’ late consolation. Coach Ian Ferguson said the club would appeal against any suspension relating to the red card. “I think it was disgraceful. That’s my opinion,” Ferguson said. “I thought it was a good tackle. There was no malice. The ball was there for two players to go and win, and he’s won it.”
A cagey opening produced little in the way of clear cut chances with both teams patiently working their way forward. All that changed on 26 minutes when Mitchell was shown a straight red card by referee Matt Gillett after sliding in to win the ball from underneath Oliver Bozanic. It appeared Central Coast would now run away with the game, however, going down a man had a galvanising effect on Glory. Trent McClenahan shot wide after going past a couple of opponents while a well-worked move by Travis Dodd and Billy Mehmet ended with Liam Miller lifting over the cross. Central Coast’s only attempt was a Ibini strike that Danny Vukovic had covered.
It took Ibini just four minutes of the second half to break the deadlock, the teenage striker smashing in a ferocious shot that took a slight deflection off Vukovic following a tidy lead-up that featured Patrick Zwaanswijk and Simon. Shane Smeltz could have restored parity in the 55th minute but failed to spot in time a Josh Risdon cross from the left. Glory would pay dearly for that missed opportunity five minutes later when Bojic stretched to scoop the ball over Vukovic and into the back of the net from the narrowest of angles. The situation worsened four minutes later, Ibini bursting out of midfield to send an inch-perfect pass which Simon fired in.
Glory mounted a late surge in the closing stages. Visiting goalkeeper Matt Ryan did brilliantly to tip a long-range rocket by from Miller around the post in the 83rd minute The resultant corner was played short by Mile Sterjovski to McGarry who unleashed a low shot from 30-metres which found the target through a crowded penalty area. Substitute Adam Taggart nodded narrowly wide in stoppage time as Glory attempted to further reduce the deficit. Glory’s seventh loss in nine games has them enter the Christmas break in eighth spot, whereas Central Coasts’ sixth straight win lifts them five points clear of Melbourne Heart at the top of the table.
VUKOVIC READY FOR MARINERS CHALLENGE
Perth Glory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic has stressed tonight’s home outing with Central Coast Mariners is a ‘huge’ game for his club. Central Coast are without a doubt the competitions form side heading into the festive period, unbeaten in eight games and having won their past five to sit on top of the A-League table. “It’s a huge game for us,” said Vukovic, whose team have taken just four points from their last eight games. “We haven’t been playing the best football of late and not getting the results so Friday night is a very important game for us to get our season back on track.”
Glory’s poor run of results began when Central Coast came from behind to record a 2-1 win back in October. “We’ll be looking back what we did there in that first half an hour, as we played them off the park, so if we can do the same we’ll have a good shot,” said the ‘keeper, who is yet to get the better of the club he turned out for until 2010. “I’ve played them two or three times since I’ve left and every time they’ve managed to beat the side that I’m in by one goal … hopefully it’s a bit different on Friday night.” The Glory-Mariners game kicks-off at 7.00pm at Perth Oval.
MADASCHI HAS A HAPPY HEART
Defender Adrian Madaschi has nothing to prove when Melbourne Heart takes on crosstown rival Melbourne Victory this evening. Madaschi, 29, spent two months training with Victory in the hope of snaring a full-time contract before being snapped up by Heart in November on a ten-week injury replacement deal for Kliment Taseski. The well-travelled defender says he holds no grudges against Victory coach Mehmet Durakovic who opted not to sign him. "As for Victory, I've certainly no hard feelings. In football these things happen," Madaschi said. "My experience has been great, I couldn't be happier with the way things have progressed with Heart."
Madaschi looms as a key player in tonight's derby where he'll be out to tame the likes of Archie Thompson, Harry Kewell and Carlos Hernandez. "There's no denying the individual qualities (of Kewell, Hernandez and Thompson)," Madaschi said. "But I'm confident that if we collectively work well defensively, I'm 100 per cent convinced the whole unit can do the job. It's all about the team, Victory have got some great individuals, Heart have got a good game plan, strategy and work well together as a team … The impression I've had from day one here at Heart (is) it's not about the individual."
Having not played for almost a year, Madaschi was off the pace a little at first but has since come good to command a place in the centre of the Melbourne clubs defence. His injury replacement contract expires in three weeks and while Madaschi originally planned to pursue opportunities in Asia, Heart is keen for him to stay on. "Anything's possible. I've really enjoyed my short time here," he said. "I think the league has come on in leaps and bounds. The league has improved by 50 per cent. The standard is really good and it has potential to get even better.
TANA TOUTED TO BACK NEW SYDNEY CLUB
Former Perth Glory owner Nick Tana is refusing to rule out a return to football as an investor in a western Sydney A-League franchise. Tana, who established Glory in partnership with Paul Afkos in late 1995, relinquished sole ownership of the club to Football Federation Australia in 2006 after eight seasons. Reports from the east coast suggest Tana is considering a return to the game with Remo Nogarotto to drive a new A-League outfit in western Sydney. “The passion is always there,” Tana told Jonathon Cook of the ‘West Australian’. “In what capacity? I'm not going to make any comment on that.”
Tana was the financial driving force behind Glory’s charge to National Soccer League grand final successes in 2002/03 and 2003/04. These days Tana is on the board of Allia Venue Management, who run Perth Oval. Although current Glory owner Tony Sage has consistently complained about the cost of playing at Glory’s traditional home, Allia maintains the rental agreement is not exorbitant. Despite the apparent conflict between Allia and Glory, Tana continues to be a supporter and regularly attends matches. “I love the game and I’ll be there again on Friday night,” he said of Glory’s upcoming clash with A-League leaders Central Coast Mariners.
FERGUSON INVITES BOO-BOYS JEERS
Ian Ferguson has called for Perth Glory's fans to vent their anger towards him rather than at the player group or owner Tony Sage. Ferguson, who has guided Glory to just six wins in 32 games since taking charge, is on thin ice and faces a fight to win back a restless fan base that booed him last week and chanted for him to be sacked. "It's been a sad week for the club that the coach gets booed, players get booed and the chairman gets abused, which is unacceptable," Ferguson said.
Ferguson was left disappointed by jeers from sections of the home crowd during Saturday night’s loss to Melbourne Heart. "It's very hard for the players when they hear that sort of thing, you know booing and shouting 'Fergie out'," he said. "If they want to vent their anger to me, please make it towards the end of the game rather than during the game. "I don't like hearing chants with my name. But if they want to vent their anger, then please vent it at me and not the team."
One win from eight games have put Glory two points outside the top six but Ferguson remains confident his high-profile squad can turn the situation around soon. "There's a lot of football to be played, a lot of ups and downs. It's early doors yet to vent those sort of frustrations," he said. "The boys have given us everything. I can't fault them." Glory will be without suspended captain Jacob Burns for the game with Central Coast Mariners, while defender Todd Howarth is also in danger of missing the clash due to a groin injury.
NO JOY FOR GLORY WOMEN
Newcastle Jets survived having a player sent off to defeat Perth Glory Women 3-1 in this yesterday’s postponed W-League encounter at Adamstown Oval. The home team controlled the match from the outset with Tara Andrews giving them a first half lead to which Nicola Bolger and Emily Van Egmond added early in the second period. The dismissal of Hannah Brewer brought Glory Women back into the game and although Katie Holtham pulled a goal back it was too little too late for the visitors. The win moves Newcastle to within four points of the top four while Glory Women remains at the bottom of the table.
The home crowd were given plenty of reasons to cheer with Newcastle racking up numerous chances inside the for 15 minutes with Bolger, Andrews and Gema Simon all getting off shots only to be thwarted by goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold. Newcastle eventually profited when Arnold could only parry a vicious Bolger shot and Andrews pounced to poke in after 23 minutes. Glory Women’s woes were compounded shortly after when defender Erika Elze was stretchered from the field with a knee injury. Newcastle had their chances to increase the lead but some desperate defending and another fantastic save by Arnold, again from Bolger, kept the difference to a single goal.
Newcastle picked up after the break where they left off with Bolger calmly steering into the bottom corner after 55 minutes. It was three-nil soon enough as Van Egmond chased down a through ball and rounded the ‘keeper after an hour’s play. The hosts lost their momentum seven minutes later when Brewer was shown her second yellow card for a clumsy challenge on Ella Mastrantonio. Glory Women sniffed the chance of a comeback and Holtham did well to shake her marker and head in a looping corner in the 78th minute. Further chances to reduce the deficit came the way of Holtham and Mastrantonio but with neither able to convert Newcastle took out the points.
SAGE STICKING WITH GLORY
Tony Sage has vowed to continue backing Perth Glory, admitting he regrets the angry outburst in which he threatened to walk away from the club at the end of the season. The mining magnate said his remarks to ‘West Australian’ reporter Jonathon Cook were the result of pent up passion and unresolved anger after being abused by supporters after the weekend loss to Melbourne Heart. “I regret saying I had had enough and I am sticking with the club,” Sage said. “I will be there as long as the fans want me to be there.”
Sage said his comments about quitting Glory at the end of the season were made in haste, despite coming some 18 hours after the game with Heart. “I am a passionate man, more than most, and I was shaken and upset from the abuse I took,” he added. “We all say things we are not happy with in hindsight and what I said was not measured or thought about. I was very distressed and I should have waited longer to talk. I copped a full on verbal attack and it was nasty.”
Although Glory has lost six of their last eight games, Sage offered support for under-siege coach Ian Ferguson. “How can I sack the coach – as some fans want – when I know that he can’t be held responsible for every mistake made?,” Sage said. “He has 100 per cent of the locker room behind him and I know that for a fact … He inherited a squad he didn’t like last season and he’s turned over thirteen players. He deserves more time. He’s had ten games this season and we were only uncompetitive in one – the 4-0 defeat against Brisbane.”
An unfortunate injury run has played its part in Glory slipped to eighth in the 10-team competition. “Surely people should understand that when you lose those players it changes the game plan slightly,” said Sage, who feels long-term injury to Scott Neville and Chris Coyne has unsettled the side more than initially thought. “Steve Pantelidis and Evan Berger were backups for those two and they have also had injury problems. That creates all sorts of issues. When our squad was healthy we won three out of three at the start of the season, so things were working.”
Sage, who claims the cost of renting Perth Oval is the highest per seat of any A-League stadium, is also committed to finding a new home venue. “We had 9,000 odd for the first game of the season in a ground where our break-even target is 12,000,” he explained. “We won our first three games then our next home game was around 7,000 and then 6,000 after that. The fan base is not where it needs to be for that ground. I am not saying an A-League team is not viable in Perth but at that ground it is an issue. If we can move somewhere else that’s a different story.”
BABALJ REWARDED WITH CONTRACT EXTENTION
Teenage striker Eli Babalj has signed a contract extension which will make him a Melbourne Heart player until mid-2014. Heart reaffirmed their commitment to promoting elite young talent by agreeing new deals with 19-year old Babalj, Brendan Hamill (19), Aziz Behich (21) and Jason Hoffman (22), taking the number of Australian youth internationals on the clubs books to seven. “Developing the next generation of professional players is an important part of the club’s philosophy,” coach John Van‘t Schip said. “In Eli, Aziz, Brendan and Jason, we believe we have four very talented young players capable of one day representing Australia at senior international level.”
PREMIER LEAGUE OR BUST FOR WILLIAMS
Socceroo Rhys Williams will look to leave Middlesbrough should they not gain promotion to the English Premier League this season. Williams, a product of his club's academy system, has 18 months left on his current deal at the Riverside and talks over a new contract have stalled with the 23-year old insisting playing in the top-flight again is his ultimate goal. "It's not about money. It's about my dream of playing in the Premier League," he told Fox Sports. "My dream is to get this club up, and if something happens and we don't go up this season, then yeah, I want to have a look around."
Williams played juniors ECU Joondalup before joining Middlesbrough in 2005, making his first team debut three years later and tallying up 71 League and Cup appearances games since. His ability to operate in both defence and midfield has brought the youngster to the attention of several clubs from the English top flight. "It's obviously nice to hear people saying I'm doing well, and it gives me confidence on the pitch," he added. "I'm delighted with the speculation as well as it's always nice to be linked with the Premier League." Middlesbrough currently occupies third spot in the Championship, just two points off the automatic promotion spots.
MARINERS’ GRIFFITHS ON A ROLL
Rostyn Griffiths is a potential Socceroo in waiting, but admits things could have turned out differently had it not been for his club coach, Graham Arnold. 23-year old Griffiths has been instrumental in a Central Coast Mariners resurgence that has seen the club dismiss a slow start to the season by going unbeaten in seven games. Tall, strong and very comfortable on the ball, Griffiths is creating waves with his cultured displays in the heart of the Mariners midfield.
Arnold has been glowing in his praise of the defensive midfielder, to the point of describing him as the Vince Grella of the Mariners, a compliment that almost left Griffiths speechless. "What do you say about something like that?" Griffiths told 'the Australian' newspaper. "That's some compliment and I am honoured to be put in the same mould as someone like Vince Grella. I've never given any thought to comparisons like that. I just play my game to the best of my ability."
Griffiths acknowledges Arnold has been a steadying influence on him since he arrived at the Mariners at the start of last season after a stint with the now defunct North Queensland Fury. "He has been massive, that's for sure," Griffiths said. "The two seasons I have been here I have learned more than ever, not just about myself but tactically about the team and how other teams play. Arnie is meticulous. He spends hours watching videos of other teams, of our players and always has something to tell us."
Griffiths believes Arnold's biggest influence is that he does not allow him to rest on his laurels, not even for a single minute. "I think I have had all the ingredients in my overall game but I couldn't put them all together in one match," said the midfielder. "He has got me to use all my attributes because he rides me hard. He is at me all week, constantly reminding me of what needs to be done, what I have to do."
Born in England, Griffiths and his family made their way to Perth where the youngster played for ECU Joondalup. He entered the Blackburn Rovers academy in 2004 and it was while at the English Premier League club that he came to the attention of Welsh authorities and was being spoken as a possible under-21 representative. But he went on loan to Scottish club Gretna and English side Accrington Stanley before deciding he needed to return to Australia to play in the A-League.
Griffiths, who played for Australia at under-17 level in 2005, recently came under the notice of Socceroos boss Holger Osieck, who included him in a locally based training camp. "The camp was fantastic and to play alongside some of the best players in the A-League was something else," he says of last month's camp. "I thought I did quite well and I got some positive feedback. If something comes of it I'll truly be happy. I just need to keep performing at club level.
The possibility of returning overseas, however, is something that has not been diminished. "I am still young enough and I believe I have some unfinished business over there," he says. "At the moment, I am really enjoying being part of a great club. There is something special here. First we are mates then we are teammates. It's a fantastic atmosphere that Arnie has helped created … It's no secret about the off-field (financial) problems the club has had, but it has only made us tougher and more determined to go out and succeed."
NEW ‘HOME OF FOOTBALL’ PLANS UNVEILED
Football West have unveiled ambitious plans for a $15 million training and administrative centre which could also serve as headquarters for Perth Glory. Peter Hugg, the association’s chief executive, is confident the concept will come to fruition with the assistance of State and Federal government funding as well as a possible grant from FIFA. He said positive discussions had taken place with the Department of Sport and Recreation, an application for Federal assistance had been made through the regional development fund and an application for funding from FIFA was close to being finalised.
Hugg believes improvements in the running of the local game have improved the prospects of receiving the necessary funding. “We’ve demonstrated that we’ve got our house in order and that we can run a profitable, well-administered organisation,” he said. “We’re getting some positive feedback from government in terms of potential funding.” Potential sites for the facility, which would include a 5000-capacity stadium with artificial surface, have been identified in Stirling and Bayswater as well as at the Curtin, UWA and Murdoch university campuses.
Glory chief executive Paul Kelly supports the project but says his club’s immediate intention is to establish formal links with Inglewood United. “We have a memorandum of understanding with Football West and we support them 110 per cent, and we are committed to being a tenant if they do that,” Kelly said. “But that could be many years away.” Glory are expected to soon ratify an agreement with Inglewood, which will see the State League team bolstered by the addition of Glory Youth players and others in their early to mid-20s identified as being of potential national league quality.
FED UP SAGE READY TO QUIT
Perth Glory owner Tony Sage will quit the club at the end of the season. Sage has threatened to walk away before but not with such certainty after being abused by supporters in the aftermath of the home loss to Melbourne Heart on the weekend. Sage, who questions the viability of having an A-League club on the west coast after four years of consistently low attendances, said he would seek legal advice before handing back the A-League licence to Football Federation Australia.
The reaction by a small group of Glory supporters on Saturday evening was the last straw for Sage. “I’m disappointed, upset, angry,” Sage told Jonathon Cook of the ‘West Australian’ newspaper. “I’ve never been abused that much since day one … it sort of makes up your mind. This will be my last season in charge of Perth Glory. I just can’t sit there and cop abuse and my family cop abuse. No one is really interested in coming to Perth Glory games and the fans don’t want me to be in control. That was made very clear to me by a lot of people.”
Sage, who took on Glory’s license with Brett McKeon and John Spence in February 2007 and two year later became outright owner of the club, said his personal financial situation was not behind his decision to quit the club. He said if he had wanted to continue while reducing his own costs, he could have sought out new investors. “Financially, I could do many things,” he said. “I could get partners in, but it’s not about that. It will never be viable in Perth if the fans don’t want it. At the moment, the fans don’t want it. It’s very obvious A-League football in Perth is not warranted.”
Glory was once the national league’s benchmark club, attracting an average of almost 15,000 fans in the 1997/98 National Soccer League season. But they have struggled for support since the inception of the A-League 2005 with crowds dipping to an average of 7,589 in 2006/07. Sage, however, did not believe that team performance was solely responsible for a poor average attendance of 7,948 for the clubs’ five home games this season. He said fans had not been interested from the start when Glory won their first three games of the campaign.
Sage’s withdrawal would present a problem for cash-strapped FFA, which would be forced to find new investors, prop up the club with federation funds or face the prospect of another club closure. FFA is unlikely to provide funding, given that it posted a loss of $891,000 during the 2010/11 financial year due to spending $4.6 million on struggling clubs, including Adelaide United, Brisbane Roar, Newcastle Jets and the now defunct North Queensland Fury. FFA chairman Frank Lowy said last month that the governing body could not afford to bail out financially embattled clubs.
VILLA REWARD HERD WITH NEW DEAL
Chris Herd has agreed a new three-and-a-half year contract with English club Aston Villa. The utility player has 18 months remaining on his current deal but earned a new contract, which will keep him at Villa Park until mid-2015, after impressing manager Alex McLeish since breaking into the first team this season. “He’s a whole-hearted boy. He has fantastic application. He trains like a beast every day and is a good role model to any player in terms of his attitude,” McLeish told dailymail.co.uk. “He is improving all the time, and that’s partly because he’s getting first team football.”
Herd, 22, played with ECU Joondalup before joining Villa as a schoolboy seven years ago. He made his debut against Manchester United last season, and this season has operated at right-back and latterly in central midfield. “Chris is in the team because he has deserved a chance. He has been a good anchor man in the team. He keeps the game simple,” said McLeish. “He’s shown that you can force your way in, and I want other players who are willing to kick the door down and make me pick them. That was the message I gave to all of them at the start of the season, and that is what Chris has done.”
GLORY YOUTH GO TOP
Perth Glory have moved to the top of the National Youth League table after knocking over Melbourne Heart 3-0 this afternoon at 6PR Stadium in Inglewood. Adam Taggart put the hosts ahead midway through the first half with Clayton Arnez doubling their lead soon after the interval. Heart went down to ten men with the dismissal of Bradley Treloar before Jesse Makarounas inflicted further damage by scoring the home team a third goal in stoppage time. The win saw Glory Youth leapfrog over Heart into top spot ahead of the Christmas break.
An error by Lewis Italiano almost allowed Heart a 6th minute lead, the Glory Youth custodian parrying a long-range shot into the path of Billy Liolios, whose effort was deflected into the side netting. Italiano made amends with a couple of brilliant saves that left Stipo Andrijasevic and David Williams frustrated. Glory Youth edged in front somewhat against the run of play on 28 minutes, Joshua Risdon playing through Taggart to calmly slotted past Nikola Roganovic. Tommy Amphlett was unlucky not to double the lead when his shot from a difficult angle cannoned off the far post.
It took Heart only a few seconds of the second half to announce their intentions with substitute Zac Walker having a shot clear off the line. Captain for the day Arnez took the difference to two goals on 59 minutes when he was allowed too much space at a corner to head into the net. The visitors enjoyed the bulk of the attacking play in the final half hour but any chance of an unlikely revival was snuffed out when Treloar was issued a straight red card for his challenge Alex Canglia. The game was put to bed on 92 minutes when an unmarked Makarounas slotted in from close-range.
GLORY-INGLEWOOD DEAL MAY “FRACTURE OUR GAME” SAYS STIRLING PRESIDENT
Stirling Lions president Don Evans has serious concerns for the potential damage the alliance between Perth Glory and Inglewood United will do to West Australian football. The two clubs are close to formalising an agreement which will see Glory establish administrative and training bases at Inglewood’s home ground at Hamer Parade, while Glory youth and fringe players will be available for State League duty with Inglewood. “This may be the catalyst for fracturing our game,” said Evans. “Each club president has every right to be concerned by this alliance, and to question the motives behind it.”
Discussions between Glory and Inglewood have been on-going for some twelve months but to date the other 31 State League clubs have not been briefed on the alliance. “This is Perth football’s worst kept secret,” commented Evans, who feels it is time for Glory and Inglewood to consult with the local stakeholders. “We need a round table discussion with all the cards laid on the table. This proposed alliance would make it the first of its kind in Australian football and its being done without any impact studies or consultation with stakeholders.”
Football West are as much in the dark when it comes to the alliance as the State League clubs. “When the potential for a partnership was mooted at our presidents meeting some months ago Football West representatives said they would engage with us if it was more than just talk,” explained Evans. “Football West have not been communicated with by either Glory or Inglewood so they have been unable to brief their member clubs. All they can tell us is whatever happens must be done within the constitutional laws of Football Federation Australia and Football West.”
The Glory-Inglewood alliance flies in the face of the recent report into Australia football delivered by Warwick Smith, chairman of the Australian Sports Commission, according to Evans. “The Smith Report recommended A-League clubs develop stronger links with their grassroots and local communities,” he said. “What we’re seeing appears to favour one club ahead of the rest with Inglewood benefitting exclusively from Glory’s infrastructure, which is not available to other member clubs who are here to support Glory. It’s fantastic for Inglewood but where do the other 31 member clubs fit in?”
Evans is concerned that the Glory-Inglewood partnership is the first step towards the A-League club taking over the State League outfit. “Many clubs, including Stirling Lions, spoke to Glory about their need for a base,” said Evans. “All the clubs I have spoken to were happy to allow Glory in as tenants – but not as partners who had a say in the running of the football operations side of the club. Moving in on a club like Inglewood who appears to be struggling with support base but has a great facility seems an easy way for a reverse takeover.”
PRESSURE ON FERGUSON INCREASES
Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson admits to feeling the pinch after his side suffered their sixth loss from eight games. Speaking after Melbourne Heart conjured a late goal to snatch a 2-1 victory last night at Perth Oval, a forthright Ferguson refused to shy away from the fact the pressure is certainly mounting on himself and his squad. “I’m pretty flat at the moment to be honest,” Ferguson said. “At the end of the day I’m not going to sit here and lie, we’re in a business that you know, you live by and die by results and at this moment of time, the results are not going for us.”
The result saw Glory slip to seventh spot on the table, and they may end the weekend one rung lower should in Melbourne Victory beat Wellington Phoenix this afternoon. “It’s not good enough losing your home games, these are the games you’ve got to win,” Ferguson added. “At the beginning of the season, I wanted to make nib (Perth Oval) a fortress and try and make it very difficult for teams to come here. So that’s two games I’ve lost now at home. Again we’ll go back to the drawing board and we’ll have a chat to the players and try and get something out of this.”
HEART OUTGUN GLORY
Mate Dugandzic struck late to steal Melbourne Heart a 2-1 victory over Perth Glory in this evening’s encounter at Perth Oval. Impressive finishes by Matt Thompson and Billy Mehmet saw the teams enter half-time on level terms. Glory’s dominance of the second half was left to count for nothing when Dugandzic applied the finishing touch to a rare Heart break with only three minutes of regulation time remaining. “I thought there was a nervousness about us tonight,” said a disappointed coach Ian Ferguson. “The things that we didn’t do well was move the ball quicker and at a quick tempo that I’d really like to play at.”
