GLORY WANT OVERSEAS GEM FOR FINALS PUSH
Perth Glory are scouring the world for a free agent to bolster their charge towards the finals, with the club keen for some insurance as it deals with injury and suspension concerns. Glory have a spot available for an international player but any new signing needs to be a match-fit free agent who is ready to step in straight away.
Coach Kenny Lowe concedes the late-season recruiting mission will be difficult. “With the window closing, we need someone who is unattached,” Lowe said. “The idea is to get someone who’s maybe played games just before January 31. We’re looking and we’ve got things bubbling, but not definite.”
Defender Shane Lowry was a late withdrawal from the weekend game with Western Sydney Wanderers after pulling up sore following the warm-up. Midfielder Brandon Wilson also lasted less than 30 minutes after injuring his back. Dead-ball king Nebojsa Marinkovic missed the game with a groin injury, while defender Alex Grant (ankle) is out for the remainder of the season.
Despite jumping to third following the 2-0 win over Western Sydney, Glory remain in a dogfight for a top-four finish with six regular season games to play. Lowe's team make the long trip to tackle Wellington Phoenix this weekend before traveling to Melbourne Victory and hosting Sydney FC.
WILLIAMS: ‘LET’S SEE HOW FAR WE CAN GO’
Rhys Williams is refusing to put a limit on what Perth Glory can achieve in 2016/17 after a clinical win over Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday night. Inspired by some Diego Castro magic, Glory scored late in each half to register a well-deserved 2-0 win thanks to goals from Chris Harold and Joel Chianese.
And with Melbourne City and Brisbane Roar losing earlier in the round, Kenny Lowe’s side have jumped up to third spot heading into the last six games of the regular season. “We take each game as it comes. We’re up into third which is great and we want to look up now,” said Williams when asked how far Glory can go this season.
“We’ve got a great bunch of boys here and we work hard for each other. It’s nice to get a home win and another clean sheet. Fair play to (Western Sydney) they put up a great fight. To win games and be in third spot, it’s a nice feeling ... Let’s see how far we can go.”
Williams started the game in the heart of defence but was shifted into midfield during the first half after an injury to youngster Brandon Wilson. The Socceroo was superb for the home side, getting forward on numerous occasions while dominating the midfield duel alongside captain Rostyn Griffiths.
“It’s a little strange. Training at centre-half all week then having to move into midfield, against these boys who knock it around, I felt like I was chasing shadows,” Williams admitted. “But playing in there with Rostyn and the boys behind us, it made it a lot easier.” Glory can consolidate a top three spot next weekend away at Wellington Phoenix.
SALMON STRIKES LATE FOR INGLEWOOD
Inglewood United striker Alex Salmon earned his new club a share of the spoils against Sorrento, scoring a last minute equaliser to secure a 2-2 draw at the Inglewood Stadium on Sunday evening. Billy Quinncroft gave the visitors the lead early, but Salmon levelled just before half time. Substitute Sean Canham regained the lead for the Gulls, and it looked like they would leave with the points, until Salmon converted his late leveler. “Their goalkeeper has had an absolute worldy,” Inglewood Coach Taki Nicolaidis told the NPLWA Website. “I’ll be honest and say he’s pulled off the best save I’ve seen in my whole career at this level – outstanding. At the end of the day, he’s got them their point. I’m disappointed that we’ve conceded as we have, but there are always goals in us. We just have to make sure we do a bit better on the defence phase, but the attitude amongst the group is phenomenal.”
Sorrento, buoyed by their big opening round win, started brightly, and they were rewarded with the opener on 17 minutes. Scott Bulloch made space down the flank and picked out Quinncroft at the near post and he side-footed home past Alex Dunn. The home side hit back but found Sorrento keeper James Morgan in fine form. He produced a stunning save to deny Salmon moments later and was out quickly again on the half hour to save at the feet of John Migas. But three minutes from half time the home side levelled. Referee Adam Fielding spotted a handball on Jordan Brown, and Salmon converted the resulting penalty.
The late goal gave Inglewood confidence and they opened the second half brightly, but they found Morgan in inspired form. The Gulls custodian made another stunning save to deny Scott Blackmore on the hour, and that save became more important ten minutes later when Sorrento added a second, Canham heading home, after losing his marker in the penalty area. It looked like it was the winner but in the shadows of the final whistle Inglewood grabbed the equaliser. Brain Woodall picked out Salmon, and the English striker finished clinically past Morgan to give both sides a share of the spoils.
“First half, we switched off a little bit and let them back into the game a little bit,” Sorrento Coach Jamie Harnwell said. “Second half, when you cop a late equaliser it’s tough but we played well and if we continue to play like that we’ll win more than we’ll lose. It’s probably a good point. There won’t be too many teams who come away from here with three points. It’s disappointing but there are always positives.”
PERTH LEAVES THE LIONS’ DEN WITH THE POINTS
Perth SC made it back-to-back victories to start their title defence after a 2-1 win against Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park on Sunday afternoon. Italian winger Niccolo Sabatini opened the scoring for Perth, before David Micevski levelled just before the break. The game could have gone either way by Brazilian striker Gustavo Catarcione scored the winner just after the hour. “It was a very important three points on the road considering the hot conditions,” Perth’s Alex Silla said. “We started off the game well by getting an early goal but let them back in the game switching off just before half time. I think we showed good character to fight back, get a second goal and hold on for the win.”
Perth started brightly and they were ahead after only eight minutes, the pacey Sabatini nipping in after some hesitate in the Lions backline and finishing clinically past John Perkins. The Lions, who lost their opening round game at Floreat, hit back and Miki Vujacic and Alex Suleski’s long-range efforts whistled wide of the target. Lions’ custodian Perkins kept his side in the game with two great saves moments later. First he reacted well to save Sabatini’s shot, and produced an even better one to deny Harley Orr.
But three minutes before half time the home side levelled. A neat one-two between Daniel and David Micevski, ended with the latter finished well past Francis Soale. Perth should have regained the lead before the break but Tom King and Sabatini both wasted good opportunities, and the sides went into the break on level terms. The Lions almost hit the front early in the second half, Darren O’Riordan’s lob was superbly tipped over the top by Soale. But Perth steadied and hit the front again on 65 minutes.
Substitute Andreas Theodosiades crossed into the box and Catarcione pipped in headed home at the near post. Perkins was keeping his side in the game and he produced another top-draw reaction save to deny Adrain Madaschi’s close-range header. The home side went close to the equaliser in stoppage time, substitute Jason Rubidge curling shot was heading for the net but Soale produced a stunning save to earn Perth all three points,
BRIGHT END FOR THE DOLPHINS
A goal two minutes from time from Mandurah City defender Jeff Bright has earn them a well-earned 1-1draw against Joondalup United at Percy Doyle Reserve on Sunday evening. The home side had taken the lead on the hour through Richard Howles, and it looked like they would take all three points, but Mandurah was rewarded when Bright fired home Mark McLaughlin’s cross. “I thought we fought hard for the whole game and we were worth a point, and could have nicked all three late,” Mandurah Coach Dough Hesketh said. “We struggled a little early when we went away from our passing game, but once we rectified that I thought we dominated and hit the post and their keeper made a couple of good saves. But at the end of the day I’m more than happy with a point.”
Joondalup should have hit the front after only eight minutes, Matthew Sparrow shot was well saved by Brad Eiffe, the rebound falling to Howles, but with the goal at his mercy he blazed over the top. Mandurah weren’t without their chances in a tight first half. Sean Troup’s shot flashed just wide of the post, before Ryan Francis shot on the run was saved low by James Bosdet. But the home side wasted another good chance on the stroke of half time. The lively Sparrow found Arran Maplestone, who cut inside his marker but fired wide of the target.
It was a tight opening to the second half, but on the hour the home side made the break though. Alex Wild made space down the right, and whipped in a great cross into the penalty area and Howles rose highest to head home. This didn’t deter a Mandurah, and they went close to the equaliser on 75 minutes. Eades corner found Andy Brown at the back post, his shot crashed off the post and away to safety.
Joondalup were sitting back and Mandurah started to find holes in their defence. Brown saw a shot cleared off the line by Joel Ledsham, before Francis’ follow up shot was superbly saved by Bosdet. But Mandurah’s pressure was rewarded on 88 minutes. Brown sent McLaughlin down the right and his cross picked out Bright, how made no mistake from eight meters. Mandurah almost took all three point in stoppage time, Francis’ snap shot was saved low by Bosdet to make the points were shared.
ARMADALE PASS THE TEST AT ECU
Armadale produced a gutsy performance and came away with well-deserved 2-1 win against ECU Joondalup at the ECU Football Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Midfielder Jackson Bealey gave the visitors the lead early, and the home side then had Tommy Amphlett sent off after receiving a second yellow card just after half time. Bealey added his second to put them in control, and despite Gordon Smith late goal Armadale hung on for the points. “We were fast out of the traps early today and we managed to get the early goal, and it was a great build up play which was straight off the training track, which was very pleasing,” Armadale Coach John O’Reilly said. “They came at us late in the game and I thought we kept our shape well, but we needed a stunning save from Michael (Craggs) to earn us the points.”
It was a perfect start for O’Reilly’s men and they were ahead on 12 minutes. Tristan Taylor made space down the right, and he pulled the ball back to Bealey, who lost his marker and made no mistake from eight meters. ECU looked to hit back and Michael Craggs had to be alert to save Daryl Nicol’s shot, but that was the best the home side could muster, and Armadale almost doubled their advantage in first half stoppage time. English import Jordan Pavett’s free kick picked out Taylor at the back post, but the big defender headed over the top.
The home side suffered a huge blow just after the break with Amphlett given a second yellow card by referee Steve Gregory and was sent off. Despite going down to ten men ECU should have levelled on 70 minutes. A ball over the top picked out Smith, who brought the ball down well, but his shot was saved low by the alert Craggs.
But on 73 minutes Armadale doubled their advantage. Pavett’s corner from the right picked out the unmarked Bealey at the back post who headed past Fraser Greenwood. The home side gave themselves a lifeline on 84 minutes when they pulled one back. A superb ball from Steven McGarry picked out Smith who made no mistake. It was the home side doing all the pressing now, and the crowd thought they had found the equaliser in stoppage time. Nicol’s corner was met by Nathan Diaz, whose powerful header was superbly saved by Craggs, to seal the three points for his side.
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - WEEK THREE REVIEW
It was week three of the State League Night Series and in Group ‘A’ games were on Friday night at Wanneroo Reserve. In the opening game Joondalup City eased past Shamrock Rovers 4-0. City were quick out of the blocks with Sean Kalaher scoring two goals in the opening three minutes. Shamrock rallied and enjoyed a good spell after half time, but Sam McCracken extended City’s lead with a superb strike into the bottom corner from outside the penalty area. The scoring was completed in the dying stages when defender Jamie Kalaher met a Joe McQuade corner and headed home. “Happy with the result but not the overall performance,” City Coach Gary Kalaher said. “There are no excuses from us but again we made six changes to our starting line-up.” In the late game Swan United bounced back from a first week defeat with a hard fought 2-1 win against Wanneroo City. It was a tight game and the deadlock was broken on the hour. Tommy Black heading home a Luke Woodard corner. Wanneroo equalised five minutes later, Stuart Montgomery, reacting the quickest when a free kick wasn’t cleared. But Swan found a winner in the final minute. Michael Black’s free kick crashed off the post and Marco Trimboli slotted home the rebound. It was a very entertaining game, I thought we created the better chances but they were very good off set pieces and in wide areas,” San Coach Matt Debarro said. “I was happy with the way the boys executed certain things we had worked on in training consistently, and were looking forward to another big test against Ashfield next week.
In Group ‘B’ on Sunday afternoon it was off to Kingsway Reserve. In the early game it was the two unbeaten sides in the Group and UWA Nedlands came out on top 2-1 against Western Knights. Brian Patterson gave the Knights the lead at the break, but o the hour Conor Devlin levelled from the spot. It was anyone’s game but in the final minute Alex Kretowicz popped up with the winner. The next game saw Dianella White Eagles beat host Kingsway Olympic 5-0, with Angel Andres 2, Mwansa Musonda, Yann Aplusbegalix and Camilo Garcia on target for Robbie Dunn’s side. In the late game Balga hit front just before half time, with Nahom Michael on target, but Quinns levelled early in the second half to take a point.
Group ‘C’ started on Friday night at the Inglewood Stadium, with Forrestfield United and Morley Windmills fighting out a 2-2 draw. Morley opened the scoring when Forrestfield lost possession in the middle of the park and Dave Houston scored. Forrestfield levelled from the spot after Liam Merigan was brought down in the penalty area and Rhys Loxley sent the keeper the wrong way from the resulting penalty. Morley regained the lead just after half time, Scott Wrightson curling home a free kick from the edge of the penalty area. But Forrestfield levelled on 75 minutes, Matt Harold played in his brother Andy who finished clinically. The last game in the group was at the E&D Litis Stadium on Sunday evening, when Rockingham City ran out 5-1 winners against Gosnells City. Alex Grayson bagged a hat-trick, Ravi Kuppasamy added another before Brian Gwatinga added the fifth. “A great win against a dogged Gosnells side who battled until the end, it was great to see Alex Grayson and Brian Gwataringa score in their first games of the Night series this year,” Rockingham Coach Rob Crerar said. “We had 4-5 players out of the squad tonight and the youngsters who came in done very well which gives me a headache for next week’s game against Forrestfield.”
Group D games were at Ashfield Reserve on Sunday, and in the early game Fremantle City beat Canning City 4-0. Alec Robinson put Fremantle in front on the half hour after good build up play with Ben Reynolds. In the second half Robinson put them two up after a quick turn and finish during a goalmouth scramble. Mid way through the half Anthony Lomma beat his defender out wide and sent in a pinpoint cross for Lawrence Lewis to power in a header. Towards the end, again saw good build up play full back Josh Gardner broke in to the box and was upended. Robinson completed his hat trick from the spot. “It was a better performance this week, we created chances and finished well and the intensity was good from the start,” Fremantle Coach Steve Plucknett said. “However it is only pre-season and we know this fixture will be a much tougher task when points are up for grabs later in the year.” In the next game South West Phoenix beat Kelmscott Roos 3-1, with goals from Jayden Prosser and a brace from Lee Stewart. In the final game a ten man Curtin University edged out Melville City 2-1. Oliver Robertson volleyed home Rory Binnie to give Curtin the lead at the break and Eddie Tikoft finished well after a great run from Danny Todd. “Good to get a win especially after playing 35 minutes with ten men,” Curtin Coach Campbell Ballantyne said.
ALL-SQUARE AT DALMATINAC PARK
Cockburn City and Balcatta had to settle for a point each as the sides played out a 0-0 draw at Dalmatinac Park. Both sides had opportunities in an entertaining game, but they both lacked a little bit of quality in the final third. “We needed a response from last week's embarrassment at Sorrento and to be honest a draw was a fair result,” Balcatta’s Jon Corness said. “Both teams had chances to win it, but we couldn't find the cutting edge. We worked quite a bit on our shape and being compact in the defensive third so we're happy with the clean sheet.”
It was a real arm-wrestle in the first half with clear cut chances few and far between, Cockburn looked dangerous going forward but lacked the final ball or failed to hit the target when they did. But it was Balcatta who went the closest in the shadows of half time. Kurt Kouakou found space on the edge of penalty area, his long-range shot beat Luke Radonich, but the ball crashed off the crossbar and away to safety.
Balcatta went close again just after half time, former Cockburn winger Feisal Zaw was picked out unmarked in the penalty area, but his first time flew over the top. Cockburn were struggling to break through a compact Balcatta back line but they almost snatched all three points late. The lively Gian Albano raced from the middle of the park and slipped the ball into the path of David Araya, who went one-on-one with Balcatta keeper Domenico Savoldelli, but the keeper produced a good low save at his near post.
The home side had another to snatch the three points in stoppage time. Balcatta didn’t clear their lines and the ball made its way to Reuben Tristao, whose shot flashed inches wide of the target and both sides took a point. “I think we had enough chances to win the game quite comfortably,” Cockburn Coach Scott Miller told the NPLWA website. “In the last twenty minutes I don’t think that they could get out of their half and we had five or six shots. If the keeper saves them I’m fine but we just couldn’t hit the target unfortunately. “I’ll definitely walk away after today’s game thinking we threw a couple of points away.”
SALDARIS GIVES ATHENA THE POINTS
A goal on hour by Floreat Athena defender Chris Saldaris has given them a hard fought 1-0 win against Perth Glory at the E&D Litis Stadium on Saturday evening. It could have been worse for the Glory youngsters, but Jordan Thurtell was in sensational form, producing a string of fine saves to keep Floreat at bay. Floreat Coach Glen Grostate was delighted with his sides’ victory, especially against a talented young Glory team. “We got our result - I knew there was a goal in this team and we knew we could keep a clean sheet,” he told the NPLWA website. “They’re a very hard team to beat. Any team taking points off them is going to have to do a good job.”
It was the Glory who opened the better, having plenty of possession and creating a number of half chances, and they went close to the opener on eight minutes. A short corner ended with a ball into the penalty area, that Floreat failed to clear, and the ball fell to Jack Iredale, whose goal bound shot was deflected wide by a Floreat defender. Floreat lifted and went close themselves on the half hour. Former Perth Glory midfielder Dean Evans’ free kick took a wicked deflection off Jack Leech, but Thurtell got down well to produce a great save low at his post.
Floreat began the second half well and forced a number of corners, which tested Thurtell, but the Glory custodian wasn’t in any mood to be beaten. Floreat did have the ball in the net on the hour mark from another corner, but their celebrations were short lived, with the flag was up for offside. But seven minutes later Floreat’s pressure was rewarded with the lead. A corner whipped in by Evans picked out Chris Saldaris, who powered his header past Thurtell. Glory pressed late looking for the equaliser, but they couldn’t break down a tight Floreat defence. The gloss was somewhat taken off the Floreat win when Evans received two yellow cards in quick succession from Stuart Muldoon and was sent off.
GLORY UP TO THIRD AFTER BEATING WANDERERS
Perth Glory moved into third spot on the Hyundai A-League after a 2-0 win against Western Sydney Wanderers at nib Stadium on Saturday evening. A deflected volley from Chris Harold and Joel Chianese's first goal for the club sealed the win for Kenny Lowe’s side. “We take each game as it comes. We’re up into third which is great and we want to look up now,” Rhys Williams said. “We’ve got a great bunch of boys here and we work hard for each other. Let’s see how far we can go, so to win games and be in third spot, it’s a nice feeling.”
Lowe made just the one change to the side that drew with Brisbane Roar last week, bringing in Andy Keogh for the injured Nebojsa Marinkovic. The Glory opened brightly and went close to the opener on ten minutes. Diego Castro raced into the box on the left and cut the ball back to Adam Taggart, but his shot was somehow blocked on the line by Scott Neville and cleared. The Wanderers also went close moments later, Terry Antonis’ long-range curling free kick beat Liam Reddy, but the post came to the Glory keeper’s rescue.
Rostyn Griffiths’ shot was then blocked by Wanderers keeper Vedran Janjetovic, before Rhys Williams shot on the run was pushed around the post by the Wanderers custodian. The Glory were well on top and Rhys Williams’ runs out of the back were causing Wanderers all sorts of problems and five minutes before half time he burst down the right and picked out Taggart, whose shot was well saved by Janjetovic. But in stoppage time the Glory pressure was rewarded with the lead. Castro was the architect again, his free kick from the right found Harold on the edge of the penalty area and his shot flew past Janjetovic via a big deflection.
It was more of the same after the break and Josh Risdon’s cross early was headed inches wide by Dino Djulbic. The Wanderers were tiring but went close to the equaliser on 76 minutes. Jumpei Kusukami found Brendon Santalab, but his shot was saved low by Reddy. Castro teased the Wanderers defence again on 84 minutes, taking on three, before firing just over the top. But the points were made safe in stoppage time and it was that man Castro again in the thick of it. He surged past his marker on the right and cut the ball back to Chianese who made mistake from close-range.
