MIRCO IS SORRENTO’S BEST
Jason Mirco has had his name added to the honour role at Sorrento after picking up the clubs Best Player award. The attacking midfielder was caught somewhat off-guard when his name was read as out as Sorrento’s top award ahead of goalkeeper Curtis Aspden, who was runner-up for the second year in a row. “I was slightly surprised at winning, I had a few weeks away in Europe and I thought that might have really dented my chances,” said Mirco. “I put a huge amount of work in pre-season and during the season and to win the Best Player in a team full of really good players I couldn’t be happier.”
Sorrento’s Golden Boot Award also went home with 22-year old Mirco, who netted 13 times across the home and away series. Jamie Harnwell’s stoppage time equaliser in the Grand Final earned the Gulls veteran the Most Influential Goal/Save trophy. Wes Padley’s versatility saw him collect the Best Player in the Reserves where Darcy Cosgrove was runner-up. The Youth team Best Player was presented to Raz Geloo who had Ben Fairbairn in second spot. Central defender Geloo was also recognised as the clubs’ Most Improved Young Player. The Best Club person recipient was committee member Alan Gray.
O’REILLY TO LEAD SHAMROCK
Shamrock Rovers have put their faith in John O’Reilly leading them to the top of Division One. O’Reilly, who last year guided Swan United to the runner-up spot, was today installed to lead Shamrock into next season. “Shamrock Rovers is pleased to appoint John O’Reilly as head coach for 2013,” said a club spokesman. “John was given the position against some very strong competition and we are confident we have secured a talented coach for the club.” A UEFA ‘B’ Licence holder, O’Reilly steered Irish club Castleknock Celtic to the League and Cup double in 2005/06 and since move to West Australia has coached at Morley Windmills, Ashfield and Swan.
DJULBIC GAINS ALL-STAR SELECTION
Performances at both ends of the pitch for Guizhou Renhe by former Perth Glory defender Dino Djulbic have been rewarded with a place in the Chinese Super League’s All-Star team. Djulbic, 29, is the only non-local Asian player to make the squad which will face Guangzhou Evergrande next week. Djulbic has showed his versatility of late by scoring in Guizhou’s last three games, taking his tally to five goals in 28 league appearances and his club to within touching distance of Asian Champions League qualification. Yugoslavia-born Djulbic started his senior career with Perth SC and made A-League 67 games for Glory and Gold Coast United before heading to China in 2011.
GASPAR FIGHTS THE GOOD FIGHT
Former State midfielder Robbie Gaspar is doing his bit to improve the conditions for footballers across Indonesia. Gaspar, 31, was recently appointed an executive of the Asosiasi Persepakbola Professional Indonesia, the first players union in a nation where clubs too frequently ride roughshod over play. “Being from Australia we are from the culture where we like to stick up for ourselves and stick up for our mates,” said Gaspar, who has actively been campaigning for players rights for much of his seven years in Indonesia. “The players are not used to having a players union so we need to educate them that we can help them.”
Gaspar, a former Cockburn City and Perth SC player, may not be a household name in Australia but in Indonesia his celebrity is widespread. “It feels good to be recognised for what you do,” said Gaspar, who has worn the colours of Persita Tangerang, Persita Balikpapan, Persema Malang and Persib Bandung in Indonesia. “They love their football here and they’re very passionate about it. When fans come up to you and ask for a photo or autograph in the street it makes you feel appreciated and it makes you want to put that bit extra in on the field. Each team from each city has that loyal, die-hard following.”
Political infighting has dogged the Indonesian game for years. Rebel leagues, match fixing, player strikes, and games postponed or cancelled at late notice have held back the potential of the domestic league, while a proposal to merge the FIFA-endorsed Indonesian Premier League with the breakaway Indonesia Super League has so far failed to reach fruition. “Some of the things I’ve seen and heard in the last seven years are a disgrace,” commented Gaspar. “Football here is such a powerful tool that a lot of people want to get involved for the wrong reasons … I want to see people getting involved for the right reasons.”
It’s not uncommon for players to go months without their salaries, with club owners simply refusing to stump up the cash promised in their contracts. Gaspar admits players routinely walk out on their clubs having lost hope of receiving the money they are owed, while others battle on with their fingers crossed. “What’s happening to the players shouldn’t be happening,” he said. “The players need to be treated with respect. The players and the fans are the most important part of the game. If everyone put their own agendas aside and worked for the betterment of the game this place could be anything.”
A typical day for Gaspar includes numerous telephone calls from players whose careers remain in limbo as league officials slowly piece together the new top flight competition. “Every day I am on the phone getting feedback from the guys,” said Gaspar, who recently became a free agent when released by Persib Bandung. “There’s a lot of work in it because there are a lot of professional players in Indonesia, but we are speaking all the time. APPI is holding regular meetings with the federations and working hard to sort this out as soon as possible. When we do, the potential for football to grow in Indonesia is phenomenal.”
Gaspar has urged Australian officials to take an active role in football’s development in Indonesia, which would come with its own rewards. From player and coach exchanges to A-League clubs marketing themselves in Indonesia, he believes the opportunities that can be enjoyed by a close relationship between the nations is immense. “We’re neighbours,” he says. “There are 240 million people here compared to less than 25 million in Australia. Australia would be crazy not to tap into it, and Indonesia could learn a lot from Australia’s professional practices. Sport breaks down boundaries and football is a great way for Australia and Indonesia to communicate.”
EVERTON TREAT FOR STIRLING BOSSES
Stirling Lions coaches Doug Hesketh and Gary Williams found themselves the guests of honour at English Premier League club Everton earlier this month. Thanks to former Stirling boss Mick Lyons, who captained Everton for eight seasons and made 462 appearances for the club, Hesketh and Williams were allowed access to the facilities at Finch Farm where they watched the first team train before meeting manager David Moyes. “The facilities were amazing with state of the art technology and magnificent surfaces which were well manicured and must be a pleasure to train on – we’ve requested similar facilities at Stirling,” joked Hesketh.
Williams was overwhelmed by the experience. “It was a great day. A number of players came over to speak to us and my son who was also with us posed for photographs with Leighton Baines and Phil Neville to name only a couple,” he said. ‘I am a great believer that you are never too old to learn and just being at the ground for only a few hours was an invaluable education. When you see the intensity and technical ability of top Premier League players you realise how good they actually are, television sometimes disguises this but being at pitch side validated this.”
INGLEWOOD TIP THEIR HAT TO CLISBY
Young defender Jack Clisby has completed a remarkable year by taking out the top two prizes on offer at Inglewood United. 20-year old Clisby, who only a few weeks ago won the Gold Medal as the State League’s best player, went home from his clubs awards ceremony with the Fairest and Best as well as Player of the Year trophies. Team captain James Sammut was named Fairest and Best Runner-Up, and young attacker Aleks Jovic collected the Rising Star Award and Golden Boot trophy. Cameron Sutton claimed top honours in the Reserves ahead of Luke Randazzo, while the Under-18’s Fairest and Best was won by Ahmad Rahimi with Ali Safak in second place. Florian Tigan was presented the Club Person of the Year.
HAROLD TARGETS FIRST ELEVEN
Having caught the eye with a couple of off the bench appearances, Perth Glory forward Chris Harold is now desperate to nail down a regular berth in coach Ian Ferguson’s starting line-up. Harold took a circuitous route to joining his hometown club, growing up in Singapore and Malayisa before making his mark with Gold Coast United over the past couple of A-League campaigns. An Australia youth international, Harold joined Glory in April and impressed in pre-season before being struck down by injury. How back to full fitness and without hit-outs against Melbourne Heart and Sydney FC under his belt, the 20-year old is determined to force his way into Glory’s eleven.
Harold sat out the opening rounds of the season with osteitis pubis, an injury which could have ruined his season if not treated correctly. “I sat down with the club’s fitness and medical staff and worked out a plan that would best rehabilitate the injury and included a lot of fitness work at the same time so that I wouldn’t be too far off the other guys when I came back,” he explained. “It’s obviously frustrating as an athlete when you’re injured because everyone wants to be playing every week, but being a new player at the club it was good to show the gaffer what I could do in pre-season.”
Harold believes his versatility will stand him in good stead in his quest for regular first team football. “I have played number nine most of my career, but we’ve got Billy (Mehmet), Smeltzy (Shane Smeltz) and Ndumba (Makeche) who are all really good centre forwards and I spotted that early,” he said. “I played out wide a lot earlier in my career as well, so I’m still getting used to playing there again, but I feel that gives me an edge in regards to being selected. Especially now, coming off the bench, it gives the gaffer the chance to play around with the team if he needs to. The bottom line is, I just want to play.”
FERGIE STEAMS OVER PENALTY CALL
A furious Ian Ferguson has slammed referees’ inconsistency when it comes to interpreting the handball rule after Perth Glory were denied a clear penalty in yesterday’s narrow loss to Sydney FC. With Glory trailing 2-1 late in the second half, substitute Chris Harold’s header struck the outstretched arm of defender Rhyan Grant inside the 18-yard box. Despite furious protests from the Glory players and bench, referee Peter Green signalled for play to continue as the home team held on for a dramatic come-from-behind victory.
The decision robbed Glory a chance to share of the points according to Ferguson. “I would like to get it clarified actually. What is a penalty?” said the disappointed coach. “I’ve seen it so many times where the player raises his hands and it hits his hands ... sometimes a penalty is given and sometimes it’s not given. His (Grant's) hand leaves his side so to me it’s a penalty. He’s stopping a cross so it’s a stonewaller. But the referee said it’s accidental so he didn’t give it.”
Sydney coach Ian Crook was delighted his side made it back-to-back wins but had some sympathy for his opposite number. “If I was sitting here now as Fergie I’d be saying it was a penalty and I couldn’t disagree with him,” Crook said at yesterday’s post-game press conference. “I didn’t think he (Grant) deliberately handballed it but the rule says if you jump with your arms away from your body and the ball hits you it’s a pen. I couldn’t argue with that.”
ATKINSON TAKES TOP HONOURS AT SWAN
Winning Swan United’s top award is the icing on the cake of a superb season for English import Chris Atkinson. The hard-working defender was honoured with the black and whites Fairest and Best award at the annual presentation ceremony ahead of midfielder Aaron Colli. Veteran Rory Mouttet picked up the Swan Perpetual Trophy and for the second time in as many years John Monterosso received the Golden Boot. The Young Player of the Year was awarded to Fraser Burt, and the Jimmy Jamieson Award to Bob Hatten. Chris Marshall was named Fairest and Best in the Reserves with Jake DeRa runner-up, and the Golden Boot recipient was Ben Hasler. The under-18 awards went to Matt McNee (Fairest and Best), David Panaia (Runner-up Fairest and Best) and Connor Anderson (Golden Boot).
BULLOCH “EXCITED” ABOUT HOMECOMING
Former Perth Glory player Scott Bulloch is heading home after a successful stint in the Victorian Premier League, arguably one of the best in the nation. Over the past two seasons Bulloch has been a key figure at Bentleigh Greens, who played finals football this year for the first time in a decade, but the 28-year old says the time is right for his return to Perth. “I’m excited to be heading back, and it’s not only for the football” he said. “My fiance and I are coming home to get married and set up life back in Perth … it’s going to be a big year.”
Bulloch headed east early in 2010 after being released by Perth Glory, who he made 30 national league appearances for. “I initially moved over to Melbourne to try and jump straight back into the A-League. There were a few sniffs but it never happened, so focused on the Victorian Premier League,” said Bulloch, who played one season with champions Dandenong Thunder before transferring to Bentleigh for the 2011 season. “They were in a re-building phase and our goal was to play finals football, which we did this year. I’ve achieved what I wanted to and feel the time is right to come home.”
An A-League contract may not have been forthcoming but Bulloch is nonetheless happy with what he achieved in Melbourne. “I signed for Bentleigh Greens under John Anastadiadis who helped develop my game by moving me to centre midfield. I’ve had two solid seasons, finishing top goal scorer in both,” explained Bulloch. “We’ve taken Bentleigh from being a very young team to arguably the best footballing side in the league. Five of the boys have signed for the Melbourne Heart and Victory youth teams with our goalkeeper, Lawrence Thomas, starting the first two games as number one for the Victory.”
The Victorian Premier League is a perfect stepping stone into the national arena according to Bulloch. “I’d say it’s the strongest State League in Australia,” he commented. “It’s a mature league with a lot of ex-professionals and older players running around. We train three nights a week with a game on the weekend, so it gives clubs a lot of opportunity to work on things during the week. The VPL is a good stepping stone to see if you’re ready for the A-League, the likes of Lewis Italiano, Hayden Doyle and Scott Muirhead have shone in their seasons in Melbourne.”
Bulloch, who played locally for ECU Joondalup, Wanneroo City, Perth SC and Sorrento, has not been short of offers for next year. “I’ve already had some interest, which is good, but ultimately I’ll make a decision when I move back next month,” commented Bulloch, who has some firm ideas as to what he wants to get out of season 2013. “I want a club that has strong aspirations to win all that’s on offer in the Premier Division. I’ve been lucky enough to win almost all you can in West Australia but I have never been a part of the top five finals series, so I want to be involved in that.”
SYDNEY SURVIVE BATTERING AS GLORY SEE RED
Perth Glory were fuming after being denied a late penalty in this afternoon’s 2-1 loss to Sydney FC at ANZ Stadium. The game almost at an end when defender Rhyan Grant handled a Chris Harold header with the referee’s decision to allow play to infuriating Glory coach Ian Ferguson. “It hit his hand – it’s a definite penalty,” Ferguson said. “It was a guaranteed penalty and we didn’t get it … I’m gobsmacked.” Travis Dodd gave Glory a first half advantage only for the game to turn just before the hour with the dismissal of Steve Pantelidis. Alessandro Del Piero converted the resulting penalty and twelve minutes later Brett Emerton struck the winning goal.
Glory controlled the opening half with a slick display of passing. Their reward came after 18 minutes in the form of a brilliant solo goal by Dodd, the midfielder driving forward from the halfway line and leaving Daniel Petkovski and Trent McClenahan in his wake before wrong-footing Ivan Necevski with a sweetly-timed finish. Sydney, by contrast, lacked cohesion and three minutes later an unmarked Mitchell Mallia headed a golden opportunity to equalise wide of the target. Glory were well on top in terms of both possession and territory but some solid Sydney defending kept chances on goal to a minimum. In fact their only effort of note came the way of Michael Thwaite on 33 minutes.
The second half was twelve minutes old when Glory lost Pantelidis to a red carded for his grab on Emerton, and from the penalty spot Del Piero brought the teams level. Glory paid the ultimate price for a rare error in the 70th minute when Vukovic released the ball to Liam Miller who immediately lost possession to Grant whose short pass to Emerton was expertly chipped into the net by the Sydney captain. The visitors finished the game stronger and on 88 minutes Chris Harold’s header struck Grant on the arm with subsequent appeals for a penalty dismissed. Harold went close to grabbing a point but his stinging shot was brilliantly saved by Necevski moments before the final whistle.
GLORY YOUTH OPEN THEIR ACCOUNT
Three quick goals in quick succession time paved the way for Perth Glory Youth to come from behind and claim a 4-2 victory over Sydney FC today at ANZ Stadium. The early signs were not good for the visiting team whose went a goal down to Alec Urosevski after 17 minutes. It took three minutes for Glory to get back on equal footing, Adrian Zahra netting at close-range after being set-up by Jesse Makarounas. Seven more minutes passed before Brandon O’Neill volleyed in from 17-metres after meeting a Riley Woodcock corner. Matthew Davies’ 36th minute shot from distance slipped from goalkeeper Ryan Norval’s grasp to put Glory three-one up at the break.
Sydney made more of a game of things following the turnaround, the hosts regaining the fluency and purpose which had deserted them in the latter stages of the first half. They deservedly pulled a goal back on 51 minutes when a delightful Peter Triantis free-kick from 20-metres which left goalkeeper Francis Soale stranded as the ball sailed into the top corner. Sydney continued to display greater enterprise when going forward but were denied an equaliser by poor finishing and solid defending. That inability to capitalise was punished by Glory substitute Brandon O’Neill, who put the result beyond doubt in the 79th minute.
D'OVIDIO PUSHES GLORY WOMEN OVER THE LINE
A dominant Perth Glory Women had to wait until the closing minutes before taking a deserved 2-1 win from this afternoon’s outing with Adelaide United. Elisa D’Ovidio struck two minutes from the end of regulation time to decide the outcome after Kate Gill cancelled out Ann Mayo’s opener just before half time on a hot afternoon at Intiga Stadium in Inglewood. “It was a really tough game, we knew Adelaide would be tough especially in these conditions,” commented D’Ovidio, who team have maximum points after two games. “We worked really hard and just had to be patient and we got a bit of luck.
After a cagey opening few minutes Glory began asserting themselves on the game with captain Collette McCallum and midfield partner Shannon May seeing a lot of the ball. McCallum fashioned the first chance on goal after 12 minutes by playing in Gill whose one-on-one opportunity was spoilt by visiting goalkeeper Kristi Harvey. Four minutes later D’Ovidio’s goalbound header from a Marianna Tabain cross was hooked off the line by Abby Erceg. An error by match officials denied McCallum the go-ahead goal on 19 minutes, the midfielder dancing through the defence before placing into the net only for the referee to incorrectly rule offside.
The home team wasted little time in continuing their search for a goal after a drinks break. Sasha Andrews met a Tabain corner at the front post but was unable to get the end result she was after. The deadlock was eventually broken on 41 minutes by a sublime Mayo free-kick which gave Carly Telford no chance, the ball curling onto the inside the post and ricocheting into the Glory net. Things stayed that way all of four minutes before Gill stroked past Harvey after pouncing on a loose ball inside the 18-yard box.
The pace quickened for a second half which was played for the majority in Glory’s attacking half. Gill could have had her second goal of the day when in by McCallum but Harvey stole the ball off her boot. McCallum worked herself into space before getting off a rising shot that cleared the crossbar. Content to play on the counter, Adelaide’s best move of the half ended with a great Holly Patterson strike which Telford did well to keep out. The game was settled in the 88th minute when D’Ovidio latched onto a booming clearance by Telford and slotted into the bottom corner.
GLORY STAYING PUT
Tony Sage’s hopes of switching Perth Glory games to Subiaco Oval have fallen at the first hurdle. Glory chief executive Paul Kelly has confirmed next weekend’s blockbuster showdown with Newcastle Jets, who feature former England striker Emile Heskey, will remain at Perth Oval. Sage had also hoped to move two home games against Alessandro Del Piero’s Sydney FC, however, they too will stay as scheduled at Perth Oval. Kelly said additional tickets would be made available after around 100 fans were turned away at the gates last weekend when Glory hosted Melbourne Heart.
ON TOP IS WHERE GLORY WOMEN WANT TO BE
Perth Glory Women plan to make it back-to-back wins when they come up against Adelaide United this weekend. Last weekend saw the Glory girls take maximum points from their opening game of the season for the first time with a 2-0 defeat of Melbourne Victory. Kate Gill and Marianna Tabain found the back of the net on that occasion and both will be out to snare another goal or two when they host Adelaide United, who came from behind to down Western Sydney Wanderers in Round One, on Saturday afternoon.
Chelsea Ladies captain Carly Telford was thrilled to keep a clean sheet on her A-League debut and is hoping for an encore performance this weekend. “I think we’re a bit of an unknown quantity to a lot of clubs. We’re going to be competitive this year and we set high standards for ourselves,” said the goalkeeper. “Adelaide on Saturday should be a good game for us and it was competitive last year, but I think we’ll be looking to pick up the three points and it’s important for us to pick up momentum into the harder games.”
Young gun Ella Mastrantonio has been added to the 17-player squad after returning from a knee injury along with Australian Schoolgirls defender Thia Eastman, who is in contention to make her W-League debut. But the news is not so good for Matilda’s midfielder Aivi Luik who faces at least another week on the sidelines with a hamstring injury. Adelaide takes a much unchanged squad into the game, one that includes last week’s hat-trick hero Sarah McLaughlin. Glory Women pit skills with Adelaide from 3.00pm on Saturday at Intiga Stadium in Inglewood.
WE NEED TO BEAT SYDNEY SAYS GLORY’S FERGUSON
The time is ripe for Perth Glory to end a three-year winless run against Sydney FC according to coach Ian Ferguson. The history books show November 2009 as the last time Glory got the better of Sydney and Ferguson says his team can show they are serious about winning the A-League by changing that this weekend. “Our motivation is that Sydney have had the better of us,” Ferguson said. “We want to be competing with the Sydney’s of this world, so there's plenty of motivation there for us. If we want to go anywhere in this competition, then we need to be winning these sorts of games."
A lot has been made this week by the media of the physical nature of the current Glory side. “I hear the same crap every year to be honest, and I’m getting sick and tired of it,” he commented. “We’re actually a better footballing team than people give us credit for. You have all been saying we’re a dirty team, we kick everybody off the park and we’re too physical. Go and look at the stats. The stats that I've got tell us we’re not the dirtiest team in the league … we’re fifth in the league for fouls, so there are teams above us.”
Ferguson added that he would be disappointed if Sydney’s marquee man Alessandro Del Piero, who gained 91 caps for Italy as a Juventus player, is given preferential treatment by the referees. “Football’s a contact sport, tackles are there to be won,” Ferguson said. “I’d never take that out of anybody. Del Piero has got that X factor, he’s a bit special. To get tackles on him I hope the refs don’t look at it that way. I hope they’re fair. Just because they have Del Piero, I hope the refs don’t look upon us as not being allowed to tackle him.”
Ferguson admits leading Glory now is a lot more enjoyable than when he first took over in October 2010. “I said then it would take time because it wasn’t my team, I had players there who didn’t want to play for me,” he said. “Now we have a young squad, we have some experienced players. Where we are now to 18 months ago is night and day. It’s a nice place to be. I’ve been to the depths of our dressing room and it’s terrible as a coach. Now there is great belief and that has a lot to do with the players. They’ve brought respect back to Perth Glory.”
WILLIAMS PLANS CLUB AND COUNTRY RETURN
Injured Middlesbrough defender Rhys Williams has targeted a Christmas return and aims to play his part in Australia’s final-stage qualification for the 2014 World Cup. Williams is facing a frustrating time on the sidelines after injuring his left ankle just five games into the 2012/13 English Championship season. But the 24-year old has retained a positive outlook regarding his personal plight and that of the Socceroos, who he is confident will qualify for Brazil. “We’re one of the top three Asian sides so there’s no reason why we can’t qualify even though we’ve had a sloppy start,” Williams told Jonathon Cooke of the ‘West Australian’.
Critics labelled the Socceroos “too old” last month after losing to Jordan. Williams expects there to be a steady changing of the guard under coach Holger Osieck and plans to establish himself as a first eleven player. “In two years, some of the players will be getting on a bit but they’re still quality players and the younger players look up to them,” he said. “It’s only natural for us to want to be where they are. I’m sure there’ll be a few more young players included to freshen things up, but we need that experience there and that quality.”
While he has been recovering from surgery to repair damaged ankle ligaments, Williams’ team mates have taken Middlesbrough to just three points off the top spot. If all goes to plan he will be back in action by December to assist in the clubs’ push for promotion to the Premier League. “I always seem to come back stronger, and that’s in the back of my mind - it keeps me going,” said the Middlesbrough captain. “The main thing is getting fit and getting back to where I was with my club. Then I can start thinking about playing for my country again and getting to the World Cup.”
MONTGOMERY OPTS TO PLAY ON
One-time State striker Stuart Montgomery is on the lookout for a new club after turning his back on retirement. It was only a few months ago that Montgomery decided 2012 would be his State League finale but after being used sparingly in Sorrento’s double winning season the 34-year old opted to go around one more time. “I didn’t want to retire after playing a bit part in Sorrento’s season,” explained Montgomery of his decision to play on. “I can still play at State League level and I want to go out playing good football, I didn’t want to retire sitting on the bench.”
Ideally, Montgomery would like to see out his playing days with Sorrento but he acknowledges that is not going to happen. “Sorrento is a great club, the boys there are first-class and the banter is unreal but I don’t see myself staying there next year. I haven’t had any discussions with them about staying and I know they have already spoken to other strikers and players about next year, so I don’t see myself in their plans,” Montgomery explained. “I’ve had a few conversations with clubs wanting me to play for them next year. It’s good to have coaches believe in you and in time I will make a decision where I will spend 2013.”
Although he’s moving on, Montgomery feels honoured to have been part of Sorrento’s history-making season. “To be involved in Sorrento’s first double was something very special,” he commented. “All the boys did the jobs that were asked of them week in week out and some played amazing football. And even when we didn’t play well we still managed to pull out a win and that is a sign of a great team. What got us over the line in the big games was the team spirit, you knew everyone had your back, and there was a never-say-die attitude that would go right up to the final whistle, as the Grand Final proved.”
A veteran of eight seasons with Western Knights, Montgomery was understandably “devastated” when his former club ended the recent season relegated to Division One. “I still love the Knights and have some great mates there, so when they were relegated I was devastated for everyone at the club,” said Montgomery, who left the Knights for Sorrento early in the season for family reasons. “But the Knights will come back stronger than ever. They have a chance to keep playing the good youngsters that got a taste of first team football this season and I know they will be doing everything they can to get the club back up to the top where they belong.”
Regardless of where he ends up next year, Montgomery knows he can make an impact. “I’m a player who can create things and bring other players into the game, and I can also score goals. I work my socks off for the team and will play in any position the coach asks me to play,” he said. “I didn’t play enough and didn’t have the influence on games that I know I am capable of with Sorrento this year. But I’ve been fitter in the last few years than I have ever been and I want to prove to a few people that I can still play State League, that I am not past it.”
GRIFFITHS LOOKS BACK TOWARDS EUROPE
ECU Joondalup junior Rostyn Griffiths wants to play in Europe again after coming face-to-face with Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba in the Chinese Super League. Griffiths, who spent three seasons with English side Blackburn Rovers, has been given a new lease of life since joining Chinese Super League club Guangzhou R&F in February. “I never had the expectation that I would get to play against people like Drogba and Anelka,” he told au.fourfourtwo.com. “What it has made me realise is that I can cope at this level … I feel I have proved myself here and in Australia and I just want to keep progressing and playing in better and better leagues.”
Griffiths said the unique demands of playing in China, where politics and football seem to go hand in hand, has equipped him to cope with the intense pressure of Europe. “It was a real eye opener,” he said. “At first I was in contact with the directors of the club almost daily at some points. I have never had that before but to be honest I enjoy it. I want there to be some sort of expectation. I want people to rely on me. When we lost a few games in a row you could feel the pressure from the board, we were having meetings every day and especially the foreign players.”
Utilising almost exclusively as a holding midfielder during time in the A-League with Central Coast Mariners, 24-year old Griffiths has been occupying a far more attacking role at Guangzhou. “I have had to remember what it was like to be a kid, picking up the ball and running forward with it and also making creative passes and trying to get shots on target which I have enjoyed doing again,” explained Griffiths, whose somewhat nomadic career also includes spells with Gretna (Scotland), Accrington Stanley (England) and Australian clubs Adelaide United and North Queensland Fury.
Griffiths has been blown away by the way Chinese fans cheer on both teams, not just the one they’re supporting. “They scream for both teams. If we have a chance, they scream and if they have a chance they scream, they just want to see goals and they just want to be entertained,” said Griffiths, who hopes his form with Guangzhou captures the attention of Socceroos boss Holger Osieck. “I hope that Holger and the FFA recognise that Chinese football is definitely getting better and is competing quite strongly in the Asian Champions League at the moment.”
TRIPLE DELIGHT FOR NAGLIERI
State midfielder Antonio Naglieri has written himself into Perth SC history by becoming the first player to win three Fairest and Best trophies. The 29-year old playmaker was presented the Blues top prize on the weekend, adding to his wins of 2008 and 2011 to emulate the double achievements of club legends Allan Pottier and Robbie Puca. “The game in West Australia needs more players like him,” said Gianfranco Circati, who coached Perth through the recent season. “Antonio is a true leader, his contribution has been fantastic and he sets a great example for all our juniors.”
Attacker Andres Olivera, who announced his retirement from the game at seasons’ end, was recipient of the Runner-up Fairest and Best trophy. The Robert Giorgi Memorial Trophy was presented to centre-back Chris Saldaris, with the Youth Development Player as Perth’s most promising junior player awarded to versatile right-sided player Marco Santalucia. Saldaris also picked up the Fairest and Best in the Reserves ahead of defensive partner Michael Rizidis. The Under-18s Fairest and Best was taken out by Nathen De Abreu, who had Declan Hargreaves as runner-up.
COOK SIGNS OFF AT ‘THE WEST’
Football in this state will be a little worse off come the end of the month when respected journalist Jonathan Cook pens his final words for the ‘West Australian’. For more than 15 years Cook has covered all aspects of the world game for Western Australia’s longest running newspaper but, at the age of 40, he is ready for a new challenge. “I have been working with the ‘West Australian’ for almost 17 years and it has been an unbelievable journey,” Cook said. “Watching and reporting on football and boxing, the two sports I have loved since I was a kid, was an absolute blast. But it seemed like the right time to make a change, especially given the company had offered redundancies."
Getting column space for the round ball code is difficult in a state dominated by Australian Rules Football. “Any reporter worth his/her salt gets frustrated when stories are either cut in length or don’t make the paper at all. But editors all over the world make judgments based on what they feel the readers are more interested in,” explained Cook. “The reality in WA is that there is far greater interest in AFL than our main football competition – the A-League. If Perth Glory were attracting 20,000 fans to their games, the coverage would reflect that level of interest – not that attendances are the only indicator.”
Glory finished in the national league’s top three every season between 1999 and 2004, and our only state-wide newspaper was there all the way cheering the club on. “When Glory was booming as a club the ‘West Australian’ had an eight-page lift-out,” recalled Cook of the true Glory days of West Australian football. “The crowds, and general interest started declining before the lift-out was reduced in size (to four pages) and was eventually cut. That said, the newspaper continues to run soccer stories from the A-League, the English Premier League and international fixtures.”
For Cook, former Glory goal scoring legend Bobby Despotovski had it all. “He was also a fabulous player who was at his peak when playing alongside Damian Mori. Technically he was terrific and he was exceptional at picking the right pass in the final third,” explained Cook. “From a reporter’s perspective, Bobby was an absolute delight. He is a strong personality and had no fear of talking about things the club might have preferred he kept to himself. Bobby also provided the newspaper with plenty of controversy, which was more helpful in raising soccer’s profile than many people would like to admit.”
Reporting from the 2006 World Cup in Germany earned Cook the ‘Sports Prize’ in that year’s WA Media Awards. “The 2006 World Cup was incredible,” he enthused. “Australia’s story has been told many times but aside from the thrilling ride to the knockout stage, there was a constant buzz around the place. The weather was great, the football exciting and the organisation exceptional. I also sat just a few rows away from Claudia Schiffer during the opening game between the hosts and Costa Rica and spent quite some time after that telling people I’d been to the match with a supermodel.”
There’s been plenty of non-football highlights in Cook’s years with the ‘West Australian’. “Being ringside for Danny Green’s incredible demolition of boxing legend Roy Jones Jr was pretty special, as was watching Usain Bolt win the 100-metre final in the Beijing Olympics. I also loved the New Delhi Commonwealth Games and the logistical challenge of covering the event,” explained Cook. “But covering the London Olympics was something else entirely. As a reporter it is easy to feel as if you are somehow bound to the particular event and yet alienated from the real experience … the City of London allowed me to feel as if I was part of the event and the real experience.”
Following the London Olympic Cook got to do something he’d not done for a very long time. “For the first time in more than 16 years I watched a live football match as a fan,” he said of Newcastle United’s home fixture with Tottenham Hotspur. “I bought a ticket, got there early, had a couple of beers and wandered into the ground with the Toon Army … It was amazing to be unshackled. I whinged about bad decisions, cheered promising moves and sang like an X-factor loser in a karaoke bar. I experienced a great deal at the London Games but not much compared to that afternoon when Spurs where vanquished 2-1.”
Cook has accumulated a world of experience and a wealth of knowledge from his “unbelievable journey” with the ‘West Australian’. So with ‘retirement’ just over a week away, just what does the future hold for the state’s premier football reporter? “I honestly don’t know,” he said. “I hope I can have some involvement in the game now that I can couple my passion for it with the experience and knowledge I have gained over the years. But I’m ready for a new challenge where ever that may be … as Joe Strummer would have us believe, the future is unwritten.”
JONES PLANS TO STAY BETWEEN THE POSTS FOR LIVERPOOL
Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones intends fending off a challenge from Pepe Reina to secure a spot in this weekend’s Merseyside derby. Reina missed the Reds last game with a hamstring injury and Jones made the most of the opportunity by keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Reading. The Perth-born ‘keeper is likely to retain his place for Thursday’s Europa League outing with Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala but he acknowledges his fate beyond that rests in the hands of manager Brendan Rodgers. “I don’t know …the more games I play, the happier I’ll be but it’s his decision,” said Jones. “If I can keep playing after that (Thursday) I’ll be delighted.”
Jones has managed just seven appearances in two years for Liverpool but he says his experiences at Anfield have made him a better player. “I’ve improved a lot as a goalkeeper from being here,” he said. “All the ‘keepers work really hard every day in training as a group. You have to fight to get games under your belt and I’m someone who likes a challenge. That’s the reason I came here. To set the bar high and see how far I can get in the game. Since the manager has come in, there have been changes. From the day he came in it’s been a fight to prove to him I’m worthy of being here. I’m hoping that I’m winning that battle.”
LECKY AT THE DOUBLE FOR CANNING
Defender Garth Lecky is honoured to be named Canning City’s best player of the 2012 season. Lecky, 26, went home from his clubs’ annual awards evening with trophies as Fairest and Best as well as Players’ Player of the Year. “It is a great honour to play for Canning City, the club is full of wonderful people so for me to be considered worthy of these awards in their eyes is certainly a great feeling,” he said. “There were quite a number of players that could have taken out both awards. We have some quality young lads at the club who really gave some tremendous performances throughout the season.”
Lecky played juniors with Canning and could not be prouder of what his club achieved this year. “To say I was happy would be a huge understatement,” said Lecky, who returned to Canning after a couple of seasons with Western Knights. “I did have initial reservations about coming back but having seen the squad grow as much as it has over the course of the season, I could not be more pleased of our achievements and of my decision to come back home. I have no doubt that next season will see us push even harder for that top spot and for the chance to take Canning back into the Premier League.”
Right-sided defender Steven Kane took out the remaining first team trophy, the Clubman Award. Attacker Laurence Cheyne achieved the Fairest and Best/Players’ Player double with the Reserve team where centre-back Mark Walkey picked up the Clubman Award. Joe Kelly won the Youth team Fairest and Best, the Players’ Player of the Year was presented to goalkeeper Mitch Taveira, who made his first team debut on the final day of the season, and the Clubman Award went home with Michael Corriea.
SAGE WANTS GLORY AT SUBIACO
Perth Glory owner Tony Sage is to investigate moving three key fixtures to Subiaco Oval after fans were turned away at the gate prior to the weekend game with Melbourne Heart at Perth Oval. Capacity at Glory’s traditional home was reduced to 10,117 at the weekend because of redevelopment works but official figures put the attendance at just 7,548. Venue manager Allia has confirmed around 100 fans were turned away at the gates while it is understood around 1000 members did not attend Sunday’s win.
Despite being contracted to play at Perth Oval this season, Sage said Glory were seeking to switch games against Newcastle Jets (3 November) and Sydney FC (5 January and 2March) to Subiaco Oval. The presence in Perth of former Italy captain Alessandro Del Piero, who plays for Sydney, and one-time England striker Emile Heskey, now at Newcastle, is expected to spike interest in the matches. A-League crowds for the opening three games of the new season rose to more than 16,000 on the weekend, well up on the 10,000 average for last season.
O’MAHONEY AWARDED ASHFIELD’S JOHN VAN HOEK MEDAL
Steve O’Mahoney has won Ashfield’s top award, the John Van Hoek Medal, at the first attempt. A final round best on ground display took O’Mahoney, signed last summer from Shamrock Rovers, to the top of the player of the year leader board, just a few votes clear of Ruben Tristao. O’Mahoney’s contributions were also recognised by his teammates with the Players’ Player of the Year, while Mark Donnelly’s determination to overcome injury earned him the Coaches Award.
Perth Glory assistant coach Stuart Munro was on hand to present the Rising Star award to Jonathan Corness. The Reserves Fairest and Best was shared by Corness and Gino Comito, the latter also voted the Players’ Player of the Year. Chad DaSantos was honoured with the Coaches Award. Lyon Varney claimed top honours with the Youth team where Shakib Lali (Players’ Player of the Year) and Hayden Baker (Coaches Award) also picked up silverware.
Ashfield took time out from the traditional accolades to unveil their inaugural youth apprentices to a packed house at the Pagoda Hotel function room. The four players viewed as having the potential to shape the future of the club are Lyon Varney, Jonathon Corness, Nathan Thorp and Harry Beecher. The commitment and contribution of Diane Kelly and Sean Kelly to Ashfield were recognised with the Volunteer of the Year and the Clubman of the Year awards, respectively.
WEST AUSSIES CALLED UP FOR ASIAN CHAMPIONSHIP
Five West Australians have made the Young Socceroo’s squad for the upcoming AFC Under-19 Championship in the United Arab Emirates. Coach Paul Okon today named England-based trio Ryan Williams (Fulham), Ryan Edwards (Reading) and Tom King (Bristol City) along with Newcastle Jets pair Mitch Oxborrow and Adam Taggart in his 23-player squad for the tournament which commences on 1 November. No fewer than thirteen of the players selected are drawn from the A-League with the remaining ten plying their trade in Europe. A place in the semi-finals will give the Young Socceroos automatic qualification to next year’s Under-20 World Cup.
Okon is looking forward to the seeing how his squad shapes up against Qatar (4 November), Syria (6 November) and Saudi Arabia (8 November) in the group phase of the championship. “There is a good mix of local and overseas-based players, and there were plenty of tough decisions that had to be made when settling on the final group,” said the coach. ““Whilst we know it will be a difficult challenge, I am confident that we have a strong-enough squad to progress from the group stage to the quarter-finals which will then come down to that one important game for us to perform in to qualify for the World Cup.”
The Young Socceroos squad for the AFC Under-19 Championship is Paul Izzo (Adelaide United), Jamie MacLaren (Blackburn Rovers), Mustafa Amini (Borussia Dortmund), Corey Brown, Jason Geria (Brisbane Roar), Tom King (Bristol City), Jackson Irvine (Celtic), Hayden Morton (Central Coast Mariners), Corey Gameiro (FC Eindhoven), Ryan Williams (Fulham), Ben Garuccio, David Vrankovic (Melbourne Heart), Joshua Brillante, Connor Chapman, Jack Duncan, Mitchell Oxborrow, Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets), Curtis Good (Newcastle United), Liam Jacob (Oldham Athletic), Ryan Edwards (Reading), Terry Antonis (Sydney FC), Travis Cooper (VVV Venlo) and Reece Caira (Western Sydney Wanderers).
MANDURAH HONOUR STARES
English midfielder Matt Stares added some gloss to his season by taking out Mandurah City’s top individual prize, the Club Champion. It was deserved recognition for 27-year old Stares whose non-stop efforts in the middle of the park were crucial in Mandurah’s quest for the Division One title. “After the initial shock I was happy to except the trophy,” Stares commented. “I have been in Perth three years and every season I have taken some form of silverware. I won the State Cup with Stirling Lions and last year at Mandurah it was the Fairest and Best as well as Players’ Player of the Year … now I’m Club Champion which for a personal achievement I will happily take.”
Exciting youngster Adam Evans celebrated an outstanding season by winning the Under-21 Player of the Year, Tom Straker was voted Sportsman of the Year with the Encouragement Award going to Kaiden Dixon. First team midfielder Craig Young went home with the Fairest and Best, striker Craig Tone was voted Players’ Player of the Year and the Coaches Award went to Liam Hurst. Lloyd Johnston was recipient of the Reserve team Fairest and Best, the Players’ Player of the Year was Ben Taylor with Sam Snelling presented the Coaches Award. Iain Carmichael was Fairest and Best with the Under-18s, Jacob Headington was honoured with the Players’ Player of the Year and James Barrington the Coaches Award.
BIRIGHITTI PRAISES NEWCASTLE’S SPIRIT
Goalkeeper Mark Birighitti saluted his Newcastle Jets teammates’ character after claiming victory over Central Coast Mariners. Newcastle looked to be in a comfortable position after Ryan Griffiths and Emile Heskey netted either side of half-time, however, they withstood a late fight-back after Bernie Ibini pulled a goal back with twenty minutes to go. “It was a fantastic result. The mood in the change rooms afterwards was unbelievable … we fully deserved that win,” Birighitti said of Saturday’s derby win. “The morale between all the boys has been unbelievable. To get a result like this is a big boost for the boys and hopefully we can take it forward this week against Melbourne Victory.”
Birighitti’s time with Newcastle got off to a less than ideal start after he was controversially sent off in the opening round loss to Adelaide United. The 21-year old put that behind him with an impressive showing against Central Coast which earned him the man-of-the-match award. “I got called into action a few times and lucky enough I pulled those saves off and kept us in the game,” said Birighitti, a former Perth SC junior. “It was good to go out there and put in a good performance because it was a disappointing start to the season for me. I was happy to redeem myself and it was a great performance by all of the boys.”
RALPHS IS SUBIACO’S BEST
Simon Ralphs influence in the middle of the park has been recognised with Subiaco AFC’s top two prizes. Ralphs collected the trophies as Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year after helping Subiaco to second place on their return to Saturday football. “Ralphie, as he is affectionately known, is a workaholic in the middle of the park and is the driving force of the team,” coach Ian Cowan commented. “He’s a true gentleman on and off the field.”
Subiaco captain Jordan Rhodes was runner-up Fairest and Best. The Reserve team Fairest and Best was taken out by Joe Dixon ahead of James Day, who also went home from the clubs’ presentation ceremony with the Players’ Player of the Year trophy. Nick Harris was recipient of the Under-18s Fairest and Best where Max Welton was runner-up. Welton also collected the Players’ Player of the Year with Jack Rycroft the runner-up.
PANTELIDIS UP FOR DEL PIERO CHALLENGE
Perth Glory defender Steve Pantelidis will have a point to prove when he comes up against former Italy captain Alessandro Del Piero this Sunday. Del Piero, who accumulated 91 caps for Italy in a glittering career, has scored twice in his first three games for Sydney FC with last week’s winner against Western Sydney Wanderers lifting the Sky Blues to their first points of the 2012/13 campaign. “I’ve seen him and he’s been brilliant. He’s probably carried them somewhat and he’s deserving of his marquee status. Hopefully we can keep him quiet this weekend,” Pantelidis said of the Juventus legend.
Pantelidis is no stranger to coming up against big-name Sydney FC marquees having kept tabs on Trinidad and Tobago superstar Dwight Yorke seven years ago. “My first game was against Dwight Yorke in the first year of the A-League and he scored against me,” the defender said. “So if I’m lucky enough to play and I’m marking Alessandro, hopefully he doesn’t score.” Pantelidis put in a full 90 minute shift last week against Melbourne Heart and is hopeful of retaining his spot even if fellow centre-back Bas Van Den Brink returns from a calf injury.
FARRELL SPARKLES ON SHAMROCK’S NIGHT OF NIGHTS
Irish import Brian Farrell is savouring the sweet taste of success after being named Shamrock Rovers player of the year. Farrell, 25, joined Shamrock at the start of the year from Irish club Shelbourne and immediately established his place in the middle of the park. His ability to create as well as score goals – Farrell netted a dozen times over the winter months – were recognised on the weekend with Shamrock’s Players Player of the Year and Coaches Award. Brian Foley picked up the Players’ Player/Coaches Award double for the Reserves. James Atkins was voted Players’ Player of the Year with the Under-18s and shared the Coaches Award with Leigh Doherty. Shamrock president Mick Manning was honoured with the Clubman of the Year award.
GLORY STOP HEART IN THEIR TRACKS
Goals from Dean Heffernan and Billy Mehmet have seen Perth Glory defeat Melbourne Heart 2-0 this afternoon at Perth Oval. Ian Ferguson’s side dominated the game and should have won by a greater margin, however, the Glory boss was unable to breathe easy until the second goal went in. “I felt like we were in control for a lot of the game, but with only one goal in it you know that the Heart are dangerous,” Ferguson said. “There was a big emphasis on retaining the ball because last week we were rushing things and turning the ball over, but this week we worked hard on retaining the ball and being patient, and I was pleased with that.”
The afternoon’s first opening came via a Josh Risdon cross that travelled to the far post where Heffernan’s initial shot was parried by Clint Bolton before Patrick Gerhardt and Richard Garcia combined to clear the midfielder’s follow-up off the line. Mate Dugandzic threatened to break away after taking advantage of a slip by Scott Jamieson, who made amends by block his opponent’s shot. Glory stepped up their search for a breakthrough goal with Mehmet and Michael Thwaite going close to converting crosses from Jamieson. They were finally rewarded on 38 minutes when Liam Miller’s in-swinging corner from the left eluded Michael Marrone’s attempted clearance and Heffernan was on hand to bundle in his first Glory goal at close-range.
