ROAR ENDS THE GLORY'S UNBEATEN START
Perth Glory’s unbeaten start to the season has come to an end after a 2-1 defeat against Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium. Former Glory striker Jamie Maclaren gave the home side the lead at the break, but Glory’s Serbian midfielder Nebojsa Marinkovic levelled with a great strike early in the second half. But fifteen minutes from time substitute Brandon Borrello scored the winner, to continue the Glory’s poor A-League record in the Queensland capital.
Glory assistant Coach Andrew Ord said they didn’t deserve to get anything out of the game. “We had a good go and if we had have continued that in the second half and carried on the way we were going, I think we would have deserved to draw and could have even won it,” he explained post-match. “But we didn’t carry it on, they got back in the game. We looked a little bit tired and that’s what happens when you spend all first half chasing the ball and then trying to correct it in the first 20 minutes of the send half, put in such a monumental effort to get back into the game, that when the adrenaline wears off we looked tired again. We never overall quite deserved anything on balance from the game.”
The Glory made one change to the side that beat Melbourne City last week with Rhys Williams returning, not to the centre of defence, but in the middle of the park instead of Brandan Wilson, who dropped to the bench, the Glory deciding not splitting up the central defensive partnership of Dino Djulbic and Alex Grant, who performed well last week.
The home side made a bright start and went close to the opener after only six minutes. The lively Corey Brown made space down the left and cut the ball back to Thomas Kristensen at the top of the penalty area, his low shot deflected goalwards off Marc Warren, but Grant was alert to clear the ball off the line. Maclaren looked lively, the Socceroo striker was on a three game streak without a goal, but he continued to give the Glory back four problems, this time driving into the box, the ball fall to Thomas Broich, whose curling shot whistled inches over the top.
The Glory lost skipper Rostyn Griffiths on 25 minutes, the midfielder lost part of a tooth in a head clash, and was taken off after feeling unwell, he was replaced by Wilson. Matt McKay then saw his long-range shot flash just wide, as the Glory worked overtime to keep the Roar at bay. The Glory’s first real opportunity came on 28 minutes, Williams’ volley flew wide of the target, after Andy Keogh’s cross wasn’t cleared.
But three minutes later the Roar took a deserved lead. Brown made space down the left and curled in a superb cross into the path of Maclaren, who nipped in between two Glory defenders to fire low past Liam Reddy. Kenny Lowe looked frustrated in the stands, as the Roar continued to dictate terms and Tommy Oar fired wide late, before Oar cut inside Marc Warren in stoppage time but saw his shot flash wide of the target.
The Glory were on the front foot early in the second half, with Diego Castro, Marinkovic and Williams bossing the middle of the park, and it wasn’t a surprise when they levelled on 54 minutes, and all three were involved. Castro slipped the ball into Williams on the right hand side of the penalty area, and the former Middlesbrough midfielder picked out Marinkovic who finished superbly past Michael Theo.
It looked like the Glory would go on and win the game, but the introduction of Borrello on 67 minutes gave the Roar a lift. He had a sighter on 72 minutes, but Djulbic got back with a last ditch block, but three minutes later the Young Socceroo scored the winner. There looked little danger when the striker received the ball from Maclaren, who had received the ball from quick throw in, but Borrello’s pace took him clear of Warren and Grant and he finished clinically low past Reddy, despite a late lunge from Josh Risdon.
The Glory pushed men forward looking for the equaliser and Keogh volleyed over the top from Castro cross, but Brisbane continued to look dangerous going forward. Maclaren’s shot on the turn flashed wide, before Borrello burst through again on 84 minutes, but the flag was up for offside. The Glory had one last chance late on to take a share of the spoils, but Marinkovic’s free kick was well defended by Brisbane and they took the points.
Brisbane Roar FC 2 (Maclaren 31’, Borrello 75’) v Perth Glory FC 1 (Marinkovic 54’)
Brisbane Roar: GK Michael THEO, 3 Luke DEVERE, 5 Corey BROWN, 7 Thomas KRISTENSEN, 9 Jamie MACLAREN (33 Joey KATEBIAN 90’), 10 Brett HOLMAN (28 Brandon BORRELLO 67’), 11 Tommy OAR, 13 Jade NORTH, 17 Matt McKAY (c), 19 Jack HINGERT, 22 Thomas BROICH - Subs not Used: RGK Jamie YOUNG, 4 Daniel BOWLES, 8 Jacob PEPPER - Yellow cards: NORTH 59’, KRISTENSEN 72’
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Marc WARREN, 5 Rhys WILLIAMS (24 Milan SMILJANIC 73’), 6 Dino DJULBIC, 8 Rostyn GRIFFITHS (c) (15 Brandon WILSON 25’), 9 Andy KEOGH, 10 Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 14 Chris HAROLD (7 Joel CHIANESE 80’), 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Josh RISDON – Subs not Used: RGK Nick FEELY, 16 Joe MILLS - Yellow cards: WILLIAMS 32’, WILSON 77’
Referee: Jonathan Barreiro;
TAGGART INJURY "NOTHING MAJOR", SAYS GLORY COACH
Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe has moved to ease fears over Adam Taggart's ongoing fitness despite ruling the striker out for a third successive match. Taggart will not fly to Brisbane to take on the Roar on Sunday with the 23-year old still experiencing aggravation from excess fluid on his left calf muscle.
Taggart has not played since scoring a brace in his A-League return in Glory's 3-3 season opening round draw with Central Coast Mariners earlier this month. He returned to Glory from English club Fulham in January following an extended battle with soft-tissue injuries during a two-year stint in the UK.
"It's not a tear, that's what is frustrating," Lowe said. "It's just really minor. It's a little bit of fluid in there, but it's just getting it to settle. It's nothing major at all. He's in a great spot. He's just chomping at the bit to get in. At the moment we don't need him, touch wood. But if we needed him maybe we'd push him further down the line."
Lowe confirmed both Rhys Williams and Shane Lowry will fly east with the Glory squad tomorrow. Williams missed last Friday night's 3-2 victory over Melbourne City for personal reasons, while Lowry is aiming to play his first match of the season after recovering from hip surgery.
GLORY LOOK FOR BACK-TO-BACK AWAY WINS
Perth Glory hit the road again this weekend, when they travel to the Suncorp Stadium looking for back-to-back away wins, when they take on Brisbane Roar on Sunday afternoon (2pm WA Time). They head east with Coach Kenny Lowe, but he will be watching from the stands, after he was hit with a two game ban for his altercation with the officials at half time in last week’s 3-2 win against Melbourne City. Assistant Andrew Ord will be in control from the sidelines during the game, but I’m sure Lowe will be in contact with him from up high.
Glory striker Andy Keogh, who bagged a hat-trick in last week’s win, said it will be business as usual. “It won’t affect us at all, we do all our work on the training pitch, and once we go on to the field we all know our jobs and what we have to do,” he said. “It doesn’t change anything. We have the assistant manager and experienced players, so everyone will chip in to make things easier.”
Last week’s win showed the rest of the league the Glory are the real deal, all the pundits had City to take the points, but the Glory went with a plan and came home with the chocolates. Skipper Royston Griffiths and Vice-Captain Keogh both shone in the win, and the Irishman’s hat-trick stole the limelight, but Griffiths was colossal in the middle of the park, and the rest of the players followed his lead.
Keogh said it was good to hit the back of the net and get the monkey off his back. “It was good to get on the scoresheet, but it was also a good team performance and always nice to get a couple and get off the mark for the season. It was a good game to test ourselves in against some very good players,” he said of the big win against City. “But it’s only Round 3. There’s a long way to go but we gave a good account of ourselves and if we can keep on our form the way we were the other night, we’ll go okay.”
“There’s always room for improvement. We can improve on scoring more. We can improve on conceding less. That’s the nature of the game but as long as we are picking up points, we’ll worry about that on the training ground,” Keogh added. The return of Alex Grant last week was another huge plus for Lowe, the former Stoke City defender put in a solid performance and with Rhys Williams and Shane Lowry back available again this week, the coach will have a few selection headaches for the trip to take on the Roar. It’s also a huge game for keeper Liam Reddy will mark his 200th Hyundai A-League appearance this week against his former club.
The Roar won for the first time this season with a narrow 1-0 win against Central Coast Mariners in Gosford. Danish midfielder Thomas Kristensen was on target to seal the win, but Coach John Aloisi will be looking for an improvement from his chargers this week. Former Glory striker Jamie Maclaren has struggled in front of goal this season, but he will be keen to score against his former employees.
Roar’s Tommy Oar said last week’s win, their first of the season, was a huge boost for them. “The most important thing on the weekend was the reaction after the Newcastle game," he said. “We probably should have scored a few more and killed off the game but it wasn’t to be. We showed good resilience defensively not to let them back in which is a big positive for us. We know if we keep creating chances the goals will come.”
The Socceroo winger knows they will need to be at their best on Sunday to get the right result. “We know we’re going to have to be up for it this weekend to get a good result,” he said. “One thing with Perth is you know they’re always a tough, competitive team. They’ve got good players and they’ve looked good so far. We know we’re going to have to play well this weekend.”
Squads for the game:
Brisbane Roar: GK Michael THEO, GK Jamie YOUNG, 3 Luke DEVERE, 4 Daniel BOWLES, 5 Corey BROWN, 7 Thomas KRISTENSEN, 8 Jacob PEPPER, 9 Jamie MACLAREN, 10 Brett HOLMAN, 11 Tommy OAR, 13 Jade NORTH, 16 Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 17 Matt MCKAY (c), 19 Jack HINGERT, 22 Thomas BROICH, 26 Nicholas D’AGOSTINO, 28 Brandon BORRELLO, 33 Joey KATEBIAN - *two to be omitted* - Ins: KONSTANDOPOULOS (promoted), D’AGOSTINO (promoted)
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, GK Nick FEELY, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Marc WARREN, 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Rhys WILLIAMS, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 8 Rostyn GRIFFITHS (c), 9 Andy KEOGH, 10 Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Joe MILLS, 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Josh RISDON, 22 Adam TAGGART, 24 Milan SMILJANIC - *two to be omitted* - In’s: LOWRY (promoted) WILLIAMS (promoted), TAGGART (promoted) – Out’s: 11 Richard GARCIA (not selected)
BOTSWANA TO BURNLEY: MEET GLORY'S TEEN SENSATION
As the youngest player to start all three of Perth Glory's A-League games this season, Brandon Wilson is relishing his return home to Western Australia after three years in England. The 19-year old midfielder has been a permanent fixture in Kenny Lowe's starting eleven so far in 2016/17, anchoring the midfield with captain Rostyn Griffiths.
While Wilson was disappointed with his display against Melbourne City last week - the teenager gave the ball away for the opposition's second goal just before being taken off - he feels totally vindicated for leaving English Premier League club Burnley in search of game time.
"Oh, big time," Wilson told Goal Australia. "I mean I've just come and worked hard. "Obviously a bit surprised (to have started every match so far) - I think everyone is really - but just keep working hard and hopefully can redeem myself from my last performance."
Botswana-born Wilson us one of Glory's legion of locally produced players lured back to Western Australia by coach Kenny Lowe. "Kenny Lowe was a big thing for me," said Wilson, who signed with Glory in July. "He's a big admirer of mine, I'd say, and he was a coach of mine when I was a kid, and he basically convinced me to come back."
Another of Wilson's admirers is Griffiths, who argued post-City that the youngster's mistake for Fernando Brandan's goal should be forgotten. "That's nothing for me," Glory's skipper said. "His overall performance in the game was so mature for a person of his age. He's fought his way into the team and, for me, he's deserved it."
Wilson was thrilled with Glory's win over Melbourne, a result that has forced the A-League to sit up and take notice of Lowe's troops. "Obviously everyone was buzzing off Sydney (FC) and Melbourne City over the last two performances but I think now people are going to realise we're here, we're contenders and we're not messing about this year," he said.
SARDELIC IS ARMADALE’S BEST
Armadale young defender Jake Sardelic was voted Armadale SC Player’ Player of the Year at the clubs end of season Awards night at the Novotel Perth. The 18-year-old said he was a delighted to win the award and thanked his teammates. “It’s a great achievement for me to win the award, especially being so young,” he said. “I’d like to thank the supporters and everyone involved around the club, and last but not least my teammates. It wouldn’t have been possible to win this award without them.”
The Reds struggled throughout the season, but they did enough to stay in the PS4NPLWA next season, and Sardelic said they stuck together to seal their survival. “It was a great effort from all the lads this season, and I believed we deserved to stay in the NPL,” he explained. “We played some good football and I believe it would be hard to disagree for anyone who watched us play.”
Paul Price has stepped down as senior coach at Armadale next season, but he said Sardelic was outstanding all season. “Jake at such a young age has been the best player over my two seasons at the club, and I think he can play in the A-League if given full time training,” he explained. “He is a smashing lad to work with and he became the best left back in the NPL. When we had an injury crisis he went in alongside the centre half and played there his entire career.”
In other first team awards on the night skipper Jesse Fuller took out the Coaches Player of the Year, with Alec Radonich winning the Young Player of the Year and teenage striker Michael Domfeh won the Golden Boot. Price said his skipper and young keeper were also outstanding. “I thought Jesse had another fantastic season and led by example as captain,” he said.
“He was the first person I wanted to sign when I took over and thankfully that happened. I’d also like to congratulate him on finishing runners-up in the NPL Gold Medal. The award for Alec (Radonich) was well merited, for an 18-year-old keeper coming in and playing so well and helping make a little bit of history, by conceding the least goals in Armadale’s top flight participation.”
In the under 20’s Joe Kelly won the Players’ Player of the Year, Shaydon Passalacqua the Coaches Player of the Year, with Beau Rahim the Most Improved Player. In the under 18’s Bradley Greipl won the Players’ Player of the Year, just ahead of Jafet Gochez. Samuel Lane won the Coaches Award, while Ross Anestoudis won the Most Improved Player award.
JONES BAGS JUFC PLAYER OF THE YEAR
It was a fantastic 2016 season for Joondalup United, winning promotion to the NPL, and striker Lee Jones was rewarded for a stellar season by taking out the clubs Player of the Year at their presentation night at a packed Joondalup Resort. The English striker bagged 24 goals, but his all-round play was vital for United as they held off Mandurah City to gain promotion. It was a huge season for the club, also taking out the Night Series, and Reserves title, while their amateur sides won both their leagues.
Jones said to win the award was a great honour and said it was a highlight of his football career. “I’m absolutely delighted to have won the award, it was one of the most memorable moments I’ve had in football,” he explained. “Given the quality we had right through the squad and what we achieved together this season it ended a perfect season for me.”
The striker said they had a great squad last season and although they had to wait to the final game of the season, the players never gave up and deserved the title. “This season has been unreal, winning the Night Series was an important milestone for the club and I believe gave us confidence to kick on and take out the league title,” he said. “The boys have been absolutely outstanding all season under Nick’s stewardship, and I’m honoured to play football with top quality lads on and off the park and to be part of such an amazing club. All I can say is roll on the NPL – I just can’t get enough.”
United Coach Nick Jennings said Jones was ‘Mr. Consistent’ and deserved the award. “Lee is a top quality person and outstanding goal scorer,” he said. “But this season in particular he showed there is more to his games than just goals. He led the line perfectly and brought our other attacking weapons into the game. He was a well-deserved winner of the award from his peers.”
Assistant coach Rudy Proctor echoed Jennings words, saying Jones was a vital cog in their engine last season and was worthy winner of the award. “Lee fully deserved his award and was a major contributor to the side last season,” he said. “Even when he wasn’t banging in the goals he continued to work hard for the team, bringing other players into the game and putting his body on the line, and the rest of the lads appreciated that.”
In other first team awards on the night, Josh Whitmore won the Players’ Player of the Year, just pipping Jones, and Jennings praised the versatile midfielder. “It is an amazing achievement for Josh to win this award a for a second year running,” he said. “Josh was the model of consistency and never had a bad game. His work rate and energy helped take the team to another level.”
Sam Cornwell won the reserves Players’ Player of the Year ahead of Chris Tate, while Jess Compton and Darren Tucker were joint winners of the Manager’s Player of the Year. In the under 18’s Luke Doyle was voted the Players’ Player of the Year, with Sam Wynne the runner-up. Both Doyle and Wynne were joint winners of the 18’s Manager’s Player of the Year.
BAN WON'T AFFECT US, SAYS KEOGH
Perth Glory vice-captain Andy Keogh said coach Kenny Lowe’s ban would not affect the side’s preparation or performance against Brisbane Roar on Sunday. Lowe will watch the game from the stands after being suspended for using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures towards a match official during last weekend's game at Melbourne City.
Keogh said while Lowe was in charge on the training pitch, once a game started it was up to the players. “He’s got his assistant manager there, he’s got his experienced players around him. We all chip in," he said. “Monday to Friday on the training pitch is where we do our work. To us it’s the same old story, another game and we go looking for three points.”
Keogh said Lowe had no reason to apologise to the players. “These things happen in football. Passion runs high, things get said. The gaffer accepts his punishment and we move on,” he said. “He gives everything on the training pitch and on game day. Passions runs high, especially with him. He’s a joy to watch.”
NEVILLE SANCTIONED FOR CODE BREACH
Western Sydney Wanderers' Scott Neville has been fined $1,000 for breaching Football Federation Australia's National Code of Conduct. Neville was found to have made an offensive gesture to the crowd during the Round Two A-League match against Adelaide United. The indiscretion earned the defender a reprimand and $1,000 fine, with FFA warning that any further breach of the Code could result in more severe sanctions.
WILLIAMS: CITY WOMEN TO PROGRESS FURTHER
Melbourne City goalkeeper Lydia Williams is focused on making her new team unstoppable leading into the 2016/17 W-League season. Melbourne created history last season by becoming the first W-League team to win all regular season games, a record they carried through into the play-offs by downing Brisbane Roar and Sydney FC to be crowned Champions.
Williams’ strenuous schedule continues after completing her season in the United States with Houston Dash, as well as commitments to the national team’s Olympics campaign in August. The goalkeeper adds to the spread of experience in a squad that already boasts Matildas Lisa De Vanna, Steph Catley, Larissa Crummer, Laura Alleway and Teigen Allen.
“The quality of the players and the leadership we have in this team. I think it’s very exciting, we can definitely do the double,” Williams said. “I think they kept the majority of their signings and I think the way they approached the league last year, other teams want to make it more competitive, if not just as competitive, so I think the season is going to be a step up.”
“Being overseas as well, this setup is probably the most professional that I’ve been in or witnessed as well. The way they’re leading women’s sport and women’s football I think is not only in Australia, but around the world is a testament to how they run the club. We get to be in the same area as the men and use the same facilities and everything, it’s fantastic. No matter if you’re male or female everyone is professional, that’s the best thing about it.”
Williams played 14 of the 20 games of Houston’s 2016 National Women's Soccer League campaign and made four appearances for the Matildas at the Rio Olympics. She said the involvement of American women in US national team was growing the domestic league. And while she admitted the depth of US football was better, she said Australian women’s football was providing more “creativity and flair”.
“There’s a difference where coming from that league (NWSL), they want results and they want the game to go their way where you come to W-League, they want to develop, they want to grow the game,” Williams said. “I get excited coming back here where I can really work on things I maybe wasn’t able to work on overseas.”
“The way football is getting played in Australia, we want to play, we want to learn and grow the game. You can tell by us being the most played women’s sport at junior levels we are putting on the entertainment level and we’re getting closer and closer to the men’s game which I really enjoy and like coming back here being in Australia.”
Australia had a less than spectacular Olympic campaign, winning just one of four games. Even so, the Matilda's still managed to book a place in the knock-out stage against Brazil, who prevailed 7-6 on penalties. And while the national team came away from Brazil disappointed, Williams was confidence the squad could maintain a high ranking and claim some silverware soon.
“I think we’re building depth,” she said. “The girls that have been starting have been around for quite a long time, playing with and against each other for many years from their 20s up until now, so we have quite a good understanding. Everyone’s got a good understanding of each other and they’re really trying to build that depth and make sure the team we have can be around for a long time.”
LLOYD TAKES OUT KNIGHTS FAIREST AND BEST
Western Knights import Paul Lloyd has taken out the clubs Fairest and Best at their Presentation Night at the Crown Resort on Friday October 14. Lloyd pipped Thomas Southgate to the award, and he said it topped off a great season for him. “I was proud to win the Player of the Year award. And I know a lot of really strong players have won it before me,” he said. “Western Knights are a great club, with and amazing history and do everything and above to look after their players.”
Lloyd said they were there or there about, but a few indifferent results in mid-season cost them. “We felt the season was good, especially considering it was the gaffers first season with new players,” he said. “We have a lot of young players that will be stronger after that first season together. A couple of better results in the middle of the season we would have been in the title race, but we’ll be better for the experience next season.”
In other awards on the night Sam Stone took out the first team Players’ Player of the Year, with Adriano Jelenovic won the Gold Boot as top goalscorer. In the reserves Brett Tucker won the Fairest and Best, ahead of Alex Bridges, while Pasquale Princi won the Golden Boot. In the under 18’s Jimmy Taban won the Fairest and Best, ahead of Alley Manyol, with Darious Huseein winning the Golden Boot. The winner of the Fairest and Best in the Women’s side was Krystal Skelin, while Ana Frankovic won the Players’ Player of the Year.
BLACK SHINES FOR SWANS
Swan United central defender Tom Black has won the clubs Fairest and Best award at the Black and Whites end of season awards night at the Swan Italian Club. Black edged out John Monterosso to the top award, and also took out the Players’ Player of the Year, and he said it was a great accolade to take both awards home.
It was a season of consolidation for the club after relegation last season, but Black believes they will be up for a big season next year. “It was a huge honour for me to win both awards,” he said. “Obviously last season didn’t go to plan, but it was good to see some youngsters step up and take their chance. It will give us a lot to build on for next year and be up there fighting for promotion.”
United Coach Matt Debarro said Black was a deserved-winner, and was outstanding at the heart of the back four. “It was no surprise that Tommy won the award, he’s had a great season,” he said. “He was a consistent in performance, rarely made mistakes, and has a great technical ability and understanding of the game. He was a great asset to the team and I’m sure he will have another great season in 2017.”
In other first team awards on the night, Luke Woodard won the Coaches Player of the Year, while Anthony D’Alesio won the perpetual ‘Scali Award’. In the reserves Joe Romeo won the Fairest and Best, with Andrew Pullella the runner-up. David Lynch won the Coaches Player of the Year, while Marco Trimboli won the Players’ Player of the Year. In the under 18’s Kieron Smoje won the Fairest and Best, with Charlie Tuxworth and Caleb Baines-Baker the runner-up, while Nicholas Andrews won the Coaches Player of the Year.
LOWE COPS TWO-GAME BAN
Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe will have to watch his team's next two A-League fixtures from the stands after receiving a two-game ban from the independent Match Review Panel. Lowe was involved in a heated discussion with referee Alan Milliner during the half-time break of Glory's game with Melbourne City on Friday night.
Melbourne equalised just minutes before the break via the penalty spot with a number of Glory players noticeably unhappy with the decision. While Lowe claimed to be the peacemaker in the incident, saying he only went on to the pitch to get his players from the field, match officials saw it differently and red carded the Glory coach.
Having spent the second half watching from the stands, Lowe will now have to cool his heels in the bleachers for another fortnight after the Match Review Panel determined he used 'offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures towards a match official'.
GRIFFITHS HAILS HIS 'FIGHT' CLUB
Perth Glory captain Rostyn Griffiths is no stranger to getting his shinguards dirty to secure a result as the anchor of his team's midfield. However, the 28-year old admitted there was extra incentive for his side to exert their physicality out on the pitch in a 3-2 win over Championship favourites Melbourne City on the weekend.
"I think those boys have quality everywhere all over the pitch, and we knew that going into it, so we knew we had to turn that into a bit of a fight - I think that's what we did," Griffiths said. "Overall I think we outfought them, and we created a couple of chances and probably should have put some away. I think we were excellent, the boys were immense."
Glory came home from Melbourne with the three points despite the absence of two of key defensive players, former Middlesbrough captain Rhys Williams and one-time Aston Villa defender Shane Lowry. Griffiths beleives the added competition for places in the line-up this season will benefit Glory in the long-term.
"We had Rhys Williams out, Shane Lowry out (and) other young boys who are good players that you haven't even seen yet," Griffiths said. "In every position you've got to have people that are threatening. Obviously it gives the coaches a bit of a headache and we've had that headache. These guys can all come in and compete but to be successful you've got to have a squad like that."
One such dilemma that coach Kenny Lowe will have to deal with is on the left side of the pitch, where Marc Warren, Joseph Mills and Shane Lowry are all adept. Warren in particular put in a solid shift at left back which will only serve to see his stocks rise as players look to lock down places in the first team.
"Yeah 'Waz' is an agressive little lad, and (in Melbourne) he had some pacey lads against him, like (Bruce) Kamau and (Nick) Fitzgerald," Griffiths said. "He handled them well and dominated his role and Josh Risdon did the same on the other side. It makes your job easier in the middle of the park, you don't have to get out wide or do the extra workload."
That doesn't mean Griffiths was inconsequential to the result. The Glory captain stood tall and was at the forefront when his team's frustrations spilled over after a contentious penalty decision which led to coach Kenny Lowe being red carded. "I think it was a case of two teams both wanting to win," Griffiths said.
"You've got (City's) Bruno Fornaroli making slide tackles, that didn't happen so much last year, we needed to turn it into a fight and we did. Obviously we were frustrated with the referee's decision that fired everyone up, their players were chirping up every time we got a free kick, it was just getting everyone a bit agressive ... It just spurred us on really, I think it turned it into a little bit of a war that people want, and I think we'll win it."
MIGAS WINS INGLEWOOD’S FAIREST AND BEST (courtesy inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)
Versatile midfielder John Migas commemorated his first winter with Inglewood United by winning the clubs’ top prize, the Fairest and Best player for 2016. A bumper crowd was in attendance at Saturday’s Gala Ball, held at the Inglewood Stadium Clubhouse, to celebrate the season that was for Inglewood.
Migas, a regular fixture of the midfield throughout the winter, set his sail early with a string of eye-catching displays across the opening rounds of the home and away series. The race for the Fairest and Best was effectively over by the season mid-point with Migas holding a sizeable lead over his teammates.
When counting finished Migas, who started 20 of 22 National Premier Leagues games, had tallied up 88 votes to take out the Fairest and Best award. Towering defender Adam Tong collected the Fairest and Best Runner-Up trophy with Jason Barrera in third place.
A dozen goals in National Premier Leagues competition earned Brian Woodall the Golden Boot. Woodall’s contribution was also recognised by his peers in the form of the Players’ Player of the Year. Josh Pereira collect the Physio’s Award and the Siggy Kramer Club Person Award was presented to Brett Klucznik.
Teenager Alex Ishida-Living will look back on his first season with Inglewood with great fondness after taking out the Rising Star Award along with the Under-20s Fairest and Best. Lachlan Ryan placed Runner-Up in the main award with Jacob Flores scoring the Golden Boot.
The Under-18s Fairest and Best went home with midfielder Tyler Garner, who earlier this month celebrated his 16th birthday. Jack Lavis was a worthy recipient of the Fairest and Best Runner-Up. Nicholas Challot’s eight regular season finishes earned him the Golden Boot.
MARINERS SIGN GALLOWAY
Central Coast Mariners have confirmed the signing of 21-year old defender Scott Galloway on a one-year deal. Galloway, who arrived on the Central Coast this week to become coach Paul Okon’s first signing, is eligible for selection in this afternoon’s home game against Brisbane Roar.
Galloway is excited to be opening a new chapter in his career after parting company with Melbourne Victory. “The Mariners are a great club,” Galloway commented. “Paolo (Okon) has a great style of football that he is looking to implement this season and it’s going to catch the eye of everyone.”
“The big thing that drew me here is the players that have been produced here. You look at the likes of Trent Sainsbury, who grew up in Perth like myself and came across, he’s someone that you look at and think I want to get to that level.”
Galloway is open to the idea of featuring today against Brisbane. “I’m ready to go straight away if called upon,” he said. “I want to get as much game time as possible and improve, hopefully contribute to getting the Mariners back to where they deserve to be.”
Okon feels Galloway will be a good fit for the club, both on and off the pitch. “I know Scott from my time at the Young Socceroos,” Okon said. “He was one of the youngest players to play in the 2013 Under-20 World Cup at 18 years of age and he had two cycles before moving onto the Olyroos.”
“He’s what we are looking for both on and off the pitch, he’s an exciting young talented footballer. For such a young player he’s already played over 50 A-League games and is a good kid with a good attitude, he will fit well into this playing group. He can play anywhere across the back four or as one of the sixes so he’s very versatile.”
“We will have a look at him and decide whether he will be in the squad (for Brisbane). As of next week he will have the same training timetable as everyone else so we will have a better idea but if he’s fit he will certainly come into the reckoning of being in the squad.”
KEOGH BACK TO FORM AS GLORY STUN CITY
Perth Glory striker Andy Keogh has put an indifferent start to the A-League season in front of goal behind him, to score a hat-trick and give Kenny Lowe’s side a 3-2 win against the unbeaten Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Friday evening. The Irishman had missed a hat full of goals in the opening game against the Mariners, and missed a penalty last week against the Phoenix, but he was the star against City, scoring three goals, including a clinically lob five minutes from time to win it.
Glory skipper Rostyn Griffiths said Keogh had taken a lot of stick in the past two weeks, but he said he showed his quality. “To respond after that penalty he hit last week… that's the character of Andy, remember the guy has played in the Premier League," he said. "I'm reading on Twitter and he's getting hammered. Then he turns out tonight and puts three goals in the back of the net, so I think that keeps a few people quiet."
The skipper said it was a good all-round performance, and they just rolled up their sleeves up and got on with the job. “We said before the game we've sort of got to turn this into a bit of a dogfight, mix it up with them and get in their faces," Griffiths said. “You can talk about tactics as much as you like but the fight from the boys tonight was phenomenal and I'm just so proud of them.”
Lowe made just the one change from the Glory side that beat Wellington Phoenix last week, with Alex Grant replacing Rhys Williams, who was left out of the side due to a family issue. Griffiths was in doubt going into the match, but the skipper was passed fit to play in the 4, 4, 2 formation, as they looked to maintain their unbeaten start to the season. The Glory started well on a wet Melbourne night, had they had the ball in the net after only five minutes. But Griffiths’ header was ruled out, as Nebojsa Marinkovic’s corner had swung out of play. But two minutes later they did hit the front.
Marinkovic’s free kick picked out the speedy Chris Harold on the right of the box, and he cut the ball back to Keogh to fire home from four meters, and he celebrated the goal and birth of his daughter in midweek, with his teammates in the corner. City were on the back foot and the Glory were dictating terms and Josh Risdon’s shot flashed wide before City custodian Dean Bouzanis was alert to push Marinkovic’s free kick around the post on the half hour. City were struggled to breakdown a Glory defence well-marshalled by Dino Djulbic and Grant, who was making his first start of the season.
But in the shadows of half time the home side were gifted the equaliser. Bruno Fornaroli made space in the penalty area, his first shot was blocked, but the Uruguayan fell under a slight touch by Djulbic from the rebound, and referee Alan Milliner pointed straight to the spot. It looked a little soft but there was contact, but the striker made the most of it, and he picked himself up to send Liam Reddy the wrong way from the spot.
It was a bitter bow for the Glory but they almost hit the front again in stoppage time, Keogh was sent clear, but Bouzanis was out quickly to smother the striker’s shot and send the sides in level at the break. The action didn’t end there though, and at the break Lowe raced onto the pitch to pull his players away from the officials, who were fuming about the penalty decision, but after the coach had pulled the players away and settled his players down, he turned and told the officials what he thought, and it could see him in trouble with the FFA, and he was sent to the stands at the break.
Despite conceding late in the first half the Glory were out of the blocks early in the second, and with Lowe in the stands assistant coach Andrew Ord was in control. Keogh was sent into the box by a clever back heel from Diego Castro, but his shot was well saved by Bouzanis. Ord was off his seat again four minutes later, when the Glory regained the lead. Marinkovic’s corner was met by Djulbic, his first effort was blocked, but his follow up header picked out Keogh, whose header was fumbled over the line by Bouzanis. City needed a lift and with Luke Brattan and Fernando Brandan pulling the strings they started to get on top, although the Glory still looked dangerous on the break.
City marquee Tim Cahill was lucky to stay on the park when an elbow caught Castro in the throat, a free kick was awarded but amazingly he wasn’t even spoken too by the referee.
But on the hour the home side’s pressure was rewarded with the equaliser. Brandon Wilson had his pocket pinched in the middle of the park, and Cahill sent Brandan in on goal and the Argentinian finished low past Reddy. It was game on, and it looked like the home side would go on and win the game, and four minutes they went might close. Brandan cut inside Josh Risdon on the left, and his curling shot from the edge of the penalty area flashed inches over the top.
The Glory settled and were still dangerous on the counter attack, Castro’s curling shot whistled wide of the target, but on 71 minutes the Glory had a little luck. The lively Fornaroli turned superbly in the penalty area, leaving Djulbic chasing flies, his shot deflected off Grant and smashed into the post, and Marc Warren was quickest to react to clear the danger. It looked like the points would be shared but six minutes from time the men in purple won it.
There looked little danger from Grant’s long ball, but Josh Rose’s weak clearance fell to Keogh, and he lobbed the ball past Bouzanis to seal Glory’s third and a stunning hat-trick. The win took the Glory to the top of the table, for 48 hours anyway. It was a gutsy performance from the whole squad, but Griffiths and Grant were outstanding, with Castro and Keogh again linking up well in the final third. The pair also did a lot of work without the ball tracking back and minimising the space. With Adam Taggart, Shane Lowry and Rhys Williams all ready to come into the squad next week, Lowe and his coaching staff will have some selection headaches.
City Coach John van’t Schip said it was an average performance from his side. “Everybody has to be connected and be at a high level and we have to do the things we are working on, and I think tonight we tried but the performance was not there,” he said. “We lost the ball too early and then you make the opponent strong and dangerous and we didn’t really get into our game. Even though we came back two times, it was just too average and I think it shows that we’re in a process of trying to do something, trying to get to a certain level but today we didn’t reach that level.”
Melbourne City FC 2 (Fornaroli 44’, Brandan 60’)
Perth Glory FC 3 (Keogh 7,’ 49’, 85’)
Melbourne City – GK Dean BOUZANIS, 2 Manny MUSCAT, 3 Josh ROSE, 8 Neil KILKENNY, 10 Anthony CACERES (14 Daniel ARZANI 78’), 11 Bruce KAMAU (12 Nick FITGERALD 36’), 17 Tim CAHILL (6 Osama MALIK 72’) 22 Michael JAKOBSEN, 23 Bruno FORNAROLI (C), 26 Luke BRATTAN, 27 Fernando BRANDAN – Subs not Used: RGK Thomas SORENSEN, 18 Paulo RETRE – Yellow Cards: Kilkenny 6’, Rose 57’, Brandan 76’, Fornaroli 80’
Perth Glory – GK Liam REDDY, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Marc WARREN, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 8 Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 9 Andy KEOGH (16 Joe MILLS 89’), 10 Nebo MARINKOVIC, 14 Chris HAROLD (7 Joel CHIANESE 76’), 15 Brandon WILSON (24 Milan SMILJANIC 62’), 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Josh RISDON – Subs not Used: RGK Nick FEELY, 11 Richard GARCIA – Yellow Cards: Djulbic 43’, Griffiths 43’, Harold 61’, Grant 70’, Keogh 87’, Reddy 90+2’
POSTHUMOUS TRIBUTES TO DYLAN AND JOHN
Two posthumous awards will be made at the Football Hall of Fame WA 20th Anniversary Gala inner/Induction Night in the Grand Ballroom at Crown Perth on November 26. Budding superstar Dylan Tombides, who tragically died from testicular cancer at the age of 20 in 2014, will be inducted into the Hall of Merit for Players. And former State team coach John Davies, who passed away at the age of 67 in 2015, will be inducted into the Hall of Recognition.
"Dylan was on the cusp of what would have been a magnificent career, but the WA football family can be proud of what this talented youngster achieved in such a short space of time," Football Hall of Fame WA committee chairman Louis Prospero said. "John Davies brought much to the State as a player and a coach at State and club level and I was pleased to send him a letter before he died last year to confirm that he would be inducted into the Hall of Recognition."
Perth-born Dylan Tombides, who played at junior level with Perth SC and Stirling Lions, signed for West Ham United when he was only 15 and played once in their senior team when he was 18. He played five times at under-17 level for Australia, including games in the Under-17 World Cup in Mexico, and turned out four times for the Australian under-22 team in the Asian championships.
After bouts of chemotherapy leading into the event, his bravery and determination to play in the Asian tournament was described as a "feat that defies medical logic." He died a few months later in London. West Ham have since immortalised Dylan with a special Champions Place stone outside the club's new home, the stadium which staged the London Olympics in 2012. A statue was also unveiled of Dylan outside Perth Oval in Perth.
Tickets for the upcoming Hall of Fame event have nearly sold out and people are urged to quickly book their places by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning Hall of Fame committee member John O'Connell on 0413 973 846. Tickets cost $180 which includes a three-course meal, all drinks, entertainment and appearances by special guests Bernd Stange and Les Murray.
MAYNARD-BREWER SIGNS PROFESSIONAL CONTRACT WITH THE ADDICKS (Courtesy of ECU Joondalup SC)
Former ECU Joondalup SC keeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer continues to impress at English League One club Charlton Athletic, and the 17-year has been rewarded for his hard work by signing an additional two-year professional contract with the club.
Maynard-Brewer, son of former Perth Glory CEO Jason Brewer, said he’s in a really good space at the moment and to sign on a processional contract is fantastic. “The new contract is till the end of this year plus a further two years with an option for another year on top of that,” he explained. “I’m really happy with signing it and feel that I’ve improved a lot since I’ve come to Charlton and I’m grateful to have got the extension and hope to continue to improve over the next few years.”