MCGARRY TO FACE MANCHESTER UNITED FOR DIDGE
ECU Joondalup player/coach Steven McGarry will be rubbing shoulders with football royalty next month when the Manchester United Legends play an historic charity match at nib Stadium. Fans will have the chance to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on Saturday, 25 March when former Manchester United players – including Paul Scholes, Dwight Yorke, Denis Irwin and Teddy Sheringham – face off against the PFA Aussie Legends, an all-star side of former Australian players including McGarry.
The former St Mirren and Perth Glory midfielder is looking forward to the game, and the match will also raise money for DT38 Foundation and the Manchester United Foundation. McGarry is an ambassador for the DT38 Foundation and he said it’s a great chance for the WA public to watch some great players and help the foundation. “First of all I think a big congratulations to Natasha Evans, Tracy Lee Tombides and everyone associated with the DT38 foundation for making this event happen, there has been a lot of work put in over the course of 18 months to make this game come to fruition,” he said.
“It's not every day you get footballing legends from one of the biggest club teams in the world if not the biggest coming to your doorstep, it's definitely exciting times for football fans in WA. The game will be a fantastic event but it's also a great opportunity for the DT38 foundation to spread our mission of raising awareness and to change the stigma associated not only with testicular cancer but all men's health issues.
“Also our vision to inform now and future generations with the necessary knowledge about testicular cancer and about our goals of educating through teaching programs especially the children's book "DIDGE" that's currently being run throughout schools across Australia and the UK. On a personal note I'm delighted not only to be involved with DT38 with the game but also receiving the call from PFA Player Relations Manager Simon Colisomo to play in the PFA Aussie Legends team along with and against so many fantastic footballers from Australia and Worldwide, I'm sure it will be a night to remember.”
It’s the first time the Manchester United Legends have come to Western Australia and the team will be managed by former United and England captain, Bryan Robson. It’s also the first time Professional Footballers Australia has assembled a legends team, which will be coached by former Socceroos coach Frank Farina. This exclusive Western Australian event gets football lovers up close and personal with some of the legends of the game at a ground which put spectators right next to the action. Not only will these two teams be on a mission to play highly entertaining and thrilling football for their West Australian fans. Get in quick – this event will sell fast. Saturday, 25 March 2017 at nib Stadium - Tickets on sale now www.ticketmaster.com.au
- and start from $79 + fees. This event is presented by Zaccaria Concerts & Touring, Galaxy Football and Mix 94.5
Squads - Manchester United Legends: Bryan Robson (Player Manager), Paul Scholes, Teddy Sheringham, Dwight Yorke, Jesper Blomqvist, Denis Irwin, Ronny Johnsen, Dion Dublin, Mikael Silvestre, Karel Poborsky, Bojan Djordjic, Keith Gillespie, Russell Beardsmore and Lee Martin
PFA Aussie Legends: Frank Farina (Coach), Simon Colosimo, Archie Thompson, Bobby Despotovski, Jacob Burns, Jamie Harnwell, John McCain, Robbie Gaspar, Matt Thompson, Steve McGarry, Jason Pekovich, Michael Bridges, Dean Heffernan, Lee Martin, Ljubo Milicevic, Nick Carle and Partick Zwaanswijk
PS4 NPL-WA ROUND TWO PREVIEW
Inglewood United v Sorrento
Sunday – 7.00pm - Inglewood Stadium
Referee: Adam Fielding - (Subject to change)
Footballwa.net Match of the Round takes us to the Inglewood Stadium on Sunday evening, where Inglewood United hosts early league leaders Sorrento. The Gulls put on a five star show last week, coming from behind to beat Balcatta 5-1, and midfielder Scott Bulloch said it was a good way to start the season. “The boys are definitely happy with the way we kicked off the season, we have worked all pre-season on the way we wanted to play,” he explained. “Even after their early goal, we were confident we would get something out of the game. Last year we struggled a little to score, so to take our chances and have five separate scorers, it all points to good signs ahead.” Bulloch believes Inglewood’s squad looks good this season, and he knows they will have to be at their best to bring home the points, but he is hoping for a repeat of their last visit to the ground where they won 2-1. “They (Inglewood) have a good squad and should be challenging come seasons end, but we seem to perform well at Inglewood’s ground and although it will be a battle, we are confident we can get a good run going,” he said. “We have a big squad, with competition for places all over the park which means every player needs to perform to keep their spot.” Sorrento are at full strength for the clash.
Inglewood fought back from two goals down last week to draw 2-2 with Bayswater City and keeper Alex Dunn said it showed the character they have in their squad. “It was a great comeback in the end, and it showed the character we have within our side and the lads dug deep, and we knew all we needed was one goal to get back into the game,” he said. “Both teams had chances to win it, but in the end a draw was probably a fair result.” Dunn said they expecting another tough encounter against the Gulls, as they look to kick start their season. “Sorrento are always a tough team and they will be confident coming off a big win last week,” he said. “We have gained a lot of confidence after the weekend and it’s good to see all the new lads and young lads gelling and we are looking to get our first three points of the season. In team news for Taki Nicolaidis’ side, Scott Blackmore and John Migas return to the squad, but David Cyrus will be missing.
ECU Joondalup v Armadale
Sunday – 4.00pm – ECU Football Stadium
Referee: Steve Gregory (Subject to change)
It’s going to a hot one on Saturday, with the temperature rising to close to 40 degrees, and with that in mind ECU Joondalup have changed their home fixture against Armadale at the ECU Football Stadium to Sunday afternoon. Both sides had disappointing results last week, Armadale going down 2-1 at home to Perth Glory, while ECU let two points slip, conceding a late penalty to draw 2-2 with Joondalup United. New signed Ross Millard was outstanding last week and he said it was two points lost. “We were disappointed with the way we played as everyone at the club knows we’ve got so much more to offer,” he said. “We were OK in patches and definitely caused them problems however we didn’t do it for long enough and have to be more ruthless at both ends of the pitch.” Millard said Sunday’s opponents have looked good in the Night Series and will be another test for them. “Armadale are always a tough opponent to come up against, they’re a physical side who cause a lot of teams problems,” he explained. “They’re also coming off the back of a disappointing result which means they’ll be chomping at the bit to put things right, just like we are, so we have to be at our best and put in a strong performance.”
Perth Glory v Floreat Athena
Saturday - 6.00pm - E&D Litis Stadium
Referee: Nico Hoyle (Subject to change)
At the present time there is still four more games on Saturday, and the first see’s Perth Glory host Floreat Athena at Ashfield Reserve (4.30pm). Both sides won their opening games, Floreat edging out Stirling Lions, while the Glory youngsters beat Armadale. Floreat keeper Jason Saldaris said it was perfect first game first up, and they had to fight to win it. “It was a tough first round draw for us especially with the lack of games played for both sides, but I thought it was a good game and chances at both ends,” he said. “It was massive to pick up the three points in your opening game, and especially against our rivals, so there were a lot of positives coming from the squad going forward.” The keeper, who performance was rewarded with a place in the Footballwa.net – ‘Team of the Week’ –, said the Glory are always difficult to play against, and they need to be at their best. “Playing Perth Glory is a tough game, especially on the road,” he explained. “Gibbo has got a well drilled team, and last season they pinched three points from us with a loaded side, but hopefully this week will be different and we can keep our unbeaten start going.”
Bayswater City v Subiaco
POSTPONED DUE TO EXTREME HEAT
Stirling Lions v Perth SC
Sunday – 4.30pm – Macedonia Park
Referee: Tom Glavovic (Subject to change)
The final Saturday game is at Macedonia Park, where League Champions Perth SC takes on Stirling Lions. The Lions were beaten at Floreat last week and will be without Blamo Quo Quo, who was sent off last week, while Perth beat newly-promoted Mandurah City. Gustavo Catarcione bagged a brace in the 3-1 win, while Harley Orr was one of the best on the park. He said Mandurah had looked impressive in the Night Series and they knew they would have to work hard for the win. “We knew Mandurah we're going to be a tough task considering they reached the night series final,” he said. “I thought we took a while to get going but once Gustavo got us off the mark we started to play really well and that showed as we went 2-0 up, we definitely dominated most of the game and it was a positive first game and important to get the three points.” Orr said any trip to Macedonia Park is tough and he’s expecting more of the same on Saturday. “Stirling have always been a tough game when they are at home so it will be no easy task, but I think if we go out there and play to our full abilities we should be able to get the job done,” he explained. “They (Stirling) lost a good player last week from a red card so that will help us, but we have to on our game because they have a number of quality players in their side.”
Cockburn City v Balcatta
Saturday – 8.00pm – Dalmatinac Park
Referee: David Bruce (Subject to change)
The final Saturday game is an evening kick off with Cockburn City hosting Balcatta at Dalmatinac Park (7.00pm) Balcatta started brightly last week opening the scoring, but it went downhill after that and they were well beaten at Sorrento. Cockburn on the other hand produced a great first half against Subiaco and ran out easy winners, and midfielder Cameron Edwards said it was a positive start to the new season. “It was a solid performance first up for us, it’s always your aim to win your opening game,” he said. “I thought we created a number of chances and we were strong defensively so all in all a good day for us.” The former Perth Glory midfielder said Saturday’s opponents will want to bounce back after their heavy loss last week, so they will have to be well prepared. “It will be a tough game against Balcatta, who will look to bounce back under their new coaches after their first game loss,” he said. “Like any other NPL game we will need to play well to get the three points, but we’re confident we can.”
Joondalup United v Mandurah City
Sunday – 7.00pm – Percy Doyle Reserve
Referee: Michal Jasinski (Subject to change)
In the final game of the round the two newly-promoted sides meet at Percy Doyle Reserve. Joondalup showed great character to fight back twice to earn a 2-2 draw against ECU Joondalup, in the Joondalup Derby, while Mandurah’s opening NPL game ended in defeat at Perth SC. Skipper Andy Brown led the way in a man of the match performance, while teenager central defender Mitch Firth was close behind. The 17-year-old said despite the loss there were good signs to come out of the match. “Even though it is always disappointing to lose, no matter the result every game is a chance to learn and improve, especially when playing such a good and experienced team like Perth,” he said. “Despite losing to the favourites, we proved that we are ready for the step up to the NPL and are capable of challenging the big teams.” Firth, who has returned to the club this season, said he’s learning a great deal playing with the experienced players at the club and they will be looking to kick start their season against Joondalup. “The positives to take from the game against Perth is the way we continued to play good football until the final whistle despite the result. We continued to play as a team right until the whistle with everyone giving 100%, and we’ll do the same on Sunday,” he explained. “Playing with such experienced players that can adapt to changes in tactics and remain so disciplined is a privilege. With the change in tactics, this gave me the opportunity to advanced forward and use the width of the pitch. The encouragement from my team members and coaches allowed me to capitalise on using the width and my ability, which has helped by game improve.” I believe Sunday’s game will be an exciting game of football but also demanding, especially after their draw, last week against ECU. Unfortunately we have a few injuries at the moment but with the depth in the squad, we will be able to continue the good quality football and competitiveness that we showed in the opening round.”
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - WEEK THREE PREVIEW
It’s week three of the State League Night Series and it starts on Friday evening in Group A. First up at Wanneroo Reserve Shamrock Rovers meet Joondalup City (6.30pm) Both sides lost last week, Rovers going down to Wanneroo, while City were edged out by Ashfield, and both will be looking to get their campaign back on track. In the elate game hosts Wanneroo City takes on Swan United. The Roos started the competition with a bang with a big win against Shamrock, while Swan had the bye. Swan Coach Matt Debarro, whose side lost their opening game against Joondalup, said there were a lot of positives to come out of the game. “We looked good going forward and scored two goals with the opportunity to score plenty more being created,” he said. “But we need to look at our performance when defending, scoring two goals should win you a win or at very worst a draw, we need to address that.” Debarro, who coach Wanneroo in 2015, said they will be buoyed after their first up win. “It will be a challenge, Wanneroo always seem to step it up against us last year, but for us it’s just another pre-season game to work on our structures and fitness in preparation for the league season,” he said. “Who we play is irrelevant to us, and they had a good start last week and well done to Tim Kantor and his boys. We will be without several boys who are not quite ready to play competitive games, but that allows us to give the younger boys a run and look at some new faces to test our depth, which is important to have for a successful campaign, and that’s something we didn’t have last year being a new squad.” – Ashfield has the bye this week.
In Group B it’s off to Kingsway Reserve on Sunday with three games, and first up the two unbeaten side’s meet, when Western Knights take on UWA Nedlands (3pm). The Knights beat traditional rivals Dianella last week, while UWA overcame Balga, so the winners of this game will be in pole position to top the table. UWA Coach Michael Janhsen said his players have started well. “The Night Series start has been good for the boys and the club this year. It is an opportunity to test different things we prepare in our training sessions. I am delighted by the squad’s performances so far and it is good to see the competition with the new players which are already well integrated in the team,” he said. “We are happy about the actual situation and the way we develop. Still long time till the season starts and it is essential for us to be ready in April. The competition is good and we enjoy the atmosphere of this tournament.” Janhsen said Sunday’s game will be tough against a good side. “Playing Western Knights is always special, but unfortunately we picked a few long term injuries over the last two weeks, but the depth of the squad is good to compensate this,” he explained. “We like these kind of matches and it will be a good challenge for both teams to see where we are at this stage of pre-season. I am expecting a close game. The winner will make a big step forward to get through to the Semi-Finals.” The next game is Dianella White Eagles taking on hosts Kingsway Olympic (5pm), who won their first game of the competition last week against Quinns. In the final game of the night Balga and Quinns go in search of their first point of the tournament. Balga assistant coach Gary Shorto said, "It is a little disappointing not to have started the night series in better fashion. Having said that, we came up against two Division One sides and for periods, I feel we competed well." Shorto said he expects a strong Quinns FC side this Sunday. "Quinns, as always will be a very tough opponent. We are sure that Quinns will be looking to get a result against us".
In Group C on Friday evening Forrestfield United take on Morley Windmills at the Inglewood Stadium (7.pm). After losing their opening game, Morley had the bye last week, while United entered the competition with a local derby win against Gosnells City. Forrestfield Coach Rod Banjac was reall pleased with the win. “Three goals, clean sheet, no injuries and no cards, needless to say we are very happy with the outcome,” he said, “But we had to work hard from beginning to the final whistle against a rejuvenated Gosnells side, and it was just what we needed at this point of our pre-season preparations.” Banjac said Morley will be another tough test for his young side, “We will approach the game against Morley in exactly the same way but with an introduction of new players as we are looking to add some depth to the squad, and The Night Series provides us with a perfect opportunity to experiment,” he explained. “Morley is a very ambitious club, looking to get back into Division One, and there is no doubt that they will play their part in what should be a good game of football.” The other game in the group is on Sunday at the E&D Litis Stadium with Rockingham City taking on Gosnells City (6.30pm) Rockingham top the group on goal difference and are coming off a hard fought draw with Gwelup Croatia, who are also unbeaten in the group, this likes being the tightest group in the Night Series. This week Gwelup Croatia has the bye.
There are also three games in Group D at Ashfield Reserve on Sunday. The first game sees the unbeaten Canning City take on Fremantle City (2pm). New Coach Paul McCue has made a perfect start to his tenure at City, and they are coming off a tight 2-1 win against Melville last week. Fremantle bounced back from their opening game loss by thumping Kelmscott last week, and a win will keep Freo in touch with the group leaders. At 4.00pm Group leaders South West Phoenix take on Kelmscott Roos. The Phoenix under the tutelage of Mauro Marchione have won both games, scoring ten goals in the process, while Kelmscott are still searching for their first point in the competition. In the final game at 6.00pm, Curtin University takes on Melville City. Both sides lost last week, but both will be looking for a response this week, as both prepare for the new league season.
TOP FOUR IN GLORY’S SIGHTS IN MUST WIN GAME
Perth Glory has home comforts again this weekend when they host Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday at nib Stadium (7.00pm) The Glory’s draw last week against Brisbane Roar allowed the Wanderers to close the gap to four points on the table after they beat league leaders Sydney FC, so Saturday’s game is a vital clash for both sides top four aspirations.
The Wanderers were however thrashed in their opening ACL game on Tuesday by Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds, and Glory Coach Kenny Lowe said he hopes they got the wining out of their system before heading west. “It’s good that they’ve won, so they don’t need to win next week, that’s the way I look at it,” he joked. “They are very well-coached, have some super players and they do play a lovely brand of football, they will bring their own challenges.”
The sides have played twice this season, both ending in draws. The last time the two sides meet at nib Stadium it ended in a 2-2 draw in front of 13,290 fans. Alex Grant, who will miss again due to injury, equalised on the night after Nicolas Martinez had given the visitors the lead in the first minute. Keogh gave the Glory the lead just after half time, but Brendan Santalub gave both sides a share of the spoils. Then they draw 1-1 at ANZ Stadium. Adam Taggart opened the scoring for the Glory but Jaushua Sottirio levelled on the hour.
Shane Lowry was back in the squad last week, but Lowe is sweating on the fitness of Irish striker Andy Keogh, who missed the Roar game, and Serbian midfielder Nebojsa Marinkovic, who injured himself against the Roar. “We are hoping it’s only one week,” Lowe said of Keogh. “He’s so passionate that he wanted to play last week, but I didn’t want to take the risk. We could have played him possibly but because it’s an actual tear it could have compounded it. Obviously it would have been nice to have him on the park, but you have to make those calls sometimes. Nebo has tweaked his groin, but hopefully it’s not a bad one. He stuck his hand up to come off, but fingers crossed it’s OK.”
Keogh was missed last week, and Taggart’s goal made it ten for the season for the Young Socceroos striker, one ahead of Keogh, but he said he doesn’t matter who scored the goals, if it meant the Glory could push for a finals spot. “We just want to keep winning and we’re all scoring, and we’re all creeping up the goal scoring ladder,” he said. “It’s good we have more than just one person scoring. It’s more enjoyable when you know you’re going to get more chances and wait for that to come. We’ve been attacking quiet fluidly, it’s been enjoyable. It’s always the best to score a goal, it’s the hardest thing in football.”
Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REEDY, GK Nick FEELY, 3 Marc WARREN, 4 Shane LOWRY 5 Rhys WILLIAMS, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 8 Rostyn GRIFFITHS (c), 9 Andy KEOGH, 10 Nebo MARINKOVIC, 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Joe MILLS, 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Josh RISDON, 20 Aryn WILLIAMS, 22 Adam TAGGART, 28 Joe KNOWLES - *two to be omitted* - Ins: WARREN (promoted), KEOGH (returns from injury) - Outs: Nil
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: GK Vedran JANJETOVIC, GK Jerrad TYSON, 2 Shannon COLE, 3 Jack CLISBY, 5 Brendan HAMILL, 6 Mitch NICHOLS (c), 7 Steven LUSTICA, 8 DIMAS, 10 Nicolás MARTÍNEZ, 11 Brendon SANTALAB, 12 Scott NEVILLE, 13 Bruno PIÑATARES, 14 Jumpei KUSUKAMI, 16 Jaushua SOTIRIO, 18 Robert CORNTHWAITE, 22 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 24 Terry ANTONIS, 29 Ryan GRIFFITHS - *two to be omitted* - Ins: COLE (promoted), LUSTICA (promoted), DIMAS (returns from suspension) - Outs: 15.Kearyn BACCUS (suspended – one match)
DE VANNA SUSPENDED FOR W-LEAGUE ATTACK
Matildas co-captain Lisa De Vanna has been slapped with a one-game suspension for an incident in a W-League semi-final earlier this month. The Canberra United forward was cited by Football Federation Australia nine days after charging into the back of Melbourne City's Jess Fishlock in an off-the-ball attack that was missed by the match officials. De Vanna pleaded guilty to the charge of "Serious Unsporting Conduct" and issued a mandatory one-game suspension.