The early exchanges were a touch cagey and lacking much in the way of genuine goal scoring opportunities. It took until the 22nd minute for the game to come to life with Heart custodian goalkeeper Clint Bolton keeping out a close-range header from Mehmet. Five minutes later a timely interception by Bas Van Den Brink prevented Eli Babalj from converting an inviting low cross. Heart hit the front on 33 minutes, Aziz Behich slipping the ball to Thompson who shrugged off Josh Mitchell to unleash an unstoppable shot past Danny Vukovic. Celebrations were short-lived, however, as two minutes later Mehmet rifled low Bolton after Travis Dodd and Shane Smeltz combined on top ot the 18-yard box.
Heart should have reclaimed the lead son after the break when Babalj nodded wide from a Dugandzic corner. Glory then took the upper hand with Dodd twice going close while Smeltz was denied by Bolton. Smeltz went close again after being teed up by Dodd, then the New Zealand international turned provider for Jacob Burns whose snap-shot was narrowly high. Substitutes Tommy Amphlett and Steven McGarry were involved in a sweeping Glory move on 83 minutes that culminated in Burns forcing a smart stop from Bolton. Four minutes later the under-pressure visitors broke on the counter attack with Behich’s shot parried by Vukovic, who was helpless as Dugandzic headed in the loose ball.
LADY REDS TAKE THE GLORY
Adelaide United picked up their first game in three years by downing Perth Glory Women 1-0 on a rain-soaked afternoon at Burton Park. Katherine Ebbs scored the games’ solitary goal in the first half to end the Lady Reds’ record 34-game winless drought. The home team was full of confidence from the outset with Marijana Rajcic and Emma Checker placing high of the target while Donna Cockayne was thwarted by goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold. Glory Women’s only response was a Lara Filocamo shot which Sian McLaren saved after 23 minutes. Adelaide were finally rewarded in the 33rd minute, Ebbs converting Ashleigh Gunning’s cross with a tidy volley from 5-metres.
The second half continued in much the same fashion, Adelaide piling on the pressure in the hope of finding a second goal. However, pouring rain and slippery conditions were making it difficult for both sets of players to gain control and mount a serious threat on goal. Quigley too it upon herself by beating three opponents before letting off a thunderous long-range shot that cannoned off the crossbar. Glory didn’t really come to life until Emily Dunn hit the bar with a 78th minute free-kick. Shannon May was twice thwarted in a goalmouth scramble and a later long-range effort slipped from McLaren’s gloves but Abby Erceg’s late interception denied Katarina Jukic a the follow-up.
BABALJ UNCOMFORTABLE WITH BEING LIKENED TO SOCCEROOS GREATS
Melbourne Heart striker Eli Babalj feels young A-League players are compared far too quickly with Australian football’s greats of yesteryear. Babalj, 19, has been likened to Mark Viduka but says he has a long way to go before matching the feats of the former Socceroo, who dominated the National Soccer League as a teenager. "As soon as you have one or two good games, they start comparing you to Harry Kewell or Viduka, which is a bit silly considering what they had achieved by 18 or 19," Babalj said. "Harry was English Premier League young player of the year and Viduka was scoring 20 goals a season in the NSL. I would love to get to Viduka's level in terms of playing in Europe and for the Socceroos, but you've got to prove yourself."
Babalj grew up in Perth and could have been lining up for Perth Glory tonight against Heart, but his hometown clubs reluctance to blood youth ensured he didn't have to think too hard before heading east. "I've got no regrets, I'm really happy to be at Melbourne Heart, it's very professional," he said. "When I saw the coaching staff and John Van't Schip's playing and coaching CV, I thought I could learn something. Last year was different with some of the older players there, like John Aloisi, Josip Skoko and Gerald Sibon, and I learnt a lot from them. That set the culture but now our average age is 23 or 24 and all of our younger boys have represented Australia at youth level."
Babalj's importance to the Melbourne club was underlined five weeks ago when he was rushed back into the side against Newcastle Jets, despite having only 45 minutes with the youth team under his belt following injury. That game ended in Heart's first win of the season with Babalj providing the focal point they had been missing. "I was fortunate that I set up the first when I came on, so it looks good on me, but it was just a matter of time before the team got its first win," Babalj said. "I think I've done well, considering how long I've been out, but I'm still not 100 per cent and that's why the coaching staff is giving me time to get to that level."
ALL-STARS SQUAD ANNOUNCED
Each year footballwa.net honours those players who consistently captured our attention during the winter months with inclusion in the footballwa.net All-Stars. Four of last seasons’ All-Stars retain their places while thirteen players make their first appearance in the squad, which has been selected with the assistance of non-playing representatives of the Premier League clubs. With another year about to tick over the time is right to pay tribute to the twenty-two players selected in the 2011 footballwa.net Premier League All-Stars squad.
INJURY BLOW AS ANDREZINHO GOES DOWN
Perth Glory have been dealt a serious blow of the eve of playing Melbourne Heart with Brazilian midfielder Andrezinho going down to injury. Andrezinho suffered what appears to be a hamstring tear during this morning’s training session at McGillivray Oval and joins Coyne (Achilles) and Scott Neville (knee) on the sidelines. “He was bursting down the left hand side and it just went. There were no tell tale signs. It wasn’t feeling tight or anything like that,” coach Ian Ferguson said. Travis Dodd and Tommy Amphlett are now in contention to take Andrezinho’s place in the starting line-up for tomorrow’s game at Perth Oval.
Glory have won just one of their past seven matches and are in desperate need of taking all the points from tomorrow’s game with Heart as well as next Friday’s home fixture with Central Coast Mariners. “These next two games coming up for us are crucial,” Ferguson said. “We need to keep in contention and the positive thing here is we’ve got two at home. I’ve been very pleased with our home form … and we’ve got to maintain that.” Heart is expected to feature West Australians Eli Babalj and Adrian Madaschi as they seek to build on last week’s win over champions Brisbane Roar.
TOP SPOT BECKONS FOR GLORY YOUTH
Perth Glory Youth coach Gareth Naven is approaching Sunday’s top of-the-table blockbuster with Melbourne Heart as he would any other game. Naven’s team are just a point behind Y-League pacesetters Heart but the coach is more concerned with the overall performance of his side than getting the win. “We are just trying to get better at what we do each week and Sunday is another opportunity to do that,” Naven said.
Naven, who has been pleased with his players’ progress, is reluctant to single out individuals but admits the form of 19-year old striker Ndumba Makeche is hard to ignore. “Born in 1992, history shows you that the 92’s through the state system are very good,” Naven added. “Trent Sainsbury, Eli Babalj, Million Butshiire and Julius Davies are a range of people who have gone on for pro contracts.” Glory Youth takes on Heart from 5.00pm on Sunday at 6PR Stadium, home of Inglewood United.
ARMADALE TO PLAY MALAYSIAN CUP WINNERS
Lee Bamber will take charge of Armadale for the first time when they take on Malaysia Super League outfit Negiri Sambalan next week. Negiri Sambalan, who claimed the Malaysia Cup in October and are in preparation for the upcoming season, will take on an Armadale select side comprising existing players and trialists. There’s a wealth of experience and talent in the visiting squad which features Malaysian internationals Norhafiz Zamani Misbah (63 caps), club captain Muhammad Shukor Adan (58 caps) and Idris Abdul Karim (39 caps). The Armadale-Negiri Sambalan friendly is set down for Friday 23rd December at Alfred Skeet Reserve (7.00pm) with admission $5.00.
STATE CHAMPIONS ADD ISAIA, NEIDERBERGER
Perth SC’s hopes of defending their State Champions title have been bolstered with the recruitment of Daniel Niederberger and James Isaia. The pair are already in pre-season mode under coach Gianfranco Circati and both have set their sights on playing leading roles in Perth being crowned kings of West Australia for the 21st time. “Well Perth are the finals specialists and if we can finish somewhere in the top three this season, we will give ourselves a very good chance to make it four championships in a row,” commented Isaia.
For Isaia, 26, joining Perth is a return to the club he played for as a junior. “I’m very excited to be back at Perth. It’s the most successful club in the state, I have a lot of friends there and I’m looking forward to the start of the season,” said the midfielder, who leaves Floreat Athena after five seasons. “It was difficult to leave Athena because I had been there for a few years and get along very well with the players and everyone around the club. I wish them all the best next season.”
Wearing the azure of Perth has been a long-held dream of attack-focused Niederberger. “Perth is a club I’ve always admired and really wanted to play for,” said the 28-year old, who played last season for Balcatta. “It was hard to leave behind a coaching panel I got on well with, players I enjoyed playing with and a club with big ambitions. But it is almost a no brainer when WA’s most successful club approach you. Perth has a strong majority of players around the same age so I feel the next few years can be a very healthy time for the club.”
Niederberger, who made the most of limited opportunities last season by scoring seven times for Balcatta, is looking forward to doing his bit as Perth seek to make State League history. “To make it four league titles in a row and challenge for the other trophies will make it a season to remember for a long time,” said Niederberger. Perth open the 2012 season on 3rd February with a Night Series clash against Division Two outfit Kingsway Olympic, who are returning to Saturday football after a six-year absence.
INGLEWOOD UNITED WITH GLORY
Inglewood United are close to formalising an alliance with A-League club Perth Glory which will see them re-badged Inglewood Glory from next season. The two clubs have in talks for the better part of the last twelve months over Glory establishing an administrative headquarters, training base and academy set-up at Inglewood’s home on Hamer Parade. The agreement will also provide Glory the opportunity to keep their youth and fringe players in peak match condition during the national league off-season.
There are benefits to be had by both Glory and Inglewood from the alliance. “For Glory it provides a home of football, a training venue, a social venue and the opportunity for player development in the long-term,” explained Kelly. “For Inglewood it gives them sustainability and better utilisation of their facilities. Without sounding vague, this is an internal club matter on the basis of a membership driven, club association that is no different than anyone else putting their hand up and offering to assist and help a State League club.”
Glory chief executive Paul Kelly is quick to allay fears Inglewood, one of the State League’s oldest clubs having been formed in 1952, will disappear once the alliance is formalised. “This is a joint venture - not a takeover – which gives Inglewood access to our resources and expertise, including sports and fitness coaches,” Kelly said. “Inglewood retains its identity, history and colours. The president remains the same and for Inglewood its business as usual, the club will continue to be run by a committee as per the constitution of association.”
Concerns the existing Inglewood squad will be replaced by a Glory side in the 2012 State League are simply not true according to Kelly. “The partnership does not affect what is currently in place at Inglewood. The coaches remain and are likely to be backed up by our coaches, and the commitment to all Inglewood players remains, from first team to youth,” said the Glory chief executive. “We expect some of the Glory Youth squad and hopefully first team fringe players will also play, but they will be picked on merit by the coaches.”
Also incorrect are similar concerns that Inglewood’s junior set-up will be “swallowed up” by Glory. “Inglewood is a community based club and they will maintain their local connections and the serve the community as it has for decades,” said Kelly. “Glory currently runs academies in the 7, 8 and 9-year old age groups outside the Football West season with players going back to their club of origin when the season starts. We have plans to expand further our academies and community programs as part of our commitment to grassroots football.”
Kelly admits to being disappointed by the attitudes of some State League clubs towards to the Glory-Inglewood partnership. “The conspiracy theories being put out there by some people show a complete lack of respect towards Inglewood, and in particular it’s president, Ziggy Kramer,” he said. “No matter what Glory does there will be negativity from some in the State League, that’s a matter of history and past events. I have had one phone call from a State League club on this matter, they all have my number.”
A formal agreement between Glory and Inglewood is yet to be finalised but that is something Kelly hopes will happen sometime in the next few weeks. “The Inglewood members will decide whether this is a direction they want to endorse,” said Kelly. “Regardless, Glory will be going down this path in some form as it is a key deliverable in our long-term strategic plan. We see this as an opportunity for Inglewood and Glory to grow and develop players whilst having a home of football and social outlet for all our supporters.”
COUNCIL CHIPS IN FOR SORRENTO UPGRADE
Facilities at Percy Doyle Reserve, home of Sorrento, are about to be upgraded after the City of Joondalup approved to fund the construction of a new covered seating area. The council had originally voted last year to provide $45,000 for the stand after Football West advised Sorrento covered seating would be part of the criteria to host Premier League games from 2012. Although Football West have since removed that requirement, the council voted at their meeting on Tuesday to retain fund for the development at Percy Doyle Reserve.
Sorrento secretary Kerry Slater says the new seated area will provide spectators some much needed relief at Percy Doyle Reserve. “The sheltered area will be a standalone construction seating up to 70 people, we’re hoping it will be completed by first league match,” said Slater. “Our ground is known as ‘Windy Hill’ for a good reason and the sheltered seating will provide some comfort against inclement weather conditions and also provide an elevated viewing position. We’re also presently building dedicated match officials facilities so they’ll no longer need to utilise a team’s changeroom.”
BABALJ “NOTHING TO FEAR”: MITCHELL
Josh Mitchell sees no reason for Perth Glory to pay special attention to Melbourne Heart danger man Eli Babalj when the two sides meet on Saturday night at Perth Oval. Babalj, a former Glory youth team player, may have only two goals to his name this season but the towering 19-year old is Heart's go-to man, holding the ball up before laying It into the path of strikers Alex Terra, Maycon and Mate Dugandzic. "He's a big strong, young lad but I don't think he's anything to fear," said Mitchell. "He's only 19 I think and he's doing well. He scored a nice goal (against Brisbane Roar) but he's just another player, we'll take him on his merits and try and make it as hard as we can for him."
YOUNGSTERS TAKE SECOND AT INSTITUTE CHALLENGE
The National Training Centre has again given a very good account of themselves at the State Institute Challenge, finishing second behind Northern New South Wales. Another tick of approval of the NTC program was the selection of four players – Daniel DeSilva, Matthew Ntoumenopoulos, Jeremy Tshongo and Josh Tucker – in the All Stars team while Kenny Lowe was named Coach of the Tournament as selected by the State Technical Directors.
Chris Ola, Football West’s technical director, was delighted with the teams’ performances. “This is a testament to the progress we have made to be widely acknowledged as one of the country’s leading talent developers,” he said. “The boys selected in the All Stars thoroughly deserved their selections and for Kenny (Lowe) to also be named the All Stars coach is fantastic news. Everyone at Football West is very proud of how the team performed on and off the field.”
West Australia made a strong start to the tournament by playing out a tight 1-1 draw with Northern New South Wales. The positives from that outing flowed over into the remainder of the week as the under-14 side accounted for the Northern Territory (3-1) and Queensland (2-0) and Victoria (3-2) to set-up a tense final few days. A draw with South Australia (0-0) and victory over Tasmania (3-1) meant West Australia needed victory in their final game to finish in top spot, however, they had to settle for second after going down to New South Wales (2-1).
The National Training Centre squad which played at the 2011 State Institute Challenge consisted of
Leo Athanasiou, Ryan Barker, Mohamed Beyan, Daniel DeSilva, Jaque Flores, Jack Iredale, Jesse Lazzaro, Pearse McKee, Ross Millard, Matthew Ntoumenopoulos, Sheldon Nunez, Rocco Pizzata, Jordan Pokler, Jeremy Tshongo, Josh Tucker, Dylan White, Calvin Whitney and Brandon Wilson. Coach Kenny Lowe was joined by Callum Salmon (assistant) and Taryn Meyer (physiotherapist), while 18-year old Matthew Southern refereed at the week-long tournament.
WE DESERVED MORE: FERGUSON
Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson felt his team deserved at least a share of the points from their weekend trip to Wellington Phoenix. Defender Ben Sigmund headed in the games solitary goal shortly before the final whistle to snatch the home team all the points from a scrappy encounter which Wellington ended with ten-man after the stoppage time dismissal of substitute Mirjan Pavlovic. “I thought the effort that the boys put in was tremendous,” said Ferguson. “To come away with a loss, I’m very disappointed.”
Goalkeeper Danny Vukovic sent a scare through the Glory camp when he hurt his left ankle early in the second half. He received treatment on the pitch and saw out the full game, even getting himself up in the Phoenix box late on and attempting a bicycle kick for goal as the visitors pressed to level. “We’ll have a look at him in the next 24 hours. He’ll get a scan. We’ll let it settle,” said the coach, who is hopeful Vukovic will be fit for next week’s game with Melbourne Heart. “He should be okay, hopefully.”
Ferguson was also upbeat about the chances of Travis Dodd and Evan Berger returning to action, dismissing suggestions that injuries were taking their toll on Glory. “I don’t think it’s affected us too much,” Ferguson said. “We’ve been playing some good stuff in certain games. I know the Roar game was very disappointing and they (the players) knew that as well. But apart from that we’ve been in there in games. There has been no team that has steamrolled us apart from Brisbane. The boys have always been there or thereabouts.”
PERTH OVAL UPGRADE TO START IN SIX MONTHS
The transformation of Perth Oval into a first-class football stadium will commence in July next year. A $95 million upgrade of the aging facility will see the its’ capacity increased to 25,000 with the temporary scaffold seating on the eastern side of the ground replaced with a modern, permanent grandstand while new lighting, a new pitch and two video screens are also part of the plans. Sports minister Terry Waldron committed $88.5 million to the project twelve months with Cabinet approving a further $7 million in August.
BIRIGHITTI TO LEAVE ADELAIDE
Goalkeeper Mark Birighitti is poised to leave Adelaide United after three years in the city of churches. Birighitti, a former Perth SC junior, comes out of contract in March and after being starved of opportunities with the Reds and failing to land a contract in Europe is now considering a domestic move. Newcastle United coach Gary Van Egmond is understood to be interested in signing the Australian under-23 international after trying several 'keeper's this campaign. "Whatever the situation is, I'll speak with my agent and let my agent deal with that side of things," Birighitti told adelaidenow.com.au
Birighitti, who has played second fiddle to Eugene Galekovic, recognised he could not afford another season on the bench. "It's frustrating because I think I'm good enough to be playing at an A-League club," the 20-year old said. "I understand the position I'm in. I've got a great goalkeeper in front of me (and) I've learnt a lot off him. (But) now I know it's time for me to be a number one goalkeeper at another club. There's been a bit of interest. I want to be playing. Whether it's here or Newcastle, that's for my agent to decide."
Although unsuccessful in landing a contract with Dutch club N.E.C. last month, Birighitti has not given up hope of playing abroad. "I've still got ambition to play overseas at some stage in my career. I'm still only young," said Birighitti, who was left frustrated after trialling with N.E.C. "I only got to play ten minutes in the game, so they really couldn't see much of me," he said. "(And) honestly I got no feedback whatsoever. They didn't say I need to improve certain areas of my game, it was just 'thanks for coming' ... it was disappointing but I have to move on and focus on here now."
WARNOCK URGES HERD TO KEEP PUSHING HIMSELF
Aston Villa defender Stephen Warnock has told team mate Chris Herd he can continue to be the centre of attention, providing he keeps improving. Herd’s impact in a holding midfield role has been the silver lining in a cloudy couple of months for Villa and with plenty of encouragement he can get even better in the role according to Warnock. “Chris is a great player. He is comfortable on the ball. He wins it back really well. He’s looked comfortable doing his job,” Warnock told avfc.co.uk. “The challenge now is to consistently do it over the season, that’s the big ask. A lot of players come into the team and do it for four or five games, it’s carrying it on for the season.”
Herd, 22, started the season as right-back but has moved to the top of Villa’s midfield pecking order since his man-of-the-match performance against Wolverhampton Wanderers in September. “There’s a lot of pressure in central midfield because you’ve got to be able to keep the ball, win it back and be the all-round player really. It’s not easy but he’s done really well,” said Warnock. “The guys have to keep him grounded and keep telling him he has to keep on improving. There’s no point staying at a level – he has to prove to himself and prove to everyone else that he can be better than he has played. That’s the challenge every time you step on a football field – to better yourself.”
MAKECHE AGAIN GLORY YOUTH’S SAVIOUR
A brace to Ndumba Makeche has helped a ten-man Perth Glory Youth to a 2-1 victory over Central Coast Mariners in a pulsating game at 6PR Stadium this morning. In warm and humid conditions, Central Coast struck first through Mitchell Duke but that lead was short-lived with Makeche restoring parity just minutes after. The dismissal of home captain Sam Mitchinson just after the hour changed the game’s complexion, however, the Mariners failure to capitalise was punished by Makeche’s second goal three minutes from full-time. The results puts Glory Youth into joint second on the National Youth League table, level with Brisbane Roar and one point behind leaders Melbourne Heart.
A high-tempo opening had both sides involved in an intense battle for territory in the middle of the park. It took just 11 minutes for Duke to show his predatory instincts with a classy finish from 15-metres that gave goalkeeper Devon Spence no chance. The hosts responded by lifting a notch and shots in quick succession by Makeche were blocked by the defence. The team were brought level when Makeche drilled in a loose ball after Travis Dodd’s shot was prevented from entering the net by Nikola Stanojevic. Glory Youth were unlucky not to go further ahead with Dylan Mitchell tipping over a Alec Jovic shot before another Makeche effort drifted millimetres wide.
The second half opened with the Mariners on top, Justin Hayward forcing Spence to deflect away his shot from a tight angle. Glory Youth suffered a major blow in the 65th minute when last defender Mitchinson was shown a straight red for bringing down Duke. Spence kept the home side in the game, saving goalbound headers from Kwabena Appiah-Kubi and Aaron Peterson. The outcome was decided by a classic counter-attack in the 87th minute, substitute Alex Caniglia getting down the right and threading the ball in for Makeche to rifle in from 15-metres. There was still time for another brilliant finger-tip save from Spence to send Duke’s effort over the top.
LATE GOAL DENIES GLORY
Wellington Phoenix forgot their finishing woes just long enough to sneak a 1-0 win over Perth Glory in this afternoon’s lacklustre encounter at Westpac Stadium. A dour game looked like ending without score when Ben Sigmund’s 86th-minute bullet header broke the deadlock. The home team endured a frantic final few minutes, which included Mirjan Pavlovic’s sending off, to secure their third win of the season. The result extended Glory’s winless A-League run in New Zealand to six games, and dropped the side to sixth on the table.
In a scrappy opening, Glory looked the more likely to score early with Liam Miller‘s curling effort blocked by defender Tony Lochhead and a first time volley by Josh Mitchell was taken by goalkeeper Tony Warner. Strong work by Todd Howarth put the ball with Shane Smeltz, who released Andrezinho down the left but the Brazilian’s cross was misdirected as several team mates surged into the 18-yard box. Bas Van Den Brink then headed over the crossbar from an Andrezinho free-kick as Glory pilled on the pressure. It took until the 45th minute for Danny Vukovic to be forced into his only save of the half, getting down well to his right to deny Chris Greenacre.
Both teams showed a great deal more composure, Miller shotting at Warner before Dani Sanchez placed just wide of the target. Glory almost stole the lead on 67 minutes when Warner fumbled a hopeful ball into the area but Smeltz, under pressure from Sigmund, was unable to get enough power on his shot. The game was decided with four minutes of regulation time to play, Sigmund rising highest to nod in from a Leo Bertos corner played to the front post. There was still time for Pavlovic to receiving his marching orders for bringing down Todd Howarth, while the closest Glory came to levelling was a goalmouth scramble and two late corners.
ANOTHER BAD DAY AT THE OFFICE FOR GLORY WOMEN
Perth Glory Women suffered a third straight loss when out-gunned 5-0 by Melbourne Victory this afternoon at 6PR Stadium in Inglewood. Visiting captain Jodie Taylor was the star of the show scoring a hat-trick as fellow attacker Katrina Gorry chimed in with a double in another brilliant individual performance. Although there was considerable improvement on last week’s disappointing display at Sydney FC, alarm bells must still be ringing in the Glory Women camp after conceding 21 goals in their past three games, slipping the team to just three points from last place.
Gorry got the ball rolling when her weak 3rd minute effort somehow found the bottom corner. The visitors build on this by dominating all the early possession but Taylor was denied her teams’ second goal by Mackenzie Arnold’s impressive save. Marianna Tabain had Glory Women’s best chance but her long-range attempt dipped just over the target. Gorry grabbed her second goal in the 23rd minute, expertly flicking the ball over Arnold, before Taylor sealed the win just a minute later. Arnold thwarted Kendall Fletcher from distance and Gorry lifted just high of the crossbar in Melbourne’s search for further goals.
The margin blew out to four-nil just after the hour, Taylor showing her class with a delightful chip with the outside of her boot to lob the goalkeeper. To their credit, Glory Women never gave up hope but after bursting inside the 18-yard box Katarina Jukic shot into the arms of Brianna Davey. Taylor sealed her hat-trick and made it five-nil in the 78th minute after making it look all too easy past a scrambling home defence. Salt was rubbed into Glory Women’s wound when midfielder Elisa D’Ovidio was stretchered from the field with concussion following a late collision with Davey.