The custodian is in his second year at The Addicks and has been a standout in the under 18’s and has also been training with the under 23’s, and he said his game has improved greatly during his time at Charlton. “The season so far has been really good, and I’ve played almost every game with the u18s and feel I’ve been improving with every game I play,” Maynard-Brewer said.
“I feel I’ve pushed on since last season where I barely played and have taken my chance. I’ve also been involved a lot more with the first team training and have warmed up with the first team during a few of their match days at their home ground (The Valley Stadium) which has been an unreal experience.”
ECU Joondalup goalkeeping Coach Andy Petterson said it’s great news for the teenager and he said he knew he would succeed. “This is great news for Ash. We always knew he was good enough to get a Professional deal but really the hard work starts now for him,” he said. “He has come a long way since I first started working with him at 13 but even then he showed that he had all the qualities to play the game at the top level.” Petterson, who also played over 85 games for the Addicks from 1994-1998, said it’s a great club and Ashley will get the best coaching. “He is at a great club in Charlton Athletic for whom I hold close to my heart after spending 5 years there as a player myself,” he explained. “They have a fantastic reputation for nurturing and developing young talent and this was one of the main reasons we placed him there when he first went over for trials.”
ECU Joondalup are constantly in touch with Charlton regarding Maynard-Brewer and Petterson said all reports have been good. “We get regular feedback from the coaches and it has always been extremely positive on Ash, who is now a regular in the Academy U18 team,” he said. “His work ethic and desire to learn and improve has really shone through and they have high hopes for him which obviously has resulted in this contract.”
The 17-year-old was delighted to have his older brother Sam on hand to celebrate his new contract with him and he said it brought back memories of the pair playing in the back garden as kids. “It’s been really good having my older brother (Sam) over here, and he came in and signed my contract as my guardian which was great,” he said. “We went into Hyde Park the other day and had a kick about their, which brought back a few good memories from when we were kids.”
Maynard-Brewer, who headed back to Perth over the off-season, said he knows the hard work starts now, but said he wants to show Charlton their decision to re-sign him was right. “I went back to Perth and chilled out for a few weeks but then got back into it and did a few sessions with Glory Youth and ECU Joondalup which was great coming back after a year to see everyone,” he said. “Obviously my goal is to be playing first team football, but hopefully in the next few years I can get some experience on loan at a club and develop further as a keeper.”
GLORY HIT THE ROAD TO TAKE ON CAHILL AND CO
Perth Glory hit the road for the first time this Hyundai A-League season, when they take on Melbourne City at AAMI Stadium tonight. Both sides go into the game undefeated, and are only separated by two points, City winning their opening two games, with marquee player Tim Cahill scoring a stunning goal in his league debut for the club in their Melbourne Derby win last week.
The Glory head east full of confidence after a 2-0 win last weekend against Wellington Phoenix, but Friday will be a massive test but one Nebojsa Marinkovic is looking forward too. “It’s a big challenge, big team, a good team, one of the best in the league this season, they have good players,” he said. “It will be a very tough game for us but we go there to take some points from them.”
However the Serbian midfielder said they will need to improve in all areas to stop a rampant John van't Schip's side. “We must give a better effort, everyone, because on paper, they’re better team than Central Coast and Wellington, but you know this league, everyone can beat everyone,” Marinkovic explained.
“I’ve played almost three years here; I know that the last season and season before we played better some games against better teams so for us maybe it’s better to play against better squads. We have a very strong squad, and very good players this year so everyone will be out and in, so I just train and do my job 100%. I believe in myself, I have confidence that if the coach gives me a chance, I just want to play of course.”
Defender Josh Risdon will equal a club record on Friday, for the most number of Hyundai A-League appearances set by former Glory captain, and now Bayswater City defender Jamie Coyne. It was something the Socceroo didn’t know about. “I didn’t really know until I watched the game back and the commentators were talking about it,” Risdon said. “It’s very exciting, Perth Glory is such a huge club and I’m very grateful for the opportunities they’ve given me. To become equal A-League games record holder is a very proud moment.”
Like Marinkovic, Risdon knows they will be in for a huge game on Friday, but is hoping to keep their unbeaten run to start the season going. “They’ve shown that they are real title contenders in their first two games,” the Bunbury-born defender said. “It’s going to be a tough game against them Friday night. It’s a quick turnaround for us but we are going over with high confidence and hoping to get something out of the game.”
Diego Castro holds the key for the Glory, the Spanish maestro ran the show last week with skipper Royston Griffiths, and the Glory faithful will be hoping Andy Keogh can return to goal scoring form. Adam Taggart will miss again, the striker sat out the Wellington match with a calf strain and was restricted to jogging laps at training earlier in the week. Skipper Rostyn Griffiths failed to train as he recovers from an ankle knock, but has been named in the squad and is expected to be available.
Melbourne has recruited well, and John van’t Schip’s side will be one of the favourites to take out the title. Cahill’s partnership with Bruno Fornaroli is one the Glory will have to watch, but the midfield of Luke Brattan and Adrian Caceras and the pace of Bruce Kamou on the flanks is another concern. Thomas Sorenson returns to the squad from suspension.
Van’t Schp said it’s been a good start but they need to keep it going. “I feel very confident and I feel also that there’s still a lot of improvement to be made. It’s two games in so we’ve done well in Wellington and last week. For me it’s not enough, we have to improve, we have to get better and championships are not won in the first two games,” he said after the big win against Victory.
“In 10 days we get (Victory) again in the cup and have a very important game against Perth. We have to enjoy this win, a good win and a special win also for the fans. We now have to prepare and keep on working towards the game we are playing against Perth. There are very good signs and I’m happy to see the things we are working in a game like this.
“Where there is a lot of attention, a lot of people and a lot of expectations that the boys delivered in a very good way. As a coach you are always looking to keep the control, to keep your players concentrated but you also see while they’re doing that, they are also enjoying the game that they’re playing. That’s clearly important.”
Melbourne City squad: GK Thomas SORENSEN, GK Dean BOUZANIS, 2 Manny MUSCAT, 3 Josh ROSE, 4 Connor CHAPMAN, 6 Osama MALIK, 8 Neil KILKENNY, 9 Nicolas COLAZO, 10 Anthony CACERES, 11 Bruce KAMAU, 12 Nick FITZGERALD, 17 Tim CAHILL, 18 Paulo RETRE, 21 Ruon TONGYIK, 22 Michael JAKOBSEN, 23 Bruno FORNAROLI, 26 Luke BRATTAN, 27 Fernando BRANDAN - *two to be omitted* - Ins: Thomas SORENSEN (returns from suspension), Paulo RETRE, Ruon TONGYIK (promoted) – Outs: Yaren SOZER (omitted)
Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, GK Nick FEELY, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Marc WARREN, 5 Rhys WILLIAMS, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 8 Rostyn GRIFFITHS (c), 9 Andy KEOGH, 10 Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Joe MILLS, 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Mitch OXBORROW, 19 Josh RISDON, 21 Jamal REINERS, 24 Milan SMILJANIC - *two to be omitted* - Ins: Mitch OXBORROW (promoted), Jamal REINERS (promoted)
HOW LOWE TOOK WILLIAMS' CAREER FULL CIRCLE
Perth defender Rhys Williams was probably destined to play under Kenny Lowe before he was even born. Thirty years ago, in 1986, Lowe struck up a friendship with Williams' parents during a stint playing for Spearwood Dalmatinac in Perth's southern suburbs.
Lowe and Williams' father were partnered in midfield, the pair hitting it off to the point that the Glory coach even stayed with the couple before continuing his career back in England. Unbeknown to them at the time, that relationship would later help their talented son take his own blossoming career overseas and, after a tough decade at Middlesbrough, entice him home to rediscover himself in the A-League.
"I spent a bit of time with Rhys' dad and mum before he was born," Lowe explained. "That was the connection when Rhys was going over to Europe."
Lowe got Williams his trial at Middlesbrough through their academy manager Dave Parnaby, who quickly signed up the teenage defender. The English Premier League was the ultimate goal and it seemed destined to become a reality once the Socceroos came calling. That was until two achilles ruptures kept him sidelined for two years and ruled him out of the 2014 World Cup and 2015 Asian Cup.
Throughout the ordeal Lowe, by now assistant coach at Glory, made annual visits home. And each time he would gently try to entice Williams into making an A-League move. "Friends of mine coach at the club so I'd go in and Rhys would be around," Lowe said. "Each time I bumped into him I said 'if you're ever fed up you can always come back. Your mum will look forward to you coming home'. I just sold it that way."
Last year, Lowe could tell Williams had had enough. A second achilles injury lead the defender to consider an early retirement. A few games into his comeback for the under-21s he fractured his cheekbone. Then, to top it off, Middlesbrough opted not to extend his contract after gaining promotion to the Premier League. Williams made the decision to reignite his career in Perth, where he could bring up his son closer to his family.
GALLOWAY RELEASED BY VICTORY
Melbourne Victory and defender Scott Galloway have mutually agreed to part ways, with the 21-year old set to explore other opportunities. Galloway, a former Cockburn City and Gosnells City junior, was recruited by Victory in the summer of 2013 via the Australian Institute of Sport, making 65 appearances in all competitions for the club.
"I would like to thank Kevin Muscat, the coaching staff and the players at Melbourne Victory for allowing me the opportunity to play over 50 games in the A-League at the club," Galloway said. "I will leave Victory a better footballer and person than when I arrived, and I have developed many fond memories and friendships."
"The last four seasons I have been fortunate enough to be part of a Championship-winning team, and I've experienced playing in the Asian Champions League and against clubs like Liverpool and Juventus. But I believe the time is right to explore a fresh opportunity to give myself the chance to play consistent first-team football."
MAKAROUNAS OUT TO KEEP PERFECT RECORD INTACT
Adelaide United playmaker Jesse Makarounas will on Saturday be on the other side of a rivalry which has sometimes been played more outside the pitch than on it. The upside for the Reds is that Makarounas has never been a loser in the incendiary clashes between Adelaide and Victory.
And the 22-year old hopes to keep that streak intact when the two sides faces off at Hindmarsh on Saturday night. “It will be a firey game it’s always pretty firey the Victory and Adelaide games,” Makarounas said. “It might start off as a tense game, you might see some tackles flying in, but it’s always a hard game against Victory.”
Makarounas will be keen to show his former club just what it has lost. Victory signed the prodigy from Perth Glory in 2013 after the West Australian club had picked him up as a teenager. He came with plenty of promise — Makarounas had enjoyed a super FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico in 2011, scoring for the Joeys in his three appearances.
With Makarounas having Greek and Italian heritage — his father’s family originated from Kalymnos and his mum’s family is Sicilian — passion for the game is something which the Reds midfielder has in abundance. That love of the game has taken him a long way since his parents moved from Darwin to Perth when he was just a year old.
“I have still got family up there in Darwin,” Makarounas said. “My dad’s family when they came from Greece they went to Darwin. “Where the family come from, it’s a sister city with Darwin. My mum’s family, after Cyclone Tracy (in 1974 in Darwin), they moved down to Perth but the mum went back to Darwin to live with my dad.”
DE SILVA ON THE RODA TO SOCCEROOS RECOGNITION
If there is to be a bolter on the road to Russia 2018 for Australia it could well be teenager Daniel De Silva, who is beginning to turn heads in the Eredivisie with struggling Roda JC. The 19-year old has featured in six of Roda's opening nine league games, a far cry from the eight appearances he gained in his debut season in the Netherlands.
De Silva's talent was on display against Excelsior at the weekend when he provided the assist for David Boysen’s match-winning goal. The win lifted Roda off bottom spot of the ladder and the former Perth Glory prodigy showed in his 88 minutes on the field that the promise which earned him a call-up for last year’s World Cup qualifier in Kyrgyzstan is beginning to blossom.
De Silva is craving another taste of international football, and if he continues on his current trajectory it may come sooner rather than later. “Being involved again with the national team is definitely one of my goals,” said De Silva. “I didn’t get to play in Kyrgyzstan but being part of that camp was a fantastic experience. It’s important that I play the games here, so I am ready if that opportunity comes my way again.”
“Looking at the depth of the Socceroos squad, it’s really deep and seeing how well they are doing just makes me want to step up my game even more and make myself a better player to be a part of that squad again. I am sure they are keeping an eye on me ... it’s up to me to do well and hopefully the opportunity will come.”
A Socceroos debut may be his ultimate goal but for now De Silva is just happy to be getting regular game time. “I am making progress, a lot more than last season. I am playing more minutes, whether starting or coming off the bench, and I feel I am making more of an impact his season," he added. “If you see the player I was last season and this, it’s completely different.”
Known for his sublime touch and eye-catching craft, De Silva has this season added a more physical component to his game. “In this league three are some elite players, especially when you play the likes of Ajax and PSV and you have to be ready for games physically, mentally, technically and tactically,” the left-sided midfielder said.
De Silva is relishing his European adventure and plans to be on the continent for a decade or longer. “Maybe down the track I can return to play again in Australia but that’s long way down the road,” De Silva said. “Last year was learning curve on and off the field, and seeing how different everything is from Australia gave me a real insight into European football and has set me up for this season.”
MCCULLOCH REAPPOINTED AS ECU JOONDALUP COACH FOR 2017
After a season of great improvement from ECU Joondalup the club have acted quickly to reappoint Senior Head Coach Dale McCulloch for the 2017 PS4NPLWA season. The 35-Year-old has been at the helm of the club for three years now and the club are delighted to have secured him again to continue his good work. “We were delighted with the way Dale went about his business last season, even when we went through a sticky patch, he didn’t go away from his plans and he was rewarded with a great run in the second half of the season,” Syd Amphlett said. “We have worked extremely hard to bring in quality both on and off the park and we will be looking to push on, and with Dale in charge we are confident he will continue the improvement.”
McCulloch said he is delighted to be given the green light to continue his plans, and he said he will do doing all he can to bring success to the club. “ECU Joondalup means a great deal to me, and I’ve given my blood sweat and tears on and off the park for over 17 years, and people who know me will tell you I’ll be doing the same next season,” he said. “The club backed me last season bringing in players and support staff of the highest level, and like I said at the presentation night we will be looking to celebrate trophies next season, but we all know we will have to improve in certain areas of our game and look to strengthen the squad.”
The club can also confirm David Tough and Steven McGarry have also been reappointed as First Team Coaches, Andy Petterson as Technical Director and club goalkeeper Coach, Mark Scanlan as High Performance Coach and Regan Arrigoni as Physio. McCulloch said the coaching structure the club have implemented for next season will continue their improvement, and is looking forward to working with them. “Toughy, Steven and Mark were great last season for me, and I thought we worked well together, and I’m delighted the club have continued that partnership,” he said.
“We all have the one view, and that is to play good football and bring success to the club. We got close last season and we will all do doing our best this season to continue our improvement. Mark and Regan brought in some professionalism in fitness and physio, and their input was good for us, while Andy worked well with our goalkeepers. Things are looking good on and off the park, we’ve pinpointed where we want to improve and we are doing all we can to bring players in to the club, but they have to the right players for our club both on and off it.”
MERIGAN AND KARACAN WIN FORRESTFIELD B&F
Last Saturday Forrestfield United held its end of season presentation night at The Parmelia Hilton, and with over 230 people in attendance the club honoured their Best and Fairest awards. In their first season back in the All Flags State League Division One for four years, Forrestfield United impressed and finished third, behind Champions Joondalup United and Mandurah City. It was a close race for the B&F, and at the end of the night it was a tie with Liam Merigan and Kaan Karacan joint winners, with Hasani Sinclair a close runner-up.
Forrestfield Senior Coach Rod Banjac said the pair, were worthy winners of the clubs Fairest and Best. “Both Liam and Kaan are worthy recipients of such a prestigious award and we are happy for them both,” Banjac said. “They are both local lads, highly competitive and very passionate about representing our region at the highest level.”
Banjac said Merigan was one of their leaders last season. “Liam is a fantastic individual with exceptional skills and desire to win, a thorough professional and a fantastic role model for the young squad,” he said. “But it is his leadership on and off the park that makes him such a valuable player for our club. During the initial rounds we had the worst disciplinary record in the league, but after he took control it all changed and we finished third on the fair play ladder, which pretty much sums up his character.”
Merigan said he was delighted to take out the award. “It was an honour to win the award and privilege to be able to play amongst such a great squad and coaching staff,” he said. “The season was fantastic, for such a youthful squad to grow and improve so much within a season and playing the FUSC style is unbelievable. It was a testament to all involved to finish the league in an outstanding third position after being newly promoted. It has created a great platform for the future and continues to create a buzz around the local community.”
Karacan said it was a huge surprise to win the award. “To say that I wasn't expecting it is an understatement. It came as a big surprise considering I had missed a fair few games due to breaking my collar bone mid-season, but I’m glad, Forrestfield has been my home since I was a junior, I grew up playing there with a majority of the boys in the team, so to receive something like that on the night was great.”
The defender said he’s looking forward to next season and hope they can go one better. “I’m really looking forward to another season at Hartfield Park, and eager to start it all over again,” he said. “The team we have at Forrie now have been together for a while, since we were juniors, which created that comradery that helped us play the football that we needed in order to win. The boys at Forrie really don't give up until the end which is what we like to call the Forrie Spirit.”
Banjac said defender Karacan was a rock at the back, and his character rubbed off on the other players in the side. “Kaan is the first to roll his sleeves up and play his heart out for the squad and the club. He leaves nothing in the tank after each game and although starting out of position in the centre of defence, it didn’t take him long to form a formidable partnership with Mark Barnett,” he explained. “He is a bit of a larrikin with an infectious character and a steely resilience, ensuring that there is not a dull moment with him around.”
In other awards on the night Luke Martino won the first team Players’ Player of the Year, with Hasani Sinclair winning the Golden Boot. In the Development Squad Josh Barnes won the Best and Fairest, with Ben Parry the runner-up, while Bobby Perrott was the Players’ Player of the Year. In the under 18’s Ger Kler Moo (Rooney) won the Best and Fairest and the Player’s Player of the Year awards, while Hayden Lowe was runner-up in the Best and Fairest.
ROUX: I’M STRONGER FOR LEG BREAK
Central Coast Mariners’ Storm Roux hadn’t played a competitive 90-minute game since breaking his leg in February prior to Saturday’s clash with Sydney FC. The 23-year old right-back returned to action with a 75 minute hit-out in the 3-3 draw with Perth Glory, before putting in a full shift against the Sky Blues.
Roux suffered a horrific leg injury while playing Melbourne City in February, an unlucky fall resulting in a fractured fibula and damaged ligaments in his leg. The New Zealand international said the injury and the road to recovery that he’s trod has made him more appreciative and stronger mentally.
“It makes you realize how lucky you are to be playing football and to never take it for granted,” Roux said. “Out for five months without touching a ball, it’s hard to do. I definitely think it’s made me stronger as a person coming back from that. I just want to put it all behind me now.”
South-Africa born Roux played juniors for Sorrento and spent time with Perth Glory before moving to Central Coast in mid-2013. He admits it was frustrating watching from the sidelines as his club broke records in finishing last in 2015/16. “It is frustrating,” Roux said.
“All you want to do is play football and it’s one of those things which comes with football. You get injured and you have to put in the hard work. You have to get yourself right to be out there with the boys. I just looked at that every day I was getting closer to being out there and playing and that helped me get through it.”
Roux will make his first home appearance since returning when the Mariners host Brisbane Roar on Saturday. “One thing I was looking forward to was a home game,” he said. “I can go out there and show my appreciation to the fans that helped me get through those lonely rehab sessions and gym sessions ... I’m very thankful.”
CLISBY REACHES OUT TO ADELAIDE’S CIRIO
Western Sydney defender Jack Clisby has reached out to Adelaide star Cirio over the A-League tackle that has sidelined the Reds midfielder. Cirio could miss up to ten weeks with a knee ligament injury after being crunched by Clisby in the opening minute of Western Sydney's 2-1 weekend victory.
"There was no malice in the tackle. It was just one of those things - it's a big game and I'm looking to impress," Clisby said. "I do wish Cirio all the best. I did message him last night wishing him a speedy recovery. It was never intentional to hurt the player. He appreciated the text."
The game was Clisby's first in Western Sydney colours since his close season move from Melbourne City. The 24-year old said he set out to make a positive first impression on coach Tony Popovic. "Not in that sort of way though, by playing good football," he commented.
"I feel I did have some good impact on the game. It was a great result for the team as well. I was really excited (and) was just keen to get out there and give it my best. I knew I was ready, I just had to wait for my opportunity and it came around. I feel I took it."
ASHFIELD THE PREFERRED HOME OF FOOTBALL
Football West has endorsed a plan to transform Ashfield Reserve into a long-awaited 'home of football' in Western Australia. In front of 600 guests at Saturday’s black-tie WA Football Awards, Football West chairman Liam Twigger revealed Ashfield was the preferred location for a purpose-built State Football Centre.
Twigger confirmed Football West had endorsed a business case to construct a $45 million facility and would now concentrate on securing the appropriate funding. “We are currently in the process of negotiating and securing funding from both the State and Commonwealth governments to develop the much-needed facility, with football remaining the only major sport in Western Australia not to have a training and administrative facility,” Twigger said.
Ashfield Sports Club president Bill Busby said the redevelopment would be an upgrade for the sport. “I think the community will be engaged as far as I am told, which is important because it is community based and public open space needs to be retained as much as possible,” Bushby said.
“Hopefully it works out for all sides of the trade because football is the last group, as basketball and everyone else has got their proper home… we are the last cab off the ranks so it is long overdue. I look forward to working with the participants and getting the best result we can for the Ashfield community and the Ashfield Sports Club.”
Town of Bassendean Mayor John Gangell said the Town welcomed the plan, as it would add to tourism in the area. “It will be a significant redevelopment to the area of Ashfield, continuing that strong growth that we have seen to the Town’s commitment,” he said.
Gangell said it was council’s requirement to retain a certain amount of public open space. “It will still be accessible for residents to recreate on the reserve,” he said. “Concerns will be addressed but to have that sort of investment come into the Town is a wonderful opportunity.”
It is understood the $45 million redevelopment could include an artificial turf, two other playing fields and administration facilities, along with provision to keep public open space and fire-fighting training facilities. The facility would attract teams - from within the State, interstate and across Asia - to Perth to take on the State team.
“We met recently with Premier Colin Barnett, who is supportive of the State Football Centre, and we hope to secure financial support from the Government in the very near future,” Twigger commented. “Football West will work closely with local, State and Commonwealth governments, as well as other stakeholders, to ensure the best possible outcome for the sport and the Ashfield Reserve precinct.”
Football West chief executive James Curtis said building the facility at Ashfield would be a boost for the local community and Perth’s eastern corridor. He cited the reserve’s easy accessibility, given its proximity to the Perth Stadium, Perth CBD, Tonkin and Roe Highways, the Perth Airport and the adjacent Ashfield Train Station, as advantageous for the players who would use it.
DE SILVA: RODA CAN DODGE THE DROP
Daniel De Silva says Roda JC Kerkrade can stay up in the Eredivisie this season despite a slow start. Roda have managed just one win in their first nine matches and sit second-last in the Dutch league. De Silva only made a dozen appearances last season but the attacking midfielder has been a regular so far in 2016/2017, playing in seven of his teams opening ten games.
On the weekend De Silva picked up an assist in Roda's first win of the season, a 1-0 success over Excelsior with David Boysen getting the only goal. "The results haven't been going our way lately but I think things will turn around for us very soon," De Silva admits. "I'm still enjoying Europe and the football. I think we can stay up by just staying positive and working hard. We create chances in the match but we need to be more clinical in finishing and that's what we've missed."
De Silva, who turned 19 in March, is the last man standing when it comes to the three Australians left at Roda. In 2005 the club became home to midfielder Rostyn Griffiths, striker Tomi Juric as well as De Silva. But Griffiths returned to Perth Glory during the off-season while Juric secured a move to Swizz Super League side FC Luzern in July.
"I obviously miss that Australian feeling and the Aussie banter and things like that," De Silva said. "But I made other friends within the team last year who are still at the club and this year I have made new friends with some of the new players and building on those relationships from last year also. All the boys are great guys and it's always enjoyable times in the dressing room."
MELBOURNE SIGNS MATILDAS GOALKEEPER WILLIAMS
W-League club Melbourne City has confirmed the signing of Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams for the 2016/17 season. Katanning-born Williams arrived at the City Football Academy on Thursday following the conclusion of her National Womens Soccer League stint in the United States, where she played for Houston Dash.
Williams, 28, joins Melbourne on a season-long loan from Houston and after six-seasons with Canberra United. Regarded as one of the world’s best shot-stoppers, Williams brings to Melbourne a wealth of experience in Australian women’s football, winning two W-League premierships and a championship title during her time in Canberra.
“Lydia is a fantastic addition to our squad,” said Melbourne coach Joe Montemurro. “She has a lot of W-League and international experience and has great leadership qualities. She’s one of the best goalkeepers in the world and I am delighted to have her on board for our title defence this season.”
Williams’ move to Melbourne comes hot on the heels of recent signings Teigen Allen and Jacinta Galabadaarachchi, plus the re-signing of foundation players Steph Catley, Larissa Crummer, Rebekah Stott, Amy Jackson, Olivia Ellis, Melina Ayres and West Australian attacker Marianna Tabain.
O’REILLY READY FOR ARMADALE CHALLENGE
Armadale new Coach John O’Reilly is looking forward to the challenge ahead, as the 38-year-old prepares for his first stint in the PS4NPLWA as Senior Coach. The former Swan United and Shamrock Rovers Coach said it’s a huge challenge but one he’s looking forward too. “I appreciate the opportunity that Armadale has given me,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to taking on this new challenge, and I hope to return the faith the club have put in me by lifting the belief and determination of the squad.”
Armadale President Tony Greipl said the appointment of O’Reilly is a great boost for the club moving forward. “Armadale are excited to give John the opportunity to coach at the elite level, to improve and add to the current squad and we look forward to a successful season with John in charge in 2017,” he said. “John has over 20 years playing experience in the UK and Ireland before moving to Perth and finishing his playing days with Morley Windmills and Ashfield SC.
"John's philosophy is to promote an attractive style of football, getting the most out of the squad by applying development models within the team environment to improve players both individually and collectively, to gain maximum performance. The club would like to extend thanks to Paul Price and Tony Castiello for the work they have put in on and off the pitch in the past 2 seasons, raising the standard and setting the platform for the coming season.”
O’Reilly, who holds a UEFA B License and LMA accreditation in Performance Analysis, which will lead to FFA Level 2 before the New Year, took a few months away from the game recently and it’s re-charged his batteries. “I enjoyed my down time, as I had been flat out with coaching for the past four years,” he explained. “I continued studying the game during my time off, so I was still involved.”
Armadale did struggle last season but O’Reilly said they have some talented players, and he said it’s something he will look at when pre-season starts. “The club have some very good players, with the potential to give more, and I don’t think you should overlook those players. They worked extremely hard during the season and survived a relegation battle that in my opinion can be harder to manage than winning a title. If we can turn some losses into draws, and draws into wins, the current group can start to make positive movement forward."
After seven years coaching in the state league, O’Reilly is chomping at the bit to bring his philosophies into his new role, and he said he will sit down with the club and leave no stone unturned to bring improvement. “I like to think I can get the best out of the players I work with, maximize their strengths; create a high work ethic, and a strong winning mentality,” he explained. “Like I said it’s a huge challenge, but I’ll be doing all I can to turn things around. If new players come in, they will have to have the right attitude, quality and commitment to the club and the direction that we want to go."
RUSSO WINS CURTIN’S MVP
Curtin University wrapped up their season with their Presentation Night at Wesley College on October 8th, and it was Antony Russo who won the clubs Most Valuable Player for 2016, winning by one point from Eddie Tikoft. The midfielder was outstanding during the season and Coach Campbell Ballantyne said Russo was a well-deserved winner of the MVP award. “Antony was outstanding last season, he was our Mr Consistent and gave us the drive from the middle of the park,” he said. “He has won the award before and again he was the leader of our group, both on and off the field. He trains like he plays and he is a perfectionist in the unnoticed work, so I’m delight he has been recognised for another excellent season by taking out the MVP.”
Russo said he was delighted to win the award, but said it was a disappointing season and a 10th place finish showed their lack of consistency. “It was nice to be recognised by the guys, joining the likes of Tikoft and Chiellini who have won it previously is humbling,” he explained. “Honestly, we didn't have a great year, players had to play out of position and we struggled to get any consistency. There were a number of positives: our goal keepers (Jack and Macca) are two of the best I've seen and our cup run was incredibly exciting.”
The FFA Cup run was a highlight for the club, eventually being beaten by NPL side Stirling Lions, and Russo said they will be back bigger and stronger next season and believes the young players at the club will play a huge part. “Our younger players played their part and will be better for the opportunity. I'm looking forward to seeing Ollie, Josh and Danny next season as well as a host of players returning from a year off,” he said. “To be honest a player in my position shouldn't win player of the year, so hopefully someone scores some goals next season. We start training this Thursday, if a striker or centre back is keen, please come down.”
In other awards on the night, the Most Improved Player in the first team was won by Dominik Jakusuk, Eddie Tikoft won the Golden Boot, Stefan Spears won the Clubman of the Year, while Khaled Salhah free kick in the FFA Cup against Stirling won the Goal of the Season. In the reserves Danny Todd won the MVP, Alex Hogg the Most Improved, Derek van der Lann the Clubman of the Year and Yousif Al Rikabawi the Golden Boot. In the under 18’s Oakley de Snoo won the MVP.
GLORY TAKE OUT THE LONG DISTANCE DERBY
Perth Glory put last week’s disappointing fade out against Central Coast Mariners to beat Wellington Phoenix 2-0 to take out the ‘long distance derby’ at nib Stadium on Sunday. After a slow start the Glory struck just after half time with Diego Castro converting a penalty, before Nebojsa Marinkovic sealed the points. It could have been three but Andy Keogh’s penalty was saved by Glen Moss, but it was the Glory celebrating at the final whistle in front of over 11,000 supporters.
“They (Wellington) started well and had us on the back foot early, but once we got on top we were disciplined, organised and didn't make it easy for them. Do that and you've have half a chance,” Glory Coach Kenny Lowe said. “When you miss a penalty and its 1-0, and you think ‘here we go again, Déjà vu, groundhog day. But we were disciplined and I could hear them out there themselves, saying no, we’re coming away with this. That’s pleasing, it shows they care, shows they’ve taken things on board that we spoke about last week. You've got to give us credit - we played well, we dominated and we deserved the points.”
Lowe made the one change to the side that drew with the Mariners, with Adam Taggart rested with a tight calf, and he was replaced in the starting line up by Marinkovic. It was the Phoenix who opened the brighter, with the speedy Kosta Barbarouses and Roy Krishna causing problems, and the Glory were on the back foot. Glory custodian Liam Reddy save low early from Vince Lia early, as the Glory defence worked overtime to deal with a slick passing Phoenix side.
The Glory settled with Rostyn Griffiths controlling the middle of the park, the skipper’s deeds were followed by his team mates and they started to get on top. They went close on 10 minutes, Chris Harold crossed to Castro, and the Phoenix defence blocked his effort and had to scramble the ball to safety. Gui Finkler then tried his luck from long-range for the visitors but it didn’t test Reddy. The Glory went close on the half hour, when the lively Harold made space down the flank and cut the ball back to Griffiths, who in turn fed Marinkovic, whose shot flashed wide of the target.
Harold was outstanding his probing runs causing problems for the Phoenix and when Marc Warren picked him out on 40 minutes he played the ball back to Griffiths, whose first time shot whistled past the post. Both sides had late chances, as the game heated up. First on 43 minutes Finkler’s free kick stung the palms of Reddy, before in stoppage time Castro superb run and cross found Harold, but his effort was saved low by Glen Moss.
The Glory made a perfect start to the second half and they hit the front three minutes in. Keogh raced down the left and crossed to Harold, who was brought down by Adam Parkhouse and debutant A-League referee Daniel Elder pointed straight to the spot. Castro stepped up and sent Moss the wrong way to give the Glory the lead. It was one-way traffic and Griffiths shot was saved by Moss, before Rhys Williams’ header was claimed by the Phoenix custodian.
Then on the hour the Glory had the perfect opportunity to add another, Warren played in Keogh, who raced into the penalty area and when he was rounding Moss the keeper brought him down and it was another penalty. This time Keogh stepped up to take the resulting spot kick, but his weak effort was straight at Moss who saved easily. The Irish strikers work rate can’t be questioned but he is struggling in front of goal, and it must be a concern for the coach.
After that let off, the Phoenix went close to levelling four minutes later. Finkler’s low shot was heading in the bottom corner of the net, but Reddy got down well to push it around the post. That save become more important two minutes later, when the Glory doubled their lead. It was Harold again who started the move, playing in Josh Risdon down the right, and the Socceroos defender cut the ball back to Marinkovic to finish clinically.
The big crowd were in full voice, but the Phoenix weren’t lying down and they almost pulled one back on 76 minutes. Substitute Hamish Watson sent in pinpoint cross for Krishna, whose header was superbly saved at close-range by Reddy for one of the saves of the season. The Glory custodian was at it again eight minutes later Barbarouses picked out an unmarked Krishna, but the Fijian striker saw his shot well saved by Reddy.
It was a good performance from the men in purple, but a slow start is a concern, but saying that the Phoenix looked really sharp. But led superbly by Griffiths, Harold and Castro they got the job done. There are still concerns with Keogh in front of goal, but he is a quality striker, and he will turn it around. Defensively we were grateful to have Reddy in top form, a couple of quality saves saved the day, and it’s a concern the times Warren was caught out of position. But all in all a good performance and they will need more of the same next week when they head to Melbourne to take on Tim Cahill and City on Friday evening.
Wellington Coach Ernie Merrick said they need to start converting their chances. “I thought we started off really well with some good passing moves. The first 15 to 20 minutes I felt we dominated the game after getting off to a good start but we had nothing to show for it and it is all about scoring goals," Merrick said. "For the rest of the half I thought Perth was the stronger team. But then we conceded from a penalty after a couple of minutes and that set us back and then Perth got a second goal. We came back well but Perth defended really well and their goalkeeper Liam Reddy made a couple of crucial saves late on and in the final third we weren’t deadly.”
Perth Glory 2 (Castro 48’ pen, Marinkovic 66’) v Wellington Phoenix 0
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 3 Marc WARREN (16. Joseph MILLS 71’), 5 Rhys WILLIAMS, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 8 Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 9 Andy KEOGH, 10 Nebo MARINKOVIC, 14 Chris HAROLD (7 Joel CHIANESE 90+1’), 15 Brandon WILSON (24 Milan SMILJANIC 77’), 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Josh RISDON – Subs not used: RGK Nick FEELY, 2 Alex GRANT – Yellow Cards: Marinkovic 34’, Wilson 43’, Warren 63’
Wellington Phoenix: GK Glen MOSS, 2 Jacob TRATT, 4 Rolieny BONEVACIA (11 Hamish WATSON 69’), 7 Gui FINKLER, 9 Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10 Michael MCGLINCHEY (8 Alex RODRIGUEZ 57’), 12 Adam PARKHOUSE (19 Thomas DOYLE 58’), 13 Marco ROSSI, 17 Vince LIA, 21 Roy KRISHNA, 22 Andrew DURANTE – Subs not used: RGK Lewis ITALIANO, 14 Alex RUFER – Yellow Cards: Lia 32’, Parkhouse 47’, Rossi 51’, Moss 59’
Referee: Daniel ELDER
MICEVSKI REWARDED FOR SUCCESSFUL SEASON WINNING GOLD MEDAL
David Micevski’s outstanding season was rewarded on Saturday evening after the Stirling Lions midfielder took out the Football West - McInernery Ford Gold Medal and Ford Fiesta car for the second time in his career. The former Perth Glory and Australian under 23 midfielder had a sensational PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues WA season for the Macedonia Park club, and the 30-year-old also took out the PS4 NPL WA The West Australian Goal of the Season with his brilliant volley on the turn against Floreat Athena.
It was a glittering celebration of the WA game, with over 600 people packed into Crown Perth Ballroom, but Micevski was the star romping to the award on the back of nine man-of-the-match performances and accumulated an impressive 38 votes to finish ahead of Armadale’s Jesse Fuller 27 votes, and ECU Joondalup’s Scottish striker Gordon Smith. Last season’s winner Ludovic Boi finished fourth, with his Floreat Athena team mate Dean Evans in fifth.
Micevski said to win the award for a second time was unbelievable, but was quick to thank his team mates. “I’m really overwhelmed to win this award, but I couldn’t have done it without my team mates,” he said. “I won the award in 2009, so to win seven years later goes to show to myself really that I’ve been able to keep a high standard.” Micevski said he might have to extend his garage to fit the new car in, but said he’s had a great football journey and said he isn’t finished yet. “I’ve played football in the A-League, and it didn’t work out there for me for whatever reasons, and I’ve also had the opportunity to play overseas, which was a great experience, but winning this is a bonus for me,” he said. “I’ve not thought where I’m going to put the car, but there is one thing I know, I’ll be back for next season and doing my best again.”
In other NPL awards on the night, Inglewood United Coach Taki Nicolaidis was rewarded for taking his new club to the brink of the title, by winning the Ron Tindall Coach of the Year, with Perth SC keeper Francis Soale winning the Goalkeeper of the Year. The NPL Referee of the Year was taken out by David Bruce. Micevski thanked his team mates for his reward and said it had been a good season. Perth SC striker Gustavo Catarcione and ECU Joondalup’s Gordon Smith shared the Gold Boot with 19 goals, while Lions’ Teeboy Kamara picked up the Dylan Tombides Young Player of the Year award.
Joondalup United’s Lee Jones was awarded the All Flags State League Division One Player of the Year and Fremantle City’s Alec Robinson took the honours for Division Two. W-League star Marianna Tabain was crowned Bankwest Women’s State Premier League Player of the Year. Perth Royal’s Nick Calkin won the Consolidated Energy Amateur Premier League Player of the Year. David Bruce was awarded the Bankwest Golden Whistle as the state’s best match official.