KEOGH TO RETURN FOR WESTERN SYDNEY CLASH
Striker Andy Keogh insists there is no on-field rivalry to be Perth Glory’s top goal scorer. But he will want to get back on the scoresheet after watching strike partner Adam Taggart move to ten goals, one more than the Republic of Ireland international, with his tap-in against Brisbane Roar last weekend.
Keogh is fit for Glory’s crucial home clash with Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday night after missing the draw with Brisbane with a hamstring strain. He was injured five minutes into the previous game against Adelaide United, but played on for another 45 minutes.
Keogh and Taggart have scored half of Glory’s 38 goals between them, with Diego Castro on eight and Nebojsa Marinkovic on five. But Keogh said he didn’t mind who scored if it meant Glory could push for a finals spot. “We just want to keep winning and we’re all scoring. We’re all creeping up the ladder,” he said.
“It’s good we have more than just one person scoring. Its more enjoyable when you know you’re going to get more chances and wait for that time to come. We’ve been attacking quiet fluidly, it’s been enjoyable. It’s always the best to score a goal. It’s the hardest thing in football.”
Glory are the third-highest scorers in the A-League and face a Western Sydney side buoyed by their win over previously unbeaten Sydney FC last weekend. “If we can stop conceding goals a lot of teams will take a lot more notice of us,” Keogh said. “We have to stop them building up from the back. They keep the ball well. They move it very quickly and they are good at the 1-2’s and getting behind.”
Defender Shane Lowry will challenge Rhys Williams and Dino Djulbic for a starting spot after recovering from a quad injury. “It’s always hard coming on as a defender when the game is perfectly balanced at two-all,” said Lowry, who replaced Williams late in the Brisbane game. “I thought I slotted in all right.”
MILLARD IMPRESSES ON ECU DEBUT (courtesy of ECU Joondalup)
New signing Ross Millard showed why he was in demand, after he departed Perth Glory at the end of the National Youth League, with a Man of the Match performance against Joondalup United last weekend. The 19-year-old, who celebrates his 20th birthday on Saturday, returned home in the pre-season and he said after talking to the club and seeing their plans he jumped at the chance to return. “I’ve settled in really well, and both the coaches and players have welcomed me with open arms and I’m really enjoying my football at the moment,” Millard said.
“There were other clubs interested in signing me soon as I left Glory, but there was a small amount of time in which I had to make a decision due to the season only being two weeks away. “At the time it was just a matter of me choosing the right club where I thought I could get the best out of myself. I saw the squad and culture that was being built at ECU and I really wanted to be a part of it. There’s definitely a feel at the club that we’re on the verge of achieving something great.”
Football has sent the talented defender from ECU to West Ham United and to Stevenage FC and then Perth Glory, and he said it’s been a roller-coaster ride. “Your right there, It’s been a roller-coaster ride so far, so many ups and downs but I certainly have no regrets as I really enjoyed my time and experience over in England and at Glory,” he said. “It didn’t work out the way I planned it to over in the UK, due to things happening that were out of my hands, but its defiantly something I can look back on and be proud of.”
The decision to leave the A-League club was one Millard thought long and hard about, but having had a glimpse of professional football he still wants to follow his dream. “Yes it was a difficult one for me, the boys were great with me when I first arrived back from England and really helped me settle back into Australian football,” he explained. “I made some good mates and memories along the way and really enjoyed my time there, but towards the end of my tenure I just felt like I needed a change of environment which led me to pursue other opportunities. I’ve been lucky enough to experience a glimpse of both A-League and the Football League over in England in which I’m really grateful for. My ambition to play professional football is still there - I just felt that I needed to go into an environment where I can enjoy my football again.”
Jacks head Coach Dale McCulloch said the youngster has a huge career in the game ahead of him. “Ross has been outstanding since joining us and he is a born leader, and after only a few training sessions you could see that, and that’s why we elevated him to the leaders group at the club,” he said. “He reads the game so well and is good on the floor and in the air, and his work rate and attitude is second to none. We are delighted he chose to come back to the club, because there were offers elsewhere, but I personally believe he can make that next step in the game.”
Millard said last week’s draw was two points lost and they are hoping to turn it around against Armadale on Sunday. “We were disappointed with the way we played as everyone at the club knows we’ve got so much more to offer,” he said. “We were OK in patches and definitely caused them problems however we didn’t do it for long enough and have to be more ruthless at both ends of the pitch. Armadale are always a tough opponent to come up against, they’re a physical side who cause a lot of teams problems, and they’re also coming off the back of a disappointing result which means they’ll be chomping at the bit to put things right, just like we are, so we have to be at our best and put in a strong performance.”
FOOTBALLWA.NET – PS4NPLWA TEAM OF THE WEEK
This season we will be choosing the PS4NPLWA 'Team of the Week' each Monday evening and adding it to the site. We have people at every game and they will choose a striker, 2 x midfielder, 2 x defenders and keeper each week to be up for selection in the side.
GLORY LOOK TO CRUCIAL DATE WITH WESTERN SYDNEY
Perth Glory find themselves under pressure to hold fifth position after a 2-2 draw with Brisbane Roar, however, coach Kenny Lowe expects to welcome back striker Andy Keogh next week. Glory twice came from behind at home to Brisbane on Saturday night through goals to Nebojsa Marinkovic and Adam Taggart to claim a share of the points.
Glory are four points ahead of Western Sydney (6th), who they host on Saturday. "It's good that they've won, so they don't need to win next week that's the way I look at it," he said. "They are very well-coached, have some super players and they play a lovely brand of football. They will bring their own challenges."
Lowe is confident Keogh will return after missing the Brisbane game with a hamstring tear. "We are hoping it's only one week. He is so passionate that he wanted to play (on the weekend), but I didn't want to take the risk. We could have played him possibly but because it's an actual tear it could have compounded it," Lowe said.
It's likely Keogh will come into the line-up as a straight swap for goalscorer Marinkovic. "Nebo has tweaked his groin. Hopefully it's not a bad one," Lowe commented. "He stuck his hand up to come off but fingers crossed that's okay." The weekend draw keeps Glory two points behind third-placed Melbourne City and fourth-placed Brisbane.
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - WEEK TWO REVIEW
It was week two of the State League Night Series, with ten games across the weekend. In Group ‘A’ Wanneroo City, who had the bye last week, opened their campaign with a 4-1 win against Shamrock Rovers at Wanneroo Reserve. On target for Wanneroo were Nathan Grostate, Endalk Balcha and a brace to Joel Gillespie. New coach Tim Kantor said it was a good first up performance. “It’s very early days in our preparation for the season with a new young squad but the early signs are very good,” he said. “Shamrock were certainly a tough opponent but I thought that we controlled large parts of the game and I was really pleased with the number of chances that we created. It was certainly a great start to our campaign and we will look to build on that against a very competitive Swan United on Friday night.”
In the late game Ashfield made it back-to-back wins with a hard fought 2-1 victory against Joondalup City Brett McGuire gave them the lead on the half hour heading home Ashley Corker’s free kick, but City hit back with Jamie Kalaher scoring from Joe McQuade free kick. But City switched off and Ashfield regained the lead immediately through Greg Haliday. Ashfield assistant Coach Marco Schisano came up against his former club and he said they had to work hard for the win but were well worthy winners. “It was a great match for us as Joondalup City made us work very hard for the full 90 minutes. With all the changes we have had this season, it is very pleasing to see the players adapting to the style of play Matt (Wardle) and I are looking to implement this year,” he said. “We have made a lot of changes to the squad in the first two matches and we are making tactical changes to the side during both matches so far. The players have been excellent in adjusting to every situation they have faced and we are very happy with the atmosphere at the club. We will continue to provide opportunities to different players in the next few matches in order to be ready for the start of the season.”
In Group ‘B’ also on Friday night Western Knights won 4-2 against traditional rivals Dianella White Eagles at Ashfield Reserve. Jamie Burns, Paul Lloyd, Tom Southgate and Ryan Haslet were on target for the Knights and striker Adriano Jelenovic said it was a good performance. “I thought we dominated almost whole game, and we created a lot of chances and kept the ball well. Also we played as a team, we have been very compact and didn't let them play,” he explained. “Only the last 10 minutes of first half we lost our possession and then they scored one of their two goals but might have been a reason because of the preseason process as we are training so hard and we are not 100% yet. Second half after they scored their equalising goal we made a few substitutions and again lifted up intensity and scored two winning goals.” On Sunday Kingsway Olympic bounced back from defeat last week to beat Quinns FC 4-1 in the early game at Kingsway Reserve. Justin Caratozzolo scored brace, with others to Jarrad McNally and Nicolas Chick. In the late game UWA Nedlands beat Balga 3-0.
In Group ‘C’ on Friday night Forrestfield United made their first appearance in the tournament and ran out 3-0 winners against neighbours Gosnells City at the Inglewood Stadium. Forrestfield were ahead after only five minutes, Mark Barnett switched play to find Jordan Hart on the wing, who crossed to Mitch Crocker to finish. It was 2-0 just after the break, Matt Harold won possession off a cheap turn over by Gosnells and slotted superbly across the keeper bottom left corner. The third came late when Gosnells failed to deal with a corner and Andy Harold finished with an acrobatic bicycle kick. “The boys played well for the solid 90 minutes. With the interchange rule the lads each got a good hit out all over the park,” Barnett said. “We dominated possession throughout the game and on a better day we would've had quite easily half a dozen goals. A few slips ups early on in defence were corrected and the boys put in solid shift. I am delighted we kept a clean sheet and we will build on this in the coming weeks.” In the late game Rockingham City and Gwelup Croatia fought out a 1-1 draw. Lydon Hodgkiss gave Rockingham the lead with a stunning 20 meter free kick on 16 minutes, but Gwelup levelled just after half time through Noah Shamaki.
In group ‘D’ on Saturday night South West Phoenix ran out convincing 6-1 winners against Curtin University at Edinburgh Oval. Kieran Quinn scored a double, with Lee Stewart, Ryan Stewart Corey Barclay, and Jayden Prosser also on target. On Sunday at Ashfield Reserve Fremantle City bounced back from last week’s loss to thrash Kelmscott Roos 6-0. Alec Robinson was the star, bagging four goals, while Rhys Plucknett and Lawrence Lewis scored the other goals. “A game that was particularly hard due to the weather conditions that saw both sides struggle with the heat,” explained Fremantle Coach Steve Plucknett. “It was pleasing that we learnt from our mistakes last week, and we also took our chances well and probably should have had a few more. Ollie Rigler saved a penalty before there was any score, and I think this woke us up and we then got on with it and stepped up with some good finishes.” In the last game of the group Canning City made it back-to-back wins after a hard fought 2-1 win against Melville City. Gavin Brown’s side led at the break, after good lead up play between Brodie Harrison and Charlie Bush set up Mark Lucas who was brought down in the box on 24 minutes. Lucas picked himself up to score from the penalty. But Canning hit back late with Callum Roberts scoring both goals. His first came on 67 minutes, after he timed his run perfectly to get on the end a ball over the top, before slotting home. Then five minutes later he scored the winner, finishing off a neat build up and finishing well.
SPARROW EARNS JOONDALUP A POINT IN THE DERBY
English import Matthew Sparrow started life at Joondalup United in dramatic style, converting a last minutes penalty to earn the newly-promoted side to a 2-2 draw against ECU Joondalup in the local derby at Percy Doyle Reserve on Sunday evening. It was the first ever meeting between the two clubs in the top flight and Ross Millard gave ECU the lead early. Richard Howles levelled before the break, but it looked like Tommy Amphlett had won it for the visitors but Sparrow popped up late to earn United a point. “It was a good result, and a result we deserved,” Joondalup keeper James Bosdet said. “On another day we could have won but we are not complaining with the point. It’s a good point against one of the teams tipped to challenge for the title. It's a good start to NPL life and we are looking ahead to next week now which is another big game.”
It was a typical derby early with some tasty tackles, with both sides looking to get the opener, and that went to the visitors on the quarter hour. Daryl Nicol’s free kick was saved low by James Bosdet, but the rebound fell to Millard, and new defender made mistake at the back post. Joondalup lifted and went in search of the equaliser, with Arran Maplestone a constant threat, and their hard work was rewarded on 35 minutes with the equaliser. ECU were a man down, with midfielder Kevin Moon receiving treatment for an ankle injury, but a long throw from Joel Ledsham was flicked on to Howles, and the big striker finished with aplomb, to score the first ever NPL goal for the club. United were on top late in the half, Josh Booysen saw his shot flash wide, before Maplestone crossed to Joe Stocker, who headed over the top.
Joondalup continued to press early in the second half, but were undone by a quick ECU counter attack nine minutes in. Skipper Gordon Smith sent Nicol in on goal, he rounded Bosdet, but his shot was offline, but Amphlett picked up the crumbs and fired home from a tight angle. Despite going behind Joondalup continued to push forward Howles crossed to second half substitute Mike Kenny, but Jack Jones got back with a superb last-ditch tackle to deny him.
With Joondalup pushing men forward looking for the equaliser, ECU started picking them off and should have added a third. First Smith fired inches wide after great work by Nicol, before Bosdet produced a stunning save to deny Smith again moments later. The Scottish striker cut inside two Joondalup defenders but his shot was superbly saved by the Joondalup custodian. That save became more important as Joondalup levelled two minutes into injury time. A long ball into the box wasn’t dealt with and Howles fell under the challenge of Fraser Greenwood and referee Josh Mannella pointed straight to the spot. Sparrow kept his nerve and sent Greenwood the wrong way from the resulting penalty to give both sides a share of the spoils.
SALMON SWOOPS TO SCORE AGAINST HIS FORMER CLUB
Former Bayswater City striker Alex Salmon came back to haunt his former club after scoring a late equaliser to give Inglewood United a 2-2 draw at the Inglewood Stadium on Sunday evening. It looked like Bayswater would continue their Night Series winning form, racing to a two goal lead at half time, with goals from Todd Howarth and Andrija Jukic. But a second half reveal from the home side with Luke Randazzo pulling one back and Salmon had the final say with six minutes remaining. “I enjoyed the game I thought we were going to nick it at the end, but coming back from 2-0 down, we’re always going to be happy with a point,” Salmon said. “Both sides had chances in the game and it was an entertaining game. It's always nice to score, but I don't put too much thought into the fact it's my old club, I just want to score goals.”
Last season’s beaten Grand Finalists were out of the blocks early, and Bayswater keeper Devon Spence was called upon to make a couple of smart saves. But Bayswater steadied and got their game together and they hit the front on 35 minutes. David Heagney picked out Howarth, who was given far too much space on the edge of the penalty area and his shot flew past Alex Dunn for the lead. They doubled their advantage five minutes later, Jukic found space on the edge of the box, and he lifted the ball up over Dunn to send Bayswater into the sheds in complete control.
It was much of the same after the break Jason Mirco shot flashed just wide, and some desperate defending from the home side, including a couple cleared off the line, kept them in the game. Inglewood, who had lost Kenny Keogh early due to injury, found a lifeline on 78 minutes from his replacement. A corner wasn’t dealt with by Bayswater and the ball fell to Randazzo who volleyed home superbly. It was a perfect boost to the player, after returning back to the club after a year out of the game. The goal lifted Inglewood and Bayswater started to show cracks, and six minutes from time the comeback was complete. A cross from the left hand side found Salmon at the far post, and his header beat Spence much to the delight of the home crowd, to give both sides a point hitting the back of the net.
It was a great return to football for Randazzo and he said things are looking good. “There was a good buzz in the squad going into the game, and round one is always exciting and we really wanted to hit the ground running. We didn't quite do that in the first half but the boys showed plenty of character in the second half to level the scores and take something away from the match,” he said. “I didn’t play last season due to work commitments but a year off certainly makes you miss football and makes you very hungry to get back into. Really enjoying being back into it and wrapped to get back on the scoreboard last night in my first game back. Just looking at personally improving each week and playing my role for the team, in whatever capacity that is.”
GLORY LET TWO POINTS SLIP AGAINST THE ROAR
Perth Glory remain in contention for the top four spot after a thrilling 2-2 draw against Brisbane Roar at nib Stadium on Saturday night. The visitors led twice in the first half with Jamie Maclaren and teenager defender Dane Ingham on target for John Aloisi’s side, only for Glory to claim a point courtesy of goals from Nebojsa Marinkovic and a superb team goal finished off by Adam Taggart, his tenth goal of the season.
“We were up and down in patches, we played some really good football but at the same time we need to tighten up defensively and also going forward,” Taggart said post-match. “We had some half chances, our final balls probably could have been a little better and we could have gone away with three points. It’s always easy to talk about spots and places (on the ladder) but Brisbane are a great side, of course we want to win, we’re at home...but there’s a lot of positives to take out of it. They (Roar) were very well organised. We came up against a very good side, at the end of the day it’s probably a fair result.”
Glory Coach Kenny Lowe was forced into one change to the side that beat Adelaide United 5-0 last week, with Nebojsa Marinkovic replacing Andy Keogh, who didn’t recover from a hamstring injury, while Shane Lowry was back in the squad, but had to do with a pace on the bench. Former Glory striker Maclaren went close to the opener on 16 minutes, Tommy Oar’s cross was met by the striker but his header hit the post. Rostyn Griffiths tried his luck from long-range, which didn’t trouble Michael Theo. But on the half hour the Roar hit the front, Thomas Broich crossed to Maclaren, who beat Rhys Williams to the ball to easily, and fired low past Liam Reddy.
There lead only lasted seven minutes, but the equaliser was controversial. Diego Castro took on two Roar defenders on the left and whipped in a cross, but it looked like the ball had gone out of play and TV replays showed the ball was clearly out, but Marinkovic wasn’t to know and he picked up Luke DeVere’s poor clearance and his curling effort from the edge of the penalty area deflected into the top corner of the net. The Glory faithful were still settling back in their seats when the Roar regained the lead two minutes later. Brandan Borrello and Broich combined down the right, before Broich found Ingham who drilled his shot low past Reddy.
The Glory opened the second half well and Taggart was inches away from converting Marinkovic’s cross early, but they were level on 48 minutes. Chris Harold was picked out by a superb back heel from Castro and he played the ball across the goal for Taggart to poke home, in one of the best team goal of the season. But the Roar should have gone ahead again eight minutes later, Maclaren racing clear of a static Glory defence, but Reddy stood tall to save. Taggart almost won it for the home side but Theo produced a great save to deny him, before substitute Joe Knowles fired into the side netting in stoppage time.
GLORY SPOT ON IN NPL SEASON OPENER
Perth Glory has come-from-behind to beat Armadale 2-1 in the opening game of the PS4NPLWA season at Alfred Skeet Reserve on Saturday evening. While the Glory A-League side were drawing at home to Brisbane Roar, the Glory youngsters fell behind to Nathan Costello’s header, but went into the break with the lead after goals from skipper Daniel Stynes and a penalty from Kosta Petratos. Both sides had chances in the second half but the Glory held on for the points.
“A great start to the season for us against Armadale a team who are in some very good form,” Glory striker Brown-Montgomery said. “I thought we started well and had them on the back foot from kick off but they managed to score early. We are the youngest team in the league and I think it showed real character and guts to come back from 1-0 down, and it showed that even though we are a young team we can grind results and we can also play good football.”
The Glory had opened brightly and was on the front foot early, but against the run of play Armadale hit the front on 24 minutes. Former Swindon Town midfielder Jordan Pavett’s free-kick picked out Costello, and former Glory defender lost his marker and his faint header beat Jordan Thurtell. But Armadale’s joy was short lived and eight minutes later the Glory youngsters levelled. A quick counter attack involving striker Bayley Brown-Montgomery and Stynes, sent the striker in on goal, Armadale keeper Michael Craggs stood tall and got a hand to his shot, and the ball was cleared off the line, but Stynes was alert to fire home the rebound.
Some good approach work from the Glory had Armadale defending in numbers, but they continued to find holes in the Armadale defence, and it was only a matter of time before they hit the front, and it came five minutes later. Brown-Montgomery was held back in the box by Costello and referee Tom Dowle pointed straight to the spot. Petratos stepped up and made no mistake from the resulting penalty to send the Glory to the break with the lead.