Glory began the second half brightly with Mehmet heading wide Travis Dodd’s inch-perfect delivery shortly after the hour. With Melbourne pushing men forward in search of an equaliser, gaps inevitably began to appear at the back. Dodd and Jamieson were a constant menace down the flanks and on 77 minutes the former turned cleverly inside the 18-yard box only to fire straight at Bolton. Chris Harold came off the bench for his debut and with eight minutes left transferred the ball to Mehmet, who scuffed his shot. Moment later Harold was sent clear by Miller but the young attacker’s shot rose over the crossbar. Glory, however, was not to be denied and on 86 minutes another Miller corner was glanced into the net by Mehmet.
BRISBANE COME FROM BEHIND TO TOPPLE GLORY YOUTH
Brisbane Roar scored twice in the final twenty minutes to overcome Perth Glory Youth 2-1 in hot and humid conditions at Intiga Stadium. The home side could not have wished for a better start, taking the lead after only 4 minutes when what should have been a regulation back pass by James Donachie resulted in the defender angling the ball into the bottom corner for a bizarre own goal. Brisbane set about find an equaliser and Kwame Yeboah would have had one just after the quarter hour if not for goalkeeper Devon Spence, who also denied the lively attacker late in the half. With drink breaks required every 20 minutes both sides found the going tough over the opening 45 minutes with Brisbane creating the better chances.
The game opened up after the break with players on both teams showing the effects of a warm day. A stinging drive by Moses Kalau was saved by Nicholas Tubbs and shortly after Borbor Sambindi squandered a great opportunity to double the hosts advantage by spraying wide after being played clear by Brandon O’Neill. Those misses would prove costly as George Lambadaridis restored parity with a 70th minute free-kick which deflected off the defensive wall, wrong-footing Spence. Brisbane pressed on but found Spence in terrific form, the ‘keeper keeping out shots from Lambadaridis and Korean import Do Dong-Hyun in quick succession. Unfortunately, Do determined the outcome with seven minutes left by weaving past several defenders and calmly finding the bottom corner.
GLORY WOMEN HIT THE GROUND RUNNING
Perth Glory Women opened the new W-League season with a 2-0 win over Melbourne Victory at Intiga Stadium. Late goals from Kate Gill and Marianna Tabain ensured Glory Women took the points but it was the teams’ defensive formation that coach Jamie Harnwell praised post-game. “Last year we were under a lot of pressure and I thought we needed a back four that we could build a platform on and with the girls we got this year we certainly got that,” said Harnwell, who has high expectations of the season. “You got to set your sights on the finals. That’s what you’re here for, to play in big games, and that’s what I said to the girls as we’ve got strong squad on paper.”
Glory Women took control from the get-go with captain Collette McCallum and Elisa D’Ovidio pushing hard through the middle and Marianna Tabain causing all sorts of problems out wide on the left. Unfortunately, the hosts were let down time and time again by poor finishing. Their best chance of the period came via a Tabain cross which found McCallum, whose crisp volley forced a diving save from Brianna Davey. Melbourne attempted to play on the counter attack only to be halted by a strong defence under the command of Liz Milne, meaning goalkeeper Carly Telford had little to do through. That said Melbourne almost stole the lead through Tiffany Eliadis, who volleyed the wrong side of the post.
It looked as though this was not going to be Glory Women’s day when two great chances went begging early in the second half. Sarah Carroll sprayed wide after being left unmarked at the back post from another Tabain cross, while Gill failed to get a meaningful touch on Carys Hawkins’ long ball. But the pressure valve was finally released on 75 minutes when Gill go in behind the defence to go one-on-one with Davey and this time the Australian international made the most of the opportunity. The game was made safe in the 88th minute as Tabain’s hard work was rewarded with a lovely curling strike from 18-metres into the top corner.
JOONDALUP TIP THEIR HAT TO THOMSON
Jody Thomson has added his name to the Joondalup City honour roll by picking up the Players’ Player of the Year along with the Coaches Player of the Year awards. Thomson was an integral part of the Joondalup engine room throughout their debut State League campaign. Striker Lucais King capped his stellar season by taking home the Golden Boot award with a 20-goal tally. Nathan Chapman was voted Players’ Player of the Year for the Reserve team where Kane Dearlove received the Coaches Award and Bryan Neal the Golden Boot. Connor Lynch made a clean sweep of the Under-18’s honours by winning both the Players’ Player of the Year and Coaches Player of the Year. The Golden Boot went home with Jason Rubidge, who bagged an incredible 33 goals in just 24 games.
JONES KEEP CLEAN SHEET FROM FIRST LIVERPOOL START
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers praised West Australian goalkeeper Brad Jones for an outstanding performance in the Reds’ 1-0 win over Reading at Anfield Park. Jones kept a clean sheet on his English Premier League starting debut as 17-year old Raheem Sterling grabbed the games’ only goal to register Liverpool’s first home win of the season. “I thought Brad was outstanding ... what he had to do he did very well,” said Rodgers, who turned to Jones when Pepe Reina was ruled out by injury. “When I came in during the summer he (Jones) had been the number three ‘keeper but I’ve seen massive development and it’s a great credit to him.”
YOUNG ON LONG-TERM INJURY LIST
Perth Glory goalkeeper Neil Young has been placed on the club’s long-term injury list. 33-year old Young has experienced a succession of serious bowel and abdominal problems stemming from an adverse reaction to medication following surgery for a broken nose in January 2010. An antibiotic taken following the operation caused a bowel infection and in the months that followed Young underwent a further five operations, including the removal of his large intestine. Former Balcatta ‘keeper Lewis Italiano has been released from his contract with Victorian Premier League club Oakleigh Cannons to join Glory as an injury replacement player.
MIRCO TAKES HIS FINAL BOW
Veteran attacker Johny Mirco says the time is right to bring the final curtain down on what has been a sparkling playing career. Mirco has won every award and honour on offer over his 18-years in the State League and says he would have entertained the thought of around again had he not helped Sorrento to the League and Cup double this year. “I’m 35 next month but age for me is not the issue, I wanted to finish on a good note and after winning the Cup final my mind was made up,” explained Mirco. “Who would have thought a couple months on that we would have done the double and I have scored the goal that got us to the Grand Final.”
Mirco, who scored in Sorrento’s 4-2 Grand Final win over Floreat Athena, says he could not have dreamt of a better way to bow out of the game he’s played since the age of six. “Winning the double was unbelievable, I don’t think I could have asked for a better way to retire. And coming third in the Gold Medal was a great reward for me personally,” said Mirco, who joined Sorrento at the invitation of James Morgan. “I played with James last season (at Western Knights) and decided to follow him to Sorrento. The players, coaches and club welcomed me as if I had been there for years … I met some great people and it has been an experience that I will never forget.”
This season with Sorrento rates particularly highly for Mirco. “The double is a great achievement, it meant a lot to me and is one of my major decisions to retire,” he said before looking back at the highlights from his career. “I got a taste of full-time football with Indonesian club Harimau Tapanuli, even if it was only for six weeks, and winning the league with Fremantle City and beating Perth Glory with that club was an early highlight. Playing for your State is always an honour and beating Glory (in 2008) then travelling to Indonesia with the State side was something special. And in terms of personal achievements I really cannot go past being named joint Gold Medal winner in 2011.”
Mirco played his juniors days with Cockburn United – “My mum would take us everywhere and if not for her I would not be where I am today, thanks mum!” – so it’s hardly surprising he was wearing Spearwood Dalmatinac colours when he stepped out in the State League for the first time in 1995. “Jimmy Miller was the coach who gave me that chance, he probably had the biggest influence on the way I still play football,” commented Mirco, who gained Australian Schoolboys selection while at Spearwood. “I played with a lot of players that I admired and respected at Spearwood, guys like Derek Combe, Robbie Zabica, Kevin Elliott, Scott Miller and Gerry Christie.”
By 1998 Mirco was in need of a new challenge and headed to Inglewood United, or Falcons as they were known at the time. He hardly had time to settle into his new surrounds when State coach Eric Williams called him up for duty. “I was wrapped to be picked in the State team for the first time,” recalls Mirco, who was 21 when he made his senior State debut against a West Ham Academy Select XI. “I still remember my striking partner was Trim Morgan. It was a great experience for me and playing a long side these players help you so much as a youngster.” Four months later Mirco was again wearing State colours, this time against new national league club Northern Spirit.
A move to Fremantle City paid dividends immediately with Mirco winning the clubs top goal scorer trophy for season 1999. The following year he figured prominently in Fremantle’s first State Championship success, and come seasons’ end he earned further State honours against the Malaysian Under-23 team. “I played with some quality players at Fremantle, guys like my brother Michael, Steve Bourne, Paul McVittie, Robbie Zabica, Trim Morgan, Dave Onoforo, Vlad Beretovac, Dave Evans and Gary Faria,” said Mirco, who was with the port side for four-years. “Fremantle was a very progressive club at the time and we were very close to getting a National Soccer League license, unfortunately I didn’t quite work out that way.”
One of the most bizarre chapters in Mirco’s career took place while with Fremantle. “I was invited to play for Harimau Tapanuli at the 2000 Sahara Millennium Cup in India,” he explained. “The Indonesian under-23 team was supposed to play but they couldn’t make it so it was decided to send an Indonesian club with four West Australian players – Troy Bernard, Cory Hugo, Doug Ithier and myself – and two Thai internationals to strengthen the side, which was approved by the organisers. We trained for a couple of weeks and the night before our first game against India, which was a sell-out, news came through that we would not be allowed to play … so the president of the club promptly withdrew his team from the tournament!”
Mirco returned to his ancestral home at Cockburn in 2003 and although he was top goal scorer on four occasions in six years, admits it was a frustrating time for the club. “Cockburn has been like a football home for our family and our family continue to support the club,” commented Mirco, whose talents were further recognised when he finished runner-up in the 2008 Gold Medal. “I really enjoyed playing for Cockburn but coming second in the league twice, third once and being runners-up in the Night Series was too hard for me to take, I decided that if I was to win something then I would have to move on.”
Next up for Mirco was two memorable years under coach Michael Roki at Floreat Athena during which the club claimed victory over Inglewood in the 2009 State Cup Final. “My time with Floreat was unreal with Michael Roki,” said Mirco, who played for the State against Perth Glory in 2010. “I still don’t know how Floreat didn’t win more than we did with a squad that included State players Alex Dunn, John Migas, Branimir Mikulic and myself … but then that’s football. I met and played with some great players at Floreat and are still great friends and have a lot of respect for them.”
The early part of 2011 had Mirco back at Cockburn but a mid-season switch to Western Knights totally transformed his year. A goal on debut for the Knights set the scene for a series of sparkling performance which culminated in Mirco finishing top of the Gold Medal leader board alongside Balcatta’s Steve Burton. “The Gold Medal is personal recognition in this league, it’s my greatest achievement and is something that I am very proud of,” he commented. “It’s an award that cannot be achieved with the help of a great team and coaches and I feel both of those boxes were ticked last year at the Knights.”
Down there years Mirco had played alongside as well as against some of the greats of West Australian football. “I’ve played 18 seasons so it very hard for me to name only a few,” he said when asked which team mates and opponents stood out. “Scotty Miller would have to be the best I’ve played with but you’ve also got Robbie Zabica, Jason and Michael Petkovic, Derek Combe, Marc Anthony, Steve Bourne, the whole Sorrento team … and my brother. As for opponents, Doug Ithier and Gareth and Craig Naven would rough me up and Michael Roki, Stan Lazaridis, Troy Bernard and Antonio Naglieri were also outstanding.”
As for the future, Mirco intends to remain close to football. “I will definitely stay involved but I would like a little time off though. I have a 6-month old baby, Nikolas, so I will be waiting a long time for that coaching job,” he joked. “Football has been such a big part of my life and it would be hard to walk away completely. I spent so many Saturday morning’s preparing for a game and then the afternoon playing them, not to mention training and everything else that goes with it. You’ll still see me at games, only now I’ll be on the other side of the fence enjoying it with my family.”
GLORY STARS RULED OUT OF MELBOURNE CLASH
Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson remains confident that he has the quality within his squad to cover the absence of star duo Shane Smeltz and Bas Van Den Brink. Smeltz has been ruled out of Sunday’s clash with Melbourne Heart after tearing a hamstring while on international with New Zealand whereas Van Den Brink misses the game due to a minor calf strain. “We’ve got a squad and we’ll use it to make sure that everybody gets some game time,” Ferguson commented. “Smeltzy always has goals in him and you’re always going to miss that top quality of player who can change a game in a heartbeat. With Bas, he picked up a calf injury last week, he hasn’t recovered and we won’t take any chances with it.”
Despite thumping Melbourne 5-0 less than a month ago, Ferguson is expecting a very different contest when the two sides meet at Perth Oval on Sunday. The visitors shrugged off that heavy pre-season loss to take four points from their opening two games of the new campaign. “I think that defeat was actually good for John (Aloisi) … he’s had a lot of time, two or three weeks to try and get things right and they’ve done that,” Ferguson said of his coaching counterpart. “They are very mobile going forward, have great energy from their midfield and can cause a lot of problems, so we’ve got to be on our toes to make sure that we can stop that. We know it’s going to be a difficult game.”
GILL PRIMED FOR W-LEAGUE RETURN
Perth Glory Women striker Kate Gill can’t wait to get back playing in purple when the new W-League swings into action this weekend. A serious knee injury forced the former Asian Player of the Year to miss last summer and after returning to the Matildas fold earlier this year, the striker is eagerly anticipating Sunday’s game with Melbourne Victory. “I just can’t wait for the game to begin,” said Gill, whose played for Australia on 60 times. “It’s been a very long time and it will be good to be back playing with the girls again. “I’ve got to give plenty of thanks to Kenny Lowe and the Boys National Training Centre for assisting me in my rehabilitation and getting match fit in the local State League.”
A lack of experience certainly won’t be a concern for coach Jamie Harnwell. Gill and fellow Matildas Aivi Luik and Collette McCallum have signed on for the coming season along with goalkeeper Carly Telford, Sasha Andrews and Liz Milne, who’ve played internationally for England, Canada and New Zealand respectively. Sunday morning will see Glory Women lined up against a very different looking Melbourne side which has had personnel reshuffle of their own. “Yeah we don’t know too much about them, but Mike Mulvey has taken over and it is going to be a very tough game,” said Gill. The 2012/13 campaign commences for Glory Women at 10.30am on Sunday at Intiga Stadium, Inglewood, against Melbourne.
SAINSBURY READY FOR HESKEY TEST
Dubbed a future Socceroo, Central Coast Mariners defender Trent Sainsbury faces the biggest test of his burgeoning career against former England international Emile Heskey on Saturday. 20-year old Sainsbury will share the responsibility of marking Newcastle Jets’ star import with centre-back partner Patrick Zwaanswik in this weekend’s derby meeting of the clubs. Sainsbury produced a man-of-the-match performance in last weekend’s win over Perth Glory which led Newcastle coach Gary Van Egmond to declare him a future national team player. 178cm tall Sainsbury tips the scales at around 75kg but still gives up a fair advantage to the 188cm, 88kg Heskey.
Sainsbury admits he will have his hands full on Saturday but is relishing the chance to test himself against Heskey all the same. “I never thought I’d be coming up against Emile Heskey of all players but it’s going to be a good experience for me, a good learning experience,” Sainsbury said. “He’s been in the top flight in England for so many years, it’s going to be a terrific buzz for me to play against a player of that calibre. He’s a big, strong boy, good in the air ... I’ll have to be a lot more clever around him.”
In acknowledging he still has plenty to learn about the game, Sainsbury says he plans to repay the faith shown in him by Central Coast coach Graham Arnold. “He brought me here and I wasn’t happy sitting on the bench but that was just my youthful exuberance,” said Sainsbury, who turned out locally for Armadale and the National Training Centre. “He said to me to bide my time and I’ve done that and got my chance now to really show what I can do. He’s been waiting for me to step up into Wilko’s (former captain Alex Wilkinson) shoes and I’ve just got to repay the favour.”
CLISBY STUNNED BY “UNBELIEVABLE” WIN
Inglewood United defender Jack Clisby is still coming to terms with being voted the State League’s best player. 20-year old Clisby became one of the youngest ever Gold Medal winners by edging out team mate James Samuttt in a tense finish to counting in the prestigious award. “It is such an unbelievable feeling,” Clisby said. “My aim was to be in contention come the end of the season and I felt as though I was in with a chance as I’d put every bit of effort into every game. I wasn’t sure how I was going to poll … turns out I did very well!”
Clisby picked up votes from five of Inglewood’s opening six games to sit at the top of the leader board for almost the entire season. When counting finished he’d tallied 23 votes to be one ahead of Sammut and three clear of Mark Pritchard (Floreat Athena), Antonio Naglieri (Perth SC) and Johny Mirco (Sorrento). “I couldn’t believe I managed to stay at the top,” said Clisby, who was swamped by team mates soon after the final round of votes were read out. “I didn’t really have time to think what had just happened as my team mates started jumping on me immediately.”
The support and backing Clisby received at Inglewood played a big part in his season. “My success is definitely down to my team mates and my managers, Graham Normanton and Bobby Despotovski,” said Clisby, who played at the back this year for the first time in his career. “I was meant to be playing on the wing but Normo asked me to play centre-half and I’ve never looked back. I was learning new aspects of the game every week from the coaches, and the attitude of our team throughout the season was quality to be a part of.”
Clisby spent his development years with Sorrento and the National Training Centre before stepping out in the State League with Perth SC in 2009. A couple of summers with Perth Glory Youth and another winter on the local scene with Balcatta lead to a move abroad. “An opportunity to trial with St Johnstone came up in late 2010 and just under two months later I’d signed for the Reserves,” Clisby explained. “I feel the physical side of my game, aggression and tackling, improved while in Scotland but things didn’t work out and at the end of that season I came back to Australia.”
After a short spell with Balcatta, Clisby returned to the national stage with Glory Youth where he continued to learn the finer points of the game under Gareth Naven. “You learn something different from every coach and Gareth is very good tactically in setting up his team’s structure and how he wants players to play,” said Clisby, who excelled alongside Lewis Italiano, Storm Roux and Reece Vittiglia last summer. “Gareth is able to get the very best out of his players, which I believe he has done with myself and he continues to keep me on my toes.”
Clisby has played football non-stop for the last three years and has no plans to stop just yet. “I was a bit fatigued towards the end of this season but I’ve been able to get a bit of a rest before heading into the next Glory Youth season,” commented Clisby, who is currently sidelined with a hip injury. “I’m aiming towards an A-League contract. To get there I need to keep performing, be consistent, work hard on my weaknesses and take in every bit of help from Gareth and (assistant coach) John Gibson in the upcoming National Youth League season.”
EIFFE IS NUMBER ONE OF THE NUMBER ONE’S
Floreat Athena custodian Brad Eiffe was rewarded for an outstanding Premier Division debut when presented the Goalkeeper of the Year at last week’s WA Football Awards ceremony. Eiffe, who collected two Player of the Years with English club Droitwich Spa, says he was stunned when his name was read from the podium was winner of the prestigious award. “It was a total shock,” admits 28-year old Eiffe, a key figure in Floreat’s rise to second on the table and their subsequent qualification for the Grand Final. “I feel honoured and very proud to be named Goalkeeper of the Year.”
Eiffe rates this season as one of the best of his career but nonetheless did not rate himself a chance of winning the award heading into Friday’s ceremony. “I had a decent season but didn’t think I would have taken the prize home,” he commented. “Curtis Aspden at Sorrento has been top-notch this season, Alex Dunn at Perth SC consistently performs well and young Francis Soale at Inglewood United had really impressed … they have all had great seasons. I was happy with how my season went but I certainly did not expect to win.”
It really has been a remarkable year for Eiffe, who twelve months ago was keeping goal for Division One side Ashfield. “I joined Floreat because of the success that comes with the club and we had a great season,” said Eiffe, before paying tribute to his coaches, team mates and family. “From day one Chris Barbas and Glen Grostate showed a heap of confidence in my ability, I wouldn’t be Goalkeeper of the Year without their belief in me. The lads at the club have been a huge influence, I can’t thank them enough, and I’ve also had great support from my family.”
BABALJ’S STAR IS ON THE RISE
Striker Eli Babalj plans to use the praise of West Australia’ most capped Socceroo, Stan Lazaridis, to propel himself into World Cup contention. Babalj, 20, is yet to be called up for Australia at senior level but that hasn’t stopped Lazaridis from putting his name forward as the player to lead Australia’s attack towards the 2014 World Cup and fill the vacuum left by the legendary Mark Viduka. “I have always looked up to Stan, especially being a fellow Perth boy, and I was really flattered by what he said,” commented Babalj on theworldgame.sbs.com.au. “He’s a Socceroos giant and his backing has just given me that extra bit of motivation and belief.”
Babalj joined Red Star Belgrade from Melbourne Heart in June but had to cool his heels on the sidelines for two months while paperwork was completed. “Things have been alright but they could have been better,” he said. “I was happy to come off the bench and score our third against Smederevo and then help set up our winner (against Javor Ivanjica) in the next match. It’s much better now that I can play official games because the hold-up was frustrating. The coach who signed me (club legend Robert Prosinecki) resigned also and while I have a good relationship with our new coach (Aleksandar Jankovic) it just made things a little unsettling in the first days here.”
With three appearances off the bench to his credit, Babalj intends forcing his way into the starting line-up sooner rather than later. “I definitely back myself to do that. I came here to a lot of expectation, I was the club’s most expensive off-season signing and that obviously brings with it a certain amount of pressure,” he said. “I know I can perform at this level, I just want to show what I can do on a regular basis. Coming into a new team is always a challenge because you have to get to know your teammates and build up an understanding of the way they play.”
The weight of expectations is heavy at Red Star, who had 25 national championships and 24 national cups to their credit. The new SuperLiga season is only eight games old but already the race for top honours is developing into a two-horse race between Red Star and crosstown rivals Partizan Belgrade. “The atmosphere is immense at games and it’s really seen as a battle for the title between ourselves and Partizan,” commented Babalj, whose team currently trails Partizan by two points. “Even after we lost 3-0 to Spartak, we had our heads down but our fans kept singing and the buzz they create at games has to be seen to be believed.”
Babalj, who has a four-year deal with Red Star, has represented Australia at under-17 and under-20 level and is being closed watched as Socceroos coach Holger Osieck widens his net in search of fresh attacking options. “While I need to be getting regular game time with my club to really push myself forward I am still am confident that I am ready right now if the coach wants to take a look at me for the national team,” he said. “I can do a job up front if the opportunity comes. I would love to be involved, and obviously sooner rather than later, but I know I have a lot of work to do yet to make that a reality.”
INJURY OPENS DOOR FOR BIRIGHITTI TO ATONE
Mark Birighitti could get a chance to make amends for a nightmare Newcastle Jets debut with first-choice goalkeeper Ben Kennedy facing the prospect of knee surgery. Birighitti’s first outing for Newcastle following an off-season move from Adelaide United was one to forget with the 21-year old sent off in the loss to his former club a fortnight ago. Kennedy was restored to the line-up for the weekend win over Sydney FC but coach Gary Van Egmond has revealed the ‘keeper had undergone scans for a suspected meniscus tear and could opt for surgery, which would force him out for up to six weeks.
Van Egmond is confident Birighitti will bounce back strongly should Kennedy choose to go under the knife. “I felt sorry for him,” Van Egmond said of Birighitti, who earned a one-match suspension after he was shown a red card for handling the ball outside the box against Adelaide. “He had an indifferent game, he was playing against his old club as well and it didn’t go to plan. I’m sure he’s keen to make that wrong a right. He might get his opportunity this week depending on Ben Kennedy.” Newcastle have a derby outing with Central Coast Mariners on Saturday at Hunter Stadium.
SOCCEROOS FIGHT BACK TO DOWN IRAQ
Australia’s World Cup qualifying campaign is back on track after coming from behind to score a deserved 2-1 win over Iraq in Doha overnight. Tim Cahill and Archie Thompson netted in the last ten minutes to give the Socceroos their first win of the qualifying campaign after substitute Alaa Abdul-Zahra had given Iraq an unlikely lead in front of a crowd of just 2,183. The result moves the Socceroos into second place in their group on goal difference with four games to play – home to Oman, Jordan and Iraq, and away to Japan – next year.
Australia controlled the tempo early on and with a little more accuracy would have been a couple of goal the better. Alex Brosque headed just wide of the target inside 2 minutes before a powerful shot from the edge of the 18-yard box by captain Lucas Neill sailed over the crossbar. Youngster Robbie Kruse ensured the home defence remained on high alert with a fine performance while Matt McKay, playing in an unfamiliar position at the back, also caught the eye. Cahill had a couple of chances to break the deadlock, the veteran scuffing wide from a Kruse centre and later forcing a diving save from Noor Sabri.
The second half followed much the same pattern. Kruse had an excellent chance to break through in the 56th minute but blasted just wide from McKay’s delivery. A minute later Neill was fortunate to be shown only a yellow card for his last man challenge on Younus Mahmood. Mark Schwarzer was not genuinely tested until the 72nd minute when Abdul-Zahra finished a counter-attack by slotting into the veteran goalkeeper’s net. With ten minutes to go Cahill brought the teams’ level with a trademark header from a McKay corner. Four minutes later substitute Tommy Oar delivered an inviting ball which Thompson nodded in to snatch the Socceroo a much-needed victory.
ROOKIE QUINN IS BAYWATER’S BEST
State defender Patrick Quinn celebrated an outstanding debut Premier League campaign by winning Bayswater City’s top honour, the Rocco D’Orazio Medal. Quinn joined Bayswater last summer and in next to time had cemented his place in the first eleven with a string of eye-catching displays that were rewarded with a late season State team call-up against Perth Glory. “It feels great, definitely a career highlight for me,” said Quinn of being named his clubs best player for 2012. “I was lucky with injuries, I missed one game all year, and just did the job I was asked week in week out.”
Quinn says the experiences of 2012 will serve only to inspire Bayswater to greater heights next season. “I’m happy that we finished on top of the table after the 22 rounds – we played great football all year,” he commented. “But I can’t talk about the top five series without sounding bitter … whether it’s right or wrong it’s there. This was the first time many of us had played in the finals and it was devastating to not finish the season off how we intended. But it’s has made us all hungrier than ever, with this experience under our belts Bayswater will be back next year bigger and better.”
Irish midfielder Paul McCarthy picked up the Runner-up Fairest and Best trophy with the Golden Boot presented to Colombia finisher Gustavo Giron-Marulanda. The Reserve team’s Fairest and Best was taken out by Sebastian Munoz ahead of Damien Catalano with Mundy Toure awarded the Golden Boot. Recipient of the Fairest and Best for the Under-18s was Ryan Treacey, second spot was taken out by Irfan Shafii and the Golden Boot trophy went home with Kenan Ceric.
DALGARNO CLEANS UP AT MELVILLE
Goalkeeper Stewart Dalgarno has scooped the pool at Melville City by picking up the clubs’ top two awards, the Player’ Player of the Year and Best and Fairest. “I’m honoured to receive both trophies – I thought I’d done enough to be in with a shout but I never expected to be given one award, let alone both,” said Dalgarno. “It’s always nice to be recognised by your peers for your efforts but the ressies ‘keeper, Mark Bentley, has to take some credit as he kept it competitive all season.”
Melville’s inconsistency over the season may have cost them a placing higher than fourth but Dalgarno says all indications point towards a strong 2013. “The season was a mixed bag, we had some good results but we fell away badly at the end and that was very disappointing,” said the ‘keeper. “We did have a lot of young guys who stepped up and that can only be good for the club, having under-18s guys in the first team for the last game will do wonders for their development.”
Central midfielder Sasa Slauvejic collected the trophy as Runner-up Best and Fairest with the Golden Boot awarded to John Brennan for his eight regular season finishes. Top honours for the Reserve team went to Michael Everett, who made a handful of first team appearances during the winter, with Mark Bentley in second place, and James Castiello scored the Golden Boot award. The Under-18 team Best and Fairest trophy was taken home by Ben Smith ahead of runner-up Ryan Russel with Yasser Lin recipient of the Golden Boot.
BIG THINGS TIPPED FOR SAINSBURY
Central Coast Mariners appear to have found a ready-made replacement for former captain Alex Wilkinson in the form of Trent Sainsbury. The Perth-born defender turned in another solid display in yesterday’s win over Perth Glory, highlighting his importance at both ends of the park. Sainsbury went close to giving his team the lead shortly before half-time and midway through the second stanza laid on the pass to set-up Daniel McBreen for the game’s only goal. Defensively he made a string of crucial tackles which ultimately kept the visiting team scoreless.
Coach Graham Arnold heaped praise on 20-year old Sainsbury, saying his efforts have been the key to the Mariners following Wilkinson’s move to K-League side Jeonbuk. “I thought he was superb,” said Arnold, who partnered Sainsbury with Patrick Zwaanswik. “I have lot of faith in Australian youngsters and Trent Sainsbury, who has been here with us for two years, has had to sit back and be patient and at times play right fullback and he has learnt the ropes from Wilko and Patrick … I wasn’t that concerned and I didn’t go overseas looking for another central defender I found another Australian kid.”
PORTUGAL MAKE CLEAN SWEEP OF YOUNG SOCCEROOS SERIES
The Young Socceroos may have been beaten twice in three days by Portugal’s Under-20 national team but coach Paul Okon is focusing on the positives in the teams’ performances. Portugal powered away in the second half of yesterday’s friendly to win 4-1 and make a clean sweep of the two-game series, which opened with Thursday’s 2-1 victory by the host nation. “These two games have been very productive for us in terms of how we want to play as well as a learning experience against a world class opponent,” commented Okon, whose team are preparing for next month’s AFC Under-19 Championship in the United Arab Emirates.
A goal in stoppage time game Portugal a 2-1 win from game one against Australia at the National Stadium in Lisbon. The Young Socceroos were dealt a double blow just after the hour when Connor Chapman was red carded, the resultant free-kick struck Adam Taggart on the hand leading the referee to award a penalty which Joao Mario converted. Taggart made amends five minutes later by netting on a one-on-one with the goalkeeper after being played through by Curtis Good. The deciding goal came three minutes into stoppage time with Aladje tucking a cross from substitute To-Ze. West Australian’s Taggart and Ryan Edwards played full games whereas Mitch Oxborrow and Ryan Williams were unused substitutes.
Australia were comprehensively beaten 4-1 by Portugal in the second meeting between the nations’ under-20 teams. Aladje opened Portugal’s account early but on 12 minutes Josh Brillante restored parity by finding the top corner from 17-metres. Portugal re-took the lead just before half-time when Michael Pinto’s cross drifted into the top corner of Liam Jacob’s net. Tiago Ferreira converted a 52nd minute penalty awarded for a foul by substitute ‘keeper Alex Baird, and with thirteen minutes left Ricardo Pereira sealed the win from distance. Edwards and Williams came off after 62 minutes, Oxborrow entered the action on 62 minutes with Taggart and Tom King unused substitutes.
GLORY UNDONE BY ‘OLD BOY’ MCBREEN
Central Coast Mariners registered their first win of the new A-League season by edging past Perth Glory 1-0 at Bluetongue Stadium. Former Glory boy Daniel McBreen struck for the home side midway through the second half of a game Ian Ferguson felt the visitors deserved at least a point from. “It’s a disappointed dressing room,” the Glory boss said post-game. “We frustrated the Mariners and were unlucky a few times and then unfortunately got caught with a sucker punch. I thought we did enough (to earn a point). We had a few chances and didn’t take them today.”
Central Coast had the better of the early exchanges without creating any serious attempts on the visiting goal. Their first opening arrived on 22 minutes when Patrick Zwaanswijk’s free-kick from the top of the 18-yard box was saved low by Danny Vukovic. Glory threatened to break through six minutes later but Steven McGarry’s header was high of the crossbar. Defender Trent Sainsbury had a golden opportunity to send the hosts into half-time with the lead but his free header from a Mile Sterjovski free-kick sailed well over the top.
The pace quickened for the second stanza as both sides set about breaking the deadlock. Travis Dodd pounced on an error by John Hutchinson but before he got within shooting range Sainsbury intervened with a timely challenge. Central Coast finally found a way through in the 70th minute, Sainsbury delivering an inch-perfect cross to McBreen who showed great skill in controlling with his left foot before slotting into the net with his right, much to the delight of the 9,192-strong crowd. Substitute went closest to equalising but his vicious 83rd minute strike flashed wide of the target.
SKOWRON GIVEN THE GREEN LIGHT TO STAY ON AT SWAN
Division One club Swan United has shown their faith in caretaker coach Mick Skowron by appointing him the position on a permanent basis. It’s a worthy reward for Skowron, who stepped into the role in August following the departure of John O’Reilly to guide the club to fifth on the final standings. “I’m very happy to be appointed as head coach,” commented Skowron, who under Swan won four and drew one of their final seven games. “I’ve worked very hard for a long time and it’s great to finally get the opportunity to coach at this level.”
Skowran faced several hurdles in taking over the reins mid-season. “It was a challenge to instill my way of playing onto the players in a short period of time,” he explained. “Having success with the Reserves made the transition a bit easier but the (first team) players initially weren’t too sure with my ideas. I kept things fairly simple and the changes came off in a positive way in the first few games so it didn’t take long for the players to lift. And with that the atmosphere around the club improved and things really took off.”
Competition in the second tier will be intense next year with Western Knights, Mandurah City, Ashfield and Wanneroo City all expected to be in the mix for promotion. “The standard of the league is fairly high now and to string a number of wins together will be very difficult,” said Skowron. “The way we finished the season I think we could be confident of causing a few upsets and finishing in a top four position. We have very good depth which we had to use in the last few games given the number of injuries we sustained in the last three games.”
Skowron sees little reason to make wholesale changes to his squad. “Six players who started against Cockburn (on the last day of the season) were playing reserves prior to me taking over the first team and all performed admirably, so I won’t be looking to make many changes,” he said. “With an average age of less than 23 we have a very young squad and this will probably reduce with about five under 21 year olds who were previously with the club indicating that they would like to return. These players will offset the few losses we will have.”
A strong team spirit and a continuing development of youth will ultimately bring success to Swan. “I respect the players and in turn the players have shown me respect, and I think this had a lot to do with the way the team stepped up,” Skowron said. “I have faith in the players we have so I won’t be looking for experienced players to come into the squad. We want the young players we have to want to play for the club because they feel part of it and in return we want to show loyalty to them and I think with this success will come.”
SORRENTO PUT FIVE PAST METRO STARS (with Andrew Ellis, Football West)
State Champions Sorrento have defeated their South Australian counterpart, Metro Stars 5-2 in this evenings’ Interstate Challenge at Dorrien Gardens. Gavin Knight netted twice with Stuart Montgomery, Jamie Harnwell and guest player Todd Howarth also on the scoresheet for the Gulls whereas Metro Stars goals came via Perry Mitris and Steven Grelli. The win secured the inaugural Interstate Challenge for West Australia two games to one, Hamersley Rovers having defeated International 3-2 earlier in the day after Beckenham Angels went down 1-0 to Adelaide City.
Sorrento made the breakthrough after only 8 minutes, Gavin Knight turning his marker to whip a dangerous ball across the face of goal for veteran Montgomery to side-foot in at the back post. Metro Stars responded soon via a quickly taken Grelli free-kick which Mitris clinically volleyed into the bottom corner of Curtis Aspden’s net. A free flowing game had chances at both ends before Sorrento struck again on 19 minutes, Jason Mirco’s clipping over the defence for Knight to lob over advancing ‘keeper Daniel Godley. Grelli was unlucky not to restore parity six minutes from the break with a stinging long-range strike which crashed into the crossbar.
Jamie Harnwell extended his teams lead five minutes into the second half with a scuffed shot from 15-metres after being teed up by Howarth. Two minutes Anthony Skorich pulled the ball back for Montgomery to send in a superb cross which Knight headed in to make it four-one. Metro Stars immediately set about reducing the gap but the closest they’d come was a Mitris shot which brought a fine save from Aspden. Howarth got the goal he deserved on 82 minutes, his curling shot from 18-metres cannoning into both posts before nestling at the back of the net. The game was in stoppage time when Grelli seized on a loose pass and coolly side-footing past Aspden.
KREIDER ADDED TO FOOTBALL HISTORIANS PANEL
West Australian Richard Kreider is one of three new appointments to Football Federation Australia’s Panel of Football Historians. Kreider, who is to shortly release is third book ‘Paddocks to Pitches’, Phil Mosely and Marion Stell join six person panel which also features academics Roy Hay and Billy Murray along with Ted Simmons, an executive member of International Federation of Football History and Statistics. The Panel of Football Historians has the task of advising FFA on all historical matters, including the interpretation of historical events, commemoration of significant anniversaries and pre-selection of Hall of Fame nominees.
CLISBY MAKES HISTORY WITH GOLD MEDAL WIN
Inglewood United’s rising star Jack Clisby wrote himself into West Australian football history last night by becoming one of the youngest players to win the Gold Medal. 20-year old Clisby was a class above in marshalling the Inglewood defence throughout the winter, while his driving runs through the middle and dead ball expertise produced many an opportunity at the opposite end of the park. When Gold Medal counting finished it was Clisby that sat atop of the leader board with 23 votes, one more than team mate James Sammut and three clear of Mark Pritchard (Floreat Athena), Antonio Naglieri (Perth SC) and Johny Mirco (Sorrento).
There was a full house at Grand Ballroom of the Crown Perth to celebrate the achievements of the recent State League year. Clisby started the season strongly, polling in five of the opening six rounds, and by the mid-point he lead the way with 14 votes to be two clear of Sammut, Pritchard and Johny Mirco. With four rounds to go there had been little change to the leader board, Clisby was still out in front albeit now with 23 votes. Naglieri (20 votes) was in second place followed by Sammutt (19 votes) Pritchard (18) and Johnny Mirco (17).
The final leader board had Clisby on 23 votes to pip Sammut, who surged into the runner-up position with a final round best on ground. A solid day last performance by Pritchard jumped him into third alongside Naglieri and Johny Mirco on 20 votes. Bunbury Forum Force captain Steve Howson was next with 18 votes followed by Greg Sharland (Perth SC) on 17 and Cisco Jorquera (Bayswater City) with 15 votes. The top ten was completed by Sorrento pair Ryan Pearson and Jason Mirco, who polled 14 and 13 votes respectively. View all the 2012 Gold Medal votes (xls, 123kb).
Gustavo Giron-Marulanda’s (Bayswater) reward for 26 regular season strikes was a second Golden Boot trophy in as many years. The safe hands of Floreat’s Brad Eiffe were presented the Goalkeeper of the Year. Guiding Sorrento the State Championship and State Cup double earned the Coach of the Year for former Wales international Paul Price. Very few people were surprised when respected match official Mat Cheeseman completed a hat-trick of Golden Whistle awards. The Assistant Referee of the Year went to Michael Jasinski, and the Referee Encouragement Award to Jennifer Wood.
Wanneroo City attacker Josh Booysen picked up the Division One Player of the Year. Booysen, who has played his entire senior career at Wanneroo, tallied 20 votes to finish one ahead of Mandurah City duo Jeff Bright and Craig Tone. Third place was filled by David Clarke (Rockingham City) on 18 votes, one more than his team mate Lance Louvie and Andreas Theodosiades (Dianella White Eagles). Craig Tone’s 23-goal winter saw him claim the Golden Boot, while Scott Miller was rewarded with the Coach of the Year for steering Cockburn City to the championship.
The inaugural Division Two Player of the Year was split between playmakers Jordan Rhodes (Subiaco AFC) and Steve Purton (UWA-Nedlands). Purton polled well in the final rounds of the season to draw level with Rhodes on 27 votes. UWA striker James Plowman was runner-up, only two votes behind, followed by David Ashworth (Kingsway Olympic) who had 17 votes to his name. 32-goals in 24-games saw Plowman take out the Golden Boot, with the Coach of the Year awarded to Kevin Burton after guiding UWA to the top of the table.
Stuart Hartmann of Whitford City was the runaway winner of the Sunday League Gold Medal. Hartman polled in seven of the last eight rounds to finish with 29 votes, seven clear of runner-up M.Gardner (Kingsley). Dinko Ahmetanovic (BB United) finish third on 19 votes, one more than Felim Rugel (Southern Spirit). Fifth was shared by Gary Andrews (Joondalup United) and Joe Brunetto (Spearwood Dalmatinac) with 16 votes each. The Golden Boot was won by Tony Taylor (Joondalup), the Goalkeeper of the Year by Ante Ramic (Fremantle Croatia) and the Coach of the Year by Rudy Proctor (Joondalup).
The Women’s Premier League Gold Medal was taken out by East Fremantle’s Alyce Correia with 24 votes. Lindsay Jobling of Beckenham Angels was a distant second on 17 votes with team mate Danielle Calautti two more off the pace. Beckenham Angels fared well in the Golden Boot and Goalkeeper of the Year categories, Calautti winning the former and Kristy Teschinsky the latter for the second year in a row. Jason Washington-King (Beckenham) was named Coach of the Year. Sam Watkins of UWA received the David Schrandt Administrator of the Year with the Volunteer of the Year presented to Chris Daines (Kalamunda United).
YEARS' BEST HONOURED ON FOOTBALLS NIGHT OF NIGHTS
The 2012 State League season officially comes to a close this evening with the West Australian Football Awards. The event will bring the stars of State League, Sunday Premier League and Women’s Premier League football together in the Grand Ballroom of the Crown Perth. The evenings’ centrepiece will be the awarding of WA football’s highest individual honour – the Gold Medal – to the State League’s best and fairest player.
Mark Pritchard’s influence in the Floreat Athena engine room has him installed as the red hot favourite to take out the coveted prize, however, he faces some pretty stiff competition from attackers Johny Mirco (Sorrento) and Daniel Micevski (Balcatta) plus Bayswater City team mates Cisco Jorquera and John Kearney. Rising star Jack Clisby (Inglewood United), Floreat defender Spencer Harris and Sorrento midfielder Jason Mirco are also expected finish high on the leader board.
The Coach of the Year appears to be a two horse race between Mauro Marchione, whose Bayswater side ended the regular season on top of the Premier League table, and Paul Price, who guided Sorrento to a historic State League and Cup double. Curtis Aspden (Sorrento) and Alex Dunn (Perth SC) are the frontrunners for Goalkeeper of the Year honours with Floreat Athena’s Brad Eiffe the dark horse of the field.
There’ll be little separating the leaders in the Division One Player of the Year. Cockburn City pair Paul Lloyd and Euen Grant are expected to be there or thereabouts along with Craig Tone (Mandurah City), Garin Collins (Wanneroo City), Reuben Tristao (Ashfield), Brian Farrell (Shamrock Rovers), Andreas Theodosiades (Dianella White Eagles) and Daniel Trevisiol (Canning City). Scott Miller is tipped to take out the Coach of the Year after steering Cockburn City to the championship.
The field is wide open in the Division Two Player of the Year. UWA’s dominance of the competition has put James Plowman, captain Steve Purton and Tom Sellers amongst the favourites for the award but breathing down their necks will be Jordan Rhodes and Scott Wrightson of Subiaco AFC, Darren Monaghan (Fremantle United), Sasa Slauvejic (Melville City) and Lucias King (Joondalup City). Kevin Burton (UWA) is expected to go home with the Coach of the Year trophy.
The match officials won’t be forgotten with the Golden Whistle, Assistant Referee of the Year and Referee Encouragement Award up for grabs. The standout performers in the Sunday and Women’s Premier Leagues will be honoured with the Gold Medal, Goalkeeper of the Year and Coach of the Year. Rounding out the individual awards are the Administrator of the Year and Volunteer of the Year. footballwa.net hopes to carry a thorough roundup of who goes home with what on Monday.
SORRENTO TAKES ON SOUTH AUSTRALIA’S BEST
State Champions Sorrento will take on their South Australian counterparts, Metro Stars, in the inaugural Interstate Challenge tomorrow evening at Dorrien Gardens (5.00pm). In an end-of-season football extravaganza, the Interstate Challenge also brings together the women’s and amateur champions of each state. The Women’s Challenge pits Beckenham Angels against Adelaide City (1.00pm) before amateur teams Hamersley Rovers take on International SC (3.00pm). The state which accumulates the most points over the three will win the Interstate Challenge.
Sorrento coach Paul Price is looking forward to seeing how his players match up against those from Adelaide. “Sorrento are proud to represent the State League in this game against Metro Stars. It will be interesting for everyone who attends to see how the standard of players and teams matches up as you only hear stories about the football played elsewhere in Australia,” said Price. “We will have some players missing because of injuries but the players who play will want to give a good account of themselves.” Entry to the Interstate Challenge is free.
MARCHIONE TO COACH PERTH
There’s been a changing of the guard at Dorrien Gardens where Mauro Marchione has been appointed to lead Perth SC in season 2013. Marchione takes over the head coach role from Gianfranco Circati, who steps aside due to work reasons, while it is understood assistant coaches Basil Lenzo and Richard Abrams have been released by the club. In taking up the position Marchione, fresh from guiding Bayswater to the Premier Division title, becomes Perth’s fourth coaching change in just over three years. footballwa.net sought comment on Marchione’s appointment from Perth but did not get a response prior to publication.