Full List of Winners on the Night:
2016 AWARD WINNERS
McInerney Ford Gold Medal winner - David Micevski (Stirling Lions)
PS4 NPL WA - The West Australian Goal of the Season - David Micevski (Stirling Lions)
PS4 NPL WA First Team Ron Tindall Coach of the Year -Taki Nicolaidis (Inglewood United)
PS4 NPL WA First Team Goalkeeper of the Year - Francis Soale (Perth SC)
PS4 NPL WA First Team Golden Boot - Gordon Smith (ECU Joondalup) and Gustavo Catarcione (Perth SC)
The West Australian Top 4 Cup Winners - Perth SC
PS4 NPL WA First Team winners - Perth SC
DT38 Foundation Awareness Award - Best Club Fundraiser - Gwelup Croatia
Dylan Tombides Young Player of the Year Award - Teeboy Kamara (Stirling Lions)
PS4 Player Pathway Award - Teeboy Kamara, Lukas De Lima (Stirling Lions) and Matthew Milenkovic (Perth SC)
PS4 NPL WA U20 Player of the Year - James Atkens (Armadale) and Jamie Murphy (Bayswater City)
PS4 NPL WA U20 Golden Boot - Luka Ninkovic (Bayswater City) and James Owen (ECU Joondalup)
PS4 NPL WA U18 Troy Bernard Player of the Year - Benjamin Campbell (Stirling Lions)
PS4 NPL WA U18 Golden Boot - Riley Van Dieken (Cockburn City)
Cool Ridge Cup winners - Floreat Athena
All Flags State League Division One Player of the Year - Lee Jones (Joondalup United)
All Flags State League Division One Coach of the Year - Nick Jennings (Joondalup United)
All Flags State League Division One Golden Boot - Lee Jones (Joondalup United)
All Flags State League Division One winners - Joondalup United
All Flags State League Division Two Player of the Year - Alec Robinson (Fremantle City)
All Flags State League Division Two Coach of the Year - Steve Plucknett (Fremantle City)
All Flags State League Division Two Golden Boot - Alec Robinson (Fremantle City)
All Flags State League Division Two winners - Fremantle City
Consolidated Energy Amateur Premier League Player of the Year - Nick Calkin (Perth Royals)
Consolidated Energy Amateur Premier League Golden Boot - Noah Shamaki (North Perth United)
Consolidated Energy Amateur Premier League Coach of the Year - Mike Ford (Gwelup Croatia)
Consolidated Energy Amateur Premier League Goalkeeper of the Year - Jordan Jones (North Lake)
Amateur Cup winners - Gwelup Croatia
Consolidated Energy Amateur Premier League winners - Gwelup Croatia
PS4 NPL WA fair play winners - Bayswater City
All Flags State League Division One fair play winners - Joondalup United
All Flags State League Division Two fair play winners - Curtin University
Consolidated Energy Amateur Premier League fair play winners – Kingsley
Disabilities in Football Player Achievement Award - Christopher Johnstone (Lynwood United)
David Schrandt Administrator and Volunteer of the Year - Sarah Gaythwaite (Armadale)
Bankwest Women's State Premier League Player of the Year - Marianna Tabain (Beckenham Angels)
Bankwest Women's State Premier League Coach of the Year - Tim Hodgson (Northern Redbacks)
Bankwest Women's State Premier League Goalkeeper of the Year - Evie Gooch (Melville City)
Bankwest Women's State Premier League Golden Boot - Marianna Tabain (Beckenham Angels)
Women's Cup winners - Northern Redbacks
Bankwest Women's State Premier League winners - Northern Redbacks
Bankwest Women's State League Division One Player of the Year - Rebecca Dudek (UWA-Nedlands)
Bankwest Women's State League Division One Coach of the Year - Kelly Jarden (Bassendean Caledonian)
Bankwest Women's State League Division One Goalkeeper of the Year - Holly Cavalli (Wanneroo City)
Bankwest Women's State League Division One Golden Boot - Ashlee Byrne (Bassendean Caledonian)
Bankwest Women's State League Division One winners - Bassendean Caledonian
QBE Night Series winners - Bayswater City
Consolidated Energy Amateur Premier Night Series winners - North Perth United
Men's State League Night Series winners - Joondalup United
Women's Premier Division Night Series - Queens Park
Women's Night Series Division One - Stirling Panthers
Bankwest Golden Whistle Award - David Bruce
Bankwest Assistant Referee of the Year - Eamon McDonnell
Bankwest Referee Encouragement Award - Simon Hicks
GOLD MEDAL NIGHT - WA FOOTBALL’S NIGHT OF NIGHTS
It’s West Australian Football Nights of Nights on Saturday, with the Football West Gold Medal Night being held at the Crown Casino Ballroom. The highlight on the night will be the presentation of the best and fairest Gold Medal and the winner will also win a new car, kindly dominated by McInerney Ford. It’s been a huge season in the PS4NPLWA and the All Flags State leagues, with some exciting football and some quality goals. It will be a tight contest, but we look at the front runners who Footballwa.net believes will be in the running for the Gold Medal.
Perth took out the league title and West Australian Top Four Cup and defender Adrian Madaschi was outstanding at the heart of the back four and would have caught the eye, skipper Clark Keltie will again be up their despite missing a month of football, while striker and joint top goalscorer Gustavo Catarcione will poll well, but he is ineligible after being sent off late in the season against Sorrento. Perth edged out Inglewood United in both competition, but United pushed them all the way. Central defender David Cyrus and striker Brian Woodall will be in the mix, although Cyrus is ineligible after being sent off against Cockburn City, while Jason Barrera was good in the middle of the park.
ECU Joondalup were the big improvers this season and finished in third in the league. Gordon Smith, who won the clubs Player of the Year, will get a number of votes, but the Scottish striker is ineligible after being sent off against Bayswater City. Skipper Ryan Lowey was outstanding all season at the back playing every game, and his form earned him a contract with A-League side Wellington Phoenix, while in the middle of the park Steven McGarry was a huge contributor.
Floreat Athena had another good season, winning the Cool ridge Cup Final and pushing A-League side Melbourne City in the round of 32 of the FFA Cup. Past winner Ludovic Boi will again poll well, while Kris Gate, Jon Stynes and Blair Govan will also be in the mix, although Govan is ineligible after being sent off against Perth SC. Sorrento just missed out on a top four spot on the final day of the season, with skipper Daryl Platten leading the side, and he will poll well, and Steven McDonald won his second club player of the year at the club and along with Ryan Pearson, who looked back to his best, will also pick up votes.
Last season’s Champions Bayswater City finished a disappointing fifth spot, but in his first season at the club Jason Mirco was good and will get a number of votes while Sam Mitchinson and Jamie Coyne will poll well. Stirling Lions started the season well but slipped away late. David Micevski took out the clubs Player of the Year and he could be in line for a second gold Medal after winning in 2009, while speedy winger Teeboy Kamara and defender Graham Doran will also poll well. Cockburn City also faded late in the season, this after reaching the Cool Ridge Cup Final and taking on Melbourne Knights in the round of 32 in the FFA Cup. Cameron Edwards was outstanding during the season and would have caught the eye of the officials, while Harry O’Brien and Reuben Tristao were others who had a good season. It was a disappointing season for Balcatta, winning only eight games for the season but youngster Jon Corness, Zelfy Nazary and Kieran Colwell will be among their best.
Perth Glory youngsters also impressed last season, defender Ross Millard was outstanding but is ineligible, while Daniel Stynes and top goalscorer Nikola Talimdzioski will also poll well after an improved season. Armadale import Ellis Healing will poll well, and defender Alex Castillo was a rock at the back, while skipper Jesse Fuller was impressive. Relegated Subiaco struggled despite a mid-season surge which moved them off the bottom of the table for a couple of weeks, but it wasn’t to be. Skipper Ger Fitzgerald, Jackson Dongray and Danny Milne were amongst their best. We believe the Goalkeeper of the season will be close, with Perth SC custodian Francis Soale the favourite, with Stirling Lions John Perkins, ECU Joondalup Lewis Italiano and Sorrento’s James Morgan also in the mix.
In the First Division Player of the Year Joondalup United skipper Aaron Maplestone and Callum Stocks will poll well, Mandurah City’s Jon Brookes and Matty Stares will do likewise, while Forrestfield United’s Liam Merrigan and Rhys Loxley have both had good seasons. Others who will poll well are Western Knights Ryan Shackleton, Ashfield’s Jay Lang, Canning City’s Mark Trevisiol, Rockingham City’s Christian Hogge, UWA Nedland’s Alexander Kretowicz, South West Phoenix’s Lee Stewart, Gosnells City’s Sean Taylor, Dianella White Eagles’ Jason Stepanovski and Shamrock Rovers’ Will Pender.
In the Second Division Player of the Year Fremantle City striker Alec Robinson will poll well after bagging 25 goals this season, while Joondalup City’s Jamie Stewart will also be in the mix. Others in the mix from each club, Anton De Francesch (Balga), Jake Benson-Cooper (Quinns), Christian Long (Melville), Chris Marshall (Swan United). Kyle King (Morley Windmills), Ryan Frisina (Kingsway Olympic), Jason Godfrey (Kelmscott Roos), Edward Tikoft (Curtin University), Liam Wales (Wanneroo City) and Leigh Doherty (Ellenbrook United)
GLORY LOOK TO BOUNCE BACK AGAINST WELLINGTON
After last week’s disappointing second half fade out against Central Coast Mariners, Perth Glory will be looking to bounce back this Sunday when they entertain a new look Wellington Phoenix in the ‘Long Distance Derby’ at nib Stadium (4pm)
A huge positive to come out of last week’s 3-3 draw was the return of Adam Taggart, who scored a double, both well taken goals. Andy Keogh could have scored a hat-trick if he had his shooting boots on, but his partnership with Taggart will be dangerous, while Diego Castro and Chris Harold make the front third lethal. It’s at the back where the Glory struggled, Marc Warren was caught out down the right on a number of occasions, Rhys Williams and Dino Djulbic struggled with the pace of Mariners striker Roy O’Donovan.
It was a strange decision last week from the coach leaving Alex Grant on the bench, the former Stoke City defender was outstanding last season, and new recruit Joe Mills was also overlooked, but it looked like he wanted Brandon Wilson in the middle of the park, pushing Williams back and Grant was the unfortunate one, but did it work?
You could say it did in the first half, Wilson was running the show in the middle of the park, while Williams looked majestic bringing the ball out of defence, but it wasn’t the same after the break. Wilson needlessly gave the ball away in the centre circle for the Mariners second, before Williams’ poor decision to shove O’Donovan for their equaliser, where keeper Liam Reddy was the favourite to win the ball, left everyone in the crowd perplexed.
That game has gone now, and they move on to a Wellington side that lost the opening game, going down 0-1 at home to Melbourne City. They have revamped their squad, and have brought in some quality, and a couple of WA locals. Former ECU Joondalup pair Ryan Lowry and Lewis Italiano were both unused substitutes last week, but the Phoenix will welcome back their All Whites from international duty to strengthen their squad.
Glory Coach Kenny Lowe said the Phoenix has recruited well and will be another tough test for his side. “No matter which team Ernie (Merrick) puts out it's going to be well organised and difficult to play against,” he said. “They're going to put a performance in and I think Wellington generally do well when they have come to Perth the last few years." The Phoenix has won their last two matches against the Glory, with an overall record of five wins and a draw from 14 games.
With the Phoenix's off-season signings, Lowe said they would pose a different sort of challenge to the typically physical Phoenix teams they had come up against in the past. “They'll have the steel in there, but it looks as though they've got the quality and the flair to hurt people as well,” he explained. “They'll be dark horses this year, I think they've flown under the radar a bit this year." In team news for the Glory Mills and Mitch Oxborrow return to the squad.
It was points dropped last week for the Phoenix, with Melbourne going down to ten men early in the second half, but they couldn’t turn their numerical advantage count. But Merrick still found plenty to be upbeat about ahead of Sunday’s clash. "It was in the front third in the end where we didn't cash in," he said. “When they went down to 10 men we should have taken more advantage of that but we just lacked experienced players who know where the goal is."
Kosta Barbarouses, Michael McGlinchey, Louis Fenton and skipper Andrew Durante return from All Whites duties in friendlies against Mexico and the United States, and Merrick said it will give his side a new look. “I'm really keen to get Kosta in the line-up again, and Mikey McGlinchey," he said. "We need that attacking force - we missed it last week. With more quality players, we would have finished off some of those opportunities."
Squads – Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, GK Nick FEELY, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Marc WARREN, 5 Rhys WILLIAMS, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 8 Rostyn GRIFFITHS (c), 9 Andy KEOGH, 10 Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Joe MILLS, 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Mitch OXBORROW, 19 Josh RISDON, 22 Adam TAGGART, 24 Milan SMILJANIC, 28 Joe KNOWLES - *two to be omitted* - Ins: 16Joe MILLS, 18 Mitch OXBORROW
Wellington Phoenix: GK Glen MOSS, GK Lewis ITALIANO, 2 Jacob TRATT, 4 Roly BONEVACIA, 5 Ryan LOWRY, 7 Gui FINKLER, 8 Alex RODRIGUEZ, 9 Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10 Michael MCGLINCHEY, 11 Hamish WATSON, 12 Adam PARKHOUSE, 13 Marco ROSSI, 14 Alex RUFER, 17 Vince LIA, 19 Tom DOYLE, 21 Roy KRISHNA, 22 Andrew DURANTE (c), 23 Matthew RIDENTON - *two to be omitted* - Ins: 9 Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10 Michael MCGLINCHEY, 22 Andrew DURANTE, 23 Matthew RIDENTON (All returning from international duty), 19 Tom DOYLE (returns from injury)
Outs: 6 Dylan FOX (omitted), 24 Logan ROGERSON (omitted), 26 Jack-Henry SINCLAIR (omitted)
O’NEILL DREAMS OF SOCCEROOS CALL-UP
It's not what drives him the most, but Sydney FC midfielder Brandon O'Neill admits a desire for an Australia call-up has crept into his thinking over the past month. Less than two years ago, a Socceroos call-up would have seemed a mile away for WA-born O'Neill, this after he was over looked for game time at Perth Glory. A stand-out in the Glory’s Youth side, all he could manage in the first team was less 13 A-League appearances in three years, which is hardly the level of exposure necessary for a talented young player to develop, let alone alert Coach Ange Postecoglou.
But they say two-years is a long time in football, so as we skip forward to the present, and O’Neill defensive midfield form at the Sky Blues has been outstanding. He has played 21 A-League games, including 16 in the starting eleven, and last week he scored a stunning free kick in front of over 62,000 supporters in the Sydney Derby against Western Sydney Wanderers, his first in the competition. O'Neill's form was a rare positive in the team's disappointing domestic 2015-16 season, his displays in February earning him selection for the Olyroos' failed Olympic qualifying campaign.
The 22-year-old is now a pivotal players in a rejuvenated Sky Blues side which are aiming high for long-awaited silverware. His Man of the Match performance against the Wanderers came at a perfect time for the former ECU Joondalup product, and came a week after Postecoglou revealed he's on the lookout for the next young A-League stars to make a case for Socceroos selection, and the midfielder is doing all he can to improve his game, and he admits a desire to step up to the senior national set-up.
"It's always a goal that's in the back of your mind," he said. “First and foremost, I need to continue to improve at Sydney FC and play well. Secondly, we need a team success - we need trophies this year. But thirdly, if I'm playing well and the team is doing well, yeah I'll always stick my hand up." O'Neill says there's plenty of room for improvement over the next few years and playing alongside fringe Socceroo Josh Brillante and Serbian import Milos Dimitrijevic is a bonus. "On the field we've clicked straight away," he said. "Between us three it will be really enjoyable in the midfield this season, because we're all ball players and hard workers as well." O’Neill will be looking for a similar result to last week when they host Central Coast Mariners on Saturday at Allianz Stadium.
MGP DIBERNARDO SIGNS ON FOR GLORY WOMEN
With the start of the Westfield W-League only three weeks away the Perth Gory Women have boosted their squad by re-signing last season’s Most Glorious Player Vanessa DiBernardo. The 24-year old midfielder has just finished her National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season with the Chicago Red Stars, who finished third on the table and were edged out in extra time during the semi-final against the Washington Spirit.
DiBernardo stared for the Red Stars produced seven assists, the second highest in the NWSL this season and is looking forward to her second stint with Glory and the W-League. “I had a really great time last year,” she said. “We probably didn’t get the results we wanted but I know that Bobby (Despotovski) and the rest of the team have worked hard to bring in some new blood, locally and from overseas. I think with the squad the coaches are building we should be confident in eyeing off a finals berth.”
DiBernardo is the second Chicago player set to wear the Glory jersey this season after her teammate Alyssa Mautz was signed by the club last week. Mexico’s Arianna Romero and American Nikki Stanton are the other international signings due to arrive soon. Glory coach Bobby Despotovski said he was happy with acquisition of last season’s club golden boot winner, and the way his squad was taking shape but the hard work was yet to begin. “We’ve got our targets and we know what we want to achieve. Last year was a period of consolidation, now we are moving forward with the aim of giving the title a real shake,” he said.
BURGESS LOVING OLDHAM EXPERIENCE
West Australian defender Cameron Burgess believes he is getting better with every game he plays for Oldham Athletic. Scottish-born Burgess is in the midst of a six-month loan by Fulham to League One side Oldham, where he's made 14 appearances so far this season.
“I’m loving it,” Burgess told the Fulham club website. “The boys have made it so easy for me, they’re all very welcoming. The management and coaching staff have also been brilliant, so it’s going really well for me. It’s a club with a lot of history who have enjoyed some good cup runs in previous years.”
“The club’s been really great with setting me up with a flat, and Fulham have given me a lot of support in that respect as well. I speak to Fulham on at least a weekly basis, sometimes more so. I speak to the medical staff after games and things like that, and the coaching staff touch base regularly as well, which is good.”
Burgess has represented Australia at both Under-20 and Under-23 levels and said this season had been a big step from the last when he was on loan at Cheltenham Town with fellow Aussie Aaron Downes. “For me personally it’s been a massive step up," the 20-year old defender said.
"I owe guys like Peter Clarke who have helped me along the way. To go from playing in the Conference to League One, you just learn so much in every minute of every game. It’s great to get the experience. “Playing at this level is improving me as a footballer, 100% ... each match I feel I’ve got so much better.”
Oldham moved off the bottom of League One after defeating Gillingham last weekend. Burgess said that result would give his team some confidence ahead of its next match. “It is a really tight league, and we’ve seen that already,” he said. “First game of the season we got beat by Millwall quite heavily, but if you look at the table now we’re on the same points as them.”
“Anyone can beat anyone in this division, and I suppose it’s good for us to see because we’re not that far adrift, especially after not having a great start in the league. So a couple of wins on the bounce can push you right up there. It’s great to get some points on the board. We were never really worried as a team, we all believe in ourselves, but it’s nice to get that win secured and hopefully we can go on a bit of a run.”
FORRESTFIELD READY FOR NPL PUSH
In their first season back in Division One in three years, Forrestfield United finished in third place, a far cry from the clubs dark day’s which saw them drop out of Saturday football in 1993. But since the return of coach and spiritual leader Rod Banjac the club have been on the rise, on and off the pitch as the ambitious club look for a return to the highest league in the state and that’s the NPL, and they will have a new President at the helm next season with Andy Osbourne elected as club President for 2017.
Osbourne, who runs a successful local business, has great enthusiasm and is looking forward to the challenge and getting the club rolling forward. “It is certainly a great honour to be elected as President for one of the largest community soccer clubs in Perth,” he said. “However that position comes with great responsibility, one which I take very seriously. I am looking forward to working with the new committee to help take our club in to the future, and that future is very exciting.”
The club have teams from juniors to veterans and Osbourne said it’s vital they get it right and it’s started already with the clubs home ground, Hartfield Park, being developed. “The location of Forrestfield United means we serve an area of over 80,000 people. We have a very diverse community in terms of age, gender, cultures, socioeconomic background and ability. It is our aim to continue to serve that community as best we can,” he explained. “Currently we have over 500 playing members with ages ranging from 5 to 55 years old, and we have over 700 members in total, we are healthy and vibrant club that is focused on a "sport for all" philosophy. We would not have been able to grow as we have, or grow further in the future without the help and support of all of our members. This makes us truly "The People's Club.”
Banjac said last season was important to show everyone they are on the rise and their ultimate goal is to bring NPL football to Hartfield Park. “It has been a great season, and we could not be more satisfied with the end result. We were a bit shaky to start with, as you would expect with a young squad, but we finished strong with our development squad taking second place and our very youthful U18’s in the middle of the league table,” he said. “We have also been very busy on all other fronts and the highlight would have to be the re-establishment of our Academy. All age groups made it to the finals and we look into the future with great optimism. Three years ago we set ourselves an objective, to be a major force within the NPL, and I can comfortably say that we are well on track.”
The coach said they have already started to plan for next season, and said he is ready for the challenge. “We are hungry and extremely ambitious, and we wear the Shire of Kalamunda logo on our sleeve and we have a strong community supporting us all the way,” he said. “I constantly remind every coach and player that we are in a business of entertainment where our ever growing support group must be presented with good quality football. Focus in the off season is on educating all the coaches with the C Licence, and developing uniformed programs that will have the whole club playing the same style of football which has created quite a following in our region. We also have over 50 teams taking part in the 6-a side summer comp at Hartfield Park, ensuring that our scouts will be very busy identifying the best local talent.”
The re-development of Hartfield Park is a massive boost to the clubs ambitions and Osbourne said there are exciting times ahead. “The support we are receiving from the Shire of Kalamunda is amazing. They recognise the part we are playing in our community and want to help us play a greater role,” he said. “The Grandstand is the most visible demonstration of our push for NPL, but everyone is working hard behind the scenes to make sure the club ready in every aspect to meet Football West's and the FFA's criteria. So when the time comes, Forrestfield United will enter NPL and will be able to offer that pathway for our community as well.”
Banjac said the future of the club is rosy, and he said the new facilities will be good for the club and for the local area. “By the time the new season kicks off we will have the best facilities in the state. Match day atmosphere at Hartfield Park will be electrifying,” he said. “Our community is large, very healthy and in full support of FUSC, which is the biggest sporting organisation in the region. We are now fully equipped to deal with the toughest of challenges as our volunteer support group is massive. We have submitted and expression of interest to be included in the junior NPL, which would make us the 22’nd team in the comp, and eagerly awaiting the final verdict. It would be very difficult to accept a rejection considering the effort and not to mention the pathway void within our region.”
WILLIAMS CONTINUES INJURY COMEBACK
Perth Glory’s Rhys Williams will be the unluckiest guy on the park when his team hosts Wellington Phoenix this weekend. The experienced defender has barely played a full game since January 2014, when he ruptured his achilles playing for Middlesbrough to start what would become a horror run of back luck.
Williams, 28, made it through all the effort of injury rehabilitation only for disaster to again strike again in January 2015 while on duty against Barnsley. "I did all my rehab, did all my fitness stuff, got my first start and 90 seconds in I ruptured my achilles again and that was another year," Williams explained.
It was back to rehab for another year before making his return for Middlesbrough’s Under-21s in March this year. But after a few games in he fractured his cheekbone. This time it was not only his season that was over, it was his 12-year career at Middlesbrough, who were preparing for life in the English Premier League.
"It ended up being three years out of the game," Williams said. "It was very frustrating, because there is nothing you can do about it, there is no way I can change what happened, I can only look to the future and work as hard as I can to make the future bright."
While he had no regrets about his time with Middlesbrough, who he captained at one stage, there were lingering thoughts of what might have been. "I've always been that nearly player," Williams said. "I nearly played in the Premier League, I nearly got a move, I nearly did this or that. Hopefully this season I can take the nearlys out and we can achieve something."
Williams has moved back to his hometown to join Glory, making his debut in the team's 3-3 draw with Central Coast Mariners last weekend. He expects a similarly tough match against Wellington, who have won on their last two trips to Perth, on Sunday. "You can see from the acquisitions they've made that they look a strong side," commented Williams.
GLORY KEEN TO SHED UNDERDOG TAG
After flying under the radar in previous seasons, Perth Glory captain Rostyn Griffiths says his team is ready to shed the underdog tag. And with many pundits tipping Glory are a team on the rise, Griffiths said he and his teammates are happy to carry the burden of A-league expectation.
“I’m happy that we aren’t underdogs anymore,” Griffiths said. “That makes the boys step up to the plate if they want to win anything. There is no pressure. It’s a good thing. If people want us to be up there it’s great. On paper we do have a good squad and on paper so do half the teams in the league and anyone can win it.”
Glory has been accused of ignoring local talent in the past but this year they’ve focused on West Australian players. Griffiths said the club’s focus to bring back home-grown players was boosting local support. “So far it’s been brilliant,” Griffiths said. “The fans really appreciated the fact that they’ve got the WA boys back.”
“In the change room obviously it adds a different dynamic. As long as you don’t make it all about ourselves. We’ve got to factor there is nine other players in the team. So the foreigners have got to add something to that as well as do the other boys from interstate. We don’t want to make it too cliquey.”
Glory have been making steady progress over the past few season during the stewardship of Kenny Lowe. Griffiths said the club's greatest challenge was finding the right balance for all their experience. “With the players we’ve got, we’ve got to put them in the right order,” he said.
“We have a lot of good quality, a lot of leaders. Sometime that can come up with different opinions. It’s something we’ve worked on quite strongly this pre-season with Kenny. He’s been really strict and really focused on what he wants for us to put out on the pitch. I think that we can hopefully carry that momentum right through and go that one step further.”
MICEVSKI IS THE TOP LION AT THE DEN
David Micevski returned to Macedonia Park last season and enjoyed a stellar season, and he was rewarded last Saturday night by taking out the Lions’ Fairest and Best, Players’ Player of the Year and the clubs Golden Boot at the clubs award night at Fratelli Restaurant in Sorrento. The former Perth Glory midfielder was outstanding scoring 17 goals in 22 league appearances, and his form will put him in the frame for Saturday’s Gold Medal at the Crown Casino Ballroom. “It’s always an honour to win individual awards, although as a team you want to be winning trophies,” Micevski said. “Personally I was happy with my contribution, and as a team I don’t think we were that far off from winning something this season.”
The Lions faded late in the season to miss out on the title but Micevski said there were some positives to take out of 2016. “We made it to the Final of the Night Series, the Semi-Final of the Cool Ridge Cup and missed out on the West Australian Top Four Finals by four points,” he explained. “Having said that we managed to score the most goals in the league and also have the best goal difference. With some added quality and depth we can build on this season and have a successful 2017.”
Lions’ assistant coach Dejan Vilic said Micevski energy and dedication to his trade was outstanding “David was a great addition to our team this season, and the best way to describe David is a true professional,” he said. “I honestly believe the guy should have been playing A-League and with a bit more professional training and environment there is no telling how far he could have gone in the game.”
“The way he carries himself on and off the field, the guy breathes and lives for the sport, and to be the top goalscorer in the league for a good part of the season, from midfield is a huge achievement and speaks for itself in volume. This season he was spectacular as it showed with David picking up three of the four awards on the Lions presentation Night. Finally I would like wish David all the best at Saturday night at the Football West Awards Night, and hope he gets the top award, again.”
In other awards on the night keeper John Perkins was runner-up in Fairest and Best, while Liam Kessel won the Coaches Award. Paul David won the under 20’s Fairest and Best, with Liam Kessel the runner-up, while Kessel also picked up the Payers’ Player of the Year. Jack Rout won the Coaches Award, while Airmoson Garley won the Golden Boot.
In the Under 18’s Robbie McNeil won the Fairest and Best and the Players’ Player of the Year, with Mason Langham the runner up. Ben Campbell picked up the Coaches Award and also took out the Golden Boot. The Garry Lazarides and Tom Grescos Perpetual Trophy for the best team man at the club went to Alexander Donev, while the George Mitsopoulis Youth Trophy was won by Adrian Koios.
WE WERE COMPLACENT, ADMITS GLORY’S REDDY
Perth Glory keeper Liam Reddy has blamed complacency for the team’s dramatic second half fade-out that cost them victory against Central Coast Mariners in their season opener. Glory were all over the Mariners in the first half of Saturday night’s clash, with Adam Taggart scoring a brace as the hosts romped to a 3-0 half time lead.
Glory then left the door open after the interval, allowing the visitors to responding with three goals of their own to snatch an unlikely 3-3 draw. That came after Glory vice-captain Andy Keogh missed a trio of opportunities either side of half time to put the result beyond doubt.
Reddy said the team needed to analyse how they conceded three goals from a winning position. “We just didn’t take our chances,” Reddy said. “We were a little bit complacent – you could say that – defending. The game became really stretched in the second half. We went away from what we did so well in the first half.”
Defender Josh Risdon sat out this morning’s training session after receiving a knock to his left knee against Central Coast. He is expected to return to full training on Friday, with Glory anticipating the 24-year old will be available to play in Sunday afternoon’s home game with Wellington Phoenix.
GOVAN HONOURED TO WIN ATHENA F&B
Floreat Athena defender Blair Govan has taken out the clubs Fairest and Best at the club Presentation Night at the Athena club rooms last weekend. Govan was a standout during the season playing in a number of positions in the backline and Floreat Coach Glen Grostate said the big defender was outstanding and deserved the award. “It’s been a great season for Blair, and he got better as the season went on,” he said. “He’s a player who listens and wants to learn and I think he’s taken his football to the next level. He’s a player, who leaves everything on the pitch, and we gave him more responsibility during the season and moved him positional wise too, and he never let me down, and I’m delighted he has been rewarded.”
Govan played 20 games during the season and was a popular winner of the award, and he said it topped a great season for him. “I’m absolutely delighted to pick up the Play of the Year award,” he said. “To be honest I was a bit surprised to win the award, as I thought there were quite a few players who had been consistently good for us this year, in what has been a pretty good season for us. We went far in the Night Series, won the Cool Ridge Cup, played Melbourne City in the FFA Cup and made the West Australian Top Four Cup. All credit to Glen and all the boys, because we had to do it with a small squad. So all in all I think it’s been a great year for the club and for me to pick up this award has really topped it off.”
In other awards on the night Jonathon Stynes was runner-up in the first team fairest and best, and also took out the golden boot with 13 goals for the season. In the under 20’s Kye Douglas won the fairest and best, just ahead of Josh Chivel, with Nathan Scully winning the golden boot. The under 18’s fairest and best was Jason Progri, with Aaron Simpson as the runner-up, while Aaron Simpson and Jordan Parfitt shared the golden boot. The Frank Pappas Clubman Award was won by Shane Holloway, while the Troy Bernard Young Player of the Year was won by Jordan Barbas.
STARES WINS MANDURAH CITY’S FAIREST AND BEST
Mandurah City midfielder Matthew Stares has taken out the Mandurah City Player of the Year, at the club’s end of season awards night at their clubhouse last Saturday evening. It was a disappointing end to the season for the Dolphins and a loss and draw in their last two games denied them promotion to the NPL, but Saturday was about celebrating the players, and Stares won both major awards on the night – The Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year. The English-born midfielder said he was honoured to win the awards. “On a personal note it was good winning both awards, the lads are great down in Mandurah, no overpaid prima donnas, just hard working squad with good players in every position,” Stares said. “So it was nice to get the recognition from them and the gaffer.”
It wasn’t the end of the season Stares was looking for, but he said they will be back bigger and stronger next season. “Obviously we wanted more from the season, but it was just not meant to be,” he explained. “We have congratulated Joondalup and in our opinion we both kept the division exciting until the last game of the season, and they deserve promotion. We will try and keep as many players as we can from this season because the squad is the best it has been in my six seasons at the club. We will just add more goals and keep the defence tight and we should be challenging again next year hopefully as easy as that.”
Mandurah Coach Doug Hesketh said Stares was a worthy winner. “I’m delighted for Matty having worked with him a while now at Stirling and Mandurah,” he said. “He is a very consistent player who often goes unnoticed. He’s a quiet achiever but a big part of what we are trying to achieve at the club for the future. He had a great year, a successful year in many ways and really let his football do the taking, week in and week out. The fact his team mates saw the same in his season proves it was a great year, and there is more to come I’m sure.”
In other awards on the night Orillo Fernandez won the first team Coaches Award, while the perpetual award of club player of the year went to Jeff Bright. In the reserves Luke Johnson won the Player of the Year, while Josh Warren won the coaches award, and Mark McLaughlin won the Players’ Player of the Year. In the under 18’s Jaidyn Watson won the Player of the Year, Jamie Willman won the Players’ Player of the Year, Kaleb Knieves won the Coaches Award while Daniel Hoedermaker won the Golden Boot.
LOWE DEFENDS EARLY CHANGES
Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe insists it was the right decision to substitute star striker Adam Taggart and import Diego Castro despite watching his team crash to a 3-3 draw with Central Coast Mariners last night. Glory were cruising at 3-0 up at half-time following a brace from Taggart and a penalty converted by Castro.
Taggart, who had endured two injury-plagued years in Europe before sustaining an ankle issue during the pre-season, was subbed off in the 63rd minute with Glory still holding a commanding 3-1 lead. And the home team still had their two-goal lead in tact when Castro exited the game in the 78th minute. But from there the wheels fell off, allowing the Mariners to snatch a point.
Lowe admitted his side switched off mentally in the second half, and that his players didn't respect the game enough. But he said it was the right call to substitute Taggart and Castro. "(Taggart) has been out (injured for) two years," Lowe said. "We've got to look after him to a certain extent, and the same with Diego."
"(Those substitutions) were both cast in stone before we went out for the game. That's where they are physically. I'd sooner have Taggs for 27 games than something happens and we don't have him for another six or seven, and he's back to square one. There's a bigger picture. We've got a moral obligation to the kid."
O'NEILL STUNNER SEALS SYDNEY WIN
Sydney FC midfielder Brandon O’Neill is still coming to terms with his side's comprehensive 4-0 win over fierce rivals Western Sydney Wanderers in the opening game of the A-League season. 22-year old O’Neill put the result beyond doubt after his sizzling free-kick claimed the third goal for the Sky Blues with seven minutes remaining.
But O’Neill could sense goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne’s mannerisms as captain Alex Brosque was initially going to take the free kick before changing his mind at the last minute. “When I put the ball down, Brosquey said he wanted it and I said ‘yeah no worries Brosquey, on you go’,” O’Neill said.
“But then I said to him ‘hey, he’s leaning over to his left’ and Brosquey says ‘do you want it?’ and I said ‘yeah, give us a go’ and I just put it down and the rest is history, so I couldn’t be happier. I have been practicing in training (and) putting the ball down I thought ‘right, if I just focus on just getting up and over, less power and we’ll see what happens’ and it worked.”
O’Neill also said the win over Western Sydney in front of a record breaking 60,000-plus crowd topped the list of memories in his short career. “It’ll probably be the best experience personally that I’ve ever had, as well as an individual scoring, just to play in that atmosphere and play in a team that wants to do something this year, it’s a really good feeling at the moment,” he said.
“I know it’s round one, I know it’s early, but if we can continue this ... I don’t know what to call it, there’s something there we think Championship teams are built on and that’s what we believe we are. Going into round three, we need to keep this going and we need to keep improving because there’s still aspects where we can definitely improve on, but it’s definitely an exciting time ahead.”
TAGGART LAMENTS ‘HEARTBREAKING’ DRAW
Perth Glory hitman Adam Taggart described Saturday night’s rollercoaster 3-3 draw with Central Coast Mariners as “like a loss” after the visitors spoiled the party. Glory were two goals clear when Taggart was replaced on the hour but they conceded twice in the final six minutes to let slip of an opening-round victory.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Taggart said told Fox Sports after the final whistle. “I think it feels like a loss to us at home. We started off so well and so strong. We really need to take responsibility for that performance and be a lot better in that second half.”
Taggart had Perth Oval rocking with two goals inside the opening 30 minutes as the hosts eased to a commanding position. Diego Castro added to the electric start with a third before the break, but Taggart claimed Perth became too passive after the restart.
“I think there was definitely a bit of complacency,” Taggart, a former Golden Boot winner, said. “We needed to come out in the second half like we did in the first half with all guns blazing. I think we maybe sat a little bit too much in our comfort zone and we really need to be better.”
GLORY SUNK BY MARINERS FIGHT BACK
Perth Glory’s 20th anniversary celebrations were spoilt, after Central Coast Mariners brought up a nightmare from the past for Glory supporters by coming from 3-0 down at half time to draw 3-3 at the nib Stadium on Saturday evening. It brought back bitter memories of the NSL Grand Final at Subiaco Oval in 2000 against Wollongong Wolves when the Glory let the same lead slip to lose on penalties.
It started brightly with Adam Taggart’s long awaited return to the club beginning sensationally. He produced two quality finishes early, before Diego Castro added a third from the spot to end a sensational first half performance. That all changed after half time, with Ray O’Donovan pulling one back early. Andy Keogh could have put the game to bed with two one-on-one’s with Ivan Necevski but eight minutes from time Liam Reddy scored and own goal and brain explosion from Rhys Williams gave the Mariners a penalty and O’Donovan levelled from the spot.
“It’s heartbreaking, I think it feels like a loss to us at home. We started off so well and so strong. We really need to take responsibility for that performance and be a lot better in that second half,” Taggart said post-match. “I think there was definitely a bit of complacency. We needed to come out in the second half like we did in the first half with all guns blazing. I think we maybe sat a little bit too much in our comfort zone and we really need to be better.”
The poor weather in Perth had put a damper on the Glory celebrations, and the purple army were looking for cover from the elements at kick off, but it only took four minutes to get them off their seats. Castro made space down the left, and cut inside his marker before delivering a perfect cross to Taggart, who lost his marker and headed home from close-range. The Mariners looked to hit back, but Nick Montgomery’s shot on 18 minutes was straight at Reddy. Then on 20 minutes the crowd stood as one and applauded the 20 year anniversary of the club, and they went close to second three minutes later.