TIGERS 'DELIGHTED' TO HAVE GARCIA BACK
Richard Garcia has been called into the Hull City squad for the first time this season as they prepare to face Coventry City this afternoon. Garcia has been out of action since April after damaging his cruciate ligament against Crystal Palace and following an arduous rehabilitation caretaker manager boss Nick Barmby feels the attacker is ready for action. "Garc will come into the squad which we're delighted with," Barmby told the 'Hull Daily Mail'. "He's been first class and he deserves it. He's experienced enough to tell us when he's ready and he's champing at the bit to play." Garcia has been on short-term deal with Hull since his previous contract expired in July but is hopeful his first-team return will be followed by a long-term contract.
CANNING STAY ON THE BALL
Canning City has confirmed they will line-up in the State League next season, and beyond. The Division One club was on the verge of leaving the State League last month, however, a series of meetings over the past fortnight coordinated by former president Hans Meyer has sparked a new level of enthusiasm and desire to succeed at the club. “Everybody is very keen for Canning to go ahead, have some fun again and experience success with the club,” said 70-year old Meyer, who stepped in to help his beloved club after receiving a flood of phone calls from former members and players.
The local council’s decision to carry out groundworks at Willetton Oval was cited last month as the proverbial straw which broke the camels’ back. That problem has been “95% solved” with the City of Canning fast-tracking their groundworks and opening the door on Canning utilising a nearby ground in the interim. “The City of Canning will be laying new lawn and reticulation from March so we can do our pre-season at our ground,” said Meyer. “They have also asked Lynwood to let us play at Hossack Reserve, and we’re meeting with (Lynwood president) Bill McLaren next week to discuss that.”
Like many clubs, Canning were also feeling the strain of being operated by a committed but small group of volunteers. “We’ve had some robust meetings involving some of our first team players and they’ve agreed to take on roles at the club with the aim of establishing a good relationship between players, coaches and management,” commented Meyer. “Many of these players have been with us since juniors and there is a very good chance they will later have jobs at Canning and this provides them an opportunity to learn how to operate a club and work as a team away from the park.”
With the off-field problems being addressed, Canning’s focus is now slowly returning to the 2012 Division One season. “I managed to contact our coach, Richard Francisco, who is on holiday in South Africa and he has confirmed he will be with us after he has cleared some work issues,” said Myer, who has himself taken on a committee role with the Saturday teams. “All the State League players have been informed we are go, pre-season training starts in January and will compete in the Night Series as well as the league … we’re looking forward to making our mark in 2012.”
THE ONLY WAY IS UP FOR GLORY WOMEN
Perth Glory Women heads into tomorrow’s home game with Melbourne Victory knowing that a much-improved performance is needed as places in the line-up are now at stake. Last weekend’s crushing 11-0 loss to Sydney FC left the playing group battered, and with internationals Katie Holtham (suspended), Emma Kete and Lisa-Marie Woods (both released) unavailable, coach Jamie Harnwell says it’s time for his players to stand up and be counted. “The players know they have a lot to prove to themselves, the supporters and the rest of the league,” said Harnwell.
In looking for answers Harnwell has brought teenager defenders Shawn Billam and Emily Dunn along with striker Lara Filocamo into his squad for tomorrow’s game at 6PR Stadium (4.00pm). “There will be changes made and those players who have been working hard outside of the match day squad will get their opportunity to come in and stake a claim for a permanent place,” said the coach. “We are under no illusions that this will be a difficult game against a very good and quick Melbourne side, however, each and every player realises what is at stake for this game.”
DISRUPTIONS NO EXCUSE: FERGUSON
A disrupted week will not be used as an excuse should things not go to plan for Perth Glory against Wellington Phoenix on Saturday. Glory’s 18-player squad plus team officials spent more than eight hours at Perth Airport on Tuesday only to have their flight to Sydney cancelled due to the weather, resulting in the postponement of yesterday's game with Sydney FC. A hastily re-arranged travel schedule now has the travelling party arriving in New Zealand – via Brisbane – early tomorrow.
Ferguson acknowledged Tuesday had been a tough day but was confident it would not affect his player’s preparation for Wellington. “It was hard for everybody,” he said. "It’s out of our control and there was nothing we could do about it. It was unfortunate about the bad weather and there are obviously rules and regulations for Qantas. There were people worse off than us – there were people in planes for nine or ten hours, which must have been tough.”
Although the teams’ equipment, including boots, shin pads, playing kit and medical gear, was still at the airport, coach Ian Ferguson put his players through an intense training session yesterday before dismissing the disruption as a minor inconvenience. “We’ve got two days’ extra training and we’re preparing the same as we do for any away game to Wellington,” he said. “The game’s been cancelled, but we’ve come back, we’ve trained, we travel on Thursday and prepare for the game on Saturday … We just get on with it and don’t make excuses.”
INJURED NEVILLE TAKING “LITTLE STEPS”
Scott Neville is making a steady recovery from the knee injury which has put a dampener on his dream of playing for Australia at next year’s Olympic Games. The Perth Glory defender underwent surgery a month ago after tearing a lateral ligament in his right knee leading into the clubs’ game with Newcastle Jets. “It’s my aim to take little steps, literally,” commented Neville, 22. “At about the two weeks I got my stitches removed and I was able to start massage therapy (and) in two more weeks I can throw the crutches away and start running.”
Not being part of the action is an experience that is new to Neville, but one he is not particularly fond of. “Being injured is a tough time as you are always first in to the treatment room in the morning, and last to leave. It’s especially frustrating when you see the boys come in and go and start training,” said Neville, whose career started out with Sorrento. “But as long you keep a positive frame of mind and are willing to work hard you will see the rewards and hopefully, I can come back bigger and stronger than before.”
Neville’s rehabilitation program kicked in just three days after surgery. “I was determined to get my rehab underway as soon as possible,” he said. “I’ve been doing three sessions a day which includes a series of different programs set up by the club physio (Chris Hutchinson) and strength and conditioning coach (Warren Andrews). These include upper body weights and a cardio grinder in the morning which is pretty tedious and painful, but it’s all part and parcel of the road to a quick recovery.”
“After these two sessions I generally head back to the physio room for some more treatment on my knee and ankle,” added Neville. “This includes making sure I get all the fluid out of the area as well as keeping it mobilised before I head into my second rehab session later in the day. The second stint is normally focused on keeping strength in my left and right leg so that when I’m finally off the crutches I’ll still have a lot of my strength in my legs and won’t have to do as much building up.”
The prospect of re-joining his Glory team mates on the training track in a fortnight is something Neville is looking forward to. “It will be an exciting time for me, as I’ll be amongst the boys again and get to train with them,” he said. “My goal is definitely to be back playing in early February, which is a little earlier than originally expected. Hopefully the boys can keep winning and we’ll be playing finals football which will give me time to play a few league games and then hopefully be part of a successful finals run.”
BRISBANE ARE NOT UNSTOPPABLE: MADASCHI
The end of Brisbane Roar's remarkable 36-game unbeaten run may have removed an important mental hurdle for their A-League rivals according to defender Adrian Madaschi. As Melbourne Heart prepares to head to Suncorp Stadium this weekend Madaschi says Brisbane's loss to Sydney FC offers new hope for the rest of the league. "Brisbane were on a roll and from an opponent's point of view you think, 'These guys have gone 36 games without losing, how do we approach it?'," said Madaschi. "Sydney had looked into ways of combating Brisbane's attacking style. They had a lot of discipline, they have been working well together as a team."
Madaschi, who spent more than a decade playing in Italy and Scotland before returning to Australia, is making the most of a short-term injury replacement deal with the Heart. The 29-year old spent two months training with Melbourne Victory before a chance meeting with crosstown player Wayne Srhoj led to an introduction to coach John Van't Schip, and a deal which runs until early January. No sooner was Madaschi brought into the squad than a starting spot opened up, Heart taking maximum points from three of Madaschi's four outings.
Having proven his quality at A-League level, Madaschi is unsure where he'll be playing post-January but has made clear his preference to stay where he is. "Top to bottom (the club's) it's been fantastic," Madaschi said. "The transition to Melbourne was easy for both myself and my wife. We really like it here, we think it's a great city. The thing that counts most is performances on the pitch. I've just got to worry about that on a weekly basis, on a daily basis, and that's going to prove for me what's around the corner in the future."
GLORY WOMEN AXE STAR RECRUITS
International signings Lisa-Marie Woods and Emma Kete have been cut from the Perth Glory Women playing roster for breaches of discipline. Football West are believed to have informed Woods and Kete of their release following a training ground bust-up which the pair continued at their shared accommodation. “Athletes playing at this highest level of the sport are subject to public scrutiny and codes of behaviour and when these are broken and taken advantage of, it is necessary to act swiftly and fairly for the benefit of overall team harmony,” said chief executive Peter Hugg.
In recognising it has been a difficult season for Glory Women, Hugg said he is happy with the direction being taken by rookie coach Jamie Harnwell. “Whilst performances on the park haven’t been as good as we all may like, we are in a stage of rebuilding a young squad,” Hugg added. “We support Jamie and his efforts to implement a high performance environment where individual issues make way for the greater good of the team.” Football West are investigating the possibility to bringing in replacement players for their last five games.
MOSES HEADS FOR WEST HAM TRIALS
Teenage winger Moses Kalau has been invited to trial with English Premier League club West Ham United. Kalau, 17, caught the eye of scouts from the London club during a recent National Training Centre camp and was one of 12 players invited to try out for the Hammers international junior academy in March. “It was a big thrill … I couldn’t believe it. I was very, very happy,” Moses said of his selection. “I love the game and I want to be a part of it - the professional environment.”
While Kalau’s dream of playing football professionally rings familiar with many other Australian youngsters, his life’s pathway has been very different. Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kalau spent nine years in a Zambian refugee camp before he and his family arrived in Australia four years ago. In 2010 he finished as top goal scorer for Stirling Lions’ Under-18s and, after turning out for the NTC last season, Kalau is spending the summer training with the Perth Glory Youth squad.
Rob Milevski, football programme co-ordinator at Balga, said he expected Moses to impress in try-outs with West Ham. “He is very skilful and very quick,” said Milevski, a former State League player with Stirling and Inglewood United. “He makes it very difficult for opposition sides and being able to play left and right wing is an advantage and it caught the eye of the scouts. I think it’ll be a positive outcome for him and I expect him to do very well.”
STORMS KEEP GLORY GROUNDED
Perth Glory will have extra time to prepare for Saturday's trip to New Zealand after the postponement of today's game against Sydney FC. Glory had been facing two tough away games in four days but will instead focus immediately on the Phoenix after the cancellation of their flight to Sydney. Players and team officials were among thousands of passengers stranded at Perth Airport yesterday after severe thunderstorms disrupted flights. The travelling party spent more than eight hours waiting for a planned 11.10am flight, which was rescheduled for 2.30pm and then 3.30pm before it was cancelled.
Paul Kelly, chief executive of Perth Glory, worked closely with Football Federation Australia, which was keen for the "community match" to proceed, before an agreement was reached to reschedule. "The solution is to postpone the game in the interests of fairness and a duty of care to the players," Kelly said. "We even contemplated flying out tomorrow morning but to be fair to us and the integrity of the competition the match will be rescheduled. We spoke to FFA about our view and they share that." Glory will train this morning ahead of tomorrow's flight to New Zealand.
ROBINSON’S CUP RUNNETH OVER
The FA Cup dream of former Armadale striker James Robinson has come to an end with Redbridge’s 5-0 weekend loss to Crawley Town. Robinson, who joined Redbridge in September, is delighted to have helped the Motormen into the first round proper of the FA Cup but admits the odds were stacked against them on Saturday. “We always knew Crawley was going to be tough, they are flying in League Two and they’ll get promoted this year,” he said. “It was a great atmosphere, I think there were 2,500 at the ground. We did well for periods of the game and 5-0 was a harsh score line on us.”
Redbridge’s Cup run started with a 2-0 win over Ebbsfleet United before seeing off Oxford City 2-1 in extra-time through goals by Nathan Gordon and Ben Bradbury. “The win at Oxford was well deserved. We showed great character to come from behind to win, but we outplayed them throughout the game so I wasn’t that worried when we went behind,” explained Robinson, who was unlucky not to score against Crawley. “I latched on to a short back pass and tried to lift it over the ‘keeper, who got something on it and it landed on the roof of the net ... great experience though, I really enjoyed the atmosphere.”
Robinson, who amassed 45 goals for Armadale over two and a half seasons, says returning to Perth is not part of his immediate plans. “Certainly not for the upcoming season,” he said. “I loved my time at Armadale but you have to move on in life. I don’t think I could have achieved anything more than I did there. My only disappointment is I didn’t get a chance with Perth Glory, not even invited to train with them and I think I did more than enough to get that chance. I wish new coach Lee Bamber well, he's a good guy and they deserve success down there.”
FERGUSON WANTS TO SEE GLORY’S KILLER INSTINCT
Coach Ian Ferguson has his fingers crossed Perth Glory can be more ruthless in the final third of the park, starting tomorrow night against Sydney FC. The Sky Blues extended their winning streak over Glory to five games with last month’s 1-0 victory, however, Ferguson saw enough in his team’s weekend defeat of Gold Coast United to suggest they are worthy of a place much higher than the fourth they currently occupy. “They’ve obviously got the upper hand in results over the last few games,” Ferguson said. “But the last game for us was a real positive in how we played and how we created chances. In future games now, we have to be ruthless in what we do … that will breed confidence.”
An expanded 18-man squad heads east today for a difficult two-game trip which takes in Sydney (tomorrow) and Wellington Phoenix (Saturday). Australian youth international Jesse Makarounas, attacking midfielder Tommy Amphlett and defender Steve Pantelidis have been added to the squad involved in Saturday’s game with Gold Coast. When Glory return to Perth Oval on 17 December they will have played seven of their first 11 games away from home. “There’s no point moaning about it,” said Ferguson, who is looking forward to that trend being reversed later in the season. “If we can hang in as best we can and get as much points as we can and then look for that great run home then that could be a big bonus for us.”
GARCIA BACK IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS
Hull City boss Nick Barmby hopes to see Richard Garcia come back into first team contention within the next fortnight. Garcia and team mate Seyi Olofinjana have not featured for the Tigers this season after undergoing knee surgery in May, but enjoyed their first taste of action in six months in a behind-closed-doors game on Thursday. "If everything goes to plan I'd certainly expect them to be involved in the Christmas schedule," said Barmby, Hull's caretaker manager.
Although thrilled with the progress made by Garcia and Olofinjana, Barmby would like to see both players get at least one more game under their belt before they are considered for first team duty. "It will probably need another game or two for the fitness and for them," he added. "Without that it would be a big ask and I wouldn't be prepared to do it. When players have been out for seven or eight months it wouldn't be fair to throw them straight in."
STERJOVSKI TIPPING A SUCCESSFUL TRIP EAST
Perth Glory can rise to the difficult challenge of a two-match away assignment to build on their home win over Gold Coast United, according to midfielder Mile Sterjovski. Despite his teams' recent poor run of results on the road Sterjovski is confident Glory can avoid a double dose of travel sickness when they take on Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix this week. "Records show our form away from home isn't good but I think we've been unlucky in a few games this season," Sterjovski said. "We can get a result over there against Sydney as long as we're confident and play our own game."
The two-game road trip could not have come at a better time for Glory who are coming off a 2-0 victory over Gold Coast United, a result which ended a run of five games without a win. Sterjovski felt Glory might also benefit from having to make just a short trip across the Tasman after adjusting to the time difference in Sydney. "It could be beneficial," he said. "We haven't done it before so hopefully it's a positive thing for us. It's never easy playing in Wellington but this might make it a bit different for us." Glory plays Sydney on Wednesday and three days later come face to face with Wellington.
MAKECHE EARNS GLORY YOUTH VICTORY
A late goal from substitute Ndumba Makeche had given Perth Glory Youth a 1-0 win over Gold Coast United in this morning’s National Youth League match in Inglewood. The home team controlled the bulk of the match, hitting the frame of the goal in each half as well as creating several other opportunities before Makeche secured the points with only a dozen minutes remaining. Gold Coast also had their chances to take something from the game but Glory Youth custodian Lewis Italiano made several impressive saves to condemn the visitors to their fourth loss of the campaign.
Despite the hot conditions Glory Youth started strongly and nearly went ahead early when Steve Pantelidis beat the offside trap to go clear, however, the senior squad member placed wide from close-range. Gold Coast hit back seconds later with Chris Harold firing high from 10-metres, and not long after the striker was denied by Italiano who did well to keep out Mitch Cooper's follow-up header. Italiano was called into action again in the 17th minute when Cooper was again played through one-on-one. The home side were inches away from taking the lead through a Reece Vittiglia free-kick which smashed into the upright.
The second period had barely started when Gold Coast’s Daniel Severino free-kick narrowly evaded the head of an unmarked Sami Tesfagabr. Substitute Byron Hudson rifled into the crossbar from the edge of the 18-yard box as the home side sought the lad, then Tommy Amphlett and Jesse Makarounas both had chances to post the games’ opening goal. The breakthrough finally arrived on 78 minutes, Makeche played in to calmly slot past goalkeeper Jerrad Tyson from a difficult angle. Gold Coast pushed forward in the final minutes as they searched for a late equaliser but this one was game Glory Youth weren’t about to let slip from their grip.
SPOT ON GLORY GETS GOLD
Perth Glory attacker Mile Sterjovski celebrated a new addition to his family by finding the net in his team’s much-needed 2-0 victory over a ten-man Gold Coast United at Perth Oval tonight. Sterjovski converted from the penalty spot midway through the first half with Shane Smeltz doing likewise in the 54th minute to send Glory to fourth on the A-League table, ending a run of five games without a win. “The preparation was pretty difficult because I wasn’t able to train yesterday and I haven’t had much sleep in the last 48 hours,” said Sterjovski. “I want to dedicate that goal to my daughter Lilly, my beautiful wife and our sons Luka and Sonny.”
On a warm, Glory turned the temperature up on an out-of-form Gold Coast from the opening whistle with Liam Miller and Mile Sterjovski combining to good effect several times. Smeltz was found by Sterjovski but his diving header was comfortably gathered by Glen Moss. Todd Howarth picked out Billy Mehmet whose swerving shot from 16-metres flashed centimetres wide. That approach was rewarded on 19 minutes when Gold Coast defender Zac Anderson opted to clear a corner with his hands, giving referee Strebre Delovski little alternative but to point to the spot from where Sterjovski sent Moss the wrong way. Glory continued to attack but had to be content with a one-goal lead at the break.
Gold Coast issued a reminded there were two teams in the game early in the second half with James Brown’s crisp shot forcing a great reflex save from Danny Vukovic. The home side responded sixty seconds later, Andrezinho drawing a foul from Ben Halloran with Smeltz cheekily dinking the resultant spot kick over Moss. Gold Coast’s chances of an unlikely comeback were dealt a further blow on 62 minutes when Anderson picked up a second yellow card for a cynical bodycheck on Andrezinho. Glory’s dominance from this point on had chances for Billy Mehmet, substitute Adam Taggart and Miller to further extend their lead before the referee brought the curtain down on a vital win from the home side.
SYDNEY THRASH GLORY WOMEN
Sydney FC rewrote the W-League record books in the most emphatic fashion imaginable, whipping Perth Glory Women 11-0 at Leichhardt Oval. The Sky Blues led 2-0 at half-time thanks to Renee Rollason’s brace before last season’s premiers turned the screws in the second period, starting with five goals in the first 15 minutes. Rollason, Kylie Ledbrook and Leena Khamis each finished the afternoon with a hat-trick with Kyah Simon and an own goal completing out the scoring. The win easily eclipsed the previous competition record of 7-1 achieved by Newcastle Jets last season against Adelaide United.
Glory Women were on the back foot from the outset and the only surprise was that it took until midway through the half before Sydney broke through with Rollason finishing at close-range from a Caitlin Foord cross. Two minutes before the interval Rollason scored with a near-carbon copy of her teams’ first goal, though this time the midfielder headed in a cross from the right. The only attempt on goal of note for the visitors was a lofted effort by Marianna Tabain which goalkeeper Allison Lipsher watched land on the roof of the net.
Any hopes of a second half comeback by Glory Women vanished in the opening minutes of the second half. Ledbrook netted at close-range and Rollason completed her treble before Tanya Oxtoby had the misfortunate of scoring an own goal. Khamis got in on the scoring with a close-range finish, then added a second with a clinical header from Heather Garriock’s well-flighted delivery. Khamis finished off her hat-trick with a low strike from the edge of the 18-yard box, Ledbrook bagged the hosts tenth goal before Simon crashed in a loose ball near the penalty spot.
SAGE BACKS SMITH REPORT
Tony Sage has welcomed a Federal Government review into football which has recommended the need to reduce players' wages and improve the stadium deals for clubs. The Smith Report released on Thursday says the A-League "must live and grow within its means" and reduce the $32 million a year spent on players' salaries while also ensuring cheaper stadium deals for clubs, or risk the A-League's future viability.
The report by Australian Sports Commission chairman Warwick Smith found players are currently paid 40 per cent of the income generated by the A-League, compared to approximately 20 per cent paid in other football codes in this country. "Salaries have increased at an unsustainable rate, out of step with the income the product generates," the report reads. "At a minimum the salary cap must be frozen, but it would be appropriate to explore options to reduce the cap."
Despite this, Glory chairman Sage does not expect a wage freeze to be implemented because of the pressure by the players' union, Professional Footballers Australia, to protect incomes. "I've been arguing for that for the last two years," Sage said of Australian Sports Commission chairman Warwick Smith's recommendation that the salary cap should be frozen and possibly reduced. "But in the end the PFA will probably win."
Sage said he had taken on ownership of Glory in 2007 on the understanding that Football Federation Australia was moving towards giving clubs enough annual funds to cover players' wages. Unfortunately, that has failed to eventuate and clubs are now experiencing increasing financial difficulty. Sage has long complained about the cost of playing at Perth Oval - around $1.6 million annually - and would welcome help to improve the deal.
Amongst the reports' recommendations were no expansion of the A-League beyond ten teams until the competition is financially strong; the time is not right for A-League control to be fully separated from FFA; A-League clubs and owners need more input into the decision-making process; the planned FFA Cup knockout competition should be put on hold; and FFA head office must look at reducing its own costs and those around its national teams.
MILLER, STERJOVSKI BACK AS GLORY SEEK MUCH-NEEDED WIN
Perth Glory are focused on bringing their winless run to an end by taking maximum points over Gold Coast United tomorrow evening at Perth Oval (7.00pm). It’s been a difficult month for Glory, who has claimed a solitary point from five outings, but despite their recent lack of success the club remains close to the top of the A-League ladder. “We’re still in there. You are one point away from third place,” coach Ian Ferguson said. “It’s not make or break (against Gold Coast). It’s important that we get the wins, definitely, we want to make sure we get the wins and make sure that we try to get back to winning ways … but it’s not make or break for the league.”
Attack minded pair Liam Miller and Mile Sterjovski missed that game but both are likely to come straight back into the eleven and provide the spark that was sorely absent last time out. Gold Coast may be sitting at the bottom of the A-League table, but head west knowing they’ve not been bettered by Glory in six meetings. Talismanic young forward James Brown and midfield general Jonas Salley are sure to keep the home defence on high alert as the visitors attempt to snap their own four-game losing streak. With both teams desperate for a win to jump-start their season this promises to be a no-holds barred affair which will not be over until the referee’s final whistle.
WEEK OFF A BLESSING IN DISGUISE: HARNWELL
The postponement of last week’s game at Newcastle Jets has worked in favour of Perth Glory Women according to Jamie Harnwell. The Glory Women coach has been pleased with his players efforts on the training track this week as they attempt to revitalise their finals prospects. “We have had a bit more time at training to rectify the problems from the Brisbane (Roar) game and how we are looking to play against Sydney,” said Harnwell. “The players have worked hard and we are going to go over there and take the game to them. There is no point in us sitting back, we need put them on the back foot and get a win.”
Norwegian international Lisa-Marie Woods is finally available to make her first appearance for Glory Women and Harnwell is looking forward to seeing her in match action. “Having Lisa-Marie here for an extra week to familiarise herself with the team has been great and I think the rest of the players are excited to see her play as well,” said Harnwell. “It won’t be an easy game as Sydney is a very strong side with good players all over the park, but if we can play to our potential for a full 90 minutes we will be in with a chance.” Also coming into the squad are Lara Filocamo and Sarah Carroll, the latter after missing the opening part of the season through international commitments and injury.
VAN DEN BRINK EXCITED ABOUT GOLD COAST REUNION
Perth Glory defender Bas Van Den Brink can’t wait for Saturday night’s meeting with his former club, Gold Coast United. Van Den Brink, who was part of Gold Coast’s inaugural 2009/10 squad alongside Glory teammate Shane Smeltz, admits it’s tough coming up against old friends but feels that adds something extra to the occasion. “It’s a bit more exciting … I don’t think we’re (himself and Smeltz) going to be more nervous, but it will definitely play on the minds a bit more often during than the week than normally,” he said. “I’m looking forward to playing against them but I’m more looking forward to winning.”