After the break the Glory continued to hit on the counter attack and went close to a third. Walter Scott picked out the speedy Brown-Montgomery in space, but his shot crashed off the woodwork and away to safety. Armadale pressed late and were dangerous from set-pieces, but the Glory back four were working overtime to hold them at bay. The home side almost snatched a late point. Pavett’s corner found Dannie Richman at the back post, and he crossed to Costello who headed over the top.
CATARCIONE BACK AND SCORING
Perth SC striker has started the new NPL season like he left off last season, bagging a brace in the their 3-1 win against newly-promoted Mandurah City at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday evening. The Brazilian striker, who won the Gold Boot last season, opened his account for 2017 with a goal either side of half time. Mandurah hit back and Oscar Thompson pulled one back, but the points were wrapped up 14 minutes from time with Nicolas Ambrogio adding the third. “Obviously delighted to get the win in the competition on our opening game,” Catarcione said. “It’s always good to win the opening game of the season, and for myself as a striker scoring two goals in the first game is even better.”
The visitors, who were back in the top level for the first time since 2011, started brightly and went close to the opener when skipper Andy Brown raced into the penalty area, but Francis Soale stood tall and saved with his foot. Perth got into the game and went close themselves on the half hour. A great through ball from Harley Orr sent Niccolo Sabatini clear on goal, but Brad Eiffe was out bravely to deny the winger. But in first half stoppage time the home side scored the opener, with a contender for ‘Goal of the Season’. There looked little danger when he received the ball 25 meters from goal, but his curling shot flew past Eiffe and into the top corner of the net.
The striker double his and Perth’s tally eight minutes into the second half. A ball over the top sent him clear, with the Mandurah defence looking for the offside flag that never came, and Catarcione rounded Eiffe and rolled the ball home. But any team coached by Doug Hesketh were not going to lie down without a fight and Mandurah almost pulled one back moments later. Ryan Francis’ ball over the top sent Daniel Dyson into the box, but his shot crashed off the post and away to safety.
Then Craig Tone was picked out by Brown, but with the goal at his mercy he dragged his shot wide. But their pressure was rewarded just after the hour, when they reduced the margin. Brown was having a superb game and he played the ball into Thompson, and the defender finished clinically over the top of Soale. It was game on but Perth weren’t going to let this one slip and on 76 minutes they scored the decisive third. Catarcione turned provider this time, heading the ball across the face of goal, and Ambrogio made no mistake.
City manager Doug Hesketh was really happy with the commitment of his players and believes it building a platform for the year ahead. “We’ve been playing good football for two years in a league that’s tough to get out of but they’re a top team and you make a little mistake you get punished” he told the PS4NPLWA website. “We have to focus on the positives though. I think we’ve got a few surprises for the other teams and I think we can shake it up a bit.”
ALBANO AT THE DOUBLE FOR COCKBURN
Cockburn City new midfielder Gian Albano bagged a double as the Cockerels beat Subiaco 3-0 at Dalmatinac Park on Saturday evening. The game was over as a contest before half time, with Albano capping off a dominant performance for his new side with goals either side of Jesse Lazzaro effort. Cockburn Coach Scott Miller was delighted with his team’s performance throughout the game. “Really happy with the first half, thought we really ran over the top of them with our speed” he told the PS4NPLWA website. “The second half we controlled the game to make sure we didn’t give any opportunities away.”
Cockburn dominated early and Rueben Tristao fired wide after only two minutes, but their pressure was rewarded with a goal on 13 minutes. A poor goal kick from Ryan Montgomery went straight to Albano, and the former Perth Glory midfielder made no mistake. They doubled their lead eight minutes later, Lazzaro superbly curling the ball around the wall and into corner of the net. Despite conceding two quick goals Subiaco continued to press, and Owen Coates’ header beat Luke Radonich, but the crossbar came to the Cockburn keepers’ rescue.
But ten minutes before half time Cockburn added a third. A long ball over the top caught the Subiaco defence out, and sent Albano one-on-one with Montgomery, and despite the keeper getting a hand to the shot he couldn’t stop it rolling into the net. Subiaco went close again after the break forcing good saves from Radonich, but neither side creating any clear cut chances in the remainder of the half. But the damaged had already been done, and Cockburn held tight to claim the three points.
GULLS RUFFLE A FEW FEATHERS IN OPENER
Sorrento made the perfect start to the new PS4 NPLWA season with a stunning 5-1 win against Balcatta at Percy Doyle Reserve on Friday evening. But they had to come from behind after Nathan Scully scored for Balcatta, but Reece Vittiglia and Billy Quinncroft gave the home side the lead at the break, before Shaun Kilkelly, Jack Salter and Sean Canham scored after half time to seal a comprehensive win. “It was a massive statement for the first game of the season, we have shown we’re not messing around this season and we are up for it,” Quinncroft said. “We have a big squad where everyone can play first team football, so we are looking strong and need to carry it on.”
Gulls coach Jamie Harnwell said they were good down the flanks and finished well. “We’ve got really effective (wide) players and obviously a few really tall players in the middle there who can score goals, and in that second half, we were superb,” he told the PS4NPLWA website. ““Balcatta made it difficult, they became compact, so we had to play wider, but it worked.” The visitors made the perfect stat under new coach Salv Todaro and were ahead after only five minutes. Scully found space on the edge of the penalty area, and his shot beat James Morgan. But Sorrento hit back nine minutes later. Scott Bulloch and Ryan Pearson combined down the left and Pearson’s cross picked out Vittiglia to head past Domenico Savoldelli. The Gulls hit the front on the half hour, when Scott Witschge raced down the right and whipped in a low cross which was turned home by Quinncroft.
Sorrento took control after the break and added a third on the hour. A corner picked out an unmarked Kilkenny who made mistake. It was four on 76 minutes, and it was an immediate impact for substitute Slater. The New Zealander had only been on the pitch for two minutes, when a corner wasn’t cleared and he fired home from the edge of the penalty area with his first touch of the game. The icing was put on the cake four minutes from time, when Slater raced down the left and squared the ball to another substitute Canham, to finish and give the Gulls a convincing win.
SALDARIS SCORES LATE TO SEAL VICTORY
A goal deep into second half injury time from Floreat Athena defender Chris Saldaris has given them a hard fought 3-2 win against their traditional rivals Stirling at the E&D Litis Stadium on Friday evening. David Micevski had given Stirling the lead early, before Lewis McMahon levelled. Micevski added his second to put Stirling back in charge, but they then had Blamo Qua Qua sent off. Floreat made their numerical numbers count and Kris Gate again levelled for the hosts, and Saldaris had the final word.
“The game was a strange game we started well and put them on the back foot early,” Gate said. “For me personally coming back from a knee operation I started on the bench and watching is always frustrating. They took the lead but we responded well with Lewy scoring a good strikers goal. It was positive for me to come on just after half time and get involved and great to see us responding after going behind again and it was good for me to score a good goal, Chris Saldaris got us a well-deserved winner I thought and it's always a nice way to win a local derby.”
The visitors opened brightly and they opened the scoring on 13 minutes. A ball over the top from skipper Miki Vujacic caught the Floreat defence flat footed and David Micevski nipped in and finished well past Jason Saldaris. But their lead only lasted for five minutes. Good work from new signing Zelfy Nazary ended with McMahon and the English striker made no mistake. It was a cracking opening game of the season with both sides pressing forward and it was the visitors who went close to regaining the lead before the break, Lukas De Lima shot was well saved by Jason Saldaris.
Floreat looked for an early breakthrough after the break, but they were struggling in the final third, and couldn’t find a way past a Stirling defence well led by Alex Suleski and Dejan Spaseski. It was a tight affair with half chances at both ends, but it was Stirling who took their chance on 73 minutes. David Micevski found a pocket of space, and showed why he won the Football West Gold Medal last season, superbly chipping Jason Saldaris from the edge of the box. The game took another twist three minutes later, when Qua Qua was shown a second yellow card by Steve Gregory and sent off.
Floreat went in for the kill and they equalised two minutes later. Phil Arnold made space down the flank and played in an inch-perfect cross and Gate side-footed home past John Perkins. It was a thrilling end to the game with Floreat pressing and Stirling hitting on the counter attack and Alex Tanevski went close to regaining the lead for Stirling, after being sent one-on-one with Jason Saldaris, but the Floreat custodian saved. But in the 93rd minute Floreat won it, Chris Saldaris was in the right place at the right time to stab home from close-range.
THIRD SPOT UP FOR GRABS FOR GLORY
After last week’s five start show in Adelaide, Perth Glory return home this weekend when they host Brisbane Roar at nib Stadium on Saturday evening (7.00pm) The Roar sits only two points ahead of Kenny Lowe’s side, so a win on Saturday will take them above them on the Hyundai A-League table. Lowe brings back Marc Warren and Kosta Petratos and regains the services of Shane Lowry from injury.
The Glory have started to hit their straps and have scored eight goals in the last three games, with Diego Castro, Adam Taggart and Andy Keogh are bagging them in for fun. Keogh may be in doubt for the game, the Irish striker came off with a leg injury against Adelaide, but he will be doing all he can to take his spot in the starting eleven. Taggart said they capable of breaking down any opposition back line. “It’s taken a while to really click, but especially the last few games we’re probably starting to fulfil our potential together. It’s been really enjoyable, especially going forward. It’s been an absolute joy,” he said.
“I think we’re all starting to understand each other’s qualities and even defensively from the front, we’ve started to work it out exactly how we’re going to stop their defenders and holding mid’s from playing out. We’ve shown that we can break down any defence so far. It’s a big game for us…. We’ve got to go out all guns blazing.”
Will Lowe change a winning side, Lowry is available but Dino Djulbic and Rhys Williams were both outstanding last week at the heart of the back four. Djulbic said they know the important of a win on Saturday. “Third spot is available, and it’s a real six pointer,” he said. “We are playing at home and hopefully its three points for us.”
Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REEDY, GK Nick FEELY, 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, 20 Aryn WILLIAMS, 22 Adam TAGGART, 23 Kosta PETRATOS - *two to be omitted* - Ins: WARREN (promoted), LOWRY (returns from injury), PETRATOS (promoted)
Brisbane Roar squad: GK Michael THEO, GK Tomislav BILIC, 3 Luke DEVERE, 7 Thomas KRISTENSEN, 8 Jacob PEPPER, 9 Jamie MACLAREN, 10 Brett HOLMAN, 11 Tommy OAR, 13 Jade NORTH, 15 ARANA, 17 Matt MCKAY (c), 22 Thomas BROICH, 24 Connor O’TOOLE, 26 Nick D’AGOSTINO, 28 Brandon BORRELLO, 29 Joe CALETTI, 46 Cameron CRESTANI, 50 Dane INGHAM - *two to be omitted* - Ins: NORTH (returns from suspension), BROICH (promoted), O’TOOLE (promoted), CALETTI (promoted)
INTO THE LOOKING GLASS: THE NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUE SEASON-WA PREVIEW
The NPL-WA season kicks off this weekend, with the league strengthened to fourteen teams. Reigning State champions Perth SC are looking to make it back to back titles, however they will be strongly challenged by Bayswater City, who will be looking to regain the trophy after a disappointing season last year. A host of clubs will be waiting in the wings if Perth or Bayswater slip up, with Inglewood United, ECU Joondalup and Floreat Athena looking good to challenge for the title.
The battle at the other end of the table is likely to be just as tight, and it is expected that Subiaco AFC and Perth Glory will be fighting it out to avoid bottom spot and possible relegation.
The team which finishes top of the regular season table will once again be champions and represent Western Australia in the national NPL play-off series. . This week the footballwa.net team takes a look at the twelve clubs, and are joined by author of "Paddocks to Pitches", Richard Kreider and Eamon Duffy, host of "Let's talk Football", in offering their thoughts on how season 2017 will pan out...
LET THE GAMES BEGIN - PS4 NPL-WA ROUND ONE PREVIEW
With the expansion of the PS4 National Premier League WA the season kicks off early this season and it starts with a bang this weekend with seven big games. Our first Footballwa.net Match of the Week is a massive clash with newly-promoted Joondalup United hosting ECU Joondalup in the inaugural Joondalup Derby at Percy Doyle Reserve on Sunday evening (7.00pm)
United won promotion to the NPL by winning the First Division title last season and it’s been a meteoric rise for the club, after only entering the state league in 2000. It’s a big weekend for United keeper James Bosdet, whose parents Linda and Terry arrive in time for the game, and he said they are looking forward to the challenge at playing in the top flight of WA football. “It will be a huge challenge for us this year but one we are all relishing, and we can't wait to show clubs what we are made of,” he said. “The step up in level will be huge but we feel we have the players and most importantly a spirited group to compete with these guys.”
They will be playing their home games at Percy Doyle Reserve, the home of Sorrento FC, but Bosdet said that shouldn’t affect them. “We've been training at different grounds ever since joining the state leagues and playing games across two venues, so I don’t think that will affect us,” he explained. “Both teams are on the same pitch with the same conditions so it will come down to who is better on the day. Hopefully one day we will have a ground of our own like most clubs in this league, but until then we have to make the most of what we have.”
Bosdet said since the fixtures were released the club have been looking forward to the Derby and he said it should be a cracker. “We were hoping for a big game for our first match in the NPL and I don’t think it could get any bigger than this,” he said. “They (ECU) finished last season really well and will be a tough game for us for sure. We are hoping for a big turn out and plenty of noise from our fans to give us an edge and hopefully start NPL life with a win.”
ECU Joondalup went through the second half of last season undefeated in the league, but missed out in the Top Four Finals. They were knocked out of the Night Series early, but assistant coach David Tough said it’s a new look squad this season but they are gelling well, and are looking forward to repeating last season’s feats. “I wouldn’t read too much into the Night Series matches, with the new format this season. With the late decision on the NPL expansion it left the majority of the teams three or four weeks behind where they would like to be when the first game came around,” he said. “We’ve worked hard since the Bayswater game, and feel our fitness is now where it should be for the first league game of the season. We’re delighted with the squad we have assembled for this season, and the club have done a great job in the off season resigning the majority of the squad who performed so well in the second half of the season.”
Tough knows Sunday’s game will be a battle, with United looking to start their first NPL game with a win, but they head into the game full of confidence after a good pre-season. “It’s a big game as it’s our first of the new season, so we’re focused and prepared for this game, as we would be if we were playing any of the NPL sides,” he explained. “I’ve personally coached a large number of their squad over the years, and they are good players who have a winning mentality and are going to be really up for this game. Not only because it’s their NPL debut, but a large number of their squad, have played at some level at ECU. We’re prepared and ready to go and hopefully we can perform to the high standards we’ve set for this season.”
The season kicks off tonight and first up traditional rivals Floreat Athena and Stirling Lions meet at E&D Litis Stadium. Floreat were beaten in the first week of last season’s Top Four Finals, while the Lions poor late form saw them miss out. Both sides also exited early from the QBE Night Series and Lions keeper John Perkins said they are focused to start the NPL with a good win. “Yes it was disappointing to go out in the first game after making the final last year, but as usual the focus is always on the league and getting ready for the first game,” he said. “The pre-season has been good, obviously the league starts earlier this season which meant that everyone needed to hit the ground running from day one and hope to on Friday.”
Perkins, who joined the Lions from Ashfield in 2016, say’s games against Floreat are one the club look forward too. “These games are always great to play in. The first game of the season always has a bit of buzz around it but to have it against Floreat is brilliant, and both teams will be looking to get three points so I can see the game being a high energy 90 minutes,” he explained. “We have brought in several new faces to complement the players that were already here. The manager might have a headache picking his best 11 as they have all done well in pre-season. We will have more depth to draw from that’s for sure.”
Also tonight Sorrento entertains Balcatta at Percy Doyle Reserve. Sorrento performed well in the Night Series, but they were disappointing last week in the Third Paced Play-off defeat against Armadale, while Balcatta bowed out in the opening round. New Balcatta keeper Domenico Savoldelli said they have improved as the pre-season has gone on. “With the change of coach at the club, it’s not been ideal, and unfortunately we lost in the opening game of the Night Series,” he explained. “But our pre-season has improved under new coaches Salv Todaro and Goran Stajic, and we’ve become better week by week, and we hope to hit the ground running against Sorrento on Friday.”
Savoldelli, who last played at Perth SC before heading to Germany to trail at clubs, said the first game of the season is one all players in the league look forward too, and he knows it will be a tough challenge at Sorrento but he is looking forward to the challenge. “I’m really looking forward to the first game of the season, the boys are feeling good, we all work hard for each other and we're hungry to come away with all three points, but we now it will be tough up there,” he said. “There are a few new faces in our squad, and we have a young team too. But every training session and every game we are gelling more and more, and there is a great atmosphere.”
On Saturday evening the 2016 NPL League Champions Perth SC opens their season up when they host newly-promoted Mandurah City at Dorrien Gardens. Mandurah have been impressive in the Night Series, reaching the Final before losing to Bayswater. Perth on the other hand lost in the opening round of the pre-season competition, but skipper Clark Keltie said it was wasn’t ideal. “With the format of the night series changing this season, we had to adjust our pre-season accordingly,” he said. “Obviously being knocked out in the first game wasn't ideal for us, but we've been doing a lot of work on the training ground to make sure we're good to go on Saturday night.”
Perth has added some quality to their squad in the off-season, and Keltie said they have fitted in well and will be up for the challenge against Mandurah. “I'm sure they (Mandurah) will be going into the game with confidence after a promotion and their good run in the night series. Having watched them in pre-season, I think they'll be a competitive side in the NPL this year,” he explained. “For us, it's a home game at Dorrien Gardens where we are always strong. We've strengthened the squad in a few areas and all the boys can't wait to get the season started with a win.”
Also on Saturday night Cockburn City and Subiaco meet at Dalmatinac Park. Both sides were at the wrong end of the table last season, with Subiaco relegated, but after an appeal they regained their NPL status, and both were eliminated in the first round of the Night Series. Cockburn midfielder Ruben Tristao said the early exit wasn’t the best he said they have worked hard and the new players who have come have really strengthened the squad. “Rather than looking for results we see the pre-season games as a learning platform to assimilate the coaches’ ideas. We have significantly improved since we played ECU in the Night Series and this gives us confidence for the upcoming league games,” he said. “We added a few players to our squad and Calvin Whitney and Gian Albano have been good inclusions.”
Tristao said pre-season form goes out the window now and they will be looking to start the season with three points. “Most of the teams use the Night Series to test new players, try different tactics, get game-fitness, etc. so I don't think Night Series is a good indicator of league performance and neither is the last season's table,” he said. “Subiaco will try to prove this year that they deserve to be in the NPL. We only have to focus on ourselves, work hard for the 90 minutes and if we play as we have been doing, we can get a result against every team in the league.”
The final game on Saturday evening is Perth Glory’s visit to Alfred Skeet Reserve to take on Armadale. It’s a new look Glory squad this season with only a few players from last season’s roster, but they have looked good in the pre-season, including a tournament in Japan, early January. Armadale also have a new look squad and a new coach, with former Swan United and Shamrock Rovers’ John O’Reilly at the helm. They have had a good Night Series, winning the Third Placed play-off against Sorrento.
New English midfielder Jordan Pavett has been a stand out in the night series run and he said the squad is getting better with every game. “We’re very happy with our progression throughout the pre-season and it’s a kind of bitter sweet that we finished third, we all thought we could have finished one place better or even won it, but against Mandurah we were unlucky, but that’s what can happen when the game goes to penalties, it’s a lottery but overall we’re gelling well and it’s exciting times at the club.”
Pavett, who played at Ipswich and Colchester as a junior and signed a pro-contract at Swindon Town, said he knows very little about teams in the league but has been told about Saturday’s opponents. “Being new to the country I’m not aware of how good teams are in the league, but the boys have mentioned they are young and fit, with a hunger in their belly’s to do well. But so do we, and we’re looking forward to playing them and we have the confidence we can beat them,” he said. “The club, players and the coaches have been brilliant, and they have welcomed me with open arms, and I’m really looking forward to start the season with three points.”