Taggart was denied by Necevski with a one-on-one, and moments later they went close again. A Castro corner was only cleared to debutant midfielder Brandon Wilson, who was left alone on the edge of the penalty area, and the former Burnley trainee saw his volley crash off the crossbar. It was one-way traffic and it wasn’t a surprise on 27 minutes when they doubled their lead. Marc Warren raced down the left and his low cross was turned home by the unmarked Taggart in the six-yard box. The Mariners were sinking and the Glory went in for the kill and they added a third ten minutes from half time.
Chris Harold was sent into the box by Keogh and was brought down by Jacques Faty, the defender was having a nightmare, and referee Chris Beath pointed straight to the spot. Castro stepped up and finished into the corner of the net to send them to the sheds with a 3-0 lead, and the 9,501 supporters were convinced the three points were in the bag, but how wrong they were. The Mariners went close eight minutes in, Blake Powell low shot flashed inches past the post, before Montgomery stung the palms of Reddy as the Mariners started to get on top and on 57 minutes they did pull one back.
Trent Buhagiar’s cross found Donovan, and the Irish striker made no mistake from close-range. Keogh should have added a fourth, after he was sent clear by Taggart, but his shot was straight at Necevski. Keogh was in again on 64 minutes, this time a perfectly weighted pass from Castro sent the Irishman clear, but Necevski stood tall to deny him again. The Mariners should have been dead and buried but the Glory was made to pay for their missed chances.
Powell cut the ball back for substitute Kwabena Appiah-Kubi, whose shot was cleared off the line by Warren, but the ball rebounded off the unfortunate Reddy to make it 3-2. The comeback was completed two minutes from time. There looked little danger when Donovan raced into the area with Reddy in a perfect position to claim the ball, but Williams, for some reason dragged the striker down and Beath pointed to the spot. Donovan picked himself up to score and give both sides a share of the spoils.
DRAW WITH SAUDI ARABIA 'ALMOST FEELS LIKE A LOSS' SAYS SAINSBURY
Despite nabbing a pivotal goal in Australia's World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia, Trent Sainsbury says the Socceroos' 2-2 draw hurts like a loss. After going behind in the fifth minute in Jeddah this morning, the Socceroos squared the ledger via a Sainsbury header in the final minute of the first half.
Tomi Juric gave Australia a 2-1 lead about 20 minutes from full-time, but a late equaliser from Nassir al-Shamrani crushed the visitors' hopes of taking out all three points. "I don't think we're going to be too happy with ourselves when we analyse that game," Sainsbury said post-game.
"We conceded in the first ten minutes, we didn't counteract that pressure that was coming from their forward line. To concede that late as well after working so hard to get ahead it hurts ... It almost feels like a loss because I think we deserved to win that game and take three points with us."
Australia is on top of group B in the race to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, but only on goal difference. Tied with the Socceroos on seven points are Saudi Arabia, both teams having won twice and drawn once. Sitting one point behind the joint leaders are United Arab Emirates and Japan.
"Seven points from three games is nice but nine points would be a whole lot better," Sainsbury said. "There are a lot of positives to take away from the game but disappointment is what the boys are feeling right now." The Socceroos meet Japan in Melbourne on Tuesday night.
GLORY KICK OFF AGAINST THE MARINERS
The 2016-17 Hyundai A-League season kicks off this weekend and Perth Glory opens their season with a home game against Central Coast Mariners at nib Stadium on Saturday evening (7pm). It’s been a busy off-season for the Glory with Kenny Lowe adding a number of quality players to the roster. New skipper Rostyn Griffiths is back after a stint at Roda SC in Holland, while Rhys Williams, Adam Taggart, Joel Chianese, Nick Feely, Brandon Wilson, Joe Mills, Milam Smiljanic and Liam Reddy, have all joined the club and they go into the season full of optimism.
Reddy, 35, has had more clubs than Greg Norman, having played for a record seven A-League clubs, and he made his debut for the club in the FFA Cup. The gloveman rates the 2016-17 Glory side as one of the strongest he has been involved with. “Perth supporters can look at this squad this year and say that we’ve got a very strong squad, and we should do something special,” Reddy said. “On paper, this is probably one of the strongest squads I’ve played with, so that’s exciting in itself. But again, that’s just on paper. We’ve got to produce on Saturday against the Mariners and we roll on from that.” Reddy is now settled in Perth after moving over WA during pre-season with his wife and three sons, and he will make his A-League debut for the club on Saturday and he will have added motivation to perform against his former club.
He left the Mariners in December after a mutual decision to terminate his contract, but he believes the season will be tight with all clubs strengthening their squads in the 12th edition of the A-League. “If you look across all the squads, six or seven of those squads have been strengthened immensely in the off-season, including ourselves, it’s going to be a tight year,” he said. “It speaks volumes for the quality of the league now that we can attract Tim Cahill and Brett Holman back to Australia. As an opponent, it’s going to be tough obviously coming up against those players. The good thing I’ve noticed from being here is we’re a very tight-knit team, and you need that to be successful.”
Glory Coach Kenny Lowe said he’s excited ahead of the new season. “I think it’s probably the best squad we’ve started with in a season at the Glory, which is pleasing,” he said. “We’ve brought good people in with a purpose, it’s a perfect storm. Because of my background, I’ve worked with a lot of the boys at youth level when they were younger so I have relationships with those guys. I stay in touch with them and, off the back of that, things happened. Tags and Rhys were ready to come back because of their injuries and, last season, (Shane) Lowry had family here and wanted to come home.” Lowry is the only player not quite match fit for Sunday’s game with a hip injury, but Lowe will have the rest available to start the season off with a win.
It’s all change at the Mariners with Paul Okon taking over the reins from Tony Walmsley who was sacked after the club were beaten by Green Gully in this season’s FFA Cup. Gone from last year are first-team regulars Joshua Rose, Mitch Austin and former Liverpool star Luis Garcia, and in their place are former Sydney FC pair Jacques Faty, Mickael Tavares, Melbourne Victory midfielder Connor Pain and former Wellington striker Blake Powell.
Mariners skipper Nick Montgomery said they are striving to earn back respect, after a disappointing 2015-16, and he’s looking forward to working with the former Socceroo Okon. "We've got to be realistic, Paul (Okon) hasn’t had loads of time to stamp his style. In those 4-5 weeks, as a team, we've really got behind the management style and the way they want to play, and I think the boys have responded really well," he said. “He's got a great track record with young Australian players. At times we had a back four that had the average age of 20-years-old. So that just shows you, right throughout the squad we had young players with not much experience in football."
The former Sheffield United midfielder, who played over 350 games for the Blades, said his team was free of any pressure to succeed, especially with an opening month that has them on the road to Perth, and difficult back-to-back trips to Sydney. He said it’s a big challenge, especially with other clubs opening the cheque book over the winter, but he can see the rebuild coming at the Mariners. "I don't think there's any expectation on us," he said. "If you look at the funds the other teams have got compared to us, it's no secret that the owner's been cutting costs for the last few years to keep the club sustainable. But the club's building good facilities that will hopefully take the club forward for the next ten years, this season's about winning back a bit of that respect that we lost last year."
Squads - Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, GK Nicholas FEELY, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Marc WARREN, 5 Rhys WILLIAMS, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 8 Rostyn GRIFFITHS (c), 9 Andy KEOGH, 10 Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Joseph MILLS, 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Josh RISDON, 21 Jamal REINERS, 22 Adam TAGGART, 23 Kosta PETRATOS, 24 Milan SMILJANIC - **two to be omitted**
Central Coast Mariners squad: GK Ivan NECEVSKI, GK Paul IZZO, 2 Storm ROUX, 4 Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5 Harry ASCROFT, 6 Blake POWELL, 7 Fabio FERREIRA, 8 Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 9 Roy O’DONOVAN, 10 Mickael TAVARES, 11 Connor PAIN, 12 Trent BUHAGIAR, 13 Kwabena APPIAH, 14 Adam BERRY, 15 Jacques FATY, 21 Michael NEILL, 22 Jake McGING, 25 Ryan PETERSON - **two to be omitted**
DJULBIC ON A COMEBACK MISSION
Veteran defender Dino Djulbic says an injury-raved 2015/16 season is driving him to cement a place back in Perth Glory’s line-up. The 33-year old is in line to start in Glory’s season opener against Central Coast Mariners on Saturday night with fellow defender Shane Lowry still recovering from hip surgery.
A faultless preparation has been a significant change in Djulibic’s fortunes after missing five months of last season with a serious ankle injury. The imposing centre-back said he had spent the off-season working on strengthening the stability in his ankle and his general fitness, with an eye to getting the nod from coach Kenny Lowe for round one.
“It’s a big thing,” Djulbic said of selection. “I love playing. I want to play in front of the crowd at home. It’s a good time and a good team this year. It was important to stay on top of all the games we had pre-season. It helped that I scored a couple of goals against Brisbane in the FFA Cup.”
“The ankle feels excellent, really good ... It’s been nearly 10 months (since the injury). I’ve had no problems since earlier this year, since I started playing. I was hoping I was going to be back in a couple of months. Five months down the track there was only five games left in the season. Obviously that wasn’t enough time to get 100 per cent fit to start any of the games.”
SYDNEY WANTS THE TREBLE REVEALS O’NEILL
Brandon O'Neill has revealed Sydney FC have set their sights on claiming a unique trophy treble this season. The Sky Blues are keen to erase the disappointment of finishing seventh in 2015/16 and 22-year old O’Neill can think of no better way to do so than by collecting every trophy on offer this summer.
"We sat down day one of pre-season and sat as a collective at Sydney FC and definitely decided that there's three things we can win this year and we want to win all three," O'Neill said. "We want to win the FFA Cup, the minor premiership and we want to win the grand final of the A-League ... that's our aim and that's our goal."
"The work we've already put in and continue to put in to achieve that we'll definitely be doing. Everyone down at the club - players, coaching staff - we all want to do well this year. We know our goals and that's what we want to achieve. We're looking very sharp and the boys are looking forward to heading into the season."
Sydney FC has recruited strongly and brought in Socceroos in Alex Wilkinson, Bernie Ibini, Josh Brillante and Michael Zullo. The club has also signed Brazilian striker Bobo to compliment their attack. According to O'Neill, the new recruits have gelled well with the existing squad. "They've been brilliant," the defensive midfielder he said.
"Joshy's come in and he's actually moved in with me, we're living together which is good. He's a lovely bloke and a very, very good footballer. Bobo's got international pedigree. He's come in and you can already see his touches on the ball and his finishes in training. He's going to be very exciting for Sydney FC and the fans this season."
"Then you've got the likes of Wilko, Alex Wilkinson, at the back, Michael Zullo, Bernie Ibini. These players are A-League experienced and top quality Socceroos. They'll give us a bit of steel and excitement going forward. We've definitely recruited well and it's an exciting time to be a Sydney FC fan that's for sure."
GLORY HONOUR THE ‘TEAM OF 96’
Where we you on October 13 1996? Like many of the WA football family we were at Perth Oval for the first ever Perth Glory game in the National Soccer League. Gary Marocchi was appointed as head coach, and players like NSL-title-winning sweeper Vinko Buljubašic, striker Bobby Despotovski and young local star Vas Kalogeracos were brought into the team and New Zealand international Gavin Wilkinson was also signed while local midfielder Gareth Naven was appointed captain. The Glory lost to Sydney Olympic 4–1 that day, with veteran Scot Alan MacKenzie scoring the first goal for Glory and Doug Ithier winning the first Man-of-the-Match award.
This weekend the current Glory side will be honoring the side from that era and it will almost 20-years to the day of their debut, and coaches and administrators from the “Team of ’96” will all be presented with a Heritage Jersey before kick-off of the A-League clash against Central Coast Mariners at nib Stadium. The Jersey will be presented by the club's current and former owners. The commemorative Heritage Kit will be worn by the team against the Mariners this Saturday night to pay homage to its 20th anniversary season. The match will also lay the backdrop to a unique Members' Banner, which will be erected on the stadium fencing. Thousands of names will be printed on the banner in recognition of the loyal and passionate Perth Glory supporters who’ve stuck by the club through thick and thin.
The crowd will also be encouraged to stand and applaud in the 20th minute of the match as part of the 20-year festivities. Four times club MGP (Most Glorious Player), and inaugural Johnny Warren medallist Bobby Despotovski, said he was proud and excited to see the club pay respect to the golden years. “It’s nice to see the club doing the right thing and paying respect to the original team” he said. “Perth Glory was the talk of the town during the NSL (National Soccer League) and it’s timely that now, in the club’s 20th anniversary the players, coaches and administrators will be honoured this way."
Club captain Rostyn Griffiths said he was honoured to be one of 14 home-grown players in the current line-up in the club’s milestone year. “It’s the perfect storm. A lot of the boys have played with each other growing up and this opportunity may never come again” he said. “There’s an element of romance and nostalgia in the air and I know a lot of the boys are keen to do well in what is a big year for the club.” Glory kicks-off its clash against the Mariners on Saturday night at 7pm, in the first of two home matches.
GLORY WOMEN ADD INTERNATIONAL QUALITY
The Westfield W-League kicks off next month and Perth Glory have bolstered their playing stocks by signing a couple of internationals, with USA’s Alyssa Mautz and Mexico’s Arianna Romero joining the club. Mautz has made 70 appearances for US National Women’s Soccer League side Chicago Red Stars, the same team as Glory’s current MGP Vanessa DiBernardo, and she bagged nine goals as an attacking midfielder, while Romero joins from Icelandic club ÍBV.
Born in Missouri Mautz represented USA at youth level and was part of the side that won the 2008 Under 20’s Women’s World Cup in Chile. The 27-year-old said she's excited to have joined a club with a rich history. "I've been looking to increase my experience internationally," she said. "Perth Glory is a great fit to achieve that. I'm excited to play a part in the upcoming W-League season and I'm really looking forward to it." Glory coach Bobby Despotovski said Mautz will give them drive from the middle of the park. “Alyssa has great experience at a very high level,” he said. “She can hold the ball up in midfield, dictate the tempo and then launch attacks in an instant.”
American-born Romero has signed from Icelandic club ÍBV, and is another player that’s enjoyed success on the world stage. The 24-year-old defender was a key member of Mexico’s 2010 and 2012 CONCACAF U20’s campaigns. She is an established Mexico Women’s team player having been capped 31 times and scoring once, and Despotovski said she is a great pick up. “Arianna is a very mature player for her age,” he revealed. “Since winning the ‘Big Ten’ Defender of the Year in 2013 during college, she has gone from strength to strength and will bring great technical ability to the defence.”
Mautz and Romero join Glory following the re-signing of attackers Rosie Sutton, Nikki Stanton and WA’s own Samantha Kerr. They kick off their campaign in a double header at nib stadium on November 6, after the men’s team play against the Western Sydney Wanderers. Both Mautz and Romero are expected to join the Glory Women's squad for pre-season training later this month.
GLORY USE LOCAL TALENT IN A-LEAGUE PUSH
Newly appointed Perth Glory captain Rostyn Griffiths hopes a little home-cooking will spur the club to a maiden A-League title. Griffiths will be one of fourteen local products to pull on the purple shirt when he makes his official homecoming in Saturday's season-opener against Central Coast Mariners.
28-year old Griffiths admits Glory’s strong West Australian flavour was a big factor in his decision to return to Australia after a year with Roda JC in the Netherlands. Glory have yet to raise the A-League trophy, however, Griffiths believes the club have assembled the strongest squad in the club's history.
"Some of those boys I grew up with and played with," said Griffiths, who joins the club along with Rhys Williams, Adam Taggart and Shane Lowry. "And to be honest it's probably what pushed me over the line to want to come back because just to get the chance to play with those boys and try and win something as well, was too hard to turn down."
A year after leaving Glory for the Netherlands, Griffiths said the club had erred in holding onto their home-grown talent. But this year, they've got the formula just right. "Having that close relationship as a group is always good. One thing that Perth lacked in the past is they've let quality WA players slip away," he said.
"Hopefully it makes people want to stay more and have Perth as an option before they jump overseas or go to the east and be a viable option. That's up to Perth Glory to do the right thing on their behalf as well. In a salary cap league, it's important that you use players wisely. But obviously players want to be in Perth."
Glory looms as a dark horse in this summer's competition. "We've got options all around the park which is one thing I'm really positive about. People like Rhys can play in the middle and at the back," he said. "Then you've got (Diego) Castro that can play wide, middle, top. There's quality all around the park."
HERD FINDS NEW CLUB
Fringe Socceroo Chris Herd has signed a one-year deal with English League One club Gillingham. 27-year old Herd has over 100 English league appearances to his name but has been on the lookout for a new home since sensationally walking out on Perth Glory in late July, only a matter of months after signing on with his hometown club.
Gillingham boss Justin Edinburgh is delighted to have picked up Herd. “Chris’s versatility will be a big boost for us given the relentless nature of the Sky Bet League One season, and I know fans will love his energy and work ethic," Edinburgh told the club website. "He brings his Premier League and international experience into the dressing room, which is invaluable."
Herd played locally for ECU Joondalup and Bayswater City before entering Aston Villa’s academy in 2005. He played 42 times for Villa across eight seasons which included loans to Port vale, Wycombe Wanderers, Lincoln City, Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic. Herd spent 2015/16 with Chesterfield, making 24 appearances for the Spireites.
BEADLING URGES TEAMMATES TO SHOWCASE THEIR TALENT
Sunderland youth star Tom Beadling has urged his teammates to grasp a “great opportunity to showcase” their talent. The Black Cats’ Under-23 team takes on Hartlepool United in a Checkatrade Trophy group tie at Victoria Park tonight. They do so off the back of Friday’s draw at Cardiff City in the Premier League Cup.
Beadling says he and his fledging colleagues have a unique chance to prove themselves against an experienced opposition. “Physically Cardiff were good and we had to adapt our game,” Beadling said. “We had a spell of intense pressure from them and then we took the lead and it was just a case of seeing the game out.
“Unfortunately, we conceded a last minute goal and it was tough to take but we have got a quick turnaround and now it’s all about focusing on Hartlepool. We have got to take the positives and learn from our mistakes because it is a great opportunity for us to showcase what we can do.”
SYDNEY WELCOME BACK WOODCOCK
A-League club Sydney FC have re-signed young fullback Riley Woodcock on a new one-year deal. Woodcock joined the Sky Blues for the 2015/16 summer and featured heavily in the club’s record setting AFC Champions League campaign.
An Australian youth international, Woodcock is excited to be re-joining Sydney for the coming season. “I’m very happy to be back,” Woodcock said. “Last year was a tough year for me, but I thought I ended the season on a positive note so now I’m back and fit and really excited for this season.”
“There’s tough competition here, but I got my foot in the door at the backend of last season and I’m hoping to kick on from where I left off. I always wanted to come back to Sydney FC. I love the club, the Members and fans, all the coaching staff and players are great so it was a pretty easy decision.”
Coach Graham Arnold said he was glad to have secured a player of Woodcock’s potential for the 2016/17 season. “Riley’s addition to the squad will boost our defensive stocks and provide adequate cover in the left fullback position,” Arnold said.
“He’s a talented defender and showed his potential in our Asian Champions League campaign last season. With a return to full fitness I’m expecting more from Riley this season and looking forward to seeing him continue to develop as a footballer at Sydney FC.” Woodcock will wear the number 3 shirt in 2016/17.
GLORY'S REDDY FEELING LUCKY
Few players would be better placed than Liam Reddy to judge the strength of an A-League squad - and the goalkeeper likes what he sees at Perth Glory. Reddy, 35, has now played for a record seven A-League clubs after joining Glory and making his debut in the FFA Cup.
Reddy rates the squad assembled at Glory ahead of Saturday night’s season opener against Central Coast Mariners as one of the strongest he has been involved with. The shot-stopper said the team boasted key players across the board, but particularly in attack where it will field Adam Taggart, Andy Keogh and Diego Castro.
“Perth can look at this squad this year and say that we’ve got a very strong squad,” Reddy said. “We should do something special. On paper, this is probably one of the strongest squads I’ve played with, so that’s exciting in itself. But again, that’s just on paper. We’ve got to produce on Saturday against the Mariners and we roll on from that.”
Reddy is now settled in Perth with his wife and three sons, having moved to the west coast during the pre-season. He will have added motivation to perform first-up against the Mariners, who he left in December after a mutual decision to terminate his contract.
Despite his experience, Reddy’s recruitment has not come without risk for Glory with the ‘keeper’s previous stints at Sydney FC and Central Coast ending over disciplinary issues. Reddy said the responsibility to perform would be shared across the squad. “The good thing I’ve noticed from being here is we’re a very tight-knit team,” he said. “You need that to be successful.”
GRIFFITHS NAMED GLORY CAPTAIN
Rostyn Griffiths has been named Perth Glory captain for their 20th anniversary season. West Australian-raised Griffiths is one of fourteen home-grown players in the Glory squad and becomes the club's ninth captain, taking the reins from former Socceroo Richard Garcia.
"It's a tremendous honour to wear the captain's armband and lead my home-town team" 28-year old Griffiths said. "Celebrating the club's 20th anniversary makes it even more special and I'm proud to be part of a squad with so many hardworking and talented individuals."
Griffiths joined Glory for the second time in July, having satisfied his desire for more international experience by playing the last twelve months in the Netherlands with Roda JC. “One thing I said to myself is that if I’m coming back to Australia, it’s got to be to challenge for the title,” said Griffiths.
“Whether we win or challenge, either way I’ll be happy because we need to build a successful squad. The people of Perth deserve a successful squad. This is one year that we shouldn’t let it slip by. We’ve got a good enough squad to challenge for the title and that’s one thing we’ve really reiterated to the boys.”
Griffiths revealed coach Kenny Lowe offered him the captain’s armband a week ago. The appointment had been far from certain with Socceroos defender Josh Risdon performing strongly as stand-in captain over the second half of last season. Irish international striker Andy Keogh is the team’s vice-captain.
KNIGHT'S SPOT ON AND IT’S THIRD TIME LUCKY FOR GEWLUP
Gwelup Croatia are the 2016 Football West Amateur Cup Final winner after a hard fought 1-0 win against Division One side Shamrock Rovers at the Inglewood Stadium on Sunday afternoon. It was the third time Mike Ford’s side had reached the Final, and it was third time lucky, with Gavin Knight scoring the only goal from the penalty spot after only six minutes. “It was a typical Cup Final, and they (Shamrock) came to play and made it really difficult for us, and hats off to the Irish lads, you never get and easy game,” Gwelup Coach Mike Ford told Football West. “We dominated early and should have put the game to bed, but we got the one through Gavin and it was enough. It’s been the clubs dream to win the cup, and we’ve been in there three times now, so to get that monkey off our backs is good news, and we can now go in to Saturday football on a high, it’s a real positive going forward for the club.”
It was built us the ‘David and Goliath’ clash, and it was Gwelup who were on the front foot early and they were ahead after only six minutes. The striker tuned his marker in the middle of the park and raced into the box, and he was brought down by Damien Foster, and referee Anthony Walsh pointed straight to the spot. Knight picked himself up to score from the penalty. Gwelup were well on top and Isaac Koomson chip was saved by Robbie Fanning.
Shamrock were struggling in the final third and were defending desperately, but they did have a couple of free kicks in dangerous positions, but Declan Murphy’s set pieces were wasted. Gwelup continued to dictate terms and Knights’ curling effort on the half hour was saved by Fanning, before Nicolas Tatasciore shot into the side-netting after good work from David Martins. Shamrock went close to the equaliser in the final minutes of the half, Murphy’s free kick picked out Peter Smith at the back post, but his header was saved low by Tom Dixon.
Both sides went close early in the second half, first Gwelup midfielder Steve Purton’s long-range shot was saved by Fanning, before Shamrock defender Porter’s shot from the edge of the penalty area flashed over the top. Gwelup were finding it hard to break down a tenacious Shamrock defence, although Jake Verini should have hit the target when he was picked out by Martins 66 minutes, but he headed wide of the target. The introduction of Benny Kouakou gave Gwelup a lift, the speedy striker was straight into the action seeing his shot on the run sting the palms of Fanning, before Koomson’s shot was punched clear by the Shamrock custodian.
Shamrock were pushing men forward looking for the equaliser and they almost got caught out at the back on 80 minutes. Sebastian Munoz picked out Kouakou, but he failed to hit the target. Shamrock were still dangerous on the counter attack and Murphy’s long-range volley flashed over the top. It was end-to-end football and Kouakou was sent clear again moments later, but his shot was saved by Fanning. Shamrock were pushing everyone forward and they almost levelled in stoppage time, but Murphy’s volley whistled inches wide. The Man of the Match medal was awarded to Gwelup Croatia midfielder Steve Purton.
Gwelup Croatia 1 (Knight 6’ pen) v Shamrock Rovers 0
Gwelup Croatia: GK Thomas DIXON, 2 Steve PURTON, 5 Romano FRANULIC, 8 Jake VERINI (15 Robert PHELAN 79’), 10 Gavin KNIGHT, 13 Anthony MIHALJ, 14 Isaac KOOMSON, 17 Sebastian MUNOZ (C), 33 David MARTINS (99 Kris SPASESKI 67’), 44 Ian O’SULLIVAN, 82 Nicolas TATASCIORE (11 Benjamin KOUAKOU 67’) - Subs not used: 18 Patrick SWEENEY, 23 Jordan COSTANZO - Yellow Cards: Knight 17’, Franulic 29’, O’Sullivan
Shamrock Rovers: GK Robbie FANNING, 3 Damien RYAN, 4 Damien PORTER, 5 Peter SMITH (12 Michael OSCHKINAT 79’, 7 Paddy CONNICK, 8 Ian O’LEAREY, 9 Colm HOLDEN (13 Patrick BYRNE 64’), 10 Gary SINNOT, 11 Glenn BROOKS, 14 Jason BROWN (20 James O’REGAN 87’), 16 Declan MURPHY - Subs not used:, 6 Steven ROCHE, 15 Tony MCCAFFREY - Yellow Cards: Sinnot 11’, Ryan 16’, Fanning 76’, Smith 78’
Referee: Anthony Walsh
HERD JOINS GILLINGHAM AFTER EXITING THE GLORY
West Australian Chris Herd has found a new home in football after signing for English League One side Gillingham FC. It was only two months ago that the former ECU Joondalup junior quit Perth Glory without having kicked a ball, but Herd, who played in the Premier League with Aston Villa, will have a medical at the Priestfield Stadium today before penning a one-year deal.
The 27-year-old has been without a club since leaving another League One club Chesterfield at the end of last season, but the versatile defender is back in the game and will be looking to push for a Socceroos birth. He has been capped three times by the Socceroos, and was part of the 2015 Asian Cup squad before pulling out at the start of the tournament due to injury.
Herd signed a two-year deal with hometown team Glory before making a sensational U-turn just a week before he was due to arrive last August, due to family reasons. He played 23 games for League One side Chesterfield last season.
GLORY ANNOUCE GRIFFITHS AS NEW SKIPPER
Perth Glory have announced midfielder Rostyn Griffiths as their new skipper for the 2016-17 Hyundai A-League season. The 28-year-old was yesterday announced as the replacement for Richard Garcia in the key leadership role, with Andy Keogh named vice-captain, at the clubs Fun day at Elizabeth Quay on Sunday. Griffiths, who re-signed for the club after a spell in the Netherlands said Coach Kenny Lowe offered him the role a week ago. The appointment had been far from certain, as Socceroos defender Josh Risdon performed strongly as stand-in skipper in the second half of last season. “It’s a huge honour, especially coming from WA,” Griffiths said of receiving the captaincy. “It’s massive for me. We’ve got such personalities in this team that it could pretty much be anybody really. I think I’m just calm. I try to be consistent most weeks. My performances don’t change too much from my worst game to my best game.”
A former star for Central Coast Mariners, Griffiths will lead Glory against his old A-League club in their season opener at nib Stadium this Saturday night and he has urged Perth Glory not to blow their best shot in years at a maiden A-League title. He becomes the Glory’s ninth captain, and said the 2016-17 squad was strong enough to challenge for this season’s championship and end a silverware drought lasting 12 years. The midfielder said the decision to head home after 12 months at Roda JC in the Dutch Eredivise was to bring help and challenge for the title. “It became quickly apparent that I wasn’t going to win anything whilst I was over there,” Griffiths said.
“One thing I said to myself is that if I’m coming back to Australia, it’s got to be to challenge for the title. Whether we win or challenge, either way I’ll be happy because we need to build a successful squad. The people of Perth deserve a successful squad, and this is one year that we shouldn’t let it slip by. We’ve got a good enough squad to challenge for the title and that’s one thing we’ve really reiterated to the boys, let’s not let this year fly by.” Keogh, who was appointed vice-captain vowed his aggressive mentality would not change. “It’ll be exactly the same,” he said. “I’ll be angry on the pitch, I’ll be trying to get the boys going and ultimately just trying to score the goals to win us games.”
SMITH TAKES OUT THE JACKS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
After a superb first season in Australian football Scottish striker Gordon Smith has taken out the ECU Joondalup SC ‘Player of the Year’. The former Heart of Midlothian striker polled well all night and pipped Steven McGarry for the award at a packed Joondalup Lakeside Ballroom on Friday evening.
Smith, who bagged 19 goals in the PS4NPLWA, and was joint leading scorer in the league with Perth SC striker Gustavo Catarcione, said it had been a great season and he was honoured to win the award. “I’m delighted to receive the award, as there were some very strong candidates,” he said. “The club are on the way up and the recent run shows that, we will be all striving to go one better next season and win the league and Top Four, and it’s a challenge I’m personally looking forward to.”
When Smith left Scotland to head down under, he didn’t know what to expect, but he said the club have been really good to help him settle both on and off the pitch. “I would like to thank the club for helping me settle in at the club and a new country,” he said. “From the coaching staff, to the players and committee, they have all made it easy for me to settle in at the club. A special mention to Willie Herd who helped bring me over and again being there to help me on and off the pitch.”
McCulloch said Smith’s inclusion was huge for the side and he was a worthy winner. “We struggled to score goals last season and we pinpointed that and the club backed me by bringing Gordon in and he hasn’t let us down.” he said. “He deserved the award, he scored important goals at crucial times for us and a couple of his penalties late in the season were vital to keep our run going.”
McCulloch said the season showed ECU Joondalup are back, and Smith and runner up McGarry were the catalyst. “Steven and Gordon led from the front and both were outstanding during the season, along with Ryan Lowry, who finished third in the count,” he said. “But we have a great squad now and we know if one player is injured or suspended, we can bring in another and they won’t let me down. We improved a great deal last season but we haven’t won anything, and we’ve spoken to the group we want to celebrate winning a trophy at next season’s Presentation Night, and that’s our goal.”
In other awards on the night Ryan Lowry won the Player’ Player of the Year, while Smith took out the Top goalscorer. Midfielder Steven McGarry was rewarded for his season by receiving an award donated by Major Sponsor Credentia Construction. In the under 18’s the Player of the Year went to Tom Hough, while the Players’ Player of the Year went to Nick Koefler, with the top scorer going to Jacob Jones. In the under 20’s the player of the Year went to Stef Vranesevic, and the Players’ Player of the Year was skipper Ryan Molten, and top goalscorer was James Owen.
AMATEUR CUP FINAL PREVIEW
The Amateur Cup Final takes centre stage this weekend with a real ‘David v Goliath’ clash, with Premier League Champions Gwelup Croatia taking on First Division side Shamrock Rovers Amateurs at Inglewood Stadium on Sunday (4.30pm) Gwelup have taken all before them this season, winning the league and only losing one game, and they will be looking to make it a league and cup double on Sunday.
Gwelup Coach Mike Ford said it’s been a fantastic season and the players deserve a great deal of credit. “It’s been another great year, we have only conceded 15 goals in the league which is a testament to how well our defence as performed,” he said. “We’ve also scored over 100 goals too, but I believe this season was harder as there were four teams who were strong and were always capable of winning any game on the day, and they all wanted to beat us, so to go back-to-back was a great effort from the lads.”
They had a hard fought win in the Semi-Final, but a double from Dejan Andric gave them a 2-1 win against Wembley Downs and Ford said they were made to work for it. “Like I said everyone wants to beat us, and as always it was a tight affair against Wembley, like they are always are,” he said. “There are never easy games and despite holding a 2-0 lead after 80 minutes, a late goal from them made it a typical and exciting cup tie and we managed to prevail.”
Skipper Sebastian Munoz has been outstanding this season and his drive from midfield is something Rovers will need to get on top of, while Benny Kouakou and Isaac Koomson have caused teams problems down the flanks all season. At the back Ian O’Sullivan has been a rock, with keeper Tom Dixon also in some fantastic form. Former Gold Medal winner Gavin Knights will led the line in the absence of Andric, while Nick Tatasciore and David Martins will also have vital roles to play.
Ford is expecting another tough game against Shamrock, and he said his players will need to be switched on. “No Cup games are easy, and last year we were five minutes away from being knocked out by Caversham, who were two leagues below us,” he explained. “So we know it won’t be an easy game, especially against the Irish boys. We will be treating this like any other game with the highest respect to our opponents, whilst remaining confident in our own ability.”
Shamrock entered the competition in the Preliminary round, and Coach Robbie Fanning said they have played some good football to reach the Final. “We are delighted to get as far as we have, but it was always our aim to go as far as you can at the start of the season,” he said. “We have a competitive group, who always believe they can get a result, and they have brought that attitude to each game.”
They’ve beaten two Premier League sides to reach Sunday’s game and Fanning said the 5-1 win against Belmont Villa in the Semi-Final was an outstanding performance. “Yes it was a great day for us, and was probably our best performance of the season, although the quarter-final against Subiaco was very difficult and our lads were excellent,” he said. “Belmont are a very good side as their league position proves, but we had gone in with a game plan, which the lads implemented brilliantly and thankfully it workout on the day.”
The clubs leading goalscorer is Dean Foley, the striker bagging 15 goals, but he is unavailable, having returned to Ireland mid-season. They had five different scorers in the Semi-Final win with Declan Murphy, Damien Porter, Sean Morgan, Colm Holden and Patrick Byrne all on target. Skipper Murphy will be vital for Rovers, he won the cup in 2013 with them, and he is a free kick and spot kick specialist, while Holden and Gary Sinnott are tricky and exciting attacking players and will be a handful for the Gwelup back four.
Fanning said they go into the game with nothing to lose and he said the players are looking forward to the challenge. “We know it’s a mammoth task on Sunday, and Gwelup are an exceptional side,” he explained. “We are fortunate enough that myself and a couple of the players have been here before in 2013, so that will hopefully help somewhat. We have always done well as an underdog, and hopefully the lads can deliver on the night.”
In other games at the Inglewood Stadium on Sunday, Premier League North Lake take on Division One side Subiaco in the Amateur Reserves Cup Final at 2.30pm, AFC Joondalup take on Spearwood Dalmatinac in the Master Cup Final at 12.15pm, while Perth Saints meet Division 3 south side Victoria Park in the Metropolitan Cup Final at 10.00am.
CANBERRA LOSE MATILDAS GOALKEEPER WILLIAMS
Canberra United is confident it can cope with the loss of Lydia Williams following the Australia goalkeeper's decision to leave the W-League club. Williams is yet to reveal her new club although defending champions Melbourne City are considered favourites to sign the Katanning-born shot-stopper. Williams helped Canberra to two W-League premierships since joining the team as a foundation player in 2008.
WA STUN THE GLORY IN CHALLENGE CUP
WA State Women’s team have beaten Perth Glory Women 2-0 in the Challenge Cup at Inglewood Stadium on Wednesday evening. The game, where proceeds went to the Cancer Council WA, was decided with a goal in each half. Skipper Nadene Caldwell put the state team ahead at the break, before Katarina Jukic sealed the win 15 minutes from time. Former Northern Ireland international Caldwell was outstanding in the middle of the park, and she said to captain and play for the state team was an honour and capped a great season for her. “It was a great performance from the side, especially after only two training sessions,” she said. “We came out with a game plan and it paid off, and I’m glad we got a result tonight. I’m honoured to be part of the state team, and I’m over the moon with the win, and it’s really topped off my season.”
The Glory opened brightly and went close after only five minutes, Caitlin Doeglas was denied by a good low save from Eva Gooch, before the midfielder fired the rebound over the top. WA settled and went close themselves on the quarter hour, Caldwell’s shot from the edge of the penalty area was creeping into the bottom corner of the net, but Melissa Maizels got down well to push it around the post. It was the Glory who were creating the better chances, and Rosie Sutton stung the palms of Gooch on 20 minutes, before Jamie Gibbins rattled the crossbar with a long-range shot moments later. But on 39 minutes the WA side hit the front. A through ball from Jukic sent Caldwell clear and she held off her marker and finished clinically past Maizels to send the State team into the break with the lead.
It was an even opening to the second half with Demi Vance and Jukic causing problems up front for the state side, while Doeglas was outstanding in the middle of the park for the Glory. But on 75 minutes the State Team doubled their advantage. A great through ball sent Jukic racing clear, and she finished with aplomb from a tight angle. The Glory looked to hit back and Lexi Morene corner flicked off the crossbar five minutes later, before Aquino got down well to save Morene’s shot moments later. WA almost added another in the final minute, Vance turned her marker on the edge of the penalty area, but her shot was pushed over the top by the alert Glory keeper Gabby Dal Busco. But at the final whistle it was the WA side celebrating victory.
WA State Women 2 (Caldwell 39Mins, Jukic 75’) v’s Perth Glory Women 0
WA State Women Team: GK Eva GOOCH, RGK Morgan AQUINO, 2 Alyssa VAN HEURCK, 3 Katie EVANS, 4 Natasha RIGBY, 5 Laura WALTMAN, 6 Nadene CALDWELL (C), 7 Sadie LAWRENCE, 8 Demi VANCE, 9 Katarina JUKIC, 10 Nicole CAMPBELL, 11 Emily DUNN, 12 Chelsie WINCHCOMBE, 14 Maddy OLGUIN, 15 Stephanie SIMMONDS, 16 Georgie CAWLEY, 17 Rachel WITHOOS
Perth Glory Women: GK Melissa MAIZELS, RGK Gabby DAL BUSCO, 3 Kim CARROLL (C), 4 Lexi MORENE, 6 Carla BENNETT, 7 Roisin CONNELLY, 8 Shawn BILLAM, 9 Rosie SUTTON, 10 Jamie GIBBONS, 11 Emily HENDERSON, 13 Jojo RANOZO, 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS, 15 Ange STANNETT, 16 Abbey MEAKINS
Referee: Matthew Southern
SUTTON HEADS BACK TO PERTH
Striker Rosie Sutton will wear the purple of Perth Glory Women once again after re-joining the club for the upcoming W-League season. The 26-year old forward played for Glory Women two years ago, before heading to Iceland and then to Adelaide United, where she scored five goals for the Reds last season.