Some solid performances over the opening months of the new season have earned Van Den Brink a special place in the hearts of Glory’s fanatic supporters in the Shed. “I didn’t know I was a cult hero,” the 29-year old said. “But I think it’s a great compliment and when I’m getting praise or compliments, I try to enjoy them as much as I can because I know it can be over after the next game, ‘cause you might do something horribly wrong. So when it’s there, when people say things like that, I definitely enjoy it and I feel fortunate that people think that way about me.”
Van Den Brink played in the Netherlands for FC Utrecht, FC Emmen and Almere City before giving the A-League a go on the advice of Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg, for whom he made 51 appearances. He moved to Busan I’Park early last year before linking up with Glory in June. “I didn’t have a great period there (Korea) but it just made me realise and appreciate more how good it is to play football in the A-League,” he commented. “It probably doesn’t make me more determined and I have no revenge feelings that I have to prove something, but it does make me appreciate the lifestyle in Australia a bit more.”
CANBERRA IN RIGHT MINDSET FOR TOP OF TABLE SHOWDOWN: WILLIAMS
W-League leader Canberra United is hoping to continue their superb start to the season against reigning champion Brisbane Roar, a side it has never beaten. Undefeated in five games this season, Canberra has made sure coming off last weekend’s bye hasn’t affected their momentum with team captain Lydia Williams saying the girls were continuing to work hard. “Keeping momentum has a lot to do with how we prepare for the weekend,” Williams told canberratimes.com.au. “We have trained hard over the last couple of days and are in the right mindset.”
Nerves could easily get the better of Canberra against Brisbane, however, Williams said her team are keeping things in perspective. “It is just like preparing for any other game. Our success so far has come down to taking each game as it comes,” she said. “I think a lot of people reading and talking about us say being unbeaten means more pressure, but we are not thinking about being five points ahead (of second-placed Brisbane). We are focused on playing well each game and staying undefeated as long as possible. I think we just want to keep doing what we have been doing.”
TONG GOES BACK-TO-BACK
Imposing defender Adam Tong has won Balcatta’s top prize, the Player of the Year, for the second time in as many years. Tong, who joined Balcatta early last year, collected the award at his clubs presentation ceremony in front of a full house at Burswood on Saturday night. “To win this award twice in two seasons is a great honour,” said the Englishman, before tipping his hat to some of his club mates. “We have some excellent players in the squad notably Spencer Harris, who had a great first season in WA, Gold Medal winner Steve Burton and Lewis Italiano who has been rewarded for his great season with a Perth Glory deal.”
Balcatta finished top of the Premier League table last season but dipping out of the finals early will provide the impetus for further glory when the new season kicks into life early in 2012. “We had an excellent season, to win the league by twelve points shows our intention to be a force in the State League for years to come,” said Tong. “The fact we didn’t win the Top Five only makes us more determined and focused for the season ahead. We are looking to strengthen the squad to increase competition for places which will be vital for us to if we are again push for another successful season.”
Midfielder Spencer Harris, signed last summer from English club Hebden Royd Red Star, picked up the Fairest and Best Runner-up trophy along with the Coaches Award. The Luke Beyer Rising Star Award was presented to versatile youngster Adam Stillitano, who came into first team reckoning towards the end of 2011. Terry Monastra was voted the Player of the Year for the reserves, where Michael Italiano was Runner-up and the Coaches Award went to Milos Dubroja. Miteku Ayene collected the youth team Player of the Year with Jalil Ahmad in second place and Will Bissett recipient of the Coaches Award.
LOWRY BECOMES A LION
Defender Shane Lowry has made his first appearances for Millwall, just days after joining for the English club. Lowry, 22, will be based at the Den until early January after signing for Millwall last Wednesday on an emergency loan deal from Aston Villa. He went straight into the starting line-up for Saturday's draw Crystal Palace and retained his first eleven position for last night's vital win over fellow Championship struggler Doncaster Rovers. Lowry, who joined Villa in early 2005, has previously experienced first team football through loans to Plymouth Argyle, Leeds United and Sheffield United in the last two seasons.
RETIREMENT NOT PART OF COYNE’S PLANS
One-time Socceroo defender Chris Coyne is not quite ready to hang up the boots despite tearing his Achilles tendon. Coyne, 32, suffered the potentially career ending injury late in Perth Glory's meeting at Melbourne Victory a fortnight ago in which the visiting team over-turned a two-goal deficit to earn a share of the points. He is scheduled to go under the knife next week and faces a minimum three month recuperation period. It’s a big blow for Glory who are already without defenders Scott Neville (knee), Steve Pantelidis (ankle) and Evan Berger (hamstring).
The terrific touch Coyne has displayed of late have convinced the defender he still has something to offer Glory. "I'm deeply disappointed but it's part of the job, you do lose weeks out through injury and I've just got to cop it and get on with it," Coyne said. "I'm a glass half-full man, rather than half-empty, so I'm always looking at the positives in life and I believe that with the people I've got around me and the surgeon that's looking after it, I've got every opportunity of playing again, hopefully for Perth Glory in the finals this year."
Coyne said that if the injury did finish a career, which has seen him play for West Ham United, Dundee, Luton Town and Colchester United, he'd still be satisfied with how it all went. "I've ticked a lot of boxes you know," he said. "I've been very fortunate in my career. I've had very few injuries, I've managed to play at the highest level and I've enjoyed every second of it. I don't think I'm quite ready to hang 'em up yet … I'd like to be back next year, if not, the end of this year, and give my best again for Perth Glory."
FFA HALL OF FAME HONOURS FOR MOORE, ALAGICH
Australian internationals Craig Moore and Di Alagich along with journalists Mike Cockerill and Ted Simmons were today inducted into the Football Federation Australia Hall of Fame. Moore and Alagich entered into the Hall of Champions, which celebrates the legends of the sport on the field, while Cockerill and Simmons were added to the Hall of Honour in recognition of their off-field contributions. This round of inductions comes just a month after the Sport Australia Hall of Fame acknowledgment of the achievements of the 1974 Socceroos, who represented the national at that year’s World Cup in Germany.
OLA APPOINTED WA TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
One of the State’s most well-credentialed coaches, Cris Ola, has been appointed to the position of Technical Director with Football West. Ola, who has UEFA and AFC ‘A’ coaching licences, enjoyed a decade-plus playing career in Romania before stepping into the coaching arena. “Obviously I am very honoured and pleased to be chosen for this important role,” Ola said of his new role. “One of the key tasks that I am excited about is the need to ensure a strong and consistent coach education program and pathway so the quality of technical instruction to all players improves. This will mean placing a strong emphasis on providing additional services to the WA clubs and their technical staff and the football community.”
Football West chief executive Peter Hugg sees Ola’s appointment as a major step forward for the local game. “A major objective will be to get out amongst the clubs and work with them to ensure that their needs in this area are being adequately met,” Hugg commented. “To their credit, clubs have worked with Football West in implementing some nationally driven programs such as the NTC and Skills Acquisition Program, and now it is up to us, to repay them for their efforts through greater support.” First port of call for Ola is attending next month’s NTC Challenge in Canberra and Football Federation Australia’s technical seminar. He plans to complete the Pro Diploma course – the highest coaching award possible – in 2013.
BRISBANE “BEST TEAM I’VE SEEN IN AUSTRALIA”: FERGUSON
Brisbane Roar were 'on another planet' when they destroyed Perth Glory 4-0 on Saturday night according Ian Ferguson. The Glory coach admits his team were no match for a red-hot Brisbane outfit for whom Besart Berisha and Issey Nakajima-Farran scored twice each to create a new Australian sporting record of 36 games without loss. "Credit to Brisbane, they're on a different planet to where we are at this moment in time," said Ferguson. "They're fantastic, probably the best team I've seen here in Australia (and) I've been here for ten years now.
There was nothing but praise for Brisbane coach Ange Postecoglou from Ferguson. "Ange has his system in place and he's done his homework on players coming in. They fit into the way he wants to play and it's a credit to him," Ferguson added. "I've seen teams come and try to play a high press, I've seen teams sitting in, I've seen them let them come in down the flanks. That's the benchmark. Their rotation and movement and mobility and energy was fantastic, we found it very hard to cope with."
Ferguson refused to read too much into his side's performance given the absence of experienced trio Chris Coyne, Mile Sterjovski and Liam Miller. "The squad we brought up I thought was good enough to try to get something here, unfortunately we didn't," Ferguson said. "It's one game in eight. It was a bad day at the office and it's not the first time Brisbane's done that to teams in the A-League. We'll move on. We'll sit down, regroup on Monday morning, go through a few things and look forward to getting Gold Coast in Perth."
CANNING WAVE GOODBYE TO SATURDAY FOOTBALL
A lack of facilities has forced Canning City to drop out of the State League. The club decided to withdraw from Saturday football following a meeting with the City of Canning last week at which they were informed their home ground and training base, Willetton Oval, would not be available until May at the earliest due to ground works. This came on top of the council’s late September refusal to underwrite a $256,000 loan for renovations at the Willetton Sports Club, leading to that clubs immediate closure after almost 30-years operation.
Canning coach Richard Francisco has been assembling his for the coming season when told the club would no longer be playing State League. “I got a phone call on Wednesday night from (committee member) Bill Watson confirming we would not be in the State League next season,” said Francisco. “The ground situation seems to be the main reason, but as with most clubs the behind the scenes work is left to a few and sometimes they need others to do a bit so that the club can survive. It’s a mind boggling decision by the council, removing a ground from the only sports club representing the shire in name.”
Francisco says the decision is a major blow to football in the south east of the City of Canning, one of the biggest councils in the metropolitan area. “It leaves players who have represented this club from juniors to seniors with no Canning City to play for,” Francisco commented. “Our work towards next season began 24 hours after the last game of 2011 and I was talking to players about moving to Canning next season which would have made us a very competitive side next season. It also leaves me jobless as all other coaching positions are filled, hopefully it's not the end of my coaching career.”
Formed in 1973, Canning Corinthians played in the lower leagues before dropping out of the State League in 1992 only to re-emerge a year later as Melville Corinthian. The juniors carried on as Canning Cosmos and after evolving into one of the largest junior clubs in Perth re-entered the State League in 2001 as Canning City. Eight years later coach Frank Longstaff guided them to the Division One title without loss, however, their stay in the top flight lasted just a single winter.
OLYMPIC MOUNTAIN GROWS A LITTLE FOR AUSTRALIA
Australia faces an uphill battle to qualify for next year’s Olympic Games after being held to a 0-0 draw by group leaders Uzbekistan at Parramatta Stadium. It was the third straight scoreless draw for the Olyroos, who have now played four and a half hours of football without finding the net. "Maybe it's time we stopped doing tactical work at training and concentrated a bit more on shooting," frustrated coach Aurelio Vidmar said. "We seem to be lacking that little bit of extra finesse (in attack)." The result puts Australia two points behind Uzbekistan, where they must travel in February for the key away match of their campaign.
The game started with much promise, the two teams trading opportunities across the opening half hour but neither goalkeeper was really tested. Uzbekistan looked to have broken the deadlock on 36 minutes when Kenja Turaev found the back of the net only to be denied by an offside flag. A similar situation occurred early in the second period with Dimitrios Petratos tucking in a loose ball from an offside position. Australia’s best chance of the game arrived on 77 minutes when Mitch Nichols’ stinging shot rose narrowly over the crossbar. After that both sides turned defensive to ensure they came away with a point.
GLORY YOUTH SETTLE FOR A POINT
Perth Glory have held National Youth League leaders Brisbane Roar to an entertaining 2-2 draw on a hat afternoon at the Cleveland Showgrounds in south-east Queensland. Reece Vittiglia gave the visitors the lead only for Matt Thurtell to bring the sides level just before the break. Brisbane went ahead early in the second period through Nick Fitzgerald, however, that lasted just a few minutes before Jesse Makarounas found the back of the net. The shared points means Glory Youth finish the round in fourth spot but only two points behind pacesetters Brisbane.
Brisbane were in control early with Thurtell, Fitzgerald and Corey Brown providing the spark. James Donachie and Fitzgerald were thwarted by some desperate defending while Glory Youth goalkeeper Lewis Italiano turned away close-range efforts from Rocky Visconte and Thurtell in the space of a few minutes. There may have been fewer chances at the other end but on 33 minutes Matthew Acton could do nothing to prevent Vittiglia from making it one-nil. Parity was restored four minutes from the break when Brown sent a low cross into a crowded 18-yard box where Thurtell stuck out a foot to deflect in.
Glory Youth started the second half on the attack, twice going close to reclaiming their lead in the minutes after the resumption. Harry O’Brien blasted wide after being played in with a lovely cross from Vittiglia, then Acton produced an acrobatic effort to push away Alex Caniglia’s shot. Those misses would come back to haunt the visitors on 58 minutes when Fitzgerald pounced on a loose ball inside the box to put Brisbane in front. Glory were level again seven minutes later with Makarounas expertly shooting past Acton after meeting a Ndumba Makeche cross.
BRISBANE MAKE HISTORY AT GLORY’S EXPENSE
Brisbane Roar have made Australian sporting history by demolishing Perth Glory 4-0 this evening under lights at Suncorp Stadium. The win saw Brisbane extend their unbeaten streak to 36 matches, setting a new record for the longest unbeaten streak in professional Australian sport. The defending A-League champions executed the same untouchable pass-and-move football that has left the rest of the competition in their wake for over a year and rewarded with first half doubles by Besart Berisha and Issey Nakajima-Farran. Glory was able to stem the tide in the second half but they failed to peg back the home team’s advantage.
Brisbane’s first goal came in the 23rd minute when a neat passing move involving Matt Smith, Henrique and Thomas Broich was expertly netted at close-range by Berisha. Ten minutes later Broich sent a looping pass over the Glory back four and into the path of Nakajima-Farran, who took one touch before chipping into the net. Nakajima-Farran helped himself to a second in the 41st minute, converting from a narrow angle after a fortunate deflection. Brisbane entered the break four-nil up thanks to Berisha, who blasted into the roof of the net after another fluid passing move involving Henrique and Broich.
Glory boss Ian Ferguson made a double change at the break with the introduction of Andrezinho and Steven McGarry leading to more of an attacking game plan for the second period. Andrezinho in particular stretched the Brisbane defence but the visitors rarely looked like breaking through with late shots from McGarry and Josh Risdon going wide. Brisbane no longer had the freedom they did in the first half but Henrique still managed to force Vukovic into saving on 66 minutes. Berisha was presented a golden opportunity to score his hat-trick in injury time but missed everything after being played in by Broich.
OXTOBY DEFLATED BY GAME’S POSTPONEMENT
Perth Glory Women captain Tanya Oxtoby couldn’t hide her disappointment with the postponement of today’s W-League encounter with Newcastle Jets due to wet weather. Football Federation Australia advised late on Thursday that heavy rain has made the Adamstown Oval pitch unplayable. “The girls are obviously pretty disappointed that the game won’t be going ahead this weekend due to the extreme weather impacting on the playing venue,” said Oxtoby. Glory Women, who are slumped second to last with one win from four starts, are working with FFA and Newcastle to reschedule the game.
The decision to call off the game completed a miserable week for Glory Women, who were hoping to bounce back from Saturday’s home loss to Brisbane Roar. “We had really set ourselves to have a hard week at training and get back out there against Newcastle and have a better performance,” Oxtoby added. “Everything that could have possibly gone wrong this season has so far … this is just another one of those things that we need to turn into a positive and regroup for a more ‘purpleswag’ like effort against Sydney FC next week.”
VILLA TO REST HERD
Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish plans to ease youngster Chris Herd through the remainder of the English Premier League season. Herd, 22, has impressed McLeish in starting Villa’s last four game, however, the team boss is wary of over-exposing the young midfielder. “Guys like Chris Herd and Barry Bannan are getting a crash course in the Premier League,” McLeish told ‘the Times’ newspaper. “To rely on these kids for the whole season is putting a lot of pressure on them. (Herd) has certainly shown the mental toughness to handle it. He's developing but let's not put too much pressure on him. Sometimes he will have to get a rest. That's the challenge that's ahead of us."
BIG SUMMER FOR TABAIN
Marianna Tabain is focused on playing a key role in a Perth Glory Women squad adapting to a new coach and the loss of three key players. Playing on the left wing, Tabain has scored twice already this season but it's been her incisive passes through to the forwards that has really stood out as her skills have exposed opposition sides on the counter several times. The 19-year olds contributions have been welcomed by coach Jamie Harnwell, who is without Australian internationals Collette McCallum (year off), Samantha Kerr (knee) and Katie Gill (knee) for his first season in charge.
Although only 19, Tabain has several campaigns under her belt and is aware the time has come for her to stand up and be counted, especially with McCallum, Kerr and Gill out of the picture. "You sort of want to step up for everyone else and set an example," she said. "It hasn't been easy but we've all got the same responsibilities and just because they're gone doesn't mean that no one else does what's needed. I'm probably expected to step up more than I have in other years (but) there's eleven on the field at the same time and we've all got to take part in the win."
Harnwell is backing Tabain and midfield team mate Ella Mastranonio to keep on producing the goods and make a lasting impression on national team coach Tom Sermanni, who was present at last week's home loss to Brisbane Roar. "You know Marianna and Ella, its big seasons for them both," Harnwell said. "They're just getting to the age when they're coming out of the Young Matildas and wanting to break through into the Matildas' team and I think both of them are fantastic talents and will really go far."
In McCallum's absence it has been to Tabain, Mastrantonio, Shannon May and Elisa D'Ovidio that Harnwell has turned to as Glory Women turn defence into attack. Tabain says the entire team are making the most of being coached by Harnwell, who retired only last season after 256 games for Glory. "He's been able to pass on his knowledge as a player to the defenders and also the strikers 'cause he's played in both positions," Tabain said. "We've tried to take advantage of that as we move forward as a team and it's been really good."
BABALJ CLOSE TO STARTING
Melbourne Heart coach John Van't Schip is looking forward to having a fully fit Eli Babalj back on deck. Babalj has caught the eye in his two recent cameo appearances and is slowly nearing his first start after a lengthy lay-off through injury. “We’re happy with the way it’s going and we’re working towards him training more intensively and starting a game, I don’t know if that's going to happen Saturday,” Van’t Schip said ahead of the trip to Central Coast Mariners. “He’s a player who can open things up with one movement. He’s not ready for 90 minutes at a high level - maybe the youth team he would be okay. He’s getting stronger and hoping that from December onwards he trains more.”
TASESKI CALLS FOR TIME OUT
Goalkeeper of the Year Oliver Taseski is to take a year out of football. Taseski, who has stood between the posts at Inglewood United for the past decade, says the time has come for football to take a backseat in his life. “For me the time is right to have a break for work and family commitments … the usual things that end up taking priority in life,” said Taseski, who has been toying with the idea for a while. “Sometimes you really love playing and sometimes you wonder why you bother. But that’s life, you have your ups and downs.”
Taseski, who played his junior days at Perth SC, joined Inglewood in 2000 and while still a teenager wrestled the gloves off former Socceroo custodian Robert Zabica. In the years that followed he collected three Goalkeeper of the Year trophies – in 2001, 2009 and 2011 – and numerous club awards but it was representing the State at the Tournai De Croix in 2001 and 2002 that Taseski considers the highlight of his career to date. “Definitely playing in the couple of tournaments in France, you never forget experiences like those,” he said.
By his own admission Taseski is not someone who sits comfortably in the stands and that’s partly why the 28-year old is keeping his future options open. “I won’t really know how I feel about not playing until I go down and watch a game … I hope it’s not too bad otherwise I might jump on the field at half time,” Taseski joked. “I’m not going to say this is retirement because you never know where things might go. But it’s definitely a break for the time being for me to concentrate on other things.”
ARNEZ GOES FOR GLORY
Stirling Lions' teenager Clayton Arnez is enjoying testing himself against the best young talent Australia has to offer. Arnez, 19, has been honing his defensive skills with the Perth Glory Youth team over the summer, fresh from a breakthrough State League season with Stirling. "It's a great opportunity for me and the season is going really well to date," commented Arnez. "The team have started the season well, only losing one game so far, which has been a great effort from the boys, and hopefully we can keep it up."
The chance to rub shoulders with senior players Mile Sterjovski and Steven McGarry, who've been playing in the youth league to maintain their fitness levels, has given Arnez an insight into what is required to take his game to the next level. It's been great to play in the same side as some of these players," said Arnez. "They are both quality players and they definitely show there class when they play. It gives me and the rest of the lads the perspective of where we need to be as a player to make it in the game."
While disappointed with Stirling's failure to make the finals last season, Arnez has every confident the club from Macedonia Park will bounce back in 2012. "I've spoken to the coaches (Doug Hesketh and Gary Williams) and we have a few new boys coming in, both from here and overseas, which is exciting," said Arnez. "The mix of youth and experience will be very important to our success next season … and with the change of personal at the club hopefully we can bounce back and get back to our normal winning ways."
Stirling coach Doug Hesketh has no complaints with Arnez's application last season and wishes the young defender all the best of luck with Glory Youth. "Clayton has developed into a very smart and quick player and he gives great service on the left and the right when needed,," said Hesketh. "The club are delighted Clayton has been selected for the Glory Youth team, and working with Gareth Naven will continue to improve his game and it gives him a chance to gain more valuable experience."
Arnez says his game has benefitted greatly from playing in the national league. "All the players are technically sound, it's more intense (than the State League) and you have to be on your toes all the time, which has helped improve my game," said Arnez, who, not surprisingly, would jump at the chance to carve out a career in football. "Most young players dream of playing professional football and I'm definitely no exception. Football as a career would be unbelievable, it sure would beat sitting behind a desk for the rest of my life."
DIANELLA SET THEIR SIGHTS HIGH
The disappointments of past campaigns have been consigned to history as Dianella White Eagles start planning towards their return to the top flight. Petar Mrdja, Dianella’s football manager, has been instrumental in developing plans for not only the coming season but also those further down the track and is confident a new era is dawning for his club. “By investing in our football department I’m confident Dianella can be a strong side again,” he said. “Our ultimate goal is to return to the Premier League and, hopefully, with some stability and fore-planning we can get there in the not too distant future.”
The hard work which has gone on behind the scenes at Dianella over the summer have given Mrdja the belief his club are finally on their way up. “This year is the first time I can remember that we have appointed all three senior coaches prior to the commencement of pre-season training, and the first time that we will hold trials for the under 16’s and 18’s,” he commented. “The club has also invested in the facilities at Dianella Reserve and will open its new club rooms, which were constructed entirely from donations of club members and sponsors, in April.”
Planning towards 2012 commenced when Jamie Goodman took over a first team coach last June. “Jamie joined the club midway through last season and, in difficult circumstances, led us to a respectable finish,” said Mrdja. “Jamie can now build on that promising finish and will be given all the support necessary to push us up the table. And we are pleased his old Bayswater partner Michael Di Fulvio has agreed to join us in a part-time capacity to assist the first team and the other senior coaches.” Dianella’s coaching staff is completed by Bobby Taneski, who’ll look after the reserves and youth team boss Richard Changadzo.
Mrdja readily concedes Dianella have been possibly Division One’s greatest under-achiever of the past decade. “If you take into consideration the players we have had at Dianella, the big support that we have and our history of playing in the Premier League – albeit years ago – it is fair to say that we have under achieved in recent times,” he said. “We’ve seen the likes of Armadale, Mandurah City, Bayswater, Balcatta and Stirling Lions get promoted and do well in the Premier League whilst we have struggled to make an impact, which has been frustrating because we used to compete well with those teams.”
Having learnt their lessons the hard way, Dianella are well positioned to become a major player in the second tier. “We have a great following, a good set-up and sponsors to ensure that we are able to be competitive and attract quality players,” commented Mrdja. “We have taken rights steps off the park and appointed the right people to make the necessary changes to ensure that Dianella are stronger in 2012. We will plan for the Night Series and sit down and assess where we are after that … if you ask our supporters though, the top half of the table is where we’ll be.”
Mrdja, a former Dianella, Inglewood United, Cockburn City and Bayswater City player, expects next year’s league to be one of the toughest in Division One history. “Cockburn and Mandurah City are coming in and there will be strong competition from Swan United, Wanneroo City and Shamrock Rovers,” he commented. “Added to that is the continued uncertainty around the makeup of the State League beyond next year, with rumours that up to four teams could be relegated from Division One to accommodate a ten-team competition in 2013 … so you can see why it is an absolute must Dianella are competitive next year.”