ITALIANO SET FOR VPL GLORY
Goalkeeper Lewis Italiano is hoping to finish his Victorian Premier League stint by helping Oakleigh Cannons to victory in this weekend’s Grand Final with Dandenong Thunder. Italiano, who savoured State League glory with Balcatta last year, is looking forward to his final outing with Oakleigh. “Naturally I’m very excited about the Grand Final, playing at an amazing venue such as AAMI Park and having the opportunity to be crowned VPL champions,” Italiano enthused. “It’s been a great year with Oakleigh and a great experience for me. I’ve learnt a lot and enjoyed the experience very much, although it has been difficult living away from my family and girlfriend.”
Italiano, 21, spent last summer with the Glory youth team and, after being back-up to senior ‘keeper Danny Vukovic for a spell, had hoped to land a contract without first having to venture to Victoria. “Naturally I was disappointed. I had hoped that my form for the youth team would have led to something but unfortunately it didn’t at the time,” said Italiano. “That’s football, so much of it is about timing and hopefully this time the timing will be right I’m glad now to be getting an opportunity in Perth, this is my home and the club closest to my heart so I think things have worked out for the best.”
When not keeping goal for Oakleigh, Italiano was trying his luck with a couple of Glory’s A-League rivals, namely Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Warriors. “Training with Victory was fantastic. I really enjoyed the sessions with Steve Mautone and got a lot out of them, it was definitely a great learning experience. They already had two very good goalkeepers under contract and unfortunately there really wasn’t an opening for myself,” he explained. “Western Sydney was another good experience. Again just seeing the way different trainers do things, you pick up something new from everyone you work with and it just helps you grow and become a better ‘keeper.”
Unfortunately, being contracted to Oakleigh meant Italiano was unable to join Glory for their pre-season. “I really wanted to join the Perth boys earlier and help with the preparations more, but I’ve been training with the side now for a few weeks and really feel a part of it,” he said. “At the same time I can understand Oakleigh’s position, they were pushing for the finals and it’s a massive opportunity for them to be crowned Victorian champions so it’s exciting being part of that campaign. I’ll focus on the game on Sunday and then I can dedicate myself fully to Perth.”
COCKBURN TIP THEIR HAT TO GRANT
The important role Euen Grant played in Cockburn City finishing top of Division One has been highlighted with their top prize, the Fairest and Best player. Grant, who stuck by Cockburn after they were relegation from the top flight last year, was a stabilising influence at the back throughout his clubs’ championship winning campaign. “It feels good to be voted Cockburn’s Fairest and Best considering the quality we have throughout the team,” commented Grant, who considered himself a good chance to win the award. “I knew I had a good season and that I would go close so it wasn’t too much of a surprise that I won.”
Midfielder Paul Lloyd was runner-up in the main award and also went home with the Players Player of the Year, while Devon Gibson was the teams’ Top Goal Scorer. Veteran Anthony Periera picked up the Fairest and Best at Reserve team level where Ian Ng and Dusan Macura shared the runner-up position. Paul Basto was voted the Players’ Player of the Year and the Top Goal Scorer award went to Sam Wheatley. The Under-18 prizes were presented to Ben Goebel (Fairest and Best, Players’ Player of the Year), Alex Bridges (joint Runner-up Fairest and Best, Top Goal Scorer) and Matt Bogoni (joint Runner-up Fairest and Best).
SHACKLETON HONOURED WITH KNIGHTS’ BEST
Midfielder Ryan Shackleton has entered Western Knights history by winning his clubs’ Fairest and Best player. Shackleton, who was also voted the Players’ player of the Year, says he is honoured to join the illustrious group of players to win the Knights top prize. “I was very surprised but also very honoured to win, especially when I saw my name alongside the others on the trophy,” said 21-year old Shackleton, who joins Trim Morgan, Paul McVittie, Carl Medica and David Annall as recipients of the Knights Fairest and Best. “It was nice to forget about the season we had for a little while, everyone at the club is still very disappointed that we were relegated from the Premier Division.”
Young striker Jesse Fuller went home with the Fairest and Best Runner-up trophy along with the Golden Boot, while Jackson Turner collected the Most Improved. The Reserves Fairest and Best was presented to Delan De Silva with Jacob Aquino in second spot. Nathan Cipriano took out the Most Improved with Farren Batchelor the Leading Goal Scorer for both the Reserves and under-18 teams. The other youth team trophies were won by Vinnie Wiktoria (Fairest and Best), Alex Gamble (Fairest and Best Runner-up) and Jonty Turner (Most Improved).
EVANS REFLECTS ON AN EVENTFUL AND PRODUCTIVE PRESIDENCY
Don Evans has mixed feelings about his decision to step down from the presidency at Stirling Lions. The Premier Division club has played a big role in Evans life but after 14-years as president, not to mention increasing work and family commitments, he says the time has come for a changing of the guard. “Melancholy and satisfied,” said Evans when asked his feelings on relinquishing the presidency. “I never thought I would ‘cut the chord’ because the role became such an important part of my life, and my family’s life. But I wanted to hand over the reins when I knew the club was on a safe passage.”
Knowing the club had the right people in the right positions to take them forward made Evans decision easier. “We have some very good people in the wings who have expressed interest to step into my shoes and I will give my total support to whoever takes the role,” he said. “The club is now financially secure with a good management team that has been by my side for most of my journey. I am a believer in succession planning and am sure there are others who will be motivated to take on the challenge and add their own special skills set to a club with massive growth potential.”
Six-times State Champions Stirling had just suffered relegation to the First Division when Evans was voted into office in 1999. “It was a great club in decay when I was offered the role,” he recalled. “I said I would not be anyone’s puppet and that I wanted to bring my own experiences, for better or worse, to do something that Macies had never done before - develop their own home grown talent. I had a five-year plan to get the club back into Premier Division football with youth development as a long-term focus.” Within three years Stirling achieved the first of those goals, returning to the top flight for season 2003.
Stirling claimed their first major piece of silverware on Evans’ watch by beating Swan IC in the 2006 State Cup Final. The following year saw the Charity Shield, courtesy of a pre-season win over Sorrento, and another State Cup, after seeing off Cockburn City, take up residence at Macedonia Park. The Charity Shield returned in 2008, albeit shared with Floreat Athena, who was defeated in the 2010 State Cup Final. “The three Cup victories and the Charity Shields gave our fans plenty to smile about,” commented Evans. “Unfortunately being runner-up to Sorrento in 2006 was the nearest we got to winning the League.”
Each of those trophy wins mean a lot to Evans but its establishing Stirling as one of the premier clubs for youth development that he rates as one of his proudest achievements. “The real measuring stick of success is the boys and girls who have come to our club and learnt their trade then made a career of football,” Evans commented. “Knowing kids like Dylan Tombides, Lilly Billson, Taylor Tombides, Eli Babalj, Steven Hesketh, Aleks Vrteski, Dean Evans and many more have come through our development process gives me great pride and satisfaction.”
The role he played in transforming a tired, ageing Macedonia Park into a quality, modern football complex is another source of pride for Evans. “The $1m grant we as a community secured from the Federal Government was an endorsement of the important role Macedonia Park has played on the local football scene,” Evans said. “My dream is to see the complex become a sporting hub for the City of Stirling, engaging a multi-sports facility with football the focal point. And I still think we are a good option for the Home of Football that Football West are looking for with so much space available to grow on.”
Evans’ influence has extended beyond Macedonia Park. “I was on the Soccer West Coast board and have good memories of the strong friendships built with Dennis McInerney, Peter Koulizos and John Quigley, who I invited onto the board to guide the code into a new direction,” he explained. “These were trying times as some in the game were reluctant to change and unite. But with the help of those mentioned we helped guide the sport into a new era under the Football West umbrella.” Evans would serve three years on each the Semi-Pro Standing Committee and P&D board with the new peak body.
Evans feels the game is in a better position with Football West than the previous administration. “Without a doubt, but we are only 10% into our journey of improvement,” he said. “We now have a united front with all sectors under the same umbrella, making it more attractive for government and corporate sponsors. Regional development and massive growth in the women’s football has helped put our code on front pages of papers and the TV media. The promotion of the game has improved as have the links into schools and holiday programs that help get more youngsters attracted to our game.”
Although great strides have been made, Evans does question the value of some of the decisions made by Football West. “We need to look at our shop front window and work out how serious we are about it,” said Evans. “Tinkering with teams who are representative sides, like the National Training Centre, and not real clubs needs to be re-thought as where this may best fit. And the ‘everyone’s an amateur unless contracted’ era has taken the power away from the clubs and players now ride shotgun over the clubs so the new salary cap will be a real litmus test of where our future lies.”
As far as Evans is concerned football should be the number one sport in Australia. “It should be an equal to Australian Rules Football as the sport of preference for girls and boys wanting to play a team game built on skill and passion,” said Evans, who feel the game is its own worst enemy. “Nepotism is still the games’ biggest hurdle at all levels. Once we have a clear and level playing field with the best football people selected for the important roles of administration that can deliver on their promises then we may finally see some real forward steps taken in the games progress.”
Evans won’t be president of Stirling this time next month but that’s not to say he’s walking away from the game. “I need to re-charge the batteries while devoting more time to work and family for a couple of years,” he explained. “My love for the game and the club I have led will not diminish with a role of Football Operations manager at the Den keeping me still in the game. I am keen to get involved at helping shape the progress of the code and will always be there to help promote and encourage our game … whatever role I play it will always be for ‘the good of the game’.”
DAVIES WINS WANNEROO’S TOP GONG
Goalkeeper Clint Davies swept the pool at Wanneroo City’s annual presentation ceremony by taking the top two awards. Davies admits he was surprised when his name was read out as winner of the Players’ Player of the Year and Coaches Player of the Year. “It’s a great honour to take home both awards,” Davies said. “Awards are not goals you set yourself at the start of the season, you just want to play your best and have a successful year. So it’s always nice to be recognised for your hard work and contribution. The Players’ Player is something I have always wanted to win as it is voted by your team mates.”
Davies is looking forward to helping Wanneroo improve on the fourth placing they gained this year. “We have built a great platform, on and off the pitch, to really push for top spot next season,” commented Davies. “Toughie (coach David Tough) has completely changed the way we play and with that brought a level of professionalism to training which all the players have reacted positively to. And with all the changes off the pitch – to the changing rooms, clubhouse, pitch, etc – there is a real buzz around the club and hopefully next season we can bring Wanneroo the success it deserves.”
Attacker Josh Booysen was voted Runner-up Players’ Player of the Year with Jamie Maxwell collecting the Young Player of the Year. The Reserve team Players’ Player of the Year was presented to David Whillians, defender Glen Moore took out the Coaches Player of the Year with the Most Improved trophy going home with Brandon Del Fabbro. Jack McLoughlin picked up the Players’ player of the Year at Youth level with Bradley Ryan the Coaches Player of the Year and Scott Johnston the Most Improved.
KELLY WARNS OF FAN LOCKOUT
Chief executive Paul Kelly is concerned some of Perth Glory’s loyal supporters will miss out on tickets when the team returns to Perth Oval on Sunday week. More than 14,000 fans watched Glory in the season opener against Brisbane Roar at Subiaco Oval on the weekend. Glory had been unable to Brisbane at their traditional East Perth home, which is being redeveloped, but will return to the ground next week when they take on Melbourne Heart.
Kelly said the big turnout and positive fan reviews to the Brisbane fixture suggested fans without memberships risked missing out on tickets for the Melbourne game. “The capacity is 9,500 but most of the seats are gone,” Kelly told Jonathon Cook of the ‘West Australian’ newspaper. “The message to fans is to take a membership to guarantee your entrance. If you walk up to the gate, there may not be a ticket available.”
Glory, who are seeking financial compensation from the State Government during the Perth Oval redevelopment, are considering moving more games this season to Subiaco. “We want everyone to go to the game and if we are locking people out that causes a concern for us,” Kelly said. “We’ve spoken to fan groups and the feedback has been exceptional. And speaking to the players, they thought the atmosphere was fantastic.”
UWA HONOURS SELLERS
Runaway Division Two champions UWA-Nedlands have recognised Tom Seller’s contributions by naming the defender their 2012 Fairest and Best award. Sellers, who quickly cemented his place in the UWA starting line-up upon arriving from English club Leek Town at the start of the year, is understandably delighted with his first taste of football down under. “It was really nice to receive the award after the whole team had such a great season,” Seller said. “It was brilliant to get recognition for being a part of the best defence in the league, and it really was the icing on the cake after what has been the most enjoyable season of my football career.”
Sellers says the foundations for UWA’s success were set early. “It started out in the Night Series where we gave a good account of ourselves and surprised a few of the top sides in the state,” the defender commented. “From then on we improved in every game and really played some fantastic football at times. Credit has to go to every player in the squad as everyone has done well and played their part to get us promoted. I’m really looking forward to testing ourselves in Division One next season and I don’t see any reason why we can’t push for promotion again.”
Striker James Plowman collected the remaining UWA awards, the Players’ Player of the Year and the Golden Boot. The Reserve team Fairest and Best was taken out by Tommy O’Connor with attacker Kyle King voted Players’ Player of the Year and recipient of the Golden Boot. David Roy collected the top prize in the Under-18’s where the other trophies went home with Jonas Dorling (Players’ Player of the Year) and Dan McCutchen (Golden Boot).
BURNS WARNS OF PHYSICAL MARINERS
Perth Glory must be prepared for the physical threat of Central Coast Mariners if they are to start the new season with back-to-back wins. That is the assessment of team captain Jacob Burns, who considers the Mariners as a “similar” team to Glory and expects Sunday’s meeting between the clubs to be a battle of attrition. “They’re a tough team,” Burns said. “I watched them play against West Sydney (last weekend) and they looked good … In a lot of ways they’re a very similar team (to us). They’re a very strong side, very well organised. We know we’re going to have to be at our best to get three points up there.”
Mariners coach Graham Arnold has several new faces in his squad, including former Glory attacker Mile Sterjovski, who is good friends with Burns. “I promised my missus and Mile’s wife that I wouldn’t kick him, so I’ll have to be on my best behaviour,” Burns said. “(He’s a) fantastic mate, a fantastic player and he did very well in the first game and I’m sure he’ll be looking to put in a good effort for his team up there. But I think they’ve got a good team all round so we’re not going to focus on one individual. It’ll be a bit strange playing against him, but I’m looking forward to the occasion.”
HARD WORK PAYS DIVIDENDS FOR STIRLING’S BROWN
Midfielder Andy Brown has marked his return to form by taking out Stirling Lions’ top individual award, the Fairest and Best. It was deserved recognition for Brown whose non-stop work ethic and on-field leadership were instrumental in Stirling’s season. “I’m obviously very happy to receive the award, it’s always a good feeling to be recognised for your efforts,” said Brown, a former Middlesbrough junior. “There were a couple of lads that had stellar seasons so for me to finish on top is very humbling.”
Winning the Fairest and Best is a just reward for a year of hard work by Brown. “For the past couple of seasons I wasn’t performing at my best due to injuries and external influences,” commented Brown, who captained the State team in 2008 and 2009. “This season I made a real conscious effort to get myself back on track. With my body in good shape and a good bunch of lads and management team around me I was able to get my form back and start enjoying football again.”
A memorable year for Dennis Galan earned the defender trophies as Runner-up Fairest and Best as well Players’ Player of The Year. Striker Anthony Lyons went home with the Coaches Award and the Golden Boot. The reserve team Fairest and Best was presented to Dylan Filacamo ahead of Tim Hill, Connor Campbell received the Coaches Award and Ben Meredith the Golden Boot. The Under-18 trophies were won by Robert Petkov (Fairest and Best), Ryan Dhue (Runner-up Fairest and Best), Jason Kessel (Coaches Award), Alex Miladinovic (Golden Boot) and Thomas Clark (George Mitsopoulis Most Outstanding Youth Player).
VIAGGIO TAKES OUT ARMADALE’S TOP PRIZE
American defender Nick Viaggio commemorated his first season in Australia by being voted the Players Player’ of the Year at Armadale. Viaggio, 23, arrived at Armadale in time for the regular season and quickly established himself as a regular fixture of the Reds backline. “It is a real honour to be voted Armadale’s best player of 2012,” said Viaggio, who played five seasons with Sienna College prior to this year. “I was a bit surprised that I won the award because Armadale had many quality players, but I’m happy I played to my potential and was recognized for my efforts on the pitch.”
Given the spluttering start to Armadale’s season, Viaggio was pleased with how things panned out for the eastern corridor club. “In pre-season everyone was tipping us for relegation. The start of the season wasn’t too promising either, losing the first couple games without being very competitive in those matches,” explained Viaggio, whose team finished three points clear of the drop zone. “Once we had our first win there was a collective belief that we belong in the Premier Division and could match anyone on our day, and I think that was evident throughout the remainder of the season.”
Another Reds defender, Mitch Castrilli, was awarded the Coaches Player of the Year with the Leading Goalscorer trophy going to Ravi Kuppusamy, who netted eight times over the course of the winter . The Reserve team Players’ Player of the Year went to Stephen Fox, Jackson Bealey won the Coaches Player of the Year and the Golden Boot award was presented to Lee Hayward. Alex Taylor picked up the Under-18’s Players’ Player of the Year, Tony Chandler collected the Coaches Player of the Year with the Golden Boot taken out by Mauro Rivas.
BIRIGHITTI RULED OUT OF SYDNEY GAME
Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti will miss this weekend’s A-League blockbuster with Sydney FC after being suspended for one match. Birighitti, 21, was shown a red card midway through the second half of Sunday’s game against his old club, Adelaide United, for using his hands outside the 18-yard box to block a shot by Dario Vidosic. The A-League’s match review panel confirmed today that Birighitti, who played juniors with Perth SC, won’t be available for the highly-anticipated clash against the Sky Blues.
GARCIA PRESSING FOR SOCCEROOS RECALL
Richard Garcia has gone his chances of a Socceroos recall the world of good with an eye-catching display in Melbourne Heart’s weekend defeat of Melbourne Victory. Having spent the past decade as an attacker, Garcia settled into his makeshift role as a defensive midfielder with aplomb as his team downed their crosstown rival 2-0 on Saturday evening. “It was good to get out of the blocks and have a defensive impact,” Garcia told the ‘Sun Herald’. “I’m growing with the role every day, it helps when the team’s wining and putting in good performances and we want to continue getting better.”
Garcia’s industrious performance was capped off with a neat assist for David Williams’ opener while producing two chances of his own - a 3rd minute strike over the bar and the 39th minute header from Aziz Behich’s cross. “My natural tendency is to go forward and I don’t want to take that out of my game, nor does the coaching staff,” he added. “I’m always hoping to be knocking on the door of the Socceroos. I’ve never let that dream and ambition die, it’s always in the back of my mind and if I’m playing well for the club it holds me in good stead for the national team.”
HOUSTON IS MORLEY’S NUMBER ONE
Morley Windmills striker David Houston is over the moon at picking up his clubs’ top award, the Fairest and Best. Houston, 26, says he was caught out when he was announced as winner at Morley’s annual trophy presentation ceremony. “I was a bit surprised as there were a few other standouts in the squad that could have taken the award,” Houston commented. “This is the first time that I’ve won an award like this at any level, from junior right up through seniors. I feel I played some of my best football this year so I’m wrapped to have won the Fairest and Best.”
Morley entered the year full of optimism but things didn’t quite go according to plan, as Houston explained. “At the start of the year I thought that we were in a strong position to push for a top four finish. But then we lost a coach and some players and had to rebuild from that,” he said. “We showed some glimpses of how well the squad could play (but) I don’t think anyone at the club is happy with what we achieved this year … probably the only positive to take out of it is that we’ll be in Division One next season.”
Defensive lynchpin and team captain Mark Grant was voted Runner-up Fairest and Best with defender Kris Dennis recipient of the Coaches Award. Paul Curran went home with the Reserve team Fairest and Best as well as the Coaches Award with Daniel Lombardi runner-up in the main category. The Under-18s trophies were taken out by Justin Pearce (Fairest and Best), Sam Burridge (Runner-up Fairest and Best), Sonny Devine (Coaches Award) and Nick Amouroso (Most Improved).
JOONDALUP REWARD ITALIANO’S ENDEAVOURS
Matt Italiano has added his name to the ECU Joondalup honour roll by winning their top prize. Italiano was awarded the Player of the Year trophy at Joondalup’s presentation ceremony on the weekend by edging out Shaun Timmins by just a handful of votes. “I was pleased, excited and surprised when my name got called out because I have never won a personal achievement playing at this level,” Italiano commented. “At the end of the day I could not have done it without my manager’s, and especially my team mates as they pushed me to do my best every game and expected a lot from me.”
Italiano believes the trials and tribulations Joondalup experienced in 2012 will serve them well next year. “We struggled in the first half of the season due to injuries, holidays and players trying out new positions which made it really difficult to keep a solid starting eleven,” he explained. “We were fantastic in the second half of the season, and there is no doubt in my mind that if we show that same level of belief, desire and commitment we will have a very accomplished season next year and push for finals.”
Striker David Foster commemorated his first season at the northern suburb’s club by taking home the Players’ Player of the Year and Top Goal Scorer trophies. Liam Chapman collected the Player of the Year award for the Reserve team, where Reid Aherns was voted Players’ Player of the Year and the Golden Boot won by Tom Sokol. Under-18’s honours went to Dejan Spaseski (Player of the Year), Jack Oldham (Players’ Player of the Year) and Joe Knowles (Top Goal Scorer).
GLORY OPEN WITH A WIN
Billy Mehmet ensured Perth Glory made the best possible start to the new season by netting late to earn a 1-0 win over Brisbane Roar this afternoon at Subiaco Oval. Left cooling his heels on the bench until the 85th minute, Mehmet wasted no time sending a message to coach Ian Ferguson with a thumping header four minutes after entering the action. “Today was all about three points and getting a good start in the league,” said Ferguson. “I think that's the second time in eight years that we've come away with a win first game, which is great.”
Clear cut goal scoring opportunities were at a premium throughout the game but that’s not to say there was a shortage of drama. Shane Smeltz had a strong penalty claim waved away in the 3rd minute after being hauled down by Matt Smith. Visiting goalkeeper Michael Theo was called into action soon after to fist away a Liam Miller free-kick which threatened to sneak into the top corner. An under-hit back pass let in Smeltz but, after rounded the advancing ‘keeper, he was foiled by Matt Jurman. Brisbane’s best chance came when Nick Fitzgerald burst inside the 18-yard box only for Danny Vukovic to spoil the youngster close-range shot with a spectacular reflex save.
Glory again went close to breaking through five minutes into the second half, Josh Risdon bending a teasing ball into the area which eluded the onrushing Smeltz by the smallest of margins. Half-chances came the way of Miller and Steven McGarry as the home side maintained their domination and restricted Brisbane to the occasional breakaway. Their best opening came with ten minutes left, Thomas Broich testing Vukovic’s reflexes with a crisp 22-metre free-kick. It was looking as through the afternoon would end goalless when the overlapping Scott Jamieson whipped in a superb cross for Mehmet, who rose well to power his header into the far corner of the net.
REDBACKS MAKE IT FIVE IN A ROW (with Andrew Ellis, Football West)
Northern Redbacks have lifted their fifth straight Women’s Cup after defeating arch-rivals Beckham Angels in a penalty shootout at Macedonia Park this afternoon. Renee Leotta had the Redbacks in front midway through the second half but that lasted just five minutes before Beckenham captain Danielle Jeans restored parity. With neither team able to find a second goal the game was sent to the penalty spot from where the Redbacks triumphed 3-1 with Nicola Williams, Nicola Diamond and Amy Knight converting.
Early shots from distance by Lindsey Jobling and Danielle Calautti made clear where Beckenham’s intentions lay. The Redbacks slowly got into rhythm and were unlucky not to have gone ahead through an Ash Bager header which was cleared off the line. Alesha Dyer found the side netting and a few minutes later tested goalkeeper Kristy Teschinsky from the top of the 18-yard box. Beckenham almost found a way through on the stroke of half-time when Jamie-Lee Gale’s shot was tipped wide by Steph Grant at full-stretch.
The deadlock was eventually broken in the 66th minute, Leotta picking up Carol Howes’ pass and blasting an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net. Beckenham hit back shortly after with Jeans’ cross deceiving the ‘keeper as it drifted inside the back post. Appeals for a Beckenham penalty were dismissed by referee Renee Silvester after Kirby Larsen tangled with Lynsey Valentine. The final chance of the afternoon was a Leotta volley that landed on the roof of the net after a clever first touch.
Northern Redbacks: Steph Grant, Ash Bager, Larissa Walsh, Nicola Williams, Lynsey Valentine, Carla Bennett, Alesha Dyer, Carol Howes, Jackie Nellany, Kirri Bolton, Katie Moth, Amy Knights, Rebecca Davies, Renee Leota, Lauren Riley, Leigh Kelly
Beckenham Angels: Kristy Teschinsky, Danielle Jeans, Kirby Larsen, Lindsay Jobling, Kayla Coppens, Annique Keisler, Jamie-Lee Gale, Nicola Diamond, Emma Walden, Kristen Kofler, Danielle Calautti, Antonia Jukic, Andrea Preiato, Katarina Jukic
Bookings: Keisler (72)
Referee: Renee Silvester
MATILDAS TRIO TO BOOST GLORY WOMEN
Perth Glory Women coach Jamie Harnwell is pleased to have three Matildas on board for the 2012/13 season. Midfielder Collette McCallum returns to the squad fresh from a season with English club Lincoln Ladies to join another familiar face in Kate Gill and newcomer Aivi Luik, formerly of Brisbane Roar. “These three players will have a huge influence on the team this season and really give us a solid core of players that our younger players can learn from,” said Harnwell.
McCallum, who was part of the inaugural Glory Women squad, had been handed the captain’s armband for the new season following Tanya Oxtoby’s decision to remain in England as coach of Nottingham Forrest. “Collette’s choice as captain was an easy one for me,” Harnwell added. “Already at training you can see the drive she has and the ability to improve players around her. Collette has the respect of the coaching staff and the players and is the ideal person to lead us this season.”
Glory Women’s defensive stocks have been bolstered by the recruitment of international Sasha Andrews (Canada), Carly Telford (England) and Liz Milne (New Zealand). “Sasha is an imposing centre-half with a great deal of experience, she will be a huge addition to our back line,” Harnwell commented. “Liz is looking to further her career in the W-League (and) I have had great reports about Carly too, she is a leader who is playing at the top level in Europe and we are extremely fortunate to have signed her.”
Harnwell has every confidence the new-look squad can push for a spot towards the top of the W-League table in his second season in charge. “We have managed to assemble a strong squad and credit must go to Football West for their backing of this team,” said Harnwell, who took Glory Women to sixth place last season. “The players are focused on having a good season and I believe a finals position should be within reach with the talent we have available.”
The 2012/13 Perth Glory Women squad is Sasha Andrews, Shawn Billam, Kirri Bolton, Elisa D’Ovidio, Sarah Carroll, Thia Eastman, Jaymee Gibbons, Kate Gill, Carys Hawkins, Aivi Luik, Collette McCallum, Ella Mastrantonio, Shannon May, Elizabeth Milne, Zoe Palandri, Bronwyn Studman, Rosie Sutton, Marianna Tabain and Carly Telford. Glory Women’s season kicks off with a home game against Melbourne Victory on 21st October at Intiga Stadium in Inglewood.
DOUBLE THE DELIGHT FOR SORRENTO
Sorrento have completed a historic League and Cup double by coming from behind to triumph 4-3 over Floreat Athena in this afternoon’s pulsating Grand Final at Frank Drago Reserve. Retiring great Johny Mirco opened the scoring for Sorrento from the penalty spot on half-time only to have Benny Kovaoio and Mark Pritchard turned the game in Floreat’s favour. A final minute equaliser by newly introduced substitute Jamie Harnwell sent the game to extra-time where Jason Mirco and Ryan Pearson put Sorrento’s hands on the trophy. Jack Allen grabbed Floreat’s third goal in the closing stages of the game.
Johny Mirco could not have wished for a better end to his career. “It was a really good game and to get on the score sheet and be part of the third goal it’s a great way to go out,” said the Sorrento striker. “We really like to do things the hard way but it was terrific, we’ve done the same for the last three weeks. To end my career like this - I’m really delighted.” Floreat captain Pritchard was awarded the Gary Marocchi Medal for his best on ground performance.
Floreat made clear their intentions from the get-go with Pritchard putting a rising 1st minute strike over the crossbar. Six minutes later Ludovic Boi flashed just over the top after brilliantly swivelling onto a David Heagney throw. With Pritchard and Jon Brooks bossing the midfield Floreat were well in the ascendancy. On the quarter hour Pritchard unleashed a fierce drive from 15-metres which Curtis Aspden was grateful to see go past the post. Sorrento eventually settled and should have taken a 22nd minute lead through an unmarked Brodie Martin, who skied from 8-metres after meeting a ball in from Jason Mirco.
Michael Aspin joined the attack six minutes later to deliver a low cross which passed through a crowded goalmouth, just out of reach of several team mates. Floreat sustained a body blow on 37 minutes when Boi, who came into the game with a hamstring injury, signalled to be replaced, coach Chris Barbas doing so by bringing on club stalwart Jarrad Smith. Half-time was a minute away the deadlock was broken by Johny Mirco, who got his angles right in beating Brad Eiffe from the penalty spot following a harsh handball decision against Bobby Wilson.
Smith was presented a chance to level three minute after the restart but Aspden battered away his attempt after Steve McDonald coughed up the ball to Heagney. Jack Allen got away down the right only to pull his shot across the face of goal as Floreat turned the heat up on their opponents. The goal they sought came via a swift counterattack on 58 minutes, Pritchard and Heagney combining to release Kovaoio who rounded Aspden before stroking a low shot inside the far post. The roles were reversed off soon after with Kovaoio teeing up Pritchard whose angled strike flashed across the face of goal.
Pritchard got the goal he was after on 76 minute by converting from the penalty spot after referee Josh Manella blew for McDonald’s trip on Heagney. Sorrento needed a quick reply and almost had one when James Morgan’s free-kick was flicked on by McDonald to Daryl Platten whose close-range effort brought a superb reflex save from Eiffe. Heagney and Brooks were both presented chances to secure the game but the former placed high and the latter wide. Jamie Harnwell needed just six minutes to make his mark, the Sorrento veteran rising high to nod Gavin Knight’s clipped cross into the top corner from 5-metres.
Sorrento came out swinging for extra-time. On 95 minutes John Mirco’s angled strike was parried by Eiffe, Knight crashed the rebound into the post and with the third opportunity Jason Mirco lashed into the net from 12-metres. Aspden denied Mikey Roberts an equaliser by tipping the striker’s fierce strike from just outside the 18-yard box. Sorrento strengthened their grip on the game in the 105th minute when Pearson played out wide to Knight who got deep down the right before delivering the ball back into the middle where Pearson made it four-two with a terrific diving header.
Knight looked to extend Floreat’s woes after the turnaround but Spencer Harris deflected his shot wide, and from the partially cleared corner Reece Vittiglia curled over. Aspden ensured his team’s two-goal buffer remained intact with a tidy save to Heagney’s low long-range shot, and a minute later he did even better in tipping over Roberts’ powerful strike. Time was running out for Floreat when Allen’s cross from the right drifted over Aspden and snuck inside the far top corner. There were no risks taken in the final couple of minutes by Sorrento, who did what was needed to secure their first ever double.
Floreat Athena: Brad Eiffe, Jack Allen, Bobby Wilson, Mark Walsh, Callum Fransz, Ludovic Boi (Jarrad Smith 36), Spencer Harris, Jon Brooks (Mikey Roberts 98), Mark Pritchard, Benny Kovaoio (Vince Sweeney 98), David Heagney
Sorrento: Curtis Aspden, Michael Aspin, Steve McDonald, Daryl Platten, Ryan Pearson, Jason Mirco, James Morgan, Brodie Martin (Gavin Knight 56), Reece Vittiglia, Johny Mirco (Danny Cain 111), Todd Harnwell (Jamie Harnwell 86)
Bookings: Todd Harnwell (12), Harris (65), Pritchard (67)
Dismissals: Sweeney (122)
Referee: Josh Manella
PERTH TRIUMPH IN RESERVES GRAND FINAL (with James Mooney, Football West)
Perth SC claimed the Reserves Top Five title by defeating Stirling Lions 2-0 on a warm afternoon at Frank Drago Reserve. Chris Rizidis out the team in blue ahead midway through the first half but it wasn’t until close to the end that the outcome was assured by Jarrod Belford. “It was a fitting way to finish the season after an undefeated league season,” said winning coach Taki Nicolaidis. “Our ability to defensively work in groups and apply pressure all over the ground was the key. Our passing game was very good along with the movement and options going forward contributed to our two goals.”
Perth were firing on all cylinders from the start but despite dominating possession found it difficult to break down a resilient Stirling defence. Emmanuel Mansaray was a constant threat in the final third where goalkeeper Connor Campbell made several important saves to keep the sides level. The goal Perth sought arrived after 20 minutes when Chris Saldaris’ chipped ball into the 18-yard box was guided into the bottom corner by Chris Rizidis. As half-time approached Stirling came more into the contest, however, they too were met by a stubborn defensive line.
The second half had Stirling step up their quest for a goal but wayward finishing meant Perth custodian goalkeeper Luke Martino remained untroubled. Tim Hill was presented a golden opportunity to equalise but his close-range shot was deflected over by a desperate defence. Robert Clarke also threatened to breakthrough but Martino was out quickly to clear a through ball. The game was put out of Stirling’s reach in the 87th minute, Chris Rizidis laying the ball off for substitute Belford to strike low into the bottom corner.
Perth SC: Luke Martino, Michael Rizidis, (Jordan Candlish 77), James Marocchi, Ogi Lalovic, Chris Saldaris, (Jarrod Belford 71), Stefan Drca (Sebit Oyet 54), Francis Furfaro, Matthew Izzo, Tim Robertson, Chris Rizidis, Emmanuel Mansaray
Stirling Lions: Connor Campbell, David Hunt, Ed Pop (Tom Clarke 70) Daragh Kavanagh (Daniel Stoitis 83), Mitch Croker (Robert Clarke 70), Geordie Papathanassiou, Tim Hill, Boas Mtwale, Ben Meredith, Dylan Filocamo, Dave Fillipou
Bookings: Filocamo (12), Saldaris (60), Hill (64)
Referee: Steven Knight
SUPER SUB DOROPOULOS GRABS PERTH YOUTH VICTORY (with Andrew Ellis, Football West)
Jordan Doropoulos came off the bench to score a late winner as Perth SC downed ECU Joondalup 3-2 in a dramatic Youth Grand Final at Frank Drago Reserve. Perth raced to a two-goal lead with Joel Bayubahe and Gab Kieswetter netting inside 25 minutes. Damo Simic halved the difference from the penalty spot before the break with Mitchell McClymes bringing the sides’ level midway through the second half. It looked as through the game would be settled from the spot when Doropoulos netted in the final minute of regulation time.
Chances came and went at both ends of the park in a thrilling start to the game. Perth went ahead on 9 minutes, albeit with a large slice of luck when Harley Orr’s shot deflected off team mate Bayubahe and wrong-footed goalkeeper Pasquale Gioffre. One became two in the 22nd minute, Kieswetter volleying in at the back post after Bayubahe flicked on a corner by Conner Thurston. Joondalup found a way back in and seven minutes later with Simic blasting into the top corner from the spot following a handball decision against Marco Santalucia.
Joondalup were a team under pressure leading into the break as Perth carved out a trio of chances. The first of these was a curling effort by Nathan De Abreu from the corner of the 18-yard box. Declan Hargreaves also got within sight of goal but his well-struck shot swung away from the target at the last moment. And some clever interplay right on the stroke of half-time between Orr and Kieswetter presented an opening for Bayubahe, who was left frustrated after Gioffre rame off his line quickly to save at his feet.
Joondalup were put back on level terms by McClymes, who side-footed in a Joe Knowles cross in the 62nd minute. Perth were not happy with this and hit back with vengeance. Orr brought a brilliant save from Gioffre, while Kieswetter headed just wide and De Abreu shot into the side netting. With it looking as though penalties would be required Conner McKay’s centring pass found Doropoulos who stroked neatly through a sea of bodies and inside the far post with 90 minutes on the clock.
ECU Joondalup: Pasquale Gioffre, Jack Oldham, David Stokoe, Scott Robertson, Kye Douglas (Locky Beckfold 56), Jack Cairns (Coire McGuigan 56), Harry Hawkins, Damo Simic, Gavin Gillies (Joe Knowles 46), Joel Gillespie, Mitchel McClymes
Perth SC: Hudson Herron, Marco Santalucia, Nathan De Abreu (Ahmed Naser 87), Daniel Tate, Declan Hargreaves, Thomas Southgate, Harley Orr, Gab Kieswetter (Conner McKay 66), Alex Verth, Joel Bayubahe (Jordan Doropoulos 85), Conner Thurston
Bookings: Knowles (45), Hawkins (58), Oldham (60)
Referee: Tom Glavovic
GLORY FOCUSED ON THE JOB AT HAND
Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson and his captain Jacob Burns will be looking ahead rather than dwelling upon the events of the past when their new season kicks off on Sunday afternoon. Brisbane Roar controversially won last seasons’ A-League Grand Final against Glory through a hotly disputed late penalty scored by Besart Berisha. And while that incident has dominated pre-game talk, Ferguson says Glory have moved on and are ready for the challenges which lie ahead. “We’ve got a job to do on Sunday and that is to get the three points,” said Ferguson. “We’ve just got to stay focused and make sure we’re ready for this challenge.”
Burns, who claimed the Joe Marston Medal for his best on ground display in the Grand Final, echoed his boss’s sentiments. “I don’t think you ever completely forget something like that and we are using it as motivation, but the past is the past,” said Burns. “Now we’ve got a wonderful opportunity this season to go one better and that’s our focus. We’ve got to keep our heads and stick to our game plan. It’s only one game at the start of the season, but we want to start on the right foot, put on a good display for a big crowd and get the three points to get our season on the roll straight away.”
Glory’s pre-season form has given Ferguson plenty to think about as he toys with which eleven players will talk out onto Subiaco Oval on Sunday. “It’s been very difficult to pick a starting side”, Ferguson admitted. “I had a chat with the players yesterday and I told them that everyone has done a fantastic job over the pre-season and they’ve given me one hell of a headache … but what a headache to have. I’m going to have to leave some great players out of the starting side and have some of them sitting on the bench and others sitting in the stands.”
Burns believes greater competition for spots in the line-up will be the catalyst for another successful summer. “There’s a tremendous confidence in our group”, he said. “You want to win things as a footballer and we’ve set the benchmark for ourselves. There’s a huge target on our backs now and great expectations from our own fans but that’s something we’re going to have to live. We know what qualities we have and what we have to do to get results and I’ll be pushing as hard as I can to make sure that we lift that trophy at the end of the season.”
GLORY FOCUSED ON THE JOB AT HAND
Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson and his captain Jacob Burns will be looking ahead rather than dwelling upon the events of the past when their new season kicks off on Sunday afternoon. Brisbane Roar controversially won last seasons’ A-League Grand Final against Glory through a hotly disputed late penalty scored by Besart Berisha. And while that incident has dominated pre-game talk, Ferguson says Glory have moved on and are ready for the challenges which lie ahead. “We’ve got a job to do on Sunday and that is to get the three points,” said Ferguson. “We’ve just got to stay focused and make sure we’re ready for this challenge.”
Burns, who claimed the Joe Marston Medal for his best on ground display in the Grand Final, echoed his boss’s sentiments. “I don’t think you ever completely forget something like that and we are using it as motivation, but the past is the past,” said Burns. “Now we’ve got a wonderful opportunity this season to go one better and that’s our focus. We’ve got to keep our heads and stick to our game plan. It’s only one game at the start of the season, but we want to start on the right foot, put on a good display for a big crowd and get the three points to get our season on the roll straight away.”
Glory’s pre-season form has given Ferguson plenty to think about as he toys with which eleven players will talk out onto Subiaco Oval on Sunday. “It’s been very difficult to pick a starting side”, Ferguson admitted. “I had a chat with the players yesterday and I told them that everyone has done a fantastic job over the pre-season and they’ve given me one hell of a headache … but what a headache to have. I’m going to have to leave some great players out of the starting side and have some of them sitting on the bench and others sitting in the stands.”
Burns believes greater competition for spots in the line-up will be the catalyst for another successful summer. “There’s a tremendous confidence in our group”, he said. “You want to win things as a footballer and we’ve set the benchmark for ourselves. There’s a huge target on our backs now and great expectations from our own fans but that’s something we’re going to have to live. We know what qualities we have and what we have to do to get results and I’ll be pushing as hard as I can to make sure that we lift that trophy at the end of the season.”
GRAND FINAL PREVIEW: FLOREAT ATHENA V SORRENTO
The 2012 season comes to a close on Saturday afternoon when Floreat Athena and Sorrento go head-to-head in the State League Grand Final at Frank Drago Reserve (2.30pm). Chris Barbas’ overhaul of the Floreat squad was rewarded with second spot in the regular season and the coach now stands just 90 minutes from guiding his club to their first State Championship since 2007. But to do that they’ll need to get the better of a Sorrento side which already has the State Cup in their possession and is haunted by a disastrous Grand Final appearance 12 months ago.
Underpinning the Floreat line-up is a defensive formation which has Bobby Wilson, Spencer Harris and goalkeeper Brad Eiffe at its heart. Captain Mark Pritchard leads by example in the middle of the park alongside Ludovic Boi, while Jon Brooks and Benny Kovaoio will provide plenty of ammunition for leading goal scorer David Heagney. “We have shown great fighting spirit, confidence, passion and had a little luck this season. Let’s hope these attributes hang around for one more game,” commented Barbas. “It’s going to be a great game but it’ll be tough as they’ve had the wood on us this year.”
Barbas recognises his team needs to be on top of their game if they’re to finish as State Champions. “Sorrento have many match winners. They have a very strong spine and then add Jason Mirco and Johny Mirco on the flanks, that’s a great set-up to have. And if that’s not firing then there’s experience off the bench,” said Barbas, who regains the services of defensive partners Harris and Walsh as well as influential midfielder Boi. “Sorrento have strength all over the park we will have to be at our best to get the result.”
The thought of a League and Cup double is all the motivation Sorrento need according to coach Paul Price. “The players could not have a better incentive than to complete the double as it does not happen that often,” said Price, who collected an English FA Cup winners medal with Tottenham Hotspur in 1982. Curtis Aspden has been in terrific form between the posts with Daryl Platten and Steven McDonald the axis of an imposing defensive line. Reece Vittiglia, Jason Mirco and Johny Mirco provide the drive across midfield with Todd Harnwell and Gavin Knight the target men in attack.
Price is feeling confident heading into the weekend. “If we can play as we have in the last two games against Perth SC and Bayswater City then we will have a good chance of lifting the trophy,” said the Sorrento coach, who welcomes James Morgan back from suspension but has minor injury concerns over captain Todd Harnwell and Brodie Martin. “Floreat have some pacey players upfront and Mark Pritchard pulls the strings in midfield, so we are aware of the challenge which lays ahead. Win or lose, we have had a great year and our players can be proud of themselves.”
RESERVES GRAND FINAL PREVIEW: PERTH SC V STIRLING LIONS
Perth SC will attempt to add the play-off trophy to their regular season title when they face Stirling Lions in the Reserves Grand Final on Saturday. The Blues went the home and away series without loss but, after downing Stirling on penalties a few weeks ago, coach Taki Nicolaidis recognises that his players will have a fight on their hands this weekend. “We have played Stirling three times this year and each of those games have been very close,” he said. “Whilst we have been able to come from behind to win a few times this season we may not be as lucky in a final, as we found out against Cockburn City in the Cup Final. We will need to make sure that we don’t make silly errors, concentrate for 90 minutes and that we put our chances away.”
Stirling coach Rob Milevski says his players learnt a lot from their last encounter with Perth, when they left slip a two-goal lead. “It was tough to lose to Perth after being 2-0 up, we conceded a couple of late goals and then went down in a shoot-out which isn’t a good way to lose a game,” he commented. “We have a young squad and half the boys can still play in the under-18s, which is great for the clubs’ future. We’ve added a few experienced players and they’ve given us a good balance. We’re playing well at the right end of the season and we hope we can finish off with a win.” Perth and Stirling square off in the Reserves Grand Final from 12.15pm on Saturday at Frank Drago Reserve.
YOUTH GRAND FINAL PREVIEW: ECU JOONDALUP V PERTH SC
The Youth Grand Final brings together the regular seasons’ top two performers, ECU Joondalup and Perth SC, in a winner-take-all blockbuster. Joondalup finished top of the table by two points over Perth, who turned the tables with a 6-1 major Semi-Final win a fortnight ago. “The semi-final loss to Perth was tough but they are a very good side,” said Joondalup coach Mark Windeat, whose team rebounded with a 2-0 defeat of Stirling Lions last weekend. “We were the best two teams in the league and both deserve to play out for the Championship. It should be a great game and we hope we can add the top five to the league winner’s trophy to help celebrate our clubs' 20th anniversary.”