“I’m excited to be back in Perth,” Sutton said. “I love this city and have many friends here so it’s really good to be back. The goal this season is to earn a top four finish and play finals. That’s every side’s goal. That’s why we play the game.”
Sutton is one of many familiar faces returning to coach Bobby Despotovski’s squad. Matilda Samantha Kerr will wear the captain’s armband with last season’s vice-captain Kim Carroll and American import Nikki Stanton also agreeing to re-joining the team.
JACKS SKIPPER SIGNS FOR WELLINGTON PHOENIX (courtesy of ECU Joondalup)
ECU Joondalup skipper Ryan Lowry has signed for Hyundai A-League side Wellington Phoenix for the 2016-17 season. The defender had an outstanding season in the PS4 NPLWA, and had been watched by the Phoenix scout, who was also watching on-loan keeper Lewis Italiano, and his report back to head coach Ernie Merrick was impressive, and Lowry was invited for a trial and travelled to Townsville for the Phoenix training camp earlier this month, and the club have offered him a contract.
The 22-year-old said the training camp was enjoyable and is delighted to be given the opportunity and is looking forward to the challenge ahead. “Obviously I’m very happy to be given the opportunity to play at an A-League club, and it’s always been my ambition to play football as my job, so it’s a dream come true for me,” he said. “I really enjoyed my time with the players, and I enjoyed my football too whilst I was over there, and just to be given that opportunity to train amongst some of the high calibre players they have was rewarding in itself.”
Lowry was on the books of Perth Glory and played two seasons in the National Youth League side, but wasn’t offered a contract, but he said that’s football and he looking forward to working with Phoenix Coach Ernie Merrick. “It’s a huge learning curve for me, but I’m looking forward to work with Ernie, who has a lot of football experience in football,” he explained. “He’s a fair and approachable manager which makes it an easier transition, and I’m looking forward to learning and developing my game under him.”
Lowry was outstanding in Jacks season and Coach Dale McCulloch said he deserves the opportunity at the A-League. “I’m really happy for Paddy (Lowry’s nickname at the club), he was outstanding last season, and was vital in our good run during the season,” McCulloch said. “To be honest we all knew he would be picked up by an A-League club, he reads the game so well, and he’s good on the floor and in the air and he plays like he trains and that’s putting in 100%. He will leave a huge hole in our backline, but the club would like to wish him all the best in the future. ECU Joondalup have a great tradition in developing players, and we pride ourselves on giving them the best opportunity to play at the highest level, and we will continue to do that.”
The Semi-Final loss was a huge disappointment for Lowry but he said the club will big strong again next season. “I was shattered to lose the Semi-Final in the penalty shoot-out, but that’s football,” he said. “To leave this season without any silverware was really disappointing, and I thought we deserved it after our great run of form. But the future is bright for the club and the plyers we have in the squad I can see them pushing for the league next year.”
The defender said he’s had some good coaches in his development, and said McCulloch has helped him to become a better player in the last two years. “My last couple of season at ECU working with Dale has been very rewarding for me,” he explained. Without him believing and trusting me I wouldn’t have this opportunity today. I have no doubt he will continue the clubs success, because that’s the type of guy he is.”
HOGGE TAKES OUT ROCKINGHAM F&B
After promotion from Division Two last season, Rockingham City enjoyed a successful season in Division One, finished a creditable seventh place. Last Saturday the club held its end of season Presentation night at the Secret Harbour Golf Club and midfielder Christian Hogge won the RCFC Player of the Year. City Coach Rob Crerar said Hogge was a worthy winner. “Christian is a deserving winner, his work rate is second to none and he scored a number of outstanding goals this year,” he said. “We are delighted to have him at the club and I look forward to him being even better in 2017.”
Crerar was happy with the side’s season and he said he hopes they can continue next season as they look to consolidate their spot in the league. “I was delighted with the application and attitude of our squad this season, and we were right in every game except one this season,” he explained. “This is a young side with plenty of upside to come so I think the future is exciting for everyone involved at Rockingham City.”
Hogge said he was really happy to win the award and said it had been a good season in the new league. “Winning the RUFC player of the year was a great honour. Being able to go out there each week and play the way I have this season is mainly down to the very talented squad we have at Rockingham,” he explained. “I’d like to thank Rob, Smithy and Billy for the work they did each and every week throughout the season.”
The midfielder, like his coach, said it had been a successful season and they need to kick on next season. “The season has been an up and down for the team but to get promoted into Division One this season and play the way we did was very pleasing,” he explained. “The division was very tight with the majority of teams taking points of each other throughout the season. With only one or two additions from our Division two team and us being one of the youngest in the league, I think that if we can take this season as a learning one, but we can really push on next season and be one of the teams at the top end of the ladder.”
In other awards on the night Maxwell Snelson was the runner-up in the Player of the Year, Sean Brady won the Player’ Player of the Year and Gersh Rowland won the Coaches Award. In the Reserves Ben Harty won the Player of the Year and the Coaches Award, while Shaun Griffin won the Players’ Players of the Year. In the under 18’s Mitch Morrin won the Player of the Year, with Sam Warren winning the Players’ Player of the Year and Niko Burns the Coaches Award.
MCDONALD FLIES OFF WITH GULLS F&B
Sorrento missed out on a top four spot on the final day of the season, but the form of big defender/striker Steve McDonald was rewarded, after he took out the clubs Fairest and Best in last week’s Gulls Presentation Night at Woodvale Tavern Function Centre. McDonald, who played for a season at Scottish Premier League side Motherwell, was a standout for Jamie Harnwell’s side and the coach said it was a well-deserved award. “Big Macca was an absolute rock at the back and was instrumental in maintaining the standards and culture at Sorrento,” he explained. His performance belied his age and it was a fitting reward for a player who grew up at the club.”
It was the second time the big defender won the clubs fairest and best and he said it was an honour. “It was a very proud moment for me,” he said. “I’ve been with the club for many years, and each time I walk out onto the pitch, I like to think I give 100%. Not only for me but for the team, and to be recognised at the club for this is one of the highest honours a player can hope to achieve. To win it once was enough, but to win this award twice at the same club is something I will always remember.”
Harnwell said after an indifferent start the Gulls were outstanding and to miss out on the top four was a real disappointment. “It was a season of nearly’s for us, considering how many players we had to integrate in to the side from last year,” he said. “I was pleased with how competitive we were and with some of the football we played, but to fall just short of the Top Four in the last game due to an own goal was gut wrenching.”
In other awards on the night, Sean Canham was the runner-up in the Fairest and Best, and also took out the Golden Boot. The under 18’s Fairest and Best went to Danny Jones, with Marko Savic the runner-up, Josh Casella took out the under 20’s award, with Brody Kennedy the runner-up, while the best club person of the Year went to Ciaran Lougheed. The most defining moment of the season was Daryl Platten’s 97th minute winner against Cockburn City late in the season, and the ‘Brush of the Year’ went to Albert Sugrue, who broke his collarbone celebrating Platten’s late winner in the same game.
MCBREEN GOAL DOWNS THE AZZURRI
A second half goal from Edgewater FC striker Daniel McBreen was enough for the Northern NSW NPL side to reach the Grand Final of the PS4NPL National competition after a 1-0 win against Perth SC at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday afternoon, and in doing so became the first side from the region to reach an NPL Grand Final.
It was a tight game throughout with chances at both ends but it was the former Central Coast Mariners and Perth Glory man who hit the winner on 51 minutes to see the visitors home. McBreen said he will have to change his plans after the win, with the Grand Final next week against Sydney United. “The missus isn’t going to be happy,” he said. “I’m supposed to be on a family holiday in Fiji so I might have to postpone that for a few days, but it’s a great achievement for the club.”
Perth were coming of a big win against Devonport last week, while Edgewater had upset Bentleigh Greens, but were underdogs going into the game, and it look like that early, with the home side having plenty of possession and forcing a number of early corners, but the first clear cut chance fell to the visitors. Ayden Brice eased past two Perth defenders, his long-range shot whistled past the post. They went even closer on the quarter hour, Brody Taylor’s chip from 20meters beat Francis Soale, but the crossbar came to the rescue of the Perth custodian.
Perth went close to the opener moments later, Gustavo Catarcione picked out Nick Ambrogio, whose volley crashed off the post, much to the relief of Eagles keeper Jim Fogarty. Edgewater ended the half the better and McBreen’s deflected shot flashed wide of the target, before Soale came to his sides rescue with a stunning double save late on. First the Perth Gloveman saved well to deny Keanu Moore with his foot, before superbly blocking McBreen’s follow up shot, which had the home faithful applauding as one.
The visitors made the perfect start to the second half, and six minutes in they hit the front. Brice’s pinpoint pass picked out McBreen, who controlled with one perfect touch before volleying into the bottom right corner of the net giving Soale no chance. Perth looked for an immediate response, and when Jordan De Leo’s cross was fumbled by Fogarty, the chance was there, but the alert Eagles skipper Josh Evans was on hand to clear the danger. After his error Fogarty then came to his sides rescue saving well to deny Matt Milenkovic on the hour.
Perth was beginning to get on top and came close to the leveller on 74 minutes. Catarcione did well to guide the ball down to Jovic, but his half volley went inches past the post. Last week’s two-goal hero Aden Gardener had come on earlier for Edgeworth, and he went close to a second on 79 minutes. He was picked out in the penalty area, and with the goal at his mercy his shot from the angle whistled wide of the target.
Perth was throwing everything they had at Edgewater, who were defending for their lives, but Perth went close moments later. Frank Furaro had only been on the pitch a matter of minutes when his long-range shot beat Fogarty, but it sailed inches past the post. Then into injury time, Perth had one last chance to send the game to extra time. Furfaro dazzling run down the left and into the box, ended with a cross to Catarcione and the home faithful were waiting for the net too bulge, but the Brazilian striker misjudged the bounce and the chance was gone.
It brought an end to a fantastic season for Perth, and although Coach Ramon Falzon was disappointed to miss out on the Grand Final, he was delighted with his club’s season. “We hit the post twice so it’s a bitter one to swallow but I’m very proud of the boys and the character they’ve shown game after game,” he said post-match. “It definitely hasn’t been a fluke that we won the (WA) NPL and the Top Four Cup.”
Perth SC 0 v’s Edgeworth FC 1 (McBreen 51’)
Perth SC: GK Francis Soale, 4 Adrian Madaschi, 5 Nathan Diaz, 6 Clark Keltie, 7 Aleks Jovic (14 Francesco Furfaro 81) 9 Gustavo Catarcione, 10 Nicholas Ambrogio (3 Andreas Theodosiades 67), 11 Matthew Milenkovic, 12 Jordan De Leo, 13 Rocco Pizzata, 15 Harley Orr - Subs not used: RGK Daniel Passarelli, 16 Thomas Jebb, 18 Alex Silla - Yellow cards: Pizzata 40, De Leo 88, Catarcione 93
Edgeworth FC: GK Jim Fogarty, 2 Daniel McBreen, 3 Domenico Bizzarri, 4 Patrick Wheeler, 5 Ayden Brice (19 Aaron McLoughlin 80) 6 Lachlan Pasquale, 7 Bren Abbott-Hammel, 9 Brody Taylor (12 Aden Gardner 63), 10 Keanu Moore (17 Keigo Moriyasu 90+1) 11 Dylan Holz, 15 Josh Evans -Subs not used: RGK Joshua Low, 8 Daniel Minors - Yellow cards: nil
Referee: Adam Fielding
EAGLES SURVIVE THE DROP DESPITE LOSS AT JOONDALUP
Dianella White Eagles have avoid relegation after 4-2 aggregate win against Joondalup City, despite a 2-1 loss in the 2nd leg of the Promotion/Relegation Play off at the Iluka Sports Complex on Saturday. The Eagles held a three goal lead from the first leg, and went ahead on 65 minutes with Jose Zuniga scoring, but Joondalup hit back with Sam Phillips levelling ten minutes later. Substitute Luke Wilson gave the local supporters some hope with nine minutes remaining, but it wasn’t enough, the Eagles running out winners on aggregate.
“We knew they were going to come at us and we dealt with that extremely well in the first half and then, the goal midway through the second half sealed the deal,” Dianella Coach Vesko Zmukic told the Football West website. “I don’t believe we deserved to be in this situation, to be involved in this type of game, but we are celebrating tonight like we won the league. We only assembled this great team in the last half of the season and I’m proud and happy of the boys. We won’t make the same mistakes next season and I hope we can keep this great team together so we won’t be in this situation again.”
The home side were on the front foot early and had Dianella defending desperately, but the Eagles were dangerous on the counter attack, with Joshua Tumoe and Mwansa Musonda causing problems down the flanks. But Phillips should have opened the scoring for the home on a number of occasions, and if he had been on target Joondalup could have been ahead at the break, but keeper Yousri Gharsallah continued his good form from the first leg.
It was a tight start to the second half with chances at both ends, but it was Dianella who hit the front on 65 minutes, to all but end the tie. Johan Pubill and Musonda combined to send in Zuniga, who had come on late in the first half, and he finished past keeper Daniel Morgan-Herman, who was playing for the suspended Andrew lay who had been sent off in the first leg.
The Dianella supporters thought the tie was in the bag, but Joondalup had other ideas, and pulled one back ten minutes later. Lucas King’s corner picked out Phillips, who made up for his first half misses to head past Gharsallah. The home side hit again six minutes later, Bobby Melia’s free kick was turned home by Wilson. The home pressed late but couldn’t find any more goals and at the final whistle it was Dianella celebrating survival.
“We just didn’t take our chances and made a few mistakes over the two games,” Joondalup Coach Marco Schisano’s said. “But this is a young team who, I think, were a bit overawed by the occasion. But I have to be proud of the boys. We haven’t got the budget of some other teams in our division or these guys here, so to get second is a good season. We play for pride, we play for our mates and I think we’ve done that in spades. We always get a good support here and the facilities are brilliant so onwards and upwards, we’ll be up there again next season, no doubt!”
Joondalup City 2 (Phillips 65’, Wilson 81’) v’s Dianella White Eagles 1 (Zuniga 75’)
Joondalup City: GK Daniel Morgan-Herman, 2 Harry CLISBY, 4 Liam PEACOCK, 7 Mark THORNTON, 8 Joseph MCQUADE (6 Luke WILSON, 73), 9 Sam PHILLIPS, 11 Liam MCGURK (10 Jamie GARDINER, 62), 12 Daniel ALLEN (17 Lucais KING, 70), 13 Bobby MELIA, 14 Jody THOMSON (C), 15 Mark TEBBUTT - Subs not used: 3 Sam MCCRACKEN, 5 Elliott ROSE - Yellow Cards: Tebbutt, 21; Phillips, 36; Clisby 69
Dianella White Eagles: GK Yousri GHARSALLAH, 2 Branimir DRAGAJEVIC (C), 3 Joshua TUMOE, 4 Jason STEPANOVSKI, 5 Yann CASTREC, 6 Bojan RADINOVIC, 7 Mwansa MUSONDA, 12 Philip ANGELO (14 Nicolas BLACHE, 68), 9 Johan PUBILL (11 Ali SAFAK, 79), 10 Camilo CARDENAS (8 Jose Zuniga, 38), 13 Ermias HAILE - Subs not used: RGK Milos BAJIC, 15 Alexis MORLET - Yellow Cards: Pubill, 58; Dragajevic, 77
Referee: Zach Piccicacco
WILLIAMS BROTHERS LOOKING FOR GLORY
When Rhys Williams left his family at just 16 to chase his football dream in England, his 11-year-old twin brothers Aryn and Ryan didn’t understand what was happening. All three boys were a part of the successful ECU Joondalup Academy, and now both Rhys and Aryn will be looking for success at Perth Glory together next season. Aryn said he wasn’t sure what was happening at the time. “I just thought Rhys was going on holiday, but it was a long period of time before I saw him again and it was never easy for us to say goodbye to him every time he went away,” Aryn said. “But once we saw what he was doing over in England, my brother (Ryan) and I said to each other that’s what we want to do.”
With all three Williams’ brothers having forged professional careers, the game that split the boys up has now brought Rhys and Aryn back together and will be looking to help the Glory to success in the Hyundai A-League in 2016-17. With more than five years between them, the pair never played in the same team together growing up, but both got some minutes together in Glory’s recent pre-season trip to the Philippines and admit it would be surreal if they found themselves in Perth’s starting XI walking out for an A-League match this season. “We played a couple of 45 minutes together in the Philippines, which was pretty hard to get our head around, because we’re not used to playing in the same team. But we’re just getting used to it and I think it’s great for us,” Aryn explained.
The pair are intent on making up for the time they lost growing up, and Aryn said they’ve already been the target of some ribbing from teammates, but don’t make any apologies for being virtually inseparable. “We room together when we go away so we’ve had a bit of stick from that,” he said. “I haven’t spent time with Rhys for 12, nearly 13 years, so I think we’ll just try to spend as much time together as we can. Because you don’t know what’s going to happen in the next couple of years or so. We might not see each other again for a while. So I guess we’ll just hang out as much as we can really.”
Aryn almost lost patient with the Glory after training with them for most of last season after joining from Floreat Athena, and the 22-year-old defender had booked his flight back to England after giving up on the A-League. “I spent a lot of time on trial and training with Glory and working my heart out every single day to get offered a contract, and it just didn’t look like it was going to happen,” he said. “I was flying out to England on the Monday and Coach Kenny Lowe and his assistant Andrew Ord offered me a contract on the Thursday before I flew out. I ended up flying to Sydney and making my debut off the bench against Western Sydney, so it was a quick turnaround.”
Rhys has been capped 14 times for Australia, and has spent more than a decade in England, largely at Middlesbrough, trying to realise his dream of playing at the highest level, but injury heartache has been a constant companion, most notably when a pelvic issue ruled him out of the 2010 World Cup on the eve of the tournament. He also missed the 2014 World Cup and 2015 Asian Cup with an achilles injury. But that is all behind him now and it’s clear the more relaxed pace of life in the A-League is already agreeing with him, but he said the decision to return to Perth was a difficult one.
“It was tough, I always said to myself I never wanted to come home until I played in the Premier League, but once I realised that dream was a bit far, I decided to come back and start again,’’ Rhys said. “And I haven’t come back to finish. I’ve come back to reignite my career after my injuries, with the help of my brother and the managers and all the boys here. It’s proven the weather helps your muscles, your bones and the way you feel. I think the main thing is that I’m enjoying it again. As soon as outside life with your family is good, then it just makes everything easier.”
The versatile midfielder-defender said his pre-season at Glory had been trouble-free, but he was focused on making his mark in the A-League before worrying about a Socceroos comeback or the 2018 World Cup. “I haven’t actually missed a training session or a game, so I feel great and I feel close to where I should be,” Rhys said. “I’ve been out for the best part of three years. My last game for the Socceroos was Ange’s (coach Ange Postecoglou’s) first game, which now seems a million years back. For myself, it’s one step at a time. I want to make sure I can get in the team here first. “There’s a lot of competition and we’ve got some great players. The World Cup is maybe the furthest bit on my mind right now. Because there’s a lot that can happen up until then."
PERTH SC FLYING THE FLAG FOR WA
Perth Soccer Club are one game away from the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Grand Final, but to make the showpiece of NPL football they need to beat Northern New South Wales champions Edgeworth at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday evening (6.00pm) Ramon Falzon’s side made Saturday’s Preliminary Final with a big 6-1 win against Tasmanian Champions Devonport last week, a performance that continued their recent good form, and for striker Gustavo Catarcione, who was joint top scorer in the NPLWA with ECU Joondalup’s Gordon Smith, last week’s win was well-deserved and he said they dominant from start to finish.
“We did our homework on Davenport, and it worked for us, and we won the game comprehensively,” he explained. “The whole side worked hard and did their jobs and it was a good team performance. Obviously I'm quite happy with myself this year, being able to help Perth to win games and score goals that what makes the strikers really, and I will be looking to help the lads on Saturday to reach the Grand Final.” Catarcione is expecting a tough game on Saturday, but is confident they can get the right result. “We have a good squad and the coaches have worked extremely hard to bring success to the club,” he said. “Ramon (Falzon) has just continued what Gareth (Navan) started, but with a different game plan but with the same winning mentality. We go into Saturday game confident, and we will need to be focused and hopefully we can get the victory to reach the Grand Final.”
Edgewater won the league and the Top Four Grand Final, and former Perth Glory striker Daniel McBreen has been a huge part of their success. In the last round they pulled off a huge victory, beating Bentleigh Greens on the road and McBreen said the extra time win showed the character they have in the side. “Our game against Bentleigh was very good game tactically from our point of view, because they came out very strong, but once we made a few minor changes, and we began to frustrate them and began to create a few chances for ourselves,” he said. “They hit the woodwork a couple of times and we had a couple of other opportunities to score and a penalty claim in the first half turned down, so it was good to see the boys react so well in extra time after conceding an equaliser in the final moments of extra time.”
Bringing success back to his boyhood club has been a great moment in the 39-year-old striker's career, and he hopes to continue it on Saturday. “This is just as sweet, if not sweeter [than winning the 2013 A-League Grand Final] because these are all volunteers, you know, the guys that help us around the dressing room and do the field, they're all part-timers - guys who come in their own free time to do it," McBreen said. "So to see the smiles on their faces and the families that travel down here, it's great. It's a really good feeling. Hopefully it's a good game on Saturday and it would be nice to come home from Perth with the win.” - Kick-off is at 6.00pm at Dorrien Gardens, West Perth.
LYDEN DELIGHTED WITH NEW VILLA DEAL
Aston Villa midfielder Jordan Lyden has voiced his delight at being offered the chance to extend his contract at such an "exciting time" for the club. Lyden committed his future to the club earlier this week by putting pen to paper on a two-year extension to his current deal, which was due to run out next summer.
The 20-year old West Australian is yet to feature for Villa this season but saw first team action last term, making six appearances in all competitions, including two Premier League starts. The midfielder is seen as a future first team star at Villa Park, and as such has been awarded extended terms at the Championship club.
Lyden could not be happier about securing his status as part of the club's future, insisting that despite not yet featuring this season he has the faith of coach Roberto Di Matteo. "I’m really happy to have signed a contract extension," he said. "It’s great that the manager has got faith in me and sees me as part of the future."
"I’ve loved my time here so far and I know that this is the best place for me to continue my development. It’s an exciting time to be at the club too. There’s a great groups of lads here and the coaching staff have been brilliant with me. There’s a really positive atmosphere around the place. I want to help the club get back into the Premier League and play my part in any way I can."
EDWARDS BELIEVES PARTICK ARE SET TO HAND OUT A THUMPING
Ryan Edwards says Partick Thistle will give someone a real beating once they get a bit of luck on their side. Edwards was disappointed to come away from Kilmarnock on Saturday with just a point after feeling that Partick had outplayed their hosts for long spells. And despite falling back to the bottom of the table, Edwards says unconcerned by his teams’ current league position.
According to Edwards, once things start to go Partick’s way, they are due to hand out a thumping. “The boys were saying at training that the luck is due to change and we are due to put four or five in,” Edwards said. “We were looking comfortable for most of the game on Saturday and they went forward once or twice and the drop of the ball just seemed to be falling their (Kilmarnock’s) way.”
“The luck just isn’t there at the moment, but I think that will turn when you consider the performances we’ve had so far. We’re bottom of the table and from the outside things probably don’t look good, but you come into camp and the environment is really positive. If we keep performing like we have been, then one of these games we’re going to put a good few goals past a team. Hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later.”
Edwards knows that if Partick are to have any chance of beating Motherwell this Saturday, they will need more than luck on their side. First and foremost, he says that they will have to stop fellow Australian Scott McDonald and his strike partner Louis Moult, who has bagged five goals in just 91 minutes of football this season. “It’s a big game for us and we need three points,” he said.
“I know Scott and played against him in the Championship down south as well. He’s a good guy and I’m looking forward to playing against him. If you look at their result at the weekend, then Moult and McDonald are their biggest threats, so I think if we can look to stop their quality going forward from those two then we can have a platform to go on and get a positive result.”
Another concern for Partick will be the absence of club captain Abdul Osman, who was sent off after picking up two late bookings in Saturday’s game. That will place more responsibility on Edwards, who was deployed beside Osman in a deep-lying midfield position at the weekend. “Abdul is a massive loss for us,” he said. “He’s our captain and he makes a massive difference in the middle of the park.”
“It will be even tougher for us without him in the team, so if I’m given the nod again then I’ll have to be at my best. We’ve also got good players to come in like Adam Barton and Sean Welsh though, and they are more than capable of doing a job in there for us … This is a game against a team who will most likely be around us come the end of the season, and we’ve got a tough game at Rangers the following week, so we’ll be looking to get the win.”
DIANELLA TAKE CONTROL OF PLAY-OFFS
Dianella White Eagles took a huge step to All Flags State League Division One survival after a 3-0 win against Joondalup City, in the first leg of the State League Promotion and Relegation Play-Off at Wotton Reserve on Tuesday evening. First half goals from Johan Pubill and Mwansa Musonda gave the Eagles the advantage, but Joondalup hit back in the second half and had chances to get back into the game, but a late penalty from Jose Zuniga, and the sending off of Joondalup keeper Andrew Lay, has put the Eagles in pole position.
“We were surprised by the Joondalup performance, they were very compact and organised side and full credit to them,” Dianella Coach Vesko Zmukic told the Football West website. “Our keeper made some very important saves late in the game, but at the end of the day I thought our performance was good and we deserved to win the game. We didn’t celebrate after the game, we still have work to do, and yes 3-0 is massive result for us, but I told the boys at the end of the game it’s not over yet, and we have a big game at Joondalup on Saturday.”
It was even opening but the home side should have opened the scoring on 15 minutes, Jason Stepanovski’s free kick found an unmarked Ermias Haile who headed over the top with the goal at his mercy. But three minutes later the home sides’ pressure was rewarded with the lead, Stepanovski cross was headed home by Pubill. Joondalup had the perfect opportunity to level on the half hour, Joseph McQuade corner picked out the unmarked Liam McGurk, who headed over the top. But ten minutes later Dianella added a second. Stepanovski’s corner picked out the unmarked Musonda in the six-yard box and he headed home.
Joondalup were on the front foot after the break, McQuade’s long-range shot flashed wide, before Dianella keeper Yousri Gharsallah had to be alert to punch clear McQuade’s in-swinging corner. Joondalup were on top and Gharsallah was in the action again on the hour, this time saving well to deny Liam Peacock’s shot, before denying Stewart on 84 minutes. The Eagles keeper then produced a stunning double save in the first minute of stoppage time. First he blocked Mark Thornton’s shot, before saving superbly to thwart Stewart’s follow-up shot.
Those saves became more important when Dianella added a third on 95 minutes. Pubill raced clear, with the Joondalup defence looking for the offside flag, that never came, and he was brought down by Joondalup keeper Lay. After consulting with his assistant referee Julian Serra awarded a penalty and sent the keeper off. Zuniga stepped up and scored from the resulting spot kick to give Dianella a 3-0 win and give them the upper hand in the play-off, with the second leg to be played at the Iluka Sports Complex on Saturday (3.00pm)
Dianella White Eagles 3 (Pubill 18 mins, Musonda 39’, Zuniga 95’) v Joondalup City 0
Dianella White Eagles: GK Yousri GHARSALLAH, 2 Branimir DRAGAJEVIC, 3 Joshua TUMOE, 4 Jason STEPANOVSKI, 5 Yann CASTREC, 6 Bojan RADINOVIC, 7 Mwansa MUSONDA (15 Alexis MORLET 90’), 8 Philip ANGELO, 9 Johan PUBILL (14 Nicolas BLACHE 90’), 10 Camilo CARDENAS (11 Jose ZUNIGA 76’), 13 Ermias HAILE - Subs not used: RGK Milos BAJIC, 12 Ali SAFAK - Yellow Cards: Tumoe 25’, Radinovic 90’
Joondalup City: GK Andrew LAY, 2 Harry CLISBY, 3 Sam MCCRACKEN, 5 Tyler SMITH (4 Liam PEACOCK 56’), 8 Joseph MCQUADE (7 Mark THORNTON 83’), 10 Jamie STEWART, 11 Liam MCGURK, 12 Daniel ALLEN (6 Luke WILSON 83’), 13 Bobby MELIA, 14 Jody THOMSON, 15 Mark TEBBUTT - Subs not Used: 9 Sam PHILLIPS, 19 Jack NUNN - Yellow Cards: Thomson 7’, Clisby 42’, Smith 52’, Peacock 71’, McQuade 75’ - Red Cards: Lay 94’ - Referee: Julian Serra
INGLEWOOD KEEP FAITH IN NICOLAIDIS FOR 2017
After a successful first season at the helm of Inglewood United, Taki Nicolaidis has been re-appointing for 2017. After missing out on the title in the final minute of the season and being narrowly edged out in the West Australian Top Four Cup Grand Final, the club improved significantly from last season’s disappointing seventh place, and Nicolaidis played a major part in their improvement.
Nicolaidis said he is delighted to be re-appointed and will be looking to go one better next season. “Obviously very pleased to be re-appointed for 2017. It gives me and the club a chance to continue the good work we've done this year and further develop the strong foundations that have been laid,” he explained. “It was a big improvement both on and off the pitch, and our results wouldn't have been possible if it wasn't for like-minded people in our football department and also the board.”
Club President Ces Colli says the solid foundations Nicolaidis put in place this year, on and off the field of play, will ensure Inglewood’s continued growth and ongoing success. “As a Board we are working hard to create a Club that is respected both on and off the park with a winning culture, long-term success and stability,” Colli told the Inglewood United website.
“Whilst we fell short of winning a trophy in 2016, we have learnt lessons as a group that will make us stronger going forward. Taki has been one of the key individuals taking the Club forward in 2016, driving the culture that as a Club we want to develop and instil in all our players, members and supporters.
“Taki is the right person to continue driving our Club forward. His ability to develop a strong team ethos, realise the potential of players and deliver coaching methods that enhance performance make him the only choice for Inglewood. We now look forward to 2017 with Taki at the helm and have faith that together we will achieve the success we are striving towards.”
Nicolaidis stepped into the role after Michael Garcia left early in the pre-season, and under his guidance Inglewood enjoyed their best season in two decades, claiming second place in the league and qualifying for the Top Four Grand Final, and he said it may have surprised some people. “We probably exceeded most people's expectations this year however it was quite disappointing to have put ourselves in such good positions to win a trophy but fall short,” he explained. “We only have ourselves to blame, and it’s still pretty fresh, but everyone within the club is eager to work together to go one better next year.”
Inglewood brought a number of quality players into the club in 2016, and Nicolaidis said they will leave no stone unturned to bring success to the club next season. “We're currently starting to go through our 2016 player reviews and would hope that all our current playing group remain together,” he said. “Unlike the start of this year I don't think we need to top up with too many new players but will definitely look to target a couple of "special" players that will help us improve and push for trophies in 2017.”
LOWE WANTS RISDON TO LEAVE GLORY
Coach Kenny Lowe knows Josh Risdon, is a super player - but he doesn't want the star defender to be at Perth Glory next season. Risdon has established himself as one of the Glory's best players in recent seasons, and he's a strong chance to be announced as the club's new captain.
The 24-year old is also starting to make a splash on the international stage, featuring three times for the Socceroos. Risdon considered a move to Europe at the end of last season, before deciding to re-sign with Glory for one more year.
Lowe is rapt to have retained the services of Risdon for another campaign. But he wants to see Risdon go on to bigger and better things next year. "He's a super player," Lowe said. "I was chatting to him today. I said, 'I don't want to see you at this time next year'. I don't want you here. Because if he's not here, it means he's got a good move somewhere."
Risdon missed out on Socceroos selection for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Saudi Arabia and Japan, however, Lowe said an international career is there for the defender's taking. "If Rizzo wants to go to a World Cup, he'll go," Lowe said. "That will be his choice, because he will have worked hard to earn it."
GLORY CONFIDENT OF EVEN BETTER THINGS FROM CASTRO
Diego Castro is ready to back up his breakout A-League season, with Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe saying the star import is in better shape for his second summer at the club. The reigning Johnny Warren medallist rejoined his Glory teammates at the start of this month after an extended break at home with family in Spain.
Castro, 34, scored in Glory’s 8-0 demolition of a combined Inglewood United-Floreat Athena side on Friday night in his first pre-season outing. The veteran playmaker will be given another 45 minutes in this afternoon’s friendly against Brisbane Roar at Sydney’s Leichhardt Oval as Glory ramp up preparations for the approaching season.
Lowe said Castro had come back in terrific condition and was among a strong 17-player squad flying east to tackle Brisbane. “He’s come back in better nick than when he came from La Liga,” Lowe said. “Maybe the holiday and the relaxation, it’s agreed with him.”
“Him and Tags (Adam Taggart) are not quite there yet. We’ve got another three weeks for that, but they’ll get probably 45 minutes each (against Brisbane). It’s bit by bit with those two and we’ll get them up and firing for the beginning of the season.”
Lowe has tough decisions to make as to his best starting line-up. Young strikers Kosta Petratos and Jamal Reiners combined for five goals in last week’s friendly, but face an uphill battle to force their names past Castro, Taggart, Andy Keogh and Chris Harold.
ARMADALE PART COMPANY WITH PRICE
Armadale are on the hunt for a new senior Coach after Paul Price and Tony Castillo both left the Alfred Skeet Reserve club during the week. It was a tough battle for the Reds to maintain their PS4NPLWA spot, only finishing two points ahead of bottom of the table Subiaco, who were relegated.
Price, who has managed the NPLWA first team during seasons 2015 and 2016, will step aside from his role as First Team Coach for season 2017. President Tony Greipl said the former Spurs and Wales defender was great the club. “During the 2015 season, Paul and Tony worked hard with the wider coaching staff at Armadale to rebuild the squad, bringing in experienced players including Alex Healing, Jesse Fuller and Tonchi Skorich, and blended this with the youth being developed in the under 20 and under 18 squads,” he explained.
“This process continued into the 2016 season, but long-term injuries to key players put Armadale at the bottom of the table at the halfway point of the season. A continued belief, however, in a blend of youth and experience saw Paul guide the team to four significant victories from Round 16 onwards to steer clear of the relegation zone.”
Prices decision to step aside from coaching with Armadale in 2017 was influenced by the personal time and cost required to continually prove his coaching capabilities through formal accreditations. "I do not have a problem with coaches being asked to improve their knowledge and coaching abilities,” Price explained. “However I think coaches with a track record and above a certain age, in my case 62, should get some form of dispensation or allowance for previous time in the game.”
Greipl thanked both Paul and Tony on behalf of the club. “Paul and Tony have been valuable and much appreciated members of the team at Armadale, and have left us with a strong foundation of youth and experience to build on across our NPLWA Saturday squads,” he said. “They both have the sincere appreciation of myself, the committee and the club as a whole for all that they have committed to our team and community.”
WA’S BEST WOMEN PLAYERS TAKE ON THE GLORY
Western Australian State Women’s Team will go head-to-head with Perth Glory Women next week, all in the name of charity. WA’s best women’s players from the Bankwest State Premier League will play in the Challenge Cup, with all proceeds from the match at Inglewood Stadium on Wednesday, September 28, going to the Cancer Council WA. Spectators will be asked to make a gold coin donation at a match that will serve as important pre-season build-up for Glory ahead of their Westfield W-League season.
One of the players of the season from the state league has been Northern Redbacks Demi Vance, who helped the club to back-to-back league titles. The Irish striker said it had been a great season for all involved at the club, although it wasn’t a good start to the season. “After a defeat in the first game of the season, we knew it was going to be tough and competitive, but we all worked together and we improved with every game,” she said. “Winning back the state league cup and back-to-back league title’s was a great feeling and it was great end to the season for all of us.”
Vance, who bagged 18 goals this season, said the girls are looking forward to taking on the Glory, and she’s looking forward to the challenge. “I believe we will put up a good fight against them, and the girls are relishing the opportunity to take them on,” she said. “There are a lot of good players in the league, and we have a solid squad, and we’re looking forward to giving them a tough match. We can go out and express ourselves and enjoy one last game for the season, and help the Glory players prepare for the new Westfield W-League.”
The 25-year-old arrived in WA from Ireland two years ago, joining the Redbacks, after helping Glentoran Ladies to the league and cup in her homeland, Vance also represented Northern Ireland, and she said representing her Country was a huge honour, and something she will never forget. “Playing for your county for me is the pinnacle, it’s what I always wanted and was lucky enough to do at a young age,” she explained. “I made my debut against Spain away from home when I was 16. It was such an amazing felling putting on the shirt and playing for your national side, it was unbelievable and I enjoyed every minute of it.”
The side will be captained by Vance’s Redbacks team mate and also former Northern Ireland international Nadene Caldwell, and Jessine Bonzas has been appointed coach of WA, with former Perth Glory midfielder Elisa D’Ovidio her assistant. Bonzas, who has been involved with WA State teams for 17 years, said the match represented a great opportunity to showcase WA’s best female talent. “The players selected have been impressive for the duration of the season,” she told the Football West website. “It's wonderful that they are recognised and acknowledged for their consistent performances and ability. We wish both teams and all players the best of luck.”