GLORY OUT TO HALT BRISBANE: VAN DEN BRINK
Defender Bas Van Den Brink says Perth Glory have no intention of assisting Brisbane Roar set a new Australian record for unbeaten matches in professional sport. Brisbane have equalled the current record of 35 unbeaten games – set by the Eastern Suburbs rugby team in 1937 – and will be out to raise the bar when they host Glory on Saturday night. And although coach Ian Ferguson hasn't as yet mentioned the record, Van Den Brink believes it's the elephant in the room. "It's on everybody's mind from the Roar and also on our mind, for them to probably get the record and for us to stop them," the defender said.
Glory enters the game with a bucket load of confidence after coming from two-goals down with ten-men to draw 2-2 with Melbourne Victory last Sunday. The previous day the squad watched Brisbane perform similar heroics with Henrique and James Meyer scoring second half goals to lead their team to a 2-1 victory over Newcastle Jets, who’d gone ahead on the stroke of half time. "Everybody was in favour of Newcastle to stop their unbeaten streak. But it didn't happen so we're the ones now to do it and hopefully we can," said Van Den Brink. "It's a big task and they're number one for a reason, 35 games straight, it'll be tough."
Glory's chances of ending Brisbane's unbeaten run has been dealt a blow with midfielders Liam Miller and Mile Sterjovski available due to suspension and family commitments respectively. Despite the obstacles, Van Den Brink is convinced the fighting spirit the team showed in Melbourne will hold them in good stead. "As a team we did really well and I think this could give us a good confidence boost for the upcoming game," he said. "I think we just need all the confidence, we need all the fighting spirits we've had to obviously do well against the Roar 'cause they're the bench mark right now and it's going to be tough no doubt about it."
ZICO CALLED UP FOR AUSTRALIA
Friday Zico has overcome the odds to gain a spot in the Australian Schoolboys squad for January’s ten-game tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland. Zico readily admits his first venture into international football is a far cry from growing up in Uganda where he learnt to play using a ball made from clothing and socks sewn together. “We played a form of street-ball on the sand,” he told inmycommunity.com.au. “But due to the war we were forced to move from our village to a number of refugee camps and from there we were sent to Australia.”
The final hurdle Zico, 17, has to overcome is raising enough money to pay for the trip. “I have raised just over half of the $7000 I need to go on the trip,” he said. “I am very grateful to the City of Cockburn, the Melville Rotary Club and the staff at Melville Senior High School for all their support. They helped me travel to Adelaide to represent my state and now they have helped me again with funds to travel to the UK to represent my country. I hope to raise all the money in time to go.”
Playing left wing for Fremantle Spirit’s first team, Zico hopes to one day play professionally in England. That dream is very much alive with the teenager’s dream is very much alive after gaining a National Training Centre scholarship, awarded to players deemed to have the potential to play at an elite level. “I am very passionate about playing in the English Premier League one day,” said the talented youngster. “This motivates me to train hard and improve my skills and knowledge about the game.
WILLIAMS’ TRIBUTE TO JONES’ SON
Rhys Williams has led the tributes for former Middlesbrough team mate Brad Jones whose young son, Luca, passed away late last week after a long battle with leukaemia. Middlesbrough’s players wore black armbands on the weekend in memory of Luca after Williams raised the idea of a tribute with his manager. “It was kind of my decision to wear the black armbands,” said Williams. “Brad texted me Friday night with the horrible, horrible news about Luca and obviously I was devastated for him. So I texted the gaffer saying it would be nice to wear black armbands and he agreed.”
Jones, who is these days under contract to Liverpool, was a mentor to Williams when he first arrived from Australia and the pair remain good friends. “Brad showed me the ropes and looked after me when I came. In fact, he may be the only reason I’m still here because back then I was getting homesick. I didn’t have many friends and Brad was always there for me,” said Williams. “We all feel for Brad. He’s still got a lot of good friends here and we were all devastated for him. The armbands were a way of showing all our love for Brad and that we feel for his family.”
OLYROOS HELD SCORELESS BY IRAQ
Australia’s qualifying campaign for the 2012 Olympics Games is still struggling to gain momentum after being held to a 0-0 draw by Iraq at the Grand Hamad Stadium in Qatar. The Olyroos had to settle for a share of the points thanks to the efforts of Iraqi custodian Jalal Hassan, who stood tall every time Australia broke through. “Tonight we lost three points,” said coach Aurelio Vidmar, whose team have drawn both their opening qualifiers. “We had very good chances in the first half and we should have had the game won by half-time. We controlled the game for most of the 90 minutes and I couldn’t fault the effort of the players, we just couldn’t score a goal.”
Iraq made a bright start, putting their opponents under pressure on several occasions, before the Australian midfield settled and took control. Mate Dugandzic was through with only the goalkeeper to beat but lifted high of the crossbar, a couple of rapid fire James Brown shots were blocked by Hassan, Sebastian Ryall’s header was captured by Hassan. The Iraqi ‘keeper managed to keep the Olyroos at bay in the second half too, tipping a venomous strike from Marko Jessic over the crossbar and on several occasions clearing the danger from inside his 18-yard box. Adam Taggart entered the game on 71 minutes with Cameron Edwards and Mark Birighitti unused substitutes.
FOOTBALL WEST REVEAL NEW NIGHT SERIES FORMAT
The 2012 Night Series will be the biggest in recent memory with 32 teams fighting it out for the first piece of silverware of the new season. The 31 State League clubs will line-up alongside Sunday Premier League winners Southern Spirit, who’ll take the place of the National Training Centre, in the in the traditional pre-season tournament, which commences on the first weekend in February. The new format features eight groups of four teams with the group winners progressing to the knock-out stage, with the Night Series finale on 10 March to be played at Dorrien Gardens.
Keith Wood, competitions manager at Football West, is looking forward to the revamped format which takes the pre-season competition to venues across the metropolitan area. “We are pleased to say that we have nine different hosts for the 2012 tournament,” he said. “In allocating clubs to groups, we tried to combine geographical convenience and strength of teams to make the groups as even as possible while trying to minimise travel. We believe these groups will create more ‘derby’ atmospheres and hope the local community really gets behind next year’s instalment.”
The 32 teams have been split into eight groups for the initial phase, which commences on 3 February. Group A brings together ECU Joondalup, Quinns FC, host club Sorrento and UWA-Nedlands, while in Group B are Bayswater City, Fremantle Spirit, host club Stirling Lions and Subiaco AFC. Group C features Bunbury Forum Force, hosts Cockburn City, Mandurah City and Rockingham City, with Group D made up of hosts Armadale, Gosnells City, Inglewood United and Melville City. Group E is hosted by Forrestfield United, who’ll come up against Fremantle United, Swan United and Western Knights.
Dianella White Eagles, Perth SC, Olympic Kingsway and Wanneroo City have been allocated a place in Group F, which is being played at Litis Stadium. Wotton Reserve hosts Group G sides Canning City, Floreat Athena, Shamrock Rovers and Southern Spirit, while in Group H it’s Ashfield, Balcatta, Joondalup City and Morley Windmills at 6PR Stadium in Inglewood. The quarter-finals are scheduled for 24 and 26 February at Dorrien Gardens and Inglewood, with the latter also hosting the semi-finals on 3 March.
TOMBIDES GRATEFUL TO SUPPORTERS
West Ham United teenager Dylan Tombides has thanked the numerous well-wishers supporting him through treatment for cancer. Tombides, 17, recently entered a new round of chemotherapy for the testicular cancer, which was initially diagnosed in June while on international duty with Australia at the Under-17 World Cup. “I just want to thank everyone who has been supporting me,” the striker told whufc.com. “There have been so many people and it is hard to keep up with all the messages but it really has meant a lot.”
Tombides is particularly grateful for the support of West Ham academy physiotherapist Jon Urwin, who has been by his side since beginning chemotherapy in July. “The club have been great. I have to mention Jon who has been brilliant and has done so much. He comes to the appointments with me and has sorted out everything that we have needed to do,” added Tombides. “All the Academy staff have been great and everyone at the training ground has been really positive. They have just been treating me normally but obviously they all ask me how I am getting on.”
FERGUSON UNIMPRESSED BY REFEREE
Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson says referee Chris Beath should be made accountable for the dreadful penalty decision which cost his side in last night’s encounter with Melbourne Victory. Midfielder Liam Miller was issued his marching orders in the first half for bringing down Archie Thompson from behind, but it was the decision to award Melbourne a penalty for Bas Van Den Brink’s perfectly-executed tackle on Archie Thompson that infuriate the Glory boss.
Ferguson was in no doubt the penalty was incorrect and said Football Federation Australia should review referee Beath’s error. “I can clearly see that it is not a penalty kick and I think everybody else sees that,” Ferguson said. “Without jumping all over anybody, let’s be calm about it and let FFA do what they’ve got to do and look at it. At the end of the day, it’s our livelihoods. It could cost you games, it could cost you points, it could cost me my job, especially crazy decisions like we’ve seen today.”
RESILIENT GLORY FIGHTBACK TO DRAW WITH MELBOURNE
Perth Glory came back from two goals down with ten men to draw 2-2 with Melbourne Victory this afternoon at Etihad Stadium. A fourth straight loss looked on the cards for Glory after Liam Miller was dismissed just before half-time, and Carlos Hernandez and Danny Allsopp established a two-nil with under an hour played. But spurred by a brilliant set-piece goal by substitute Andrezinho, Glory surged late and were rewarded with a point when Shane Smeltz levelled the scores just a few minutes from the final whistle. The result pushes Glory into fourth on the table, while Melbourne are seventh and still without a home win this season.
Glory started the game positively, creating most of the chances inside the first half hour. Chris Coyne and Billy Mehmet both put chances over the crossbar before Adam Hughes headed into the woodwork. The games’ complexion changed in the 37th minute when Archie Thompson raced clear of the defence only to be felled by a rash challenge from Miller, while was duly red carded by referee Chris Beath as the last defender. The home side now looked more assured and in the minutes before the break Hernandez flashed just wide of the post and a Fabio shot was comfortably dealt with by goalkeeper Danny Vukovic.
The game took another dramatic turn in the 53rdminute when Bas Van Den Brink’s tackle on Archie Thompson was ruled as illegal by the referee, and from the penalty spot Hernandez fired Melbourne in front. The points appeared safe five minutes later when Hernandez’s corner was nodded down Rody Vargas with Allsopp turning the ball in from a metre. Andrezinho pulled a goal back in the 71th minute, the Brazilian sending a brilliant free-kick into the top corner from 25-metres. With three minutes to go Todd Howarth was allowed space down the left to deliver the ball to Smeltz, whose powerful header flashed past Ante Covic.
WAUHOP PARK CONFIRMED AS THE KNIGHTS 2012 HOME
Western Knights are poised to play their home games at Wauhop Park next year, pending final approval of Football West. “We have received formal approval from the Town of East Fremantle for the ratification of an arrangement reached between Western Knights, Fremantle Spirit and East Fremantle Tricolore to ground share Wahoup Park in 2012,” said club secretary Alan Pecotic. “Subject to Football West’s final approval of the ground, the Knights will be playing its home games at Wahoup Park with Nash Field remaining as our training base.”
Earlier this year Football West advised the Knights their home of the past eleven years, Nash Field, did not meet the minimum standard to host Premier League games in its current state. The club were dealt a further blow when the Town of Mosman Park rejected a self-funded $2.5 million re-development of Nash Field. The Knights investigated ground share options with a number of State League clubs before entering into negotiations to utilise Wauhop Park which, with minor modifications, meets Football West’s criteria.
SOCCEROO JONES’ SON, LUCA, LOSES LEUKAEMIA BATTLE
Tributes are flowing for the 5-year old son of Socceroo and Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones, who has died following an 18-month battle with leukaemia. Liverpool issued a statement yesterday confirming Luca Jones passed away on Friday night, with players from Jones’ former club Middlesbrough wearing black arm bands in last night’s English Championship match in memory of the young boy. Jones, who is currently on loan to Derby County, left the Socceroos squad on the eve of last year’s World Cup in South Africa after finding out the seriousness of his son’s condition.
BRISBANE STEAMROLL GLORY WOMEN
W-League champions Brisbane Roar out-classed Perth Glory Women to the tune of 5-2 in this afternoon’s encounter at 6PR Stadium in Inglewood. Tameka Butt was Brisbane’s hero, the attacker bagging a hat-trick as national team coach Tom Sermanni watched on from the stands. Emily Gielnik and Clare Polkinghorne also found the net for the visitors with Emma Kete and Marianna Tabain replying for Glory Women, who remain second from bottom on the table with one win from four starts.
The ball had been in motion just 6 minutes when Butt’s long-range effort evaded the out-stretched gloves of Mackenzie Arnold on its way into the top left of the net. Butt was involved every time Brisbane drove forward and would have doubled her teams lead if not for a brilliant diving save by Arnold. Glory Women’s first opening came the way of Marianna Tabain but goalkeeper Casey Dumont was alert to the danger. The teams were brought level on 24 minutes when Kete converted a penalty awarded for handball against Ellen Beaumont. Brisbane went into half-time with the lead after Butt danced through the home defence to slot past Arnold.
Glory Women continued to match it with their more-fancied opponents after the break only to go a further goal behind, substitute Emily Gielnik drilling into the bottom corner from the top of the 18-yard box. Brisbane showed their quality with a clinical displaying of finishing with captain Clare Polkinghorne tucking in goal number four after the home side failed to sufficiently respond to a 71st minute corner. Glory Women, to their credit, never gave up and eight minutes later Marianna Tabain slammed into the roof of the net after being teed-up by Elisa D’Ovidio. Butt completed her hat-trick with a late penalty conversion after Katie Holtham was ruled to have handled.
GLORY YOUTH STAY IN TOUCH WITH LEADERS
Perth Glory Youth returned to the winners circle with a hard fought 3-2 victory over Adelaide United at Burton Park this afternoon. Goals from Ndumba Makeche and captain Reece Vittiglia were just reward for Glory Youth’s first half dominance. Adelaide didn’t spark until the second period with Liam Wooding halving the gap to set up an exciting final half hour. Substitute Alec Jovic restored the visitor’s two-goal buffer before Wooding helped himself to a second goal in stoppage time. Glory Youth’s third win of the season keeps them fourth on the table, just three points behind Y-League leaders Central Coast Mariners.
The game had barely started when Adelaide captain Evan Kostopoulos was forced out with a back injury. Glory Youth sought to capitalise, launching wave after wave of attack before Makeche fended off a number of challenges and rounded goalkeeper John Hall to slot into an empty net after 14 minutes. Adelaide were struggling to get out of their half and on 26 minutes Brandon O’Neill threaded the ball in behind the defence to Vittiglia, who slid the ball past Hall from 9-metres. Ian Kamau and Wooding combined just before the break for Adelaide best chance of the period but Devon Spence was alert with two smart saves.
The second half began much like the first with Glory Youth in control and Adelaide hitting on the counter attack. Makeche was featuring prominently for the visitors and would have put his team further ahead if not for the brilliance of Hall. The Reds custodian seemed to inspire his team-mates, who on 62 minutes found their way back in the game after Wooding drove low past Spence and into the bottom corner. Glory Youth made the game safe fifteen minutes from time when Makeche wrestled his way inside the 18-yard box before squaring for Jovic to finish at point blank range. Wooding grabbed the hosts a 92nd minute consolation after being set-up by Jake Monaco.
STERJOVSKI TO START
Mile Sterjovski will come into the starting line-up for the first time this season as Perth Glory attempt to snap a three-game losing streak away to Melbourne Victory on Sunday. Glory coach Ian Ferguson said Sterjovski had earned a place in the first eleven after an energetic performance off the bench against Sydney FC last weekend. "Mile's trained well," Ferguson said. "I've said all along, if he gets his opportunity and he takes the opportunity then he'll be in there. He's been patient and he's come in and done all the right things. He's worked very hard and he's been a good professional and he's earned the right to come in there and play. Mile will start."
Ferguson also backed marquee striker Shane Smeltz to regain his scoring touch after a three-game barren spell. "Smeltzy is doing great. I'm really pleased with Smeltzy," the coach said. "He's like every other striker. They'll have their chances. I look at some of the chances (he had against Sydney) and yeah he has missed some chances that you think he would put away. Then again, you look what he done down at Melbourne Heart he scored two fantastic goals that got us the win there. That's strikers. They'll go through that little patch where sometimes they'll score goals and sometimes they won't."
Melbourne goes into the game without Socceroo Harry Kewell, who has been ruled out with a hamstring complaint. "He's a very gifted and talented player so I think with him out it will obviously weaken Melbourne Victory a little bit," Ferguson said of Kewell, who suffered the injury in Australia's World Cup qualifier against Oman last week. "(But) we want to concentrate more on what we can try and do and I've said that week after week standing here. I think some of (our) performances have been very good. Obviously we've just not got the results."
BRISBANE NEXT UP FOR GLORY WOMEN
Refreshed from their fortnight break, Perth Glory Women return to W-League action tomorrow by taking on Brisbane Roar at 6PR Stadium (4.00pm). The teams are separated by just single point leaving reigning champions Brisbane with little scope for error on their visit to the west. Glory Women have been boosted by the arrival of Norwegian international Lisa-Marie Woods, who is set to line-up in midfield alongside local products Shannon May and Ella Mastrantonio. Brisbane’s stocks have also been strengthened with the return of Kim Carroll and Aivi Luik from Denmark, and goalkeeper Casey Dumont from suspension.
FIVE NEW FACES AT STIRLING
Stirling Lions have stepped up preparations for next season by welcoming five new faces to Macedonia Park. Confirmed to wear Stirling colours through the winter of 2012 are former Armadale pair Craig Robson and Marlon Ramirez along with Anthony Lyons, Matt Harold and Andy Harold from Division One club Forrestfield United. “I’m delighted to have these players join our squad,” commented coach Doug Hesketh. “They want to play for Stirling Lions, their qualities will be needed but their attitude is what is important as much as all the players and staff at the club.”
Club president Don Evans is delighted to bring in the quintet, who’ll off-set the loss to Bobby Wilson and Ludovic Boi to Floreat Athena. “We have had a keen interest in both Marlon and Craig, as they are excellent players who consistently perform at a high level and are very versatile with excellent attitudes to the game,” said Evans. “Doug was at Fremantle City when Marlon was developing through the youth ranks and has been very impressed with how he has matured as a senior player. Craig has come through a professional development system in the UK and was outstanding every time we watched him in 2011.”
Ramirez is looking forward to the new challenge after playing the last five years at Armadale. “The move to the Lions is a great opportunity for me,” said the attacker. “They are a very professional club and from what I have heard from the coaching staff, it looks like they are set for a very big year. They have kept some very important players such as Andy Brown and Phil O’Callaghan and by adding Craig (Robson) and the Forrestfield lads I think the squad is very strong. Hopefully, come the end of the year we are there competing for trophies.”
Hesketh expects Matt Harold, Andy Harold and Lyons to play key roles in Stirling’s drive towards the top five next season. “The lads are excellent players with desire to play consistently well at Premier League level,” said Hesketh. “Matt and Andy have been superbly developed by Forrestfield’s coaching staff and Anthony, although new to Australia, shows great potential. We spoke to them after the 2011 season and discussed football and what we are trying to achieve. They impressed us immediately, they have a very professional attitude for young players and were outstanding players at senior level this year for Forrestfield.”
Lyons, who scored 19 goals in a dozen appearances for Forrestfield last season, jumped at the chance to play in the Premier League. “As soon as I was contacted by Doug, I was excited straight away by a fellow Liverpudlian on the other end of the phone,” said the 22-year old striker. “Then when he asked me would I be interested in a move to Stirling, I just couldn’t say no to such an opportunity. I’m really happy with the move and look forward to meeting the rest of the squad. I’m already buzzing for the Night Series and the season ahead.”
CAN TAGGART FIND THE ROAD TO LONDON? (by Jonathan Cook, the 'West Australian')
Adam Taggart's selection for Australia's latest Olympic qualifiers is a sure sign of the Perth Glory striker's potential to climb towards the sport's pinnacle. The London Games are suddenly on the 18-year-old's radar but he knows they could disappear just as quickly. Taggart needs to play games to stay in Aurelio Vidmar's under-23 plans and opportunities will be limited at Glory where the experienced Shane Smeltz and Billy Mehmet are the preferred front men. In order to accelerate his development, he also needs a greater challenge than can be offered by the youth league.
After becoming Glory's youngest A-League player last season at just 17 years and 226 days, Taggart is yet to make a senior appearance in the current campaign, although he was available for only the first few matches of the season. Young Socceroos duties presented him with alternative competitive action and he was a key performer in the side's recent successful qualification for next year's Asian Football Confederation under-19 championships. His performances at the tournament in Kuala Lumpur, coupled with an impressive showing at a Socceroos and Olyroos "scouting" camp last month, earned him the surprise call-up for Olympic qualifiers against Iraq on Wednesday and Uzbekistan four days later.
Taggart's inclusion speaks loudly of Vidmar's appreciation of the talented youngster, who is determined to stay in the under-23 picture and also press his case for Glory selection. At a time when so many young players feel forced to look to overseas pathways to advance their development, Taggart, who went from ECU Joondalup to Glory via the National Training Centre, Australian Institute of Sport and youth league, is ready to seize his chance with his hometown club. Glory would benefit from a home-grown success story and Taggart, opportunities permitting, could be the man to provide it.
MELVILLE HAND REINS TO EVANS
Young coach Danny Evans is out to make his mark at Melville City. Melville are one of seven State League newcomers for season 2012 and in Evans they could not have a more dedicated and enthusiastic coach. “I’ve always had a passion for coaching and it’s always been a goal of mine to coach in the State League,” said 27-year old Evans. “Melville has a great foundation on which I’m hoping to build. The first team finished second in the Sunday League Premier Division last year and we’ve got one of the biggest junior set-ups in Perth.”
While he’d like Melville to “go the season without conceding a goal”, Evans concedes he’d be happy with the club just being amongst the front runners in next year’s league. “We would like to be seriously competitive,” he said. “It’s going to be a very tough league, the interesting thing is that it’s very much an unknown for all of the new State League clubs. Our first challenge will be to bring more professionalism to our approach, we will be asking slightly more of the players than perhaps they have been used to. Hopefully they respond positively and we can be successful.”
A lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes in preparation for Melville’s first foray into the State League, none more so than the coaching team of Evans, his assistant Terry Goddard and John Warrington, who’ll be in charge of the reserves. “I’m fortunate enough to have some very experienced and well qualified assistants and I know that we are going to challenge the playing group positively,” Evans commented. “The club has been working tirelessly to be ready come round one and the approach is just as much, if not more professional than some of the Premier League clubs I’ve been involved with.”
Melville’s long-term aspirations lie in the Premier League and Evans plans to lay the groundwork for that to happen. “Things have to happen in stages and our first step is to be competitive in Division Two – for now, that’s an exciting enough challenge for us,” commented Evans. “I want to make sure that the club has a strong infrastructure to be a long-term success. Whether I’m at Melville in five years or not remains to be seen but I’d like to create a platform which will give the club the best possible chance of progressing in year two, three and beyond.”
Youth develop is one obvious area of focus when talking of long-term success. “I want to give the juniors the right tools to be successful, so when they get to first team level they have had the right education,” explained Evans. “I will be working very closely with the junior coaches and we are currently in discussions to tweak the junior programs and perhaps add more of the right people to further develop our youngsters. I am fortunate because the juniors at Melville have been very well run for a long time, so wholesale changes certainly aren’t necessary.”
Evans, who takes his first pre-season session with Melville tonight, expects next years’ squad to be similar in composition to that of 2011. “Last season’s playing group are all very keen to give Saturday football a good shake,” the coach said. “I am also hoping to bring in some of the clubs talented juniors, and I have had a bit of interest from some established Saturday players. Like everyone, I’m still keen to attract more players but I’m looking to bring the right people that can hopefully add something to the squad and the club as a whole.”
For Evans, there is little question whether the new State League Division Two will succeed. “This league will give players that aren’t getting a run in the Premier League or Division One another option,” he said. “There are a lot of good players out there that for one reason or another haven’t got an opportunity, and Division Two can give some of the younger guys the match experience they need. All the clubs that have been accepted in the league have strong junior bases, so if clubs get the right blend of youth and experience then it will be a success.”
Evans, who played locally with Inglewood United, Queens Park, Wanneroo City and Morley Windmills, got his first taste of coaching during a stint in the United States. “I got a pretty good offer to coach, and play for San Francisco Seals,” he explained. “That trip definitely helped my coaching development and probably confirmed in my mind that it was something I wanted to take pretty seriously. I had one more season in Perth but in the last few years I’ve had surgery three times so it was definitely time to hang the boots up.”
>From there Evans took on the role of a development coach with Football West before working in the women’s and juniors arenas, gaining his ‘B’ License as well as SAQ and Coever badges along the way. “I feel it’s important to keep involved in the modern trends of the game,” Evans said. “Last year I helped Tony McGuire at Gosnells City but when the opportunity to join Melville came up it was too good to turn down. I’m definitely looking forward to it, I feel pretty privileged in getting the opportunity to take Melville into the State League for the first time.”