Gavin Tait expects little to separate the Grand Finalists at the end of 90 minutes. “Both teams have shown remarkable resilience throughout the season and they will both be ready to give their all,” said the Perth coach. “We’re looking forward to Grand Final. It’s great Football West has introduced a top five competition for the 18s and Reserves, it was something that was missing from these age groups and is a welcome addition. Our players have been in good spirits all week since getting to the final and I want them to prepare well and enjoy the day.” Joondalup and Perth pit skills in the Youth Grand Final from 10.00am on Saturday at Frank Drago Reserve.
REVITALISED FLOREAT WILL BE CHAMPIONS: EIFFE
Goalkeeper Brad Eiffe has no doubt Floreat Athena have what it takes to be crowned State Champions. Floreat takes on Sorrento in the Saturday’s Grand Final where victory would be the icing on the cake of a remarkable season for the inner city club. “Although this year was all about rebuilding, we set out to make the finals and achieved that – now we want to become State Champions,” stated Eiffe. “It’s going to be a huge test against a quality Sorrento side but have the ability and a never-say-die attitude that will see us lift the trophy.”
Up until this year Eiffe played much of his career in the second tier, so it’s hardly surprising he’s excited to feature in the Grand Final at the end of his top flight debut. “I’m really happy with how the season has gone and are looking forward to the Grand Final,” he said. “I joined Floreat knowing they have been one of the most successful clubs in Western Australia. So I was hoping to be part of a winning team at Floreat at some point, but for it to be my first season is a great feeling.”
Having already faced Sorrento three times this year Eiffe is well aware of where their strengths lie. “They are a strong physical team that have the ability to play some attractive football,” said the Floreat custodian. “Todd Harnwell is always a threat in front of goal and the tall timber of Jamie Harnwell and Steve McDonald are a major cause for concern at set-pieces. But if we are to be successful on Saturday then we are going to have to cut the supply lines from across the middle of the park.”
Sorrento claimed victory in the two regular season outings with Floreat, however, the tables were turned when the teams met in the opening round of the play-offs three weeks ago. “We stuck to our game plan, took our chances and played some great football,” said Eiffe of the 3-1 Qualifying Final win which came courtesy of goals by Ludovic Boi, Benny Kovavio and Mark Pritchard. “We will take confidence from that result into the Grand Final, and if we play the way we know we can then we will come out on top.”
‘WHITE ELEPHANT’ WILL SPUR SORRENTO TO GLORY: MCDONALD
Lifting the State Champions trophy will help erase the bitter memory of last year’s Grand Final loss for Sorrento defender Steve McDonald. The Gulls face Floreat Athena in the 2012 season finale on Saturday afternoon when the events of 12 months ago – a 7-0 humbling at the hands of Perth SC – provides added incentive to win this time around. “Most of the boys played in last year’s Grand Final, but not a lot has been mentioned about that game,” McDonald commented. “I’m sure it’s in the back of everyone’s mind and we all want to win on Saturday to right what happened last year.”
Sorrento qualified for the season finale with last weekend’s 2-1 come-from-behind win over Bayswater City. “The feeling in the change rooms after the game was fantastic,” recalled McDonald, who played his part by keeping close tabs on Bayswater danger man Gustavo Giron-Marulanda. “To beat a team like Bayswater on their own patch was brilliant. They are a great team with some really good players who play a very attractive style of football. The manner in which we won was very satisfying, we played some very good football against a quality opposition.”
The Grand Finalists met only a few weeks ago with Floreat triumphing 3-1. “Floreat were the better team that day and deserved to win. We weren’t happy with our performance that day and will use that as a springboard to perform better on Saturday,” explained McDonald. “Floreat are a very good team and play very well as a unit, their link-up play is exceptional. They also have players all over the park that on their day can win the game, so we will have to be on our toes to close them down and get on top.”
Suggestions Floreat will benefit from having last weekend off are quickly dismissed by McDonald. “Some might say Floreat will have fresh legs and be all the better for the weeks rest. But we are coming off two great victories over two of the best teams in the league (Bayswater and Perth) and we will carry that momentum into the Grand Final,” the defender said. “We have some very good footballers and nothing beats a good team spirit, which is something this team has in abundance and that is what will get us over the line on Saturday.”
WHO WILL BE 2012 STATE CHAMPIONS?, PART ONE
This State League season formally comes to a close with Saturday’s Grand Final between Floreat Athena and back-to-back State Cup winners Sorrento. It seems that every man and his dog has an opinion as to how the game will pan out, so during the week footballwa.net caught up with some of the Premier Division’s star attractions along with several media personalities to get their thoughts on what the finalists strengths are and to predict where the trophy will end up...
Bunbury Forum Force player-coach Matthew Lock faced both Floreat and Sorrento in the final weeks of the regular season. “I’ll go for the Gulls as they seem to have gained a habit of winning big matches,” said Lock, who experienced the glamour of England’s FA Cup through spells with Exeter City and Chelmsford City. “I’m aware of Floreat’s ability and I expect it’s going to be a very tight affair … Sorrento to win 2-1 in extra-time.”
Inglewood United midfielder Alex Caniglia expects the trophy to be draped in Floreat colours come the end of 90 minutes. “Judging from the games we have played this year against both Sorrento and Floreat, I believe that Floreat will win the Grand Final,” Caniglia commented. “Floreat’s ability to keep the ball in midfield and penetrate through the defences of opposing teams will give them the edge. I’m tipping the game will end 2-1to Floreat.”
Big game experience will get Sorrento over the line according to Saul Contera, assistant coach at Balcatta. “Sorrento have probably the oldest squad in the league and experience is a major factor in big games,” Contera stated. “Johny Mirco retiring gives him and the team extra motivation, in fact I would not be surprised if Johny plays a big part as this is his last chance for silverware. I predict 2-1 score line to Sorrento.”
Ashley Morrison, host of the ‘Not The Footy Show’, believes little will separate the finalists. “Sorrento have done incredibly well this year but Floreat will be up for this game, and their victory over Bayswater City will have given them confidence going into the final,” said Morrison. “Sorrento had a tough game to get here so I believe it could be a battle of the 'keepers and a low scoring game … I will go Floreat 2-1.”
For ECU Joondalup attacker Tommy Jones it’s Sorrento’s trophy. “It will be a tight game as both sides have strong teams, but I’m going for Sorrento to nick it in extra-time,” Jones commented. “Sorrento play decent football and have some very good attackers in their team, but they also can put the big lads up front if things aren’t going well for them. And they’ve also got Curtis Apsden, who is the best goalkeeper in the league in my opinion.”
Englishman Wilf Dinsdale, who turned out for Armadale during the winter, is another going for the Gulls. “Sorrento will win. They have a lot of strong players in their side, especially in the midfield, and from what I have seen they are good going forward,” said Dinsdale, a former Scarborough Athletic player. “Floreat will have to be on top of their game to stand a chance … it will be a tough game but the score will be 3-1 to Sorrento.”
DERBY DEBUT FOR GARCIA
Richard Garcia’s 15-year stint in England provided the attacker plenty of exposure to derby football, most notably when West Ham United faced its London rival Millwall. The attacking midfielder will kick-off his time in the A-League this Friday with a derby outing for Melbourne Heart against crosstown neighbour Melbourne Victory. “West Ham-Millwall was always a big one, but by the looks of this derby, it looks like it would match that, if not top it,” Garcia told theage.com.au. “It should be a memorable night, hopefully.”
Garcia, 31, enjoyed a successful 270-game career in England with West Ham, Leyton Orient, Colchester United and Hull City before calling time and heading back to Australia a few months ago. “It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do, and the time was right,” said Garcia, who joins Melbourne on an initial one-year deal. “I wanted to come back at a good age where I still had a lot to offer. I didn’t want to come back at 36 and not be able to offer as much as I could at 30.”
With Melbourne at its most dangerous when captain Fred is running the midfield, and at its most vulnerable when he is not, Garcia is hoping to allow his club to become less reliant on the Brazilian. “We’ve brought in quite a few new players with a bit of experience. Hopefully, I can help out,” said Garcia, one of nine newcomers in the Melbourne squad. “Along with all the other players, we can all do a role in making sure that there’s four or five avenues of attack.”
STANGE AND DESPOTOVSKI REUNITE
Two of the most illustrious names in Perth Glory history have been reunited in the countdown to the A-League season opener against Brisbane Roar. Former coach Bernd Stange and star striker Bobby Despotovski fronted the media to discuss the Legends game which will act as a curtain-raiser to the main event. Kicking off at 12.45pm, Stange will lead a team of Glory legends including Despotovski, Jamie Harnwell, Scott Miller, Shaun Murphy and Gareth Naven against a similarly star-studded ex-WA State and International outfit coached by Gary Marocchi and featuring the likes of Alan MacKenzie, Paul Strudwick, Dale Wingell and Marc Wingell.
Despotovski is looking forward to renewing acquaintances with Glory’s finest and paid a special tribute to Stange, who famously led the club to their inaugural National Socceroo League Grand Final in 1999/2000. “Seeing Bernd again has brought all the old memories back”, said Despotovski. “I’m really looking forward to being coached again by the great man. When Bernd was coaching Glory he touched so many people and actually saved so many careers as well, mine included. I think he took the game here to the next level with everything he did at Perth Glory. The whole package of Bernd was great for Glory and great for the people of Perth.”
While delighted to be back Perth, Stange admits he is still haunted by Wollongong Wolves’ second half revival in the 1999/2000 season finale. “It’s an emotional return for me to Perth Glory …I still have so many friends here,” said Stange, who was in charge of Glory between 1998 and 2001. “The greatest memory of my time here is of course the Grand Final which we lost against Wollongong. We were 3-0 up at half-time and I thought it was impossible for us to lose the game from that position. But as we’ve seen more recently with Milan and Liverpool, that’s just football, that’s part of the game.”
FIVE WEST AUSSIES CALLED UP FOR YOUNG SOCCEROOS
Coach Paul Okon has named a strong for the young Socceroos upcoming friendly series against Portugal’s under-20 national team. West Australia is well represented in the 23-player squad with Ryan Edwards (Reading), Tom King (Bristol City), Ryan Williams (Fulham), Mitchell Oxborrow and Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets) all gaining selection. The two games against Portugal, on 11th and 14th October in Lisbon, will continue the Young Socceroos preparations for the AFC Under-19 Championship being hosted by the United Arab Emirates in November.
The Young Socceroos squad to play Portugal this month consists of Paul Izzo (Adelaide United), Luke O’Dea (Bentleigh Greens), Jamie MacLaren (Blackburn Rovers), Mustafa Amini (Borussia Dortmund), Corey Brown, Jason Geria (Brisbane Roar), Tom King (Bristol City), Jackson Irvine (Celtic), Hayden Morton (Central Coast Mariners), Alex Baird (Dundee), Corey Gameiro (Eindhoven), Ryan Williams (Fulham), Ben Garuccio (Melbourne Heart), Joshua Brillante, Connor Chapman, Mitch Oxborrow, Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets), Liam Jacob (Oldham Athletic), Ryan Edwards (Reading), Terry Antonis, Daniel Petkovski (Sydney FC), Travis Cooper (Venlo) and Reece Caira (Western Sydney Wanderers).
A-LEAGUE SEASON EIGHT WILL BE “THE CLOSEST EVER”: MCGARRY
Scotsman Steven McGarry expects this seasons’ battle for A-League supremacy to be the toughest in the competition’s eight-year history. The Perth Glory midfielder believes Melbourne Victory’s appointment of coach Ange Postecoglou and the arrival of stars imports Alessandro Del Piero (Sydney FC) and Emile Heskey (Newcastle Jets) will intensify the fight for honours. “It’s always close but I think this season will be the closest ever,” McGarry told Jonathan Cook of the ‘West Australian’ newspaper. “Melbourne Victory will be strong with Ange there. Sydney have made some great signings. Newcastle Jets I fancy to do well. Central Coast (Mariners) and Brisbane (Roar) are always there, and Adelaide (United) have looked good in the Asian Champions League … every team will be very hard to beat this season.”
Last season McGarry, 33, vied with Billy Mehmet and Shane Smeltz for places in the starting eleven. Competition for those spots will increase in 2012/13 following the recruitment of Japanese import Ryo Nagai and coach Ian Ferguson’s desire to make more use of Australian youth international Jesse Makarounas. McGarry is determined to prove his value to ensure his Glory days extend beyond the coming summer. “People talk about taking it one game at a time but I’ve got to look at the big picture as well, especially now that I’ve got a family and at my age,” said McGarry, whose wife Kathryn is expecting their second child in December. “I’ll be going out to prove I’m still fit enough, able enough and good enough to play every week.”
After a lengthy pre-season, which took in trips to South Africa and Melbourne, McGarry is itching for the real action to start. That happens on Sunday when Brisbane, who beat Glory in last seasons’ Grand Final, head west for a blockbuster at encounter Subiaco Oval. “Everybody’s looking forward to this game and the club have done everything they can to build it up,” the midfielder said. “Brisbane are going to be a very good side because they’ve got the majority of the players from last season and are probably playing a similar system. It’s going to be a massive game, a hard game but hopefully we can start our season with a bang and get everybody behind us.”
WHO WILL BE 2012 STATE CHAMPIONS?, PART TWO
This State League season formally comes to a close with Saturday’s Grand Final between Floreat Athena and back-to-back State Cup winners Sorrento. It seems that every man and his dog has an opinion as to how the game will pan out, so during the week footballwa.net caught up with some of the Premier Division’s star attractions along with several media personalities to get their thoughts on what the finalists strengths are and to predict where the trophy will end up...
Floreat got the nod from Perth SC midfielder Robert Sciascia. “Before the finals started I told some of the boys at the club I saw Floreat as the dark horse, it’s just a feeling I’ve had for a while now,” explained Sciascia. “I think they were underestimated at the beginning of the season but when they played us at Dorrien Gardens I saw a hunger and passion which is the perfect recipe for Grand Final success … 4-1 in Floreat’s favour.”
Eamon Duffy, host of ‘Let’s Talk Football’, believes Sorrento will come out on top. “Sorrento will win the game 3-1, they are more battle-hardened and I think Floreat might be a bit stale after the week lay-off,” Duffy said. “Sorrento will want to reverse last season’s Grand Final score, they have greater depth than Floreat and the return of James Morgan will give them the edge on the day.”
Western Knights striker Rory Grant, who bagged the deciding goal in the 2008 State Cup Final against Sorrento, found it difficult to separate this years’ Grand Finalists. “They are two teams that play contrasting styles of football and both have hit good form at the right time of the season,” said Grant. “For me it’s too close to call and I believe it will go to extra-time or maybe even penalties.”
It’s Sorrento that gets the thumbs up from Football West media man Chris Correia. “Sorrento will win the game as they have the amazing ability to grind out results and will be hungry to put last year’s Grand Final embarrassment behind them,” Correia commented. “They were missing a number of key players when they lost to Floreat in the Qualifying Final, but having them back will give them the edge 3-2.”
Stirling Lions captain Andy Brown tips Floreat. “Everything points towards a Sorrento victory as they have had the wood on Floreat this season,” explained Brown. “That said, Floreat have the players and are showing good form at the right time, and the fact that they have been dominated by Sorrento during the regular season may well lead to a team playing to prove a point … Floreat to turn the tables with a 3-1 win.”
Sorrento will lift the trophy according to Armadale defender Mitch Castrilli. “I have watched both teams over the last few weeks and Floreat are a team that is very good when attacking but do have some weak points,” Castrilli said. “I watched Sorrento last week against Bayswater City and they defended well against a good side, and if do the same this Saturday they will run out winners 2-1.”
SOCCEROOS NAMED FOR MUST-WIN GAME
Australia coach Holger Osieck has named his 22-player squad for this month’s make-or-break World Cup qualifier against Iraq. The Socceroos hopes of reaching a third straight World Cup finals hang in the balance with anything less than three points against Iraq likely to plunge their campaign into crisis. “We know we are in a very special situation right now,” commented Osieck, whose squad includes named West Australians Brad Jones and Nikita Rukavytsya. “This has become a crucial game but I’m very confident with the players available we can do it and get the points that we need.”
The Australia squad to play Iraq on 16 October is Alex Brosque (Al Ain), Matthew Spiranovic (Al Arabi), Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa), Lucas Neill (Al Wasl), Brett Holman (Aston Villa), James Holland (Austria Wein), Mitchell Langerak (Borussia 09 Dortmund), Matthew McKay (Busan I’Park), Jade North (Consadole Sapporo), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow), Robbie Kruse (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Mark Schwarzer (Fulham), Ryan McGowan (Hearts), Brad Jones (Liverpool), Nikita Rukavytsya (Mainz 05), Mark Milligan, Archie Thompson (Melbourne Victory), Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Carl Valeri (Sassuolo Calcio), Tommy Oar and Adam Sarota (FC Utrecht).
FRUSTRATED VRTESKI PLAYS THE WAITING GAME
Aleks Vrteski’s career is on hold as Indonesian authorities try to settle on a start date for the new domestic competition. When Vrteski signed for Persija Jakarta, one of Indonesia’s biggest clubs, last November he had no idea of the turmoil which was about to swamp the nation’s football leagues. A merger of the FIFA-endorsed Indonesian Premier League and rebel Indonesia Super League has produced lot of discussion but little else in the past few months, and there seems to be no sign of a resolution being reached ahead of the proposed new top-flight season start date in December.
Vrteski admits he is frustrated with the uncertainty of the situation which has led some players to continue their careers elsewhere. ”There have been rumours that the leagues will start in November, but negotiations are still taking place and they think the league will start in January,” Vrteski told Goal.com. “It is a little bit frustrating, you are training to try and keep yourself fit, but you don’t know what is going on. I’ve had a couple of offers from other clubs in Indonesia but they are in similar situations so it’s difficult to decide what to do.”
The former Perth Glory custodian has received interest from clubs in Thailand and Singapore, but his preference is to see out his two-year contract with Persija. “At the end of the day it makes you feel like a real footballer, playing in front of 30 or 40,000 people,” said 24-year old Vrteski, who moved to Indonesia in 2011 to play for Solo FC. “I’m enjoying the lifestyle, the people and the culture in. Regardless of what city you go to you get welcomed warmly. It’s just the uncertainty at the moment that is frustrating.”
Quizzed on a potential return to the A-League, Vrteski revealed he had received an offer from an A-League club at the end of 2011/12. “If the opportunity was right, I would love to come back to Australia and fight for the number one jersey,” said Vrteski, whose only currently outlet is training with his team mates. Persija have a number of friendlies line-up for next month, but with the club and league officials at loggerheads Vrteski remains acutely aware that his next competitive outing could still be some way off.
PRO FOOTBALL TRAINING PROVIDES YOUNGSTERS EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME
Some of Western Australia’s most gifted young footballers have embarked on the trip of a lifetime with the Pro Football Training team. Coaching directors Mark Lee and Barry Wood are overseeing a two-week tour of England and Scotland for 32 teenage players, who’ll glimpse what life is all about for a professional player. “Pro Football Training aims to make this trip a truly remarkable and memorable experience,” commented Lee. “The main objective for the trip is to have all players participate to the best of their ability and to play with freedom, imagination and no fear of failure.”
A fortnight of non-stop football is promised to all in the travelling party, which departed Perth on Friday. “The players will receive academy coaching at Newcastle United, Sunderland, Manchester City and Everton, with the Academy Directors presenting to the boys their clubs’ philosophy and what is needed to play for their club,” explained former Perth Glory defender Lee. “As well as training we play matches against Newcastle, Sunderland, Manchester City and Oldham Athletic, which will allow the players to benchmark themselves against their own age group.”
The trip will also take in three English Premier League and one Europa Cup match, amongst others. “We’ll also watch games involving the academy teams of Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough plus a Manchester United under-21 match,” enthused Lee. “The boys are always encouraged to study the game and this will give them an ideal opportunity to do just that. We believe that the environment we have created and the experiences the players will have on the tour will allow them to progress themselves not only as footballers but more importantly as people.”
GLORY CONSIDER BACCUS AS SHORT-TERM OPTION
Young midfielder Kearyn Baccus is poised to join Perth Glory on a short-term deal. It is expected 21-year old Baccus, who has played for Australia at Under-20 level, will join Glory for the coming A-League season before switching to Italian side Siena early in the New Year. He played youth team football at Sydney FC before heading to France in 2009 to join Le Mans, where he scored twice in 18 first team appearances. Baccus has signed a pre-agreement with Siena, who he will link up with in January.
GIRON-MARULANDA IS NUMBER ONE AGAIN
Bayswater City striker Gustavo Giron-Marulanda has become the first player to win back-to-back footballwa.net Premier League Player of the Year awards. Giron-Marulanda, who was also voted the 2010 footballwa.net Division One Player of the Year, started this years’ four-week polling period slowly before surging to the top of the leader board. When counting had finished Giron-Marulanda was well ahead of Sorrento midfielder Jason Mirco and young defender Jack Clisby of Inglewood United.
Giron-Marulanda’s contributions to Bayswater finishing top of the Premier Division was rewarded with 64 votes, putting him on top of the pile by a landslide margin. Mirco’s non-stop drive down the flanks for Sorrento earned him the runner-up spot with 42 votes, and nipping at his heels was Clisby who tallied up 40 votes. Attacking midfielder Ryan Clarke (Inglewood United) was next on 34 votes, two clear of Sorrento goalkeeper Curtis Aspden.
In his second State League campaign Floreat Athena captain Mark Pritchard collected 26 votes to finish just one vote ahead of young midfielder Reece Vittiglia (Sorrento). Bayswater midfielder Cisco Jorquera (Bayswater) and defender Bobby Wilson (Floreat) were level on 24 votes, with another Bayswater player, Gustavo Catarcione, picking up 21 votes. The footballwa.net Premier League Player of the Year, the longest running award of its kind, is voted for by the players, club representatives and supporters of the local game.
Giron-Marulanda joins Branimir Mikulic (Floreat/Cockburn City) as the only players to win the footballwa.net Premier League Player of the Year twice. Other recipients of the award are David Micevski (Western Knights), Andy Brown (Mandurah City), Boima Karpeh (Floreat), Simon Harland (Sorrento), Antonio Naglieri (Perth SC), Nick Ward (Stirling Lions), Shane Crampton (Perth) and Jamie Coyne (Perth). The footballwa.net team thanks everyone who voted in our annual award.
THEODOSIADES TOPS THE POPS
Dianella White Eagles playmaker Andreas Theodosiades is the footballwa.net Division One Player of the Year for 2012. Theodosiades was out early in counting but ended up fending off late challenges from Cockburn City’s Paul Lloyd and Craig Tone of Mandurah City to claim the award. The footballwa.net Player of the Year is voted for by the players, club representatives and supporters of the local game, and is the only award of its kind in West Australian football.
Theodosiades, a regular fixture of his clubs’ engine room, ended the four-week polling period with 34 votes to take out the footballwa.net Division One Player of the Year. Only two votes behind in second spot was Lloyd, Cockburn’s leading goal scorer, with Mandurah marksman Craig Tone, the competition’s leading goal scorer, a further vote off the pace. Josh Booysen (Wanneroo City) tallied up 25 votes to finish jointly with another Cockburn player, Marc Anthony.
Ashfield’s Ruben Tristao picked up 17 votes to claim fifth spot and pip Mandurah custodian Phil Straker as well as Brian Farrell of Shamrock Rovers by one. Cockburn defender Euan Grant was next with 14 votes. Locked together with 11 were three players, Morley Windmills captain Mark Grant, Wanneroo stalwart Guy McDonald and Shamrock’s Irish import Ciaran Byrne. Jeff Bright (Mandurah), Garth Lecky (Canning City) and Lance Louvie (Rockingham City) sat jointly in ninth spot with 10 votes.
Theosodiades becomes the tenth recipient of the footballwa.net Division One Player of the Year. Last years’ award was taken out by Swan United striker John Monterosso with other previous winners being Gustavo Giron-Marulanda (Bayswater City), Ashley Rosindale (Balcatta), Paul Harvey (Canning City), Andy Brown (Mandurah City), David Rodgers (South West Phoenix), Adam Raines (Balcatta), Scott Bulloch (Wanneroo City) and Boima Karpeh (Bayswater). The footballwa.net team would like to thank everyone who took the time to cast a vote in our annual award.
PLOWMAN GETS THE NOD
UWA-Nedlands marksman James Plowman has been voted the inaugural footballwa.net Division Two Player of the Year. Not a lot separated the leaders going into the final week of counting when Plowman broke clear from the rest of the field to claim the award. Subiaco AFC playmaker Jordan Rhodes came in runner-up with UWA captain Steve Purton close behind in third spot. Plowman’s goal scoring heroics in UWA’s championship winning season ultimately tipped the scales in his favour. In fact UWA’s dominance of the competition was highlighted with four of the top six vote getters coming from the club.
Plowman ended top of the pile with 42 votes, just six ahead of Rhodes who was himself only two clear of Purton. Defender Tom Sellers, also of UWA, collected 25 votes to finish in fourth position with Joondalup City striker Lucais King next on 19 votes. Rory Feely (UWA) picked up 16 votes to edge out Stewart Dalgarno (Melville City) by one, with Fremantle United’s Andrew Morrow another one behind. Completing the leader board were Sasa Slavujevic (Melville) and Arran Mapplestone (Quinns) with 11 votes each. The footballwa.net team would like to thank everyone who took the time to cast a vote in our annual award.
SORRENTO INTO GRAND FINAL
Sorrento remain on course for a historic League and Cup double by coming from behind to beat Bayswater City 2-1 in this afternoon’s Preliminary Final at Frank Drago Reserve. Thomas Gooding opening the scoring just before half-time but within a minute the teams were again level thanks to Brodie Martin. A dull second half saw no further addition to the scoreline, sending the game to extra-time where Johny Mirco lashed in at close-range to send Sorrento through to their second Grand Final in twelve months. Sorrento will meet Floreat Athena in the 2012 Grand Final next Saturday, 6th October, at Frank Drago Reserve.
Paul Price, coach of Sorrento, was pleased with the way his players went about their business against regular season winners Bayswater. “We knew we had to keep (Gustavo) Giron-Marulanda quiet as he hurt us last time and that went a long way in us winning the game today,” said Price. “We kept our shape really well (and) once we had the lead it never looked like we were going to lose it and Johny popped up with the winner. The club is delighted to reach the final, we’re now looking forward to a chance at the League and Cup double.”
An entertaining opening spell had both teams go close to taking the front. On five minutes Cisco Jorquera’s shot from 16-metres swung past the post after being played through by Damien Catalano. Play was at the opposite end two minutes later when referee Hugh Best had no hesitation pointing to the penalty despite the soft nature of John Kearney’s foul on Todd Harnwell, however, justice was seen to be done when Reece Vittiglia blasted high from the spot. Curtis Aspden was the first of the goalkeeper’s called into action when he battered away an angled strike from Jorquera on 16 minutes.
The momentum was now well and truly with Bayswater. Shots in quick succession from Gooding, Andy Reale and Catalano during a goalmouth scramble were blocked by an under pressure defence. Aspden thrust out a glove a minutes later to deny Catalano in a one-on-one situation. Michael Aspin came to the rescue on 28 minutes by preventing Giron-Marulanda’s in-swinging corner from creeping in at the front post. Sorrento broke on the counterattack soon after with Ryan Pearson getting down the left before crossing for Gavin Knight, who blazed over from 9-metres.
The tempo quickened as half-time neared. Patrick Quinn’s lung-bursting run took him past two opponents before delivering for Catalano whose close-range header flashed wide. Gianni Papalia had his reflexes tested by Harnwell after meeting a square pass from Knight. The breakthrough came in the first minute of stoppage time, Quinn playing down the line for Jorquera who got the better of Steve McDonald to whip in a low cross which Gooding headed powerfully in from a few metres. Sixty seconds later parity was restored with Martin heading in from a Knight free-kick into a crowded 18-yard box.
Resolute defending by both teams ensured a tight second half of very few chances. Jason Mirco was unable to keep his back post header down from Johny Mirco’s 65th minute corner, and five minutes later Giron-Marulanda lifted high after stepping around McDonald. For the most part Bayswater were doing all the attacking and had it not been for some timely blocks and tackles by McDonald and Daryl Platten then the game would have been decided in regulation time. Sorrento almost snatched the lead with ten minutes to go with Knight heading narrowly wide from John Mirco’s looping cross.
Extra-time was seven minutes old when Danny Cain’s cross from the left was nodded down by Knight to Johny Mirco, who arrowed in with his second touch much to the delight of the travelling supporters. Stuart Montgomery came off the bench and within a minute had sent a dipping shot straight at Papalia. Aspden ensured his teams’ lead with a courageous save at the feet of Luka Njegich, who had been sent clear by Ross Cosgrove. The result could have been put beyond doubt in the 104th minute when Martin’s through ball was into the path of Knight who rounded Papalia only to find the angle too tight.
Sorrento were soon on the attack after the turnaround. A partially cleared corner sat nicely for Cain whose half-volley from 15-metres struck the arm of Steven Turnbull with referee Best dismissing all subsequent penalty appeals. Montgomery’s glancing header from a Jason Mirco centre flashed wide, Papalia instinctively kept out an angle strike by Aspin with Pearson’s follow-up deflected wide by Reale. With their season quickly fading, Bayswater rallied but Giron-Marulanda’s shot on the turn was blocked by Aspden. The final action had Giron-Marulanda tuck a one-on-one into Aspden’s net, however, an upraised offside flag meant it would count for nothing.
Bayswater City: Gianni Papalia, Patrick Quinn, John Kearney, Andy Reale, Larry Miller, Thomas Gooding (Ross Cosgrove 77 (Luke Serra 106)), Cisco Jorquera, Steven Turnbull, Paul McCarthy, Gustavo Giron-Marulanda, Damien Catalano (Luka Njegich 72)
Sorrento: Curtis Aspden, Michael Aspin, Daryl Platten, Steve McDonald, Ryan Pearson, Jason Mirco, Brodie Martin, Reece Vittiglia, Johny Mirco (Stuart Montgomery 98), Todd Harnwell (Danny Cain 55), Gavin Knight
Bookings: Martin (10), Johny Mirco (17), Jorquera (74), Aspin (88), Giron-Marulanda (90), Kearney (125)
Referee: Hugh Best
COCKBURN PIP SWAN IN SEVEN-GOAL THRILLER
The crowd at Dalmatinac Park were treated to a seven-goal thriller in which Cockburn City scored twice in the final few minutes to grab a 4-3 win over Swan United. An attacking outlook by the black and whites had them in control early with Trent Wood forcing a good save out of Dejan Aleksic. Eventually Cockburn found their rhythm to take a 16th minute lead through Devon Gibson, who applied a close-range finish after a tidy exchange with Nick Carroll. Unperturbed, Swan held their focus to draw level on the half hour when Aaron Colli’s centre was lashed in from 15-metres by Chris Atkinson. Paul Natale and Paul Lloyd had chances to send Cockburn in to the break with the lead but neither was able to better the goalkeeper.
Chances came and went at both ends of the park after the interval before Marc Anthony converted a 64th minute penalty, awarded for Terry Monastra’s soft foul on Ian McMurray. Swan was not to be denied and fourteen minutes later Rob Monterosso banged an equaliser into the bottom corner after Aleksic pushed away a shot from Colli. Only a couple of more minutes passed before Monterosso slotted in from close-range to give Swan the lead. Stung into action, Cockburn hit back four minutes later with Ian Stack delivering a low centre which Harry O’Brien tapped in. McMurray decided who would take out the points in the final minute by turning in Lloyd’s low free-kick into a crowded goalmouth.
MANDURAH HIT ELEVEN WITHOUT REPLY
Mandurah City ensured their ended 2012 as Division One runners-up by thrashing a hapless Fremantle Spirit 11-0 at Beeliar Park. The visiting team were quickly into stride with Craig Tone opening their account after 5 minutes by side-footing in a Michael Grigo cross. One became two ten minutes later when Jeff Bright’s centre was met by Tone, who headed into the bottom corner. Matt Stares got in on the act soon after by dancing past a few challenges and lashing into the top corner from 17-metres Danny Clapham was unlucky not to pull a goal back for the port side via a free-kick which hit the underside of the crossbar. Mandurah counterattacked immediately through Tone who outpaced the defence to complete his hat-trick.
The second half was only a few minutes old when Danny Dyson nodded in from a Stares cross. Tone grabbed his fourth goal by lashing into the bottom corner after twisting and turning inside the 18-yard box. Sam Tomasson came off the bench with immediate effort, the substitute blowing the difference out to seven goals. A blistering strike from outside the area by Chris Wylie was followed soon after by Tomasson’s second, a powerful strike from 25-metres. Young substitute Blake Diggins had been on the park only a few minutes when he added his name to the scoresheet. Mandurah’s eleventh goal arrived via the boot of Bright, who shot powerfully into the bottom corner.
YOUNG SHAMROCK OUT RUN BY WANNEROO
Wanneroo City recovered from conceding early to triumph 2-1 over a young Shamrock Rovers outfit 2-1 in warm conditions at Kingsway Sporting Complex. The ball had been in motion just 3 minutes when Shamrock edged in front through Brian Farrell, who make no mistake from the penalty spot after a trip on Sean Taylor. Wanneroo immediately set about fashioning an equaliser and they would have had one if not for 17-year old goalkeeper Fraser Greenwood, who brilliantly saved Brian Cairney’s goalbound effort. The only other opening of note came just before the break when Garin Collins rifled into the crossbar after good build-up play involving Cairney and Jamie Maxwell.
The second half was notable mainly for a succession of odd decisions by the referee which left both sets of players confused. The first of these arrived after only two minutes when, for reasons unknown, Wanneroo were awarded a penalty which Nathan Diaz converted to restore parity. Wanneroo were soon back on the attack with the frame of the goal denying Cairney twice and Collins once, while Greenwood kept out shots from Diaz and Mamadou Ndiaya. Their reward came on 72 minutes when a tidy through ball by Rowdy Yates was poked into the net by Cairney. Shamrock’s misery was compounded by a straight red card to Will Pender for a seemingly innocuous show of dissent in the final minute
CANNING TRIUMPH IN FINAL DAY GOALFEAST
Josh Findlater scored a last day hat-trick as a ten-man Canning City defeated Gosnells City 6-3 at Hossack Reserve. The scene was set early with Canning putting away two goals in the opening few minutes. Daniel Trevisiol laid on the first scored by Findlater, who increased the hosts advantage with a clinical finish on the break. Although stunned, Gosnells responded with a couple of goal of their own with Tony Ton putting the ball goalkeeper Mitch Taveira before Graham Tough levelled proceedings. Canning continued to fashion opportunities, Daniel Trevisiol and Steven Kane both sending shots high, before Mark Trevisiol was harshly issued his marching orders just before the break.
Daniel Trevisiol restored the hosts lead soon after the interval with a powerfully finish from Michael Lawson’s cross. The two teams traded shots before Gosnells again got back on level terms through James substitute Cave, who tucked past Taveira after he parried a close-range effort by a team mates. Taveira make sure the visitors didn’t go in front by coming off his line to force Darren Gamble into lobbing beyond the target in a one-on-one situation. Canning stepped up the pace in the closing stages with Findlater, Paul Van Dongen and Daniel Trevisiol each finding the net in quick succession to finish the season with a resounding win.
LATE DRAMAS END WITH FORRESTFIELD AND MORLEY SPLITTING THE POINTS
Forrestfield United registered their first point in 15 games by holding Morley Windmills to a 3-3 draw at Hartfield Park. A warm afternoon made for a lacklustre first half as both sets of players struggled to adapt to the conditions. Had Andy Griffiths placed anywhere than straight at the goalkeeper from close-range then Morley would have gone into the break with the advantage. Some good lead-up work through midfield presented further opportunities for David Houston and Kris Dennis but both sent the ball wide or high of the target. For their part Forrestfield were threatening to steal in front on the counterattack but, like at the other end, it didn’t eventuate.
It took until for the breakthrough to happen, Ben Fraser driving forward to calmly convert. The teams were put back on level terms by Luke O’Neill’s acrobatic scissor kick to the goalkeeper’s parry from an Andy Griffiths shot. After several promising moves Forrestfield regained the lead through Chris Perrott’s stinging shot from 14-metres. The seesawing nature of the game continued with Houston heading in from a Dennis corner to make it two-all. Within just a few minutes left Forrestfield were back in front through James Harold’s chipped shot which Grant Heard could only push into his net. Dennis grabbed Morley a share of the points by flicking over the ‘keeper after receiving a clipped pass from Scott Campbell.
UWA MAKE IT 16-GAMES WITHOUT LOSS
Division Two champions UWA-Nedlands rounded out their season with a 5-2 demolition of Joondalup City at McGilvray Oval. It took only 4 minutes for the home side to strike, Brad Skea layjng the ball off for Steve Purton to drill in via the upright. The gap was widened on the quarter hour when Purton was placed to drive in the follow-up from a Rory Feely shot that had been parried by goalkeeper Scott Wallis. In the 32nd minute Lucais King pulled a goal back for the visitors by finishing into the net on the counterattack. A contentious foul by Tom Sellers on King resulted in a penalty to the visiting side, however, justice was seen to be done when Gavin Doran turned away the Joondalup striker’s effort.
It was a very composed Joondalup side which emerged from the break looking to sneak an equaliser. However, those hopes were shattered on the hour when a searching pass by Purton put the ball with James Plowman, whose cross to far post was drilled in by Feely. UWA had another four minutes later, Skea finding Plowman who brilliantly turned his marker and lashed in his 32nd second of the winter. With seven minutes to go Jodie Thompson grabbed Joondalup a second goal by running through and placing into the corner of Doran’s net. The final goal on a memorable season for UWA came soon after, Aaron Barnett’s cross was knocked back by Plowman for Feely to fire in.
CONTROVERSY AS SUBIACO STEAL A POINT FROM FREMANTLE
A second half finish by Scott Wrightson earned Subiaco AFC a controversial 1-1 draw with Fremantle United at Rosalie Park. A bright start by Fremantle was rewarded on 5 minutes when Angelo Canzurlo punished a defensive error with a stunning volley across goalkeeper Marcus Urban and inside the far post. A stunned Subiaco were lucky not to go further behind as Andrew Morrow and Michael De Souza put the ball wide in the minutes that followed. The hosts eventually regained their composure and while they held sway over the final twenty minutes there was no way through a well-drilled Fremantle backline.
The intensity was taken up a notch for the second half with the spoils for the winner being second spot on the final table. Controversy erupted after Fremantle put the ball out of play to allow Urban to receive treatment for a bloodied nose. The game restarted with Subiaco knocking the ball long to Kurt De Souza, who barely had time to control before Wrightson forced the Fremantle defender into conceding possession and, after an exchange with Ryan Warburton, volleyed in the equaliser. Fremantle replied with a barrage of late attacks but neither Will Pender nor Canzurlo was able to conjure a winner.
QUINNS DIG DEEP TO SHARE POINTS WITH MELVILLE
A nine-man Quinns collected a point from their final outing of the year by holding Melville City 0-0 at Gumblossom Park. The first half was a real battle of attrition with neither team creating anything in the way of genuine chances on goal. Half-time wasn’t too far away when the hosts somewhat harshly lost Martin Lockhart for a sloppy lunging tackle. The first shot of note came early in the second period with Simon El Chami’s rasping strike flashing just wide. Quinns went down another man on the hour when Jack Nash was issued his marching orders for dissent. It now seemed only a matter of time before Melville would find the net but their best chance was a Michael Jennings header which was tipped over by Adam Bowers.
EDWARDS COMMANDING ATTENTION AT READING
Reading winger Ryan Edwards is out to make a name for himself in England’s top flight. Edwards, who wore the captain’s armband in the Young Socceroos win over Vietnam earlier this month, has been receiving high praise for his performances with Reading’s under-21 team and is hopeful of making his first team game debut sometime this season. “I’ve had a few sessions with the first team which has been great but right now it’s all about just developing as a player and seeing where it takes me,” Edwards told theworldgame.sbs.com.au. “I believe in myself and I definitely would not let myself down if I got a first team call-up.”
If Edwards continues to progress as he has been he may just get that call-up sooner rather than later. “The feedback from the coaches had been good and I am working hard on a physical side to add a few more kilos to give myself a bit more of presence on the pitch,” he explained. “It’s about getting stronger to hold players off better and I’m doing that. I feel I have pretty good energy levels and can always try and take on a player for pace and I have decent passing ability. But of course there are a lot of things need to work on to improve my game.”
NAGAI ON BOARD FOR GLORY
Perth Glory have signed Japan youth international Ryo Nagai on a season-long loan. The 21-year old striker completed his move from J-League side Cerezo Osaka yesterday and says he is excited by new challenge. “I am very happy,” said Nagai, who made 25 appearances for Osaka over the past three seasons. “My first impressions of Australia have been very nice. The people are very kind, and outside of Football, there is also a lot of lovely nature. Everyone has been very positive accepting me”.
Ian Ferguson, Glory coach, is thrilled to have Nagai on board for 2012/13. “I am absolutely delighted to get a left-sided player and to get the calibre of Ryo right before the kick-off is fantastic,” Ferguson enthused. “I had no hesitation in signing him. I knew straight away from his first training session with us that I wanted to keep him. He played two fantastic pre-season games in Melbourne last week and out of the seven goals we scored, he was involved in four of them and scored one himself, which was great.”
PRELIMINARY FINAL: BAYSWATER CITY V SORRENTO
Season 2012 is just 90 minutes from ending for either Bayswater City or Sorrento who meet in Sunday’s Preliminary Final. Bayswater may have finished top of the table but they failed to rise above the Gulls in the home and away series, a fact which is not lost on Thomas Gooding. “Sunday’s game is going to be a tough one,” said the Bayswater midfielder. “Sorrento have a great team which play a different style of football than what we like to play. If we can cope with their long ball game and be at our best, then we can come out as winner.” Striker Gustavo Catarcione remains sidelined by an ankle ligament injury but otherwise Bayswater will be at full-strength.
Sorrento playmaker Reece Vittiglia, scorer of two goals in last weekend’s defeat of Perth SC, cannot wait for Sunday afternoon to roll around. “This weekend is why you play football,” he said. “I’m sure it will be a great atmosphere down at Bayswater. We have been quite successful against Bayswater this year having collected a win and a draw from the league games, so we will be taking that confidence into the match. The chance of the ‘double’ is another reason that really drives this team, as a club we have capabilities to go on and win the match.” The only absence from the Gulls line-up is James Morgan due to suspension. Bayswater and Floreat meet from 2.30pm this Sunday at Frank Drago Reserve.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Swan United are in a midst of their best run of the season so head to Cockburn City confident of knocking off the newly crowned Division One champions. “We’ve achieved a lot over the past five weeks, winning four and drawing one, so to get a result against Cockburn would cap off a terrific run and give the team confidence for next season,” said Swan coach Mick Skowron, whose team have moved into fifth place. “We’re looking forward to putting in a good performance and, hopefully, spectators from both sides will go away from the game feeling that it was one of the best of the year.”
Wanneroo City remains without a host of players for their home fixture with Shamrock Rovers. “With so many players unavailable it will give me an opportunity to give our younger players some first team experience,” said Wanneroo coach David Tough, who had Josh Booysen, Jason Marsden, Glen Moore and Ross Edwards added to the unavailable list during the week. “It’s four months until our next competitive fixture and that’s a long time to think about a bad performance so we hope to finish with a win.” Shamrock will also promote from their youth ranks with Ciaran Byrne (suspended) and Paudie O'Connor (work) unavailable.
Fremantle Spirit’s nomadic season comes to an end with a Beeliar Park clash with second-from-top Mandurah City. Steve Grant, Jakub Chudy and Michael Van Dongen are out of action for Canning City’s Hossack Reserve showdown with Gosnells City, who have Allan Carroll suspended. Morley Windmills are tipped to take the points home from Forrestfield United, who will bow out of Division One come the final whistle. Rockingham City have been awarded the three points from their game with Dianella White Eagles on a forfeit. All five Division One games kick-off on Sunday afternoon at 3.00pm.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW
Subiaco AFC and Fremantle United trade blows on the final day of the Division Two season to determine who finishes runners-up to champions UWA-Nedlands. Home team Subiaco hold a two-point advantage over the port side, who will be refreshed from last weekend’s break. “From the three games so far this year we’ve won one each and drawn one,” said Subiaco coach Ian Cowan. “Who knows what the importance of finishing second could be as I don’t believe UWA meet many of the criteria points to play in Division One.” Jordan Rhodes is back in for Subiaco while Fremantle have Kurt De Souza and Andrew Morrow available again.