D’Ovidio, who played at Glory for seven years before hanging up her boots at the end of the 2014 league-winning season, expects a competitive match. “For me, it's a little different being on the other side as normally I'd be out there playing,” she said. “But now I'm on the sidelines coaching the State team against my former club and some of my good mates. I didn’t hesitate when I was asked to work alongside Jessine and coach the best players in WA. We’ve worked together for many years now so I’m confident stepping into the role. “After one training session with the girls you could see the quality and potential of all players. It will be a good challenge.”
Cancer Council Challenge Cup - WA State Team v Perth Glory Women - Wednesday, September 28, 2016 - Inglewood Stadium, Hamer Parade - Kick off: 7pm -
WA State team: Evie Gooch (Melville City); Morgan Aquino (NTC); Natash Rigby (Queens Park); Alyssa Van Heurck (NTC); Emily Dunn (Northern Redbacks); Chelsie Winchcombe (Balcatta); Laura Waltman (Melville City); Katie Evans (Quinns FC); Nicole Campbell (Queens Park); Sadie Lawrence (Queens Park); Georgie Crawley (NTC); Nadene Caldwell (Northern Redbacks); Stephanie Simmonds (Melville City); Katarina Jukic (Beckenham Angels); Maddy Olguin (Balcatta); Demi Vance (Northern Redbacks); Rachel Withoos (East Fremantle).
PROBLEMS ON AND OFF THE PITCH FOR GLORY
Perth Glory’s pre-season friendly against Brisbane Roar ended in disappointment, with John Aloisi’s side getting revenge for the FFA Cup defeat against Kenny Lowe’s side, with a 4-0 win at Leichardt Oval. It was a dis-jointed Glory performance, and reports of a rift between two of its stars, who are not said to be gelling well on or off the pitch, doesn’t bode well for team morale with the season so close. With the season only three weeks away, both sides put out strong squad, but the Glory had no answers, the defeat was only their second in the pre-season. An early own goal from Josh Risdon and a Brendon Borrello strike gave the Roar the lead at the break, and they went on with it after half time with Dimi Petratos and Thomas Broich giving them a comfortable win. “Comments”
The Glory had opened brightly and the Roar had to defend deep early, and set pieces were causing them problems but the Glory couldn’t find the opener. But on 34 minutes the Roar hit the front, when Borrello’s cross hit the unfortunate Risdon and rolled into the net. It got worse for the men in purple and three minutes later it was 2-0. Borrello made space out wide and squared the ball to former Glory striker Jamie Maclaren who made no mistake from close-range.
Both sides made changes at the break, and both created chances but it was the Roar who added a third on the hour. Dimitri Petratos was given far too much room and his long-range flew into the net giving Nick feely no chance. The Roar bagged a fourth six minutes later, Petratos’ free kick crashed off the crossbar, and Broich was quickest to react and his sweet volley flew into the net.
The Roar continued to threaten regularly, especially down the right, with Borrello causing problems for the Glory defence throughout the match. The Glory pressed late and Taggart came close a couple of times, his best chance came two minutes from time when Richard Garcia fed the ball into the six yard area, and Taggart shot was well saved by Roar ‘keeper Michael Theo.
PS4 NPL 2016 ELIMINATION FINAL PREVIEW – PERTH SC V DEVONPORT STRIKERS
After a fantastic season in the PS4NPLWA, Perth Soccer Club will be flying the flag for WA when they host Tasmanian NPL Champions Devonport Strikers in the NPL National Elimination Finals at E&D Litis Stadium on Saturday evening (6pm) After winning the title in the final game of the season, Perth then beat Inglewood United to win last week’s West Australian Top Four Cup, and skipper Clark Keltie said it had been a successful season for all involved at the club. “It's been an unbelievable season and I'm absolutely delighted to have done the double,” he said. “You don't win these awards by just turning up on a Saturday, we’ve worked hard all season long on the training ground and behind the scenes and I think we got our just rewards in the end. I've been at the club for four seasons now and had many offers to leave, from over east, back home and other teams in the league, but from day one, I said I'd stay with the club until I won a trophy, so it's a very satisfying feeling to end the season in such fashion.”
Keltie said at the start of the season the mass exodus of senior players was concerning but said the players who came in, plus the talented youngsters they had in the club, the side knitted well together. “Initially I thought we were a bit light in terms of experience and depth, and I thought that could be an issue as the season went on. Yes players left, but players have to look after themselves and if they aren't happy then it's up to them to do something about it,” he explained. “The second part of the season showed me just what sort of desire and hunger the boys have here at Perth. Many times we were against it, with injuries and suspensions but we just got on with things and came out with some big results in big games.”
The club had a change of coach mid-way through the season and Keltie said it’s been a real team effort from everyone involved to get where they are now, and they will be all doing all they can to win Saturday’s game . “Gareth (Naven) laid the foundations for what we have achieved this season, no doubt about that,” he said. “When he left, Ramon (Falzon) and Mark (Wingell) worked very hard to make the transition a simple one, with the same work ethic and structures in place, and they've been a pleasure to work with. Ramon is quite meticulous in his preparations and has gathered some video footage of Devonport in action for us, and we watched this after training on Tuesday. So we have an idea of their strengths and weaknesses. It's an exciting opportunity for all involved in the club, but I think it's important that we don't look any further ahead than Saturday evening’s game.”
Devonport have also had a fantastic season winning the league by eight points and losing only one game in their 2016 campaign, and skipper Brayden Mann said it’s been a big improvement from last season. “It has obviously been an amazing league campaign for us this season. After finishing 7th last year in the league, the change in the team this year and the results that have come with it have been incredible. We have signed some quality players this season and our other players have really lifted a level, also the signing of Peter Savill has been amazing for us,” he explained. “He has really brought us together as a squad and really put the confidence in us to go out and play well consistently. Our defensive record in the league has been one of the major reasons we have done so well in the league, but also our ability to attack at pace and hurt teams on the counter has allowed us to score freely during the season.”
Devonport Strikers have a squad bristling with talent and head west looking to progress and do Tasmanian proud. They have quality players all over the park; with big Canadian centre back Joey Zupo having a fantastic season. He read the game so well and is a true leader at the back. Joel Stone is another quality player, a real attacking player with good feet and flair, and when he's on his game, he is exciting to watch, while Mann is their avenue to goal, and their inspirational leader on the park.
The 23-year-old has bagged 24 goals this season, and he said a return to Devonport has been really good for his football. “This season for me has been the most rewarding of my life so far. Coming back to Devonport after a two year stint with South Hobart, it was a huge honour to be named the captain and I have taken that role on with a lot of pride,” he explained. “This season wasn't about scoring goals; it was more about leading the team to victories and pushing my team mates to be better. The goals have come as a reward through the hard work of the team, and it's always a great feeling to score a goal for our club.”
Mann knows Perth are a strong side, but he knows cup football is completely different and they head over full of confidence, and looking to get the result and moving into the next stage of the competition. “Yes we obviously know it's going to be a tough ask to come to Perth and get a result but we are confident of achieving that,” he said. “We are looking forward to the game and we obviously go in with a lot of confidence after the season we have. We know it won't be easy but we must be positive, trust in ourselves and the team, and give everything we have to get the win.”
ALL FLAGS STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND TWENTY TWO - PREVIEW
The All Flags State League Division One title goes on the line this weekend in the final round of the season, with Joondalup United and Mandurah City fighting it out. Joondalup are in pole position on top on goal difference and they travel to Nash Field to take on Western Knights. They helped their goal difference with 6-0 hammering of UWA-Nedlands last week, and Coach Nick Jennings said it was great team performance. “I'm a big believer in attacking free flowing football and for the majority of the season the boys have certainly delivered,” he explained. “In the second half of the season we have raised even further the level and quality of our performance and the goals have been flowing.” Jennings said the Knights are playing well and will make it difficult for them, but he is confident they can get the right result. “At this stage of the season you want to be in the frame to be winning things, it's why everyone involved in the game gives up so much of our time,” he said. “I think it's great for the State League and good publicity that the title will be decided on the last round of the season, likewise the relegation scrap going down to the wire We are under no illusions on how difficult the game on Saturday will be having lost 2-1 earlier in the season to Trim Morgan's side, we will approach it like we do every week looking for the three points.” In team news for Joondalup Josh Whitmore and James Harmer return to the squad following suspension.
Knights Coach Trim Morgan said his side have been on a good run of form, but had a slight blip last week at Canning, but should have come home with something. “The boys played well and had more than enough clear cut chances to win the game comfortably, but we conceded two early goals by switching off and that cost us dearly,” he said. “It’s disappointing, but this young team are evolving and will learn from the defeat.” Morgan said Saturday game should be a cracker and they hope to end the season at home with the three point. “It should be a great tactical game, as both side like to play football,” he explained. “It’s a must win game for us to consolidate third position, and obviously Joondalup need to secure the points as well to win the title, it should be a great game. We approach the game as we do every week, wanting to pick up three points, and we will be doing all we can to achieve that.” In team news for the Knights Ryan Shackleton and Vinnie Wiktora are both back from suspension.
Mandurah City face local rivals Rockingham City at the Kelly’s Hot Water Stadium, and need the win and hope the Knights do them a favour. The Dolphins were beaten last week at Ashfield, after dominating the first half and Coach Doug Hesketh said it was just one of those days, but saw the lighter side of the loss. “Disappointed to lose for sure I think Dr. Harry holds a lead better than us this year,” he joked. “I thought we played very well especially first half our lads played a very high level of football, even second we created a lot of chances and didn't convert, but a team with nothing to lose can gamble and Ashfield did and it and it paid off, so no complaints from me, fair play and our lads did their best.” Hesketh said all they can do is get the right result against Rockingham, and wait and see what happens at Nash Field, but whatever happens he has been proud of the players’ attitude and commitment this season. “The game against Rocky was always going to be a big one for the area. I think Rob and Smithy have done a good job getting promoted also a solid season to be honest, we are looking forward to the game and will do our best to play good football,” he explained. “I’m very proud of the players and club this season I think we have played a good brand of football that's entertaining and consistent and is producing a good future for players to progress once they can perform at that level week in week out. The 18's and 21's have been great to watch with some real talent coming through, so things are looking good for the future.”
A ten man Rockingham were held to a draw last week by Dianella, and Coach Rob Crerar said they deserved more. “It wasn't our greatest performance last week,” he said. “But once we went down to ten men I thought we dominated the game and probably should have won it at the end.” Crerar said all games against Mandurah are tight affairs and he’s expecting more of the same on Saturday. “It's a fantastic opportunity to be involved in such a big game, our younger players have been fortunate to play in these type of games last season,” he explained. “Mandurah are always favourites in these games with the big budget, marquee players and being reigning league champions, but we go into the game confident of being competitive and giving a good account of ourselves.” In team news for Rockingham Monty Grigo Gershom Rowland and Christian Hogge are all out, but they do welcome Maxwell Snelson back into squad after illness.
The automatic relegation spot is also still in the balance, with Dianella White Eagles and Shamrock Rovers fighting it out to stay in the league. Both sides are level on points, but Dianella hold a three goal difference lead and will be looking for three points when they host South West Phoenix at Dianella Reserve. Dianella’s Jason Stepanovski said they should have taken all three points last week, but had to settle for a point. “From the neutral standpoint the game ended up being pretty even after they went down to 10 we dropped our levels significantly which is not what we needed,” he said. “They had their chances we had our but a point in the end as it turns out was a good point for us. But being up 1-0 then playing against 10 men, we really should’ve closed the game out.” Stepanovski said they know a win will almost see them miss the automatic relegation spot. “We know what we are capable of and a high number of the games we have played this season we have outplayed the opposition. If we stay disciplined at the back and keep a clean sheet I know that the chances will come going forward,” he explained. “We know there are many people in this league who don't want us here, but it’s in our hands now so we need to be as clinical and professional as we can for the rest of the season to ensure our survival.”
Shamrock travels to Burrendah Reserve to take on Canning City, and must win and hope the Phoenix do them a favour, to stay up. Rovers lost ground on Dianella after a 0-1 loss at Gosnells City last week and Fraser Burr said it was one that got away. “Unfortunately that's just how football is sometimes, it was definitely a game of two halves,” he said. “We had chances to get a least a point but it wasn’t to be.” Burr said they have to get a result and they will be doing all they can to achieve it. “It's basically a cup final for us this week and a must win game,” he said. “We know everyone has to give it 110% from the first to last whistle.” In other games it’s the eastern corridor local derby when Forrestfield United host Gosnells City at Hartfield Park. The hosts are still in contention for third place, after Rhys Loxley’s 25meter screamer gave them a 1-0 at Ashfield on Wednesday night, and they will be looking to end the season on a high. The final game sees UWA-Nedlands hosting Ashfield at the UWA Sports Park.
ALL FLAGS STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND TWENTY TWO - PREVIEW
With the title, play-offs and relegation all decided in the All Flags State League Division Two the fight for higher positions on the table are up for grabs in the final round. The Footballwa.net Match of the round takes us to Kingsway Reserve for Melville City’s visit to Kingsway Olympic. Melville sits in fifth spot, and a big win would consolidate that, and they are coming off a hard fought win at Kelmscott Roos last week, and keeper Daniel Agudelo said it was a game that could have gone either way. “Last week was a good contest, with end to end football, and plenty of missed chances by both teams,” Agudelo said. “It was similar to our last encounter, however this time we snatched the winning goal.” Saturday could be Melville defender Matt Donlevy’s final game and Agudelo said they hope to go out with a win for him. “Rumour has it this may be Matt’s last game, so we will definitely will like to send him off on a high,” he said. “This has been a tight league, and results this week could really reshuffle the table. So we’re expecting another tough game and looking forward to keeping our position on the table.”
Kingsway only sit three points behind Melville and Nathan Thorp, who returned two weeks ago from a season long knee injury, said they missed a chance to stay level with them after letting a lead slip against Balga last week. “After going 1-0 up into the break and with 20 to go and not to get anything out of the game was very disappointing, we had a penalty shout that wasn't given and several chances to increase the lead and didn't take them,” he said. “Fair play to Balga they kept the ball on the ground and played football grinding away and eventually broke us down to a flattering scoreline.” Thorp said they will be looking to end the season with a home win. “This week we host Melville who after their slow start have improved and risen up the table into fifth, and last time we played them was a tight 1-0 loss,” he said. “This week we will be looking for revenge and to end our season on a high to give us the best chance to finish as high as possible on the ladder.”
Wanneroo City takes on Quinns in a local derby at Wanneroo Reserve, and City are coming off a big win against former Coach Matt Debarro’s Swan United last week, a game Nathan Grostate said was well-deserved. “Massive win for the Roos last weekend against Swan, it was great to take three points from them for the second time this year,” Grostate said. “We played well as a team and stuck to our game the coaches asked us to do and it worked.” A win on Saturday could move Wanneroo up to seventh and Grostate said they will be doing all they can to get that done. “This weekend is a big game for the club as we all believe we deserve to finish well above our current spot,” he explained. “Quinn's are a tough opponent but I think we can take a second three points off them to finish the season on a high.” In other games Champions Fremantle City entertain Curtin University at Hilton Reserve, runners-up Joondalup City will warm up for their play-off game with a home game against Swan United at Iluka Sports Complex, while relegated Ellenbrook United end their season with a tough trip to Princess Road Reserve to take on third placed Balga.
In the final game Kelmscott Roos entertains Morley Windmills at Frye Park. It’s been a successful season for Kelmscott under new coach Chris Bates, and the club have re-signed him for next season. “Yes very happy with the decision of the club to keep me on board, as we have improved dramatically since the last few year,” he said. “I intend to put 110% effort into keeping that going, the club are working hard with me to insure future success.” Last week Kelmscott were edged out narrowly by Melville, a game Bates said his side deserved more. “Last week was a bitter pill to swallow for the players, they played well and certainly had the majority of the play but our lack of finishing stopped us,” he explained. “Once again a great finish from the Melville striker put them in front, but we should have finished our chances.” Bates said he is looking to end their season off with a win, but believes Morley will be a tough challenge. “Last time we played Morley I thought they were one of the better sides in the league and deserved there victory over us,” he said. “But our football is still improving and as I said at the beginning of the year this is the start of rebuilding. We have had a number of long term injures and we our still under power but I have no doubt our lads will do what is asked of them.”
KERR SIGNS ON FOR MORE GLORY
Matildas star Samantha Kerr has signed on for another season with Perth Glory as coach Bobby Despotovski eyes off his maiden W-League championship. Perth-born Kerr has been in scintillating form with her United States club Sky Blues FC in recent weeks, scoring in her past four games, that coming hot on the heels of Australia’s memorable Olympic Games campaign.
After missing much of last season due to a foot injury, 23-year old Kerr said it was great to be heading back to Perth for another year. “I’ve really enjoyed my time since Rio and I'm looking forward to the new W-League season," Kerr said. "I'm excited to be heading back home and I think we've got a good core of players to build on from last season."
Despotovski is hopeful of adding last season's Most Glorious Player Vanessa DiBernardo, who is currently playing with Chicago Red Stars, for another season. "We're close to finalising a few things with Vanessa so hopefully that will come off," Despotovski said. Glory Women will play their first match of the season against Western Sydney Wanderers at Perth Oval on Sunday 6 November.
JONES STARS IN EUROPA UPSET
Socceroo Brad Jones has kept a clean sheet to help lift Dutch club Feyenoord to a famous 1-0 home victory over Manchester United in the Europa League. The only goal of the game came late via Tonny Vilhena, despite a clear off-side at the start of the counter-attack. Jones, 34, made an important save in the final minute when Manchester star signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic lashed a free kick from long-range.
STANGE IS COMING BACK TO PERTH
FORMER Perth Glory coach Bernd Stange will be a Special Guest Speaker at the Football Hall of Fame WA's 20th Anniversary Gala Dinner/Induction Night on November 26. Stange will make the journey from his home in Germany to attend the function - and his appearance will be a major coup for the organising committee of the Football Hall of Fame WA. He will join former SBS football broadcast icon Les Murray as a Guest Speaker at the event, which will be held in the Grand Ballroom of Crown Perth.
Stange said that he is looking forward to returning to Perth, where he spent three years as coach of the Glory. "Perth will always hold a special place in my heart," said the former East German national team coach. "I loved my spell at the Glory and I had a special relationship with the fans. I hope to see many of them when I return in November. "The work which the committee of the Hall of Fame is doing is very important - and I am honoured that I can make a contribution to the anniversary celebrations."
The chairman of the Football Hall of Fame WA committee, Louis Prospero, said: "We are delighted that Bernd has agreed to be a Guest Speaker. He has always been very popular in Perth and we regard it as something of a coup in our efforts to get him to be part of our induction night celebration. "I am sure that many from the WA football family will want to attend the function to hear Bernd and to mingle with many of the other celebrities and inductees. “Several former members of Bernd’s squad who played for Perth Glory will be honoured on the night so they will have much to talk about. "With Les Murray also agreeing to front the microphone, it promises to be a very special night."
Stange, who came to WA in 1998 after stints as coach of Carl Zeiss Jena, Hertha BSC, CSKA Kiev as well as the East German national team, was the first coach to lead Perth Glory into the finals of the old National Soccer League in 2000, losing a thriller on penalties to Wollongong Wolves. His enthusiasm and charismatic personality were an instant hit with Glory fans - and with the NSL in general. He enjoyed as much media exposure on the east coast of Australia as he did in Perth. He left the Glory in 2001 and had a brief spell with Oman before spending two years in charge of the Iraq team. He then took Cypriot side Apollon Limassol to their first championship in 12 years and in three years with the Belarus national team took them to their highest-ever FIFA ranking. The much-travelled Stange headed east again to take the reins as Singapore's national coach. After three seasons, he decided to retire from the game in April this year at the age of 68.
**TICKETS to the Gala Dinner cost $180 (3-course dinner, all drinks, entertainment) and are available by contacting the email address: email@example.com
GRANT NOT SHYING AWAY FROM CHAMPIONSHIP GLORY
Perth Glory defender Alex Grant has admitted there’s a “great buzz” out west around Perth Glory’s aspirations for the forthcoming A-League season. Glory have qualified for only one Grand Final across the eleven seasons of A-League football but hopes are growing that the upcoming summer could see the drought broken.
“You’e got to go into every season looking to finish as high as possible,” Grant said. “With the recruitment this year, it’s been really positive to see a lot of local lads come back. I don’t think we were anticipating it to happen quite so soon, I think it was always in the works for it to eventually happen.
“It’s fallen into place perfectly for the gaffer and the other members of staff. There’s a great buzz … but we can’t get carried away at the moment, it’s still early days. It’s still pre-season, the season hasn’t started, so as soon as we start getting some results on the board and pick up some momentum, that’s when we can concentrate on doing some great things this year.”
O'NEILL: WE RESPECT BLACKTOWN
Brandon O'Neill says Sydney FC is full of respect for its FFA Cup opponents Blacktown City but confident the Sky Blues can get the job done. Sydney booked their spot in the round of eight encounter by defeating Perth Glory, while the New South Wales NPL champions went through after seeing off Bonnyrigg White Eagles.
"We respect them thoroughly," said O'Neill, who gained 21 appearances last season with Sydney. "They've won a grand final in the NSW Premier League and to do that you have to be a good team. They are a very good team, they've got some good players, some players with A-League experience.
"But we expect our team to go down there and win and progress to the semi-final as you want to do. That's what we'll be aiming to do, to put on a good performance, be clinical, play some very good football and go through to the semi-final. But we can't go in there underestimating them or over-thinking them because they are a very good team."
Blacktown took out the Grand Final on Sunday with a 3-0 win over Sydney United. And with next week's Cup quarter-final taking place on a synthetic pitch, Sky Blues midfielder O'Neill admits the surface will be an advantage for the Demons. "That's something we'll have to overcome," he said. "We'll have training sessions on the astro and I don't think it will take too long to become accustomed to playing on that type of surface."
"And when it comes down to it, it will be 90 minutes or 120 minutes of football with both teams playing on the same surface, with the same kind of luck. Whoever turns up on that night, plays the better football and scores the most goals wins the game. We don't have too much worries about it, we're really looking forward to trying out a different surface."
O'Neill enjoyed his first season with Sydney and is determined to build on the successes of 2015/16. "Last season was very good but I can't rest on my laurels," he said. "I need to improve and keep getting better and better as a player. I felt last season I was still getting used to the pace of the A-League, to the kind of intensity of it. I felt just at the back end of the season I was just starting getting used to it.
"Last season was good in terms of game time but consistency is the main thing, especially being a midfielder. Week-in week-out you need to play well and you need to be doing it consistently. I think this season, along with winning something, If I can improve in certain areas of my game and play consistent football, I'll be very happy.
FEYENOORD ARE HOLLAND'S LIVERPOOL - JONES
Goalkeeper Brad Jones feels there are similarities between Liverpool and Feyenoord, with both clubs commanding unconditional love from their supporters along with a togetherness which lasts through the bad times. Jones was at Liverpool between 2010 and 2015, a period which was interruped only by a loan spell in the Championship with Derby County.
Jones, who joined Feyenoord earlier this summer, struggled to play regularly at Liverpool, but he still saw enough of the Anfield giants to draw parallels with the Rotterdam outfit. "Like Liverpool, football (at Feyenoord) goes much deeper for the people than at many other clubs," the 34-year old said. "It's unconditional love."
"You often see that flourish at many other clubs only with success. That's very different here. The fans keep coming back here if it goes bad. They suffer with us in difficult times and unreservedly support their team. They have their club. That feeling is really powerful – being part of something."
Jones played juniors with Bayswater City before joining English club Middlesbrough, where he played from 1999 to 2010. After leaving Liverpool in 2015 he spent a season with Bradford City and earlier this year enjoyed a six-month deal with NEC Nijmegen. He switched to Feyenoord on a one-year deal in July.
CATARCIONE LATE WINNERS GIVES PERTH SC THE TOP FOUR CUP
Perth Soccer Club are the 2016 West Australian Top Four Cup winners after Brazilian striker Gustavo Catarcione scored the only goal in the 1-0 win against Inglewood United at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday afternoon. “Well I can tell that was a really hard game and I think that Inglewood had more possession than us but we have a good and solid defence and Francis is doing really good this year so I'm glad that they could stop them,” Catarcione said. “To be fair I was very quiet in the game, but I had one opportunity and I took it so I'm very happy and proud of all the squad.”
Perth skipper Clark Keltie said it was more pleasing to win as they have a relatively young squad. “It’s unbelievable to be honest, the boys have proved time and time again that they’re capable of getting the result and over the course of the season I think we’ve deserved that,” he said.” “The young lads are honest and have listened to what they’ve been told all season and held their own against a more experienced, hardened side by keeping their shape and sticking to the game plan.”
Despite playing their third game in a week, and the last two going to penalties, Inglewood opened the brighter, and Brian Woodall lost his marker in the box from John Migas’ cross early, but the striker failed to hit the target. It was a cagey final with clear cut chances few and far between, but Inglewood were on the front foot, having plenty of possession. But Perth weathered the storm and went close themselves mid-way through the half.
Former Inglewood striker Alex Jovic was given far too much space and his shot from 16 meters flashed wide of the target. But it was Inglewood who looked more likely to opening the scoring and on the stroke of half time they went close again. Woodall’s curling free kick from the edge of the penalty area whistled inches past the post, but at the break it was scoreless.
Inglewood began the second half like they finished the first and Perth were defending desperately and defender Rocco Pizzata sliced over his own bar after Perth failed to deal with a corner, before Kenny Keogh headed the resulting corner wide of the target. Perth keeper Francis Soale has been one of the best keepers in the league this season, and he was at his best moments later.
Scott Blackmore’s effort was superbly saved by the Perth custodian, and Keogh’s follow up shot was off target. Jason Barrera then saw his goal bound volley blocked by more desperate defending, but Inglewood would be left to rue their missed chances when Perth hit the front seven minutes from time. Harley Orr made space down the flank and whipped in a teasing cross and Catarcione showed his striker instinct, getting between two defenders to head home, to set off wild celebrations on and off the pitch.
It was a bitter blow for Inglewood, and they pressed late looking for the equaliser, but they couldn’t get past a Perth defence led superbly by former Newcastle Jets’ Adrian Madaschi. A the final whistle it was Perth running out narrow winners, and in a bitter sweet moment at the presentation, Inglewood midfielder Jason Barrera was the worthy winner of the ‘Gary Marocchi Medal’ as best a field.
Inglewood coach Taki Nicolaidis was proud of his players and thought his side didn’t get rewarded for their efforts. “I thought we were fantastic today, and to play two lots of 120 minutes and penalties and then to play fantastic football, have the better chances and do everything but score, I couldn’t be prouder of our guys,” he said. “The way we were playing I was pretty comfortable, but we had one loss of concentration on the counter-attack… it’s pretty hard to take at the minute.”
Perth SC 1 (Catarcione 83’) v Inglewood United 0
Perth SC: GK Francis SOALE, 4 Adrian MADASCHI, 6 Clarke KELTIE, 7 Aleks JOVIC (3 Andreas THEODOSIADES 75’), 9 Gustavo CATARCIONE, 10 Nick AMBROGIO, 11 Matt MILENKOVIC, 12 Jordan DE LEO, 13 Rocco PIZZATA, 15 Harley ORR, 18 Alex SILLA (5 Nathan DIAZ 80’) - Subs not used: RGK Daniel PASSARELLI, 2 David FILLIPOU, 16 Thomas JEBB - Yellow cards: Silla 57’, Catarcione 90’
Inglewood United: GK Alex DUNN, 3 David CYRUS, 4 Scott BLACKMORE, 5 Adam TONG, 6 Calum O’CONNELL, 7 Kenny KEOGH (14 Mark PRITCHARD 86’), 8 Jason BARRERA, 9 Brian WOODALL, 10 Ashley ROSINDALE (12 Scott WITSCHGE 70’), 11 John MIGAS, 13 Josh PEREIRA (18 Jason COLLI 86’) - Subs not used: RGK Scott WALLIS, 25 Alex ISHIDA-LIVINGS - Yellow cards: Nil
Referee: David Bruce
BAYSWATER TO GOOD FOR PLUCKY ARMADALE
Bayswater City won the West Australian under 20’s Top Four Cup Gran Final, after a 3-0 win against Armadale at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday afternoon. The win sealed a successful season for Chris Barbas’ side, who also took out the PS4NPLWA league title and Cool Ridge Cup Final. They led 1-0 at the break with Armadale defender Kade McNamara scoring an own goal, but second half goals to David Stokoe and Luka Minkovic gave them a comprehensive win. “We told the boys before the game they were Champions and to believe it and to just go out there and prove it. It probably wasn’t our best performance, but I thought we had the class to get the job done,” Barbas said. “The three lads up top are our weapons, and we’ve scored nearly 100 goals in all competitions this season, and you could see today why that is, they all played their part in the win.”
Both sides had early chances in a lively opening. Armadale’s Michael Domfeh beat keeper Fraser Greenwood to a ball over the top but he headed wide of the target, before Bayswater’s Ninkovic powerful header was superbly saved by Michael Craggs.
Armadale began to dictate terms, and Domfeh was picked out again by Joe Kelly, but his effort flashed wide of the target, before Broden Brown’s shot from the edge of the penalty area was tipped over the top by the alert Greenwood.
Bayswater steadied and Wild shot straight at Craggs, and five minutes to the break they hit the front. Good work on the right by Taban Mokoii ended with a cross to Wild, whose curling shot crashed off the far post, the ball deflected back into the net off the unfortunate McNamara to send Bayswater into the break with the lead.
Armadale were on the front foot early in the second half, and Emmanuel Wordu low cross was well held by Greenwood, with Domfeh ready to pounce. But Bayswater weren’t to be out done and just after the hour they doubled their advantage. Makoii’s free kick picked out Stokoe, and the big defender rose highest to head home.
There was another twist on 70 minutes when Mari was given a second yellow card by referee Zach Piccicacco and was sent off, and Armadale pushed men forward to try and get back in to the game. Wordu’s shot on the run flashed over the top for Armadale moments later, before Erstate Vyamungu low shot was saved by Greenwood at his near post.
But with Armadale pushing men forward the ten men of Bayswater hit on a counter attack and added a third on 78 minutes. Hifzham Mohd Hayazi sent Wild down the right, the striker eased past his marker and crossed into the box, and Ninkovic was on hand at the back post to steer the ball home, to seal the win.
Bayswater City 3 (O’G – McNamara 40Mins, Stokoe 63’, Ninkovic 78’) v Armadale 0
Bayswater City: GK Fraser GREENWOOD, 3 David STOKOE, 6 Lesley MARI, 7 Jamie MURPHY (11 Charlie WHITE 82’), 8 Hifzhan MOHD HAYAZI, 9 Alex WILD, 10 Taban MAKOII, 14 Tristan COLLO, 18 Giodano COLLI (19 Ayden DRAGUN 58’), 20 Luka NINKOVIC, 21 Stefan BABAS (2 Dean GORDON 46’) - Subs not Used: 5 Patiente IIAHAMBAYE, 12 Jake CHERRIE - Yellow Cards: Mari 53’, 70’, Wild 67’ - Red Cards: Mari 70’
Armadale: GK Michael CRAGGS, 2 Beau RAHIM, 3 Ross BETT, 4 Kade MCNAMARA (17 Justin ONEK 80’), 5 Shay PASALACQUA, 7 Danny HODGSON (8 Shaun MORRISON 37’), 9 Broden BROWN, 10 Joe KELLY (16 Erstate VYAMUNGU 64’), 11 Emmanuel WORDU, 14 James ATKINS (C), 15 Michael DOMFEH - Subs not Used: RGK Duncan LENNON-BLACK, 6 Tre GAFFNEY - Yellow Cards: Vyamungu 72’
Referee: Zach Piccicacco
PERTH TAKES THE GLORY IN 18’S TOP FOUR GRAND FINAL
Perth Glory under 18’s has won the West Australian Top Four Cup Grand Final after a 4-0 win against league winners Stirling Lions at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday. Second half goals from Adam Zimarino, Ethan Brooks, Liam Murray and Abias Bukuru, sealed an amazing victory for the Glory youngsters. Glory coach Callum Salmon said he was proud of his players on the day. “I can’t express how proud I am of the boys today,” he said. “Stirling are such a tough team to play against, well worthy of winning the league, but we just dealt with them better today. They were dangerous going forward, but it was better defensive performance today, we all know Stirling can turn over any team, on any day, but today was our day.”
It was a lively opening with both sides going close early. First Stirling striker Bleron Mamudi fired wide after finding space in the box, and moments later Bukuru was sent clear by Riley Warland, but Stirling keeper Calum Atkins was out quick to save at the strikers’ feet. Both of the keepers were working overtime, Atkins produced a good save to deny Aiden Edwards, before Liam Levy went one better saving superbly to thwart Denzil Tshuma. It was a tight game and but both sets of defenders weren’t to be beaten and they went to the break at 0-0.
It was a perfect start to the second half for the Glory and they hit the front four minutes in. Bukuru found space in the box and played in Zimarino who made no mistake from close-range. It was the Glory who were now on top and Murray went close to doubling their lead on the hour, his shot on the turn whistled inches past the post. But the Glory’s pressure was rewarded with a second eight minutes later. A short corner caught Stirling napping and the ball was delivered to Brookes in the area, and his shot on the turn beat Atkins.
Stirling looked to hit back and Ben Campbell’s header was superbly tipped over by Levy, but the Glory looked dangerous every time they went forward. Joe Tweats came close to making it three, when he was sent clear, but his lob over Atkins drifted inches wide of the post. But on 84 minutes the Glory added a third. Brooks’ slide-rule through ball sent Murray away and he finished clinically past Atkins. The scoring was wrapped up five minutes later, Brooks was the supplier again sending Bukuru clear and he made no mistake.
It could have been five in stoppage-time, when Brookes was brought down in the box by Mason Langham and referee Darren Quinlan pointed straight to the spot. Bukuru stepped up to take the resulting penalty, but Atkins guessed the right way to safe, but it didn’t spoils a superb second half performance from the Glory youngsters, who take out the West Australian Top Four Cup.
Stirling Lions 0 V Perth Glory 4 (Zimarino 49’, Brooks 68’, Murray 84’, Bukuru 89’)
Stirling Lions: GK Callum ATKINS, 2 Alan REIDY, 3 Jayden DODS, 4 Mason LANGHAM, 5 Nicholas ASHLEY (12 Nigel SMITH 77’), 6 Thomas BALCH, 7 Robbie MCNEILL, 8 Joey PERKINS (16 Roman MANDYCZEWSKY 83’), 9 Ben CAMPBELL, 10 Denzil TSHUMA (14 Daniel STONE 62’), 11 Bleron MAMUDI - Subs not used: 15 Oliver WATSON - Yellow Cards: Reidy, Langham, Ashley
Perth Glory: GK Liam LEVY, 2 Harry QUIGLEY, 3 Luca BODNAR, 4 Thomas EIJGENHUIJSEN, 5 Riley WARLAND (12 Zayd FARAH 36’), 6 Sasa NJEGIC, 7 Liam MURRAY, 8 Joe TWEATS, 9 Abias BUKURU, 11 Adam ZIMARINO (13 Ethan BROOKS 60’) 21 Aiden EDWARDS (14 Kian MCGUIGAN 74’) - Subs not used: 15 Huz GHAZALI, 16 Sam KOKKORIS – Yellow Cards: Bukuru, Brooks
Referee: Darren Quinlan
ALL FLAGS STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND TWENTY ONE - REVIEW
The First Division title race took another huge twist this weekend with leaders Mandurah City going down 2-1 to Ashfield at Ashfield Reserve. The visitors led at the break after Jordan Rhodes capitalized on a defensive mistake and raced into the area where he was brought down by Gary Hill and referee Ammar Timour pointed straight to the spot. Rhodes picked himself up to score from the resulting penalty. But Ashfield hit back five minutes after the break, Ross Diamond sent Jay Lang into to goal, and he finished well past Brad Eiffe from a tight angle. The home side hit the front 20 minutes from time, Alex Stamatiadis raced past his marker and crossed to Jacob Burns, and the striker made no mistake from five meters. Mandurah pressed to try and get back in the game put they couldn’t, putting Joondalup United in pole position. “The result against Mandurah was massive for us not only to keep 3rd place in our sights but to put a spanner in the works for Mandurah considering they beat us for the league last season a little bit of revenge you could say,” Jamie Burns said. “For me the goal was a great after what has been a difficult season in front of goal but the most important thing is we got the 3 points and the boys were excellent and showed great discipline to keep 11 men on the park after receiving 5 or 6 yellow cards in first half and to fight back from 1-0 down to dominate the second half and get the 3 points we deserved.”
Joondalup United made the most of Mandurah’s slip by thrashing UWA-Nedlands 6-0 at Forrest Park. Lee Jones was the star for United, bagging five goals, he opened the scoring from the penalty spot after he had been brought down, before added a second after some good build up play. He completed his hat trick again from the spot. He was the supplier for the fourth his shot was blocked on the line, and Callum Stocks was on hand to fire home the rebound. Jones was on fire and added the fifth after half time, after chasing down the UWA keeper and causing the error, before his fifth with a clinical finish rounded of the scoring. “The win on Saturday was a total team performance from the first whistle to the last, we completely dominated and they got away with murder, 6-0 does us no justice, we were on a different level and the quality of our football was a joy to watch,” Joondalup Coach Nick Jennings said. “Jonesy got a lazy five and could have had 10 and Callum scored the other. We will prepare properly as we always do and look forward to the challenging fixture on Saturday away to Western Knights, when nothing less than three points will do.”
Western Knights recent good form came to an end after they were beaten 2-1 by Canning City at Burrendah Reserve. The home hit the front when Charlie Parry sent Callum Roberts in behind the Knights’ defence, before rounding the keeper and coolly slotted home. It was 2-0 before the break, a corner from Ante Jukic's was met by Charlie Parry who converted from close range. The Knights pulled one back in the second half but they couldn’t find the equaliser. “It was a battle for 90 minutes. Knights played some nice stuff but mainly in areas they couldn't punish us so we were content to let them do that and put pressure on in our half and catch them on the break,” Canning Coach Paul Oliver said. “If truth be told Knights had their chances and were very wasteful, but we showed real character and ground out a very decent three points. We have only lost twice in the eight games against the top four, so we are looking back at missed opportunities and what could have been but progression is important and the platform is in place to again build further next year.”