On Sunday the final game takes us to the Inglewood Stadium, when Bayswater City takes on Inglewood United. The home side impress last season, losing the Top Four Grand Final, but fell at the first hurdle in the Night Series. Bayswater on the other hand are fresh off winning the 2017 QBE Night Series Final and defender Devon Gibson said it has given the whole club a lift. “It’s a great start to the season for us, it's the start I’ve been waiting for and due to me being cup tied last year,” he said. “It feels good to be involved now, it's one of three cups I'll be chasing with the club, one down two to go this season,” he said.
Gibson said and it’s good to get Gustavo Giron-Maralanda back for the new season, and Inglewood first up is a tough game but they are full of confidence and go into the game looking for three points. “Inglewood first up, and it's always going to be a tough game, there up there with the top 4 , and have a lot of experienced players, but the way are boys are playing together I know we can get the job done,” he said. “But we will never take anyone lightly this year; Bayswater will be making sure every team know we're going to be where we belong, top of the table. It’s great to get Gustavo back and his’s looking in fine form, a top goal scorer and a player we need to get what we want done, for the rest of the year.”
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - WEEK TWO PREVIEW
It’s week two of the Football West State League Night Series and it all starts on Friday evening in Group A at Wanneroo Reserve. In the opening game Wanneroo City host Shamrock Rovers at 6.30pm. Wanneroo had the bye last week and will be looking to open with a win, against a Shamrock side that were beaten in the opening round. In the late game Ashfield take on Joondalup City at 8.30pm. Both teams had convincing wins last week, City 4-1 against Swan United, while Ashfield beat Shamrock 3-0. Ashfield Head Coach Matt Wardle said last week’s win has given them confidence going forward. “The result last week was great, and Marco and I, and the rest of the coaching staff, were happy with the win and the first three points for the competition,” he said. “This week we are looking for a performance more than the result. If we can perform to our best then I believe the result will come.”
Wardle said Joondalup are good side and he will have some inside information with assistant Coach Marco Schisano coaching them last season. “Last week was an impressive win for Joondalup and we are looking forward to the challenge ahead. Marco has come over to Ashfield this season after having had some success with them, and he has some great memories their too,” he explained. “He’s looking forward to the challenge and we both see tit’s a another game where we get to put our plans into practise and get minutes into the players legs in preparation for the season ahead. I’m expecting a good, evenly contested match and hope that we can play some attractive football and create plenty of chances and get the performance we are looking for.” Swan United has the bye this week.
In Group B on Friday night traditional rivals Western Knights take on Dianella White Eagles at Ashfield Reserve (6.30pm) Both sides we winners in opening round, the Eagles thrashing Balga 5-0, while the Knights won 2-0 against Kingsway. Knights’ winger Paul Lloyd said it was a good win. “I thought we controlled the game and should have had more,” he said. “We missed some good one-on-one chances, especially in the second half when the game opened up and we should have converted them, but saying that Kingsway were a decent side and tested us.” Lloyd said games between the Knights and Dianella are always tough encounters and he’s expecting more of the same on Friday, especially with former Knights Coach Robbie Dunn in charge. “Dianella games are always spicy and the rivalry is big between the two clubs and with Robbie being there he will drill that into their players even more so,” he explained. “We’ll go into the game knowing that and will match them and be ready for the challenge and then let our football come through and impose our game on them.”
The other Group B games are on Sunday evening at Kingsway Reserve, and the first game see’s hosts Kingsway Olympic taking on Quinns FC (5.00pm), while in the late game UWA Nedlands meet Balga. It was a poor start to the competition for Balga, going down 5-0 to Dianella, but UWA started with a bang with a 7-1 win against Quinns, with Lloyd Prout scoring a hat-trick on his return to football. “It was a great game for me personally, as I’m coming back from injury, and the team as a whole,” he explained. “Most of the team from last year have returned and we’ve been able to strengthen the squad with some good new recruits. We want to win every game and the score line gives us confidence going into the rest of the Night Series. However, our main focus is on playing the right way and being ready to compete in the Cup and during the season. I believe we played very well during spells of the game, but we’re keeping focused on being able to put in a complete performance in over 90 minutes.” Prout said Sunday’s game will be another chance for the side to get ready for the league campaign. “It’s the Night Series and so everyone is still working out which formations and players work best together,” he said. “They may have lost last week, but we know that we’ll have to put in a good performance against them. We’d love another win, but really want to keep improving our football over the results.”
In Group C on Friday night Forrestfield United enter the competition when they take on neighbours Gosnells City at the Inglewood Stadium. Gosnells lost to Gwelup last week, while Forrestfield took on NPL side Joondalup United, and Coach Rod Banjac said it was a good hit out. “We had a great workout on the weekend against a well organised, fit, determined and strong Joondalup United. It was our third friendly outing of the year but the boys played well throughout the match and we are very pleased with the progress,” he said. “Our season commences in just over seven weeks which provides us with plenty of time to polish off minor imperfections and to achieve full match fitness. No doubt night series will provide a fantastic avenue towards our objectives.”
Banjac said it may only be a pre-season game but games against Gosnells are always tough encounters. “As with all Derby matches against Gosnells are always exciting and this one will be no exception. Considering they lost last week we expect a very competitive match of high intensity, but we will be well prepared and all are very much looking forward to the challenge,” he said. “We have worked very hard in the last few years while developing the youngsters in our region, and there is an aura of general club satisfaction as we look forward to exposing some of them during the tournament as well as introducing a few new signings of genuine quality.”
In the late Group C game, also at the Inglewood Stadium, Gwelup Croatia meets Rockingham City (8.30pm). Both sides were winners last week, Rockingham 5-1 against Morley, and Gwelup 2-1 against Gosnells. Gwelup Coach Aleks Vrteski said it was a good win but he is looking for an improvement. “It was a tough game against a decent Gosnells side, and like I said last week my indicators are our performances as a collective, and are we following the behaviours we are setting as a group,” he said. “If these are shown the result will look after itself.” Vrteski said tonight’s opponents are a good side and will be there or there about in the first division this season. “Rockingham has always been a good side and aren't far off being an NPL side who I think will be challenging for the title this season,” he said. “For us it's another opportunity to work on our performance as a collective and we have had a tough pre-season up until now so I will be looking for another step in the right direction.” Morley Windmills has the bye this week.
In Group D there are games over all three days. First up Fremantle City takes on Kelmscott Roos at Ashfield Reserve (8.30pm), both teams will be looking to bounce back from defeats last week. Then on Saturday evening Curtin University hosts South West Phoenix at Edinburgh Oval (5.30pm) In the final game Canning City meet Melville City at Ashfield Reserve on Sunday (6.00pm) Both sides opened the tournament with a win and Canning assistant coach Peter Lord said it was a good first up game for their season but there is room for improvement. “Last week was our first competitive match of 2017, and it was a good test for us, 2-0 with a clean sheet is a positive result,” he said. “The performance as a whole was well below what we as a squad accept with the fundamentals we have been focusing on, and deploying in preseason lacking for long periods against Curtin. We addressed the issues with the lads and as a group have worked on things during the week, making sure we all know what is expected in every game.”
Lord said Melville looked good last week and is looking forward to another tough test. “Melville has started well with a win against Kelmscott, we have seen them play and they control the game very well with some experienced lads helping to dictate the play. It will be a great game to be involved in and we are certainly looking forward to the challenge,” he said. “The boys know If we stay disciplined and stick to what we are working on then we will get a positive result out of the game. All the lads are on board with what Paul McCue and I are setting out for them as a squad and we expect a professional performance against Melville on the weekend.”
GLORY STRIKE FORCE LOCKED AND LOADED
Perth Glory will go out “all guns blazing” with a top-three spot up for grabs as Adam Taggart warned their wealth of strike weapons were starting to fulfil their potential. In-form Glory could vault to third if they defeat Brisbane Roar at home on Saturday night. Nine goals have been scored in their previous meeting in Perth, with Glory winning a spectacular shootout 6-3 last February.
Glory’s rise up the ladder has come courtesy of a show of strength from Taggart, Diego Castro and Andy Keogh in the front half. The trio combined for four goals in Friday night’s 5-0 annihilation of Adelaide United, Glory’s most clinical performance of the season. Taggart has scored seven goals from his past nine matches to re-establish his reputation as one of the A-League’s most reliable strikers.
23-year old Taggart Glory now believed themselves capable of breaking down any opposition defence. “It’s taken us a while to really click, but especially the last few games we’re probably starting to fulfil our potential together,” Taggart said. “It’s been really enjoyable, especially going forward. It’s been an absolute joy.”
“I think we’re all starting to understand each other’s qualities and even defensively from the front we’ve started to work it out exactly how we’re going to stop our defenders and holding the mids from playing out. We’ve shown that we can break down any defence so far. It’s a big game for us ... we’ve got to go out all guns blazing.”
Taggart, the 2013/14 A-League Golden Boot winner, said he could not be happier with his past two months. “I came back for all the right reasons, to get my body right, to get playing football and put myself in the right environment,” said Taggart, who was released by English club Fulham just over twelve months ago. “It seems to have paid off.”
DJUBLIC EYES CRUNCH CLASH
Rugged defender Dino Djulbic has labelled this weekend’s showdown with rivals Brisbane Roar at Perth Oval as a "six-pointer" with Perth Glory eyeing off a place in the A-League top three. Brisbane sit in third spot with 29 points, just two points ahead of Glory who are in fifth spot.
A win for Glory could see them rise to as high as third on the ladder, a position Djulbic says is more than achievable. “Third spot is available, it’s a six pointer, we’re playing at home and hopefully it's three points for us,” Djulbic he told the club website.
The last time Glory hosted Brisbane - almost a year to the day - it turned out to be a nine-goal thriller with the hosts triumphing 6-3. “Hopefully we can score six, but not concede three,” Djulbic joked. “I think it’s more about winning the game at home, in front of our own crowd and that’s what we got to focus on."
Djulbic, 33, makes no alogies for his physical style of play. “There’s no hiding behind it, I’m a panel beater," he said. “I kick people for a living, you know that’s what I pride myself on and hard work and being physical. Some people like it, some people don’t , the strikers don’t like it that’s for sure.”
ROUX EAGER TO REMAIN A MARINER
Central Coast Mariner Storm Roux says he is eager to remain at the club and be a part of Paul Okon’s vision, with belief on the rise week after week. Roux appears set to take the captain’s armband in Central Coast’s clash against Melbourne Victory on Sunday with regular on-field leader Nick Montgomery suspended.
Central Coast are gunning for four A-League wins in a row against second-placed Victory, and a win could see them inside the top six, pending other results. Roux attributed the spike in form and tightness at the back to a whole-team approach to defending. “I think Paolo (Okon) ... he played at the back and he knows what he wants from his defenders,” Roux said.
“The whole team’s been in great form and it’s not just the back four that’s doing a good job defending. You see the wingers tracking back and the midfield are really strong in the middle there ... the record from last season just wasn’t good enough and we knew as professionals that it wasn’t acceptable and that we had to step up. The belief’s growing every week.”
24-year-old Roux’s contract with Central Coast is due to expire at the end of June, and the New Zealand international has been linked with a move to Perth Glory at season’s end. Roux revealed a sense of trust from the manager has him keen to remain in Gosford. “It’s something that I want to do. The team’s playing well now and Paolo’s got a vision for this team,” he added.
“It’s definitely something that I’m looking forward to doing, is to re-sign and stay here. It’s always great when the coach believes in you, it makes you play better and believe in yourself. I think that shows in a lot of players. He’s got a lot of belief in them ... they’ll do anything for him. I think that’s the reason we’re winning games now.”
GLORY PART WAYS WITH SERBIAN SMILJANIC
Perth Glory have parted ways with Milan Smiljanic, allowing the Serbian midfielder to explore his options in Asia. Smiljanic, who previously played for Belgrade powerhouse FK Partizan and La Liga side Espanyol, notched 15 appearances for Glory this season, 10 of which were starting berths. But Glory chief executive Peter Filopoulos said Smiljanic is keen to explore his options in Asia, and Glory wouldn't stand in his way.
GRAND FINAL HEARTACHE WON'T DERAIL GLORY WOMEN
Perth Glory Women coach coach Bobby Despotovski is confident his team's bid for sustained success won't be derailed by the club's latest Grand Final heartbreak. Glory Women's hopes of winning their maiden W-League title were brought to a crushing end on Sunday when they suffered a 2-0 loss to Melbourne City in the season decider. It followed on from Glory's 3-1 Grand Final loss to Canberra United two years ago.
Despotovski said he was proud of his side after they overcame last season's eighth-placed finish to reach this year's finale. Melbourne's star-studded squad proved too hard to overcome in the Grand Final. But Despotovski is adamant the best is yet to come from his fledgling squad, saying they were not expecting to be in title contention for another two years.
"We must not forget where we're heading," Despotovski said. "This grand final loss, somebody's going to say, 'It's going to derail us'. Nah. We weren't supposed to be out there for another two years. But we actually got there this year. They achieved everything because they worked hard and were willing to learn."
Despotovski is keen to return for his third season as coach, saying he wants to continue his masterplan of turning the club into a powerhouse. "When I took over, I always said between three to five years is a realistic plan to set this club up in stone to be solid, so that anybody can coach it," he said. "As long as the club wants me, I'll be here."
Despotovski praised the efforts of his squad, saying he wants to keep the core of the group together rather than splash out on interstate or international stars. "This club is a WA-based club," Despotovski said. "I can go and beg (owner) Tony Sage to give me a cheque and go and buy the whole fifteen players. But is that fixing football in WA? It's not. We want WA-based players to be the backbone of this club."
SALMON READY TO STRIKE (courtesy of inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)
Alex Salmon says there'll be no time for sentiment when he steps out as an Inglewood United player for the first time against his former club, Bayswater City, on Sunday. England-born Salmon is one of a few select additions Taki Nicolaidis has made to his squad for the 2017 National Premier Leagues season, which kicks off this weekend.
Salmon played for Carlisle United (England) and Alloa Athletic (Scotland) before turning out for Armadale and Bayswater last season, the 22-year old finisher snaring sixteen goals in eighteen appearances for the two clubs. Refreshed by a break in his homeland, he recently returned to Perth where he's been getting acquainted with his new teammates.
Inglewood commences their campaign on Sunday night with a home fixture against Bayswater City, an opponent Salmon will be going all out to get the better of. "I enjoyed my time at Bayswater and it'll be nice to see everybody," Salmon commented "But I'm an Inglewood player now and I'll be doing everything I can to make sure we start the season with a win on Sunday."
"My job no matter who the opposition is always the same – to score and set up goals for Inglewood. Sunday's game might be the first of the season but the result is important as we want to make a statement and start strongly. Inglewood went close to winning the league last year and our goal this season is to improve on that and lift a trophy or two."
FISHLOCK THE DIFFERENCE AS CITY WIN W-LEAGUE TITLE
Melbourne City has become the first club to win consecutive Westfield W-League titles after beating Perth Glory 2-0 in the Grand Final at nib Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The main difference between the teams was City’s player coach, and Welsh international midfielder Jess Fishlock, who was outstanding for 90 minutes. She opened the scoring in first-half stoppage time, before striker Beverly Yanez sealed the win on 72 minutes.
It was the second grand final heartbreak for Glory, who lost the title decider to Canberra in Perth two years ago and Coach Bobby Despotovski said there is more to come from the side. “We must not forget where we're heading," he said. “This grand final loss, somebody's going to say, 'It's going to derail us'. Nah. We weren't supposed to be out there for another two years. But we actually got there this year. They achieved everything because they worked hard and were willing to learn. When I took over, I always said between three to five years is a realistic plan to set this club up in stone to be solid, so that anybody can coach it, as long as the club wants me, I'll be here."
In front of a W-League grand final record crowd of 4,591 both sides had early chances to take the lead – with Beverly Goebel missing a golden opportunity, while Sam Kerr was unable to capitalise on a slip from Laura Alleway. Although the Glory appeared to have shaded the opening half on the balance of play, City took the lead in injury time. A lovely one-two between Erika Tymrak and Goebel set up Fishlock, who finished the cut-back to send Melbourne into the break a goal up.
Buoyed by the goal City opened the second half the better and went close to a second, Gabby Dal Busco was forced to make a superb stop against Fishlock. Glory midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo threatened from distance but to no avail, often testing Melbourne City ‘keeper Lydia Williams. Glory continued with an onslaught of chances through Sarah Carroll and Kerr headed a cross agonisingly wide. However it would be City that would deal the sucker punch for the second goal.
Yanez’s attempted cross from the left rocketed over Dal Busco from a tight angle, crashing against the underside of the crossbar and into the back of the net. Glory pushed hard for a comeback in the closing stages of the game, with Kerr and DiBernardo going close, however City would hold strong to record a 2-0 victory and clinch the Westfield W-League Championship for the second consecutive year.
Perth Glory FC: GK Gabby DAL BUSCO, 2 Sarah CARROLL (5 Patricia CHARALAMBOUS 75’), 3 Kim CARROLL, 4 Alyssa MAUTZ, 7 Nicole STANTON, 9 Rosie Dee SUTTON, 10 Vanessa DIBERNARDO, 13 Jaymee GIBBONS (8 Shawn BILLAM 54’), 17 Natasha RIGBY, 20 Sam KERR (C), 22 Arianna ROMERO - Subs not used: RGK Melissa MAIZELS, 6 Carla BENNETT, 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS - Yellow cards: DIBERNARDO 82’
Melbourne City: GK Lydia WILLIAMS, 2 Teigan ALLEN, 3 Lauren BARNES, 5 Laura ALLEWAY, 6 Aivi LUIK, 7 Stephanie CATLEY (C), 10 Jessica FISHLOCK, 11 Erika TYMRAK (14 Melina AYRES 90+2’), 13 Rebekah STOTT, 16 Beverly Goebel YANEZ (19 Tyla Jay VLAJNIC 87’), 17 Marianna TABAIN (15 Amy JACKSON 69’) - Subs not used: GK Emily SHIELDS, 12 Olivia ELLIS - Yellow cards: TABAIN 66’ Referee: Kate Jacewicz
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - WEEK ONE REVIEW
The 2017 Football West State League Night Series kicked into action over the weekend, and it all started on Friday evening at Wanneroo Reserve in Group B. Graham Normanton’s first game in charge of Olympic Kingsway ended in a 2-0 defeat against Western Knights, with Ryan Hasslet and Ben Coulter on target. In the late game UWA Nedlands thrashed Quinns FC 7-1. Lloyd Proud opened the scoring on 20 minutes, and six minutes later Alex Kretowicz added a second. Kretowicz added a second before half time and things didn’t change after the break. Proud made it 4-0 and Joel Martin added the fifth. Quinns pulled one back, but another from Martin and Proud’s third wrapped up a comprehensive victory.
Also on Friday in Group D Canning City beat Curtin University 2-0 at E&D Litis Stadium, with Laurence Cheyne bagging a brace. Canning assistant Coach Peter Lord was happy with the workout. “Overall our first real hit out was a good test for the lads and we performed well and kept a clean sheet,” he said. “Paul (McCue) and I were pleased, however with so much to work on moving forward. Curtin is a well drilled side tactically and very good on the ball that caused us a few problems mainly in the middle of the park.
“The lads have been fantastic since we started, giving us great attitude and commitment in everything we have set out, they are a great group of lads who will all be fighting for a spot come the first game of the season. But credit to Curtin as they are a good side and will do well in the season ahead, we are looking forward to working on certain areas of our game during the week to prepare for or next game on Sunday against Melville.”
In the late game Melville City beat Kelmscott Roos 1-0. Central defender Adam Mangion headed home the winner from a set piece and Coach Gavin Brown was happy to away with the win but did have some concerns. “Defensively, I was pretty happy. We limited them to only one half chance in the whole game, while we created 5/6 good chances ourselves,” he said. “But a combination of poor finishing and some good goalkeeping kept it at one nil. I wasn't happy with our passing though, we gave the ball away too often under little pressure, but there were lots to work on.”