Joondalup City coach Mike Hartley plans to use their game with UWA-Nedlands as way of looking towards next season. “I’ll be looking to bring through some of our promising youngsters as I continue to remould the first team squad,” Hartley explained. “I’m expecting a dramatic improvement from last Saturday, our performance lacked passion, commitment and determination and ultimately we got out what we deserved - nothing.” Planning for 2013 is also well underway at Quinns who finish their season by welcoming Melville City to Gumblossom Park. All three Division Two games kick-off on Saturday at 3.00pm.
RISDON IS GLORY’S BEST
Perth Glory defender Josh Risdon has become the youngest player to win the clubs’ most prestigious individual award, the Most Glorious Player. 20-year old Risdon was revealed as Glory’s best player of the 2011/12 season at yesterday’s launch for the upcoming campaign. “It’s a great honour for me in my first season,” said Risdon, who joins club legends Bobby Despotovski and Scott Miller along with current captain Jacob Burns on the MGP winners list. “It’s a great for me, being one of the young boys, but everyone played really well last year and we had a great season as a result.”
Born in Bunbury, Risdon left his family and moved to Perth he was 14 to pursue his dream of playing football professionally. After making his mark at ECU Joondalup, gaining State junior honours along the way, he progressed through the National Training Centre and into Glory’s youth ranks for the 2008/09 season. Risdon stepped up to the senior side in November 2010 when handed a starting role against North Queensland Fury. Last season he cemented his place as first choice right-back with a series of eye-catching displays which in April saw him named the clubs’ Players’ Player of the Year.
COCKBURN ARE BACK WHERE WE BELONG: ALEKSIC
Newly crowned Division One champions Cockburn City belong in the Premier Division according to goalkeeper Dejan Aleksic. The south of the river club celebrated their return to the top flight long into Saturday night, and in the process erased the bitter memory of last years’ failed campaign. “It’s a great feeling knowing that Cockburn are back where they belong,” said Aleksic, who joined his team mates celebrate their success at Dalmatinac Park on Saturday night. “Winning the league was a big relief after the disappointments of last season. The Corona’s were flowing at the club on Saturday night … it’s not every day you get crowned Champions.”
Aleksic, 21, says the year Cockburn have spent in the second tier has taught the club a lot about themselves. “You get a true representation of loyalty when a team gets relegated. Going down to Division One showed which players really wanted to be at the club,” commented Aleksic, who has been with Cockburn since he was 15. “The club now has a winning mentality and great group of players that always give their all for the club. We played some great football this year all the boys dug deep and found an extra gear when we needed it.”
There are some notable differences between Cockburn’s championship winning squad and that of twelve months ago according to Aleksic. “Our mentality wasn’t the same then as it is now. We now know how to win games and win them by playing good football which was lacking in 2011,” said Aleksic, who was quick to single out the efforts of Paul Lloyd. “His arrival from Stirling was a massive coup. Lloydy’s one of those players that can create an opportunity from nothing, which got us out of trouble time and time again. All the lads were tremendous but we definitely would have struggled without Lloydy’s contribution.”
Cockburn’s swift return to the Premier League was assured on Saturday with victory at Dianella White Eagles. “There were a lot of nerves before the game although once we got into stride there was no question of who the better team was,” commented Aleksic, whose team came away with a 4-1 win courtesy of first half goals from Paul Lloyd and Eamon McNelis along with two more after the break by Devon Gibson and Harry O’Brien. “I thought it was a fair result, both teams had some good chances although the difference on the day was that we were clinical with our finishing.”
But it’s not all been clear sailing this year for Cockburn, who started the home and away series with successive losses to Rockingham City and Wanneroo City. “I thought it was going to be another one of those years where we fail to live up to our potential,” he said. The Cockerels then set their sail with a seven-game winning streak that propelled them amongst the leaders. “Those results were vital putting us back in title contention. The season started on a very sombre note but we hit a good patch at the right time and that gave the boys confidence for the second half of the season.”
Another turning point was the mid-year change of coach which saw Scott Miller replace Mike Lyons. “That had a massive impact on the players. Scotty’s football philosophy compliments everyone at the club which did wonders for the morale of the players,” explained Aleksic, who says he started to truly believe Cockburn would win the league at the beginning of last month after beating Mandurah City. “That was defining game of our season,” he added. “Mandurah were the best team we played all year and we knew if we could get a result and widen the gap then the title would be ours for the taking.”
Cockburn will be presented the Division One champions trophy following Sunday’s home fixture with Swan United. Aleksic says his team have one more thing they want to achieve before their season comes to a close. “Scotty’s first target when he got to the club was that he wanted to win nine games,” the ‘keeper explained. “We are only one shy of that target so I’m sure all the boys will want to get that win and finish the season on a high. But whatever happens over those 90 minutes will be a warm-up for when he are presented the trophy and the celebrations that will follow.”
RICHARDSON SIGNS ON WITH BURNLEY
Bunbury Forum Force teenager Callum Richardson has scored a dream move to English Championship club Burnley. Richardson, 16, was recently rewarded with a two-year contract at Burnley just three days into trials with the club, and in the immediate aftermath of a youth team outing against Manchester United. “Straight after the game I was called into a room with the youth team coach, academy manager and head of recruitment and was offered the contract,” Richardson commented. “It’s definitely a surreal feeling to be offered a two-year contract with Burnley, especially as it’s something I have been working towards and wanted all my life.”
The opportunity to trial with Burnley came about through one of Richardson’s Bunbury team mates. “I was offered the trials with Burnley after being recommend by Steve Howson explained the young defender, who had already tried out for Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City. “We received an email whilst in England from the head of recruitment at Burnley asking if I was still in the country and then it was arranged for me to go there and trial. I got there on Sunday, trained Monday and Tuesday and by Wednesday had played against Manchester United and been offered a contract.”
Richardson’s football journey started with his local club Australind, for whom he represented the State at Under-14 level. For the past four year he has honed his skills with the National Training Centre, making the trip between home in Bunbury and Perth several times a week. “Travelling to Perth four times a week for training and games was difficult, however, it was well worth it,” said Richardson. “The NTC helped me technically and mentally, and improved my knowledge of the game … I wouldn’t be the player I am today if it was not for the NTC.”
Richardson paid tribute to the coaches who’ve aided his development over the years. “Barry Wood, my State Under-14s coach, Kenny Weston my State Under-15s coach and Kenny Lowe in the NTC had a definite influence on me. All three are very knowledgeable about the game and great coaches,” he added. “Micky Cairns and also my dad were a big part until I was selected in the NTC.” Richardson returns to England shortly with the very clear intention of establishing himself with Burnley’s youth team and, ultimately, breaking into the senior line-up.
FOOTBALL WEST OUTLINE SALARY CAP PROPOSAL
The introduction of a salary cap is a step closer following Football West’s circulation of a discussion paper to the State League clubs. Driven by requests from the clubs, the ‘Proposed Player Payment System’ addresses the issue of spiralling and unsustainable player payments within the league and outlines a possible means of capping player payments through an ‘all club’ buy in and commitment to a tiered level of player payments across the three levels of State League competition. The model strives to ensure the financial viability of the clubs and the league while freeing up monies for other areas of club management.
Prior to the commencement of the 2013 season all State League clubs will be required to nominate a squad of up to sixteen players who will be paid. Recognition of players whose skills and capacity add value to the team and the league is achieved through the allocation of one Marquee player and two Talented Players within each squad. The Player Payment System reflects the ‘commercial maturity’ and financial capacity of the clubs across each of the three division of State League competition and their perceived ability to raise funds to adequately meet their player payment obligations.
A Marquee player at a Premier Division club can be paid upwards of $400 per week and is to be registered as a professional with an FFA contract. The two Talented Players are entitled to be paid a maximum of $250 per week and are also to be registered as professionals with FFA. The Remaining players can be paid no more than $150 per week. Allowance has been made for clubs to vary payments with its Marquee/Talented Players pool as long as the maximum total paid is not exceeded (ie $900).
A Marquee player at a Division One club is entitled to be paid a maximum of $200 per week and is to be registered as a professional with an FFA contract. The two Talented Players are entitled to be paid a maximum of $100 per week, while the Remaining players are to be paid no more than $50 per week. A Marquee player at a Division Two club is allowed to be paid a maximum of $100 per week and is to be registered as a professional with FFA. The two Talented Players can be paid upwards of $50 per week, and the Remaining players no more than $25 per week.
It is also proposed to allow each club a maximum of $10,000 (Premier Division) that can be contributed to player entitlements via Third Party Payments. These benefits cannot be paid for by the club directly, but must be paid for by a club commercial sponsor, club member, supporter or another third party. The extent to which third party payments are made to players is to be fully disclosed with appropriate documentation to Football West. Third party payments that are not declared will be considered a breach of the system.
Prior to the commencement of season 2013 each club will be required to agree to the terms and conditions of the Player Payment System. This club sign-off will be in the form of a Statutory Declaration, made under the Oaths, Affidavits and Statutory Declarations Act (2005), to be co-signed by the President, Club Secretary and the Treasurer. Failure to comply with the terms and condition throughout the season could result in the expulsion of the club for what will effectively be considered a breach of the terms and conditions and the rules and regulations of the competition.
Football West chief executive Peter Hugg has invited the State League clubs to respond to the proposed Player Payment System in writing by the end of this month. Following an analysis of that feedback, the peak body will convene a meeting of club representatives in early on October for further discussion of the matter. It is proposed that the Player Payment System be developed and ratified for implementation in the 2013 State League season. The model already has ‘in principle’ and high level endorsement of the Football West board.
TOMBIDES MAKES HAMMERS DEBUT
Former Stirling Lions junior Dylan Tombides has made his first team debut for West Ham United, only a year after being diagnosed with cancer. 18-year old Tombides came on as an 84th-minute substitute in the Hammers’ 4-1 League Cup loss to Wigan Athletic at Upton Park. After the game Tombides, who is still receiving treatment, tweeted his delight at getting a game for Sam Allardyce’s side. “To be involved tonight and get on the pitch while going through treatment is so rewarding shame about the result but we move on #BigPicture,” he tweeted. “Thanking all fans, friends and family who have messaged me tonight congratulating me I hope to repay you with goals in the near future!” Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer while playing for Australia during the Under-17 World Cup in Mexico in June 2011.
HESKETH SPIES ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
Coach Dough Hesketh is tipping a big improvement in Stirling Lions’ fortunes when next season rolls around. A seventh place finish wasn’t what Hesketh had in mind at the beginning of this year but the Stirling boss feels confident the foundations have been laid for a much stronger showing in 2013. “This season was a mixture of highs and lows and we will certainly look to improve on our final placing next season,” he said. “The team was to a large degree a new team with a number of players coming in and we will benefit from our experience this year.”
And at the heart of Stirling’s revival is a big emphasis on youth development. “We have implemented a system whereby we are now beginning to reap the benefits. Last season we gave eight young lads a taste of first team football and they all did very well,” explained Hesketh. “We have a young Reserve side, which has been brilliantly coached by Rob Milevski, and the likes of Dylan Filicamo and Tim Hill will be pushing through next year. Joe Pugliese and Danny Stotis established a young 18’s and they will provide a number of good lads for the Reserves, and that will allow the Under-15 boys to step up … so it’s looking good.”
The influx of young talent is expected to will enhance a Stirling squad which suffered dreadfully this year from player absences for a variety of reasons. “We did lose a number of players through visa problems, work and injuries,” Hesketh stated. “In essence we probably lost half a team of quality players – Matty Barlow, Phil O’Callaghan, Paul Lloyd, Craig Robson, Jamie De Abreu and Ryan McDarby. There was also the absence of Gareth McGlynn for the first five games of the season, once he became available the dynamics of the side changed considerably.”
Hesketh was heartened by some of the football he saw from Stirling in 2012. “We played exceptionally well against Perth SC away and Balcatta at home. We lead in both games and ended in a draw so four points lost,” he said. “Playing Bayswater City in the Cup was the standout game for us due to the nature of our performance. The week before we lost 6-2 to Perth at home, so to draw 0-0 with Bayswater with six senior players missing before beating them on penalties was a fantastic effort from the boys.”
The off-season will see some big changes both on and off the field at Stirling, none more so that the retirement of long-time president Don Evans, who formally steps down next month. “Don has been great for the club and has taken the club onto a new level,” commented Hesketh. “We cannot speak highly enough of Don, he wants the best for Stirling Lions and for football in WA. Don will still be around the club, he is a great sounding board and it is in his blood for our club to play good football develop players and ultimately win trophies.”
In terms of what happens on the park, Hesketh and Williams have sounded out several players about them relocating to Macedonia Park to join Stirling’s push towards the top five. “The squad does need tinkering with but Gary and I believe the core of the squad is good enough for next year,” Hesketh said. “We have spoken to one or two additional players and have received very positive responses from them, and with the addition of a couple of the good younger kids coming through it should freshen the squad up for next year.”
JONES READY TO TAKE THE GLOVES AT LIVERPOOL
Goalkeeper Brad Jones has vowed to grasp with both hands every opportunity he is given by new Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers. As understudy to Pepe Reina, Jones averaged two appearances during both his first two seasons at Anfield Park, a tally the 30-year old has already matched in 2012/13. Buoyed by the faith shown in him by Rodgers, Jones is hopeful of further establishing himself at the club. “This season I’ve just tried to knuckle down and really push on and show the new manager what I can do,” Jones told liverpoolfc.com. “I think things have gone fairly well in this early stage. I’ve just got to keep doing what I can do.”
Jones recognises the enormity of the challenge he has set himself to unseat Reina, who has made over 350 appearances for Liverpool. “It’s a difficult one but any opportunity I get I’ve got to try and take it and at least prove my worth for being here,” Jones commented. “The manager has given me a chance at Young Boys in the UEFA Europa League, so he has already showed that he’s willing to do it. How often that’s going to happen, I don’t really know …It’s just a case of doing what a second-choice ‘keeper does, that’s work your socks off in training and try to show what you can do.”
Like many of his Liverpool teammates, Jones was keen to praise Rodgers’ methods on the training ground. “This season’s been a lot better for me,” Jones continued. “The new manager involves me a lot more, which was obviously difficult last year with me being away. This year feels a lot better, on a personal level, and I think most of the boys would say as a team. The way that we’re training, the way that we’re looking to progress, the style of play and everything - everyone is right behind it. It might take a little bit of time but when we get there, it will be quite impressive.”
Liverpool is yet to register a league win this season but Jones feels the team’s performances have warranted a few more points. “Obviously the boys would prefer to be in a better position but with the changes that have happened, the new manager coming in, things we work on are different so it’s going to take that little bit of time,” he explained. “Everyone is on the same page, we want to progress with what we’re doing and everyone is happy with the idea of how we play and it’s about ironing out those few little issues … everybody is happy with the progression – we’ve just got to make that next step.”
Jones views this week’s League Cup date with West Bromwich Albion as an ideal occasion for himself and others to prove their credentials to the boss. “You might see a few different players playing so it’s a chance, like it was at Young Boys in the Europa League, to give some other players an opportunity to get some games and show the manager what they can do,” the goalkeeper said. “Last year was good for the club, good to win a trophy … It’s important for whoever goes out and plays to put on a show and hopefully get the result.”
If the chance to earn a place in the first team is not enough motivation, Jones believes the prize of playing at Wembley Stadium makes the competition all the more important. “The fact that we got to go there three times last season was brilliant … it just adds something extra to the game,” he enthused. The semi-finals were there as well, which gave us that extra chance, but it’s fantastic to tell people that you have played there … Any chance of a trophy or a medal, you’ve got to try and take it. That’s what we’re in the game for.”
VUKOVIC TIPS A HOSTILE RECEPTION FOR BRISBANE STRIKER
Perth Glory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic has warned Brisbane Roar striker Besart Berisha to be prepared for a barrage of verbal abuse when the teams clash in the opening round of the A-League season at Subiaco Oval. Berisha scored twice, including a controversially-awarded penalty, when Brisbane sunk Glory in last season’s Grand Final and sparked a storm of protest from Perth fans. “It’s going to be pretty brutal for him out there but it’s to be expected,” Vukovic said. “There was a lot of controversy surrounding him and the Grand Final and I’m sure he’s a big enough player to handle all that.”
But Vukovic does not expect Berisha, who had been branded Glory enemy number one following the Grand Final loss, to be adversely affected by the crowd’s taunts. “I don’t know him personally but I’ve played against him quite a few times and from seeing what he’s like out there he seems to relish the bad-guy role,” Vukovic said. “I’m sure he’ll be relishing it on Sunday week. But hopefully we can just keep playing the way we have been in pre-season and I’m sure we’ll get the job done.” Glory and Brisbane meet at Subiaco Oval in round one of the 2012/13 A-League season next Sunday, 7th October.
MILLWALL DESERVED A POINT AT BRIGHTON: LOWRY
Millwall’s Shane Lowry feels his teams’ spirited second half fightback was deserving of a draw on the weekend against Brighton and Hove Albion. The centre-back paid tribute to Lions fans for getting behind the players but admits his frustration that it took a going down to ten men after 68 minutes to stir Millwall into life. “It took us until the sending off and going two goals down to show what we are about as a team,” he said. “When we went down to ten men we showed a lot of fight and a lot of character.”
Chris Wood grabbed Millwall a lifeline by pulling a goal back, however, a second and equalising goal proved elusive in the dying stages. “The crowd got behind us and fair play to them, because they nearly got us over the line. We probably deserved a draw, with Wood missing a one-on-one right at the end,” said Lowry, a former ECU Joondalup junior. “But there’s no hiding from the fact we’ve been conceding way too many goals, and personally I’ve been a part of that.”
Millwall have conceded 15 goals in seven league outings so far this season but Lowry is confident the flow of goals against will be stemmed sooner rather than later. “We have to work hard on the training pitch at defending better as a team,” he said. “We won’t let our heads drop because the only way for us to put this right is to have a good togetherness in the squad and a strong mentality. We have to keep plugging away. I’m sure we'll be fine but we’re going through a sticky patch at the moment.”
GLORY AIM TO BREAK RECORD
Perth Glory captain Jacob Burns says the club is hoping for a regular season record crowd for their A-League season opener against Brisbane Roar on 7th October. Glory, beaten in controversial fashion in last season’s Grand Final by Brisbane, have moved the game to Subiaco Oval with their traditional home at Perth Oval undergoing re-development. “Hopefully we’re going to get a good crowd,” Burns said. “Obviously it’s a re-match of last year’s final so it’d be wonderful to get one over them in front of a big crowd and given the way we lost it, there is a sense of revenge there.”
Glory’s biggest crowd for a regular season national league is was set in November 1998 when 18,067 spectators crammed into Perth Oval to watch Scott Miller and Vas Kalogeracos score in a 2-1 defeat of South Melbourne. “We’re hoping to break that record. Our target is somewhere around 18,000, which would be fantastic,” said Burns, who backed plans to move the pitch at Subiaco Oval to the eastern end in order to get fans closer to the action. “They’ll be a lot closer than if it was right in the middle of the oval … It should make it a better spectacle.”
WARD RELISHING “A FRESH START” WITH GLORY
Midfielder Nick Ward says he hopes his return to Perth Glory can help re-ignite his passion for football. Ward has had something of a journeyman career since winning the A-League’s inaugural Young Player of the Year award with Glory at the age of 21. After spells at Queens Park Rangers, Brighton and Hove Albion, Melbourne Victory, Iraklis and Wellington Phoenix the now 27-year old has headed back to his hometown for 2012/13. “It’s a fresh start for me, I felt like I’d gone a bit stale in Wellington,” Ward told au.fourfourtwo.com.
Ward joined Wellington in 2010 and, although he featured regularly, admits he didn’t settle in New Zealand. “It probably wasn’t the best move for me, with the lifestyle and I didn’t really give it the chance. That’s where my headspace was at the time,” he added. “I wouldn’t be the first footballer to have gone somewhere and not settled and got a bit stale and gone off football … I can’t fault the boys or anyone at Wellington. It was just a personal thing and I was counting down the days to get out and try something different.”
Having signed a one-year deal with Glory, Ward said his immediate goal was to get back to some form to win a longer term contract with the club. “The biggest focus is to have a good season,” he said. “The last few seasons after I left Victory I was in limbo. I wasn't starting week in, week out, I've had a few injuries, so the last two seasons haven't been great for me. I want to get my name back out there and playing some good football and start enjoying it again.”
Ward, who scored in the mind-week friendly win over Melbourne Victory, has been going the right way to convince boss Ian Ferguson he’s worth a contract beyond his current term. “Nick has been great. He is one who has settled in really well. He’s a good lad, he works very hard and I don’t think people give him the credit he deserves,” Ferguson said. “He’s a very good footballer. Technically he is good, he’s got great energy to get him up the park and that’s something we’re looking for. He’s done well at times in pre-season for us.”
Ward, whose pre-season was hampered by an Achilles problem, will battle with Jacob Burns and Liam Miller for a role Glory’s engine room. He admitted he had been impressed by the 2011/12 Grand Finalists’ squad in pre-season and hoped to be part of a successful side this term. “I’ve been really impressed with the squad. We’ll be there or thereabouts,” he said. “A lot of the players who’ve come in, like myself, (Michael) Thwaite, Adrian Zahra and Chris Harold, they’ve brought in good players and they've retained the core of last year, like Liam Miller and Jacob Burns.”
SORRENTO DRAW ON VITTIGLIA FOR INSPIRATION
Reece Vittiglia scored twice from midfield to lead Sorrento to a 3-1 Minor Semi-Final win over Perth SC this evening under lights at Percy Doyle Reserve. Vittiglia opened the scoring early then grabbed a second goal after the break, just three minutes after Josh Pereira had equalised. Gavin Knights sealed the win late to send Sorrento through to next weekend’s Preliminary Final against Bayswater City. “It was a great team effort today and I’m very proud of the boys … Reece Vittiglia’s goal in the first half was sensational,” said victorious coach Paul Price. “We’re looking forward to playing Bayswater next week and were positive that if we play our game, we can win.”
Greg Sharland made clear Perth’s intention inside a minute with a long-range strike which drifted wide of the goal. With Pereira and Dom De Felice controlling the flow out of midfield it was the visiting side that held sway over the early stages of the games. The opening goal arrived on 15 minutes but at the opposite end of the park when Vittiglia surging forward to unleash a powerful drive which soared into the top corner of Alex Dunn’s net. Perth’s plight worsened seven minutes later when Dunn was forced from the field with a dislocated shoulder after he fell awkwardly claiming a Johny Mirco cross.
Sorrento goalkeeper Curtis Aspden found himself in the thick of the action, keeping out shots from Sharland and David Onoforo as Perth sought to equalise. Unfortunately, a lack of cohension in the final third proved the visitors undoing on more occasions than not. Their best chance came via a clever ball in from Andres Oliveira which was met by Trent Kay whose close-range header flashed narrowly over the crossbar. The pace of Vittiglia, Jason Mirco and Ryan Pearson gave Sorrento hope of breaking through for a second time but Craig Simpson and Shaun Kilkelly ensured there would be no addition to the scoring before half-time.
Vittiglia and Johny Mirco threatened again in the early minutes of the second half but neither player was able to capitalise. Sharland blasted a free-kick over the defensive wall only to find Aspden positioned to save comfortably. The introduction of Liam Boland gave Perth a greater focus in attack and within minutes of coming off the bench his powerful shot through a crowded area was pushed wide by Aspden. The resulting corner was cleared only as far as Pereira who, after taking a few touches, rocketed a low shot past the ‘keeper and into the bottom corner to level the game with 66 minutes gone.
Sorrento’s response came within three minutes, Johny Mirco’s attempt on goal was deflected to Vittiglia whose scrambled effort dribbled over the line to restore the hosts lead. Although stunned, Perth wasted no time in returning fire but and Sharland and Boland were unable to get the better of Apsden. Soon after coming on Gavin Knight sent the ball just wide as Sorrento looked to kill off the game. It was a warning Perth failed to heed as, in the 81st minute, Knight added goal number three with a diving header from Jason Mirco’s delivery. De Felice, Boland and Robert Sciascia went close in the final few minutes to close the gap without success.
Sorrento: Curtis Aspden, Michael Aspin, Daryl Platten, Steve McDonald, Ryan Pearson, Jason Mirco, James Morgan, Brodie Martin, Reece Vittiglia, Todd Harnwell (Gavin Knight 72), Johny Mirco (Danny Cain 93)
Perth SC: Alex Dunn (Luke Martino 22), Trent Kay, Adam Bachiller, Craig Simpson (Liam Boland 63), Shaun Kilkelly, Greg Sharland, Robert Sciascia, Dom De Felice, Josh Pereira, David Onoforo (Daniel Niederberger 77), Andres Oliveira
Bookings: Morgan (38), Sharland (80)
Referee: David Costello
FLOREAT BOOK GRAND FINAL DATE (with George Tsadilas, Football West)
Floreat Athena are through to the Grand Final after coming from behind to defeat regular season winners Bayswater City 3-1 in this afternoon’s Major Semi-Final at Frank Drago Reserve. Gustavo Giron-Marulanda’s precision free-kick after 64 minutes had Bayswater in the box seat before the visitors kicked into action with a trio of late goals from Mark Pritchard, Benny Kovaoio and David Heagney. “I am pleased for the players and all involved that a season of hard work has paid off with a Grand Final appearance,” said Floreat boss Chris Barbas. “Even after going a goal down today, we persisted with our game plan and were able to break down what was high quality opposition.”
Floreat started with positive intentions and with only 4 minutes on the clock Kovaoio worked his way through the defence only to be thwarted by Gianni Papalia’s sharp reflexes. Unfortunately, the remainder of the half failed to live up to this standard with very few other genuine goal scoring opportunities created at either end of the park. Some promising moves came from both midfields, however, on each occasion these were met by a solid backline who had no desire to be breached. The only other opening of note came on the half hour when Patrick Quinn weaved down the right and played a centring pass to Giron-Marulanda, who uncharacteristically lifted over the crossbar.
There was little difference to the overall flow of play after the break, neither team giving so much as an inch. All that changed on 64 minutes when a Bobby Wilson foul gave Bayswater a free-kick outside the 18-yard box, up stepped Giron-Marulanda to swing the ball over the defensive wall and into the top corner with Brad Effie motionless. In the minutes that followed Cisco Jorquera’s centre was just beyond the reach of Quinn, and a spectacular Giron-Marulanda volley on the run fizzed just wide. But the next goal came at the other end with Pritchard making no mistake from the penalty spot after Wilson was fouled on 76 minutes.
In a tense finish it was Floreat that took the upper hand on 88 minutes, Vincent Sweeney drawing the defence and slipping into the path of Kovaoio who, from the corner of the area, shot across Papalia and inside the far post. Bayswater coach Mauro Marchione responded by bringing on Damian Catalano, Ross Cosgrove and Cesar Gonzales, the latter going close to grabbing a stoppage time equaliser with his diving header. With Bayswater committing men forward, Floreat struck on the counter attack with Heagney side-footing past Papalia after the ‘keeper blocked an initial chip shot.
Bayswater City: Gianni Papalia, Patrick Quinn, John Kearney, Andy Reale, Luka Njegich (Ross Cosgrave 89), Thomas Gooding (Cesar Gonzales 89), Steve Turnbull, Paul McCarthy, David Sesay (Damian Catalano 89), Cisco Jorquera, Gustavo Giron-Marulanda
Floreat Athena: Brad Effie, Jack Allen, Bobby Wilson, Jarrad Smith, Mikey Roberts (Vincent Sweeney 75), Matt Spurling, Mark Pritchard, Jon Brooks, Callum Franz, David Heagney, Benny Kovaoio
Bookings: Pritchard (34), Jorquera (47), Wilson (63), Reale (78), Kovaoio (88)
Referee: Michal Jasinski
GOING UP… COCKBURN!
Cockburn City will return to the Premier League following this afternoon’s 4-1 thumping of Dianella White Eagles at Dianella Reserve. An attacking start by Cockburn was rewarded when Paul Natale launched a long throw to Paul Lloyd, who turned his marker to fire past the goalkeeper at his near post. Quality lead-up work by Marc Anthony and Conor Kavanagh presented chances for Lloyd, Devon Gibson and Natale to extend Cockburn’s lead. That pressure paid off on the half hour when Lloyd’s cross was brilliantly volleyed by Eamon McNelis into the back of the net. With the half drawing to a close Damon Kalamaras pulled a goal back to give the visitors a few things to think about at the break.
A Cockburn was one step close on 55 minutes when Gibson headed in goal number three from a Lloyd corner. Although the game was slipping away Dianella refused to give up hope with the visitors Dejan Aleksic the busier of the ‘keepers. Substitute Harry O’Brien put the result beyond doubt by netting on the end of an exquisite series of passes. There was still time for Cockburn to fashion one more chance which Brendan Teerling, who had also come off the bench, skewed wide with only the ‘keeper to beat. The sound of the final was followed soon after by confirmation Mandurah had failed to take the points over Ashfield, news which signalled the start of wild celebrations amongst Cockburn players and supporters.
MIKULIC SMASHES MANDURAH’S PROMOTION DREAM
Branimir Mikulic struck late to earn Ashfield a point from their final game, a 3-3 draw with Mandurah City at Hyundai Stadium. The result may have been welcomed by Ashfield, whose fourth placing is their best in five years, but it ended Mandurah’s chances of finishing top of the table. Mandurah set their sail early with Michael Grigo punishing some sloppy defending by heading in a near post cross with only 7 minutes gone. Ashfield worked hard to get back on level terms by in the 24th minute conceded a second goal with Oliver McGee sending the ball past goalkeeper John Perkins.
Ashfield’s day appeared to take a turn for the worse minutes into the second half when Perkins was stretchered from the field with a leg injury as a result of the collision with McGee. But instead of surrendering, the visiting team rallied to pull a goal back in the 55th minute via Mikulic. 16-year old ‘keeper Danial Forbes, who was playing his third game of the day, ensured Mandurah didn’t regain the lead with a tidy save from Craig Tone. Alex Stamatiadis gave Ashfield hope of ending the season on a high with a venomous close-range header from Karl O’Reilly’s 68th minute right wing cross.
Mandurah pushed straight back into attack and five minutes later re-took the lead, Tone expertly going past a couple of defenders then the ‘keeper to tuck into the net. Ashfield had no intension of finishing the season with a loss but could find no way past Phil Straker. That was until the 87th minute when an error by the Mandurah custodian put the ball at the feet of Mikulic, who advanced through a small crowd before putting a measured shot in the back of the net. Mandurah worked furiously in stoppage time to find a winning goal but hadn’t factored in Forbes, who saved twice more to end the Dolphins promotion hopes.
CREER LEAVES WANNEROO FRUSTRATED
Wanneroo City had nothing to show for an afternoon’s dominance, held to a 0-0 draw by Gosnells City at Walter Padbury Reserve. The day could not have started much worse for the visiting team who lost defenders Ross Edwards and Glen Moore to injury inside the first 5 minutes. Despite the setbacks, Wanneroo did much of the first half attacking with shots from Garin Collins, Mamadou Ndiaya and Jason Marsden kept out of the net by Allan Creer. It was a similar story after the turnaround, the Gosnells custodian saving further attempts to break the deadlock from Josh Booysen, Ndiaya, Collins and Lewis Hall to ensure things finished level at the end of 90 minutes.
SWAN MAKE HARD WORK OF THE THREE POINTS
Swan United extended their unbeaten run to five games with a 4-2 come-from-behind defeat of Fremantle Spirit at the Swan Italian Club. It took the black and whites only 3 minutes to open their account through Chris Atkinson’s shot from 20-metres. Atkinson should have further added to Swan’s lead but sent his close-range strike straight at goalkeeper Elhoussaine Atekhis. That miss was punished on 17 minutes when Sean Treacey equalised with a long-range shot. The game could have been over by the break had Swan been able to make more of a slew of chances that came the way of John Monterosso, Luke Colli and Mark Miraudo.
It appeared this wasn’t going to be Swan’s day as Mick Italiano and John Monterosso squandered further chances in the second half. So it was against the run of play that Fremantle edged in front via a converted penalty awarded for handball by Danny Clapham. The home side finally got the goal they were after on 71 minutes with Brendan Knox levelling at close-range. Four minutes later John Monterosso cut the ball back for substitute Trent Wood to make it three-two. John Monterosso twice placed wide of the target before netting his second goal a minute from the end of regulation time. The three points gained keep Swan in fifth spot, ahead of Shamrock Rovers on goal difference.
SHAMROCK RUN ALL OVER ROCKINGHAM
Shamrock Rovers consolidated sixth spot with a resounding 5-2 triumph over Rockingham City at Ashfield Reserve. Much of the early running came from Rockingham, Lance Louvie heading against the crossbar before a ferocious long-range strike by Marco Dos Santos was tipped over the 17-year old Fraser Greenwood. Shamrock eventually settled to take a 28th minute lead through captain Barry Triggs, who glanced in a Will Pender cross. Jacob Gordon increased the gap with a powerful half-volley after meeting a centre by Brian Farrell, who was also provider for Pender to put away goal number three.
David Clark gave Rockingham a glimmer of hope with a delightful curling effort from outside the 18-yard box after meeting a Ryan Kennedy lay off. But Shamrock were having none of it, teenager Alex McInerney returning a partially cleared corner back into the danger zone where Farrell’s stunning scissor kick restored the three-goal buffer. The result was made safe soon after with Quinn again the provider for Pender to head into the net. Clark grabbed Rockingham a late consolation by converting from the penalty spot after Greenwood clumsily felled Thabiso Ncube.
ONE EACH FOR MORLEY AND CANNING
The points were shared at Wotton Reserve with Morley Windmills and Canning City playing out an entertaining 2-2 draw. After taking their time to settle Canning asserted the greater influence in the middle of the park to control the first half. Livewire attacker Daniel Trevisiol slotted the opening goal past goalkeeper Grant Herd after being found unmarked inside the 18-yard box. Canning’s lead was doubled on 31 minutes when Trevisiol motored onto a defence splitting pass which he slotted into the net. Morley had Herd to thank that the half-time difference wasn’t greater, the ‘keeper saving well to thwart Michael Lawson.
Trevisiol could have had his hat-trick four minutes after the break but missed the target from 12-metres. Morley finally kicked into action and two minutes later Jimmy McPhail found Andy Griffiths, who turned brilliantly on the penalty spot to drive into the net. It took only until the 61st minute for parity to be restored, McPhail beating two opponents to go inside the 18-yard box before placing under the ‘keeper. The momentum was now well and truly with the home side. Scott Campbell picked out Luke O’Neill but his shot was wide, while Griffiths hit the post after meeting David Houston’s flick. The final play of the afternoon had an alert Herd diffuse a dangerous situation at the other end of the ground.
FEELY STARS AS UWA SCORE EIGHT
UWA-Nedlands continued its dominance of Division Two with a comprehensive 8-1 thrashing of Melville City at McGilvray Oval. Rory Feely scored four goals and set-up two others on a day James PLowman also netted twice with Roberto Lujan and Steve Purton also amongst the scorers. Feely snared the opening goal after Lujan’s shot on the run was blocked by the goalkeeper. That lead was added to on 4 minutes when Plowman netted from close-range after being set-up by Guy Clark. Feely’s fierce shot on 26 minutes burst the back of the net after being picked out at the far post by Plowman. Lujan then added his name to the scorers by intercepting possession and dispatching the ball into the far corner from 13-metres.
Melville made an encouraging start to the second half, Simon El Chami beating the defence and placing clinically into the far corner of Gavin Doran’s net. Feely completed a deserved hat-trick on 68 minutes after being teed-up by captain Purton for a five-one lead. The margin really blew out in the final eight minutes with UWA pilling on three further goals. Feely turned provided by playing through for Purton to run on and smash past the ‘keeper. A superb 30-metre pass by Purton over the defence on 87 minutes was chested down by Feely before the striker converted for the fourth time. The final whistle wasn’t far away when Feely send through Plowman to round the ‘keeper and tap in the games’ final goal.
HAMILTON UPSETS SUBIACO
A second half strike from young gun Gareth Hamilton was enough to give Quinns their second win of the season over second-from-top Subiaco AFC at Rosalie Park. With key players absent from both line-ups, first half was evenly shared with Subiaco creating the better chances on goal. Frank Galvin and Scott Wrightson were unlucky not to open the scoring with shots that crashed off the frame of Adam Bowers’ goal. Quinns adoption of playing the ball long was rewarded fourteen minutes into the second half when an attempted clearance sat nicely for Hamilton to lash into the roof of the net from 13-metres. A stunned Subiaco side were straight back on the attack but, despite applying some intense pressure on their opponents, were unable to find the goal they so desperately craved.
KINGSWAY END ON A HIGH
Kingsway Olympic closed out an otherwise disappointing season by defeating Joondalup City 2-1 at Iluka Sports Complex. The visitor’s dominance of the opening spell was rewarded when Nick Lowe’s shot deflected off a defender to wrong-foot goalkeeper. It was only now that Joondalup sparked into life and just after the half hour Mark Thorton tucked into an open net after Ben Towers parried Lucais King’s initial shot. Second half possession was more evenly distributed with both teams guilty of wasteful finishing. The decider arrived just minutes from the end when substitute Liam Hurley set-up teenager Yatin Panar, who finished well at the front post.
GLORY MAUL MELBOURNE
Perth Glory completed their pre-season schedule with a stunning 5-0 win over Melbourne Heart at Epping Stadium in Melbourne. New Zealand international Shane Smeltz scored twice in the first half with captain Jacob Burns, young gun Jesse Makarounas and Japanese triallist Ryo Nagai also on the score sheet. “It was a fantastic performance,” coach Ian Ferguson said. “To get two wins in four days over Melbourne Victory and Heart is very pleasing, I’m delighted … Now we need to carry this form into the first game of the season against Brisbane Roar.”
Smeltz opened the scoring on 10 minutes from the penalty spot before spectacularly adding a second, striking cleaning into the net from the top of the 18-yard box from a Nagai cross. The game was effectively over by half-time with Burns putting away Glory’s third goal only minutes out from the break. Ferguson rotated his squad in the second half but the goals continued to flow. Makarounas further increased the gap and only three minutes later Nagai bagged the fifth and final goal of the afternoon. From 10 pre-season outings Glory have claimed nine victories, their only loss being the first game of the South African tour.
MAJOR SEMI-FINAL PREVIEW: BAYSWATER CITY V FLOREAT ATHENA
Regular season winners Bayswater City kick back into with a Major Semi-Final meeting against Floreat Athena tomorrow. Refreshed from a weeks’ break, defender John Kearney says Bayswater won’t be satisfied until they have their hands on the finals series trophy. “It was a great feeling to win the league title, that was one of our goals at the start of the year. But getting to the Grand Final and winning that trophy is our main aim,” commented Kearney. “Floreat are a very strong team that will come to Bayswater full of confidence after their brilliant win against Sorrento … it should make for a fantastic game.”
Midfielder Jon Brooks is hopeful of retaining his place in the Floreat line-up. “It will be very tough for the gaffer (Chris Barbas) to not only pick his starting eleven but also the match day squad. We have quality and depth for this week and I think that might play a huge part in the final result,” Brooks said. “Bayswater have a great side and will be very tough to beat on their turf, but I’m confident that if we play like we did last week we will win the game.” Bayswater City and Floreat Athena meet from 2.30pm tomorrow at Frank Drago Reserve.
MINOR SEMI-FINAL PREVIEW: SORRENTO V PERTH SC
Season 2012 will come to an end for either Sorrento or Perth SC following the Minor Semi-Final showdown under lights in the northern suburbs. Sorrento attacker John Mirco finished on the losing team in both regular season meetings with Perth but expects that to change on Saturday. “Perth has had the wood over us this season but with finals football anything can happen,” said Mirco, whose team have been bolstered by the return of Todd Harnwell, Reece Vittiglia, Jason Mirco and Danny Cain. “Personally, I’m hoping that this will not be my last game as I will be retiring at the end of the season.”
Perth defender Shaun Kilkelly says his teams’ record against Sorrento this year means nothing. “We have beaten them twice in the league but finals are different,” said Kilkelly, whose team knocked out Inglewood United last time out. “Sorrento are coming off two defeats and we coming in with two wins, hopefully we can produce another good win. We’ve trained hard this week and the squad looks good, we’ve a couple of niggling injuries.” Amongst those battling injury is Antonio Naglieri, who could miss the game with a hamstring strain. Sorrento and Perth SC locks horns from 6.00pm tomorrow Percy Doyle Reserve.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Ashfield are out to extend their unbeaten run and in the process end Mandurah City’s title hopes when they venture to Hyundai Stadium. “We will be looking to make it six games unbeaten and finish the season strongly,” said Ashfield boss Matt Carruthers, who has influential midfielder Daryl Warren back in contention. “It’s all about taking that momentum and building on it for 2013.” Mandurah’s hopes of closing the two point gap on top-of-the-table Cockburn City have been received a massive boost with the return of Phil Straker, Michael Grigo and Craig Young.
Cockburn will be without defender Euan Grant (suspension) when they travel to Dianella White Eagles. Youngsters Mamadou Ndiaya and Jamie Maxwell have retained their places in Wanneroo City’s squad for the trip to Gosnells City. Rory Mouttett and Trent Wood return in time for Swan United’s home encounter with Fremantle Spirit. Shamrock Rovers are expected to take the points over Rockingham City at Ashfield Reserve. There’ll be some notable absences from the Morley Windmills and Canning City line-up, amongst them Andy O’Neill and Steve Grant, for the game at Wotton Reserve. All six Division One games kick-off on Saturday at 3.00pm.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW
Subiaco AFC will need to be on top of their game to get the better of an improving Quinns outfit at Rosalie Park. The absence of Barry Hurd has been offset by Jake Welton’s return for the home side, while Quinns go into Saturday afternoon minus key duo Shane McEntaggart and Aaron Maplestone. Michael Jennings and Simon El Chami have their hands up for selection when Melville City takes on UWA-Nedlands at McGilvray Oval. Suspension will prevent Sam Hall and Danny Beattie from playing any part in Joondalup City’s home clash with Kingsway Olympic. All three Division Two games kick-off on Saturday at 3.00pm.
OLIVEIRA PLANS FOR A GRANDSTAND FINISH
Perth SC striker Andres Oliveira is hoping to bow out of State League football with another State Champions medal. The diminutive 31-year-old recently broke the news to team mates that he’d be hanging up his goal scoring boots for the last time come the end of Perth’s 2012 finals campaign. “I’ve had a great career in the game,” said Oliveira, scorer of in excess of 150 goals over the past 12 years. “The decision to pull the pin was difficult but for the first time in my career I’ve been mentally exhausted, and injuries over the last two seasons haven’t helped.”
Oliveira’s chances of ending his playing days on a high were boosted with last weekend’s Elimination Final defeat of Inglewood United. “It was a great win for the team as it lifted our spirits and confidence,” said Oliveira, who was a key figure on the day. It looked as though Perth were home and hosed when Oliveira added a second goal to Liam Boland’s opener on the hour but Inglewood rallied late before eventually succumbing 2-1. “We deserved the win, Inglewood were lucky we didn’t score more goals but at the end our experienced played a major part.”
Raised in Chile and fresh from a spell with Spanish side Lalin, Oliveira announced himself on the local scene by netting 19 times in 2001. By the end of his second season he’d twice travelled to France with the State Under-19 side, made his senior State debut against South Australia and collected Perth’s Fairest and Best award, a trophy he shared with defender Perry Ielati. A couple of years at Floreat Athena brought further State honours, including the 2003 glamour fixture against the Iraq national team, before a return to Dorrien Gardens for season 2005.
The following year Oliveira, Dino Djulbic and Antonio Naglieri headed east in search of a new challenge. After initially playing for Frankston Pines the trio joined South Melbourne where their efforts were crucial in the club winning the Victorian championship. The livewire striker moved back to Perth in 2007 and, barring injury, has been a mainstay of the line-up since. In addition to the multitude of winners’ medals he’s collected, Oliveira has represented the State on five occasions and gained footballwa.net All-Stars selection five times.
Over the years Oliveira has played alongside some of the true greats of the local game. So when asked which team mates, past or present, made the biggest impression it was no surprise he hesitated before answering. “You could tell why Gianfranco Circati played professionally for 15 plus years through his technique, reading of the game and dedication,” said Oliveira. “What can I say about Antonio Naglieri that people don’t already know, his skills and technique made me look good. And then there is my partner in crime, David Onoforo, with his intelligent runs and technique to score goals.”
Oliveira says it was a great honour to play for Graham Normanton, undoubtedly one of the State League’s greatest ever coaches. “Normo deserves all the success he has as a coach,” said the striker, who figured in the vast majority of the 22 trophies Normanton returned to Dorrien Gardens, amongst them the State Champions crowns of 2002, 2005, 2009 and 2010, over a 12 year period. “One thing that brought him success is that he was always honest, no matter what the situation was, and the players respected him as a coach and a person.”
If Perth are to provide Oliveira a fitting end to a remarkable career then they’ll need to get the better of Sorrento on Saturday evening. “We did beat them twice during the year but that doesn’t mean anything. We learnt that the hard way in last years’ Cup Final,” said Oliveira, who is well aware of Sorrento’s strengths. “I have a lot of respect for Paul Price’s side, they are a team full of great players and they know how to win.” Perth takes on Sorrento in the Elimination Final from 6.00pm on Saturday Percy Doyle Reserve.