In other games fourth placed Forrestfield United also went down, 1-0 at Hay Park against South West Phoenix. Martin Ryan scored the winner, a flick from Ryan Francis put him through on goal and he finished superbly from the edge of the box into the top corner. Rockingham City were held to a 1-1 draw by Dianella White Eagles at Lark Hill, the draw moving the Eagles out of the automatic relegation zone. The Eagles opened the scoring five minutes from half time, Rockingham failed to clear their lines from a corner and Jose Zuniga Bonilla scored from close-range. The home side were reduced to ten men on 55 minutes when Christian Hogge was sent off, but five minutes later Brian Gwataringa was brought down in the box and Ryan Kennedy converted from the spot to earn them a point. In the final game Gosnells City beat Shamrock Rovers 1-0 at Walter Padbury Reserve, dropping Rovers down to the bottom of the table. The only goal of the game came from Jason Pottier after Scott Pereira and Wade Farmer combined down the left, Farmer crossing to Pottier who finished clinically. “It was a relief to put together a decent display for our fans for our last home game of the season,” Caleb Aquino said. “It was also nice to grab three points and keep a clean sheet.”
ALL FLAGS STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND TWENTY ONE - REVIEW
Fremantle City are the 2016 All Flags State League Division Two Champions after a 3-1 win against Morley Windmills at Wotton Reserve. They had to come from behind for the victory, with Morley taking the lead on the quarter hour. A Long driven diagonal ball played over the top by David Houston picked out Kyle King who eased pat his marker on the bye-line, before finishing clinically past the keeper. It was only the second time Fremantle had been behind all season, but they responded straight away and levelled. Gareth Hamilton's free kick found the head of Ben West who equalised. Fremantle hit the front in the second half, Hamilton found time and space to deliver a ball into the box to meet the run of Anthony Lomma who flicked it into the corner. The points and the title were made safe late on, substitute Liam Fariss won the ball and beat his marker and played into Alec Robinson who took the ball across his defender and planted it in the corner. “It would have been a game for the neutrals, it could have ended up 6-5 to either side with so many chances on offer,” Fremantle Coach Steve Plucknett said. “Gareth (Hamilton) was the key for us, his performance was what got us over the line, and I'd like to thank John Castrilli, his players and the Morley supporters for their sportsmanship in giving our players an ovation when they came off, it was a great gesture. It's been a remarkable season for the club, on and off the pitch. The attitude and commitment from the players is what got them the title, they play for the club and each other. The only downside is that Mark Rockett my assistant was not here to witness the win as he has returned to Ireland, we've worked together for the past two years in trying to change the fortunes of Fremantle City, the players and I would like to dedicate the title to 'Rocky' for all his hard work and love for the club.”
The round started on Friday evening with Joondalup City beating Curtin University 2-1 at Edinburgh Oval. Joondalup opened the scoring on 12 minutes, Liam Peacock sent Liam McGurk away on the right and his cross was met by Jamie Stewart at the back post. Curtin equalised late in the first half, but substitute Mark Thornton scored four minutes from time when he headed in Bobby Melia's cross from the left after a great exchange with Danny Allen. “It wasn't our best performance of the season but the character of the lads pushed us over the line. They were determined to keep our winning run going and seal second spot,” Joondalup Coach Marco Schisano said. “This is our sixth win on the bounce and I am extremely proud of the players, but credit to Curtin as well, they gave us a few problems and made it a great contest. Both teams had chances to score but thankfully we came out on top. It doesn't matter how well you play at this time of the season, the result is all that matters.”
Balga maintained third place by beating Kingsway Olympic 3-1 at Princess Road Reserve. The visitors opened the scoring on the half hour, a shot hit the crossbar, came down to Nathan Thorp, who made no mistake from the rebound. Balga leveled in the 69th minute, a cross by Kyall Osborne, found Nahom Michael, who's header from close range found its way into the net. Balga took the lead in the 81st minute, when Justin Caratozzolo found space just inside the penalty box, and his powerful shot gave the keeper no chance. Balga made sure of all three points when Daniel Nalat scored into stoppage time. Melville City travelled to Frye Park and came home with a 1-0 win against Kelmscott Roos. The only goal of the game came from Christian Long. The ball was played out to right back George Festa. He rolled it into the centre of the park, and a quick one-two was played then passed with Mark Lucas and he played Long in on goal, and he finished clinically past the keeper smashing it at the near post. In other games Quinns FC thrashed Ellenbrook United 7-0, while Wanneroo City came home from the Swan Italian Club with a 4-2 win against Swan United.
PERTH SC VS INGLEWOOD UNITED - TOP FOUR CUP GRAND FINAL PREVIEW
The 2016 PS4 NPLWA season comes to an end on Saturday when Perth SC and Inglewood United do battle in The West Australian Top Four Cup Grand Final at Dorrien Gardens. Inglewood won a dramatic penalty shoot-out against ECU Joondalup on Wednesday to make the final, and Coach Taki Nicolaidis said it showed the character his side has.
“Obviously the coaching staff and I are happy with the character of our playing group to dig so deep and fight back after being 2-0 and 3-2 down with 10 men was huge,” he explained. “The other pleasing part was the way we all kept our heads during the penalty shoot-out, where after we got beat by Perth on Saturday it was easier to self-doubt ourselves but we all stood tall and firm.”
Nicolaidis, who coached Perth last season said they match up well and should know each other quite well after playing three times in the matter of weeks. “Everyone at the club is looking forward to another game against Perth on Saturday,” he said. “In fact our last 5 games have been Perth, ECU, Perth, ECU and now Perth again. One thing I will say is that we are fit, match hardened and ready to go.”
Perth skipper Clark Keltie echoed Nicolaidis’ comments and said it’s who wants it more on the day. “This will be the fourth time we play them this season, so both teams know each other inside out by now,” he said. “In games like this, it usually comes down to which team handles the occasion best, along with who wants it most. We've both had very good seasons so both teams will be looking to finish on a high.”
Perth won the league on the last day, and Keltie said the club is on a high at the moment and want to finish it off with a win on Saturday. “Being league champions, we've proven over the course of the 22 week season that we're good enough to beat anyone on our day,” he explained. “The club is buzzing at the moment and the boys have been full of energy and confidence on the training ground. We're all very much looking forward to 3pm Saturday and getting the job done.”
Both sides match up well, and the battle between Perth striker Gustavo Catarcione and Inglewood skipper David Cyrus will be worth the admission price alone. The guile of Jason Barrera in the middle of the park will be vital for Inglewood while Adam Tong and Mark Pritchard will be pushing for a starting spot after starting on the bench and missing Wednesday night’s game respectively. Adrian Madaschi has been a rock at the heart of the Perth defence and long with Nathan Diaz will have their hand full with Ashley Rosindale, Kenny Keogh and Brian Woodall. Ironically the same teams met in the Grand Final when the last time the "Top Four Cup" was contested in 2008, when Perth easily beat Inglewood 4-0. This year's Top Four showdown however should be a cracker, so get along and support WA football, kick off is 3pm at Dorrien Gardens, West Perth.
BAYSWATER CITY v ARMADALE - UNDER 20'S TOP FOUR CUP GRAND FINAL PREVIEW
The under 20’s West Australian Top Four Cup Grand Final, will see league winners Bayswater City take on runners-up Armadale at Dorrien Gardens at 12.45pm. City beat Armadale 3-2 in the Major Semi-Final and Coach Chris Barbas said his side were outstanding. “I was grateful we won the Semi-Final, they were very physical and strong individuals,” he said. “So to go behind twice and finish up winning showed great character and a never give up attitude from the lads.” Barbas said he’s expecting another tough encounter on Saturday. “Getting to a Grand Final you expect a tough game, and then you find out you are up against Armadale and the game has got even tougher,” he explained. “The fact they would be playing their third game in seven days makes them game hard and ready to take on any challenges we throw at them. So for us our biggest challenge will be to stay focused, keep to our game plan and play with passion and desire, if we do that we can win it.”
Armadale qualified for Saturday’s game after an epic 7-6 penalty shoot-out win against Perth Glory on Wednesday evening. Danny Hodgson gave Armadale an early lead, and Emmanuel Wordu added a second. But the Glory hit back with Ben Johns scoring a brace, but in the shoot-out Armadale prevailed. “We couldn’t have started any better scoring a couple of goals early, but we let them back into the game, which was disappointing as we should have finished them off in the first half,” Armadale coach Chris Finlayson said. “The second half and extra time became a battle, but we held our nerves in the penalties and showed how much we wanted it, and it was great to see our keeper Michael Craggs scoring the decider, which was well-deserved.” Finlayson said his players are looking forward to the challenge on taking on Bayswater. “These are the games you want to play in, there is nothing better than playing in a Grand Final. The lads are up for it, the clubs excited, the supporters are pumped and more importantly we have nothing to lose,” he explained. “Everyone expects Bayswater to win, so we aren’t feeling the pressure at all. We are all relaxed, excited and hungry for revenge, as we all know we should have won last week against them. We know it will be a battle, and I’d hate to be playing against us this week, the squads’ spirit is high and we can’t wait for the kick off.”
STIRLING LIONS v PERTH GLORY - UNDER 18'S TOP FOUR CUP GRAND FINAL PREVIEW
The under 18’s West Australian Top Four Cup Grand Final sees league winners Stirling Lions meet runners-up Perth Glory at Dorrien Gardens at 10.45am. Stirling beat the Glory 3-0 in the Major Semi-Final and coach Keegan Ashley said Saturday’s game will be a another difficult game but he said his players are ready for a big game. “It’s always great to be involved in the big games, and Saturday’s is the biggest of the season,” he said. “The boys are really enjoying their football at the moment, and that’s what it’s all about for us, to be constantly getting better.” Ashley said the season has been outstanding, and they hope to end it on a high. “The season couldn’t have been much better for us, we’ve won the league, and the players have learnt a great deal and been a close knit unit,” he explained. “The boys have given me, the club and each other everything, and they are an honest bunch and deserve to be Champions.”
The Glory made Saturday game with a 4-2 win against Subiaco on Tuesday evening. The Glory were well on top at the break, leading 3-0, with goals from Aiden Edwards, and a brace from Liam Murray. But Subiaco hit back, and pulled two goals back with Mathew Clark and Harri Patten-Williams scoring. But with Subiaco pushing players forward looking for the equaliser late on the Glory added a fourth, with Adam Zimarino on target. Assistant Coach Dave Butterfield said it was good win. “The boys put in a really balanced performance against a well-organised Subiaco side,” he said. “The work ethic and desire without the ball last night was a highlight. We were also more clinical in front of goal early which took some pressure off us.” Butterfield said Saturday will be a huge challenge but one the players are looking forward too. “Saturday we will again be tested by a good Stirling side, but with a bit of luck, clinical finishing and a desire to repeat Wednesday night’s performance and finish the season on a high,” he said. “We will try and make it difficult for them, but as we’ve said all season, credit to the players for all the hard work that they have put in throughout the year.”
“THESE ARE THE GAMES YOU WANT TO PLAY IN” SAYS COLLI (courtesy inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)
Club stalwart Jason Colli is looking forward to creating history on Saturday afternoon when Inglewood United takes on Perth SC in the 'West Australian' Top Four Cup Grand Final. Inglewood qualified for the season finale on Wednesday evening by defeating ECU Joondalup 6-5 on penalties, after the teams were deadlocked at 3-3 following a thrilling 120 minutes.
Inglewood has made the Grand Final on seven previous occasions, only two of which have returned silverware. In 1968 Bev Allen scored twice to see off Cracovia 2-1 then nine years later it was Johnny Davidson that ensured the year ended on a high by snaring the solitary goal in a 1-0 defeat of Floreat Athena.
Colli is hoping he can help Inglewood emulate those successes and put a third Grand Final trophy in the cabinet. "As a player, these are the games you want to play in," said Colli, who has chalked up in excess of 300 outings for the club since 2004. "All eyes will be focused on Dorrien Gardens this weekend."
"There's a real buzz about the club. All the boys are eager to play their part so there is competition everywhere to get in the starting eleven. Nobody is guaranteed a position. For me the game cannot come quick enough. I'm looking forward to Saturday and getting the result for the club that I have been part of for the last thirteen years."
Colli expects Saturday's game to be a close as the two previous meetings between the clubs. In mid-August Ashley Rosindale and Calum O’Connell were in target in a memorable 2-0 win at Dorrien Gardens with Perth taking the honours last weekend on penalties after the teams were locked together on 1-1 at the end of extra-time.
"I don't think this weekend will be any different … it should be a great game," the defender said. "There is plenty of quality in both teams and, as we have already seen this year, we both like to get forward and score goals. We know what to expect from Perth and I'm sure if we play to our best we will get the result we want at the end of the day."
THE AZZURRI AIM FOR LEAGUE-TOP FOUR CUP DOUBLE (courtesy perthsc.com.au)
Perth SC will be looking to secure the league-Top Four double when they take on Inglewood United at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday in The West Australian Top Four Cup grand final. It will be the third clash between the inner-city neighbours inside four weeks, after Inglewood defeated ECU Joondalup on penalties in the preliminary final on Wednesday night. The grand final provides Inglewood with the opportunity to avenge last Saturday’s penalty shoot-out loss to the Azzurri in the second semi-final and secure some silverware after being pipped by Perth SC to the NPLWA league title in the final moments of the season.
Perth SC coach Ramon Falzon is expecting another tough contest, but for one of the rare times this season, will have his full squad available for selection. “The big question for Inglewood will be, how will their bodies handle the extra 120 minutes they have had to play during the week?” Falzon said. “If you look at how they ran the game out on Wednesday night, you would have to say they will not be affected. “Also, it is a grand final and a chance for them to win a trophy, so we will expect them to be ready and raring to go. “From our perspective, we will be looking to do what we did in the first half last week, but will be looking to capitalise on the chances we create.”
Falzon said his young squad was approaching the final in a positive frame of mind and his players were hungry for more success. “Everyone at training has a big smile on their face, we are proud of our achievement in winning the league, but the season is not over,” he said. “Each competition we play in, we give it our best shot with the aim of being successful. “We will have to work hard on Saturday and be at our best to beat Inglewood, and if we do that, it will be a great achievement for the club, one the players will deserve and it will increase our confidence going into the NPL finals against Devonport the following week.”
ALL FLAGS STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND TWENTY ONE - PREVIEW
The All Flags State League Division One relegation battle heats up this week end and the Footballwa Match of the Week takes us to Walter Padbury Reserve, where Gosnells City entertains Shamrock Rovers, the visitors needing the victory to keep themselves out of the drop zone. Rovers are one point ahead of Dianella White Eagles, and midfielder Will Pender say’s the point last week against South West Phoenix should have been three. “Having been ahead with not long left it was a blow to concede late on,” he said. “But the result took us off the bottom of the table so we’ve taken the positives from it. We were very happy with the performance, especially after losing Nathan Hibbert and Dean Leeper, the lads put the effort in at training and showed great discipline to execute training drills in the match.” Pender knows they have to lift their game on the road, having only winning once this season, but he said they are looking forward to ending that at Gosnells on Saturday. “It’s a massive game for the team, and the entire club, and we know a win will give us a great chance of survival, and must win games has brought the best in our team this year,” he said. “We will approach the game looking for a win, but we are wary of the threat that Gosnells have in attack. They will be relieved to be safe from relegation and hopefully our desire to stay in the league will help drive us over the line.” In team news Leeper, Steve Wilson and Declan Byne return to the squad to give Rovers’ coach a few selection headaches.”
It’s been a disappointing end to the season for Gosnells, and they slipped down to third bottom after a big loss at Western Knights last week, and Caleb Aquino said it wasn’t good enough. “It was another disappointing result at the Knights, we gave away another cheap early goal, and from then we struggled to get back in the game,” he explained. “It sort of typified our season, lacking goals and conceding too often, so it was really another bad week for us.” Aquino said they will be looking to end their home games on Saturday with a win, but knows Rovers’ will be up for it. “They (Shamrock) have built some momentum in the last few weeks and will be very hungry to get points to stay away from automatic relegation,” he said. “Last time we played them it was a scrappy game and we were lucky to get an ugly win. This time now we are safe we might give some of the fringe players the opportunity, with a number of players’ carrying niggling injuries. We need to make sure we give our supporters, who have had to suffer watching our average performances, with a good quality win in our final home game.”
Dianella White Eagles sit in the automatic relegation spot at the moment, and will be looking for all three points when they visit Lark Hill to take on Rockingham City. Rockingham slipped up at Ashfield last week, a game Coach Rob Crerar said they should have put to bed in the first half. “Really tough one to take last week, felt we dominated the early part of the game and if we took our chances could have taken something from the game,” he said. “Credit to Ashfield who got stronger as the game wore on and in particular Jay Lang who was the best player on the pitch and scored a great goal to win it.” Crerar knows the Eagles will be ready for a big game and is expecting a hard fought battle. “It's an exciting one to finish our home games at Lark Hill, they play on emotion and are a very dangerous opponent,” he said. “We will be looking to get back to winning ways and consolidate our spot in the top half of the table.” In team news Gersh Rowland is suspension, but they welcome back Monty Grigo into the squad. Unfortunately no player from Dianella were available for comments.
In other games League leaders Mandurah City make the trip to Ashfield Reserve to take on Ashfield. City hold a three point lead at the top after their win against Joondalup United, while Ashfield consolidated sixth place with a win against Rockingham. Joondalup United have home ground advantage when they host UWA-Nedlands at Forrest Park, needing a win to keep the pressure on Mandurah. Forrestfield United makes the trip down the freeway to take on South West Phoenix at Hay Park. United scored four goals in the final ten minutes to come from 0-2 down to beat Dianella last week, and they can’t afford to do that on Saturday. The Phoenix also scored late last week to come home from Shamrock with a 1-1 draw, and they will be looking to get their home form back on track, after losing heavily to the Knights last time.
Talking of the Knights, they will be looking to continue their good recent form, when they travel to Burrendah Reserve to take on Canning City The Knights thrashed Gosnells, while Canning went down to UWA, and Canning Coach Paul Oliver said it was just one of those days. “Last week was disappointing but we were always going to be up against it with the players we had out. We had 6 missing, 1 pull out in the warm up and were forced to make a change after 5 minutes so it was a juggling act and things never really got going,” he explained. “The disallowed goal was never offside so we could have snatched a point but it wasn't meant to be.” City have three homes left this season and Oliver said they are taking it one game at a time. “We will concentrate on one game at a time and the Knights will be a big challenge. We have played them twice this season with a win and a draw so know we have the stocks to cause them headaches,” he said. “They have been consistent throughout the year though and are deservedly right up there. We will take the game to them and believe that if we can play on our terms we can get a positive result.” In team news for Canning Mark Trevisiol and Simon Correia are unavailable and Nathan Hubbard is injured. Ethan Levitt, Joshua Wade, Joe Correia and Callum Roberts return to the squad.
ALL FLAGS STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND TWENTY ONE - PREVIEW
Fremantle City need only a point this week to claim the league title, and they head to Wotton Reserve to take on Morley Windmills looking for it in this week’s Footballwa Match of the Week. Fremantle had the chance to sew up the title last week but could only draw against Melville City, a game they missed a number of chances. “It was a hard fought game on Saturday, but at the end of the day we didn’t take our early chances,” Fremantle Coach Steve Plucknett said. “As is the case, it came back to haunt us late in the game, when they equalised in the second half.” Plucknett knows it’s a massive game for the club and he’s expecting a tight encounter against Windmills. “The players are looking forward to the trip to Morley, which will be another tough game, and I’ve said all season there are no easy games in this league, and Saturday will be no different,” he explained. “We will look to go there and win, like we have every week, and everything else will take care of itself.” In team news for Fremantle Liam Fariss returns to the squad.
Windmills were beaten at Joondalup City last week, which kept the northern suburbs club in the title race, but Morley’s Kyle King said it wasn’t their best performance. “It was a disappointing loss at Joondalup, but I must say they thoroughly deserved the win,” he said. “We didn’t really get going, but we had bright spells and had chances to score but it wasn’t to be.” King said they will make it hard for Fremantle, and hope to spoil their party. “They (Fremantle) can come to Morley and seal the title, but we will be looking to spoil that and make them wait,” he said. “We have trained well this week, and I have a good feeling about Saturday, but it will depend on what shooting boots we have come Saturday.”
The round starts tonight (Friday) with Curtin University hosing Joondalup City at Edinburgh Oval. Curtin beat Wanneroo City on the road last week to move them clear of the bottom three, while Joondalup beat Morley, a game which pleased Coach Marco Schisano. “The win against Morley was huge for us. I consider Morley to be an excellent team and I warned the players during the week that we needed to be at our best in order to get the win,” he said. “The players’ attitude was brilliant. Morley had the better of the first 20 minutes but the lads kept their shape and managed to get control of the match and scored two cracking goals before halftime. We defended brilliantly in the second half when Morley threw a lot of numbers forward and I was pleased with the clean sheet.” A win at Curtin would wrap up the play-off spot for Joondalup and Schisano said it will be another tough game. “We are looking forward to Friday night. Curtin is a tricky team to play against, they are a good young side and we will be ready for a tough match,” he said. “We want to sew up second spot and enjoy the weekend but I am sure Campbell and his players will have a say in that. We can get closer to Fremantle with a win but they only need one point to win the league, they are an excellent outfit and I am sure they will achieve that.” Joondalup head into the game with a full squad to choose from.
Balga need the win to keep the pressure on Joondalup for the play-off spot, and this week they host Kingsway Olympic at Princes Road Reserve. Assistant Coach Gary Shorto said last week’s win against Kelmscott was hard fought. “Last week for me, was a much better performance than the few weeks previous,” he said “If not for some fantastic saves from Kelmscott keeper the score line would have been a fair bit more comfortable.” Shorto said they will be doing all they can to get the right result and hope other results go their way. “It has been a long season and we are disappointed that it is no longer in our hands,” he said. “We can only do what we can do and hope for a favorable result on Friday night.” In other games Swan United and Wanneroo City meet at the Swan Italian Club. It’s tight in the middle part of the table and a win for Swan could push them up to fourth, while a win for Wanneroo will move them within one point of the black and whites. Only three points separate Kelmscott Roos and Melville City, and the pair meet at Fyre Park. Melville came home from league leaders Fremantle with a point last week, while Kelmscott lost in a five goal thriller with Balga, while in the final game Quinns meet Ellenbrook United at Gumblossom Park.
INGLEWOOD ADVANCE TO GRAND FINAL
Inglewood United moved into the West Australian Top Four Cup Grand Final after a dramatic 6-5 penalty shoot-out win against ECU Joondalup at Inglewood Stadium in the Preliminary Final on a wet and windy Wednesday evening. Joondalup led 2-0 at the break with youngsters Michael McDougall and Paddy Doyle on target, but Inglewood rallied after the break and Adam Tong and a Brian Woodall penalty sent it to extra time.
Inglewood then lost Tim Robertson in the first period of extra time, after receiving a red card, and Bayley Brown-Montgomery regained the lead for Joondalup. But the ten men of Inglewood weren’t done and levelled five minutes from time with Woodall’s second sending it to penalties, and the home side won out 6-5 in the shoot-out.
“Obviously relieved to get to the final, we showed great character to come back from 2-0 down and 3-2 down, and we were disappointed to be down 2-0, as we thought had control of the game,” said defender Calum O’Connell. “But we made sure at half time that we would have nothing left in us at the end of the second half. Full credit to Joondalup who showed there resilience throughout, but it was just our turn. Onto Perth who are the favorites as they have had 7 days off, so we go in with nothing to fear.”
It was a lively opening with both sides going close early, Brian Woodall’s cross-shot was cleared behind for a corner and Tommy Amphlett’s shot flashed wide. McDougall, who came in for the injured Kevin Moon, saw his long-range shot saved low by Alex Dunn, while at the other end Kenny Keogh and Ashley Rosindale both had headed chances go wide.
But in the shadows of half time Joondalup struck a double blow. First, McDougall wasn’t closed down by the Inglewood defence and his shot from 25 meters flew into the top corner. The Joondalup fans had only just got back in their seats when they doubled their lead. Daryl Nicol’s in-swinging free kick was glanced into the far corner by Doyle.
Inglewood needed a lift and introduced Adam Tong on the hour, and he pulled one back six minutes later. He latched onto a ball over the top, and finished with aplomb, lobbing the on-coming Lewis Italiano. Then with 13 minutes remaining the make shift striker won a penalty, after he was brought down by Ryan Lowry and referee Matthew Southern pointed straight to the spot. Woodall stepped up to score to level it up. The home side almost won it late, Calum O’Connell’s corner picked out Keogh, who could only find the side netting.
Inglewood were reduced to ten men in extra time, when Robertson pulled back Nicol’s shirt as he was in on goal, and referee Southern showed him a straight red card. Joondalup made their numerical advantage count moments later, Andy Higgins’ free kick was turned home by Bayley-Montgomery. But Inglewood weren’t finished and remarkably they levelled five minutes from the end. Scott Witschge’s cross from the byline was turned home by Woodall.
A dramatic shootout followed where both sides missed chances to win before Dunn saved Jayden Drummond’s kick on the ninth round of penalties. Jason Barrera then kept his cool to finish the decisive spot-kick and edge Inglewood United into Saturday’s final.
Inglewood United: GK Alex DUNN, 3 David CYRUS, 4 Scott BLACKMORE, 6 Calum O’CONNELL, 7 Kenny KEOGH, 8 Jason BARRERA, 9 Brian WOODALL, 10 Ashley ROSINDALE (12 Scott WITSCHGE 99’), 11 John MIGAS, 13 Josh PEREIRA (5 Adam TONG 64’), 18 Jason COLLI (17 Tim ROBERTSON 59’) - Subs not used: RGK Scott WALLIS, 20 Alex SHIDA-LIVINGS - Yellow Cards: Cyrus 8’, Blackmore 59’ - Red Cards: Robertson 101’
ECU Joondalup: GK Lewis ITALIANO, 2 Ryan LOWRY, 3 Rikki SMITH, 4 Steven MCGARRY, 5 Andy HIGGINS, 6 Shane PICKERING, 9 Daryl NICOL, 11 Cian HIRRELL, 13 Tommy AMPHLETT (18 Bayley BROWN-MONTGOMERY 99’), 15 Michael MCDOUGALL, 19 Paddy DOYLE (7 Jayden DRUMMOND 79’) - Subs not used: RGK Todd HOYLE, 8 Oliver ANNIS, 12 Ryan MCDARBY - Yellow Cards: Doyle 31’, Nicol 90’, Brown-Montgomery 111’.
Referee: Matthew SOUTHERN
CAHILL THE HERO FOR AUSTRALIA
Tim Cahill came off the bench to score with only his second touch as Australia edged the United Arab Emirates 1-0 last night’s World Cup Qualifier at Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The 36-year old, who replaced Tomi Juric in the 71st minute, took only four minutes to ensure Australia's second win in five days in Group B of Asian qualifying.
Cahill’s goal came on the end of a fine build-up in which Brad Smith whipped an excellent ball into the area for the Socceroos veteran to convert. "It was my second touch!<’ he said. “First one was off my chest. I want teams to be fearful of me when I come on. I've earned that respect over the last ten years and I'm going to really push as hard as I can."
In front of an energetic crowd of 40,893, the Socceroos dominated from the get-go. Robbie Kruse and Tom Rogic had first half strikes saved, while Aaron Mooy was a constant menaced with dead balls. Australia continued to torment after the break with Mooy half-volleying onto the crossbar before Cahill made his mark on the game.
MILAN FASHIONS NEW START AT PERTH GLORY
International recruit Milan Smiljanic says his first fortnight in Western Australia has left him very satisfied with his decision to sign with Perth Glory. The 29-year old Swedish-born midfielder agreed to join the A-League club on a one-year contract after speaking to former teammate Nebojsa Marinkovic.
Smiljanic previously played alongside Marinkovic, Glory’s free-kick specialist, at Serbian outfit Partizan FC. He also played with Spanish import Diego Castro while the pair were at Sporting Gijon in 2010. Smiljanic also played at Espanyol (Spain), Genclerbirligi (Turkey) and Maccabi Netanya (Israel).
Smiljanic said he was encouraged by the move after a fortnight spent training with his new teammates. “This is for me a new challenge in Australia,” Smiljanic said. “In my country, I hear that it’s a good level and I want to improve myself. When I come, I’m very satisfied. Now I want to show people that I am at the top level.”
THREE POINTS THE GOAL IN ABU DHABI: SAINSBURY
Socceroos defender Trent Sainsbury says a draw against United Arab Emirates in the upcoming World Cup Qualifier in Abu Dhabi would feel like a loss. Following last week’s excellent 2-0 win over Iraq in Perth, Australia heads to the Middle East with a chance to make it two wins from two and take a major stride forward on the road to Russia.
But it won’t be an easy task after United Arab Emirates pulled off the first upset of the group stage by shocking Japan 2-1 in Saitama. With that result in mind, a draw in the heat and hostile atmosphere of the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium might be considered sufficient but Sainsbury doesn’t agree. “For us we’re going there for the three points,” Sainsbury said.
“We’re not going to change our game plan, doesn’t matter who we play. It’s three points for us or it might feel like a loss. It’s going to be a very tough game, both teams have to do a lot of travel leading up to that game. It’s not going to be easy, especially in the weather that they’re predicting over there. But we’ll be prepared just as well as we can be.”
NEW W-LEAGUE SEASON PAVES WAY FOR GLORIOUS DOUBLE HEADER
Perth Glory Women will kick-off their new campaign with an exciting double-header at Perth Oval, as Bobby Despotovski’s team host Western Sydney Wanderers on 6 November. The W-League season opener, which starts at 7.00pm, will follow what is expected to be a high-octane A-League thriller between Glory and Western Sydney, which kicks off at 4.00pm.
Coach Bobby Despotovski, who will steer Glory Women team for a second season, said playing their first game at home as part of a double-header was the perfect way to commecne the new season. “I think we’ve landed a gem for that opening clash,” Despotovski said.
“We are delighted to be playing our first match of the season at Perth Oval and I know the girls will be pumped and ready for it. I think it’s also allowed A-League fans to see what the Women’s game and what the W-League is about and to see some of the home-grown talent we've got.”
Despotovski is still finalising his W-League squad but was confident American import Vanessa DiBernardo, last season's Most Glorious Player, would return for another season at Glory. “We’ve spoken to Vanessa and Nikki (Stanton) and the conversations have been fruitful so we hope to have them back with us along with a few others” Despotovski said.
PERTH SPOT-ON TO REACH THE GRAND FINAL
Perth SC booked their spot in the West Australian Top Four Cup Grand Final after a thrilling 5-4 penalty shoot-out win against Inglewood United at Dorrien Gardens. Perth skipper and stand in striker Clark Keltie gave home side the lead at the break, but Brian Woodall levelled five minutes from time. In the shoot-out Adam Tong’s missed proved critical with Perth sealing a spot in next Saturday’s finale.
“We started the game very quickly and Inglewood found that hard to deal with, and I thought we looked dangerous going forward,” Keltie said. “With Gustavo being suspended, Ramon and I had a chat about me playing the number 9 role, it turned out to be a good decision in the end, with me getting on the score sheet. It's not often I'm that high up the pitch, so I thought I'd better make the most of that chance when it came along.
“I've played up there before when we've been chasing games and it just gives the team a different outlet. Inglewood shuffled the pack and pressured us hard for large parts of the second half. Both teams had good chances and we could have won it in extra time but I think the 1-1 score line was a fair result. Our boys held their nerves superbly in the penalties, scoring all five to wrap up a great day for the players and the club.”
The home side were missing top goalscorer Gustavo Catarcione, but it didn’t stop them dominating early, and Frank Furfaro rattling the crossbar five minutes in. Their early dominance was rewarded with the lead just after the half hour. Furfaro was the supply this time sending Keltie clear and he finished clinically past Alex Dunn.
Inglewood almost levelled moments later, Woddall finding space in the penalty area, but Perth keeper Francis Soale was out quick to block. The Inglewood custodian Dunn was keeping his side in the game making two saves late in the half from Matt Milenkovic’s long-range shots, but at the break the home side had one foot in the Grand Final.
Keltie went close to a second minutes into the second half, again sent clear by the lively Furfaro, but Dunn stood tall and the skipper low shot flashed just past the post. Inglewood defended deep but started to get into the game after the introduction of substitute Ashley Rosindale, his shot whistled past the post. It looked the game was lost, but five minutes from time the visitors levelled.
Substitute Scott Witschge had only just come on to the pitch, but his run down the right and cut back picked out Woodall whose shot on the turn went in via the post. It was what Inglewood’s performance deserved, and they almost nicked it late, Jason Barrera’s free kick picked out Scott Blackmore, but he headed straight into the grateful arms of Soale.
In extra time Inglewood were on the front foot, and Soale had to be alert to save from Calum O’Connell, before Rosindale had the ball in the net, but the assistant’s flag had been raised and it was disallowed. So it was down to penalties and the unfortunate Tong missed his and Perth converted all theirs to move in to next weekend’s Grand Final, while Inglewood host ECU Joondalup at Inglewood Stadium on Wednesday evening (8.30pm)
Perth SC: GK Francis SOALE, 4 Adrian MADASCHI, 6 Clark KELTIE (c), 7.Aleks JOVIC (14 Dino TOPCAGIC 61’), 10 Nick AMBROGIO, 11 Matt MILENKOVIC, 12 Jordan DE LEO, 13 Rocco PIZZATA, 15 Harley ORR (16 Thomas JEBB 72’), 17 Frank FURFARO (19 Vasco DASILVA 90’), 18 Alex SILLA - Subs not used: RGK Daniel PASSARELLI, 2 David FILLIPPOU - Yellow cards: Orr 28
Inglewood United: GK Alex DUNN, 3 David CYRUS (c), 4 Scott BLACKMORE, 5 Adam TONG, 6 Calum O’CONNELL, 7 Kenny KEOGH (10 Ash ROSINDALE 62’), 8 Jason BARRERA, 9 Brian WOODALL, 11 John MIGAS, 14 Mark PRITCHARD (13 Josh PEREIRA 69’), 17 Tim ROBERTSON (12 Scott WITSCHGE 83’) - Subs not used: RGK Scott WALLIS, 18 Jason COLLI - Yellow cards: Rosindale 64, O’Connell 90+1
Referee: Steven Gregory
ECU WIN A THRILLING MINOR SEMI-FINAL
In one of the games of the season, ECU Joondalup have beaten Floreat Athena 5-4, after extra time, to move through to Wednesday’s Preliminary Final against Inglewood United. The game had everything, Floreat scored two late first half goals from Jon Stynes and Cameron Yorke, before two quick goals early in the second half from Paddy Doyle and Rikki Smith levelled for the home side. Stynes scored his second to but Floreat in the driving seat but Shane Pickering scored with the last kick to send it to extra time. McMahon put Floreat back in front, but Michael McDougall and Daryl Nicol won it for the home side.
Nicol, who arrived mid-season after starring for Scottish Highland league champions Cove Rangers, said the players never gave up and showed a great deal of heart to get back in the game. “What a game,” he said. “We were shell-shocked at half time, coming in two down, but we knew and early goal would be vital after the break and we scored two.
“The lads here are outstanding, we never thought we were beaten today, and when I first arrived at the club the character was evident from the first training session, and it was shown today by everyone. “Credit must go to Floreat they pushed us all the way, but we missed a lot of chances today, but I was delighted to score the winner and move us into the next round.”
The home side dominated early, but missed chances cost them. Nicol stung the palms of Floreat keeper Jason Saldaris, before Tommy Amphlett’s shot on the run flashed over the top. Then Kevin Moon’s long-range shot took a deflection of Ryan Lowry and dropped inches past the far post, before Paddy Doyle sent Nicol clear on goal on 39 minutes, but Jason Saldaris stood tall to block the striker’s shot.
Then against the run of play Floreat hit the front. A corner from the left wasn’t dealt with by the ECU defence and Stynes finished from six meters. It went from bad to worse for the home side when Floreat added a second two minutes later. A cross into the box was pushed clear by Lewis Italiano, and the keeper raced out of his box to try and clear. But Stynes got there first and crossed to Yorke who made no mistake from close-range, sending Floreat to the break with a two goal lead.
But the home side hit back sixty seconds into the second half, Nicol’s deep corner was headed back across goal by Steven McGarry and Doyle finished from close-range. It was game on, and amazingly two minutes later ECU levelled. Andy Higgins’ in-swinging corner was bundled over the line by Smith. But Floreat steadied the ship and were back in front just on the hour. McMahon lost his marker and played a perfect through ball to Stynes, who finished with aplomb.
It looked like that would be the winner, but deep into stoppage time ECU won a corner, and even keeper Italiano was up for it. Nicol’s corner picked out an unmarked McGarry at the back post, who crossed into the box and Pickering was on hand to score from close-range, to set off celebrations on and off the pitch.
So it was off to extra time and Floreat hit the front again eight minutes in. Dean Evans’ free kick picked our McMahon who headed past Italiano to regain the lead. But three minutes later the home side levelled again. Substitute McDougall was picked out by Amphlett, he controlled the ball well, eased past his marker and finished low past Jason Saldaris from the edge of the penalty area. It looked like we were heading to a penalty shoot-out, but three minutes from time the home side won it. Amphlett made space down the right and whipped in a teasing cross that Nicol finished clinically via the crossbar to seal a memorable win, in a pulsating game.