MONTGOMERY JOINS KNIGHTS GREATS
Veteran striker Stuart Montgomery says it is an honour to be voted Western Knights Fairest and Best player. Montgomery, 33, joined an elite group of players to win the Knights top prize at his club’s award’s ceremony on Saturday. “Having played at the club for nine years and seen the likes of Scott Devine, Dave Annall, Evan Wallace and Claus Neilsen win this award, it is a great honour to now have my name next to theirs,” said Montgomery. “And to win it so near the end of my playing days is a real surprise, especially when a lot of people outside the club wrote me off a few years ago.”
Montgomery, who also collected the Knights Golden Boot for the sixth time, has no complaints with how his season panned out. “I was happy with what I contributed this year,” he said. “I scored some important goals and the coaches asked me to play in a few positions I haven’t played for a few years, so for the coaches to have the belief in me to play wide on the right and left, or in the centre of midfield, then to throw me up front every now and then was great. I thought I did what the coaches asked of me and if it helped the team then I would do it.”
Although happy with his own performances, Montgomery feels the Knights should have claimed a spot above fifth on the Premier League table. “I wasn’t happy with what the team achieved this year,” the former State player. “With the squad we had at our disposal I thought we should have finished higher in the league and given ourselves a better chance in the top five finals. On our day we could beat anyone but consistency was our major fault this year … hopefully next year we can be more consistent and have a real crack at the top prizes.”
Frazer Siddall, who kept goals for the past three seasons for the Knights, came in Runner-up Fairest and Best and also picked up the Players Player of the Year trophy. The reserve team Fairest and Best was presented to Stuart Siddall with Tom Dixon in second place. Farran Batchelor’s progression saw him awarded the Most Improved player. Jamie Grego went home with the Fairest and Best award for the youth team. Nick Psanoudakis was Runner-up Fairest and Best while the Most Improved award went to Tom Mattarocchia.
STERJOVSKI GLAD TO BE BACK
Perth Glory attacker Mile Sterjovski admits it was a relief to finally get out on the park when called upon during the weekend’s loss to Sydney FC. Sterjovski, who has been capped by Australia 43 times, came off the bench to inspire a spirited performance by Glory but was unable to prevent the side from suffering a third straight loss. “It’s good to be back and hopefully I get some more game time,” said Sterjovski after his first appearance of the season. “It’s been frustrating ‘cause ‘'ve been working hard at training and doing well, but credit to the boys, they’ve had a great start to the season so I can’t complain.”
Sterjovski’s dedication to getting more time under his belt saw him turn out for Glory Youth on Sunday morning. Despite playing 40 minutes the previous night, the 32-year old took up his role on the left flank in a bid to show coach Ian Ferguson he is willing to put in the hard yards. “I put my hand up to play (National Youth League) because I think I definitely need minutes in my legs, I haven’t played much,” Sterjovski said. “It definitely hurt but I think I’ll benefit from it. So I’m more than happy to put my hand up and play and get as many minutes as I can.”
Injuries may have prevented Sterjovski from playing to his full potential for Glory – he’s scored just 11 goals from 46 games – but the attacker is determined to lift a notch. “I don’t think that I have anything to prove,” said Sterjovski, who is in the final year of a three-year contract with Glory. “I just want to get out there and play and just want to enjoy football again, it’s been a while, so hopefully I can just stay injury free and enjoy it and win something with Perth Glory.” Sterjovski could make his first start of the season this weekend when Glory travels to Melbourne Victory.
VRTESKI ON THE MOVE
One-time Australia youth goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski dreams of returning to play in the A-League. Vrteski recently signed on with Indonesian Premier League side Persija Jakarta but feels he still has unfinished business in the A-League, where he played three seasons with Perth Glory. “I still have a burning desire to be a number one in the A-League,” said the 23-year old. “If the opportunity to come back to the A-League (arose) and the timing was right and everything to go back, then of course, I’d never turn it down.”
Vrteski last week sealed a two-year deal with Persija after his previous club, Solo FC, were relegated to the second division following the ratification of the new Indonesian Premier League. “I’m very happy to move to such a big club in Indonesia in the capital city, where the spotlight is on the team all the time. There are very interesting times ahead,” he said. “They haven’t had a championship in a while (2001). The fans are a little bit starved of real success, so it’s a good motive to try and fight for some sort of success this season.”
Joining Persija in less than ideal circumstance is the latest in a long line of twists in Vrteski’s career. In 2005 a move to Wolverhampton Wanderers was scuppered by visa issues. Having joined Macedonia First Division title-holders Podeba for the 2007/08 campaign, Vrteski established himself in the first eleven and even represented Macedonia at under-21 level. But the experience was soured when the club’s owner struggled to pay the players wages and after three months Vrteski engaged FIFA to cancel his contract. After a short return to Glory he joined Solo last year in the breakaway league.
With his experiences having long toughened his hide, Vrteski was well equipped to handle the upheaval when the breakaway league went under. “To get exposed to things like that at such a young age, it’s a very big learning curve. There are things that I saw happening in the last two, three months that I’d seen before, so I was prepared for it,” said Vrteski. “Having (former Perth SC playmaker) Robbie Gaspar, who has been here six years, he always constantly drums into the Aussie boys, ‘Just always expect the unexpected and you’ll be fine’.”
Vrteski has been in Indonesia for twelve months now and is constantly surprised by the fanaticism of the nation’s football public. “When we were playing at home, you’d finish the game and the bus would be waiting for you at the back of the stadium,” he said. “You’ve got about 50-60 police making a human wall so you can get into the bus. People are pulling at you, taking photos, it’s unbelievable.” The new Indonesian Premier League season starts for Vrteski with a trip to Persiraja Banda Aceh on 27 November.
SOCCEROOS SCRAPE THROUGH
Australia is through to the final round of Asian qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup after scrapping past Thailand 1-0 this evening at a near-capacity Supachalasai Stadium in Bangkok. Needing only a point to secure top spot in Group D, the Socceroos soaked up some heavy pressure before Brett Holman's 77th minute header put progression beyond doubt. "It was a very hard victory against a Thai team that really played very well," coach Holger Osieck said. "They were so well organised and they were well prepared … We had to persevere, we did it and finally we could win this very difficult game."
The Socceroos enjoyed the first sight of goal with Josh Kennedy headed Michael Zullo's cross directly at goalkeeper Kosin Hathairattanakool in just the 2nd minute. Despite that promising start, it was Thailand who went on to dictate terms and created the better chances. Kirati Keawsombut’s first time shot cleared the crossbar in the 16th minute and not long after the half hour for Suree Sukka followed suite from close-range after getting on the end of an exquisite Datsakorn Thonglao through ball. Australia’s only other opening came via a Brett Emerton cross which Kennedy nodded too close to the ‘keeper.
After being outclassed in the first half, Australia attempted to assert themselves after the break and although they gained a greater share of the ball there were few genuine chances on goal created. With only thirteen minutes left Holman came to the Socceroos rescue, the midfielder playing out to Emerton before darting into the 18-yard box where he made no mistake converting a pin-point cross. Thailand had a couple of chances to salvage the game but Chonratit Jantakam's close-range header flashed wide and Jakkaphun Kaewprom's shot landed on the roof of the net.
GLORY’S BEST OF THE BEST RECOGNISED
The National Soccer League Grand Final winning side of 2002/03 has dominated Perth Glory’s best team of the past 15 years. Seven members of Glory’s first championship winning side – Jason Petkovic, Scott Miller, Jamie Harnwell, Matt Horsley, Edgar Junior, Damian Mori and Bobby Despotovski – made the first eleven of the side selected by fans in an online poll. Inaugural captain Gareth Naven, free-kick specialist Con Boutsianis and 2009/10 player of the year Andy Todd also gained selection with Scott Neville the only currently player to make the cut.
Petkovic (1999-2009) played 177 times and was between the posts for Glory’s Grand Final wins of 2002/03 and 2003/04. Harnwell and Todd are at the heart of a four-man defence which also features Neville and Miller. Harnwell (1998-2011) chalked up a club record 256 appearances and was also part of the back-to-back Grand Final winning sides, while Todd (2009-2011) played 41 games and was voted the club’s Most Glorious Player of 2009/10. Neville (2009-2011) has 59 games to his create, whereas Miller (1996-2006) played 227 games on the left, collecting the Most Glorious Player in 1998/99 and part of the club’s two Grand Final wins.
Selected across the centre of the park were Horsley, Naven, Brazilian import Edgar Junior and Boutsianis. Horsley (2001-2006) dominated the right flank over his 72 games, which took in the 2002/03 Grand Final win. Naven (1996-2002), epitomised Glory’s never-say-die attitude, representing the club in 143 games and voted the Most Glorious Player in 1999/2000. Defensive midfielder Edgar Junior (1993-2003) made 116 appearance for the club, collecting a winners medal from the 2002/03 Grand Final. Boutsianis (1998-2000) grabbed the headlines with his superb dead ball skills, scoring 25 goals in 49 games and winning two club Golden Boots.
In their day Despotovski and Mori terrorised opposing defences to guide Glory to Grand Final. Despotovski (1996-2007) holds the club record of 113 goals from 241 games, winning the clubs’ Golden Boot three times and recipient of the Johnny Warren Medal as the A-League’s best player in 2005/06. Mori (2000-2006), an Australia football legend, put away a staggering 84 goals for Glory in just 129 appearances, winning four club Golden Boots and partnering Despotovski to successive championships in 2002/03 and 2003/04.
Sitting on the substitutes bench were Vinko Buljubaisc, Ivan Ergic, Vas Kalogeracos and Nikita Rukavytsya. Buljubasic (1996-2001) marshalled the defence in 62 games before his career was cruelly cut short by injury. Ergic (1999/2000) needed just 32 games to write himself into Glory folklore, the midfielder voted the league’s Under-21 Player of the Year before heading to Europe. The electric pace of Kalogeracos (1996-2000) caused opposing defences no end of trouble across his 59 games, returning 22 goals. Rukavytsya (2006-2009) played 42 games and scored 16 goals, winning one club Golden Boot, before Europe also lured him away.
GLORY PICK UP MCCLENAHAN
Former Australian Under-20 captain Trent McClenahan has signed an eight-week contract with Perth Glory. McClenahan, 26, has had something of a journeyman career highlighted by a trio of appearances at the 2008 Olympics Games and joins Glory as an injury replacement for Scott Neville, who will be out of action for the next six months after tearing knee ligaments. “We’re glad to have him on board,” Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson said. “He’s a quality player who has captained his country at youth level.” McClenahan chalked up 175 league and cup appearances for West Ham United, Milton Keynes Dons, Hereford United, Hamilton Academical and Scunthorpe United during nine years abroad.
DOUBLE DELIGHT FOR NAGLIERI
State midfielder Antonio Naglieri has written himself into Perth SC history by winning his clubs top individual award for the second time. The 28-year old playmaker was presented Perth’s Fairest and Best trophy at Saturday’s club presentation ceremony, adding to his win of 2008 to join previous dual recipients Allan Pottier and Robbie Puca. “On the pitch he is a real leader and a great role model for all young players,” commented coach Gianfranco Circati. “His attitude is excellent, he’s very consistent … in my opinion Antonio is the best player in the league.”
Defender Trent Kay, who went home with the Fairest and Best trophy two years ago, came in as runner-up on this occasion. The Robert Giorgi Memorial Trophy was presented to Matthew Izzo, with the Youth Development Player going to Joshua Wilkins. Fairest and Best in the reserves was Thomas Black who had Matthew Izzo as runner-up. The youth team Fairest and Best was taken out by Tim Robertson with Ioasa Saemo in second place.
NORWEGIAN INTERNATIONAL JOINS GLORY WOMEN
Perth Glory Women have confirmed the signing of Norwegian midfielder Lisa-Marie Woods for the remainder of the 2011/12 season. Woods, 27, has been capped 21 times by Norway and was a key member of the side which qualified for the 2011 Women’s World Cup only to miss the finals tournament through injury. Signed from Danish club Fortuna Hjorring, Woods will be available for selection in this weekend’s home fixture with Brisbane Roar pending her international clearance.
Coach Jamie Harnwell is delighted to have Woods on board. “We knew she would be unavailable for the first couple of weeks of the season, but she is coming straight off the back of the Danish season and will be fit and ready to go,” Harnwell said. “She will really provide us with more drive going forwards and hopefully become a regular goal scorer for us. Lisa-Marie can play a number of positions and I am sure she will fit into the squad as seamlessly as our other players from over east and overseas.”
NO LOVE LOST BETWEEN FERGUSON AND COYNE
Tensions between Ian Ferguson and Jamie Coyne remain at boiling point after the pair were involved in a heated exchange following Saturday night's game at Perth Oval. Coyne, who joined Sydney FC after being dumped last season, refused to shake Ferguson's hand at the end of the game, sparking an angry response from his former coach. "That's football, heat-of-the moment stuff," said Ferguson in playing down the incident. "Things get said. I'll keep that private between me and Jamie Coyne. There was nothing in it." The spat stems back to Coyne's public axing from Glory with the defender need to play just one more match to trigger a clause in his contract that would have guaranteed him another year at the club.
FUTURE MATILDAS MISS OUT ON WOMEN’S WORLD CUP
Coach Vicki Linton is pleased with Australia’s performances at the Under-16 Women’s Championships in China. The national women’s youth team managed just a single win from five games to claim fifth place, well behind Japan, North Korea and China, who qualify for next year’s Under-17 Women’s World Cup. “Overall, I am pleased with the teams’ performance,” said Linton. “It took the girls a while to lift to the level of our opposition (but) once they settled, we were very competitive against the leading nations in Asia.” Flying the flag for Western Australia was Perth Glory Women midfielder Sarah Carroll, who featured twice.
Australia opened their campaign with a 4-0 loss to North Korea. Sloppy defending paid its’ part in Australia’s downfall as Kim Soyi scored twice with Hee Eun and Yeji also on the scoresheet. China inflicted a second consecutive loss on Australia, the host nation running out comfortable 3-0 winners with Song Yuqing converting a dubious penalty before Song Duan netted twice. Carroll was an unused substitute in both games. A best on ground display by goalkeeper Eliza Campbell wasn’t enough to prevent Australia from going down narrowly 1-0 to South Korea, for whom Ri Kyong Hyang headed in a final minute winner.
A double by Adriana Jones guided Australia to a 4-0 victory over against Thailand. Jones opened her account on 21 minutes with a tidy finish at close-range, then seven minutes from the end he first time strike gave Kittiya Aryuwong no chance in goal. By that stage the result was already safe thanks to goals midway through the second half from Lauren Brown and Breanna Sampson. Australia’s campaign closed out with a 1-0 loss to Japan, who won the tournament with a perfect win record. The only goal arrived on 17 minutes with Yuka Momiki the scorer.
BABALJ EARNS COACH’S PRAISE
Coach John Van‘t Schip is singing the praises of Eli Babalj after the youngster played a pivotal role in Melbourne Heart’s 3-0 win over Newcastle United. The introduction of Babalj after 55 minutes provided Melbourne a focal point in attack with the 19-year old laying on the opening goal for captain Fred. “There was an opportunity to use him (Babalj) today and he showed his qualities by helping set up the goal for Fred,” said Van‘t Schip, who is wary of over-using Babalj as he returns from injury. “We have to manage him very carefully. You could see he maybe lacked a little bit of sharpness but still then he is a dangerous player, a real striker, still young. So hopefully he can make his next few steps as well.”
COACH HAPPY WITH MALAYSIAN TOUR PERFORMANCES
The Sunday League Representative squad gave a good account of themselves on last week’s tour of Malaysia. Coach Rob Pagnoni was pleased with how his players’ responded to the less than ideal circumstances, chalking up a win, a draw and a loss over the three games. “I asked the lads to give me their best effort and no one disappointed, with some luck we could have come away with three wins,” said Pagnoni. “Considering the humid climate and the health of the lads – five were laid up for a day with a stomach virus – I thought we did very well.”
The State side ran out comfortable 4-1 winners in their opening game against Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM). “The ground resembled a swimming pool but we still decided to go ahead with the game,” said Pagnoni. “We couldn’t play our normal passing game and had to revert to a chip and run game. That worked well for us, Joe Brunetto helped himself to two goals with Gary Andrews and Aaron Lickiss also scoring before we conceded a late penalty.”
Next on the agenda was a mid-week fixture with Malaysian Premier League champions Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor (PKNS). “This was the game the lads were waiting to play,” commented the State coach. “Up until half time we matched them all over the park with the score locked at 1-1, Felim Rugel our scorer. The second half was a different story. We tired and they stepped up a gear to score an extra two goals whereas we have a goal denied by a dubious offside decision.”
The tour closed out with an early morning fixture with the Polis Di-Raja Malaysia, who competes in Malaysia’s second tier. “The game was rescheduled to start at 9am, the conditions were again very humid,” said Pagnoni. “We started at a brisk pace and were rewarded with a goal from Kyle King midway through the half. We started to tire again during the second half but with a goal to our opposition ending the game at 1-1.”
SYDNEY PUNISH DEFENSIVE LAPSES BY GLORY YOUTH
A Mitchell Mallia hat-trick guided Sydney FC to a 5-2 victory over Perth Glory Youth this morning at 6PR Stadium. Mallia netted twice with Joel Chianese and Dimitri Petratos also on target to put the visitors four goals up inside an hour. Substitute Alex Caniglia pulled a goal back late in the second period before Mallia put away his third of the game, followed soon after by a second consolation for Glory scored by Byron Hudson. The loss slides Glory Youth down to fourth spot, where the sit alongside Sydney after four games.
The early signs were encouraging for the home side with Tommy Amphlett and Mile Sterjovski getting off shots but neither able to hit the target. Slowly through the momentum swung in Sydney’s favour and on 29 minutes a poor defensive pass allowed in Mallia who rounded goalkeeper Lewis Italiano to angle into the net. The Sky Blues extended their lead six minutes before half-time with an unmarked Chianese nodding in from 4-metres. Matters only got worse for the hosts as Mallia produced a barnstorming run down the right before cutting inside and unleashing a 20-metre rocket past Italiano.
Sydney added a fourth goal in the 51st minute, Petratos slamming the ball in after Storm Roux failed to deal with a cross from Mallia. Glory Youth now started to spark with Ndumba Makeche having a shot cleared off the line and another hit the crossbar. The hosts’ persistence was rewarded in the 76th minute when Canglia curled into the net to reduce the deficit. Another Makeche attempt was cleared off the line before Mallia completed his hat-trick following a goalmouth scramble in the 85th minute. Hudson converted the rebound from a Makeche saw shot in the final minute of the game.
GLORY FALL SHORT TO SYDNEY
Sydney FC goalkeeper Liam Reddy pulled off a series of stunning saves to hand the Sky Blues a 1-0 win over Perth Glory this evening. The games’ only goal arrived in the shadows of half-time via Mark Bridges, but Glory were unlucky not to at least get a draw after dominating the second period. “We are not talking crisis,” said home custodian Danny Vukovic of Glory’s third straight loss. “We just have to move on, get into training this week, work hard and look forward to the game on Sunday in Melbourne. We’re confident we can go over and do something special over there.”
Genuine goal scoring opportunities were few and far between across the opening exchanges in which Glory enjoyed the lions’ share of possession. Sydney threatened for the first time after 23 minutes when Karol Kisel nodded wide on the counterattack. The home teams’ best chance arrived in the 35th minute, Billy Mehmet setting up Liam Miller whose weak shot was too close to Reddy. The deadlock was broken ten minutes later when Bridge’s pass out of midfield picked out Nick Carle, who turned Josh Risdon inside out before squaring into the path of Bridge to tuck in from close-range, silencing the 9046 crowd.
The introduction of Travis Dodd and Mile Sterjovski eleven minutes into the second half turned the game in Glory’s favour. In the minutes that followed Chris Coyne nodded narrowly high, a bouncing header by Bas Van Den Brink was tipped around the post by Reddy, then in quick succession Dodd and Shane Smeltz fired wide. A goalbound Liam Miller shot was brilliantly tipped around the post before Sterjovski high high. As the clock ticked down Adam Hughes’ launched a 30-metre rocket which crashed into the bar. Glory’s final chance saw Vukovic enter the attack with the ‘keeper’s header at a corner tipped over by Reddy.
OMAN STUN SOCCEROOS
Australia will have to wait a little longer to book their place in the final round of Asian qualifiers for the 2012 World Cup after slumping to a 1-0 loss to Oman in Muscat. A clinical finish midway through the first half from Amad Ali was enough to give Oman victory on a night the Socceroos lacked fluency and penetration. “We lost a game which we normally shouldn’t lose against an opponent who is definitely inferior to us,” coach Holgar Osieck said. “We made a couple of mistakes, in particular in the first half, where we didn’t perform to our potential. And that’s the outcome, we lost the game.”
Both sides began the match in cagey fashion and although Australia threatened on set-pieces it was Oman that found the target. With 18 minutes gone Mohamed Hamed threaded a pass through to Al Hosni who had time to compose himself before angling into the corner of Mark Schwarzer’s net. Oman quickly returned to the attack where Schwarzer tipped Hussain Ali Al Hadhri’s free-kick away for a corner. Brett Holman appeared to have equalised on 27 minutes but Harry Kewell was ruled offside in the lead-up. Oman custodian Ali Al-Habsi comfortably saved a deflected shot from Holman as Australia sought to level, while Kewell was off the mark with two shots and Luke Wilkshire with another.
The Socceroos were expected to come out firing in the second half but Wilkshire and Josh Kennedy were able to capitalise. Al-Habsi was called into action on 56 minutes, acrobatically tipping a powerful 18-metre volley by Rhys Williams over the bar. The visitors then had claims for a penalty when Wilkshire went down under the challenge of Hashim Al-Balushi but the referee dismissed the appeal. Oman continued to create chances from set-pieces while at the other end both Kennedy and Holman failed to get a touch on a tantalising ball in from Wilkshire. The Socceroos remain top of their group heading into Tuesday's match against Thailand in Bangkok.
FERGUSON HEARTENED BY CHANGE ROOM FIREWORKS
Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson wants his players to speak their minds. A heated exchange of opinions during half-time last week at Newcastle United was enough to highlight to Ferguson that Glory have no intention of falling into the malaise that plagued them last season. "There was only one player (last season) who would speak his mind and that was Jacob Burns. This year we've got five or six strong characters in there that know we can do better," said Ferguson. "I actually enjoyed listening to them and obviously trying to put a few things straight. But once that's over they sit down, calm down reflect and I take over from there."
Team captain Burns was livid with the manner of Jeremy Brockie's double, which virtually sealed victory for Newcastle despite Glory's second-half improvement. "We all want to be up there and we don't want to concede goals, especially easy goals, and we want to be winning every game we step out into," said Burns, who was also encouraged by the exchange of opinions. "I think it's a good thing. You'd be a bit upset if you come in and you're losing a game and no one is saying anything and everybody's happy with how things are going. That's credit to the lads and the people who are here."
There's a very good chance Ferguson will made a number of changes to his starting line-up for tomorrow's clash with Sydney FC at Perth Oval. Andrezinho is likely to inject some Brazilian flair down the left with the attack-minded quartet of Mile Sterjovski, Tommy Amphlett, Jesse Makarounas and Adam Taggart promoted from the youth squad. Sydney are weakened by the absence of Brett Emerton, who is on international duty, but still possess plenty of danger with Nick Carle and Karol Kisel in red-hot form. Tomorrow's game, which will be a celebration of Glory's 15-year history, kicks off at 7.00pm.
WILLIAMS WANTS BIGGER SOCCEROOS ROLE
Breaking into the English Premier League is the key to Rhys Williams establishing himself as one of Australia’s big hitters at the 2014 World Cup. Williams, whose 2010 World Cup hopes was ruined by groin and pelvic injuries, has bounced back with a vengeance this season. His form for English Championship side Middlesbrough, whether in defence or the centre of midfield, has catapulted him into the Socceroos’ starting line-up at left-back for their most recent two matches. He will again be in contention for the right-back role in World Cup qualifiers against Oman on Saturday, and Thailand next Tuesday.
Williams, 23, is determined to show Socceroos coach Holger Osieck that he can play a more central role. “I’d like to play one of those positions for the national team because they are so important, positions right down the spine of the team,” Williams told Jonathon Cook of the ‘West Australian’. “I want to be a more important player. I know I’m only young still and I know it’s going to take time to get in the team and make one of those important positions my own. There’s a lot of competition but I’ve just got to keep working hard and hopefully it will come.”