SHAMROCK A SECOND HOME TO BYRNE
Import striker Ciaran Byrne has absolutely no regrets about leaving family and friends behind in Ireland to play football Shamrock Rovers. Byrne has been blown away by the warm welcome he has received from the Division One club, going so far as to say it feels as though he hasn’t left home. “Shamrock Rovers are a great club and have done everything for me since I arrived at the airport in May,” Byrne commented. “They have helped me in many ways, it’s like I never left home. It really is a great club to be at and I love being a Shamrock Rovers player.”
In return Byrne has provided a swag of goals for Shamrock. A goal on debut against Swan United, only days after stepping off the plane, heralded the start of a nine-game run in which the talented 19-year old netted 14 times. “I’ve been very happy how things have gone this year rovers on the pitch,” said Byrne, whose habit of finding the net was vital in Shamrock’s seven-game mid-season unbeaten streak which transformed their campaign. “We had a bad start but we pushed on to get through it and we’ve been great since.”
Byrne is the first player to join Shamrock under the terms of an agreement they have with their namesake club in Dublin. “I came to Perth on a deal between Rovers Dublin and Rovers Perth, I am the first player to do this but I won’t be the last,” explained the striker. “I came here to get more experience on the pitch as much off the pitch. I love Perth, it’s a great place and I would love to stay here. I’m working on getting a sponsor and I hope I’m successful in doing that.”
Byrne played youth football for St Joseph’s Boys AFC before being picked up by Shamrock in 2009. He says playing in the State League has taken some getting used to. “Football back home is faster and a lot more intense,” explained Byrne, who has represented the Republic of Ireland on three occasions at youth level and collected a League of Ireland winners’ medal with Shamrock in 2011. “I’ve found it hard playing in the sun over here and it’s tough at times as there are a few big centre backs around the places.”
Unfortunately Byrne’s season came to a premature end with last weekend’s 1-0 loss to top-of-the-table Cockburn City. “It was always going to be a tough game, Cockburn play great football and have really good players. We gave them loads of time on the ball in the first half and they got a soft goal. Our second half was a lot better but we didn’t take our chances,” said Byrne, who was red carded on the hour following a tussle with Euan Grant. “I was trying to keep my balance after a tackle and as I was falling backwards I accidentally stood on his leg, it was a very soft red.”
The season may be over for Byrne but he is already looking ahead to 2013, when he’ll be joined by a couple more players from Dublin. “I want to be the best player I can and I’ll need to work hard to achieve that. I would love to trial with Perth Glory to see how far I am away from their standard,” he said. “But first I need to find a sponsor so I can play here for longer. After that I’ll be working hard on my football, enjoying the sun and generally having a good time in Australia … I really like it here.”
USA MAKE IT TWO FROM TWO AGAINST MATILDAS
The United State of American has made a clean sweep of their two-game friendly series with Australia by claiming a 6-2 win at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Denver. Although Lisa De Vanna and Sarah Walsh found the net it wasn’t enough as the host nation piled on four unanswered second half goals to run out comfortable winners. “We got ourselves in front and were really, really pleased with how we played in the first 45 (minutes),” said coach Tom Sermanni. “The second 45, I think you saw the difference between a team at it’s peak, very mature and battle hardened against our team (which is) in the very early stages of its preparation.”
The hosts opened the scoring after 25 minutes when Heather O’Reilly’s shot deflected into the net off defender Servet Uzunlar. De Vanna equaliser after 32 minutes, poking in after a superb midfield burst from Clare Polkinghorne. Within minutes Australia had their second with Walsh, in her 71st and final Matildas appearance, placing in from a De Vanna cross only to have Alex Morgan restore parity before the break. On 53 minutes Morgan’s long-range strike ballooned up off Abby Wambach and into the back of the net. Morgan grabbed herself a second goal before Shannon Boxx and Sidney Leroux sealed the win. De Vanna played a full game, Collette McCallum was replaced after 61 minutes while Samantha Kerr was an unused substitute.
ALL THE NEWS IS GOOD FROM GLORY
With the new A-League season fast approaching Peter Simcox sat down with Perth Glory’s media man Steve Nelkovski to discuss how the club are tracking. The 2012/13 season commences for Glory with a 7 October Grand Final rematch against Brisbane Roar, a game everyone associated with the club is eagerly anticipating. “What a way to kick off the season!,” said Nelkovski. “It’s a massive match and one we’d love to see 20,000 attend. A new commercial will launch this week on Fox Sports and then the following week on Channel 7. It’s powerful and gets you fired up.”
Nelkovski is also excited by some quality additions to the Glory squad. “Michael Thwaite is one of the best defenders in the competition, his ability to play the ball out of defence is very classy. Scott Jamieson arrives with a wealth of experience for a 23-year old, he’s already played 97 A-League games while Nick Ward we all know very well,” he said. “The young players all provide excitement. Adrian Zahra and Chris Harold have also joined us, while Jesse Makarounas and Brandon O’Neill both starred when we beat Melbourne Victory at home last season.”
After leading Glory to last seasons’ Grand Final, where Brisbane triumphed in stoppage time, coach Ian Ferguson and chairman Tony Sage are committed to taking the club one step further. “Ian was fantastic last season, he was right with his prediction that the team would click around Christmas and he was spot on. A lot of people forget the amount of away games we had in the first three months,” said Nelkovski. “The chairman’s investment has been massive. Without Tony Sage there is no Perth Glory. Remember he came into this project with two other partners and has not walked away.”
Nelkovski has shown a similar devotion to the game, his passion stemming back to his childhood. “I was a little Kingsway Olympic hooligan growing up and still love that club with all my heart,” Nelkovski explained. “I was a left-back and played with James Afkos, Chris Coyne, Jamie Harnwell and Michael Garcia. I lived at that club six days a week and used to have photos of my hero’s from the senior team on my wall … Roy Jones, the towering left back and the super-cool man in goals, Johnny Alavakis, were my two favourites.”
This summer Glory’s traditional home of Perth Oval is undergoing redeveloped to lift the venue’s capacity to 20,500. This has prompted the club to move the opening round showdown with Brisbane, along with December’s game with Western Sydney Wanderers. “We did look at other options and hence we have two games at Subiaco Oval,” explained Nelkovski. “We will be very interested to see how both of those games feature with our initiative to bring the fans closer to the action. Paterson’s Stadium will also give the fans a brilliant match day experience that we’ll reveal in the next week.”
And although the capacity of Perth Oval has been reduced to around 9,500 for this summer, sales of Glory memberships have remained strong. “Memberships having been going extremely well and we only have 400 seats remaining for sale,” Nelkovski said. “I would like to thank all our members this season for their patience with our membership drive. Because of the redevelopment we have had to relocate a lot of our loyal members. This process has taken time and everyone has been fantastic under difficult circumstances.”
Glory has copped their fair share of criticism in recent times over their lack of engagement with the grassroots of West Australian football. Nelkovski feels there has been a frosty of relationships with the State League clubs thanks in no small part to the strengthening of ties with Football West. “I work closely with Chris Correia at Football West through all their media and marketing initiatives and feel we are getting some really great cross-promotion through Football 360, Beyond 90 and One Touch,” Nelkovski commented.
Media relations across the A-League have come a long way in the past few years with Football Federation Australia slowly relinquishing some of the control back to the clubs. “I certainly understand and appreciate why the FFA initially had control over certain properties,” said Nelkovski, who considers the greater autonomy granted to the clubs a big step in the right direction. “With the league starting to establish itself, more of these properties will be given back to clubs and this will allow us to grow even further.”
TODARO STEERS JOONDALUP TO SAFETY
ECU Joondalup spent the winter at the wrong end of the Premier League table before a late surge jumped them to a respectable final placing of eighth. Coach Salv Todaro praised the way his players for stuck to their guns to produce some of the best football played in the State League. “Some of the football we played was exceptional, and in the last third of the season we reaped the rewards by achieving the results that we deserved,” said Todaro. “We were actually the form side of the competition for the last five weeks of the season.”
Todaro, who was appointed four weeks into the season, plans for Joondalup to carry that form over in into 2013. “It’s a bit early to predict what will happen next year but we have shown we can match it with any side in the league,” he said. “This year we were behind all the other teams in our preparation, however, the players worked extremely hard both in training and our games. And now having been together for the majority of this season, plus with a good pre-season we will be looking at making a more positive start next year.”
The catalyst for Joondalup’s form reversal was late June’s 9-1 thrashing at Floreat Athena. “In the first 20 minutes I thought we were the better side, and if we had been a bit more composed in front of goals we could have been two-nil up,” Todaro explained. “However, a defensive mix-up gifted them a goal then they went on a goal scoring frenzy for 25 minutes, having two players sent off didn’t help our cause either. The second half set the scene for the rest of the season, the boys worked their collective butts off, the work ethic and intensity was set.”
Todaro remembers with great fondness the next time Joondalup stepped onto the park. “The following week we came out and beat Bayswater City – that’s the beauty of our beautiful game,” said Todaro, who ranks the 5-3 win at Perth SC as possibly their best. “We were excellent – not many teams go Dorrien Gardens and score five goals against the reigning Champions! It was a must-win game for teams – us so we didn’t get dragged back into the relegation fight and Perth as they were fighting for a top five spot. It was an exciting game with good passages of play and some well worked goals.”
The efforts of several players were singled out by Todaro. “Dale McCulloch had an excellent season leading the team by example,” commented the coach. “Jon Higgins had a great second half of the season after he came back from holidays and was probably the catalyst for some of the football that we played. David Foster scored 15 goals for a side that spent nine weeks on the bottom the ladder, while Tommy Jones played in almost every position for us this year and always played his heart out.”
Joondalup’s under-18 team finished at the top of their league with Todaro earmarking several players for the step up next year. “Our 18’s are a very talented group of players, it was a pleasure to watch some of the football that they played this year and they deservedly won the league,” said Todaro. “We had Jack Oldham and Harry Hawkins on the bench for our last game of the season and I look forward to bringing them into the first team scene next year. And there are others that have the potential to also move into the senior squad.”
GLORY CLAIM VICTORY IN MELBOURNE
Perth Glory stepped up their pre-season by defeating A-League rivals Melbourne Victory 2-1 in this afternoon’s behind closed doors friendly at AMMI Park in Melbourne. Nick Ward and Billy Mehmet were on target for a Glory lime-up missing regulars Shane Smeltz, Liam Miller, Dean Heffernan, Steven McGarry and Bas van den Brink. “Today was a good test of our depth and the young players did well,” coach Ian Ferguson said. “Nick Ward was outstanding. Today he reminded me of the player he was when he was playing in the A-League every week. He was everywhere, winning tackles, screening and also complemented Jacob Burns.”
In their first warm-up game against A-League opposition, Glory went in front after just 10 minutes when Ward seized on a loose ball to fire past goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas from 25-metres. That lead was doubled in the 37th minute when Ryo Nagai was fouled inside the 18-yard box by Guilherme Finkler and from the spot Mehmet sent Thomas the wrong way. Three minutes later Just three minutes later the hosts were awarded a penalty of their own following a foul on Flores, who picked himself up to score past Danny Vukovic. Glory’s next outing is against Melbourne Heart on Saturday evening.
HOME START FOR GLORY WOMEN
Perth Glory Women coach Jamie Harnwell is pleased with his teams draw for the coming season. The expanded 2012/13 W-League season will feature newcomers Western Sydney Wanderers, whose addition takes the competition to a 12-game home and away series. Glory Women’s campaign kicks off with successive home fixtures against Melbourne Victory (21 October) and Adelaide United (27 October). “For Perth Glory the season draw is a good one for us to try and get off to a fast start with two home games,” Harnwell commented following today’s release of the draw by Football Federation Australia.
Harnwell is planning on his team making a strong start as he goes about reviving the fortunes of Glory Women, who last season collected just two wins from ten games. “We have a lot to prove to our supporters this year and hopefully the home games against Melbourne Victory and then Adelaide United will allow us to showcase the improvements the team will have made from last season,” said the coach. “Melbourne will be a tough game as always, even without Vicky Linton in charge. They have had a very settled line up for a number of seasons and will be a big threat.”
The new season Glory Women squad assembles for the first time next week under the watchful eye of Harnwell and his assistant Jessine Bonzas. “Preparations will begin in earnest next week as we count down to the season with nearly all of our squad due in Perth over the next two weeks, giving us some time to gel together and hopefully giving Glory its best season in the W-League.” Glory Women wil head into 2012/13 without Matilda’s striker Samantha Kerr (Sydney FC), goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold (Canberra United), long-time captain Tanya Oxtoby and English midfielder Katie Holtham (both Doncaster Rovers Belles).
FERGUSON LOOKS FORWARD TO MELBOURNE TEST
Ian Ferguson has labelled Perth Glory’s five day pre-season trip to Melbourne a “real test” of his teams’ mettle. Glory jetted east today to play Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Heart with Ferguson rating the two friendlies as the ideal preparation for next months’ A-League season opener against Brisbane Roar. “We’ve been away to South Africa and had some great games against State League sides and now we’ve got the real test against A-League opposition,” Ferguson said. “We’ve got three weeks to go until we play Brisbane Roar so I’m really looking forward to these games.”
With the Grand Final rematch against Brisbane less than three weeks away, Ferguson said he’s been pleased with the pre-season. “It’s been a long break, with a lot of time to reflect but everyone has worked hard and we still have a few things that we’ll work on,” said the Glory boss. Star midfielder Liam Miller did not travel to Melbourne because of a sore back while Chris Harold and Evan Berger were also ruled out as they return to full fitness. “At this stage of the pre-season we didn’t want to take any risks with Liam or any of the players,” Ferguson added.
USA COME FROM BEHIND TO DOWN MATILDAS
The Matildas put in an outstanding shift but ultimately were out-classed by world number one the United States of America 2-1 in front of a full house at the Home Depot Center in California. Lisa De Vanna put Australia one-nil up in the first half only for Alex Morgan and Shannon Boxx to secured victory for the hosts after the interval. “I was really delighted with how the players played, with how they kept to the principles that we’re trying to instill in them and how we want to play,” said Matildas coach Tom Sermanni, who started the game with teenagers started and finished it with eight.”
Strike partners Sarah Walsh and Katie Gill had numerous chances to put Australia in front before De Vanna showed tremendous strength and speed in charging down on goal and slipping her shot past goalkeeper Hope Solo. The hosts approached the second stanza with renewed vigour with Morgan producing a classy finish to restore parity ten minutes after the break. Substitute Boxx converted a penalty shortly after the hour mark to give the United States the win. De Vanna played a full game, Samantha Kerr entered the action in the 51st minute while Collette McCallum was replaced after 71 minutes.
FLOREAT A CLASS ABOVE (with George Tsadilas, Football West)
A couple of second half strikes have seen Floreat Athena score a come-from-behind 3-1 victory over Sorrento in this afternoon’s Qualifying Final at Litis Stadium. Mark Pritchard, Benny Kovavio and Ludovic Boi were on target to negate the games’ opening goal scored by Johny Mirco. “It was pleasing that the boys stuck to the game plan to play how we wanted to play and come away with the victory,” said Floreat coach Chris Barbas, who team face Bayswater City in next weekend’s semi-finals. The other round of four fixture has Sorrento at home to Perth SC.
Floreat announced their intentions early with David Heagney forcing Curtis Aspden into a scrambling save after only 4 minutes. Moments later Aspden scuffed a free-kick straight to Heagney whose attempted lob into an open goal sailed over the crossbar. A string of opportunities then cascaded the hosts way but Boi, Heagney and Kovaoio were thwarted by some desperate defending and Aspden’s good positioning. It took until the half hour for Sorrento to fashion an opening through a flighted free-kick which Steve McDonald nodded towards the top corner only to have Brad Effie save at full-stretch.
It was looking as through the half would finish scoreless when Sorrento grabbed the lead with their second attack of the afternoon, James Morgan’s deep cross was cleverly headed on by Gavin Knight for Mirco to slam past Eiffe. However, that lead lasted just four minutes before Mickey Roberts danced his way down the right and delivered a low cross into the path of Boi, who guided the ball past Aspden. Neither team intended entering the break on level terms and, despite the warm conditions, pushed for a second goal without success.
Floreat emerged from the break with renewed vigour. Pritchard brought a low save from Aspden, Heagney volleyed over the top from close-range and Kovaoio should have done better than push wide from a couple of metres. Their persistence was rewarded on 50 minutes when Pritchard played in Kovaoio who held his nerve to slot past Aspden to make it advantage Floreat. The lead was added to on 67 minutes, Kovaoio holding the ball up on top of the 18-yard box before playing into the path of Pritchard whose first time strike curled beyond the ‘keeper reach on its way into the far corner.
Now chasing the game, Sorrento began launching long balls into their attacking third final in the hope of finding McDonald or Jamie Harnwell. On 74 minutes Harnwell got his head on one such move but the home defence somehow cleared off the line. But otherwise the long ball approach failed to pay dividends with Bobby Wilson and his fellow defenders equal to the task. In the final minutes Floreat threatened to score a fourth with Roberts, Kovaoio and Jon Brooks all getting into good positions but unable to convert, while Sorrento’s solitary opening came the way of Harnwell.
Floreat Athena: Brad Effie, Jack Allen, Matt Spurling, Jarrad Smith, Mark Pritchard, David Heagney, Mikey Roberts, Bobby Wilson, Benny Kovaoio, Ludovic Boi (Jon Brooks 44), Callum Fransz
Sorrento: Curtis Aspden, Michael Aspden, Darryl Platten, James Morgan, Brodie Martin, Stuart Montgomery (Joe Allanson 67), Steve McDonald, Jamie Harnwell, Gavin Knight (Wesley Padley 86)
Bookings: Platten (78), Morgan (90)
CONSISTENCY IS THE KEY: BURNS
Perth Glory must build on last season’s success if they are to become a feared team in the A- League according to Jacob Burns. The team captain emphasised the importance of again challenging for the top honours to send a message to the clubs’ rivals that the days of Glory struggling near the foot of the table are long gone. “The big thing is being consistent,” said Burns, who guided Glory into last season’s Grand Final where they were beaten by Brisbane Roar. “That’s how you put fear in the opposition, like Central Coast and Brisbane have in the last few years. You always expect them to be in the top three and we want to emulate that – we don’t want to be a flash in the pan.”
PERTH THROUGH DESPITE WASTEFULNESS
Perth SC booked their place in next weekend’s semi-finals by defeating a lacklustre Inglewood United 2-1 in sunny conditions at Intiga Stadium. Liam Boland’s had Perth in front at half-time and when Andres Oliveira added a second on the hour it looked as through the game was over. However, Dannie Richman renewed Inglewood’s spirits and ensured the game remained on edge right up to the final whistle. “In the end a win is a win, however, in future we need to put away our chances,” Perth midfielder Robert Sciascia said. “We played together as a team rather than individuals today and fought for eachother to get the result.”
An encouraging start by Inglewood had them monopolising possession and stretching their opponents by utilising the full width of the park. But the first shot came at the opposite end with Josh Pereira scuffing wide after an exquisite sequence of touches between Boland and Oliveira. Inglewood failed to heed that warning and on the quarter hour another exchange of passes ended with Adam Bachiller being clumsily fouled by Alex Caniglia, referee Paul Anderson pointed straight to the penalty spot from where Liam Boland sent Francis Soale the wrong way for a one-nil lead. The margin could have been increased within minutes but Sciascia lacked power from 14-metres and Greg Sharland’s finish from similar range was wayward.
Perth was now in control and not even the loss of Antonio Naglieri to a hamstring injury could dampen their spirits. Sciascia’s low strike was taken at the second attempt by Soale who, a few minutes later, did well to block an angled attempt by Pereira. David Perich almost snuck Inglewood an equaliser but his header from a James Sammut corner was blocked by Craig Simpson. Soale was called into action almost immediately, back-tracking to claim Boland’s speculative effort from distance under his crossbar. A minute from the break Oliveira slalomed through the defence only to have the ‘keeper spread himself to block the striker’s angled effort.
The second half was only a couple of minutes old when Boland was through with one-on-one with Soale, who narrowed the angled and blocked his opponents shot. Inglewood’s nerves were jangling again soon after when shots in quick succession by Dom De Felice and Oliveira were blocked before Jason Colli smacked the ball to safety. Perth ‘keeper Alex Dunn was called into action for the first time on 52 minutes to safe Jack Clisby’s free-kick. With this Inglewood finally sparked into life. Michael Baczynski poked past the post a delightful centre by Ryan Clarke, who shortly after stung the ‘keeper’s gloves with a crisp shot on the run.
Oliveira punished some hesitant defending in the 61st minute, the attacker allowed and space to advance unchallenged out of midfield before firing low into the corner of Soale’s net from 15-metres. The game looked lost for Inglewood when Clisby’s 77th minute corner was glanced onto the post by Richman, the ball ricocheting into the net via an unfortunate Sciascia. Although Inglewood threw everything into equalising, the closest they would come was an Aleks Jovic header which flashed high from Colli’s delivery. Sharland was unlucky not to seal the win in the 88th minute when his fierce swerving strike smashed into the post.
Inglewood United: Francis Soale, Jason Colli, Ryan Lowry, Jack Clisby, Rikki Smith, Alex Caniglia (Scott Witschge 88), David Perich (Alex Jovic 65), James Sammut, Ryan Clarke, Dannie Richman, Michael Baczynski
Perth SC: Alex Dunn, Trent Kay, Craig Simpson, Shaun Kilkelly, Adam Bachiller, Robert Sciascia, Josh Pereira, Antonio Naglieri (Dom De Felice 21), Greg Sharland, Andres Oliveira (David Onoforo 72), Liam Boland (Daniel Niederberger 88)
Bookings: De Felice (63), Bachiller (93)
Referee: Paul Anderson
COCKBURN SURVIVE SHAMROCK REVIVAL
Cockburn City edged closer to a Premier Division return by prevailing 1-0 from a spirited encounter with Shamrock Rovers at Dalmatinac Park. Devon Gibson’s goal midway through the first half of a fiercely contested game was enough to keep the Cockerels on top of Division One, two points ahead of Mandurah City with only two games to play. “We knew it was going to be a hard game but we should have finished with more than just the one goal,” said Cockburn defender Jason Godfrey. “We have two really big games to come and everyone is focused on what needs to be done.”
Cockburn came out firing to have the ball in the back of the net after 5 minutes, however, Ian Stack’s effort was disallowed for offside. Another Stack shot whistled narrowly wide before Marc Anthony also had a goal ruled out for offside as the pressure mounted on Shamrock. It took a seemingly innocuous cross by Gibson to break the deadlock, goalkeeper Philip Sheil blinded by the sun as the high ball dropped his net. Shamrock chances on goal were few and far between as they battled a well-organised home defence. Half-time was on the horizon when Euan Grant’s powerful header was cleared off the line, denying Cockburn a second goal.
The second half was a totally different story with Shamrock getting a better grip on their passing and movement with Brian Farrell and Cathal Quinn displaying greater composure in the centre. Will Pender and Farrell were denied an avenue to goal by Dejan Aleksic, whose defence was under all the pressure. Shamrock went down a man just before the hour with the dismissal of Ciaran Byrne for his tackle on Grant, who a minute later was also sent from the field for dangerous play in a tackle. The ten men of Shamrock adapted better and although genuine chances were limited the visitors pressed relentlessly for an equaliser which never came.
MANDURAH KEEPS PACE WITH LEADERS
Oliver McGee marked his return to the starting eleven with a brace in Mandurah City’s 4-1 defeat of Forrestfield United at Hartfield Park. The ball had been in motion only 5 minutes when McGee headed past Joel Zappacosta from Adam Evans’ deep cross. An error at the opposite end ten minutes later led to parity being restored after veteran goalkeeper Michael Green failed to take a free-kick which bounced into his net. Scoring added some extra bounce to Forrestfield who got the ball in Green’s net for a second time, however, it would count for little due to an offside flag. Jeff Bright sent Mandurah into the lead on 43 minutes with a blistering strike from the edge of the 18-yard box.
It didn’t take long for Mandurah to fashion another opening after the break, Liam Hurst sent one-on-one with Zappacosta who moved sharply to save his opponents low strike. Forrestfield responded with a period of good possession in which a striker was played through but Green atoned for his earlier mistake with a superb save. The points were wrapped up ten minutes later when Craig Tone swung in a corner which Danny Dyson met at the far post with a flying header to make it three-one. Zappacosta made sure the margin didn’t blow out with a couple of stunning save to thwart Bright and Tone. But there was little he could do on 85 minutes when Matt Stares’ drove the ball across the 6-yard box for McGee to slam in goal number four.
WANNEROO DO ENOUGH, JUST, TO SEE OFF MORLEY
Wanneroo City kept its slim promotion hopes alive by scrapping past Morley Windmills 1-0 at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Glen Moore scored the deciding goal midway through the first half but the outcome could have been very different had Morley been able to make something of their dominance. “We deserved at least a point today and could well have won it,” said Morley captain Mark Grant, whose team secured their place in next year’s Division One despite the loss. “We’re happy to be safe from relegation, but with a bit more luck and better finishing we could be another ten points further on.”
Morley signalled their intentions from the outset, pinning Wanneroo in their defensive half with wave after wave of attack. Andy O’Neill and David Houston had chances to post the games’ opening goal but neither was able to capitalise when the opportunity arose. Wanneroo slowly got into gear with their first opening coming the way of Brian Cairney, who was thwarted in a one-on-one with the goalkeeper. A hopeful lob from 30-metres by Garin Collins cleared the ‘keeper only to drift wide of the upright. The deadlock was broken on 29 minutes when a free kick in the box was met by Ross Edwards, who needed back for Moore to net.
Cairney, Josh Booysen and Collins each had chances to add a second to Wanneroo’s tally after the turnaround. So it was very much against the run of play that Morley were awarded a penalty just after the hour, Andy Griffiths spot kick being touched onto the post by Clint Davies who pounced on the loose to ensure his team maintain the lead. Morley now sparked back into life with Scott Campbell asserting his influence in the middle of the park as Griffiths and Houston harassed the defence endlessly. It seemed only a matter of time before Morley would equalise, however, the closest they’d come was a final minutes Kris Dennis free-kick which hit the post.
FIVE-STAR ASHFIELD HUMBLE FREMANTLE
Ashfield ran out 5-0 winners from a one-sided meeting with Fremantle Spirit at Ashfield Reserve. There were early chances at both ends of the park, Mladen Kovacevic flashing a half-volley wide before Lam Gai’s angled strike was met by the gloves of John Perkins. The opening goal arrived after 11 minutes when Kovacevic won possession in midfield and played a one-time with Karl O’Reilly before blasting into the top corner from 15-metres. The hosts increased their lead in the 31st minute, Mark Donnelly slotting in from 5-metres after Fremantle failed to respond to a Rueben Tristao corner.
A clumsy foul on Alex Stamatiadis seven minutes into the second half led the referee to point to the penalty spot from where Branimir Mikulic made no mistaking taking the difference to three goals. Nathan Tosum added his name to the scoresheet after 70 minutes with tidy side-foot into the bottom corner after being found unmarked by Mikulic’s centring ball. Kovacevic put the icing on the cake with five minutes to play, the striker heading in from a perfectly-weighted corner by team captain Matt Wardle on his return from serious injury.
SWAN TRIUMPH IN BATTLE OF THE BIRDS (courtesy Swan United)
Chris Atkinson put away his fourth goal in three weeks to lead Swan United to a 1-0 victory away at Dianella White Eagles. The game had barely started when the hosts were dealt their first blow, goalkeeper Mat Battigelli stretchered from the field with a quadriceps injury. Despite the setback, Dianella enjoyed the better of early play but rarely looked like breaking through. Swan slowly came into the game and on 22 minutes Chihuro Noda nodded into the net only to be ruled offside. Mark Miraudo chipped onto the crossbar, and just before the break Atkinson lifted over after being played through.
Swan picked up after the break where they left off and on 52 minutes Michael Italiano played in John Monterosso whose cutback was slotted in by Atkinson. Five minutes later Atkinson could have doubled the black and whites lead but blasted high at close-range. Luke Colli pulled wide of the target when faced with only the ‘keeper to beat, the a few minutes later a Rob Monterosso thunderbolt flashed past the post. Dianella were hitting on the counterattack but opened up very few holes in the Swan defence, and on those occasions they did find a way through Jordan Howell was positioned to save.
QUINNS GO THE DISTANCE WITH UWA
James Plowman took his season tally to 30 goals with a double in UWA-Nedlands 2-1 defeat of Quinns on a windy afternoon at Gumblossom Park. Chances on goal were few and far between in a scrappy first half that saw both teams enjoy some good possession. UWA opened the scoring on the counterattack, Steve Purton playing through for Plowman to stroke into goalkeeper Adam Bower’s net. It looked as though Plowman would add another when he was upended by Bowers, but Purton failed to punish the foul but clipping the outside of the post from the penalty spot.
UWA enjoyed the bulk of possession after the turnaround without testing the ‘keeper. Some nice movement going in the other direction allowed Gregg Pellow to haul Quinns back into the game with crisp finish midway through the period. It was now ‘game on’ with bottom of the table Quinns matching the Division Two champions in every department over the final 20 minutes. The deciding goal resulted from Brad Skea’s delivery which Roberto Lujan then Rory Feely helped on for Plowman to send over the line. Quinns refused to give up hope and in the remaining time asked a good few questions of their opponents defence.
SUBIACO RETURN TO SECOND
Subiaco AFC hauled themselves back into second spot by defeating Joondalup City 2-0 at Rosalie Park. A spritely start by Subiaco paid handsome dividends after 15 minutes when Scott Wrightson’s flying header soared into the roof of the net after some neat work on the left by Danny Malcolm. Subiaco’s second goal came ten minutes later and from the opposite flank with Joe Kresling sending a deep centre which Malcolm lashed low into the net of young goalkeeper Scott Wallis. Joondalup were by no means out of the running and had it not been for a couple of goal line clearances then Danny Beattie and Mark Thornton would have reeled in the gap.
The better of second half play was with Subiaco thanks to captain for the day Barry Hurd and midfield partner Simon Ralphs. The home side were up in arms after a defender’s lobbed back-pass to his ‘keeper went unpunished by the referee. Joondalup managed the occasion attacking foray but the dismissal of captain Sam Hall for dissent had the writing very much on the wall. Substitute Ryan Warburton should have increased the margin but after cutting in from the left and going past three defenders he placed wide from 6-metres. A few minutes later Warburton sent a delightful ball into the danger zone where Wrightson could only steer his header past the upright.
KINGSWAY CAPITALISE ON FREMANTLE FADE-OUT
Kingsway Olympic’s ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ season continued with a commanding 3-1 win over Fremantle united at Hilton Reserve. The day began positively enough for the port side as Levi Reichelt played through Josh Sitole to lash past goalkeeper ben Towers with only 5 minutes on the clock. Reichelt should have increased his teams lead shortly after but failed to hit the target after being teed up by Sitole. After that initial flourish Fremantle went into their shells as Kingsway grew in confidence to dictate to rest of the afternoon. The visitors struck a deserved equaliser ten minutes from the break when Jesse Bridgeman’s low centre was tapped in at the back post by Alistair Annall.
The second half hadn’t been underway long when Kingsway edged into the lead, Aaron Lickiss stealing in between a static defence to head in Lee Thomas’ free-kick. The momentum was now firmly with the visiting team who heaped pressure on Fremantle’s rearguard as they pressure to seal the game out. A long-range strike by Thomas crashed into the crossbar and another Lickiss header from a set piece was brilliantly kept out of the net by Carlos Bervenotti. However, Kingsway were not to be denied and ten minutes from the end Wayne Culverwell latched onto a Thomas through ball which he walked around the ‘keeper and tucked into an empty net.
JOEYS CALL-UP FOR FIVE OF OUR BEST
Five West Australians have gained selection in Australia’s squad for the upcoming AFC Under-16 Championship. Daniel De Silva, Jack Iredale, Matthew Ntoumenopoulos, Rocco Pizzata and Taylor Tombides were included in coach Alistair Edwards’ 23-player squad for the tournament in Iran, which commences on 21st September. “I have been very impressed by the quality of players within this age group and the selection process to finalise the 23 player squad was extremely difficult,” Edwards said. “We have included two overseas based players to go with the 21 locally based.”
Australia has every intention of lifting the trophy in Iran. “There is a lot of talk about results not being important at this level but if you don’t win in these tournaments you don’t progress and the players miss out on challenging themselves at a World Cup,” said Edwards. “My view on this has always been that winning is, and always has been, important but it’s the manner in which you go about trying to win. We have an Australian way of playing now and we will go there with the intention of winning with the possession based style of football that we espouse in our national curriculum philosophy.”
The Joeys have been drawn in Group B for the tournament alongside Thailand (22 September), Oman (24 September) and Iraq (26 September). “Our boys are getting better and better the more international games we play and our goal has always been to play as many games as possible together,” Edwards said. The top two teams from each group progress to the quarter-finals, from which the field will slowly be whittled down to the winners. The four semi-finalists all automatically qualify for the Under-17 World Cup which will be held in the United Arab Emirates in late 2013.
The Australia squad for the upcoming AFC Under-16 Championship in Iran is Alexander Gersbach, Jack Iredale, Andre Jannese, Steve Kuzmanovski, Darcy Madden, Todd Noris, Matthew Ntoumenopoulos, Liam Rose, Matthew Schmidt, Lucas Spinella, Jordan Thurtell (Australian Institute of Sport), Hyuga Tanner (Blackburn Rovers), Jordan Pudler (National Training Centre, SA), Daniel De Silva, Rocco Pizzata (National Training Centre, WA), Bai Antonio, Aaron Calver, Kevin Ly, Joshua Macdonald, Matthew Stewart (New South Wales Institute of Sport), James Baldacchino (South Coast Wolves), Lukas Stergiou (Sutherland Sharks) and Taylor Tombides (West Ham United).
MATILDA’S START TOUR WITH COMFORTABLE WIN
The Matildas were rarely troubled in sweeping past Haiti 4-0 in today’s friendly at the Michael A. Carroll Track and Soccer Stadium in Indianapolis. Ashley Brown, Katie Gill and Kyah Simon scored first half goals before substitute Michelle Heyman added a fourth late on to give Australia a perfect start to their three-game tour of North America. “We are pleased in the sense that we sort of finished the game early with three quick goals (and) we’ve come through the game with a clean sheet,” said Matildas coach Tom Sermanni. “We looked a bit rusty as the game wore on and that was to be expected, particularly playing on this artificial field and after the long flight.”
On 4 minutes were on the clock when Brown swung in a corner that Haiti goalkeeper Edny Limase could only parry into the net. Gill doubled their advantage on 12 minutes with a clinical finish after some delightful lead-up play from Emily van Egmond. And three minutes later Simon made it three-nil with a cool header from a well-worked short corner. Heyman completed the scoring by heading in a Danielle Brogan free-kick with seven minutes to play. The Haitian ‘keeper collided with a defensive counterpart in the lead-up to that goal, forcing the referee to bring an end to proceedings slightly before time. Collette McCallum wore the captain’s armband until being replaced on 62 minutes.
ELIMINATION FINAL PREVIEW: INGLEWOOD UNITED VS PERTH SC
The top five finals series kicks off with tomorrow’s Elimination Final between Inglewood United and Perth SC. Graham Normanton is happy with how his first year in charge of Inglewood has panned out. “It has been a good season for the club and the players have responded brilliantly to our philosophies,” said Normanton, who took up the reins well into pre-season. “We have gained some great results against more fancied opposition, and to win 13 games and only lose five is a great achievement for the club after an abbreviated pre-season program due to my late appointment.”
Perth assistant coach Basil Lenzo expects his players to step up following what has been a difficult few months for the club from Dorrien Gardens. “We had a solid first half of the season but since then we have had our challengers and gave up some games we simply shouldn’t have. We also played a couple of teams who were fighting for survival and they got the better of us,” he explained. “We now progress into the part of the year we all want to be a part of – finals football – and all good teams step up during the finals.”
With a full complement of players to select from, Normanton is confident Inglewood can progress to the last four. “We know we can mix it with the best in the league when we play at our best, and they don’t come any better than Perth,” said Normanton who, over the past decade, guided Perth to numerous trophies. “They are going through some indifferent form but that will mean nothing come 3 o'clock on Saturday. There won’t be any room for sentimentality against my former club but I will buy them a drink after we’ve beaten them.”
Lenzo acknowledged Normanton’s ability to get the best out of players. “We know Graham is an amazing coach with exceptional experience and success during finals, so we know Inglewood will be very organised and highly motivated,” said Lenzo, who also have a full squad to choose from. “Over the 90 minutes we will be both going at it to progress to the next round, and I know the Perth boys are up for that challenge.” The Elimination Final between Inglewood and Perth kicks off at 3.00pm tomorrow at Intiga Stadium in Inglewood.
QUALIFYING FINAL PREVIEW: FLOREAT ATHENA VS SORRENTO
Sunday’s Qualifying Final brings Floreat Athena together with State Cup holders and Sorrento. Floreat may have ended the regular season above their opponents but coach Chris Barbas is mindful his team have succumbed to Sorrento in three occasions already this year. “There’s no hiding the facts that Sorrento have beaten us in a manner that gives them the confidence to do it again,” said Barbas, who has done his homework. “Watching them play against Balcatta, their ‘route one’ play is going to be hard to deal with (but) we will play our natural game and hope that the luck is with us.”
Sorrento coach Paul Price says recent criticism of his teams’ direct style of play is uncalled for. “Sure we went route one in the last two games, however, anyone who has seen us play this year would know that is not our usual style,” Price said. “It’s the goal of every club to win some silverware and it was great to retain the Cup. But after going so close in the league the players would be very upset to exit the top five series with a whimper … hopefully some of the comments that have been bandied about will inspire them.”
It has already been a memorable first up season as coach of Floreat for Barbas, whose re-modelling of the playing roster lifted the club to second in the league. “I need to congratulate my players for having the belief respect and trust in what we could achieve this year as a new first year group,” said the coach. Floreat heads into Sunday without defenders Mark Walsh (suspension) and Spencer Harris (work) while a late assessment will be made on Ludovic Boi, who is struggling with injury. But not all the news is bad with influential attacker David Heagney back along with youngster Jack Allen.
Price, who will be missing Todd Harnwell and Reece Vittiglia due to suspension, knows it’s wise he doesn’t read too much into his teams’ record against Floreat this year. “It will be a very tough match,” said Price. “Floreat will be looking for revenge after three losses to us and, to be fair, they had some bad luck in some of those games. That said we did play very well in those games and are hoping for a bit of luck again as we have not had much in the last two weeks.” The Qualifying Final between Floreat and Sorrento kicks off at 3.00pm on Sunday at Litis Stadium in Mount Hawthorn.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Shamrock Rovers have set their sights on bringing down Division One leaders Cockburn City tomorrow afternoon at Dalmatinac. “Cockburn are a good side but if we play the same as the last game I have no doubt we will beat them again,” said Alan O’Mahony, whose Shamrock side claimed a 3-2 victory when the sides last met. “We had a bad start (to the season) so need to gather up all the points we can to make something of our season.” Brian Farrell and Gavin Mooney have been hampered by injury but will be given every opportunity to prove their fitness for the visitors, likewise Marc Anthony and Ian Stack in the Cockburn camp.
Mandurah City are expected to keep the pressure on the leaders by taking all the points from their game at Forrestfield United. That said, the Dolphins will be minus Ryan Townsend (injury), Phil Straker (work), Craig Young (suspension), Liam Hurst (injury) and Graeme Matthews (holidays). Another slip by Wanneroo City on home soil to Morley Windmills will spell the end of their title hopes. Darren Broxton, Kevin Hevuelink and Jared Love join an already lengthy list of absences for Wanneroo while Morley’s only significant absence is young goalkeeper Michael Dudek (injury), although David Houston and Kris Dennis will join him should they not prove their fitness.
Matt Wardle will start for the first time since breaking his leg three months ago when Ashfield hosts Fremantle Spirit. Alex Stamatiadis and Johnny Corness have also been promoted to the senior set-up by coach Matt Carruthers, who is already looking ahead to 2013. “We will also be looking at giving game time to some other promising youngsters whom we are looking at to bring into the first team squad next season,” Carruthers said. “However, we won’t be taking Fremantle lightly as they have been more than competitive in recent weeks and unlucky with some results going against them late in games.”
Mat Battigelli will be back between the sticks when Dianella White Eagles hosts Swan United. The black and whites paid a heavy price for the point gained last time out with Trent Wood, Aaron Colli, Michael Tronchin, Simon Falcone and Chris Atkinson all nursing injuries. There’ll be significant change to the Rockingham City line-up which welcomes Gosnells City to Lark Hill Sportsplex. David Clark, Rob Crerar, Brendan Birney, Ryan Kennedy and Sean Troup have put their hands up for selection, however, suspension rules out Oscar Thomson and Darren Lawlor. All six Division One games kick-off on Saturday at 3.00pm.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW
Planning for next season is well underway at Joondalup City where coach Mike Hartley views Saturday’s game at Subiaco AFC as preparation for the future. “Subiaco will pose a very difficult challenge for us, but one if we want to build for next season we need to overcome,” said Joondalup coach Mike Hartley. “The players’ intensity, effort and commitment at training has been awesome but now we need to transfer what we do on the training pitch to the game.” With the exception of Ben Yates (suspension) and Jake Welton (suspension) both teams will be at full strength for the occasion.
Quinns’ stocks have been bolstered ahead of their meeting with Division Two champions UWA-Nedlands at Gumblossom Park. Gareth Hamilton and Adam Buckley are in line for a return, however, the coaching staff may be reluctant to change a line-up which put away five goals last time out. Fremantle United have some key absences ahead of their meeting with Kingsway Olympic at Hilton Reserve. Top scorer Andrew Morrow (hamstring) and Kurt De Souza (suspension will be missing for the port side while a late fitness test will determine whether Angelo Canzurlo plays any role on the day. All three Division Two games kick-off on Saturday at 3.00pm.
BAYSWATER DESERVE TO BE ON TOP: MARCHIONE
Respected coach Mauro Marchione has very good reason to cherish the unique place he has created in Bayswater City’s 49-year history. The sounding of the final whistle last weekend in Bunbury confirmed not only a final day victory for Bayswater but also the first time the club has ever finish the regular season at the top of the Premier Division. “I feel very proud to have been the first coach to win the league with Bayswater,” Marchione commented. “The club, for its history and commitment to local football, deserved to be on top and I’m glad to be part of this.”
Bayswater ended the home and away series in top spot, four points clear of nearest rival Floreat Athena, thanks to a resounding 4-1 win over Bunbury Forum Force. And while there has been plenty to celebrate, Marchione says the job is only half done. “We clearly demonstrated that we were, and we are the best team in the 2012 season. But we still have a trophy to win for us to be officially recognised as champions,” said Marchione on the eve of the finals series. “No problem, we will be there in the final to win the champions of the champions as well.”
It’s been a remarkable rise to the top for Bayswater under Marchione, who took the helm in May 2009. Within seventeen months he brought the Division One championship to Frank Drago Reserve, a trophy which will now be accompanied by the State League premiership. “I took my experience as a player from Italy and transferred it into the game here, and in three years I won the league,” explained Marchione. “If you come from a country like Italy where training sessions are very tactical and technical since you are 9 years old, it’s pretty simple to learn how to coach.”
As a youngster Marchione played at youth level with Lazio for almost seven years before spells at Andria, Avezzano and Celano. “I don’t want to offend people involved in football here but the level of football in Western Australia is pretty average,” said Marchione, who retired from playing at the age of 29 after having both knees operated on. “Compared to Italy the Premier Division here is a very amateur league in terms of playing and coaching. To give you an indication of what I mean, if I was coaching in Italy I would be coaching at maximum an under-15 side, not a senior one.”
The fruits of success Bayswater are now enjoying stem from the day Marchione became coach. “When I took over at Bayswater the club used to change coaches and players like they used to change shirts,” he commented. “The first thing I did was propose a project then recruit players and coaches who were ready to work under my guidance without any hesitation or have any say in regard to my method of work. They had to believe in the project and never discuss my instructions. This created a group of players who had something to offer and now they had the opportunity to demonstrate that.”
The next step was to re-model a squad already boasting the considerable talents of Gianni Papalia, Cesar Gonzalez and Gustavo Giron-Marulanda. Amongst those who came in were rising stars Thomas Gooding and Cisco Jorquiera as well as recognised pair Okwy Diamondstar and Anthony McStea. “I rebuilt the team with of players who the majority of people had never heard of before and we won the league,” said Marchione. “That was the beginning. The player group was solid and stable and to it I added players in order to adjust to succeeding in the Premier Division.”
The way Bayswater conduct themselves out on the park has made a many rival club sit up and take notice according to Marchione. “We have changed the mentality of a lot of people in the local game. Now even the ‘English’ sides try to play from the back and playing passing football,” the coach commented. “In order for Bayswater to play the way I wanted I recruited players with great technical abilities. But it is not enough to put them onto the field and say ‘Play and score four goals.’ You have to be able to put them tactically together and make them work as a team.”