On Saturday evening it was Group A games at Wanneroo Reserve. In the early game Ashfield beat Shamrock Rovers 3-0. Jamie Stewart, Greg Halliday and Tim Page scored for Matt Wardle’s side and the Coach said it was a good start. “Not a bad result considering we are a new team and it was our first competitive game this year,” he said. “Three goals scored and a clean sheet I’m happy with that.” In the late game Joondalup City beat Swan United 4-2. City’s goal were by Erick Lopez 2 (1 pen) Luke Wilson and Rhys Booth. “We are delighted with the performance and the three points against a very well organised and hardworking Swan side,” City Coach Gary Kalaher said.
On Sunday evening in Group C Gwelup Croatia started the competition under new coach Aleks Vrteski with a 2-1 win against Gosnells City. Noah Shamaki gave Gwelup the lead at half time, before Gavin Knight converted a penalty mid-way through the second half. Jason Pottier pulled one back for Gosnells with 21 minutes to play, but Gwelup ran out winners. “We were happy with the result, but not so much with the performance,” Vrteski said. “That is a key indicator of where we are at as a team, but we will continue our pre-season preparation in the week and prepare for Friday’s challenge against Rockingham.”
In the late game Rockingham City thrashed Morley Windmills 5-1. Christian Hogge bagged a brace, with Monty Grigo, and new signings James Harmer and Ravi Kuppuamy added the others. Coach Rob Crerar said it’s still early days but a good start. “We’re delighted to get the campaign off to a good start with a win,” he said. “However I don’t think we were as consistent in our performance as we would have liked, but it’s still early days.”
Also on Sunday in Group B at Ashfield Reserve Dianella White Eagles eased past Balga 5-0. Angel Andres scored a double with Ibrahim Hamad, Musonda Mwansa and Evans Chwpya scoring the others. Dianella Coach Robbie Dunn said it was a good work out for his side. “Overall it was a good first up performance by the whole squad. The players stuck to the way we want to play the game and I was particularly pleased with the way new lads Evans Chwpya, Francis Wanjiru and Marko Rnjak are fitting into the squad,” he said. “We scored some good goals but also defended strongly when Balga tested us. The team could have scored a lot more goals and more will come when they get more game time under their belts. We dominated most of the game and kept our focus pretty well, but we know we have a lot to work on especially when we don’t have the ball, and our focus now turns to Western Knights this Friday.” In the late game in Group D South West Phoenix beat Fremantle City 4-0. James McCleary scored a brace, with Craig Aldridge and Jayden Prosser also on target for Mauro Marchione’s side.
BAYSWATER RETAINS THE QBE NIGHT SERIES
Bayswater City have retained their crown, and are the 2017 QBE Night Series winners after a hard fought 3-1 win against Mandurah City at Percy Doyle Reserve on Saturday evening. David Heagney gave Bayswater the lead on the half hour, but Mandurah levelled through Ryan Francis. But an own goal from Oscar Thompson and a stoppage time goal from Borbor Sam gave the Black and Blues the trophy. “We made hard work of it tonight and I think a lot of the credit has to go to Mandurah, they are going to be up and about next season,” Bayswater Coach Chris Coyne told Football West. “I thought we kept our shape well tonight, apart from the goal, but I’m very pleased for the boys, it’s been a long pre-season and now we can look forward to the new season.”
Mandurah went into the game as underdogs, but they opened brightly and had the first real chance on two minutes. Francis played in Sean Troup and the midfielder saw his shot well saved by Devon Spence. Moments later Sam Mitchinson made space down the left and whipped in a great cross to Heagney whose header was well saved by Cyril Sharrock. Coyne’s side started to get on top and on 27 minutes they took the lead. Jason Mirco, who was causing Mandurah allsorts of problems down the flanks, eased past his marker on the left, and his cross was turned home expertly by Heagney from eight meters.
But ten minutes later Mandurah hit back. Bayswater were caught napping at a corner, Andy Brown playing the ball back to Francis on the edge of the penalty area and his shot flew past Spence. The travelling Mandurah supporters hadn’t had time to get back in their seats when Bayswater regained the lead. A mix up at the back caused confusion, and the unfortunate Thompson put the ball past Sharrock and into his own net. Mandurah opened brightly after the break and went close to the equaliser early. A deep cross picked out Brown, whose effort beat Spence, but Stokoe was alert to clear the ball off the line. Moments later it was Déjà vu. This time Thompson got on the end of a corner, but his effort was cleared off the line by Bayswater skipper Trent Kay.
It was end-to-end football with both sides going close as the game opened up. Stokoe’s diving header flashed wide for Bayswater, before Spence saved well to deny Francis. The Dolphins were pushing for the equaliser and they were thwarted again by Stokoe on 85 minutes. Craig Tone found space in the box, his shot beat Spence, but Stokoe was there again to clear the ball off the line. But the result was put beyond doubt in stoppage time, Mirco and Heagney combined down the right, and Mirco crossed to the back post and Sam slid the ball home to set off wild celebrations on and off the park. The QBE Night Series Final ‘Robbie Dunn Medal’ for Man of the Match was won by Bayswater winger Jason Mirco.
Bayswater City – GK Devon SPENCE, 2 Declan HARGREAVES, 6 Todd HOWARTH, 10 Jason MIRCO, 11 Devon GIBSON, 12 David STOKOE, 13 Trent KAY, 17 Bor Bor SAM, 20 Sam MITCHINSON, 21 David HEAGNEY, 23 Andrija JUKIC (9 Gustavo GIRON-MARULANDA 67’) - Subs note used: RGK Michael COHEN, 8 Giordano COLLI, 16 Ayden DRAGUN, 22 Jamie MURPHY - Yellow Cards: Hargreaves 87’, Sam 88’
Mandurah City – GK Cyril SHARROCK, 2 Oliver MCGEE, 3 Jeff BRIGHT (15 Slade RULE 87’), 4 Matthew STARES, 5 Daniel DYSON (12 Jordan RHODES 63’), 6 Oscar THOMPSON, 7 Mitchell MORRIN (17 Oriol FERNANDEZ 46’), 8 Andy BROWN, 9 Ryan FRANCIS, 10 Sean TROUP, 11 Craig TONE - Subs not used: RGK Brad EIFFE, 14 Mitchell FIRTH - Yellow Cards: Thompson 25’, Francis 80’, McGee 87’
Referee: Adam Fielding
ARMDALE TAKE THIRD PLACE IN QBE NIGHT SERIES
Armadale have won the third placed play-off in the QBE Night Series after a 2-1 win against hosts Sorrento at Perth Doyle Reserve on Saturday evening. The damage was done early for Armadale, scoring two goals in the opening seven minutes through James Atkins and Kyle King, and despite Brodie Martin’s penalty early in the second half Armadale hung on for victory. “We were good early and we set the standard and I thought our approach was excellent, and they came out sluggish and we punished them,” Armadale new Coach John O’Reilly told Football West. “We had a few sore bodies out there tonight, the lads have been working extremely hard in the pre-season, and they did again tonight, but I thought we deserved the win.”
O’Reilly’s side made the best possible start and were ahead in their first real attack on five minutes. A ball into the penalty area wasn’t dealt, and with the Sorrento players looking for the offside flag, that never came, Atkins raced into the box and finished low past James Morgan. It went from bad to worse for Sorrento, as two minutes later Armadale doubled their advantage. A ball over the top sent King racing clear, and the striker finished clinically past Morgan. Sorrento looked out of sorts, and were struggling to create any clear cut chances, but their best chance fell to Martin mid-way through the first half. He lost his marker in the area from Danny Jones cross but guided his header over the top from close-range. Armadale went close to a third on the stroke of half time. A poor clearance from Morgan went straight to Taylor, who played in King, but the Sorrento custodian made up for his error saving low at his far post.
The Sorrento custodian denied Jackson Bealey early in the second half, the midfielder’s shot superbly tipped over by Morgan at full stretch. But on 50 minutes Sorrento got themselves a lifeline, Scott Witschge was brought down in the penalty area by Taylor, and referee Michael Jasinski pointed straight to the spot. Martin stepped up and sent Michael Cragg the wrong way, and it was game on. The home side pushed big defender Steve McDonald up front and went more direct and they began to put pressure on the Armadale defence. On 75 minutes Brad McDonald’s cross found Steve McDonald whose header was well saved by Cragg, and moments late Witschge cut in from the right and held off his marker, but his shot was saved low by Cragg. It was one-way traffic now with Armadale defending deep and Sorrento almost levelled on 81 minutes. Brad McDonald’s corner picked out Jordan Brown, his powerful header was straight at Cragg who saved, and Armadale prevailed.
MAKECHE SIGNS WITH BALI
Indonesian side Bali United have announced the signing of former Perth Glory attacker Ndumba Makeche. Zambia-born Makeche, who played locally for Inglewood United and has spent the past few seasons with Malaysian sides Felda United and Sarawak, is reported to have signed a 10-month contract with Bali.
"I feel incredible," Makeche said of his joining Bali. "I'm very happy to have the opportunity to join Bali United. I cannot wait to start my new adventure with the team. I want to contribute as best as I could in every game for Bali United."
24-year old Makeche was Sarawak’s leading goal scorer last season, finding the back of the net nine times in the Malaysia Super League. Bali finished 12th in the A division of the Indonesia Soccer Championship, and are currently awaiting the start of the 2017 football season in the country.
WILLIAMS ECSTATIC WITH GLORY'S CLEAN SHEET
Defender Rhys Williams was delighted to have registered a clean sheet after Perth Glory smashed Adelaide United 5-0. On a hot night in Adelaide, Glory outclassed their hosts to continue their upsurge in form.
The win puts pressure on Melbourne City as Glory jump into fourth spot, one point ahead of the Citizens before their crucial clash with third-placed Brisbane Roar. And with Williams in strong form on the night and now seemingly back in the side, Glory have a steelier look about them down back.
“To come here to the champions and win 5-0 and keep a clean sheet is brilliant for us,” said Williams told Fox Sports after the game. “It’s hard to get a game here.” Diego Castro scored twice for the visitors with Adam Taggart, Andy Keogh and an own goal completing the scoreline.
And adding to a memorable night for the club and player, Williams’ younger brother Aryn came on as a substitute making Friday night the first time they’d played on the pitch together in a professional game. “He (Aryn) did his job well when he came on and he can take credit for the clean sheet as well,” Williams added.
Williams revealed he was cramping up after sixty minutes but battled through the pain. “These boys have stuck by me, they haven’t let anything get between me and them,” Williams added, referring to his spell out of the squad and which sparked talk of a move away from the club.
GLORY PUT ON A FIVE STAR SHOW IN ADELAIDE
Perth Glory is peaking at the right time of the season, and if Friday’s big 5-0 win against Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium is anything to go by Finals football is a certainty. Kenny Lowe’s side didn’t have a good record in the South Australian Capital, but a commanding performance put an end to that. They had a helping hand with the opening goal, with defender Iacopo La Rocca amazingly heading into his own net. Diego Castro bagged another brace, with strikers Andy Keogh and Adam Taggart added the others in a comprehensive win. “To come here to the champions and win 5-0 and keep a clean sheet is brilliant for us, it’s hard to get a game here,” Rhys Williams said after the game. “These boys have stuck by me, they haven’t let anything get between me and them.”
Lowe made three changes to the side that beat Newcastle Jets last week, with keeper Liam Reddy coming for Nick Feely, Rhys Williams for the injured Shane Lowry and Chris Harold for Joel Chianese. The Glory were on the front foot and Adelaide keeper John Hall produced a great save to deny Rostyn Griffiths early, but he could do little when the Glory hit the front on 15 minutes. There looked little danger when Josh Risdon crossed from the right, but La Rocco, for some reason heading into his own net.
The Glory added a second on 37 minutes, Keogh and Castro exchanged passes on the left of the penalty area, and the Spanish maestro waltzed past three defenders before driving the ball low into the corner of the net. Adelaide almost pulled one back four minutes before half time. Argentina midfielder Marcelo Carrusca was given far too much room on the edge of the penalty area and his shot crashed off the post and away to safety. But on the stroke of half time the Glory added a third. A quick counter attack from Castro ended with Spaniard playing an inch perfect through ball to Keogh, and he finished clinically past Hall to send the Glory to the break three to the good.
The home side needed a good start to the second half but their half time plans were thrown out the window in the first minute, when the Glory added a fourth. Straight from the kick off the Glory pressed forward and Castro crossed from the left and the ball wasn’t cleared and the ball fell to Taggart and he slammed tit home from six meters. Taggart almost added a fifth on the hour, but his long-range shot curled inches past the post.
Reddy had to be alert nine minutes later, when substitute Nikola Mileusnic went one-on-one with the Glory custodian, but he stood tall and pushed his shot away. But the icing was put on the cake with Castro added his second and the Glory’s fifth. Substitute Aryn Williams raced down the right and played the ball into the path of Castro, who finished with aplomb.
The Glory should have added more late on. Chianese picked out Taggart, but his low shot was saved by the outstretched leg of Hall. The Adelaide custodian denied Taggart again moments later, he was sent one-on-one with Hall, and again Taggart couldn’t beat him, but the result was never in doubt and the win was also the biggest against the Reds in Hyundai A-League history and equalled the 5-0 win over Adelaide dating back to the last season of the National Soccer League.
MANDURAH AND BAYSWATER MEET IN QBE NIGHT SERIES FINAL
The first silverware of the 2017 NPL season is up for grabs on Saturday evening, with Mandurah City and Bayswater City doing battle in the QBE Night Series Final at Percy Doyle Reserve (7.30pm), while in the early game Sorrento take on Armadale meet in the third and fourth play-off. Both Mandurah and Bayswater had hard games to reach the pre-season competition finale, with Mandurah beating Armadale 3-1 on penalties and Bayswater doing likewise in normal time against Sorrento. It’s the first NPL Night Series Final for Mandurah, and the newly promoted side have had three tight encounters.
In the first round they beat Joondalup United 4-3, before beating Floreat Athena in the Quarter Finals, before the shoot-out win against Armadale. Mandurah assistant coach Steve Robinson said it’s a great achievement to reach the Final, and they will be doing all they can to bring silverware back to the club. “It was a tough game for sure, I felt that Armadale had the better start and passed the ball well in the first half, generally looking for the ball over the top to the big lad up front. In fairness to our defence, I thought we were well organised and dealt with their strategy very well,” he explained. “In the second half however I felt that we started with a higher tempo and had a lot more of the ball. We got back into the game with a goal by Craig Tone, which I thought we deserved and should have gone 2-1 up but Ryan Francis' shot narrowly missed the target. The shoot-out is a lottery to be fair, they can go either way and luckily on the day it went our way.”
Robinson knows the quality that Bayswater has in their squad, but he said it’s a cup final and they will go into the game on level terms and he’s confident they can get the job done. “The Club, players and all the coaches are ecstatic about being in the QBE Final, it’s a first for the club and we (as coaches) are really pleased because the lads have displayed a brilliant work ethic and enthusiasm towards training throughout pre-season,” he said. “From Jordan Rhodes's U18's through to the reserves and first team lads it’s like one big happy family, all the lads know each other, which creates a nice positive environment.
“The club in general are working extremely hard off the pitch and there is a really lovely vibe around the place. We all know that Bayswater are a well-coached and are a top side, however we must approach the game with positivity relying on a mix of youth and experience. All the lads are really up for the test and battle. This is why we play football, to play against teams like Bayswater in finals. Doug, Mickey and I will have the squad fully prepared for the occasion and who knows, upsets can happen.”
Mandurah midfielder Matt Stares said the club have hit the ground running and said it has showed in the Night Series so far. “We have enjoyed playing in every game so far during the night season obviously it’s a shorter competition this year, so it's been brilliant to get to the final playing competitive games,” he said. “So to be holding our own against good teams has been a fantastic credit to everyone connected here. The club are really ambitious not just the players but management, President, committee, volunteers, everyone is going above and beyond to make it what it is so I'm not surprised by the results.”
Stares said it’s a huge test on Saturday, but one they are looking forward too. “Last round could have gone either way, but when it goes to penalties anything can happen, but all are players are comfortable stepping up and we knew Brad would probably help us out he normally does,” he said. “Bayswater have always been a team everyone wants to test themselves against they have done very well over the years, we all want as much success as them but we haven't played each other in a long time,” he said, “If they play like they can do, I'm sure we will have to be patient, but we don't fear anyone it's just another game of football with a bit of history to be made.”
Bayswater reached Sunday’s Final with three tough games, beating PS4NPLWA Champions Perth SC 3-0 in the first round, ECU Joondalup 2-0 in the Quarter Final and the win against Sorrento. Young striker Luka Ninkovic has burst into first team reckoning after impressing in the successful Bayswater under 20’s side last term and was joint winner of the NPL 20’s top goalscorer.
The 19-year-old said an early return to training has helped them run over teams in the night series and will help them in the league next season. “Most definitely, fitness is a big aspect in the game nowadays and us starting earlier and training harder has really paid off in the night series and I believe it will in the season,” he said. “It is a massive step up from the reserves to the first team and at first it was hard to adjust towards the last few games of last season. Chris (Coyne) has given me responsibility as well as trust and a chance to step up, I respect that and I will continue to work hard and play better than how I played in the Night Series. I realized it is a very important year for me in terms of football and need to establish myself in this the first team.”
Bayswater will go into the Final as favourites, but Ninkovic said Saturday’s opponents will be another tough challenge. “Mandurah have surprised a lot of people and reached the final, but I don't think this changes anything for us and for the Coaches, it's another game and at the end of the day it's a cup final,” he said. “Whether we were playing Perth, ECU or Sorrento like we did in the past three games, this Saturday, there won't be a different mindset and we will give it our best to win.”
Coyne said he has been delighted with the attitude and performance of his young striker and he hopes it continues. “The kids a handful and he wants to learn which is even more important. If he doesn’t understand something we’ve shown him he will come over and chat to the coaches,” he said. “I was really pleased the goal he set up for David (Heagney) in the Semi-Final, and if he keeps working hard he will start getting rewards, he’s a real promising kid and we’re really enjoying working with him and trying to improve his game.”
Everyone will make Bayswater favourites for the Final, but Coyne said it’s who turns up with the right attitude on the night. “Everyone knows Dougie, and he will have his team super well organised, and they are always hard to break down and beat. It’s a Final at the end of the day, we might come in as favourites because we’re Bayswater and we’ve been in this league for a few years, but on the day I won’t take any notice of that,” he explained. “Mandurah are a good team with some good players, and have got to the Final in their own rights and Dougie is a very good coach so we will have to be at our best to get the right result.”
PERTH LOOK FOR W-LEAGUE GLORY
Perth Glory will be looking for their first Westfield W-League title when they take on reigning champions Melbourne City in the Grand Final at nib Stadium on Sunday afternoon (4.30pm). The last time the Glory girls hosted a Grand Final was in 2015 when they were beaten 3-1 by Canberra United, and they will be looking to go one step further this time around.
It’s a new look side with Bobby Despotovski adding imports Vanessa DiBernardo, Alyssa Mautz, Nikki Stanton and Arianna Romero, but they still have a good mix of local talent with Sam Kerr, Gabby Dal Basco and Margaret River-born Natasha Rigby starring. Mexican import Romero said they need to tighten up at the back and her battle with City player/coach Jess Fishlock will be a key factor in the contest.
“For the most part we will play our own game and tighten up our defence,” the Mexican defender said. “It’s just little things that we have to focus on, fixing our mistakes from the last game, addressing those before we move onto looking at City. Obviously Fishlock is their playmaker, so we have to address in training what we are going to do, but a home final is best case scenario, it’s very exciting.”
Rigby, who played for Margaret River Strikers as a junior before heading to Perth and joining State League side Queens Park, said the side had taken Monday off to recover from the excitement of their 5-1 semi-final thrashing of Sydney and they are now focused on the job ahead. “We’re stoked. It’s an incredible opportunity to have the advantage of a home final,” she said. “This is my first season with Glory, it’s been the craziest experience, and playing in a grand final is insane. “Our team cohesion is incredible, and I’ve never been part of a team so connected. So we’re going into this final wearing our hearts on our sleeves.”