Williams wants to help Middlesbrough achieve promotion this season but acknowledged a transfer to another club could be on the cards if they fall short. “My goal is to play in the Premiership and if I’m doing that week in, week out, maybe that could force the issue or show him that he can rely on me to do that centre back or centre-midfield job,” he said. “I’ve tried hard for the last three years to help get Middlesbrough back in the Premier League and hopefully this season will be the one. If not, I have to seriously look around and I’ve spoken to the manager (Tony Mowbray) about that.”
With several Premier League clubs already expressing their interest, Middlesbrough have offered Williams an extension on his contract, which still has 18 months to run. So far, though, he has held off signing a fresh deal. “I’ve been at Middlesbrough a long time, they’ve stuck by me, they’ve given me contracts during injury and they’ve kept faith in me,” he said. “I’ve told the manager I’m happy to sign if the deal is right but right now it’s not. Until the deal is right, I’ll just sit on what I have now.” Mowbray recently said Williams would benefit from not playing for Australia after he returned from his last Socceroos involvement feeling tired.
GLORY LEGENDS REFLECT ON 96/97
Perth Glory celebrates their 15th birthday this Saturday evening when they take on Sydney FC at Perth Oval in the fifth round of the A-League season. The club first stepped into the national football arena on 13 October 1996 by hosting UTS Olympic, who inflicted a 4-1 loss on the league’s newest team. Inaugural players Alan MacKenzie and Scott Miller as well as coach Gary Marocchi took time this week to cast their minds back to the summer of 1996/97 season to recall where the Glory story began.
The honour of scoring Glory’s first goal falls to MacKenzie, who found the target late in the clubs first competitive outing at Perth Oval. “Most of the guys came out of the State League and we didn’t know what to expect,” he recalled. “In the changing rooms on that first day every ten or fifteen minutes the noise from the crowd got louder and louder and we were thinking this obviously means a lot to the people in Perth.”
The free-flowing brand of football Glory played under coach Marocchi quickly captured the imagination of Perth’s football community. “If you want to get people to come and watch the team play, you’ve got to play an exciting brand of football,” stated Marocchi. “We always focused on playing attacking football.” Such was the success of the then National Soccer League’s newest addition that by seasons’ end they’d attracted 158,068 spectators to 13 home games.
One of the highlights of that first season was Miller’s sensational last minute strike which secured a 3-2 win over Melbourne Knights in December 1996. “I tried to drill it, but it ended up lobbing the goalkeeper said Miller, who went on to play 231 games for Glory. “I didn’t score that many, unlike Bobby Despotovski, but if I’m out with Bobby, people still mention it even now and it irritates him, which is good!”
Glory fell just short of making the finals at the first attempt, a controversial final round loss to the Knights jumping the Melbourne club into sixth spot with the league newcomer’s one point behind. The inaugural Glory squad featured Vince Matassa, Tommy Maras, Robbie Robbie Zabica, Vinko Buljubasic, Vlad Beretovac, Gavin Wilkinson, Craig Naven, Peter Vukmirovic, Marc Wingell, Doug Ithier, Anthony Carbone, Paul McVittie, Gareth Naven, Scott Miller, Dale Wingell, Paul Strudwick, Bobby Despotovski, Vas Kalogeracos and Alan MacKenzie.
SHAMROCK FINALISE AGREEMENT WITH IRISH NAMESAKE
Division One club Shamrock Rovers have signed an agreement with their Dublin namesake which will see the local club take on loan up to three players from the Dublin side’s youth ranks. The agreement, signed in September, will run for three years with an option to extend it for a further two years once. Youth players who take up the offer to play in Perth will travel on working holiday visas and be assisted to find employment and accommodation.
Shamrock chairman Bill Byrne sees the agreement as a sign of ongoing growth at the East Victoria Park club. “They realise our potential to grow here and they want to look at using us to keep a couple of players from leaving their club when they haven’t got an opportunity to bring them straight into their first team,” Byrne told irishecho.com.au. “The idea is that we can offer them that opportunity here in Australia, by bringing them down from Ireland, putting them into our first team and coaching them.”
Sydney-based businessman Ray Wilson, the commercial officer of the Dublin club, believes the agreement will give young players experience in a league which has a good standard of football. “Really, for us it’s a good way of giving fellas who are a bit young to go into our first world squad an opportunity to travel the world, grow up a bit and develop, and maybe after a year or two, come back to Rovers,” he commented. The agreement will also involve Shamrock helping the Perth club with marketing.
COYNE LOOKING FORWARD TO HOMETOWN PERTH
Former Perth Glory captain Jamie Coyne is counting the hours until he gets the chance to square up against his former club in the colours of Sydney FC. Saturday’s game at Perth Oval is a highly personal affair for Coyne, who made 152 appearances for Glory before being dumped at the end of last season over a contract dispute. “When I left Perth, it wasn’t in the best circumstances, but you have to forget about all that,” he said. “It’s good to play against the old club. My brother (Chris Coyne) is still there and I’m looking forward at getting over there and trying to get a win.”
Had Coyne, 30, was dropped by Glory towards the end of last season needing to play just one more game to trigger a contract extension. “Once the PFA (Professional Footballers Association) got involved, I kind of left it with them. You can’t sit there and dwell on it. Obviously I ended up moving over here (to Sydney), so the case was stopped,” he said. “It’s not the club I was upset with, it’s just a few individuals who work there … if that’s the way they want to treat people, that’s fine. But, as a club on the whole, they were great, especially the supporters and those I played with.”
Saturday’s game will be the first time the Coyne brothers have been on opposing sides. “'We’ve never played each other, so this will be a first. Obviously, we played at Perth a couple of seasons ago before he went to China (on loan with Liaoning Whowin), and having that two-year age difference we never played against each other,” said the Sydney player, who phoned his brother after last week’s loss to Newcastle United. “I knew he’d be a bit pissed off and would tell me a few things. But, leading up to the game, he won’t give too much away and vice versa …I reckon anything he does tell me won’t be true.”
Having been a Glory player for eight seasons, Coyne believes he has the inside knowledge on how the side plays and won’t hesitate to pass on any nuggets of information to Sydney coach Vitezslav Lavicka. “I think it’s pretty easy to see the way they’ve been playing at the start of the season. A lot of players have changed, yet there’s one or two details (I’ve got),” said Coyne, who remains wary of Glory boss Ian Ferguson. “But, with Fergie who knows what he’s going to do. He could change four or five players or he could change nothing this week.”
Coyne expects a hostile reception when he takes his place at right-back from the Glory Shed. “If Perth get on top they do like to fire up, but if things aren't going well they do go very quiet,” Coyne said. “That’s up to us to weather the storm for the first 15 minutes and then, hopefully, take them out of the game for the rest of it. When it’s a big crowd, they really fire up the team. Whenever players who have played at the club before return, they’ve copped a bit of grief and I’m expecting the same. You’re no longer playing for the club and obviously they want their team to win.”
GARCIA PLANS TO FINISH HIS CAREER WITH GLORY
Hull City attacker Richard Garcia wants to spend some of the best years of his career in the A-League and would love to play for Perth Glory. Garcia, 30, was delighted to see his Socceroo teammates Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton move back to the A-League and aims to be at the peak of his powers when he returns home to Australia. “I don’t really want to go back when I’m 35 or 36 and I’ve got nothing left in the tank,” he told Jonathon Cook of the ‘West Australian’. “I want to give a good account of myself. I don’t want to go home and be over the hill. At the minute, I actually feel like I'm in the best shape of my life because I’ve worked really hard.”
Garcia’s older brother, Michael, played for Glory in the National Soccer League before his career was cut short by injury. The Hull attacker, who has played in the English Premier League and was a key player for Australia at last year’s World Cup, said following in his brother’s footsteps by turning out for Glory would be a dream conclusion to his own career. “My brother played for them and the club did really well (in the NSL),” he said. “It was fantastic in the old days and it would be great to see that again and to be part of that. It’s natural for me to want to be in Perth playing in front of family and friends. It’s my home and I remember going to the first Glory game.”
Garcia is close to returning to action for Hull more than six months after knee surgery. He had been playing with a torn meniscus in his right knee but finally succumbed to his troubles during the second last game of the 2010/11 season. Manager Nigel Pearson allowed Garcia, who left Perth as a 15-year old to join West Ham United, to remain at the club on a month-to-month contract. “The manager fought really hard for me and said ‘this is a guy I want to be here’ and I’m grateful,” Garcia said. His aim is to be playing again next month and win a contract through to the end of the season. Then it would be decision time with his wife Janelle expecting the couple’s second child.
TAGGART BUZZING AFTER OLYROOS CALL-UP
Teenager Adam Taggart has been selected in Australia’s 19-player squad for this month’s 2012 Olympic Games qualifiers. It caps a memorable month for the 18-year old striker, who scored three goals as the Young Socceroos breezed through the AFC Under-19 Championship qualifiers. “It’s been a real buzz,” Taggart said. “The last few weeks have been a great learning experience and I am really grateful to be given the chance to represent my country at the next level.” Adelaide United goalkeeper Mark Birighitti also gained a place in the squad, however, Glory defender Scott Neville missed out due to a knee injury.
The importance of Australia taking maximum points over Iraq (22 November) and Uzbekistan (27 November) is not lost on Aurelio Vidmar. “After drawing our opening match against the UAE we need to get a good result from these two matches to give us the best possible chance of qualifying for the Olympics,” said the Olyroos coach. “With injuries to a number of players we have used in the previous matches, we’ve selected a few new faces following our recent training camp in Sydney. It will be up to these players to take their opportunity and step up to the challenge ahead.”
The Australian Under-23 squad to play Iraq and Uzbekistan is Mark Birighitti, Daniel Mullen (Adelaide United), Kofi Danning, Matthew Jurman, Mitch Nichols (Brisbane Roar), Oliver Bozanic, Brad McDonald, Mathew Ryan (Central Coast Mariners), James Brown, Dylan McGowan (Gold Coast United), Aziz Behich, Mate Dugandzic, Jason Hoffman (Melbourne Heart), Matthew Foschini (Melbourne Victory), Marko Jesic (Newcastle Jets), Adam Taggart (Perth Glory), Rhyan Grant, Dimitrios Petratos and Sebastian Ryall (Sydney FC).
YOUNGSTERS GET A GLIMPSE OF PROFESSIONAL LIFE WITH PFT
The recent Pro Football Training tour of England and Scotland has given some of the state’s youngsters a glimpse into what it takes to play the game at the highest levels. The action-packed 16-day tour took in three English Premier League games, stadium tours of Old Trafford, St James Park and Hampden Park in addition to games with academy sides from Oldham Athletic, Liverpool, Newcastle United, Darlington Town and Glasgow Rangers. “The experiences our players gained will challenge them to become the best they can be,” commented PFT coaching director Mark Lee, a former Perth Glory player.
The tour group had barely time to catch their breath when they attended their first game, Blackburn Rovers verses Manchester City at Ewood Park. The following day they visited the academy set-up at Bolton Wanderers before taking in that clubs home clash with Chelsea. The PFT players finally got to stretch their legs on day tour of the tour with a training session under the watchful eye of Bolton’s academy coaches. “The attitude and understanding of the players really stood out as they went about impressing their new coaches,” said Lee.
A training run in the shadows of Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City, and a tour of Old Trafford, home of Manchester United, preceded the squads participation in small sided game competition with Oldham Athletic. “The players were mixed in with the Oldham lads to play a series of 6v6 matches over a period of 75 minutes,” explained Lee. “It was a cold evening but new friendships were made on the playing ground and some exciting football was played by both sets of players.”
The most eagerly anticipated day of the tour had the PFT players up against Liverpool, one of the true giants of world football. “Liverpool could not have been more accommodating. On arrival at the academy they had a Pro Football Training sign above the changing room doors and really went out of their way to make the players feel welcome,” commented Lee. “The players barely had time to take a touch but soon adapted with Devan Conry and James Drewett notching a goal each, something they will never forget.”
Following the game the players were addressed by Perth-born defender Tom King, who is in his second year with the club from Anfield. “The Liverpool experience really highlighted to all the players just how good you have to be to even get the opportunity to play professionally,” said Lee. “The efficiency and clinical nature of the Liverpool players was outstanding and if we can instil this into the local game we will go a long way to producing much more young talent who will go on to succeed at the highest level.”
After games and training sessions with Newcastle United, Sunderland and Darlington Town the touring party headed north of the border where, following a visit to Hampden Park, they took on the nation’s most successful club, Rangers. “After fourteen days of travel and constant football, the players could have been excused for being fatigued but they showed fantastic energy and enthusiasm,” said Lee. “We were technically as proficient as the Rangers players but they showed their class and poise through sheer determination and a willingness to be first.”
A training session at Celtic’s training centre at St Mungo’s High School, where the club runs an in-school program for talented players, completed their time in Scotland. “But the tour wasn’t officially over,” said Lee. “We took in Manchester City’s demolition of Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium, where earlier in the tour the players trained. We had seen a total of 15 goals scored in the English Premier League over three games, with most of our players now sporting brand new Manchester City tops with ‘David Silva’ emblazoned on the back.”
AWAY FORM CONCERNS GLORY’S COYNE
Defender Chris Coyne admits he is mystified by Perth Glory’s poor away form. Glory returned from a fortnight on the eastern seaboard with nothing to show other than back-to-back losses to Newcastle United (2-0) and Central Coast Mariners (2-1). “It’s not good enough and there’s no excuses because grass is green, the goalposts don’t move and they’re both for each team,” he said. “Maybe it’s a mindset, maybe we need to go in there a bit more defensively and say, ‘let’s play on the break’. (But) it’s just not good enough, you can’t give two goals in four minutes and expect to get anything away from home.”
Coyne is looking forward to Saturday’s encounter with Sydney FC at Perth Oval as it’ll be the first time he’s played competitively against his brother, Jamie. “Hopefully I’ll see him at the back post and there’ll be no quarter given cause we’re both competitors,” the Glory defender said. “We used to kick the living daylights out of each other in the back garden. And it will be exactly the same if we play against each other. We’ll shake hands before the game and have a chat afterwards, but during that 90 minutes there’ll be nothing given.”
DE VANNA SETS HER SIGHTS ON GOALS
Two games into her Newcastle United career, Lisa De Vanna has already equalled her best W-League goal-scoring return for a season. De Vanna, who turns 27 next week, netted twice and set-up the other to inspire Newcastle’s come-from-behind 3-2 win over defending champions Brisbane Roar. The weekend brace took De Vanna to four goals for the campaign after she scored twice in the second round win over Adelaide United.
De Vanna, who played two seasons with Perth Glory before linking up with Brisbane last summer, is confident there are plenty more goals to come from her this term. “I think in my first year, with Perth, I scored three goals and two the second year,” De Vanna told the ‘Newcastle Herald’. “Last year with Roar I was injured and scored four. This year I’ve scored four in two games and I’m healthy and feeling fit so I’m quite happy at the moment.”
The win in Brisbane reasserted the W-League title credentials of Newcastle, who recruited De Vanna, Emily Van Egmond, Melissa Barbieri and Ariane Hingst over the off-season. “I would have been really disappointed if we came off with a loss,” De Vanna. “I thought we out-played them most of the game. We lost a bit of momentum when they scored. It was tough to get back into the game, but once we did we controlled most of the game.”
De Vanna’s match-winning form will be integral when Newcastle come up against another of the competition’s heavyweights, Sydney FC, on Saturday. “We’re very confident,” De Vanna said. “We just have to look at it how we went out and played against Brisbane, as the underdogs a little bit. Obviously Sydney, after coming off a loss, have to change things pretty quickly. For us, we either build momentum or it goes backwards, but I feel very confident it’s only forward for us.”
SHAMROCK HONOUR STACK
Ian Stack’s midfield influence has been rewarded with Shamrock Rovers’ top award, the Players Player of the Year. Stack was revealed as Shamrock’s best player of the recent season on the weekend before a crowd of 165 guests at Burswood. “It’s a great honour to be voted Players Player in my first season at Shamrock,” said Stack, who was instrumental in his club’s push towards the Division One title. “The season didn’t finish as we would have liked but was a big learning curve for us in our first year of Saturday football.”
Long-time Shamrock defender Paudie O’Connor was recognised with the Coaches Award. Reserve team striker Patrick Byrne added the Players Player of the Year to the competitions’ Golden Boot he collected at last month’s WA Football Awards. The Coaches Award was presented to centre half Michael Boland. Vanus Kidane was voted Players Player of the Year for the Youth team, where the Coaches Award was taken out by first year player Faiz Jaacob. The club also paid tribute to attacking midfielder Sam Cole, winner of the Division One Youth Fairest and Best award.
YOUNG SOCCEROOS QUALIFY FOR AFC FINALS
Australia will take their place at the AFC Under-19 Championship after coming through the qualifying tournament in Malaysia with a perfect win record. The Young Socceroos were rarely troubled in dealing with Singapore (1-0), Macau (12-0), Indonesia (4-1) and China (3-0) to finish top of Group G with maximum points. West Australian quartet Tom King, Ryan Edwards, Adam Taggart and Jesse Makarounas all featured throughout the campaign. Australia and group runner-up China progress to next year’s AFC Under-19 Championship in Turkey.
The Young Socceroos eased their way into the qualifying tournament with a 1-0 defeat of Singapore. Australia dominated from the outset with good first half chances falling to Reece Caira, Jamie MacLaren and Adam Taggart. The breakthrough didn’t arrive until the 50th minute when a sweet cross from the right by Taggart was headed in by Caira. Despite further shots on goal from Terry Antonis, Ryan Edwards and Taggart there’d be no addition to the score line. Taggart and Edwards played full games, while Tom King and Jesse Makarounas were unused substitutes.
Macau provided little resistance as Australia ran out 12-0 winners in the third round of games. James Donachie headed in the opener with Anthony Proia and Makarounas taking the gap to three goals inside 11 minutes, by which time Macau defender had Ho Man Fai been sent off. The Young Socceroos continued to pile on the pressure with Proia, Paulo Retre, Makarounas and Corey Brown to make it seven-nil at the break. Two second half goal to each Proia and Taggart plus another by Jason Geria completed the route. King played a full game, Makarounas made way for Taggart on 55 minutes as Ryan Edwards watched from the bench.
MacLaren bagged a hat-trick as the Young Socceroos secured a place at next year’s AFC Under-19 Championship by downing Indonesia 4-1. Only 4 minutes had passed when MacLaren’s precision finish gave goalkeeper Achmad Risky Kurniawan no chance, and five minutes later he converted a penalty awarded for a foul on Edwards. A brilliant move just before half-time featuring Taggart, Antonis and MacLaren ended with Antonis expertly chipping the ‘keeper. MacLaren completed his hat-trick in the 65th minute with another well-taken goal after which Abdul Lestaluhu converted an Indonesia penalty. Taggart and Edwards played full games with King and Makarounas unused substitutes.
The Young Socceroos swept past China 3-0 in their final outing. The better of first half chances were created by Australia as Antonis, Edwards, Caira and MacLaren asserted control over the midfield. The go-ahead goal arrived just before the break with MacLaren finishing a slick passing move. Taggart doubled the lead by volleying in after MacLaren headed down a Ciara kick-off before substitute Liam Wooding put the game to bed on 63 minutes. China ended the game with nine men as a result of red cards to Li Songyi and Sun Zhengao. Taggart and Edwards played full games with King and Makarouas unused substitutes.
KNEE INJURY PUTS NEVILLE OUT FOR SIX MONTHS
Perth Glory defender Scott Neville has been ruled out for up to six months after being advised to undergo surgery to repair a torn lateral ligament in his right knee. Neville, 22, suffered the injury in training last week and had the worst confirmed during today’s visit to his surgeon. “Obviously to receive the news that I require surgery was disappointing,” Neville said. “My focus is now on my rehab with the club physios and doctors so I can return to action as soon as possible.” Neville joins Evan Berger (hamstring) and Steve Pantelidis (Achilles) on the sidelines in a major test of Glory’s defensive stocks.
Youth team product Josh Risdon started at right full-back in Neville’s absence against Newcastle United on the weekend. The teenager won praise for his efforts from Ferguson after the game and is likely to retain his place in the line-up for the up-coming game with Sydney FC, who’ve taken points from their last three outings. “Young Josh came in and did a great job on Saturday, I thought he was one of the best,” Ferguson said. “He was a standout player for us and he dealt very well with the boy (Ryan) Griffiths and kept him quiet. He’s definitely in contention for the game against Sydney.”
MADASCHI HAS MELBOURNE AT HEART
The latest addition to Melbourne Heart’s playing roster, defender Adrian Madaschi, is focused on doing whatever it takes to help his club perform at their best. Madaschi has been training with training with Melbourne Victory since September but hesitated not a moment to join their crosstown rivals then the opportunity presented. “In football when one door closes another one opens, and this is the opportunity,” he said. “I wish to thank John (Van’t Schip) and Heart for bringing me across and giving me the opportunity to get back onto the pitch.”
Madaschi, a junior with Perth SC, left Australia as a teenager to pursue his dream of becoming a professional footballer. His journey took in spells with Atalanta, Monza and Portosummaga in Italy as well as Scottish clubs Dundee and Partrick Thistle. “I’ve been away for 14 years. I went overseas as a 15 year old boy, so it’s good to be back in Australia,” explained Madaschi who has been capped by Australia five times. “It’s been a long time. Hopefully I can take that experience out onto the pitch and offer that to Melbourne Heart.”
Even though his contract allows him to play only ten games, Madaschi is looking forward to settling in and making his mark at the club. “I already know quite a few of the boys like Wayne Shroj and Simon Colosimo, and I know there’s a good feeling around the club,” he said. “I’ve watched them already on three occasions so I know the football they are trying to play, and I really like it. My objective is to get in and try and help them as much as I can.”
INJURY FORCES HERD OUT OF SOCCEROOS
Chris Herd must wait for his Socceroos debut after an ankle injury forced the Aston Villa defender to withdraw from the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. Herd, who was called up for the first time by coach Holger Osieck last week, picked up the knock late in his club’s Premier League win over Norwich City on Saturday. After consulting Herd as well as the Villa and Socceroos medical staff, Osieck decided the versatile youngster was not required in camp. The Socceroos are beginning to assemble in Dubai for a short training camp before taking on Oman this Friday and Oman next Tuesday.
DISAPPOINTED FERGUSON LOOKS FOR POSITIVES
Coach Ian Ferguson is focusing on the positives from Perth Glory's weekend loss to Newcastle United. Glory were caught out by their opponents attacking start which reaped two goals inside 11 minutes and although Ferguson's team worked their way back into the contest they couldn't find the back of the net as they slipped to their second straight defeat. "It was very disappointing the manner we started the game – it was a real shock for us," Ferguson said. "We knew they would come at us and we talked about the fact they would come at us, but it was very disappointing that we didn't handle that. But after the start I felt it was a pretty even game."
Ferguson said his frustration wasn't because of Newcastle's pressing game but more the fact that his side took a while to click into gear. "It took us about 15 to 20 minutes to get into the game and by that time we were 2-0 down," he said. "We looked like we didn't have any urgency – we looked lacklustre. And when we got into the sheds at half-time I let them know in no uncertain terms that it wasn't good enough. And to their credit I had a great reaction from the boys – they played a lot better in the second half."
The introduction of Andrezinho and Josh Mitchell at half-time had the desired effect with Glory creating several opportunities down the left flank in the second stanza. "I thought Josh Mitchell did very well as did Andrezinho and I thought Liam Miller did well when we changed to 4-4-2," Ferguson said. "People have to remember that we are the team that has probably had the most turnover in players. And we are trying to find the balance, we are trying to find the shape, we are trying to find the right combination of personnel that will do the business for us."
Ferguson also said he would review the team tactic of staying on in New South Wales after last week's match with the Central Coast Mariners rather than traveling back home to Perth in between games. "There were a lot of positives out of it. One was that we didn’t travel and two was that we got all our sessions in," he said. "But the downside of that is that you stay in a hotel with the family and kids for a week. So we will look closely into that. If you are asking me would we do it again I would probably say no at this point in time."
BABALJ CLOSES IN ON A-LEAGUE RETURN
Melbourne Heart is set to try to solve its striking woes from within rather than in the transfer market by rushing teenage forward Eli Babalj into the line-up for next weekend's game with Newcastle United. Babalj, who suffered a medial ligament injury in pre-season having just come back from a lengthy absence after fracturing his femur, is likely to be recalled to at least the bench with fitness the only thing preventing the 19-year old from making his first start of the campaign. The former Perth SC junior played half an hour last week for Melbourne’s youth team and scored in a 45 minutes hit-out against Adelaide United at the weekend.