ECU Joondalup: GK Lewis ITALIANO, 2 Ryan LOWRY, 3 Rikki SMITH, 4 Steven MCGARRY, 5 Andy HIGGINS, 6 Shane PICKERING (8 Ollie ANNIS 102’), 9 Daryl NICOL, 11 Cian HIRRELL, 13 Tommy AMPHLETT, 17 Kevin MOON (15 Michael MCDOUGALL 68’), 19 Paddy DOYLE (7 Jayden DRUMMOND 76’) - Subs not used: RGK Todd HOYLE, 12 Ryan MCDARBY - Yellow Cards: Smith 40’, Amphlett 93’
Floreat Athena: GK Jason SALDARIS. 2 Shaun TIMMINS, 3 Blair GOVAN, 6 Clayton ARNEZ (18 Phillip ARNOLD 55’), 8 Jonathan STYNES, 9 Robert GASPER, 14 Ludovic BOI (11 Dennis GALAN 76’), 15 Christopher SALDARIS, 17 Dean EVANS, 19 Lewis MCMAHON (4 Andrew SCALDAFERRO 106’), 33 Cameron YORKE - Subs not used: GK Jordan BARBAS, 12 Nathan SCULLY - Yellow Cards: Evans 45+1’, Govan 58’, Timmins 85’
Referee: Michal Jasinski
ALL FLAGS STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND TWENTY - REVIEW
The top of the table clash in Division One lived up to all expectations, but it was Mandurah City coming out on top 2-1 against Joondalup United at Kelly’s Hot Water Stadium. Only goal difference separated the sides at kick off, but a double from City skipper Jordan Rhodes but the Dolphins on their way, and although James Hammer pulled one back with 12 minutes remaining the home side held on to take three valuable points. “It was a tough game and we’re delighted to get the points in another hard fought game against Joondalup,” he said. “The players were brilliant they stayed disciplined organised and determined, and I’d like to say thanks to the huge local support, which was great, and the coaches and player really do appreciate it.” Despite the loss Joondalup Coach Nick Jennings remained defiant about his side’s chances of winning the league. “I thought we played good football. They took their opportunities, we didn’t that’s football. It was a world class save from Brad who shows even in his old age he’s still a good goalkeeper,” Jennings said. “We’re a hard working team and sometimes you don’t get what you deserve. It’s not over there is two games to go and it’s only three points, believe you me it’s not over, we’ll go again it’s not over.”
The visitors opened brightly, roared on by a large travelling contingent, but Guy McDonald and Jacob Shone both failed to test Eiffe. The Mandurah custodian was in the action moments later producing a couple of stunning saves to deny the visitors, the best a point-blank save to thwart Josh Booysen. But against the run of play the home side hit the front five minutes from half time. Jon Brookes was brought down in the box Jacob Shore and referee David Bruce pointed straight to the spot. Rhodes stepped up and fired home from the resulting penalty past James Bosdet, to send the host to the break with the lead. Things went from bad to worse for the visitors, and four minutes into the second half Mandurah doubled their advantage. Jeff Bright’s long throw was flicked on by Andy Brown and Rhodes volleyed home. With the two goal advantage Mandurah sat back and soaked up the Joondalup pressure with Oscar Thompson and Brown outstanding in the home sides defence. But on 78 minutes Joondalup pulled one back, with Bruce pointing to the spot again after Thompson brought down Josh Whitmore, and Hammer made no mistake from the penalty. Joondalup pressed for the equaliser, but their task was made harder when Whitmore received a second yellow card and was sent off four minutes from time. Mandurah, who are now three points ahead of Joondalup with two games to play, are on course for promotion to the PS4NPLWA. City travel to Ashfield next week before a final-day match against local rivals Rockingham City. Joondalup are at home to UWA-Nedlands and finish their season away to Western Knights.
Western Knights kept the pressure on the top two with 4-0 win against Gosnells City at Nash Field, with Adriano Jelenovic bagging a brace, with Ryan Tucker and Kevin Ashwood scoring the others, while Forrestfield maintained their fourth spot with a come-from-behind 4-2 win against Dianella White Eagles at Hartfield Park. Dianella were ahead at the break with Jason Stepanovski cutting in from the flank and firing low past Luke Martino. The visitors doubled their lead on the hour, Mwansa Musonda capitalising on a mistake at the back to finish past Martino. It looked like three valuable points for the visitors but ten minutes from time the home side pulled one back, Mark Barnett heading home from close-range. Three minutes later Forrestfield levelled, Sani Sinclair heading home from a corner. Forrestfield were we on top now and sixty seconds later they hit the front. Liam Merrigan played in Sinclair who outpaced his marker and finished low past Yousri Gharsallah. The points were made safe on 86 minutes, making it four goals in six minutes, with Merrigan’s shot on the turn flew into the top corner to complete a remarkable comeback.
Shamrock Rovers moved off the bottom of the table after a 1-1 draw against South West Phoenix at Harold Rossiter Reserve. It looked like it was all three points for Rovers, when they opened the scoring 20 minutes from time. Gregor Hart’s cross met by Will Pender, his volley was well saved, but Paul Sopp was first to the rebound to score. But two minutes from time the Phoenix levelled. Ryan Francis and Jayden Prosser combined, sending Francis in on goal, he lobbed the on-coming keeper, and Dan Corbett’s diving header earned them a point.
Ashfield also left it late to beat Rockingham City 1-0 at Ashfield Reserve. The decisive goal came two minutes from time, Jay Lang played a one-two with Jamie Burns on the edge of the box, and Lang fired home giving Cyril Sharrock no chance. In the final game a goal on 15 minutes gave UWA Nedlands a hard fought 1-0 win against Canning City. Alex Kretowicz poking home from close range, after a Robbie Black corner wasn't dealt with by the Canning defence.
ALL FLAGS STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND TWENTY - REVIEW
Fremantle City missed the opportunity to win the league title when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Melville City in the local derby at Hilton Reserve. The home side were on course when they lead 1-0 at the break Rory Kiely got on to a through ball in the box and was brought down by the Daniel Agudelo and Alec Robinson scored the penalty. But the visitors levelled on the hour, Mark Lucas’ free kick wasn’t cleared and the ball fell to George Festa, who shot was steered home by Alastair Campbell. Joondalup City cut Fremantle’s lead to five points after a hard fought 2-0 win against Morley Windmills at the Iluka Sports Complex. Liam McGurk opened the scoring on 25 minutes, Liam Peacock crossing to McGurk who made no mistake. They made sue of the points when McGurk played in Jamie Stewart who shot across the keeper into the far corner. “I’m very happy to have beaten Morley as they are a very good footballing team. They threw everything at us in the second half but we defended very well as a team and a couple of great saves from Andy Lay gave us a clean sheet,” Joondalup City Coach Marco Schisano said. “We are more focused on keeping Balga at bay then catching Fremantle as they only need a point to win the league. We are looking forward to playing Curtin on Friday night and keeping our momentum going.”
Balga maintain third spot after a 3-2 win against Kelmscott Roos at Princess Road Reserve. The visitors took the lead on 27 minutes, a shot towards goal was headed home by Michael Schalk from close range, which gave stand in goal keeper Gareth Alexander no chance. Balga equalised five minutes later from a goal by Hubert Hakizimana. Balga hit the front on the hour through Nahom Michael, and four minutes later it was 3-1. A great a through ball from Daniel Nalat found Hermon Habtegergish, who ran in to goal on an angle, and buried his shot into the net. Balga should have finished the game off but Daniel Nalat and Hakizimana but both missed with just the keeper to beat, and Kelmscott got back into the game in the 76th minute, a free kick from a tight angle by Linden Pywell went straight into the top right hand corner, but the visitors couldn’t find the equaliser.
In other games Quinns visited the Swan Italian Club and came home with a 1-1 draw against Swan United. Zane Loh headed home Dom Ando’s cross on 35 minutes, despite the protests of the Quinns players, that were convinced the ball hadn’t crossed the line. But the visitors levelled after half time, Adam Buckley’s shot was deflected to Jake Benson-Cooper at the back post who made no mistake from close-range. Quinns had the chance to win when they received a late penalty, but Connor Anderson saved Benson-Copper’s spot kick. Kingsway Olympic made home ground advantage count with a 2-0 win against Ellenbrook United at Kingsway Reserve. Mark Donnelly gave the home side the lead, a long throw from Lee Thomas found Frisina, who cut the ball back to Donnelly to finish. The points were made save ten minutes from time. Cathal Quinn was sent clear, and with the Ellenbrook players looking for the offside flag that never came, he finished low past the keeper. In the final game Curtin University traveled to Kingsway Reserve and came home with a 2-1 win against Wanneroo City.
WEST AUSTRALIAN TOP FOUR CUP – WEEK ONE PREVIEW
After a dramatic end to the PS4 National Premier League WA season, the West Australian Top Four Cup takes centre stage this weekend with games at Dorrien Gardens and at the ECU Football Stadium on Saturday. We sat down this week and chatted to the assistant coaches of the four sides to get their thoughts on the big weekend of football. League winners Perth SC host the Major Semi-Final when they entertain Inglewood United at Dorrien Gardens (3.00pm) The two teams met in round 21 at the same venue, with Inglewood running out 2-0 winners, but as we all know final’s football is a completely different story, and buoyed by taking out the title Perth will be looking to reverse that score line. Assistant Coach Marc Wingell said to win the title was a huge achievement for the club, but knows it will be another tight encounter.
“We've worked hard as a club and over the season we deserved to be champions. It only matters were you are after the final game of the season, and we went to Sorrento and got the win we needed,” he said. “It was a gutsy display from us, but a very focused one. We knew that Sorrento had a lot to play for and with a bit of luck we got a good result. We also knew that Joondalup have put in a great second half of the season and they were always going to be hard to beat for Inglewood and it proved to be the case.” The club lost a number of players at the start of season, but Wingell said they put their trust in the younger players in their squad and they didn’t let the club down. “We had an exodus of senior players, but it didn't faze us at all, and Gareth and I demanded certain standards from the players and they deserve what they achieved,” he explained. “The younger players in the squad have been given an opportunity and done superbly well, in saying that the three 30 year old boys in Keltie, Madaschi and Catarcione have led them well.”
Wingell said Saturday’s opponents are a quality side, and have brought in some experienced players, and he said it will be a close encounter. “I'd like to think it would be close, but again they have invested heavily in there coaching staff and squad and with their experience they need to produce in the top 4 cup for what they've spent,” he explained. “We will be ready for whatever they bring, everyone’s ready and fit, and looking forward to the challenge on the weekend.”
Inglewood assistant Coach Saul Contera said it’s been a successful season for the club, and they take positives out of their 2016 league campaign. “There are many positives to take out of this season which commenced back in November 2015, it has been a long road and everyone has put in a lot of hard work,” he explained. “Inglewood has done many good things both on the park with respect to football, but also off the park and as a collective it puts the club in a good position moving forward in both regards. “There has been a sense of excitement and genuine interest around the club and I believe we can continue to build on this. We are extremely disappointed that we didn’t finish the job we started in the league, but we are not going to drop our heads. The objective at the start of the year was to lift the profile of this club and make the top four which we have done and there is still a trophy to win and our intention is to fight it out until the end.”
It was a huge disappointment for the players and coaching staff not to get the job done against Joondalup last weekend, but Contera said they head into Saturday’s game buoyed by the win against them (Perth) in round 21. “In fairness we could have put ourselves in a better position coming into the last round, had we not conceded in the last minute at Cockburn and had we not lost at home to Subiaco, we wouldn’t have allowed it to go down to the wire. We didn’t make the most of several opportunities this season and we will learn and become better from the experience,” he said. “Against ECU we had three clear opportunities to win that game and we didn’t take them. It was a tight battle in difficult conditions which made it hard for both sides but unfortunately for us it meant we were left disappointed. We’ve trained well this week and we are confident going into all games and this week will be no different. We will work hard keep things positive and hopefully deliver on the day and put the club in the Grand Final.”
In the minor Semi-Final, ECU Joondalup hosts Floreat Athena at the ECU Football Stadium. Joondalup have been on a fantastic run, and are unbeaten in their last 12 games and assistant Coach David Tough said they are playing some good football. “Everyone at the club is delighted with making the finals and the performances in the second half of the season,” he said. “After round ten it looked nearly impossible but going 12 games undefeated in a league where anyone can beat anyone, is some achievement.” The win at Inglewood was pleasing for Tough, as he has a lot of respect for Coach Taki Nicolaidis. “We knew we would up for a battle, as all of Taki’s teams are always so well drilled and there squad is full of big powerful experienced players so we knew it was going to be a tight game and one goal could win it,” he explained. “They threw everything at us but Lewis (Italiano) and the back four stepped up again and got us another clean sheet, it was a great day for the club, but we aren’t finished yet.”
The club have given youngsters the opportunity this season and Tough said they have played their part in the clubs success. “With having such a strong and established academy ECU will always promote from within, and we’ve done that this season, and those players will benefit from the game time they received going forward,” he said. “You only have to look at our club captain Ryan Lowry and Andy Higgins, they seem to have been around for ages but are still both only 21, so like I said we are really happy with the contribution from the younger lads.” Tough said Floreat have had the better of them in games this season, but the Scotsman knows Finals football is completely different. “To be fair Floreat have had the better of us over the two games so far this season, so will rightly go into the game as favourites. They have quality players and match winners throughout their whole squad,” he said. “We do go into the game full of confidence and we know our boys are fit and will give everything to get the result. Having home advantage and being cheered on by another big crowd will be a big help, and there is a buzz around the club at the moment and the lads can’t wait for Saturday.”
It’s been a huge season for Floreat, winning the State League Cup and pushing A-League side Melbourne City in the FFA Cup, and assistant Tim Kantor said injuries have taken their toll on the side in recent weeks, and they had a number of first team players missing last week. “It has been a good season so far after winning the Cool ridge Cup, playing Melbourne City in the FFA Cup round of 32 and finishing in the top 4, but having said that there is still one piece of silverware up for grabs and we will certainly give it our best shot,” he said. “We went into the Cockburn game severely undermanned. Ludo Boi, Bobby Wilson, Kris Gate and Jason Saldaris injured, Denis Galan suspended and Lewis McMahon on holidays. We knew it was going to be a very tough game and I guess when you have six of your starting 11 out, it was always going to be a tough ask. Take nothing away from Cockburn though they played well and deserved the win.”
Kantor said Saturday’s opponents are the form team going into the finals, but they match up well against them and have probably edged them in the last two meetings. “ECU are the form team in the competition and go into the game favourites and rightly so, but when we last met a few weeks we fought back from 0-2 down to level,” he explained. “But the game was subsequently abandoned due to the unsafe playing surface caused by heavy rain. At that point I felt we were on top but unfortunately the game was called off and the points shared, so we take confidence from that performance.” Floreat are hoping to get back some or all of the players for the big game and Kantor said Glen Grostate and the coaching staff will have them prepared. “This weekend we expect a very tough encounter against a quality side but we will prepare well and will go into the game feeling that we have every chance to progress,” he said. “We still have players with injury clouds hanging over them, but we do get back Lewis and Dennis back, but it would be nice to have a couple of the injured boys available as well, and they will go through a rigorous fitness test this week.”
WEST AUSTRALIAN TOP FOUR CUP UNDER 20'S – WEEK ONE PREVIEW
Also on Saturday the PS4 NPLWA under 20’s hold their Top Four Cup, and like the first team these games will be tight contests. In the Major Semi-Final at Dorrien Gardens League winners Bayswater take on Armadale. Bayswater took all before them this season, but were stung by Armadale earlier in the season, and Coach Chris Barbas said they are expecting another tough contest on Saturday. “I recognised Armadale to be a strong team in February when we played them in a scratch game, and credit to Chris Finlayson, his season has been outstanding getting Armadale to second on the ladder,” he said. “We have to be on our game since we beat them at their home ground they have gone five games unbeaten, so I’m expecting an even tougher encounter given what’s at stack, a spot in final.” Barbas has been delighted with the way his side has progressed during the season and a number have been rewarded with first team starts. “Looking back at the season my job was to motivate and push the players to get to the next level, as a group the players responded with six players rewarded playing first team football,” he explained. “So I was very happy the way the season played out, winning the double was just reward for the players involved they deserved it.” Bayswater have been led superbly by skipper Alex Wild, while Fraser Greenwood has been solid between the sticks. Central defender David Stokoe has been in outstanding form since he played the back end of the season in the first team, likewise striker Luka Ninkovic.
Armadale had a fantastic season, improving from bottom to finish second this season. Coach Chris Finlayson said he has been delighted the way his side have fought back after an indifferent start to the season. “To go from the foot of the table to runners-up is a massive improvement,” he said. “We’ve had some new players come into the squad and it has added depth, but most of all we’ve set high standards and structures, which the players have taken on board, and we have great team morale which has been the key to our success, but we haven’t finished yet.” Finlayson said they are looking forward to the challenge, and he said there is a buzz around the squad. “The squad is up and ready this weekend, we know when the squad is playing at its best we can beat anyone. We know we are going to have to be at our best against a very good Bayswater side, and I’m sure it will be a good battle,” he explained. “The lads have trained with high intensity and their attitude couldn’t be better. We have gone about our business as usual this week, but you can fell a real buzz around the squad.” Armadale skipper and striker James Atkins has led from the front this season and will play a crucial role, while midfielder’s Joe Kelly and Kade McNamara will give them drive, while keeper Michael Craggs has been outstanding since joining the club mid-season.
In the Minor Simi-Final Balcatta take on Perth Glory at the ECU Football Stadium. Glory Coach Bobby Despotovski said they are looking forward to the Cup format. “We have said from the first day of the season, we would like to get into the top four and try to win it from there, well the first part is completed now we have to concentrate on the second part,” he said. “Last season we won the league, and this season has been different from my perspective. We have played some fantastic football but we were unable to finish it off in lots of games, and that has shown and it is reflecting on our final finishing spot on the league ladder.” Despotovski said Saturday should be another good game. “We’ve played them (Balcatta) twice, and to be completely honest we did perform in both games, and like I said it was the old story, not converting our chances,” he said. “Hopefully we can rectify our goal scoring problems on Saturday, and it should be a good game of football and I wish both teams good luck.” Striker Sam Pollard is the leading scorer for the side this season and will be important on Saturday, likewise Losene Dulleh and Chok Dau, while keeper Riley Stephenson, who has also played a number of games for the first team, has been solid between the sticks and will also be vital.
Balcatta Coach Fabian Pergoloni said his squad have been outstanding and deserve a great deal of credit. “It has been a really good season, the boys worked tirelessly all season long and deserved to be where they are, yes we had some up’s and downs but we’ve really enjoyed it,” he explained. “Being my first year as head coach for the 20’s I couldn’t have asked for anymore. We have a great bunch of players, and we’ve had a number of players make the step to first team football, which shows their improvement. It shows were the club is at, we are hell bent on developing our first team from within, and that’s what makes my job so satisfying, seeing them succeed.” Pergoloni said the league results against the Glory have no relevance, and it will be another tight encounter. “It is finals time, and previous results mean nothing, that’s what makes final so exciting, everyone starts from the same playing level and character and internal fortitude generally prevails in the end,” he said. “We go into the game with the utmost respect of the opposition as we always do, and are expecting a tough game, but we are confident we’ll put up a good show, whatever the result the club will extremely proud of what the boys have achieved.” But Pergoloni said it’s all about the team not individuals. “The whole squad has had a part in our success and the whole squad needs to be at their best to win this game,” he said. “I’d like to wish Bobby and his players all the best and we’re looking forward to another right encounter.”
WEST AUSTRALIAN TOP FOUR CUP UNDER 18'S – WEEK ONE PREVIEW
Also on Saturday the Under 18’s West Australian Top Four Cup begins, and the Major Semi-Final sees Stirling Lions and Perth Glory do battle at Dorrien Gardens.
Stirling took out the league title last week with a win against the Glory, and Coach Keegan Ashley said it has been a big effort from his young side. “We set ourselves an aim to win the league, get a better understanding of some structures, work as a team and implement our game plan, we achieved that and enjoyed ourselves along the way,” he explained. “We had a few below par games, which do happen, but we maintained our focus and were the most consistent side in the league, and I’m delighted to win the clubs first Premiership in the NPL which is very rewarding.” Ashley said its final and the result will take care of itself, but he has been delighted with the attitude of his whole squad. “The players have had the hunger, desire and positive attitudes, so the future looks bright for the club,” he said. “Yes it’s a final, but the occasion won’t win the game, the performance will. So we will go into the game looking to maintain our consistency regardless who we play, and the result will take care of itself. Ashley was quick to praise the whole squad. “All the players will be vital as it’s a team game, our strikers don’t score goals unless they are supplied the opportunities, and goals aren’t conceded as 11 men work hard to make that happen, so from my point of view it’s the team that’s the vital ingredient.”
Glory Coach Callum salmon has been delighted the way his side have performed this season, and he said it’s great to see some of his players make the next step. “Overall, Davey Butterfield and I have been very pleased with the application, commitment and hard work of our U’18 group this season. They've been an absolute pleasure to work with and have responded very well,” he explained. “The football we always try to play is adventurous and brave with players working to accept the ball at all times. Our style of play has been reflected in scoring the most goals in the league by some margin, as well as having the equal 2nd best defence in the league too” Salmon said Stirling are a very good side and he’s looking forward to taking them on. “As we've said to the boys, the season is far from over and we'll be looking to win our remaining games while attempting to play the best football we can against the quality opposition in the cup,” he said. “No question we're expecting a very tough game again this weekend, they (Stirling) counter attack very quickly, often punishing mistakes with goals and also a football team who are very competitive. We believe in our team's ability to win on the weekend and we're looking forward to a far better performance.” The Glory has been led superbly by skipper and midfielder Luka Bodnar, and he will be vital to their performance. Striker Abias Bukuru is also crutial and if can finish his chance’s it will go a long way in winning the game, while central defender Zayd Farah and central midfielder Sasa Njegic will also be important, both are key players for the side.
In the Minor Semi-Final, Subiaco and ECU Joondalup meet at the ECU Football Stadium. Third place Subiaco Coach Ian McMurray said his players have been outstanding, and this with a number of players playing at a higher level in the club this season. “2016 has been good for the under 18’s, and a lot of my players have made the step up through the 20’s and first team which is always great to see,” he explained. “These players have improved greatly throughout the season and showed a great deal of character, so to finish where we have in the league, as well as a good cup run is a credit to all the boys in our squad.” McMurray said both games between the sides have been tight and he’s expecting the same on Saturday. “We beat ECU convincingly at their ground, but they took the points at ours, so I’m expecting another hard game,” he said. “They are a strong side with a lot of young players as always. So we know it will be a tough match, but I’m sure good football will be on show. The boys are looking forward to it and hopefully we can get the win and progress into the Semi-Final.” Goalkeeper Michael Cohen has been great this season for Subiaco, and will again be important for them. Defenders Jordan Clark, Harri Patten-Williams, Seamus Edwards, Jared Money and Tim Schilperoort have all been excellent, and McMurray will hope they can continue their form to keep ECU at bay.
ECU Joondalup raced up the table in the second half of the season and Coach Paul welch said they have gelled really well. “We took a while to get going, resulting in us losing the first three games and for the 2nd year running being dumped out of the cup in the first round,” he said. “The second half of the season our goal was to make the top four and that was achieved with one game in hand. The players take the credit for that doing their jobs as asked and becoming a very difficult team to beat because of the hard work that they put in and never say die attitude, plus a lot of talent. I’m extremely proud of the team for what they have achieved and let’s hope they can bring that 2nd half of the season into the top Four cup.” Welch said Subiaco will be a tough opposition but he said the players are looking forward to the challenge. “Games between us are generally tight affairs and I expect nothing different this time around. I would not read too much into the fact that we both lost our last games of the season as both teams where already locked into their finals places,” he explained. “The two games between the two sides were completely different, they beat us well at home, but we turned the table at Subiaco, which was more the team that represented the second half of the season. So if we bring those qualities to the game I see no reason why we cannot progress to the next round, but all the players need to perform to the maximum of their abilities in order for this team to function properly. It may well be an individual act of brilliance on the day that wins the game but it would be a team effort that gets us too that point, and as they say ‘There is no I in Team.”
ALL FLAGS STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND TWENTY - PREVIEW
The top of the table in the All Flags State League Division One is tight with league leaders Joondalup United and Mandurah City only separated by goal difference, and this week the pair meets at Kelly’s Hot Water Stadium in the Footballwa.net Match of the Week. Joondalup hold the advantage after a 3-1 win against Ashfield last week, a game Coach Nick Jennings said showed the resilience of his side. “It was a tough encounter against Ashfield, but in the end it was a comfortable victory and a good professional performance topped off by another magnificent hat trick by the goal machine Lee Jones,” he said. “The win moves us to the top of the table with Mandurah slipping up, and we’re looking to Saturday’s top of the table clash with them on Saturday.” Jennings is well aware the quality Mandurah have in their side but he said they will be going there to get a result. “I've said all season that on and off the field, they (Mandurah) are the bench mark for all clubs in league,” he said. “Earlier this season they came to our place and did a number on us, walking away with a 2-0 victory. We will be looking to avenge this on Saturday, and we’ll have a real go and come out all guns blazing. I feel as the defending champions and having led the table virtually all season the pressure is all on them, and we have nothing to lose. I'm sure it will be a great game to watch with a large vocal crowd in attendance.” Joondalup have a few players carrying injuries after last week’s game, James Harmer, Callum Stocks and Ross Edwards will be given up to kick off to prove their fitness.
Mandurah let top spot slip after a 1-1 draw at Canning last week, and Coach Doug Hesketh said they had the chances to win, but a brilliant performance from Canning keeper Luke Stonebridge kept them at bay. “A good point over all last week to keeps us in the mix and Mick (Lyons) and I have been more than happy with our standard of play and tempo, just the finishing was a bit off and unlucky last week,” he explained. “But you have to give your opponent credit some times, and the Canning keeper was outstanding and they hung in so fair play.” Hesketh said Joondalup have some quality players and will be a good test for them. “We know them (Joondalup) pretty well, they have recruited some quality from NPL, won the night series on pens, so we believe they are the team to beat this season,” he said. “It's a new season for MCFC squad we haven't won any trophies in 2016 to date, but the lads are brilliant to work with, have experience and quality, they always give everything, and I know we can rely on them. I’m delighted that we are competing for a prize at this stage of the season and not just bragging rights. We’re all looking forward to the game, and we will give it our best as always and try to play great football, it should be another big crowd on hand to watch it.” Mandurah welcome back skipper Andy Brown, Ryan Steele and Craig Tone for the game that could win the title for either side.
Western Knights sit in third place, and have been on a good run of form, and this week they host Gosnells City at Nash Field. Knights’ midfielder Paul Lloyd said last week’s win at South West Phoenix was a good team performance. “It's always a tough journey and place to go, so to get four goals on the road and keep our unbeaten run going was good,” Lloyd said. “They have a good home record and have got some good results on their patch, so were very pleased to come home with the points.” Lloyd said the last time they played Gosnells they conceded a late goal to draw. “We scored late on in that game and thought we had it won,” he explained. “We then conceded in the last minute, the lads were gutted in the changing rooms afterwards, we know we should have won and seen the game out, we are hoping for a better outcome on Saturday. We have Tom Southgate out due to suspension, while Harry Hall is injured. The lads know they are playing for next season, so the gaffer won't let the season fizzle out.”
Forrestfield United will be looking to bounce back after their 1-2 defeat at Rockingham City last week, when they host Dianella White Eagles at Hartfield Park. United Coach Rod Banjac said it was tight encounter and they had chances to win it, but it wasn’t to be. “We trained well throughout the week and prepared ourselves well for a tough game at Lark Hill against our arch rivals, and although we created enough chances to win the game, I thought they were better on the day and deserved the win under extremely challenging weather conditions,” he said. “The game was played in Great Spirit and there is no doubt that they are the WA football powerhouse of the future.” Banjac said Saturday’s opponents can’t be taken lightly, and they need to stay focused. “We have learned that there are no easy games in this league and to be fair to our squad, this year for us was always going to be about consolidating, not just as a State Squad, but more importantly as a club. “We have enjoyed the journey thus far and have developed some fantastic talent for years to come while playing intelligent, attractive and attacking football while getting some points on the league ladder. It is only through our inexperience that we conceded cheap goals which will not be the case next year,” he explained. Dianella is a very tough opponent and in a desperate situation while fighting for survival, but we are at home and will be well prepared for the challenge. In team news Will Tshubangu and Scott Barker will be available for selection while Sani Sinclair is under an injury cloud.
In other games Shamrock Rovers and South West Phoenix will be looking to get back in the winners-circle when they meet at Harold Rossiter Reserve. Rovers slipped to the bottom of the table after letting a two goal lead slip at Dianella last week, while the Phoenix were well beaten by the Knights. Rockingham City hit the road this week when they travel to Ashfield Reserve to take on Ashfield. City will be buoyed by their win against traditional rivals Forrestfield last week, and will fancy their chances of keeping their top five spot, while Ashfield have slipped down to ??, this after a loss against league leaders Joondalup last week. In the final game Canning City and UWA-Nedlands meet in the local derby at the UWA Sports Park. Canning held Mandurah to a 1-1 draw last weekend, while UWA won on the road at Gosnell, both sides still have a top five finish in their sights, and Saturday’s game will go a long way to achieving this.
ALL FLAGS STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND TWENTY - PREVIEW
Fremantle City dropped points last week at Balga, and Joondalup City edged closer to securing second spot with a win at Melville City, and this week their home game against Morley Windmills at the Iluka Sports Complex is the Footballwa.net Match of the Round. Joondalup Coach Marco Schisano said last week’s big win kept their good form going and moved them a little closer to the promotion spot. “Winning 4-1 away from home is always pleasing, but I was not happy with our first half performance however credit to Melville, they gave us a few problems early,” he explained. “We asked our players to lift the intensity at halftime and to their credit they went out in the second half and took control of the match. We are focusing on picking up three points each week and if we are successful we know that we will give ourselves a chance of promotion, although we are too far behind to win the league.”
Schisano said Saturday’s opponents have improved in recent weeks and it expecting a tough game. “I have a lot of respect for Morley, they have had a lot of injuries this season which have affected their performance as they were my favourites to win the league along with Fremantle,” he said. “They gave us a lesson last time we played them when they demolished us 6-1. They have a lot of players who have played at a higher level and we will need to be switched on for 90 minutes if we are to be competitive this time around.” In team news City are still waiting for a few of their long term injuries to come back in the next couple of weeks, but they are hoping Liam Peacock and Mark Tebbutt are fit to play after coming off early last week.
Morley had to work hard to see off Wanneroo last week, and the win moving them into fourth place on the table, and striker Kyle King said it was a tough game. “Last week’s win was a good one and a well-earned one,” he said. “Wanneroo came to Wotton Reserve with a game plan and for large parts it worked, but in the second half we finally found our way through and it paid off with the two goals, they scored late but the win was sealed before that.” King said Joondalup will be looking for revenge, after they thumped them in the reverse fixture. “I’m sure They (Joondalup) will be out for revenge after we beat them convincingly in the first fixture, so training has been solid and we are going to Joondalup with a game plan to win the game and come back with all three points,” he said. “It should be a good game with both sides in good form so it’s an exciting prospect for both sets of supporters.” In team news for the visitors it’s as you were, with only long-term injuries to Yohanes Tadesse, Chris Bradley, Gianni Mammone, Mitch Castrilli and Matt Dean still keep them out.
There is a five point gap for Balga to make up for second spot, and this week they host Kelmscott Roos at Princess Road Reserve. Balga keeper Ollie Rigler said they had their chances to take all three points against runner away leaders Fremantle last week, but were a little wasteful in front of goal. “We made it hard for ourselves by not converting our chances, none of which were clear cut chances but we should have worked their keeper more,” he said. “Not the three points we wanted, but we brought the best out of Freo, which is a good sign for us as a team.” Rigler said Kelmscott will be looking to bounce back after losing to Ellenbrook last week but he said they have improved this season. “They (Kelmscott) have improved this season, but after a poor 2015, they only could improve, so it is really great to see them getting some points on the board, and playing some good football,” he explained. “It will be a good test for us and will not be looking past this game whatsoever, we need to be on our game, and we have a full strength squad, and we’re really looking forward to the test on Saturday.”
In other games this weekend, league leaders Fremantle City host Melville City at Hilton Reserve, and three points would see Steve Plucknett’s side promoted, while Melville are coming off back-to-back defeat, the latest a heavy defeat at home to Joondalup. Ellenbrook United, who won their first game of the season last week against Kelmscott will go in search of another three points when they visit the Kingsway Reserve to take on Kingsway Olympic. Olympic have lost their last four games and Coach Tom Kilkelly will be looking to end that drought this weekend. In the final games Swan United host Quinns FC at the Swan Italian Club, while Curtin University make the trip to Kingsway Reserve to take on Wanneroo City.
SOCCEROOS MAKE PERFECT START ON ROAD TO RUSSIA
The Socceroos began their final phase of World Cup Qualifiers at a packed nib Stadium on Thursday evening with a 2-0 win against Iraq. After a frustrating first half the Green and Gold dominated after the break with goals from QPR midfielder Massimo Luongo and FC Luzern striker Tomi Juric giving Ange Postecoglou’s side a perfect start on their march to Russia. “Obviously we knew they’d make it difficult for us, and they did,” Postecoglou said. “I thought we controlled the tempo of the game. They were working hard to try and stop us, but we knew we’d eventually wear them down. We probably had a little sloppy patch maybe five minutes before half-time, when we tried to force things, but all in all, against a difficult opponent, I thought it was a good start.”
The home side almost made the perfect start, and with some of the 18,923 fans still finding their seats, Juric was played into the box, but his shot was well saved by Mohammed Hameed, and the rebound was headed back into the grateful arms of the Iraqi custodian. Bournemouth defender Brad Smith was having a nightmare, miss-controlling the first three balls that came his way, but the Socceroos continued to dominate and Juric shot flashed wide before Smith shot on the run whistled over the top.
The Iraqi defence was working overtime and with Aaron Mooy and Mile Jadinak bossing the middle of the park, it looked only a matter of time the goal would come, but Iraq withstood the onslaught and started to get into the game and went close themselves on the half hour. A ball over the top caught the Socceroos napping and Ali Abbas raced into the penalty area, but defender Mark Milligan got back with a superb last ditch tackle to deny him.
The Socceroos hit back and went close to the opener when Smith’s cross into the penalty area picked out Matthew Leckie, whose header lopped over Hameed, but the post came to the rescue of the Iraqi keeper. Roared on by a large contingent of supporters Iraq lifted and finished the half well and Ahmed Yaseen Gheni’s curling shot drifted wide of the far post, but at the break it was scoreless.
It was more of the same after the break with the Socceroos on top, and Mooy’s shot crashed off the crossbar early, before Juric fired wide with the goal at his mercy moments later. It looked like it wasn’t going to be their night, but on the hour they found the break through. Iraq had a chance of their own, Abbas’ shot well saved by Matt Ryan, and quick release from the keeper sent Juric down the right, his low cross found Luongo who made no mistake from five meters.
The Socceroos supporters were in full voice and they were almost cheering a second two minutes later, Juric burst into the penalty area, but his shot was deflected wide. But from the resulting corner the Socceroos doubled their advantage, Mooy’s set piece was flicked on by Milligan, and Juric made for his miss earlier in the game finishing from close-range.
Matt Ryan had to be alert making two good saves as Iraq looked to get back in the game but with Milligan and Perth boy Trent Sainsbury outstanding at the back, they couldn’t find the goal to spark a comeback, and at the whistle the Socceroos were celebrating victory, and three deserved points on the Road to Russia, next stop Abu Dhabi and UAE on Tuesday.
BABALJ BANKROLLS HIS OWN REHAB
Former Perth Glory finisher Eli Babalj is spending thousands of dollars of his own money at the Belgian rehab clinic that has helped heal the likes of Luka Modric (Read Madrid), Ivan Perišic (Inter Milan) and Divock Origi (Liverpool). Balalj says the 'Move to Cure' clinic in Antwerp is worth every cent as he battles to regain full fitness after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament while playing for Adelaide United in January.
Babalj, who recently had his deal with Dutch club AZ Alkmaar terminated by mutual agreement, has embarked on a six-days-a-week program which has helped some of the world’s top athletes recover from debilitating knee injuries. The 24-year old played out of Adelaide last summer but returned to Europe in May so he could concentrate solely on rehabilitation.
“It’s costing me a real lot, yeah, but it’s stuff I don’t really count,” Babalj said from Antwerp. “I’m a free agent when I’m done with here and I don’t really have any time frames or transfer deadlines, so it makes it easier to sign somewhere. It’s going good, it’s (rehabilitation) a different level here, there’s a lot of big-name players coming and there’s other players in the same boat.”
“The clinic is one of the most renowned in Europe. I have been working with one of the best physiotherapists in the world, Lieven Maesschalck, I go there in the mornings with other athletes and normal people. At the start of the rehab I was doing three or four hours a day then physio, balance and strength work and co-ordination stuff and getting the knee right.”
And Babalj isn’t fazed by the fact he is without a club at the moment, claiming he will be ready to start full training in October. “It’s so good, I’m glad I came here and after about a week here I knew I had made the right decision,” he said. “It’s exactly what I needed where I can work on my rehab full time without distractions.”
“It’s so much different to a club environment where everyone is happy when they’re playing. We’re all in the same boat here - about five of us have ACL injuries and we’re all encouraging each other’s progress. I’m going to stay here until I’m 100 per cent ready to go and I’m going to start team training soon. I’m fixing everything up and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
ORLANDO SIGN DE VANNA
Florida-based Orlando Pride have added Matilda's captain Lisa De Vanna to their playing list for the closing stages of the National Women's Soccer League season. The move will reunite De Vanna with former national team coach Tom Sermanni as she becomes the third Matilda on Orlando's roster alongside Steph Catley and Laura Alleway.
"I am incredibly happy to be joining the Orlando Pride and keen to be working with Tommy again," 31-year old De Vanna said in a statement released by the club. "I'm looking forward to joining the team. It's exciting to be a part of a new team and will do my best to help the squad for the rest of the season."
De Vanna joins Orlando just weeks after captaining Australia to the quarter-finals at the Rio Olympic Games. The veteran striker, scorer of 40 goals in 117 appearances for Australia, has previously played in the United States with Washington Freedom, Sky Blue FC, Boston Breakers and Washington Spirit.
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This page was last updated on the 29th August, 2016