Despotovski said he and Jessine Bonzas have been really happy the way the squad has performed this year and he urged all football fans to get behind his side as they look to bring it home. “All the work the whole squad has put in this season has been outstanding, it’s a just reward and the girls deserve it, and Jessine and I are so proud of the squad and words can’t describe it,” he said. ”Perth Glory and the City of Perth as a whole should be proud to have a team representing the whole of WA in the Grand Final, and I would like to call on all supporters of the ‘World Game’ to come along and support this special team and we will be doing all we can to win it for you.”
GLORY HOPE TO CONTINUE ADELAIDE’S MISERY
Perth Glory hit the road in Week 19 of the Hyundai A-League, when they take on bottom of the table Adelaide United Friday evening at Coopers Stadium (4.50pm WA time). Buoyed by the win against Newcastle Jets last week the Glory head east looking to heap more misery on the Reds, who have only won twice this season, and are five points adrift at the foot of the table. The win last week moved the Glory to within two points of fourth placed Melbourne City, but its conceding goals that has been a problem for the Glory this season. They have let in 35 goals this campaign and that is the joint worse in the competition, and this has to be fixed sooner rather than later.
They regain the services of keeper Liam Reddy this week, after the custodian missed the win against the Jets. Nick Feely wasn’t at fault with any of the goals last week, but Reddy, who is expected to return to the starting line-up this week, says they have to stop leaking goals. They have kept only one side goalless, Wellington Phoenix in round two, and he said they need to be tighter at the back. “Too many goals have been conceded. If we’re any real chance of coming in the top three or four and winning the Grand Final we need to keep clean sheets,” he said.
“We’ve only got one (clean sheet) to date so that’s something we’ve really got to work on this back end, work on our defensive structure. In key moments in games we’ve let ourselves down and teams have capitalised on that. We’ve just got to cut that out if we are going to be any real chance of trying to get a home semi-final and win the A-League. It would be ideal to have the same starting 11 every week. That hasn’t been the case, but it’s not an excuse.”
Adelaide may be bottom of the table but they seem have the wood on the Glory in recent seasons, and have not lost at home to Glory in the past six matches, having had four wins and two draws. “Obviously you’ve got bogey teams, but you don’t read too much into it,” Reddy said. “They are obviously struggling but on their day they can produce a good performance and we know we have to be on our best.”
Adelaide United: GK John HALL, GK Daniel MARGUSH, 2 Michael MARRONE, 3 Iacopo LA ROCCA, 4 Dylan McGOWAN, 5 Taylor REGAN, 10 Marcelo CARRUSCA, 11 Sergio CIRIO, 12 Mark OCHIENG, 13 Marc MARINO, 14 George MELLS, 15 Ben WARLAND, 16 Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 17 Nikola MILEUSNIC, 18 Riley McGREE, 19 Ben GARUCCIO, 21 Tarek ELRICH, 24 Jordan O'DOHERTY - *two to be omitted* - Ins: George MELLS (promoted), WARLAND (promoted), MILEUSNIC (promoted), MARGUSH (GK) (promoted) - Outs: GK Eugene GALEKOVIC (shoulder – indefinite), 8 Isaìas (suspended – 1 match)
Perth Glory: squad: GK Liam REDDY, GK Nick FEELY, 3 Marc WARREN, 5 Rhys WILLIAMS, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 8 Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 9 Andy KEOGH, 10 Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Joe MILLS, 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Josh RISDON, 20 Aryn WILLIAMS, 22 Adam TAGGART, 23 Kosta PETRATOS, 24 Milan SMILJANIC - *two to be omitted* - Ins: WARREN (promoted), Aryn WILLIAMS (promoted), PETRATOS (promoted), REDDY (GK) (returns from suspension) - Out: 4 Shane LOWRY (quad – 1 week), 30 Jordan THURTELL (not selected)
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - WEEK ONE PREVIEW
The 2017 Football West State League Night Series kicks off this weekend with games across the metropolitan area. In Group ‘A’ on Saturday at Wanneroo Reserve, Ashfield takes on Shamrock Rovers in the early game (6.00pm), and Joondalup City and Swan United meet in the late game (8.00pm), while hosts Wanneroo City have the bye. In Group ‘B’ on Friday, also at Wanneroo Reserve, Graham Normanton’s Olympic Kingsway takes on Western Knights in the early game (6.30pm). The former Perth SC and Inglewood United coach said it’s great to be back in the game and said it’s a new look at the club. “It's the first serious game with a totally new squad of players, and considering that we had no players at the beginning of December I'm very happy with our progress so far,” he said. “We are under no illusions on the difficulty of the job at hand and the amount of hard work needed to done. We are putting together a good squad and I think we have some very good players. Our first game will give me an insight into where we sit and what needs to be done.”
In the late Group ‘B’ game UWA-Nedlands and Quinns FC go head to head (8.30pm), while on Sunday Balga meet Dianella White Eagles at Ashfield Reserve (6.00pm) Dianella new Coach Robbie Dunn said the squad is coming together nicely. “Vesko and I have been really happy how we are shaping up, and we’ve worked diligently to shape the squad, with the new players impressing. We started training later than most clubs, but we have looked sharp in our friendly game,” he said. “It’s a tough opening to the Night Series and Balga were a good side last season, and I’ve been around the block too many times to take any team lightly.” Dunn said the new challenge at the club is one he’s looking forward too. “We are a quick and skillful side, and if we play to our potential we will be a very hard team to beat,” he said. “We’ve asked the players to keep doing what we’ve worked on at training, and work hard for each and the club and we’ll see where it takes us.”
On Sunday in group ‘C’ at the Inglewood Stadium Gwelup Croatia meet Gosnells City (5.00pm) and in the late game Rockingham City take on Morley Windmills (7.00pm), while Forrestfield United have the bye. Rockingham Coach Rob Crerar said they are ready for a big tournament. “We are looking forward to the Night Series starting, the games have a bit more of an edge than your standard pre-season friendly,” he said. “It’s been a great pre-season for us this year and we have got game time into 20 or so players and exposed some of our youngsters to first team football. We have a tough opening game against Morley, who will be well organised and determined to start with a positive result. We go into every game confident after an unbeaten pre-season campaign.”
In Group ‘D’ at E&D Litis Stadium on Friday Canning City meet Curtin University (6.30pm), and in the late game Melville City and Kelmscott meet (8.30pm), while on Sunday South West Phoenix and Fremantle City meet at Ashfield Reserve (4.pm) Newly promoted Fremantle Coach Steve Plucknett said things are ticking over nicely in the port City. “We are looking forward to Sunday, it’s a level up for us this year, so playing SWP will be a good test for us early on. All the boys that played a part in winning the league last year have stayed, plus we have some new faces vying for those positions,” he said. “We will however, like last year, use the night series to look at the new and young players in the build up to the season. Last year we didn't win a game in the competition, but that didn't correlate to out seasons results. It's important we get our squad right and evaluate the players that have come to us over the off season.”
FORMER SOCCEROO WILLIAMS BACK IN FROM THE COLD
Defender Rhys Williams will make his first start for Perth Glory in eight games in Friday night’s A-League clash at Adelaide United. Williams came off the bench to replace the injured Shane Lowry in the second half of last weekend's home defeat of Newcastle Jets and will retain his spot in the centre of the defence.
“Rhys came in the last game and did well so I’m sure he’s looking forward to playing and enjoying himself. We’ve got no centre–half, you’d imagine we’d continue along the same vein,” said coach Kenny Lowe. Lowry is reported to have responded well to treatment but is being rested in the hope he’ll be available for home game against Brisbane Roar next Saturday.
Lowe is expecting a tought game from bottom-placed Adelaide, who have won just twice in 18 games. “Desperate people do desperate things (so) you’ve got to be wary,” said Lowe. “They are a better side than their position gives them credit for. We’re expecting a tough game but we need to go there and win. If we’ve got aspirations we need to go there and get a result.”
OLIVEIRA SOWING THE SEEDS OF SUCCESS
Assistant coach Andres Oliveira sees clear parallels between Inglewood United’s new season line-up and the teams he tasted considerable success in as a player. Oliveira joined Inglewood over the summer and has spent the past couple of months working with Taki Nicolaidis in readiness for the coming National Premier Leagues season, which starts next weekend.
Oliveira, a six-time league championship winner through spells with Perth SC and South Melbourne, feels Inglewood are on track to achieve their goal of bringing silverware to the club in 2017. “We have a team capable of winning the league and the players are becoming aware of that,” Oliveira said. “They are still adjusting to each other but we will be ready for the season.”
“The effort they have been putting in at training and the disappointment when they lose or draw shows how great their desire to succeed is. When I was playing we had a great team at Perth but it was the desire and ambition of each player that made us the best in the league, and I can see those same traits in the guys at Inglewood this year.”
Oliveira may have been with Inglewood only a short time but the one-time State striker says he very much feels at home with the club. “Inglewood has been excellent, I’m really enjoying being part of the club” he said. “The players, coaches and members have made me feel welcome and that’s made for a smooth transition.”
“There really is a lot to be impressed by about Inglewood. Probably the thing that’s made the biggest mark on me has been the ambition and drive of the people around the club. Everyone has a passion for Inglewood to succeed, from the president Ces (Colli) all the way to our kit guy Floria (Tiguan). It’s going to be an exciting year for us and, hopefully, it will end with a trophy or two coming to Inglewood.”
SALTER RETURNS TO SORRENTO
After completing a successful season in New Zealand with Birkenhead United and Hamilton Wanderers, Jack Salter will be back in the PS4NPLWA after resigning for Sorrento for season 2017. The 25-year-old helped United win the prestigious Chatham Cup for the first time in their 50-year history, and most recently has been playing for the Wanderers in the NZ Football Championship. The former NZ schoolboy international said he’s happy to be back in the Gulls nest, but enjoyed his time back in his native country. “It was great to go back home and play at my old club Birkenhead. You have the winter league which is regional and the summer league which is national,” he explained. “Playing for Birkenhead in the winter you draw crowds of a few thousand and the final of the cup we had 7000.
“It's the most prestigious piece to win in NZ and every Kiwi dreams of lifting that trophy. I also scored 19 goals so was a real good year for me. I was also part of a team who won a five a side tournament in NZ and then Hong Kong. This meant we got to play on White Hart Lane in the UK and won the AIA five a side championship, an amazing experience.” The striker, who will be available for the Gulls opening game of the season against Balcatta next week, said the standard of football between the two countries is familiar. “For me the standard is pretty much the same although in NZ we have a really big emphasis on fitness so everyone's super fit,” he explained. “The main difference for me is the interaction of the kids between the first team and juniors - it's a major point in NZ and you get to know a lot of the kids coming through and in turn you get the good crowds as they don't miss a game.”
Salter, who previously played for Team Wellington in NZ, Armadale and Stirling Lions in WA, before joining Sorrento and helping them to the Cool Ridge Cup and a FFA Cup tie against A-League side Sydney FC, said he’s looking forward to helping the club to more success. “I had a pretty good season last time being at Sorrento and had a pretty hot run of goals in the cup which was nice. Winning the cup and getting into the FFA cup was a real highlight of my career and I am hoping we can repeat the feat this year,” he said. “I was in touch with Jamie (Harnwell) late last year and he told me the team is looking strong and we tossed up our options and thought it would be good to go back to Perth. Everyone is looking fit and sharp and I am really looking forward to getting back into it.”
CLEAN SHEETS HIGH ON PRIORITY LIST
Perth Glory know what they need to stop leaking goals, they just don’t seem to be able to do it. Glory have kept only one opponent goalless this season while conceding 35 goals, the equal-worst record in the A-League. So it is a good job they are finding the net regularly at the other end of the park.
Goalkeeper Liam Reddy said if Glory can’t plug the holes they might struggle to finish in the top four. “Too many goals have been conceded. If we’re any real chance of coming in the top three or four and winning the grand final we need to keep clean sheets,” Reddy said.
“We’ve only got one (clean sheet) to date so that’s something we’ve really got to work on this back end, work on our defensive structure. In key moments in games we’ve let ourselves down and teams have capitalised on that. We’ve just got to cut that out if we are going to be any real chance of trying to get a home semi-final and win the A-League.”
Adelaide United, who Reddy face’s on Friday, have not lost at home to Glory in six games, having had four wins and two draws. “Obviously you’ve got bogey teams, but you don’t read too much into it,” Reddy said. “They are obviously struggling but on their day they can produce a good performance and we know we have to be on our best.”
GLORY WOMEN KEEN TO MAKE AMENDS FOR GRAND FINAL HEARTBREAK
Perth Glory will go into Sunday’s W-League Grand Final against reigning champions Melbourne City with their hearts on their sleeves. And they will be hoping to go one step further than the Glory Women side that fell at the last hurdle two years ago, losing 3-1 to Canberra United.
New recruits Natasha Rigby and Arianna Romero know they will have their work cut out against a Melbourne side coming into the final on a three-game winning streak. Romero said they need to tighten their backline and take Melbourne playmaker Jess Fishlock, who scored an extra-time winner against Canberra in the semi-finals, out of the game.
“For the most part we will play our own game and tighten up our defence,” Romero said. “It’s just little things that we have to focus on, fixing our mistakes from the last game, addressing those before we move onto looking at City. Obviously Fishlock is their playmaker so we have to address in training what we are going to do.”
Rigby said the side had taken a day off to recover from the excitement of their 5-1 semi-final thrashing of Sydney and were now focussed on the job ahead. “We’re stoked. It’s an incredible opportunity to have the advantage of a home final,” Rugby said. “This is my first season with Glory. It’s been the craziest experience.”
“Playing in a grand final is insane. Our team cohesion is incredible. I’ve never been part of a team so connected. We’re going into this final wearing our hearts on our sleeves.” Glory Women take on Melbourne City in the W-League Grand Final on Sunday afternoon at Perth Oval.
NO GOALS, NO WORRIES FOR GLORY'S SAM KERR
Perth Glory Women coach Bobby Despotovski says Sam Kerr is so good she doesn't even need to score goals to be a match-winner. Glory Women progressed through to next weekend's W-League Grand Final against Melbourne City with a crushing 5-1 semi-final victory over Sydney FC on Saturday.
Surprisingly, Kerr didn't make it onto the scoresheet, despite having numerous opportunities to hit the back of the net. But although she did not score, Kerrt was crucial in the rout with Despotovski saying the star attacker was a phenomenal talent who could influence matches in a variety of ways.
"Samantha is the best (women's) footballer in this country by a country mile. She showed that again," said Despotovski, one of Glory's greatest ever players. "She doesn't need to score goals. You don't have to score goals to play well, simple as that."
"She's the leader of the whole pack. If she needs to go to defence, she defends. If she needs to go forward and run 80m sprints at full pace, she's going to do that. She's a brilliant footballer. To be quite honest I've never seen anything like her. Trust me, I've been around for a long time."
Kerr, scorer of ten regular season goals, looms as a key figure in the Grand Final. But American import Vanessa DiBernardo will also take some stopping after scoring two goals against the Sky Blues. And Glory Women's depth was put on full display when substitute Shawn Billam produced a spectacular long-range goal in the semi-final.
LOWE URGES REFS TO PROTECT CASTRO
Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe has called on A-League referees to give midfield maestro Diego Castro more protection, saying the Spaniard is being regularly kicked by angry opponents. Castro starred in Glory's 3-2 win over Newcastle Jets on Saturday night, scoring two goals and setting up numerous other chances.
Arguably the most skilful player in the league, 34-year old Castro's ability to bamboozle opponents has resulted in rivals taking a harsher approach in their bid to curb his influence. Against Newcastle he was felled several times by strong tackles. That has been a constant theme across the season, and Lowe is worried it's just a matter of time before Castro gets injured.
"He gets kicked, he gets kicked again. I think the ref's got a little bit of selective vision with things like that," Lowe said. "He wriggles out of spaces he shouldn't wriggle out of. He makes people look a little bit stupid at times, and that probably just pisses them off, so they kick him. But somewhere down the line you've got to protect him. You've got to protect your best players in the league."
Lowe said he pleaded with the fourth official to tell the officiating referee to protect Castro during the weekend game with Newcastle. "He's miked up. He can tell the ref to protect the player. He did - in the 92nd minute I think," said Lowe who, despite his concerns, ruled out approaching the referee's department about the issue.
LOWRY FACES FITNESS TEST AHEAD OF ADELAIDE CLASH
Dino Djulbic says Perth Glory are steadily building in confidence as he backed fellow defender Shane Lowry to make a swift return from a minor knee injury. Lowry was substituted off in the 39th minute of Saturday night’s 3-2 win over Newcastle Jets after being corked heavily just above his right knee.
Lowry will face a fitness test later this week in a bid to be cleared for Friday night’s away clash with Adelaide United. Doubt over his availability has left the door open for Rhys Williams to return to the starting line-up — a scenario that appeared unlikely when the former Socceroo asked to leave the club during last month’s transfer period.
Djulbic was measured in his praise for a returning Williams as he predicted Lowry would bounce back quickly from the heavy knock. “He got a cork just above the knee on the muscle,” Djulbic said. “Every time he stepped on it, it was hurting. It happened in the first 10 minutes, so he held on for another 30 minutes ... he’ll be all right.”
“Rhys was good. Obviously he hasn’t played for seven weeks, but he kept fit, he was training every day,” added Djulbic of Williams. “He doesn’t miss any sessions. It’s not for me to judge if we’re a better team (with Rhys). The coaches are there to make the decisions.”
With Alex Grant (foot) sidelined, Lowe hinted that he may stick with Williams. “He’s done really well,” the Glory coach said. “He stepped in, showed real quality. He’s a super player. We’ve always known that. He’s done excellent.” Glory are fifth, just four points shy of third-placed Brisbane Roar with nine regular season games to play.
GRIFFITHS: GLORY EYEING TOP FOUR
Captain Rostyn Griffiths says Perth Glory have their sights on the A-League top four after Saturday night’s nail-biting win over Newcastle Jets. Glory held on for a crucial 3-2 home win thanks to a first half brace from Spanish sensation Diego Castro and another to Adam Taggart after the break.
The three points – coupled with Melbourne City’s loss in the Melbourne Derby – has seen Kenny Lowe’s side move just two points behind City in fourth spot. Having been fighting to stay in and around the top six for much of the campaign, Griffiths says Glory is now looking up on the ladder and chasing down those above them.
“We spoke about it before the game. Melbourne City slipped up so we wanted to try and catch them,” Griffths said post-game. “That’s what we want to do now is catch people ahead of us. We’ve been looking behind us all season to try and stay in the top six but now we want to pull away and get in that top four.”
Glory dominated the majority of the weekend game but Newcastle refused to go away. Jason Hoffman gave the visitors hope of getting a result by pulled it back to 3-2 with just under 20 minutes left. “I thought first half we were really good value. Second half we started well but drifted out of the game a bit,” Griffiths conceded.
“We expected Newcastle were going to try and get something out of the game and we slipped away a little bit. We’ve got strengths and we’ve got weaknesses and were just trying to get that (consistent) 90 minutes. I thought today was an important 3 points.” Glory’s next game is on Friday night away against Adelaide United.
DEJA VU FOR WILLIAMS AS MELBOURNE HEAD TO CANBERRA
Canberra might now be enemy territory, but Melbourne City goalkeeper Lydia Williams still calls it home. The Matildas stopper has a sense of deja vu going into the W-League semi-final against her old club Canberra United and she's hoping it rings true at Canberra Stadium this afternoon.
The first time the two teams met this season ended with Melbourne claiming a 2-1 win, with Williams making just her second appearance for Melbourne following an off-season switch from the reigning W-League champions. The 28-year old started her W-League career with Canberra, but was hoping history might repeat against her old side.