BIRIGHITTI GOES DUTCH
Adelaide United goalkeeper Mark Birighitti head to the Netherlands on Saturday to attend trials with NEC Nijmegen. Birighitti, who trialled with fellow Eredivisie outfit AZ Alkmaar in 2009, heads to Europe with the blessing of coach Rini Coolen as he attempts to take the next step in his career. “It’s a good club in Holland, a very good club, and they’re looking for goalkeepers,” Coolen said. “They were happy to look at Birighitti and they’re very serious about him.” Birighitti has played second fiddle to dual A-League Goalkeeper of the Year Eugene Galekovic since joining Adelaide in 2008 but should trials with NEC be successful, the ‘keeper could move to the Dutch club in the January transfer window.
DICKINSON GUIDES SHAMROCK INTO 2012
New Shamrock Rovers coach Andy Dickinson is looking forward to help shape the clubs State League future. Dickinson, whose background includes time with English clubs Burnley and Bury, was recently appointed to the top job at Shamrock where he’ll be out to build on the successes of former boss Paul McCue. “Shamrock have been extremely successful over the past few seasons and they have an extremely positive vision for the future,” said Dickinson. “It’s always good to be in at the beginning and, hopefully, your input helps guide the club to where it wants to be.”
Dickinson was initially sounded out to coach Shamrock four years ago but turned down the offer. “I had just accepted the first team coach role at UWA. But having played Shamrock numerous times over the years, I saw the professionalism and commitment behind the club and thought should the opportunity ever arise again I would take it,” he said. “I met with some of the committee and it was obvious the club wanted to continue to move forward with their success, both on and off the pitch. This reinforced what I already knew about the club and I wanted to be a part of Shamrock.”
Manchester-born Dickinson, 44, took his first steps into the coaching arena with Burnley in 1997. A six-year stint at Bury’s Centre of Excellence was highlighted by the Northern Youth Alliance League title in 1999/2000 and an assistant coach role with the clubs’ Under-19 side. After coaching juniors at the United Soccer Academy (USA), Dickinson headed to Perth where he spent several years as a junior coach with Stirling Lions. A successful three-year spell in charge of the UWA reserves reaped the club Sunday League Premier Division crowns in 2009 and 2010 as well as the 2009 Sunday League Cup.
With the new season a couple of months away, Dickinson is busily assembling a squad he feels can better the third place gained in the State League debut. “Hopefully we can retain the playing group we currently have and add a few new faces into the mix,” said the coach. “We need to look at consolidating our position in the league, that’s not going to be easy with the addition of the two sides that were relegated (Mandurah City and Cockburn City) last season. The club has got a great playing group, both young and old, and they should be given the opportunity where possible to develop within the club.”
FOOTBALL WEST FLOAT 32-TEAM TOURNAMENT
The Night Series is facing a radical overhaul with Football West considering a single competition involving all 32 State League teams next year. Although the new format is yet to be given the green light, the association have proposed a 32-team competition which will pit Premier Division, Division One and Division Two teams against each other from 3 February. The initial phase will feature eight groups of four teams with the group winners qualifying for the quarter-finals. The field will then be progressively half with the last two remaining teams meeting in the final on 10 March.
NEWCASTLE STRIKE EARLY TO SEE OFF GLORY
Perth Glory has suffered their second loss in as many weeks, falling 2-0 to Newcastle United in this afternoon’s A-League encounter at Ausgrid Stadium. Jeremy Brockie struck twice in the opening minutes to put the home side in control before many of the 12,383 fans had settled into their seats. “The first half was particularly bad," frustrated coach Ian Ferguson said post-game. “I wasn’t happy at half-time and told them in no uncertain terms it wasn’t good enough. I felt in the second half, when we made a couple of changes, I felt we had a lot of the ball and created a few half chances and some good chances.”
Newcastle applied all the early pressure and with 10 minutes gone it paid dividends with Jobe Wheelhouse releasing Brockie, who weaved his way down the right and inside the 18-yard box before unleashing a vicious shot that was too good for Danny Vukovic. A minute Kasey Wehrman’s deft chip into the area found Brockie, whose first touch took his past Bas Van Den Brink before half-volleying in from 6-metres. Ryan Griffiths had a couple of gilt-edge chances to double the hosts lead only for his powerful headers to sail past the target.
Glory started the second half with a definite plan to push down the left through Josh Mitchell and substitute Andrezinho. Shane Smeltz rattled the crossbar with a dipping volley from the edge of the area just after the hour but the striker was lucky not to be sent off for a crude tackle on Taylor Regan soon after. Some great passing up the middle of the park saw Wehrman put Wheelhouse through on goal but his shot was well saved by Vukovic. Glory continued to search for a way back in but neither Smeltz nor Travis Dodd were able to capitalise when opportunities presented.
GLORY WOMEN EDGES OUT ADELAIDE
Perth Glory Women’s first home game of the new season has been a memorable one, defeating Adelaide United 2-1 at Perth Oval. Adelaide took an early lead through Racheal Quigley but that was cancelled out soon after by Erika Elze with Katarina Jukic slotting in the decider shortly before half-time. “It’s a really good feeling and I’m glad the girls have got the win,” said Emma Kete, who was named player of the match. “They’ve (the team) been working really hard for it so it’s good to be rewarded for it. I actually got cramped as I came out of the tunnel for the second half, but I’m getting there (match fitness).”
The drama started as early as the 2nd minute with Quigley silencing the home crowd with a spectacular overhead kick after Ashleigh Gunning’s shot was blocked by goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold. Parity was restored just four minutes later when Marianna Tabain’s free-kick in from the left caused all sorts of dramas for the Reds’ defence before Elze scrambled the ball over the line. Glory Women started to control possession with star signing Kete twice going close to adding a second goal. That finally arrived on 37 minutes when Kete drew the defence and squared for Katarina Jukic, who took one touch before beating goalkeeper Kristi Harvey.
Jukic and Kete continued to trouble Adelaide rearguard after the turnaround, the latter getting only to be thwarted by a quick reaction from Harvey. Down the other end Arnold did well to prevent the ball from crossing the line after being clattered into by Abby Erceg. Adelaide’s search for an equaliser was led by Quigley, whose long-range attempt smacked into the crossbar in the 74th minute and soon after had a goalbound shot tipped over Arnold. Appeals for a stoppage time penalty to the home side were dismissed despite Elisa D'Ovidio appearing to have been dragged down inside the 18-yard box.
DE VANNA RETURNS TO HAUNT ROAR
Lisa De Vanna has returned to Brisbane in sensational style, slotting in two late penalties to hand Newcastle United a 3-2 win over her former club. The Matildas striker was full of spirit against the defending W-League champions Brisbane Roar, leading the visiting offense all afternoon with typical aggression and confidence in attack. Brisbane looked set to secure their first win of the new season when goalkeeper Casey Dumont was sent off following a collision with De Vanna, who duly converted the 70th minute penalty. With seven minutes left De Vanna stepped up to snatch a dramatic come-from-behind victory after Karla Retuer was pinged for an accidental handball.
SOCCEROOS CALL OUT OF THE BLUE: HERD (courtesy the 'West Australian')
Aston Villa midfielder Chris Herd had given little thought to the possibility of playing for the Socceroos until his surprise inclusion for Australia's next two World Cup qualifiers. The 22-year old represented Australia at the Under-20 World Cup in 2009 and had been linked to a Scotland call-up after impressive performances for Villa in the English Premier League. But Herd, who was involved in a Socceroos training camp in March although he had not been in an official squad, said the international scene had been far from his mind recently.
Instead, Herd was more concerned with pressing to establish himself at Villa under new boss Alex McLeish, who took over during the off-season following the departure of Gerard Houllier. "Obviously I'd heard there was interest from Scotland and I hadn't really heard much from Australia since the under-20s," Herd told Jonathon Cook of the 'West Australian'. "But it didn't really come into my head about playing internationally. I just wanted to get in the team here first. There was a lot of talk in the papers but nothing came from me. I was just focused on my club career."
Although he qualifies to play for Scotland through his parents, Herd has his heart set on playing in the green and gold and hopes that opportunity will come against either Oman or Thailand next weekend. "I was just delighted when I heard and I can't wait to get there," he said. "The aim is to get into the starting team. But I need to play well here first before I get any opportunities there. I'll just see how it goes and concentrate on my football here and hopefully I'll get a bit of time with the Australian team."
It has not been entirely smooth sailing recently for Herd, who was called into the Villa starting line-up against West Bromwich Albion only to be left bitterly disappointed when sent off after just 35 minutes. "It didn't feel real … I was just shocked," Herd said of his dismissal, which even had TV match analysts searching for an offence that did not exist. That red card was later rescinded in time for him to patrol the midfield in last weekend's draw with Sunderland. Herd is in contention to make his third successive start when Villa take on Norwich City today.
FERGUSON PREPARED FOR ANY EVENTUALLY
Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson won't be worrying too much about a Newcastle United side that may spring a few surprises under new coach Gary van Egmond. Glory's focus is on coming out of tomorrow's game in Newcastle with maximum points but Ferguson knows that is easier said than done. "With Gary there, whatever formation he wants to put out there, I'm sure it's going to be a very difficult game for us," said Ferguson. "I watched them last week and it's going to be a very tough game, we've just got to make sure that we're ready when we take on Newcastle."
Having opened the season with three straight wins, Glory suffered their first loss last week to bogey team Central Coast Mariners. Ferguson, though, isn't too dispirited as his side dominated long stretches of the encounter and could have won the match had they taken their chances. "When we made the mistakes there were still plenty of defenders back there … we got breached twice but it was self-inflicted from giving the ball away," Ferguson said. "That's what we're going to work on this week, retaining the ball a little better and we can't give it away against an opposition that will punish you."
GLORY WOMEN COMFORTABLE WITH UNDERDOG TAG: OXTOBY
The time is ripe for Perth Glory Women to open their new season account according to long-serving defender Tanya Oxtoby. Glory Women’s first home game of the summer has them up against Adelaide United on Saturday with team captain Oxtoby confident of taking a point or three from the encounter. “This week’s game against Adelaide is a must win for us,” said Oxtoby. “With a focus on getting points in our upcoming home games, internally we are loving the underdog tag that seems to have been attached to us and we look forward to proving a few people wrong along the way.”
It’s been an eventful start to new W-League campaign for Glory Women whose opening fixture was interrupted by a thunderstorm before they were grounded in Canberra last weekend. “Flight delays meaning we didn't return home from Canberra until three days after our original scheduled flight,” explained Oxtoby. “Whilst inconvenient having to stay longer in Canberra than planned, it allow the team time together to work on aspects of our game that need to be fine-tuned, as well as some valuable team bonding.” The Glory-Adelaide W-League game commence at 12.00noon on Saturday at Perth Oval.
BARTLETT “PROUD AND PRIVILEGED” TO SERVE SORRENTO
Tom Bartlett’s retirement after two plus decades as president of Sorrento has signalled the end of an era for the northern suburbs club. On Bartlett’s 22-year watch Sorrento matured into one of the State League’s most professionally run and successful clubs, winning every trophy on offer. “Sorrento has been a very big part of my life so stepping aside from being president was an extremely difficult decision,” said Bartlett. “I am very proud and privileged to have been allowed to serve the club for a long time, and hopefully I made a difference.”
Knowing the club had the right people in the right positions to take them forward helped Bartlett in retiring. “The time was right for a change,” he said. “The newly elected president, Derek Harnwell, loves the club as much as I do and has been my vice president for a long time. Kerry Slater has been elected for a further term as secretary, he has been a stalwart of Sorrento for more years than I was president. And the rest of the committee is filled with professional people who work well together and are able to make hard decisions.”
Sorrento rose from lower league to top flight football just two years before Bartlett was voted into office in 1989. After a lengthy period of consolidation the Gulls claimed their first major pieces of silverware by winning the pre-season Night Series and end of year Top Five Cup in 1999. Two year later they finished top of the Premier League table for the first time with further title wins in 2006 and 2008 consolidating their place amongst the competitions’ pacesetters. The final piece of the puzzle was the State league Cup which Sorrento secured by defeating Perth SC only a few months ago.
Not one to measure success in trophies alone, Bartlett ranks the development of Percy Doyle Reserve into one of the State League’s premier venues as one of the achievements he is most proud. “We’ve taken the pitch from being a sand patch to the very good surface that stands up to heavy traffic that we have today,” said Bartlett. “New dressing rooms, improvements to the club house, floodlights and so forth have been accomplished by a hard working group of committee members and supporters, and I am proud of everyone them.”
And it’s towards those same individuals that Bartlett tips his hat for Sorrento’s remarkable success. “The fact we have had a committee that has not changed year-on-year has given us consistency in decision making,” he explained. “They had the foresight to bring in experienced coaches from the UK like Trevor Morgan and Steve Neville. And they also put faith in our youth, players such as Jamie and Todd Harnwell, Neill Young, Glen Thomas, Simon Harland, Andrew Bowyer, Scott Neville and Sean Murphy first played for Sorrento as 7 and 8 year olds.”
Under Bartlett, Sorrento has evolved into a highly professional club which has the respect of their State League counterparts. “A lot has changed at Sorrento, things are no long hit and miss. The club now is run as a business, not a hobby,” said the out-going president. “We have budgets which are strictly adhered to, we cut the cloth according to what revenue is forthcoming and we endeavour not to waste money. Most importantly we are respected as a well-run club by people that matter in the football fraternity.”
Amid this change Sorrento are at heart the same club they were two decades ago. “It is still a family club and Percy Doyle – aka Windy Hill – is our home,” Bartlett commented. “Many supporters from yesteryear come down to the club for a beer on game day. The executive, Derek Harnwell, Kerry Slater, Allen Gray and Paul Dongray, as well we support staff such as Frank Gaffney, ‘Doc’ Chapman and many others are still there after a very long time … this is what makes Sorrento unique in a very much changed society.”
The continual chopping and changing of the local governing body – from the Soccer Federation of WA through the Professional Soccer League, Soccer West Coast and now Football West – has done nothing to further the game’s development according to Bartlett. “I don’t think there is any doubt this has damaged our sports image within the general population,” he commented. “That said, the amalgamation of the respective associations – junior, amateur, semi-professional and women’s – under the same administration was a good move.”
Bartlett is yet to be convinced Football West, who took over for season 2005, are taking things in the right direction. “I don’t think they are,” he said. “Compared to what we had previously (Soccer West Coast) they are better but so they should be. The amalgamation of the various bodies has given them an income of approximately $4 million per annum which could and should be spent more effectively … the clubs have to unite and speak with one voice in dealing with the association, we have to make them listen to our requests and arguments.”
Youth development, and specifically the National Training Centre, is one area where Bartlett would like to see Football West to step away. “I disagree with the NTC programme. There are many different ways to coach kids, to stick with a method dictated and implemented by FFA without the consent of the football fraternity who after all are completely funding Football West is wrong,” Bartlett said. “Over the years the clubs have produced and developed many kids that have gone on to be successful in a full-time capacity, and we do not need an administrative body to interfere with that development.”
In order for local football to progress Bartlett says Football West should be considering how they can best strengthen its flagship competition, the Premier League. “I’d like to see a maximum of two experienced visa players in each Premier League team, subsidised by Football West,” he said. “The youngsters of today would gain invaluable experience playing alongside ex-professionals. It would make the teams more equal and we’d subsequently have a far more competitive league.” Bartlett also suggested increased media coverage and an allocation of better prize money as other ways the league could be stimulated.
Bartlett has no intention of saying goodbye to Sorrento in retirement. “I’ll continue to support Sorrento on and off the field, rekindle my enthusiasm, go shopping with my good lady, spend time with grandkids and generally do what I want when I want,” he said when asked how his Saturday’s will now be spent. “Of course it will be difficult not being part of the decision making process at Sorrento the new committee is a strong one with new people who are prepared to work hard for the benefit of the club ... the football world will see and experience that this forthcoming season.”
GRANT SURPRISED TO WIN INGLEWOOD’S BEST
Rory Grant’s importance in leading Inglewood United back towards the top of the Premier League table has been recognised with the clubs top prize. Grant was voted Fairest and Best player and also collected the Golden Boot trophy at the end of his third season with Inglewood United. “It was a surprise as we’ve had so many outstanding performers this season. I’m very honoured, it’s a proud moment for me,” said the Scotland-born striker. “Shane Pryce and Zoran Atanasovski worked very hard on our fitness this season which has been the main reason I’ve had a good year.”
Grant also thanked fellow attackers Ndumba Makeche, Ryan Clarke and Adrian Caceres for their support throughout the season. “Having Ndumba, Clarkey and Adrian beside me on the pitch has had a huge bearing on how I performed. That forward line compliments each other well,” he said. “To finish with the top goal scorer award as well is down to the supply that these guys have provided, many of my goals have been tap ins from 2-yards!”
The past few seasons have been a struggled for Inglewood but some astute recruitment last summer jumped the club from the brink of relegation to a serious title contender. “The players we brought in made a big difference, David McNally, James Sammut, Ndumba Makeche, David Perich, Paul Dugdale and Ross Harvey,” commented Grant. “It was a good season for us. We scored lots of goals and played attractive football, but at the same time we were disappointed not to have gone further in the finals.”
Having moved back into the top half of the table, Grant says they are there to stay. “A club like Inglewood should be challenging for trophies every year. We have great facilities, hard-working club members and we now have a squad capable of competing at the top end of the table,” he said. “We have some promising youngsters coming through so the blend of youth and experience is good. We now build on for next season, learn from last years’ experiences and hopefully go one better in 2012.”
Although an ankle injury forced him out for over a month, Makeche finished Fairest and Best counting in second place. Young defender Victor Atanasovski was voted Fairest and Best with the Reserves. Milan Boganovic was runner-up in that category and also collected the Rookie of the Year while Marmadee Toure was awarded the Golden Boot. The Youth team Fairest and Best was presented to Terance Kaplan with Jason Stepanovski runner-up and Dion Berman recipient of the Golden Boot.
COYNE IN DOUBT
Perth Glory defender Chris Coyne is in a race against time to take his place in the starting line-up for Saturday's away fixture with Newcastle United. Coyne injured a hip early in last weekend's loss at Central Coast Mariners and has to prove his fitness in order to be considered by coach Ian Ferguson. Should the veteran, who had pain-killing injections this week, fail his fitness test then Josh Mitchell will start alongside Bas Van Den Brink in the centre of defence against Newcastle.
Coyne's absence would be a blow for Perth, who face a Newcastle side likely to be bolstered by Arsenal and Everton striker Francis Jeffers, who is likely to come straight into the first eleven. "Newcastle are a bit wounded coming off a defeat and they're at home," Ferguson said. "Francis Jeffers has been passed fit and they've got a new coach (Gary Van Egmond) in his first home game. It's going to be a huge task but it's one we're looking forward to."
ONE IS ENOUGH AS GLORY YOUTH CONCEDE LATE
Newcastle Jets score late to snatch a 1-1 draw from this afternoon’s top of the table encounter with Perth Glory Youth at Adamstown Oval. Visiting captain Reece Vittiglia put his team ahead midway through the first period and it looked as though that would decide the game when David Vrankovic found the target in the second to last minute of play. The result keeps Glory Youth at the top of the National Youth League table with Newcastle in two points behind in second.
Although playing on the defensive, Glory Youth fashioned the first few shots on goal with Alex Caniglia and Vittiglia placing wide with attempts from outside the 18-yard box. Newcastle eventually found their rhythm with Marko Jesic calling goalkeeper Lewis Italiano in action for the first time. Caniglia returned fire with a crisp strike which forced a good save from home custodian Matthew Nash. Vittiglia found himself in the right place at the right time just after the half hour, poking the ball in at close-range after defender Samuel Gallaway headed against the near post.
Glory Youth controlled play after the break with Clayton Arnez shutting several home attacks and putting the ball through for Tommy Amphlett and Caniglia to cause some headaches at the opposite end of the park. The momentum swung in Newcastle’s midway through the half but Kale Bradbery’s looping shot was easily saved by replacement ‘keeper Devon Spence. Not long after Andrew Hoole sent clear Jesic whose shot was straight at Spence. With time running out Jesic flicked on a near post corner for Vrankovic to slam in the equaliser from a few metres.
MADASCHI SHOWS HEART
Melbourne Heart have signed defender Adrian Madaschi from under the nose of Melbourne Victory. Madaschi has spent the past decade playing abroad and had been training with Victory since late September but chose to move on when a contract wasn’t forthcoming. “Things were becoming a bit difficult at Victory,” said Madaschi, 29. “They’d offered their desire to sign but ... there was an issue with the salary cap and that’s been the stumbling point. But my focus now is on Melbourne Heart. I know the football they’re trying to play and I like it. My objective is to get in and try and help that as much as possible.”
Madaschi joins Melbourne on a ten-week contract as an injury replacement for Kliment Taseski. Coach John Van't Schip says the defender, who has played for Australia on five occasions, will also provide cover for Aziz Behic and Curtis Good who are set to be called up for international duty with the Olyroos and Young Socceroos. “It’s good to have an extra defender in and having the possibility with Adrian here in town and already training for a few weeks,” said Van't Schip. “You don’t find easily players already in quite good physical shape. With his experience he’s the perfect player to help us out.”
Madaschi played juniors with Perth SC before heading overseas at the age of 15 to join Italian club Atalanta with whom he won back-to-back Youth League Cups and represented Australia at the Under-17 and Under-20 World Cups. He joined Scottish side Partick Thistle in 2003 and was a first eleven regular across two seasons, gaining his first Socceroos cap in May 2004 and later that year donned national team colours again at the Athens Olympic Games. Short stays at Dundee and Grosseto preceded a move to Portogruaro-Summaga where he made over 150 appearances in Italy’s second and third tiers.
Van 't Schip said Madaschi could make his A-League debut as soon as this Friday night’s away fixture with Adelaide United, pending the approval of his international transfer. “We have to see if we can get a clearance in time,” said Van't Schip. “Because we are in preparation for the game we have to see if it’s a good thing to at the last moment see if we can fit him in, but we surely have him in consideration. If the clearance is OK then I will have a second thought about what we’re going to do.”
HERD NAMED IN SOCCEROOS
Chris Herd has received his first call-up for the Socceroos with coach Holger Osieck naming the Aston Villa defender in his squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Oman and Thailand. Herd, 22, recently cemented a place in the Villa first team and is joined in Australia’s squad by fellow West Australian Rhys Williams. Long-time Socceroos Brett Emerton, Harry Kewell and Mark Schwarzer return to the squad after missing last month’s qualifier with Oman, however, start striker Tim Cahill is absent through injury.
The Australia squad to play Oman and Thailand is Lucas Neill (Al-Jazira Club), Brett Holman (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Herd (Aston Villa), Mitch Nichols (Brisbane Roar), Neil Kilkenny (Bristol City), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow), Robbie Kruse (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Mark Schwarzer (Fulham), James Troisi (Kayserispor Kulubu), Harry Kewell (Melbourne Victory), Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough), Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus), Matt McKay (Rangers), Adam Federici (Reading), Carl Valeri (Sassuolo Calcio), Sasa Ognenovski (Seongham Ilwha Chunma), Alex Brosque (Shimizu S-Pulse), Nathan Coe (Snderjysk Elitesport), Brett Emerton (Sydney FC), Matthew Spiranovic (Urawa Red Diamonds), Adam Sarota, Michael Zullo (FC Utrecht).
MAGUIRE SHARES GOSNELLS AWARD WITH TOUGH
Gosnells City stalwart Ian Maguire has shared the clubs Fairest and Best award with Graham Tough. “It was a great feeling to win the Fairest and Best, I had a pretty good finish to the season so that probably helped,” said 24-year old Maguire. “There were probably three or four lads who could have won it so it’s a real honour to win the award with Graham.”
The Players Player of the Year was taken out by long-time Gosnells defender Ciaran Allen. Liam Cave was voted Fairest and Best in the reserves where the Players Player of the Year was split between David Keenan and James Capewell. The trophy as Youth team Fairest and Best went home with Scott Parrera while Adriano D’Alo picked up the Players Player of the Year.
DREAM COMES TRUE FOR BARBAS
When Chris Barbas leads Floreat Athena into next year’s Night Series it’ll be the realisation of a long-held dream for the club’s new coach. Barbas, a former State goalkeeper, may have only just taken on the top job at Litis Stadium but his association with the inner city goes back a long way. “It’s always been a goal of mine to coach Floreat’s first team,” commented Barbas, who played for the club as a junior and senior. “I’m excited about being in charge next season. In the past two years Floreat have been able to attract some excellent youth players which I can now blend with the experienced players and introduce to the first team.”
Floreat’s Under-18 benefitted Barbas’ knowledge and experience last season with victory on State League Cup final day, and his focus is now to bring that same level of success to the first team. “Everyone wants to win trophies players, board members, coaches and most importantly supporters,” said Barbas, who sees a need for improvement in a couple of key areas. “With Ante Kovacevic retiring the centre back role now becomes a priority. I think speed all over the park is also going to be important if we are to succeed next year. There will be some player changes, the side will be much younger than last season.”
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This page was last updated on the 3rd November, 2011