There’s no shortage of talent on show at Bayswater as evidenced by the selection of six players in the 2012 State squad. “Gustavo Giron-Marulanda is ready to play in a higher league, and Cisco Jorquera has become one of the best three local midfielders,” said Marchione. “Paul McCarthy, John Kearney and Steve Turnbull are players with professional experience, and Gustavo Catarcione had a great season up-front. Thomas Gooding, Pat Quinn and Andy Reale have been outstanding, likewise Larry Miller and Ross Cosgrave. And then there’s the ‘old guard’ of Gianni Papalia, Luka Njegich and Damien Catalano. We finished with the league’s best defensive and best attacking records – that must mean something.”
A strong club needs strong management and Marchione says Bayswater have the right people on board. “Dom Forgione, Oriano Colli, Greg D’Orazio and Heinz Luik have been very well organised and very professional. As usual Jerry Maio works very hard behind the scenes and we are all very glad to have a president like him,” said the coach. “Bayswater have had organizational issues in the past – that’s not a secret. But now we have business-minded people, the right decisions are being made and finally we all can work in a proper way. I see a bright future for this club with these people in charge.”
Bayswater will watch the opening games of the top five series from the sidelines before stepping out next weekend to face the winner of Sunday’s encounter between Floreat Athena and Sorrento. Marchione has no preference as to which of those teams he comes up against as he knows his players are capable of coming out on top no matter who the opponent. “We are the best team this year, the numbers and the way we play football say so. This is not just my opinion – it is fact,” said Marchione. “I say it is the other clubs that will have to be worried about us.”
TOUGH ON WANNEROO
Coach David Tough has been working tirelessly to keep Wanneroo City’s season from going completely off the rails. Six weeks ago it appeared a mere formality that the northern suburbs club would finish at the top of Division One and claim their place in next years’ top flight. But Wanneroo’s promotion hopes have been left hanging by a thread following a torrid five-game run from which they collected maximum points just once. Wanneroo’s chances of finishing top of the pile now hinge on them winning their remaining three games, and leaders Cockburn City along with second-placed Mandurah City slipping up.
Tough says his team meeting their end of that equation. “We’re focused on winning our remaining games. There’s a lot of football to be played and the hardest points to win are the ones to get any team across the line,” said Tough, whose team faces Morley Windmills, Gosnells City and Shamrock Rovers in coming weeks. “At an important stage of the season we’ve been unlucky to have a number of key players unavailable through injuries and holidays. But we are well aware that we need to perform a lot better than we have done over the last month.”
The moment things started to go awry can be pinpointed to last months’ home loss to Ashfield. After scrapping over the line at Fremantle Spirit they managed a single point against Dianella White Eagles before suffering back-to-back losses to Canning City and Mandurah City. So it’s no surprise Tough was pleased to have last weekend off due to the bye. “It came at the perfect time and gives us a chance to re-focus,” he said. “It’s also given me a chance to get the new squad members up to speed with our system of play.”
Wanneroo kick back into action on Saturday against a Morley side which last weekend ground out a 2-1 over Rockingham City. “It was a day of mixed emotions when we played Morley last time,” commented Tough. “We won 4-0 – Brian Cairney scored three and Garin Collins one – but lost our captain Anthony Jones to injury for the season. The score line wasn’t a true reflection of the game though as Morley played well and had a number of good chances. They have some dangerous players in Adam Pygrum, Andy O’Neill and David Houston.”
With a host of players unavailable Tough acknowledges resources will be stretched between now and seasons’ end. “We go into the game against Morley missing Darren Broxton, Kevin Hevuelink and Jared Love. And that’s on top of Nick Timmings, Jay McDonald, Brad McDonald, Guy McDonald, Chris Pugh, Anthony Jones, Craig Bowman, Sahar Konomanyi and Liam McGurk,” said the Wanneroo coach. “It’s tough (excuse the pun) but we will be promoting a number of the reserves for the rest of the season, although I’ve not decided who at the moment.” Wanneroo welcome Morley to Kingsway Sporting Complex from 3.00pm on Saturday.
JAPAN INTERNATIONAL NAGAI TO TRIAL WITH GLORY
Perth Glory will trial Japanese youth international Ryo Nagai during next week’s two-game trip to Melbourne. Coach Ian Ferguson plans to use friendlies with Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Heart to assess whether to take 21-year old Nagai on loan. The games will provide Nagai, an attacking midfielder, an opportunity to prove he can play a role in Glory’s bid to go one step further than last season, when they went down to Brisbane Roar in the Grand Final. A former captain of Japan’s under-19 team, Nagai arrived in Perth overnight after being granted permission by his J-League club Cerezo Osaka to join Glory.
GLORY STRIKE EARLY TO EDGE OUT STATE TEAM
The State team have gone down 1-0 to Perth Glory in this evening’s second meeting between the sides at Intiga Stadium. A goal after only a couple of minutes by Travis Dodd was enough to earn Glory victory over a well-organised West Australian team. “I thought we did really well tonight,” State goalkeeper Curtis Aspden commented. “Obviously it was a sloppy start conceding the goal but after that we matched them in most areas and kept our shape. Kenny (Lowe) has done a great job with us, we blended well and could have nicked a goal late.”
Following a minutes silence in honour of former State coach Ron Tindall, who passed away days earlier, the game burst immediately into life. Glory pushed straight into attack with Scott Jamieson cutting in from left and past Ryan Pearson before crossing for Dodd to volley in from 6-metres. A quick response was needed by the State team and four minutes later Ryan Clarke played in Gustavo Catarcione whose shot from 8-metres was pushed away by Danny Vukovic. But for the most part it was the A-League side that was in control. Adrian Zahra snapped just wide then Billy Mehmet brought a low save from Aspden.
On the half hour Gustavo Giron-Marulanda threatened the level the game with a curling free-kick which Vukovic was equal to. Glory fashioned three good chances to extend their lead in the shadows of half-time but were unable to find a way through. Steven McGarry header was smartly kept out of the net by Aspden who, soon after, reacted well to save Michael Thwaite’s flick after Bas Van Den Brink nodded across the face of goal. The final action of the half saw Dodd weave his way between a trio of defender before being foiled by Storm Roux’s perfectly timed tackle as he was about to pull the trigger.
The second half followed a now familiar pattern. Glory captain Jacob Burns found the gloves of Aspden from distance, McGarry curled just wide and Nick Ward was also denied by the ‘keeper soon after coming off the bench. State substitute Mark Pritchard and David Micevski were making their mark in the middle of the field and with ten minutes left the latter’s shot was well saved by Vukovic. The game was in stoppage time when the State mounted one last surge, Pritchard playing Greg Sharland down the left with David Foster nodding the attackers cross wide at the far post.
State coach Kenny Lowe was delighted with his players’ efforts. “I thought the lads were outstanding tonight, they worked ever so hard. We played some good football and I thought the players were a little more switched on tonight,” he said. “The lads have got to understand the A-League is a really good level. In the last game when we had the ball we turned it over very quickly, and when we went expansive they did us on transition. We spoke before the game about keeping the ball and it worked for us tonight, I thought we did really well.”
Perth Glory: Danny Vukovic, Bas Van Den Brink (Steve Pantelidis 80), Billy Mehmet, Jacob Burns (Nick Ward 68), Liam Miller (Brandon O’Neill 80), Adrian Zahra (Jess Makarounas 68), Travis Dodd (Ndumba Makeche 80), Steven McGarry, Josh Risdon, Scott Jamieson (Dean Heffernan 46), Michael Thwaite
Western Australia: Curtis Aspden (Alex Dunn 75), Ryan Pearson (Daniel Micevski 46), Storm Rouz, Jack Clisby (Mark Pritchard 46), Adam Bachiller, Steve Turnbull, Reece Vittiglia, Francisco Jorquera (Ashley Rosindale 72), Gustavo Catarcione (David Foster 57), Gustavo Giron-Marulanda (David Micevski 72), Ryan Clarke (Greg Sharland 57)
Referee: Trent Fleskens
TWO-WEEK BREAK DID ROCKINGHAM NO FAVOURS SAYS CRERAR
Veteran defender Rob Crerar is concerned Rockingham City has paid the ultimate price for a fortnight away from football. Rockingham gained some much needed momentum heading into the final rounds of the winter thanks to a four-game unbeaten run. Unfortunately the clubs hopes of sneaking into the top half of the table suffered a major blow when beaten by lowly Morley Windmills on Saturday afternoon. “The lads are really disappointed at losing to Morley as we had been in good form in the weeks leading up that game,” Crerar commented. “The two week break due to the Cup Final and the bye couldn’t have come at a worse time.”
The value of Rockingham’s four-game run, which produced wins over Ashfield, Forrestfield United and Fremantle Spirit along with a draw at Mandurah City, came at just the right time for all at the club according to Crerar. “We went through a bad patch mid-season and it was important to come out of that and get some points on the board,” he said. “The club wants to improve their ladder position every year and if we can finish off the final weeks of the season well we will achieve that. It’s important the club continues to improve and develop, on and off the field, to achieve its ambitions.”
A Rockingham player for much of the past decade, Crerar had been playing Sunday football before a chance discussion with the clubs’ reserves coach. “Mike Tetlow, who coached me in the State Amateurs, invited me to training as he was looking for an experienced player to help his young reserves side,” explained Crerar, whose career includes top flight stints with Armadale and Stirling Lions. “I really enjoyed the pre-season, one thing led to another and thankfully Steve Robinson gave me an opportunity in the first team away to Swan United. Barring injury, I’ve been an ever present and are really enjoying my football again.”
Rockingham will attempt to get back to winning ways when they host Gosnells City this weekend. “Last week was a sore one to lose but our aim will be to finish the season by taking maximum points in the remaining three games and to finish in the top eight,” said Crerar, who turned 31 last week. “Gosnells always provide a tough battle and as recent results show we need to be at our best. There are no easy games in this league but being at home we are confident of picking up three points.” Rockingham welcomes Gosnells to Lark Hill Sportsplex from 3.00pm on Saturday.
FERGUSON LOOKS FOR YOUNG GUNS TO FIRE
Ian Ferguson has backed a handful of young players to compensate for Perth Glory’s lack of depth when the new A-League season kicks off next month. Ferguson acknowledged cost-cutting had forced his hand regarding the retention of several experienced players but he was optimistic about the impact youngster Brandon O’Neill (18), Jesse Makarounas (18), Ndumba Makeche (20), Chris Harold (20) and Adrian Zahra (21 ) will have. “We don’t have the depth we had last season but we’ve brought in young players with energy, mobility and potential,” Ferguson told Jonathan Cook of the ‘West Australian’. “Tony (Sage) can’t sustain the losses and we’re now going in a different direction where we’re bringing in younger players.”
Glory have also made some experienced additions in defenders Michael Thwaite and Scott Jamieson and midfielder Nick Ward, who should all feature in tonight’s friendly against the State team at Intiga Stadium. While Ferguson looks to fine tune his team ahead of the season kick-off, State coach Kenny Lowe will be encouraging his players to make the most of the opportunity by taking the game to their opposition. “Our fundamental message to the players is to enjoy it,” Lowe said. “It’s not to run around and chase players - it’s to actually play against them.” Lowe said players’ club commitments – the finals series kicks off this weekend – meant they had been unable to train as a group prior to tonight’s match.
SOCCEROOS STUNNED BY LOWLY JORDAN
Australia’s World Cup hopes have been dealt a huge blow following a surprise 2-1 loss to Jordan in Amman. The Socceroos had the best chances on goal but were unable to convert as the home side capitalised on 90 minutes of relentless pressure at the King Abdullah International Stadium. Hassan Abdel-Fattah and Amer Deeb scored for Jordan in the second half before substitute Archie Thompson pulled goal back for the visitors in the dying stages. The loss leaves Australia with just two points from three matches in Group B, while Jordan (four points) climbed to second behind Japan (10).
Australia jumped out of the blocks and should have scored through Tim Cahill after 4 minutes when set-up by Alex Brosque but goalkeeper Amer ShafiI covered the close-range shot. Cahill and Brosque were prominent early on, causing headaches for the Jordan defence, though the Socceroos appeared unsettled in the midfield and struggled to maintain possession. Jordan, buoyed by the raucous home support, rarely troubled Australia ‘keeper Mark Schwarzer but grew in confidence and upped the ante in the latter stages of the half with a flurry of attacks.
Mile Jedinak came on at the break and with his first touch headed wide a free header from Luke Wilkshire’s free-kick. With 50 minutes gone Odai Al Saify went down inside the 18-yard box under minimal contact from Jedinak, area under, the referee pointed straight to the spot from where Abdel-Fattah made no mistake. Cahill had header tipped over by the ‘keeper in the 65th minute after which a powerful strike by Jedinak rattled the crossbar as Australia sought to recover. The game was made safe in the 77th minute when Al Saify played into the path of Deeb whose shot was too good for Schwarzer.
Deeb could have further added to the Socceroos humiliation minutes later when his chip over Schwarzer landed on the roof of the net. Just minutes after entering the action Thompson gave Australia a glimmer of hope by finding a gap in the Jordan defence and firing low into the net with three minutes remaining. Robbie Kruse had an opportunity to steal a point in stoppage time but had his shot saved as Jordan, ranked 87th in the world, defied the odds and secured three valuable points. West Australian pair Brad Jones and Nikita Rukavytsya both watched from the bench.
GIRON-MARULANDA’S GOAL-DEN TOUCH
Bayswater City striker Gustavo Giron-Marulanda has won the State League Golden Boot for the second time in twelve months. The silky skilled 26-year old returned a staggering 26-goals in just 20 league outings to become the top flight’s highest scorer in two decades. Thirteen goals in the opening two months of home and away competition laid the foundations for Giron-Marulanda’s sensational season. Amongst the highlights were game-deciding hat-tricks against Perth SC (R2), Western Knights (R5) and Bunbury Forum Force (R22) along with braces against Inglewood United (R4 and R18), Stirling Lions (R11) and Sorrento (R21).
Giron-Marulanda’s 26-goal winter had him on top of the pile by a massive nine goals. A mid-season move into attack reaped 17 goals for Daniel Micevski, who’ll remember fondly his four-goal haul in Balcatta’s home defeat of Bunbury Forum Force (R12). ECU Joondalup’s David Foster, a former Golden Boot recipient, netted the full length of the home and away series to tally up 15 goals. David Heagney (Floreat Athena) and Liam Boland (Perth SC/Floreat) ended level with 14 goals each to be one ahead of Gustavo Catarcione, who partnered Giron-Marulanda at Bayswater. With 12 goals apiece were John Thornley (Joondalup/Balcatta) and Anthony Lyons (Stirling Lions).
STATE TEAM READY TO TACKLE GLORY
State coach Kenny Lowe says his troops are looking forward to taking on Perth Glory under lights tomorrow night at Intiga Stadium. It will be the second time in three weeks the local scenes best players have pitted themselves against the full-time professionals from Glory, who prevailed 3-0 last time out. “The lads were brilliant (in Game One),” said Lowe, whose team have not training together since. “It’s not every day you get to come up against opposition like this and the quality of (Liam) Miller and (Shane) Smeltz who have played at the Olympics and for Manchester United, so the team is going to go out there to enjoy the experience … we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
VALE RON TINDALL
The football family is mourning the loss of coaching great Ron Tindall, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 76. A former Chelsea and Portsmouth player, Tindall had a big impact on the coaching ethos of the game in Western Australia through a decade-long stint as State Director of Coaching. One of the most knowledgeable and respected coaches, Tindall’s achievements were recognised in 2008 with the Order of Australia Medal for service to sport “particularly the development of football and through the education and development of sports coaches”.
Tindall was born in the London suburb of Streatham in 1935 and at the age of 16 was playing first team football with Camberley Wanderers. He joined Chelsea’s new youth system in 1953 and over eight seasons turned out on 174 occasions for the club, scoring 69 goals in a prolific strike partnership with Jimmy Greaves. After a short spell with West Ham United (13 games, 3 goals) and a season at Reading (36 games, 12 goals) before seeing out his playing days with Portsmouth (162 games, 7 goals).
In retirement Tindall coached Portsmouth for a couple of years after which he emigrated to Western Australia. Between 1977 and 1987 he held the dual role of State Coach and Director of Coaching, a period which included time as an assistant coach with Australia’s Olympic football team. Tindall was also a Development Coach with the Department for Recreation and Sport for 12 years, founded the Coaching Foundation of WA and helped set up the football programme at the West Australian Institute of Sport. Tindall was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
OKON SEES ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT IN YOUNG SOCCEROOS
The Young Socceroos have finished third at the AFF Under-19 tournament in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The national youth team – which included West Australian quintet Jesse Makarounas, Riley Woodcock, Brandon O'Neill, Ryan Edwards and Adam Taggart – claimed two wins and suffered two losses in the space of eight days. “The tournament has been further preparation for the AFC Under-19 Championships and shows that we still need a lot of preparation before November,” coach Paul Okon commented.
Uzbekistan came from behind to defeat the Young Socceroos 2-1 on the opening day of competition. A torrential downpour prior to kick-off meant the first half was tough going. Despite that Australia went ahead on 35 minutes when Corey Brown played through to Terry Antonis, who continued his run towards goal before blasting in from long-range. The Young Socceroos remained on top after the break only to concede twice in the final twelve minutes to Abdul Aziz and Abdumuminov Jahongir. Taggart played a full game, Woodcock came on after 54 minutes and O’Neill was replaced in the 74th minute.
The Young Socceroos got things back on track by whipping Vietnam 4-0 two days later. Their opening goal came on the half hour when Edwards neatly slotted in after bringing Nguyen Son Hai off his line. Eight minutes into the second half Edwards again lured the ‘keeper off his line chipped across for Jake Barker-Daish to finish. A series passes three minutes later lead to Makarounas tapping in after the ‘keeper parried Reece Caira’s shot. The scoring was completed in the 83rd minute by Adam Taggart at close-range. Makarounas, Woodcock, O'Neill all played a full game, while Edwards was replaced on 65 minutes by Taggart.
Iran defeated Australia 4-1 in the final game of the group stage. Corey Brown opened the scoring in the 38th minute after meeting a Jason Geria cross, but that was as good as it got for the Young Socceroos. The second half was six minutes old when Iran captain Bakhsh Jirandeh brought the teams level from a dead ball. A minute later Sardar Azmoun converted a one-on-one with ’keeper Matt Izzo, then Bakhsh doubled Iran’s lead from the penalty spot. Azmoun completed the scoring with three minutes left on the clock. Edwards and Taggart played a full game with Makarounas coming off the bench on 61 minutes.
Australia responded to that lose with another 4-0 demolition of Vietnam. Geria opened in the scoring in the 10th minute when he got on the end of a Woodcock corner to the far post. Woodcock then got on the score sheet in the 37th minute by curling in a free-kick. The Young Socceroos third goal arrived on 66 minutes with an opportunistic finish by Taggart. Five minutes later Woodcock pounced on a long ball, beat two defenders and calmly slotted his second goal. Makarounas, Woodcock and O’Neill all played full games, Taggart was replaced after 66 minutes and Edwards replaced in the 76th minute.
The Young Socceroos squad for the AFF Under-19 tournament in Vietnam featured Jake Barker-Daish, Paul Izzo (Adelaide United), Ben Garuccio (Australian Institute of Sport), Luke O’Dea (Bentleigh Greens), Corey Brown, Jason Geria (Brisbane Roar), Hayden Morton (Central Coast Mariners), Nick Munro (Croydon Kings), David Vrankovic (Melbourne Heart), Connor Chapman, Mitch Cooper, Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets), Jesse Makarounas, Brandon O’Neill, Riley Woodcock (Perth Glory), Ryan Edwards (Reading), Terry Antonis, Hagi Gligor, Daniel Petkovski (Sydney) and Reece Caira (Western Sydney Wanderers).
FLOREAT SNEAK INTO SECOND
Floreat Athena claimed second place on the final Premier Division table after a hard-fought 0-0 draw Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park. The point earned was enough to leapfrog Floreat over Sorrento and book a home final against the northern suburbs club next weekend. “We had a number of players out of the side today so we’re happy to finish the season in second spot as it gives us a home final,” said Floreat coach Chris Barbas. “But I was disappointed we didn’t win today.” Although no goals were scored there was no shortage of drama with four players – Michael Pugliese, Gareth McGlynn, Andy Harold and Mark Walsh – sent off.
The home team almost made a perfect start with Andy Brown playing in Anthony Lyons after only 19 seconds but the strikers shot was high. Floreat’s first chance on goal came five minutes later when Benny Kovaoio’s long-range effort was straight at Cory Hugo. The big crowd were on their feet again soon enough, a McGlynn free-kick picking out Jason Gavin whose back post header was captured by Brad Eiffe. Sandi Loncar drove straight down the middle midway through the half to unleash a fierce shot from 16-metres that Hugo posted around the post. The rest of the half was dominated by the defences, ensuring the teams went into the break as they started.
Floreat threatened to break through soon after the restart with Loncar bringing a low save from Hugo. Play swung quickly to the other end where Andy Brown was denied by an alert Eiffe, who a few minutes later turned away Lyons’ shot on the turn. Stirling were in the ascendancy and on 57 minutes Adam Luca’s shot deflected off Eiffe and rolled agonisingly past the post. The game changed sixty seconds later with the dismissal of Pugliese for a second yellow card. The momentum was now with the visitors for whom Kovaoio’s shot on the run flashed just wide.
Hugo came to Stirling’s rescue with a smart save to deny Mickey Roberts with twenty minutes left on the clock. A few more minutes passed before Floreat substitute Ludovic Boi picked out Mark Pritchard whose shot from the edge of the area flew past Hugo but ricocheted back off the upright. The game ended on a sour note, an melee involving both sets of players leading referee Paul Anderson to consult with his assistant on the line before issuing red cards to Stirling pair Andy Harold and McGlynn along with Floreat defender Walsh.
VELAPHI MAKES UP FOR LOST TIME
Tando Velaphi has moved on from an injury-plagued season by declaring he’s even more determined to get the job done for Melbourne Victory. A stress fracture to his tibia on the eve of last season forced the talented goalkeeper to watch from the sidelines as his club’s season imploded. 25-year old Velaphi was out of action for all but the last two games of the campaign. And while that was far from what he was expecting after completing a move east from Perth Glory, he says the experience has left him a wiser and more focused player.
Velaphi is determined to make his the spot between the posts this summer. “I’m really looking to make up for last season and have a good year and hopefully that will lead to some success for the club as well,” Velaphi told au.fourfourtwo.com. “Last year I did most of the pre-season and then got a stress fracture that sort of ruled me out for about four and a half months. It’s the longest time I’ve been out in my career and as they say, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. To be in a position where I was watching from the sides was very difficult. It sort of rekindled my desire.”
New coach Ange Postecoglou has instilled a new sense of belief within the Melbourne squad, who placed eighth last season. “Ange has come in, had an overview of everything and looked at things we needed to change,” Velaphi explained. “Obviously that starts on the field, but there are things off the field like the boys getting together a bit more as a group. The younger guys are getting more involved and the senior guys are sort of passing on their knowledge now which can only benefit the whole group. It’s been fantastic … he really looks at every player and wants to improve them which will eventually help the team."
LOWRY HOPES TO FOLLOW MILLWALL TRIO
Millwall defender Shane Lowry wants to follow in the footsteps of club greats Tim Cahill, Lucas Neill and Kevin Muscat by representing the Socceroos. Lowry, who represented Republic of Ireland at youth level before declaring his allegiance to Australia, has his sights set on one main goal – playing for his country at senior level. The 23-year old has accumulated 25 appearances since his January move from Aston Villa and, with previous loans spells at Plymouth Argyle, Leeds United and Sheffield United under his belt, is looking towards the next step in his career.
Lowry believes if he can duplicate some of the achievements of Cahill, Neill and Muscat during their years in south London at a Championship club then he will be heading in the right direction. “There’s a great tradition of Australians at this club and if it can lead me to where it has led the likes of Lucas and Tim then that would be a dream,” said Lowry. “All three are well remembered and respected at the club and people still talk about them. The way I play seems to suit the club. I am playing every week and that’s been good for me.”
Lowry is itching to get a chance to show Holger Osieck that he has something to offer. “I would love one day to play for Australia at senior level; it’s something I am definitely aiming for,” he said. “Under Pim Verbeek I got in a few squads and I was in the final 27 players for the 2010 World Cup before it was trimmed back. All I can do now is focus on Millwall and hope that I can get noticed at some stage … I definitely haven't given up hope and I'm going to keep plugging away and my chance may come one day.”
Lowry is one of a number of budding centre-backs waiting in the wings to replace veteran pair Lucas Neill and Sasa Ognenovski. “To be honest, in my case I am right now a little bit inexperienced in that centre-back position but I am learning all the time and playing regular football at a decent level in the Championship is a big help,” said Lowry, who faces challenges for the position from Matthew Spiranovic, Luke DeVere, Rhys Williams and Curtis Good. “They say you peak at around 27, so I have a fair way to go yet. It’s up to me to force my way into contention over the next year or so.”
GIRON-MARULANDA STARS AS BAYSWATER CROWNED PREMIERS
Bayswater City secured their first ever Premier League title with a 4-1 come-from-behind win over Bunbury Forum Force at Payne Park. Bright Ababio gave Bunbury a dream start but the day soon started to unravel With Gustavo Giron-Marulanda bringing the sides level before home goalkeeper Jamie Oakley was sent off. Giron-Marulanda ended with a hat-trick as Damien Catalano grabbed the remainder on a day Bunbury would much rather forgot after having Danny Kane and Jarrod Mort also receive their marching orders. “I was not surprised that Bunbury came out very strong. But they made unnecessary faults and lost themselves the game,” said Bayswater coach Mauro Marchione. “We have only lost one game against the top five teams so we think we deserved it (winning the league).”
The first opening of a physical encounter was put wide by Giron-Marulanda. That miss was punished further on 22 minutes when Aiden Savory’s cross into the 18-yard box was met by Ababio, who got the faintest of touches to send the ball past goalkeeper Gianni Papalia. However, celebrations were short-lived as a minute later Oakley was deemed to have handled outside his area and promptly shown a straight red card by referee Josh Mannella. Replacement ‘keeper Liam Reeves was soon picking the ball out of his net after Giron-Marulanda fired Bayswater ahead on the half hour. Giron-Marulanda would have further increased the margin just before the break but Reeves pulled off a superb save to thwart his opponent.
Bunbury went further behind five minutes into the second half with Giron-Marulanda converting from the penalty spot, but not before Kane was dismissed for arguing the foul with the referee. Bayswater showed their class with some tidy movement of the ball which led to another opening for Giron-Marulanda, which went unconverted. The nine-players of Bunbury were struggling to hold their own and in the space of 20 minutes accumulated four yellow cards as frustrations began to mount. Giron-Marulanda sealed his hat-trick in the 75th minute with a superb free-kick into the bottom corner of Reeves’ net. Bunbury’s continued with the 88th minute red carding of Mort and from the penalty spot substitute Catalano slotted in for a four-one final scoreline.
ROBERTS MAGIC INSPIRES BALCATTA TO VICTORY (with Ilija Mihalj, Football West)
Balcatta signed off from season 2012 on a high, avenging last months’ State Cup Final loss to Sorrento with a thrilling 4-3 win over the northern suburbs side at Grindleford Reserve. Livewire attacker Callum Roberts hit the net twice along with Jason Barrera and Ashley Rosindale for the home team, who ended the regular season in sixth place. “The lads were on song today – it was a good performance from everybody,” said winning captain Adam Tong whose side missed the finals by just three points. “In all honesty we lost it at ECU Joondalup last weekend. The boys never really got going and we knew after last week’s loss it would be difficult to make the play-offs today.”
Balcatta needed only 7 minutes to open their account via a deflected long-range shot by Roberts which went over goalkeeper Curtis Aspden and into the net following a mix-up between Danny Cain and Steve McDonald. The gap was increased nine minutes later when silky skilled Barrera traded passes with Rosindale before waltzing through a stagnant defence and finishing neatly past Aspden. Sorrento coach Paul Price responded on the half hour by injecting Jamie Harnwell into the attack alongside his brother Todd Harnwell and McDonald. The switch paid dividends twelve minutes later with Jamie Harnwell glancing in an excellent Johny Mirco free-kick to make it a single-goal ball game at the break.
Sorrento were further rewarded in the 59th minute when Mirco’s in-swinging corner entered the net via the underside of the crossbar to bring the sides level. However, it stayed that way just three minutes before Rosindale blasted in off the far post after receiving a clever pass from David Micevski. Only five more minutes had elapsed when Sorrento were again caught napping by a quickly taken throw-in which Roberts expertly controlled and finished past Aspden. Sorrento picked up the pace and in the 75th minute Ryan Pearson capped a brilliant team move with a sliding finish into Bobson Koroma’s net. But that was as close as the visitors got with a solid defensive effort ensuring the points would finish with Balcatta.
SHARLAND DOUBLE SINKS ARMADALE (with George Tsadilas, Football West)
Perth SC booked their place in the finals series with a 3-0 defeat of a spirited Armadale outfit at Dorrien Gardens. A brace by Greg Sharland and Liam Boland’s cool finish proved too much for the Reds, who battled without success to find the back of the net. “Armadale have proved to be tough opponents for us in the past and we needed to be on our game to get the result today,” said Perth coach Gianfranco Circati, who team travels Inglewood United in the opening round of the play-offs. “With a big squad and players coming back into form I feel we are in a strong position to take on Inglewood next week”.
The game was only a couple of minutes old when the visitor’s failure to deal with a Josh Pereira cross was punished by Sharland, who drilled past goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock. Boland was busy up front for the hosts and on 21 minutes he doubled Perth’s lead by cleverly deceiving the ‘keeper before lifting the ball into the roof of the net. At the other end it was veteran Dale Wingell who was the focal point for most of Armadale’s forward thrusts. Having received the ball inside the 18-yard box, Wingell neatly back heeled into the path of Rhys Loxley who unfortunately opted for power over accuracy in squandering the opportunity.
Armadale continued to search for a way back into the game after the interval. A half volley by Wingell flashed just wide of upright, and a Loxley corner bounced across the face of goal and out of reach of several team mates. Perth kept their composure and were still opening up holes in the Reds defence substitutes David Onoforo and Daniel Niederberger. The result was put beyond doubt in the 79th minute when Sharland swung a dead ball from 19-metres into the bottom corner with Sharrock stranded. There were late chances at both ends of the park but Chris Holland shot too close to Alex Dunn while Sharrock smothered Boland’s close-range attempt.
JOONDALUP END ON A HIGH BY HITTING EIGHT
Tanner Selyer played the starring role in ECU Joondalup’s 8-2 mauling of relegated Western Knights at the Edith Cowan University campus. Selyer helped himself to four goals and set up two others for his team mates to secure the northern suburbs club their eighth win of the campaign. “I was very proud of our performance. Some of the football we played was exceptional, especially as we had nothing to play for,” said Joondalup coach Salv Todaro, for whom David Foster grabbed a brace with Tommy Amphlett and Jon Higgins also on the scoresheet. “Some of the goals we scored were breathtaking, the stand out being Jon’s which was a 25-metre screamer which left the ‘keeper motionless.”
Joondalup hit the ground running and by the time the half hour had passed were already three goals the better. Their first came on 10 minutes when Amphlett’s shot came back off the woodwork to Higgins, who curled in a delightful cross which Selyer powered past goalkeeper Alfie Brincat. Four minutes later Selyer was found in space by Rob Draper and, after weighing up his options, took a couple of touches to curl in from the edge of the 18-yard box. Goal number three arrived in the 25th minute, Selyer racing away from the defence and going past the ‘keeper sent the ball into an empty net.
The second half followed much the same pattern. In the 49th minute Amphlett surged forward to play a superb pass in for Foster to slot in goal number four. On the hour Matt Italiano picked out the run of Selyer who, left the defence in his wake and unselfishly set-up Amphlett to send a low shot into the bottom corner. Selyer got his fourth goal with ten minutes left, the attacker finishing calmly from an Amphlett pass. The home side were running rampant and on 85 minutes Selyer teed up Foster to score his second with a low finish from inside the box.
Almost immediately the Knights pulled a goal back, Jesse Fuller’s shot looping over ‘keeper Andy Banks to finally give the visitors something to celebrate. In the 90th minute James Burns grabbed the Knights a second goal with a crisp strike from 22-metres into the bottom corner which gave Banks no chance. Not to be out done, Joondalup returned fire in the 93rd minute through Higgins who drove down the left before unleashing a blistering long-range drive which flashed across the ‘keeper and crashed into the upright before coming to rest in the net.
INGLEWOOD COME FROM BEHIND TO TRUMP NTC
Inglewood United ended the regular season with a hard-fought 3-1 victory over the National Training Centre at Intiga Stadium. Jordan Dodd gave the NTC the lead but just moments later Michael Baczynski had the teams level, while second half finishes by Alex Caniglia and James Sammut saw the points go to Inglewood. “I thought we controlled the majority of the game and we were far superior especially in the second half,” said Inglewood boss Graham Normanton. “It’s good to see us creating chances and it bodes well for the finals. We seem to be getting back to near our best football … the energy levels are back and we’re moving into the finals full of confidence.”
The small crowd didn’t have long wait for the first chance with Sammut flashing wide from distance after 5 minutes. Soon after Ryan Clarke cut past his marker but goalkeeper Jordan Franken saved the midfielder’s low shot. The NTC hit back on 25 minutes, Moses Kalau wriggling past Ryan Lowry to deliver a low cross from the left which was turned in by Dodd from 5-metres. But that lead lasted all of 60 seconds as Baczynski fired in at close-range after meeting a cross to the far post by Clarke. Chances came and went at both ends of the park leading into half-time. Clarke, Caniglia and David Perich each had chances to put the hosts in front while for the NTC it was Borbor Sambindi and Dodd who went closest to a second goal for the NTC.
Inglewood opened the second half strongly with Baczynski sending the first chance high from close-range. Baczynski turned provider on the hour by playing in Sammut whose shot from 7-metres was well saved by Franken. Six minutes later Dannie Richman played down the left for Clarke, who whipped in a cross which Caniglia blasted low into Franken’s net. The NTC almost equalised a few minutes later, Sahr Musa bursting clear to fire past Francis Soale but into the side netting. Inglewood still looked threatening and on 82 minutes Jack Clisby rattled the crossbar with a dead ball. The game was made safe a minute later with Clarke again the provider, this time for Sammut to net.
MANDURAH BACK IN THE TITLE RACE
Mandurah City moved to within touching distance of top spot in Division One by getting the better of Canning City 3-1 at Hyundai Stadium. Jeff Bright, Graeme Matthews and Craig Tone had the home side in a comfortable position before Canning player-coach Paul Van Dongen grabbed his team’s consolation. The Dolphins opened their account in the 17th minute when Matthews’ clever back heel found Tone, he in turn threaded through to an unmarked Bright whose fierce drive was too hot for goalkeeper Jakub Chudy to hold. The margin should have been doubled when Matthews nodded a free-kick down for Craig Young whose shot was into the upright. Half-time wasn’t far away when Mandurah netted a deserved second goal, Robbie Hamm waltzing down the right before crossing for Matthews to head in at the near post.
The second half had barely started when Tone raced clear to go on-on-one with Chudy, who was equal to the task. Canning now began to build momentum, Steven Kane bringing the Mandurah ‘keeper into action before a deflected Mark Trevisiol strike flashed over the top. Mandurah met these near-misses with venom, Young charging inside the 18-yard box and cutting back for an unmarked Tone to tuck into the net and seal the game. Sam Carrello was within a coat of paint of grabbing Canning a goal with an in-swinging corner that came down off the inside the post before being hacked to safety by a defender. Ten minutes later the visitors got the result they were after, Paul Van Dongen nodding at the second attempt after the ‘keeper parried his initial header from a Michael Van Dongen cross.
HONOURS EVEN IN BATTLE OF ATTRITION
Swan United and Ashfield came away from a bruising encounter at the Swan Italian Club with a point each after finished deadlocked at 2-2. The home team could not have wished for a better start with Chris Atkinson netting at close-range courtesy of a Brendan Knox corner after only 3 minutes. In a game of few clear cut chances Ashfield nabbed a 26th minute equaliser with Mark Donnelly heading into Jordan Howell’s net during a goalmouth scramble resulting from Rueben Tristao’s centre. Swan finished the half well but had two strong penalty shouts waved away by the referee before Atkinson’s shot was halted literally on the line by Perkins.
The second half opened with both teams on the attack. Ten minutes in it was Ashfield that got the rewards with an unmarked Karl O’Reilly firing in at the back post after meeting a Branimir Mikulic cross. The game threatened to boil following an altercation between Karl Tate and Trent Wood, the latter on the receiving end of a late tackle from behind not long after. With eleven minutes left defensive error allowed Simon Falcone to release fellow substitute John Monterosso to slot past the goalkeeper and bring the sides level. Ashfield were denied a late winner by Howell, who courageously dived at the feet of Tristao to smother his opponents shot.
SHAMROCK BACK TO WINNING WAYS
Shamrock Rovers rebounded from last week’s disappointments with a composed 3-0 win over Dianella White Eagles at Ashfield Reserve. Dianella were out of the blocks fast, forcing their hosts onto the back foot but unable to find an avenue to goal. Having weathered the storm, Shamrock got their noses in front courtesy of Brian Farrell’s penalty conversion following a 10th minute pushed on Ciaran Byrne. This had a settling effect on the game and across the remainder of the half both teams enjoyed some good possession without creating too many real chances to score.
The influence of Farrell and Will Pender was vital as Shamrock maintained their focus into the second stanza. The home teams’ advantage was doubled around the hour through a crisply struck John Hogan free-kick from 20-metres. Although Dianella worked tirelessly to force their back into the game very few holes were opened up in a home defence under the command of centre backs Hogan and Alan O’Mahony. Any hopes the visitors held of a late revival were snuffed out on 82 minutes when Gavin Mooney knocking into the net after Sean Taylor harassed the defence into coughing up possession.
MORLEY ONE STEP CLOSER TO SURVIVAL
A second half penalty converted by Andy Griffiths earned Morley Windmills a gritty 2-1 victory over a nine-man Rockingham City on a warm afternoon at Wotton Reserve. Griffiths also played his part in the hosts opening goal scored by Andy O’Neill, however, Rafael Insurralde ensured the side entered the break on level terms. “Despite the ragged performance we’re very happy to get the win,” said Morley captain Mark Grant. “We still need at least a point from our last three games but today goes a long way towards us playing Division One football next season which is a great achievement given the turmoil we’ve been through.”
An attacking start by the home side produced a handful of chances early on but the Rockingham defence stood tall to every challenge to remain unbreached. However, that changed in the 31st minute when Robbie Ftynogiannis cut in from the left and exchanged passes with Andy Griffiths before playing across the face of goal for Andy O’Neill to slot in at close-range. Rockingham rallied to restore parity just before the break with Roy Hissey crossing from the right to Insurralde, who expertly tamed the ball before lashing into Kenny Ftynogiannis’ bottom corner from 15-metres.
Following the turnaround the pressure was back on Rockingham. A marauding run Luke O’Neill took him inside the 18-yard box where he was illegally halted by Oscar Thompson, who was issued his marching order before Griffiths lifted into the top corner to put Morley back in front. Matt Hammett ensured there was no further to the hosts lead by denying David Houston and Andy O’Neill, while at the other end Lance Louvie’s free-kick crashed into the crossbar. The action was close to an end when Darren Lawler was sent off for a late challenge which left the referee little option.
UWA STEAL VICTORY FROM SUBIACO
A controversial late goal by James Plowman snatched UWA-Nedlands a 4-3 win over Subiaco from the top-of-the-table meeting at Rosalie Park. The opening passages were tight with Subiaco seeing by far the better of possession but neither side able to create much in the way of genuine chances on goal. It was around the half hour that UWA edged in front when Plowman threading a pass to Roberto Lujan, who cut inside his man and chipped over the advancing goalkeeper from 15-metres. As if going a goal down wasn’t bad enough, Subiaco lost influential right back Steven Otigbah to a knee injury just before the interval.
UWA’s lead was doubled early in the second half through Guy Clark, who punished some poor defending by firing in at the near post after Brad Skea combined with Plowman in the lead-up. Then, in the space of ten minutes, Subiaco turned the game on its head with a trio of goals. After a tussle for possession Ger Fitzgerald knocked the ball across the 18-yard box for Jake Welton to strike low into the net. Parity was then restored by Scott Wrightson’s stunning finish, the attacker unleashing a stinging volley on the turn from 22-metres to catch the ‘keeper by surprise. Subiaco were on a roll and another push forward ended with substitute David Keates poking past the ‘keeper whose defence failed to deal with the danger.
In an attempt to stem the flow, and with UWA’s twelve-game unbeaten record under threat, coach Kevin Burton switched captain Steve Purton from defence to a more creative midfield role. The move worked a treat as ten minutes later the teams were again level, Skea’s corner was headed against the post by Banner Schafer with Plowman reacting quickest to poke in the rebound. Controversy erupted when UWA struck for a fourth time, the ball appearing to have gone out of play before Schafer pulled back for Purton whose header was parried by the ‘keeper with Plowman again on hand to net. Although aggrieved, Subiaco refused to give up the chase and had it not been for close-range blocks by Gavin Doran, denying Wrightson and Fitzgerald, then the points would have been split.
DE SOUZA AT THE DOUBLE FOR FREMANTLE (courtesy Fremantle United)
Fremantle United accounted for neighbouring Melville City 3-0 thanks to a brace from Tim De Souza on a sunny afternoon at Hilton Reserve. The port side enjoyed the better of the possession during a tense opening spell in which the best either side could do was a smattering of half chances. The deadlock was broken just before the half hour when Kurt De Souza sent a superb diagonal ball in behind a static defence for cousin Tim De Souza, who calmly drilled into the bottom corner of Stewart Dalgarno’s net. Fremantle should have extended their lead following a defensive mix-up which saw the goalkeeper gift the ball to Levi Reichelt but his shot at an empty net from distance drifted wide.
The second half opened with Fremantle on the look-out for a second goal. It arrived via a deep Nathan Findlater free-kick into the 18-yard box which had Melville ball catching as Tim De Souza drilled his header past a helpless ‘keeper. Dalgarno somehow managed to keep another Tim De Souza attempt out of his top corner to deny the attacker his hat-trick, while Findlater and Darren Monaghan rattled the crossbar as play became one-way. The game was made safe by Fletcher Tracy, who despatched the hosts’ third goal into the bottom corner after meeting Baptiste Belliard’s angled ball across the box. Melville nearly grabbed themselves a late consolation through Lee McKay’s shot which squirmed between the legs of Carlos Bervenotti, who instinctively swung around to prevent the ball from entering his net.
QUINNS’ HIGH FIVE (courtesy Quinns)
Quinns gave the clearest indication yet of what they are capable of by whipping Kingsway Olympic 5-1 at Kingsway Reserve. Two goals apiece to Aaran Maplestone and Rudi Coetzer plus another from Ryan Pellow earned Quinns their second win in three weeks. There were early warning signs of the onslaught that was to come with Maplestone’s goalbound shot halted on the line by a defender. Chances came and went at both ends of the park before Quinns claimed the lead after 30 minutes, Jack Nash playing in Maplestone who took a few touches before slotting past the goalkeeper. It looked as though the teams would go into the break level when a player got his shot on target only for Billy Andrews to put his body on the line and keep the ball out of the net.
It took only ten minutes of the second half for Quinns’ advantage to be doubled, Pellow the provider for Maplestone to slot in his second goal of the afternoon. Another ten minutes passed before Pellow’s deflected shot snuck under the ‘keeper on the end of a fine build-up that featured Maplestone, Coetzer and Marc Beattie. Maplestone was involved again soon after, setting up Coetzer to net Quinns fourth goal. Kingsway was denied a goal at the other end of the park by a miraculous save by Anthony Cochrane, who in the process suffered a hand injury and was replaced. Coetzer had the honour of icing Quinns cake by taking the margin to five-nil. Kingsway didn’t find a way through until close to the end that Jesse Bridgeman’s long-range lob over ‘keeper Billy Andrews brought the some hosts consolation.
PREMIER DIVISION PREVIEW
Bayswater City are just 90 minutes away from finishing top of the Premier Division for the first time in their history. Mauro Marchione’s team enter the final round of fixtures in top spot and safe in the knowledge that a win at Bunbury Forum Force tomorrow will secure their place in history. “We know it’s still in our hands,” said defender Patrick Quinn. “Bunbury is a tough game, especially at their ground. They’ve got some good results there this year and they will be up for it.” Striker Gustavo Catarcione is the only absence in the Bayswater camp due to suspension.
It’s been a bumpy introduction to the Premier Division for Bunbury where coach Matt Lock is planning a big finish to the season. “We want to finish with as many points as possible and I’m determined to see the season out on a high,” said Lock, who has goalkeeper Ryan Montgomery suspended. “We are head into the game with exactly the same attitude and preparation as we have over the past few months. The amount of work that people have put in is outstanding and we fully deserve to be playing in the Premier League next season.”
Second-placed Sorrento will be pulling out all the stops on their visit to Balcatta in the hope that Bayswater faltered. The Gulls are at full strength for the Cup Final replay, whereas Balcatta’s absences include defensive pair John Migas (injury) and Shane Nunes (work) along with striker Ashley Rosendale (injury). Perth SC requires a single point from their home clash with Armadale to secure a finals appearance. Western Knights final game in the top flight has them away at ECU Joondalup, where admission is free. The National Training Centre will be looking for back-to-back wins when they meet travel to Inglewood United.
The 2012 regular season concludes with Sunday’s game between Stirling Lions and Floreat Athena at Macedonia Park. Should both Bayswater and Sorrento fail to take maximum points the day before then a Floreat win will see them crowned Premiers. “We will be going out to win it, but no matter what happens we will be a force in the finals series,” said Floreat goalkeeper Brad Eiffe, whose team will be missing David Heagney, Spencer Harris and Jack Allen. All six Premier Division games – be they Saturday or Sunday – kick-off at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Mandurah City’s title aspirations will be put to the test by a resurgent Canning City, who have climbed up to fifth place. “Our results in the second half of the season have shown we are really starting to perform well together,” said Daniel Trevisiol, Canning’s leading scorer. “Mandurah will be a tough assignment. They outplayed us the first time we met but things have come a fair way from then and this will be a much closer affair. I wouldn’t be surprised if we take all three points, training has been good and everyone contributes on match day.”
It’s been a tough year for Forrestfield United but coach Phil Butler is confident his players can come up with the good when they face Fremantle Spirit at Beeliar Oval. “The players’ efforts have been excellent recently but they haven’t got their just rewards … that’s how it goes when you are bottom of the table,” said Butler, who teams’ only win was over Fremantle in early June. “The Forrestfield lads will be very keen to have another win this time round against Fremantle.” Team teams have players missing through suspension, for the hosts its’ defender Tait Comley while Forrestfield are minus Jordan Hart and Chris Perrott.
Swan United go in search of a third straight win for the first time this year when they host Ashfield. Daniel Agudelo, Trent Wood, Michael Tronchin and possibly John Monterosso will come back into the black and whites line-up, while Ashfield are likely to promote Karl Tate and David Gordon to the eleven. Dianella White Eagles are without a host of players for their game against Shamrock Rovers at Ashfield Reserve. Morley Windmills will need to be at the top of their game to take so much as a point over visiting Rockingham City. All six Division One games kick-off on Saturday at 3.00pm.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW
UWA-Nedlands may have already been crowned champions of Division Two but that’s not to say there is nothing riding on Saturday’s derby with Subiaco AFC at Rosalie Park. Subiaco have the honour of being the only team to better UWA this year, however, since that meeting in late May this weekend’s visitors have gone twelve games without loss. Both teams boast a wealth of talent with James Plowman, Steve Purton and Tom Sellers all potential match winners for UWA, likewise Subiaco’s Jordan Rhodes, Scott Wrightson and Ger Fitzgerald.
There’ll be a good few changes to the line-ups when third-placed Fremantle United takes on fourth-placed Melville City at Hilton Reserve. Angelo Canzurlo, Conor Murphy and Craig Christie are unavailable for the port side whose stocks have been bolstered with Willie Pender, Joe Harvey and Levi Reichelt putting their hands up for selection. It’s a similar story for Melville where the return of Lee McKay and Keith Nolan is counterbalanced by the loss of Sasa Slaujevic, Graham Herd and Simon El Chami.
Kingsway Olympic will fancy their chances against bottom-of-the-table Quinns at Kingsway Reserve. Teenagers Yatin Pawar and Harry Clifford are likely to start while Elliot Rose is also knocking on the door for a Kingsway side which remains without veteran pair Glen Thomas and Andy Bowyer due to injury. Quinns gave a good account of themselves last time out so it will be interesting to see whether or not the coaching staff can find room for Aaron Maplestone and Adam Buckley in the eleven. All three Division Two games kick-off on Saturday at 3.00pm.
SOCCEROOS FIND FORM IN LEBANON
The Socceroos will head into next week’s World Cup qualifier against Jordan full of confidence after downing Lebanon 3-0 this evening at the Saida Municipal Stadium in Beirut. Tim Cahill and Matt McKay found the net in quick succession midway through the first half before Archie Thompson scored late to seal Australia’s first win since February. “It was a really encouraging performance tonight,” said captain Lucas Neill. “We’ve been rewarded for a good preparation and I think we've put ourselves in a perfect place now ready for Jordan on Tuesday.” Such was Australia’s dominance that goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer was largely a spectator throughout his milestone 100th international appearance.
Tim Cahill had the first clear chance on goal with a well-struck effort which stung the palms of ‘keeper Abbas Hassan. A floodlight failure force a five-minute halt to proceedings, however, on 20 minutes Cahill rose highest to inside the 18-yard box to head in Luke Wilkshire’s cross from the right. Australia had a second goal three minutes later, Mark Bresciano spreading the ball left to David Carney to cut back for McKay to poke past Hassan. Cahill brought another save from Hassan before Lebanon fashioned an opening which had captain Roda Antar bring Schwarzer into the action for the first time. Cahill could have doubled his personal tally close to the break by nodded Robbie Kruse’s cross narrowly wide.
Lebanon should have halved the deficit early in the second half but Haidar’s volley was well wide and Hassan Maatouk also placed past the post after slice his way through the defence. A string of substitutions by both camps took the intensity out of the game in the latter stages. Substitute Brett Holman had a chance to score Australia’s third on 73 minutes but his shot was weak. Adam Sarota was unable to divert Carney’s cross on target, while Mahmoud El Ali fired over from outside the area. In the 88th minute Thompson made it three-nil -0 with a cool finish from a Holman through ball. Nikita Rukavytsya was replaced in the 77th minute with Brad Jones watching the entire game from the bench.
BOSNIAN POWERHOUSE SNAPS UP PAVLOVIC
Defender Jovo Pavlovic has achieved his long-held dream of playing professionally by signing with Bosnia and Herzegovina powerhouse Borac Banja Luka. Pavlovic captured the coaching staff’s attention during recent trials to the degree that he was offered a deal to stay on for the rest of the European season. “I’ve settled in really well here, it helps because I can speak the language so every things going well,” said Pavlovic, who played the local season with Balcatta. “I’ve now got to get to the hard work on the training track and push for a place in the side.”
The opportunity to trial, and ultimately sign for Borac came via Pavlovic’s prior contact with the clubs sports director Darko Ljubojevic. “Darko knew me from before and told me to come down and have a look when I was in the country … the coaching staff was impressed and the rest is history,” said Pavlovic, who last year tried his luck in Asia. “I was very close to signing for (Thai clubs) BEC Tero Sasana and Royal Thai Navy but didn’t come to an agreement with either. Now I’ve got the opportunity to play professional football and I’ll be doing my best to earn another contract next season.”
Borac are one of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most successful clubs of recent times. The club were crowned Premier League champions in 2010/11 and in each of the past four seasons have finished in the competition’s top three. Since 2009 they have lifted the Republika Srpska Cup on three occasions and in 2010 won the Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Cup. Two years ago qualified for the early stages of the European Champions League, and last season did likewise for the Europa League. Borac’s current squad boasts no fewer than five current and former Bosnia and Herzegovina internationals.
Pavlovic recognises he’ll need to perform at his best to break into first eleven. “It’s a big challenge in front of me but one I’m looking forward to,” said Pavlovic, who played locally with Swan IC, Bayswater City and Floreat Athena as well as Balcatta. “The standard is good, very intense and very physical and handful of very technical players. There are no other overseas players here but there are a few guys with dual citizenships, like me. (Croatia international) Luka Modric played here one season and said in terms of physicality if you can play in Bosnia you can play anywhere.”
PRITCHARD REALISTIC ABOUT FLOREAT’S TITLE HOPES
Mark Pritchard readily concedes Floreat Athena’s chances of finishing on top of the Premier Division are at best slim. Floreat heads into the final 90 minutes of the regular season needing a minor miracle if they are to make up the two point gap on top-of-the-table Bayswater City and second-placed Sorrento, who are one point behind the leaders. “As it stands we again have to rely on other results to go our way to win the league, so we have an outside chance of doing that,” commented Pritchard, whose midfield prowess has been instrumental in Floreat’s winter.
Pritchard’s contributions at club level have been recognised with selection in the State team which last month went down 3-0 to Perth Glory. “I thought the game went well,” commented the midfielder, who is looking forward to the re-match on Wednesday, 12th September. “We didn’t start very well and probably showed them a little too much respect. But after about 20 minutes we found are feet and really held our own. A few mistakes cost us in the end but we will look to improve on that in the next game.”
Pritchard, a youth international for Wales, attributes a large slice of Floreat’s success this year to coach Chris Barbas. “Chris has had a great season as coach. To come into a club and pretty much put a brand new team together and do so well is great credit too him,” said Pritchard, whose background includes spells with Swansea City and Aldershot Town. “There’s a good team spirit and training is always done properly with a lot of attention to detail, which has been the difference between us winning and losing some games.”
Floreat’s final assignment of the home and away series takes them to Stirling Lions. “Things are out of our hands but we are still focused beating Stirling to guarantee third spot, and a second chance in the finals,” 26-year old Pritchard added. “For us finishing in the top three is a massive achievement. We weren’t expected to do so well this season so to be in the finals and have a chance of winning the league going into the last week of the season is credit to everyone at the club.”
GLORY CONTINUE POSITIVE PRE-SEASON
Perth Glory continued to build steam towards the coming A-League summer by defeating Inglewood United 5-0 under lights this evening at Intiga Stadium. Two goals from each Jacob Burns and Steven McGarry along with a Nick Ward finish got Glory over the line against a spirited Inglewood line-up. “I was pleased we controlled the game,” coach Ian Ferguson said. “I thought we played out from the back really well, and were patient. Credit to Inglewood, they made it difficult for us but I was pleased we were able to get 90 minutes into most players.”
Glory’s dominance of the opening exchanges led to numerous chances on goal but Travis Dodd, Adrian Zahra and Billy Mehmet were unable to hit the target. The inevitable breakthrough arrived on 34 minutes when McGarry nodded in Mehmet’s goalbound header from a Liam Miller corner. A minute later McGarry’s shot from the top of the 18-yard box deflected off Ryan Lowry’s outstretched leg to double Glory’s lead. Ryan Clarke was denied the chance to cut the deficit by Josh Risdon’s well-executed sliding tackle soon before the break.
Clarke provided Inglewood further hope after the break in the form of a curling shot from 18-metres which was tipped away from the net by Danny Vukovic. Burns then killed off the game by sending a quickly taken free-kick around the defensive wall to make it three-nil. Francis Soale gifted Glory another goal seven minutes from the end, the Inglewood ‘keeper spilling a high ball to present Ward with a simple tap in. There was still enough time for Burns to put another in the net with a sliding finish from close-range.
MARTIN SAYS SORRENTO ARE POISED TO POUNCE
Sorrento are waiting and ready to pounce should Premier Division pacesetters Bayswater slip up. The northern suburbs club enter the final round of home and away fixtures one point off top spot as a result of last weekend’s dramatic 2-2 draw at Bayswater. That means the regular season title will be decided on the final day of competition which has Sorrento away to Balcatta, and Bayswater travelling to Bunbury Forum Force. “We have to concentrate on getting a result this weekend and hope that Bunbury can do us a favour,” said Gulls midfielder Brodie Martin.
A couple of first half Gustavo Giron-Marulanda strikes put one of Bayswater’s hands on the regular season trophy before Sorrento came storming back after the break. “Bayswater were really good in the first half and we started slowly,” commented Martin, whose team was two-nil down after 45 minutes. “We changed a few things early in the second half that brought us back into the game. We showed great team spirit and had the game gone another five minutes or so we could have snatched the winner.”
The honours of keeping Sorrento’s season alive fell to defender Daryl Platten, who popped up in stoppage time to snatch a 2-2 draw. “Platts is potent in the attacking box,” said Martin of his team mate, who only a week earlier nodded in a dramatic extra-time winner to earn Sorrento back-to-back State Cups. “He has scored quite a few goals this year, and a lot of the time they have been crucial goals. Hopefully he can carry this goal scoring form into the finals.”
Martin chipped in with two goals of his own on Cup Final day in a man-of-the-match effort. “It was a great day for the club, to go back-to-back was fantastic,” said Martin. “I was happy to contribute where I could on the day, and I was lucky enough to get on the end of some good work from the boys down the right. We made hard work of it but we worked our socks off and got the win in the end and I was delighted to receive the ‘Stan Lazaridis Medal’.”
KERR BACK IN MATILDAS SQUAD
Attacking midfielder Samantha Kerr is in line to make her first Matilda’s appearance in a year after being included in coach Tom Sermanni’s squad for this month’s tour of North America. Kerr, a key member of Australia’s 2010 Women’s Asian Cup winning team, has missed much of the past 12-months following a knee reconstruction. Fellow West Australian’s Collette McCallum and Lisa De Vanna are also in the 20-player squad, however, goalkeeper Lydia Williams has been omitted due to a knee injury.
The Matilda’s squad for their 12-day North American tour is Teigen Allen, Laura Alleway, Mackenzie Arnold, Danielle Brogan, Ashley Brown, Stephanie Catley, Brianna Davey, Lisa De Vanna, Caitlin Foord, Emily Gielnik, Kate Gill, Michelle Heyman, Alanna Kennedy, Sam Kerr, Collette McCallum, Clare Polkinghorne, Kyah Simon, Servet Uzunlar, Emily van Egmond and Sarah Walsh. Australia will play Haiti on 13 September before facing a two-game series with the United States of America, on 16th and 19th September.
BIRIGHITTI SILENCES BRISBANE’S ROAR
Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti says he was pleased to keep a clean sheet in his clubs’ pre-season win over A-League champions Brisbane Roar. Nullifying a potent Brisbane attack that included last season’s Golden Boot winner Besart Berisha was a positive sign for Newcastle, who claimed a 1-0 win in Tamworth on Saturday night. “Every keeper wants to keep a clean sheet and to do that against Brisbane who have a good quality strike force was quite pleasing,” Birighitti said. “Defensively I thought we were pretty sound and I thought all over the pitch we put up a pretty good fight.”
Birighitti played a key role in ensuring Newcastle were victorious, pulling off a couple of top notch saves in the second half to preserve his teams lead. The former Perth SC junior had his reflexes tested by Matt Jurman’s from a corner and later pulled off a flying one-handed save to tip Berisha’s shot from 15-metres over the crossbar. “They’re the saves that are going to win games and I was fortunate enough that they came off,” Birighitti said. “Sometimes you pull those saves off and sometimes you don’t but against Brisbane I was lucky enough that they went my way.”
SHAMROCK TAKE THEIR BALL AND GO HOME
Division One club Shamrock Rovers will return to their traditional home at Harold Rossiter Park in time for season 2013. Shamrock have played at the East Victoria Park ground since 1984 but relocated this year to Ashfield Reserve after being advised by Football West the venue was lacking in some key areas which, despite meetings with the Town of Victoria Park and support of Football West, could not be addressed. A recent request by the club to Football West that facilities at Harold Rossiter Park be reassessed was met positively with the association agreeing Shamrock will once again play at the venue from next year. Shamrock are now in the process of engaging with the council as to enhancements which can be applied to the venue’s training and playing areas.
RUKAVYTSYA OUT TO IMPRESS
Nikita Rukavytsya wants to impress for club and country after earning a move back into the Bundesliga with Mainz. The Socceroos attacker inked a move to Mainz on Friday, ensuring an immediate return to the German top flight after being demoted last season with Hertha Berlin. But Rukavytsya has had little time to celebrate, the 25-year old departing soon after to join the Australia squad for upcoming games against Lebanon and Jordan. “The Lebanon game is leading up to the (World Cup) qualifier so it’s going to be a good preparation,” Rukavytsya told sportal.com.au. “We have to win (against Jordan) so we have to be switched on and get the three points.”
Rukavytsya’s move to Mainz reportedly cost the Rhine river club one million euros, with the former Perth Glory signing on until the end of the 2014/15 season. “It’s a good move for me … It was sort of sad to leave Berlin. I’ve been there for two years and I love the club, the people,” said Rukavytsya, who made 58 appearances for Hertha. “(The Bundesliga is) a great league with a lot of great players. There’s no easy games, even if you play against the bottom team it’s still a tough game. Anything can happen in this league, so you have to be switched on every week and do your best in every game.”
JONES ADDED TO SOCCEROOS
Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones has been drafted into the Socceroos squad for upcoming internationals against Lebanon and Jordan. Jones returns to the national squad for the first time since the death of his son Luca in November, and 18-months after his last appearance for Australia, as replacement for injured Reading custodian Adam Federici. The 30-year old appeared set to leave Liverpool over the off-season but the arrival of new manager Brendan Rodgers has reinvigorated his career, with the Perth-born shot-stopper second to Spanish international Pepe Reina in his clubs’ pecking order. Australia take on Lebanon in a friendly this Thursday, 6th September, ahead of a World Cup qualifier with Jordan next Tuesday, 11th September.
SUNDAY BLOCKBUSTER TO RAISE FUNDS FOR PRIMARY SCHOOL
Stirling Lions’ final round clash with traditional rivals Floreat Athena will be a fundraising event for the historic Mt Lawley Primary School, which tragically burnt down last month. Don Evans, president of Stirling, approached Football West about moving the game to this Sunday, 9 September, after experiencing the plight of the 100-year old school, its teachers and students. “My daughter, Natasha, is a Grade 5 teacher at the school and I witnessed firsthand the impact and heartache on her and all the students and family members,” explained Evans, who has invited the children from Grade 5 to play an exhibition match from 2.30pm, prior to the main game at Macedonia Park.
Evans was inspired by the spirit of the school community. “I was at the first meeting principal Don Barba held at the Mt Lawley High School and thought ‘What a great caring community who all wanted to pitch in and help get their school back to normal’. I spoke to Don on the night and said I would offer assistance through our club and help raise funds for school sporting equipment and donate some shirts and balls,” Evans said, who has contacted several other club presidents seeking donations. “The presidents and their club sponsors have all rallied together for the school and children. I am sure this will be a great day of unity and solidarity when our football code helps raise funds for a community in need.”
MELVILLE CROWNED CHAMPIONS OF DIVISION ONE
Melville City completed their swift rise up through the women’s ranks by finishing on top of Division One, losing just once in 16 games. After securing the championship by seeing off second-placed Quinns 2-1 last week, Melville added a further coat of gloss to an already sparkling campaign with yesterday’s 2-0 win over Subiaco AFC. That result ensured Melville would claim top honours by five points over nearest rivals Quinns and Leeming Strikers, who finished on level points.
Coach John Gibson has been the guiding hand behind Melville’s successes. Over the past five years the club have steadily moved from junior to senior football to be crowned Division One champions and earn their place in the Premier Division for 2013. However, not all the signs were positive for the club this season, a Night Series final loss to Quinns was followed seven days later by an opening day defeat at the hands of Leeming. But Melville’s response could not have been better – a season-defining 15-game winning streak.
There is no doubting the talent on display at Melville. In the attacking third Laura Waltman, Noi Pukkaew, Steph Simmons, Kelsey Lyons and Talyah Griffiths amassed a staggering 68-goals between them. The lynchpins of a defensive unit which conceded just 9 times in 16 games were Raffi Waltman and goalkeeper Evie Gooch. Any team in any top flight competition would be proud of statistics such as these, in fact it took highly decorated Northern Redbacks to tip Melville out of the Cup at the quarter-final stage.
The future certainly looks bright for Melville thanks to a healthy junior girls program. The club is positioned in the top three of the under-13 and under-15 leagues, and boasts State team representatives across a variety of junior age groups. Over the course of this season several under-15 players were drafted into the Reserves team, who recently completed their season by thrashing Subiaco 6-1 to finish 11 points clear of second-placed Leeming.
HERD REAFFIRMS COMMITTMENT TO AUSTRALIA
Aston Villa midfielder Chris Herd has reiterated his “strong desire and determination” to play for Australia. Coach Holger Osieck last week questioned the commitment of the 23-year old, who has on three occasions withdrawn from Socceroos squads citing injury. “There’s no question that I want to represent my country and I’ll be as proud as anyone could possibly be whenever I do that,” Herd told his clubs’ official website. “Unfortunately, I’ve suffered injuries at really bad times which prevented me from playing in World Cup qualifiers last season and in a friendly in Denmark at the end of the season.”
Although overlooked for next month’s World Cup qualifier against Jordan and the preceding friendly with Lebanon, Herd is hopeful of making his Socceroos debut in coming months. “I remain committed to achieving the breakthrough at international level, I have a really strong desire to do so and I’ll be working hard to make sure I’m part of the squad in future,” said Herd. “Obviously, I’m focused primarily on my responsibilities as a player for Villa ... but I’m also very determined to force myself into the Australian squad and win my first cap, which will hopefully happen in the very near future.”
INJURY PUTS WILLIAMS OUT UNTIL 2013
Rhys Williams will be out of action for a minimum of three months after going down with an ankle ligament injury while playing for Middlesbrough. The 24-year old midfielder suffered against Gillingham on Tuesday with Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray revealing the full extent of the damage two a couple of days later. “It is going to be a few months minimum and I would imagine it would be a bit more,” said Mowbray. “He will see a specialist to decide whether he needs an operation on that or not. You would have to say he will be set for a considerable time out.”
PLATTEN KEEPS SORRENTO’S SEASON ALIVE
A stoppage time strike by Daryl Platten secured Sorrento a 2-2 draw from the top-of-the-table encounter with Bayswater City at Frank Drago Reserve. A couple of first half goals from Gustavo Giron-Marulanda had the home side in front at the break, and their loyal supporters just 45 minutes away from celebrating the clubs first ever Premier Division crown. However, it wasn’t to be with Jamie Harnwell halving the deficit before Platten equalised just moments before the final whistle. The result keeps Bayswater at the top of the table, one point ahead of Sorrento and two clear of Floreat Athena, heading into the final 90 minutes of the home and away series.
Bayswater enjoyed the better of possession in an action-packed start. Their attacking approach was rewarded on 17 minutes when Giron-Marulanda cheekily converted from the penalty spot after being felled by Steve McDonald. Despite conceding, Sorrento’s heads did not drop but despite applying some intense pressure to the home backline whey were unable to find a way past goalkeeper Gianni Papalia. There was no such problem at the other end where Giron-Marulanda tucked past Curtis Aspden after the ’keeper blocked a 33rd minute shot by Gustavo Catarcione. Sorrento returned to the attack where Brodie Martin combined to terrific effect with Reece Vittiglia only to have Papalia save his shot.
Sorrento came out firing for the second half but, like earlier, were held out by the home defence. A triple substitution in the 57th minute – which saw coach Paul Price bring Stuart Montgomery, Jamie Harnwell and Danny Cain into the action – came with almost immediate impact. Two minutes after coming on Jamie Harnwell punished some poor defending by finishing Vittiglia’s hard work at close-range. Cain prevented Giron-Marulanda from completing his hat-trick, and sealing the game, by applying a desperate block to the Bayswater players shot. 93 minutes were on the clock when McDonald nodded a corner down into a crowded goalmouth with Platten pushing the ball over the line.
SECOND HALF ONSLAUGHT HAS FLOREAT BACK IN THE TROPHY HUNT (with George Tsadilas, Football West)
Floreat Athena put themselves back in the mix for regular season honours by inflicting a 4-0 loss on Bunbury Forum Force at Litis Stadium. Bobby Wilson, Sandi Loncar, Benny Kovaoio and Jon Brooks were on target to jump Floreat to within a couple of points of top spot heading into the final round of the season. “Although we were missing some key players and played well below our best, I’m happy that we’ve managed back into the winners circle,” said Floreat coach Chris Barbas. “Bunbury are always a hard side to break down and the score line doesn’t reflect how hard they made it for us”.
The early exchanges had Floreat on the attack but unable to break down a well-organised visiting backline. That changed in the 13th minute when Mark Pritchard swung in a corner which was met by Wilson, whose header crashed into the back of the net. It looked as though Floreat were about to run away with the game, however, Bunbury flexed their midfield muscle to limited their opponents to only scattered shots for the remainder of the half. In fact, Bunbury almost snuck an equaliser through Martin Ryan who squeezed his shot past goalkeeper Brad Effie only for Wilson to prevent it from entering the net.
Floreat emerged from the break determined to finish the job that’d started. Wilson grazed the crossbar with a free-kick from inside the 18-yard box awarded for a lapse in concentration by Bunbury custodian Ryan Montgomery. The visitors were dealing well with the pressure until Mongomery was shown a red card in the 69th minute for clipping the heels of Ludovic Boi as he was rounded. The resulting penalty kick was smashed into the underside of the bar by Pritchard whose blushes were saved when Loncar headed the rebound past replacement ‘keeper Jamie Oakley for a two-nil lead.
Kovaoio and Boi had chances to further increase Floreat’s lead as the hosts attempted to make the most of the numerical advantage. They were rewarded with a third goal in the 83rd minute, Pritchard releasing Kovaoio straight down the middle before hitting a low shot past an advancing ‘keeper. Five minutes later Kovaoio turned provider by squaring to Brooks who, after taking a touch to settle, curled a wonderful effort into the top corner. Brooks could have added another late on but his explosive drive was tipped over at full-stretch by Oakley.
FINALS ASSURED FOR INGLEWOOD (with Nathan Drudi, Football West)
Inglewood United booked their participation in the finals series with an entertaining 5-3 win over Stirling Lions at Intiga Stadium. Club veteran Michael Baczynski scored twice with Dannie Richman, Ryan Clarke and Alex Caniglia finding the net to consolidate Inglewood in fourth place. “We have been working on being a bit more enterprising in our game and we showed it today I felt. We haven’t scored for a couple of weeks, it is always a bit worrying when you don’t score goals, so the boys did well,” said Inglewood coach Graham Normanton. “The only danger we really had was from high balls into the penalty area with Andy Brown on the end of them, but they didn’t create that many of them.”
The home team came out full of attacking intent but had to wait until the 22nd minute for Baczynski to head on from a Jack Clisby corner. Four minutes later the ball was moved swiftly between Caniglia, Perich, James Sammut and Clarke whose cross was headed in by an unmarked Richman at the far post to make it two-nil. It took a long time for Stirling to spark but on 41 minutes the deficit was cut, Corey Hugo’s goal kick was flicked on by Andy Brown to Anthony Lyons, who fended off his marker to slide into Francis Soale’s net. Half-time was looming when Baczynski doubled his tally by scrambling the ball over the line following another Clisby corner.
Inglewood continued to dictate terms after the turnaround when desperate defending kept out goalbound efforts from Richman and Baczynski. However, there would be no denying the home team and on 55 minutes Clarke cut in from the right flank and slotted past between the neat post and Hugo. Within four minutes Stirling had pulled a goal back through Michael Pugliese, who headed in at the second attempt after his initial try came back off the bar. Gareth McGlynn brought it back to a single goal game on 64 minutes with a crisply struck free-kick into the bottom corner. Baczynski wasted a glorious opportunity to put the result beyond doubt by skying his shot from the edge of the 18-yard box. That miss was forgotten when Caniglia’s weak strike from 15-metres snuck into the net with Hugo caught out of position in the 72nd minute.
JOONDALUP SAFE AS BALCATTA SLIP UP
A goal either side of half-time earned ECU Joondalup a 2-0 victory over Balcatta at the Edith Cowan University campus. Jon Higgins posted the hosts opener just before the interval with David Foster sealing the win in the closing stages. “We played really well for the whole 90 minutes,” said Joondalup coach Salv Todaro. “It was a good team performance.” The result may have secured Joondalup’s top flight status for 2013 but it also dented sixth-placed Balcatta’s hopes of sneaking into this years’ final series.
Joondalup were unlucky not to take a 6th minute lead when Higgins 14-metre shot crashed off the upright and rebounded to safety. Six minutes Foster snuck his shot past goalkeeper Bobson Koroma only to watch as Chris Thackray cleared off the line. It was now that Balcatta settled and started to threaten themselves. Callum Roberts released David Micevski who was thwarted by Andy Banks courageous smothering save at his opponents’ feet. Soon after a David Micevski corner fell to Boima Karpeh whose shot on the turn whistled narrowly high of the crossbar.
The home team were presented a golden opportunity to take the lead on 35 minutes when Julian Madaschi’s push on Dale McCulloch prompted referee Hugh Best to point to the spot, however, Koroma guessed correctly to save Foster’s penalty kick. But Joondalup were not to be denied too much longer. Half-time was four minutes away when a Banks clearance made its way to Tanner Selyer who, after taking a couple of touches to tame the ball, played in Higgins to fire low past the ’keeper from 16-metres for a one-nil lead.
Balcatta almost equalised a minute into the second half, Shane Nunes heading just high from a David Micevski corner. But on 53 minutes it was the home side that found the net as Foster finished with aplomb past Koroma on the end of a build-up which featured Rob Draper, Matt Italiano and provider Selyer. Koroma had to be alert to deny Italiano on the hour, while Amphlett’s shot on the run was just wide as Joondalup sought to kill off the game. Balcatta sparked back into life with David Micevski’s shot from the edge of the 18-yard box which Banks did well to save.
Banks breathed a sigh of relief in the 66th minute when Moe Atak’s shot from 18-metres crashed off the underside of the bar, bounced on the line and into the ‘keeper’s arm. Joondalup almost stole a third goal on the counterattack, Tommy Amphlett crossing for Foster whose header from 9-metres was superbly captured by Koroma. It was clear this was not going to be Balcatta’s day when David Micevski sent clear Geneveo Human to shoot past Banks only to be denied by the post. Koroma prevented Selyer from getting the goal his performance deserved by saving a late one-on-one with the Joondalup attacker.
RELEGATION NOW A FORMALITY FOR FIGHTING KNIGHTS (with Bianca Redding, Football West)
Western Knights will need a miracle to avoid relegation despite holding Perth SC to a thrilling 3-3 draw at Wauhop Park. Substitute Jacob Vucic netted with only minutes remaining to complement Jamie Burns’ brace and earn the Knights a point after two goals from Liam Boland and another by Robbie Sciascia seemingly had Perth set for victory. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for the Knights who are three points adrift at the foot of the table and with massive goal difference in the negative with only one game to play. “I took over this job knowing full well it would be pretty hard to keep them up,” said Knights boss Robbie Dunn. “All I want to see is the guys who want to stay here next year give it all they’ve got.”
Perth hit the ground running with Sciascia and Greg Sharland looking to give their team an early advantage. But the home side made it clear this was not going to be a one-sided contest with a defensive line under the command of David Annall and Ivan Zuvela responding well to their opponents attacking thrusts. On a few occasions Perth did find a way through but some disjointed play meant goalkeeper Alfie Brincat wasn’t really put to the test. If truth be told the Knights could have gone ahead when awarded a penalty for a Craig Simpson foul, however, Zuvela’s spot kick was brilliantly pushed away by ‘keeper Alex Dunn, who guessed the right way.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 34th minute when Burns gathered possession, created himself a bit of space and with a precision shot on the turn lobbed into the net of Dunn. Perth’s response was swift. With the very next attack Sharland delivered a brilliant cross to Boland who was positioned to tap past Brincat and put the game back on level terms. Things stayed that way only until the 41st minute when Jesse Fuller combined with Luka Jukic before switching play out wide to David Chine who played a superb cross to an unmarked Burns who, from dead in front, make no mistake putting away his second goal. Jackson Turner and Chine looked to extend the Knights lead before the break but Dunn was not to be beaten.
The second half opened much like the first with Perth holding the majority of possession, heaping pressure on their hosts. Parity was restored for the third time on 57 minutes when, from the top corner of the 18-yard box, Scaiscia let fly a vicious shot which gave Brincat no chance of saving. With this the Knights came back into the game, which now became an end-to-end affair. Burns was being closely watched by Simpson and Shaun Kilkelly but managed to slip free of both to go one-on-one with Dunn, who proved up to the challenge. David Onoforo had the chance to make it advantage Perth but his poorly struck spot kick was comfortably saved by Brincat.
Coming into the final quarter Perth stepped up the tempo, leaving the Knights to play on the counterattack. With 81 minutes gone Boland rose well to head in another brilliant cross from Sharland to get the team wearing blue in front for the first time. Four minutes later Chine played a dead ball into the box where newly introduced substitute Vucic headed powerfully into the net to make it three-all. It was one-way traffic for the few remaining minutes, Perth raining shots down on Brincat but unable to find the back of the net. When referee Josh Manella eventually signalled the end of the game an eerie silence fell over Wauhop Park as the reality of the Knights predicament began to sink in.
NTC FINALLY ON THE BOARD
The National Training Centre opened their season account with a 3-2 upset win over Armadale at Alfred Skeet Oval. Mohamed Beyan, Storm Roux and an own goal by Nathan Costello snapped the NTC’s 20-game winless run. “Throughout the year we have played very well between the boxes, I thought today what we have done is play very well in both boxes … this result has been coming for a while,” said coach Kenny Lowe. “We have been close to winning quite a few games but as the year’s gone on the lads have coped a little bit more physically. From a football perspective we’ve always been up there in most games.”
The first opening of a dull first half came via a sliced clearance by NTC custodian Jordan Franken which deflected off Roux and into the path of Ravi Kuppusamy who put his first time shot wide of an open goal. Borbor Sambindi was proving to be a real menace down the right and on no fewer than three occasions the attacker raced past the home defence but his delivery into the 18-yard box failed to find a team mate. The best chance of the period arrived just before the break, Rhys Loxley working his way down the left and centring for Kuppusamy, whose first time shot flew past Franklin only to crash back off the crossbar.
The deadlock was broken eleven minutes into the second half when Sambindi’s low cross deflected off Costello and past Cyril Sharrock for an unfortunate own goal. By the 65th minute Armadale had fallen another goal behind, Roux arrowing a shot over Sharrock and into the far corner of the net. Armadale hit back six minutes later with Darren Francis hitting an unstoppable shot after good work by Kuppusamy. The game had just ticked into stoppage time when Beyan squeezed the rebound from an initial shot into Sharrock’s net. There was still time for Francis’ to snare Armadale a consolation goal with his long-range shot into the top corner.
EASY WIN HAS COCKBURN TAKE POLE POSITION
Division One leaders Cockburn City maintained a steady course towards promotion by defeating Morley Windmills 2-0 in a one-sided encounter at Dalmatinac Park. Paul Lloyd netted midway through the first half with Devon Gibson claiming the sealing goal shortly before the final whistle, extending the Cockerels winning run to six games. It didn’t take long for the home side to start asserting themselves, Ian Stack beating his marker to cross for an unmarked Nick Carroll whose close-range header flashed just over the top. That pattern was repeated throughout the afternoon with Morley forced into focusing on defensive duties. Cockburn opened their account just after the half hour when Stack delivered a deep cross which Lloyd controlled before placing into Michael Dudek’s net.
There was little change to the flow of play after the turnaround. Cockburn’s dominance stemmed chiefly from the central authority of Marc Anthony, Connor Kavanagh and Eamon McNelis, while out wide Stack was causing Morley no end of problems. Gibson, Stack, Carroll and Lloyd were presented chances to add to Cockburn’s lead but each was unable to capitalise. For their part Morley managed only scattered counterattacks but on those few occasions were turned away by the solid defensive line of Ewan Grant, Paul Natale, Gibson and Jason Godfrey. Any hopes Morley entertained of stealing a late equaliser were put to rest in the 84th minute when poor defending allowed Gibson to tap in at close-range a shot by Lloyd.
TONE GETS MANDURAH BACK ON COURSE
Mandurah City jumped back into the title race by defeating Wanneroo City 3-1 at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Craig Tone came off the bench to score twice and put Mandurah to within four points of Division One pacesetters Cockburn City. Clint Davies was a man under fire throughout the first half, the Wanneroo custodian pushing shots by Craig Simms and Jeff Bright around the post. Another attempt on goal by Bright was tipped onto the crossbar, which also denied Liam Hurst after he got in behind the home defence. The Mandurah sought finally arrived in the 40th minute when a dead ball was played to Bright whose low strike from 22-metres came to rest in the Wanneroo net.
Graeme Matthews could have doubled the difference early in the second half but after rounding Davies the attacker could only hit the side netting from an acute angle. Wanneroo rallied to draw level on 64 minutes, Jason Marsden waltzing past several challenges before finding the feet of Garin Collins, who slipped his shot past veteran ‘keeper Michael Green. Tone entered the action nine minutes later and with his first touch had Mandurah back in front, the striker arrowing into the far corner from the top of the 18-yard box. The game was in stoppage time when Tone turned a couple of defenders and drove in from the corner flag to blast into the roof of the net from a tight angle.
ASHFIELD IN A CANTER
Ashfield collected all three points from their encounter with Forrestfield United by a 4-0 scoreline. Nathan Tossum, Branimir Mikulic, Nattapong Narongphunt and Reuben Tristao were each on target to assure Ashfield of a top four finish to their season. “We got off to a flying start, which was also to our demise as we became a little complacent and some ill-disciplined finishing saw us squander numerous chances,” said winning coach Matt Carruthers. “The second half we continued to pile on pressure and Forrestfield responded by putting some pressure on us for a while until we killed the game off with the third goal.”
Only a couple of minutes were on the clock when Karl O’Reilly got free to cross for Mikulic whose shot was parried by goalkeeper Joel Zappacosta into the path of Tossum, who made no mistake. When Mikulic netted four minutes later it looked as though Ashfield might reach double figures, but an inability to convert numerous additional chances meant it remained two-nil at the break. Forrestfield worked tirelessly without reward early in the second half before Narongphunt delivered the knockout blow on 63 minutes. The sealer arrived the second to last minute of regulation time, Tristao’s driving run from near the half way line taking him past a couple of challenges before spearing into Zappacosta’s net.
CANNING UP TO FIFTH
Canning City chalked up their second win in five days by accounting for Fremantle Spirit 4-0 at Hossack Reserve. A brace from each Daniel Trevisiol and substitute Anthony Campbell jumped Canning up the standings into fifth place. The port side had their backs to the wall as early as the 2nd minute when Tait Comley was harshly red carded for a handling Trevisiol’s goal bound shot. Michael Lawson squandered a great chance to capitalise by sending the resulting penalty kick into the upright. Paul Van Dongen lifted over the crossbar before Fremantle fashioned an opening of their own which Tyrone Fenwick sent high. But the majority of the action was taking place at the other end where Lawson’s volleyed from 15-metres brought a sharp response from Elhossain Atekhis while a looping Trevisiol header was cleared off the line.
Canning turned up the heat after the break and it didn’t take long for the rewards to arrive, Trevisiol heading in from a Michael Van Dongen cross. After this Fremantle flickered to life, David Cyrus’ long-range effort bringing Steve Grant into the action before Danny Clapham volleyed wide. Those missed opportunities were compounded when Trevisiol clipped over Atekhis after being played through one-on-one with the Fremantle goalkeeper. Campbell came off the bench to immediate effect, the big striker rounding Atekhis to tuck in Canning’s third goal. A further coating of gloss was added to the scoreline by Campbell who rose to head powerfully into the net from a Paul Van Dongen cross. The final margin would have been greater had Paul Van Dongen or Laurence Cheyne been able to make more of some late chances.
RAMPANT SWAN UPSETS SHAMROCK
A second half goal blitz has seen Swan United overturned a half-time deficit to triumph 4-1 over Shamrock Rovers at Ashfield Reserve. Chris Atkinson scored twice with captain Rob Monterosso and Brendan Knox also on the scoresheet to earn a depleted Swan outfit their tenth win of the campaign. “Our squad depth was tested today and this result will give the club a lot of confidence going forward,” said Swan’s caretaker coach Mick Skowron. “Chris had an excellent game, scoring two goals and setting up another, and Jordan Howell was very good in only his third first team game of the season.”
The afternoon started positively enough for Shamrock with Brian Farrell punished an error in the opposing defence to strike into Howell’s net after 9 minutes. It looked as though it would be only a matter of time before the hosts had the ball in the net for a second time but despite some promising build-up play delivery into the final third was lacking quality. As the half drew to a close Aaron Colli brought Swan back into the game, the midfielder’s drive from the centre of the park leading to several scoring opportunities, each of which went unconverted.
Swan picked up after the break when they left off and on 66 minutes Knox brought the teams level by rising unchallenged to head in an Atkinson cross. Six minutes later Monterosso unleashed a low drive from 14-metres which flashed into Philip Shiel’s net to put the black and whites in front. Shamrock were on the ropes when Atkinson landed another blow by applying a tidy finish from just outside the 18-yard box. Atkinson completed a remarkable eleven minute spell by netting at close-range after being put through by Colli. Mark Miraudo was within inches of scoring Swan a fifth goal with his 85th minute strike rattle the crossbar.
GOALS APLENTY BUT DIANELLA AND GOSNELLS FINISH DEADLOCKED
There was no shortage of goals at Dianella Reserve where Gosnells City twice came from behind to settle on a 3-3 draw with Dianella White Eagles. Abdul Sesay opened the home teams account after 17 minutes with Sotiris Theodosiades adding a second goal ten minutes later. Gosnells were brought back into the game leading into the break with Darren Gamble and Paul Carlin scoring within minutes of eachother. However, Dianella would go into the rooms with the lead courtesy of a curling Soitris Theodosiades free-kick in first half stoppage time. The solitary goal of the second stanza came just after the hour with Carlin beating goalkeeper Alan Creer for a second time.
STRONG START SETS UP SUBIACO WIN
A first half barrage laid the foundations for Subiaco AFC’s 4-3 win over home side Kingsway Olympic. The teams in maroon came out swinging with Barry Hurd and young striker Ryan Warburton giving them a comfortable two-goal cushion inside 10 minutes. Defender Ger Fitzgerald extended the margin just after the half hour, however, Aaron Platten found the net just a minute from the break to give Kingsway hope of a second half revival. Aaron Lickiss further reduced the gap on 67 minutes but things didn’t stay that way for long with Warburton bagging his second goal to steady Subiaco’s ship. A Wayne Culverwell goal with five minutes remaining ensured a tense finish in which Subiaco held out for the three points.
MORROW INSPIRES FREMANTLE TO VICTORY
A spirited performance by Quinns went unrewarded as a free-scoring Fremantle United emerged victorious 5-3 at Gumblossom Park. An attacking start by the port side dividends on 5 minutes when a searching pass by Taran Richmond found Andrew Morrow, who dispatched a crisp shot into Anthony Cochrane’s net. Not to be outdone, Quinns returned fire ten minutes later with Shane McEntaggart heading in from a corner kick. Chances came and went over the following 20 minutes with Cochrane and his opposite number, Carlos Bervenotti, making several important saves. It would be Fremantle that found a way through five minutes from the break when Michael DeSouza fired an unstoppable free-kick into the bottom corner from 22-metres.
The second half had been underway just five minutes when Morrow extended the visitors. Quinns responded in kind with Rudi Coetzer converting a great cross by Ryan Pellow to bring the difference back to a single goal. But Fremantle were having none of it, Morrow seizing on a sloppy back pass which he sent past Cochrane to complete his hat-trick. The introduction of Kurt Evans and Aaron Maplestone saw the home side rally to again have Fremantle on the defensive. So it was against the run of play that Michael De Souza converted from the penalty spot following a holding offence. Maplestone pulled another goal back but the mountain ultimately proved too high for Quinns to climb.
FOUR IS ENOUGH FOR BRENNAN
Melville City snapped a two-game losing streak by claiming a thrilling 4-3 victory over Joondalup City at Len Shearer Reserve. John Brennan grabbed a stoppage time winner to take his tally for the afternoon to four goals and give Melville hope of a top three finish in Division Two. A bright start by the home side was rewarded in the 18th minute when Sasa Slavujevic headed down for Brennan to volley past goalkeeper Scott Wallis. Early substitute Gary McVicker orchestrated their second goal when his cross evaded all but Brennan, who made no mistake with his finish. Joondalup halved the gap just before half-time with Mark Thornton needing two attempts before tucking past Stewart Dalgarno.
A niggly start to the second half was punctuated by Joondalup’s second goal with Lucias King converting from the spot after Ryan Jones lashed out at an opponent. Quickly Brennan restored the hosts lead with a deflected shot which wrong-footed the ‘keeper. Joondalup’s day took another turn for the worse when Yates was sent off for a second yellow card offence. Only a few minutes passed before the teams were again brought level by substitute Bryan Neal’s glancing header. The momentum then swung Joondalup’s way with Slavujevic collected his second booking. The final whistle was just moments away when Brennan volleyed in at the back post from a McVicker corner.
MAINZ SIGN RUKAVYTSYA
Nikita Rukavytsya has joined German Bundesliga club FSV Mainz in a deadline day transfer from second tier outfit Hertha Berlin. The 25-year old attacker has penned a three-year deal with Mainz, who have been interested in his services for the past few months. “We are pleased that the transfer has now succeeded,” manager Christian Heidel said on the club’s website. “Rukavytsya is an incredibly fast offensive player on the flanks, which will give us more flexibility in attack. He moves deftly into goalscoring areas and sets up his teammates very well.” Rukavytsya leaves Hertha after two seasons, the most recent of which he finished with the second most assists in the 2.Bundesliga.
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This page was last updated on the 6th September, 2012