"It kind of feels a bit like deja vu being back (at Canberra Stadium). It's great to have that kind of stadium and hopefully filling it up," said Williams, who won league titles with Canberra in 2011/12 and 2014/15. "It's exciting to head back to Canberra."
Katanning-born Williams played juniors for Tuggeranong and Woden before entering the Australian Institute of Sport. Her mother still lives in Canberra and she still counts it as home, despite spending winters in the United States of American - where she's currently signed with the Houston Dash - and this summer in Melbourne.
"I was probably expecting a lot more banter the first time, but Canberra's always been a great platform for female sport and sport in general," Williams said. "Canberra's still home, mum's still there, family, friends they're all still there. I don't think I'll be caught too much in the crossfire because I still do love going home and catching up with everyone."
One ex-teammate she's hoping not to hear anything from was Ashleigh Sykes. Sykes has been acting captain for Canberra in recent weeks, deputising for injured co-captains Ellie Brush (knee) and Michelle Heyman (ankle and toe). While Brush was back in the selection mix and played her 100th W-League game off the bench last weekend, Heyman will return for the grand final at the earliest.
In their absence, Sykes has finished the W-League season in stunning form, having scored eight goals in their last four games. "This season and last season she's definitely been an outstanding performer and she's been enjoying her football, which has obviously given her really great results in her own performance," Williams said.
"I'm super excited for her and how she's done. She's definitely a player to look out for and no matter what minute of the game she's always going to be dangerous. Ash is a good mate so I'm sure there'll be a little bit of banter during the game, but always friends after."
BACK-TO-BACK NIGHT SERIES TITLE STILL ALIVE FOR BAYSWATER
Bayswater City moved into the final of the QBE PS4NPLWA Night Series after a hard fought 3-1 win against Sorrento at Inglewood Stadium on Sunday evening. Borbor Sam gave City the lead at the break, but a Devon Gibson own goal put Sorrento level on the hour. But City hit back and late goals from former Sorrento winger Jason Mirco and another to David Heagney gave City the win, and gives them the opportunity to go back-to-back in the pre-season competition. “I missed the Night Series success last season, but I’m determined to help the club to more success this year,” Mirco said post-match. “Sorrento has been a bogey side for us the last couple of years, so we knew it would be a tough game, but we’ve worked hard in pre-season and I thought our fitness prevailed tonight.”
Bayswater opened brightly, with Sam a really handful down the flanks. His cross on 20 minutes picked out Mirco, whose shot was cleared off the line by Sorrento skipper Steven McDonald. Their dominance was rewarded on 26 minutes with the lead. Sam made space down the left, cut inside his marker and curled home superbly past James Morgan. Sorrento hit back and went close to levelling moments later, Billy Quinncroft’s shot was cleared off the line by Gibson, and the rebound went into the grateful arms of Bayswater keeper Devon Spence.
Morgan had to be alert early in the second half to push Sam’s shot around the post, before Sam had his goal bound shot blocked by Shaun Kilkelly, and Trent Kay’s follow up shot flashed over the top. Sorrento began to get back into the game and Reece Vittiglia’s lob dropped just over the top, before Scott Bulloch went one-on-one with Spence, but the keeper stood tall to save, and Quinncroft’s follow up shot was cleared off the line by Andrija Jukic. It was the best period of the match for Jamie Harnwell’s side and on the hour they deservedly levelled. Brodie Martin picked out Scott Witschge on the right and his low cross was turned into his own net by the unfortunate Gibson.
Bayswater were now on the back foot, as Sorrento bossed the game and when Bulloch’s corner wasn’t dealt with the rebound fell back to the former Perth Glory winger, who saw his low shot well saved by Spence at his near post. Then from the resulting corner McDonald’s header was cleared off the line by Kay. The game was up for grabs, but it was Bayswater who retained their lead on 74 minutes.
A quick break sent second half substitute Jamie Murphy down the right and his pin point cross picked out Mirco, who powered his header past Morgan. Heagney then saw his shot crash off the upright, but in stoppage time the Bayswater striker wrapped up the tie. Sorrento were pushing players forward looking for the equaliser, but Heagney was sent clear, he held off his marker and finished low past Morgan to send Bayswater into next week’s Final against Mandurah City.
Bayswater City – GK Devon SPENCE, 6 Todd HOWARTH, 10 Jason MIRCO (16 Ayden DRAGUN 94’), 11 Devon GIBSON, 12 David STOKOE, 13 Trent KAY (C), 17 Borbor SAM (22 Jamie MURPHY 66’), 19 Luka NINKOVIC, 20 Sam MITCHINSON, 21 David HEAGNEY (8 Giordano COLLI 94’), 23 Andrija JUKIC - Subs not used: RGK Michael COHEN, 7 Tristan COLLI - Yellow Cards: Ninkovic 69’
Sorrento – GK James MORGAN, 4 Shaun KILKELLY, 5 Billy QUINNCROFT (20 Brad MCDONALD 80’), 8 Ryan PEARSON, 10 Scott BULLOCH, 11 Tim HILL (22 Danny JONES 80’), 13 Steve MCDONALD, 14 Scott WITSCHGE, 15 Brodie MARTIN, 17 Reece VITTIGLIA, 18 Jordan BROWN - Subs not used: RGK Michael WOOLCOTT, 16 Jackson DONGRAY, 21 Spiro DIMITRIOU - Yellow Cards: Quinncroft 55’, McDonald 73’
Referee: David Bruce
GLORY STUN SYDNEY TO REACH W-LEAGUE GRAND FINAL
A scintillating second half performance from Bobby Despotovski’s Perth Glory has seen them thrash Sydney FC 5-1 at nib Stadium, to reach the Westfield W-League Grand Final. The win earns the Glory girls a home Grand Final next Sunday, after Canberra United were beaten 0-1 by Melbourne City in the other Semi-Final. American import Vanessa DiBernardo bagged a brace, while Matildas Sam Kerr was outstanding in a fantastic performance from the Glory. Former Glory defender Alanna Kennedy scored an own goal, with Rosie Sutton and Shawn Billam also on target, while Caitlin Foord scored Sydney’s consolation goal.
“It feels surreal actually. I did not expect 5-1 result. We knew fitness wise that we are very prepared and we knew that if we could hold off Sydney for a long enough period of time we could come through and take the game. We stuck to our game plan and this achievement is thoroughly deserved,” Despotovski said. “Vanessa put in a fantastic performance but it’s not only Vanessa. Its Sam, Rosie, Tash Rigby it’s the whole squad. Each and every single one of them has been outstanding. We can talk about the goals but what about Nicki Stanton stopping every single attack, we have some unsung heroes in our squad. Every one of them deserves credit. We’re going to enjoy the week. We’re going to go the training sessions very happy full of laughter and work on a few things, and the message will be’ If it isn’t broke don’t fix it - simple.”
The game was played ahead the Glory A-League clash with Newcastle Jets, and it was a lively opening with both sides having early chances. Kerr’s lob picked out Jaymee Gibbons on four minutes, but her shot was wide of the target. Foord went close for the visitors four minutes later, the Asian Women’s Footballer of the Year made a darting run into the box, but her cross shot was palmed away by Glory keeper Gabby Dal Busco. But on 23 minutes the visitors opened the scoring.
Remy Siemsen first effort was blocked by Natasha Rigby, but Foord was quickest to react and she finished clinically past Dal Busco. It was a bitter blow for the Glory but five minutes later they were level. Sydney defensive midfielder Georgia Yeoman-Dale was judged to have fouled Alyssa Mautz, and DiBernardo converted the resulting penalty. Both sides went close to the lead before the break. First on 42 minutes Sutton’s first time ball sent Kerr in on goal, but her shot was well saved by Claire Coelho. Then in stoppage time Leena Khamis darted into the box, her shot beat Dal Busco but Rigby got back to clear the danger.
The Glory opened the second half well and DiBernardo cut in from the left but her shot was deflected wide, and moments later Mautz’s effort crashed off the crossbar. Their early dominance was rewarded with the lead on 58 minutes. DiBernardo’s dangerous cross into the area caused panic in the Sydney defence and Kennedy’s attempted clearance looped up over Coelho and into her own net. Sydney custodian Coelho then came to her sides rescue five minutes later, saving superbly to deny Sarah Carroll’s long-range effort. But there was little Coelho could do when Glory added a third on 77 minutes.
DiBernardo made space and her first shot was blocked, but her follow up volley flew into net. Sydney was out on their feet and Glory went in for the kill. Sutton added the fourth on 79 minutes, tapping home after Kerr’s shot was saved by Coelho. The icing was put on the cake in stoppage time when the Glory added a fifth. Second half substitute Billam’s lobbed Coelho and the ball went in off the crossbar to end a convincing win and send the Glory into the W-League Grand Final for the first time since 2014.
Perth Glory: GK Gabby DAL BUSCO, 2 Sarah CARROLL, 3 Kim CARROLL, 4 Alyssa MAUTZ, 7 Nicole STANTON, 9 Rosie SUTTON (6 Carla BENNETT 86'), 10 Vanessa DIBERNARDO, 13 Jaymee GIBBONS (8 Shawn BILLAM 71'), 17 Natasha RIGBY, 20 Samantha KERR (C), 22 Arianna ROMERO - Subs not used: RGK Melissa MAIZELS, 5 Patricia CHARALAMBOUS, 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS
Sydney FC: GK Claire COELHO, 2 Teresa POLIAS (C), 3 Remy SIEMSEN, 4 Elizabeth RALSTON, 6 Servet UZUNLAR, 7 Nicola BOLGER (20 Princess IBINI-ISEI 82'), 9 Caitlin FOORD, 13 Georgia YEOMAN-DALE, 14 Alanna KENNEDY, 17 Kyah SIMON, 19 Leena KHAMIS (12 Olivia PRICE 68') - Subs not used: RGK Sarah EASTHOPE, 8 Amy HARRISON, 10 Francisca ORDEGA
Referee: Casey Reibelt
CASTRO MAKES GLORY TWIST AND SHOUT
Perth Glory returned to winning ways after a hard fought 3-2 win against Newcastle Jets at nib Stadium on Saturday evening. Spanish star Diego Castro had the Shed in full voice, with twist and shout blaring out from the Glory supporters at the end of the game. Castro bagged a first half brace, with Adam Taggart adding a third, while Andrew Hoole and a stunning effort from Jason Hoffman made it an interesting last 15 minutes but the Glory hung on to move closer to the Hyundai A-League top four.
“I thought first half we were really good value. Second half we started well but drifted out of the game a bit,” “We expected Newcastle were going to try and get something out of the game and we slipped away a little bit. We’ve got strengths and we’ve got weaknesses and were just trying to get that (consistent)] 90 minutes. I thought today was an important three points,” skipper Rostyn Griffiths said. “We spoke about it before the game. Melbourne City slipped up so we wanted to try and catch them. That’s what we want to do now is catch people ahead of us. We’ve been looking behind us all season to try and stay in the top six but now we want to pull away and get in that top four.”
Kenny Lowe made two changes to the side that lost to Central coast Mariners last week, with Nick Feely coming in for his A-League debut in place of the suspended Liam Reddy, while Chris Harold came in for Joel Chianese, who dropped to the bench. Also on the bench was Rhys Williams, the defender returning after turbulent month on and off the park. The Jets looked hungry after back-to-back wins against the Glory and the lively Andrew Nabbout raced into the box early, but his curling shot was saved by Feely. Former Glory keeper Jack Duncan came to the Jets’ rescue moments later, after Andy Keogh raced in one-on-one, but the Jets’ custodian stood tall to deny the Irish striker. But on 13 minutes the Glory were ahead, Castro raced into the area and was brought down by Nigel Boogard and referee Jonathon Barreiro pointed straight to the spot. Castro picked himself up and beat Duncan from the resulting penalty.
The Glory thought they had doubled their lead six minutes later. Taggart found space down the right and whipped in a low cross which was parried by Duncan, and Keogh fired home the rebound, but the flag was up for offside. Josh Risdon was next to go close for the Glory, his surging run ended with a shot which was well saved low by Duncan. But on 38 minutes the Jets were level. Nabbout, who was causing all sorts of problems for the Glory, crossed to Hoole, who beat his marker at the near post, and headed home past Feely via the post. Castro was having a blinder and five minutes before half time he drifted into the box and his low cross was deflected onto the post by a Jets defender. But moments later the Spanish maestro regained the Glory’s lead. He picked the ball up on the left of the box, and drifted past two Jets defenders before finishing with aplomb past Duncan low at his near post, to send the Glory into the break with the lead.
It was a tight opening to the second half with both sides pressing, but it was the Glory who made their chances count and they added a third on the hour. Risdon raced down the right and whipped in a deep cross to the back post and Taggart made a darting run to finish, his eighth goal of the season. Nabbout went close again moments later but his long-range shot was claimed easily by Feely. But Newcastle weren’t going away and on 72 minutes they were back in the game. There looked little danger when Hoffman picked the ball up 20 meters from goal, but his shot on the run flew past Feely to make it 3-2. The Glory fans thought it would be a repeat of the opening game of the season when the Jets left with a point after 3-3 draw, but the Glory had other ideas, with Dino Djulbic and Williams, who had replaced Shane Lowry in the first half, quelled the Jets and the Glory took the points and moved closer to the top four.
DOLPHINS KEEP AFLOAT IN NIGHT SERIES
Mandurah City qualified for their first ever Night Series Final, after a dramatic 3-1 penalty shoot-out win against Armadale in the QBE Night Series Semi-Final at the Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Sunday evening. Armadale had took the lead just after half time through Jordan Pavett, but Craig Tone equalised for Mandurah with fifteen minutes remaining and Brad Eiffe was the hero in the shoot-out saving Dylan White’s penalty and Armadale bowed out.
“It’s always great to get into a final of any competition, and we’re looking forward to the Final,” Eiffe said. “Armadale made it really hard for us, and on another night it could have gone their way. But credit has to go to our boys, who dug deep and never gave up, and have now been rewarded with a final against arguably the best team in the state in Bayswater. We will hit the training track this week and I’m sure Doug and Micky will prepare us well for Saturday’s game.”
It was the opportunity for both sides to reach their first ever NPL Night Series Final and it was Armadale who started the better, but they couldn’t find the goal their pressure deserved. Josh Tumoe had two good chances, while Kyle King and David Annall all had chances go begging. Mandurah were on the back foot but Ollie McGee and his back four worked overtime to keep the Reds at bay. Mandurah suffered a blow on the stroke of half time with Trent Wood carried off with a serious knee injury, he was replaced by Tone.
It was more of the same after the break, Jake Sardelic stung the palms of Eiffe early, but five minutes in Armadale’s pressure was rewarded with the lead. Faustinho Machochi ball was left by Annall and Pavett’s long-range shot beat Eiffe much to the delight of the Army faithful. The Dolphins were thankful to Eiffe again moments later, as he produced a couple of smart saves to deny Pavett and King. Mandurah lifted and Ryan Francis raced clear and found Tone, but his shot flashed wide of the target.
Armadale were defending stoutly with skipper Nathan Costello outstanding, but Mandurah were on the front foot and levelled on 74 minutes. A corner from Jeff Bright picked out Tone, who hooked home acrobatically. Both sides had chances late to win it in normal time. Tone header on 88 minutes lacked the pace to trouble Michael Cragg, while on the counterattack, King nearly won it for Armadale, but his shot didn’t concern Eiffle, who was quickly out to deny Machochi a short time later.
So it was off to penalties, Jack Eades, Sean Troupe and Matthew Stares all converted from the spot for City, while Armadale’s luck deserted them with Pavett successful before David Annall struck the bar, Dylan White’s effort was saved by Eiffe and Sardelic blazed over to send Hesketh’s side into their maiden Night Series Final.
Armadale: GK Michael CRAGG, 2 Dylan WHITE, 3 Jake SARDELIC, 11 Dannie RICHMAN, 16 David ANNALL, 17 James ATKINS (4 Nathan SMITH 79’), 8 Jordan PAVETT, 12 Josh TUMOE (6 Faustinho MACHOCHI 38’), 9 Kyle KING, 15 Nathan COSTELLO (C), 14 Tristan TAYLOR
Subs not used: RGK Alec RADONICH, 5 Sam LOVELESS, 10 Milan OGNJENOVIC - Yellow card: nil
Mandurah City: GK Brad EIFFE, 2 Oliver MCGEE, 3 Jeff BRIGHT (C), 4 Matt STARES, 5 Mitchell FIRTH (15 Slade RULE 71’), 6 Oscar THOMPSON, 7 Jack EADES, 9 Ryan FRANCIS, 10 Sean TROUP, 11 Trent WOOD (12 Craig TONE 46’); 17, Oriol FERNANDEZ (16, Daniel DYSON, 61).
Subs not used: RGK Cyril SHARROCK, 14 Alex CLARKE - Yellow cards: Francis, 57
Referee: Steve Gregory
QBE NIGHT SERIES SEMI-FINALS PREVIEW
The Semi-Finals of the QBE PS4NPLWA Night Series takes centre stage this weekend with both games taking place at the Inglewood Stadium. In the early game Mandurah City take on Armadale. Both sides surprised many by reaching this stage of the competition, but they have played well and will be looking to make the Final for the first time in their histories. Mandurah came from behind to beat Floreat Athena last week, and their youngsters led the way. Coach Doug Hesketh brought in Joe O’Brien, Mitchell Firth, Josh Warren and Slade Rule, and all performed, but the coach will welcome back senior players Andy Brown, Ollie McGee and Jack Eades into the squad for Sunday’s game. Teenager O’Brien said after conceding early last week they got their game together. “We got off to a slow start last week but eventually settled and started to take control of the game, this despite Floreat’s early goal,” he said. “I thought we played some decent stuff and were rewarded with two late goals to secure the win, and it was a very good all round team performance.” The 19-year-old midfielder say’s the club is buzzing ahead of the Semi-Final and their elevation to the NPL. “The game against Armadale should be an interesting game, and we know it’s not going to be easy,” he said. “But we’ve trained hard and the team is in good shape and hopefully we can come out with a win. The whole club is buzzing at the moment, we are in the NPL and it’s a fantastic that we have an opportunity to play at the top level again.”
Armadale are yet to concede in the competition, with new signing Nathan Costello and David Annall performing well and they upset Stirling Lions last week, with a brace from new signing Kyle King helping them to the 3-0 win. Midfielder Dannie Richman was also on target, and he said they are working well as a unit and they have a close squad, which helps both on and off the pitch, and he thought they were well-worth the win against Stirling. “Obviously we’re delighted with the result last week, but we know we still have a long way to go,” he said. “As a unit we are still learning about the new system John (O’Reilly) wants us to play, and we are definitely a work in progress. It’s the youngster squad I think I’ve ever been involved in, so hopefully we can keep improving and perform better as the season progresses.” Richman is looking forward to the game against Mandurah and playing at the Inglewood Stadium, a ground where he likes to play. “I always look forward to returning to my old stomping ground at the Wood, which is one of my favourite grounds to play at,” he explained. “I managed to watch a bit of Mandurah’s game last week, and Dougy, and Micky Lyons, who gave me my first team debut at Stirling as a 16-year-old, has them well-drilled and disciplined, so we know we will be in for a battle on Sunday. Hopefully we can keep progressing with our structure and game plan and get the result needed to make the Final.”
In the late game holders Bayswater City meet Sorrento. Both sides eased into the next round, with City beating ECU Joondalup 2-0, while Sorrento beat Inglewood United 3-0. Both sets of defenders have been strong, and both keepers have been solid. City custodian Devon Spence made a number of fine saves when scores were level and the back four in front of him were solid, and Trent Kay, Devon Gibson, Sam Mitchinson and David Stoke kept ECU at bay. Declan Hargreaves, who was outstanding last week, has returned to the club and he said last week’s win was hard fought but they deserved the victory. “Last week was a close game and it was very competitive, especially for a pre-season game,” he said. “Both sides had good chances in the game, but fortunately we took ours and deserved the win.” Hargreaves knows Sorrento will be another big test, but he’s confident they can move on to the final. “We will be prepared for Sorrento, but we always know it will be tough and physical game against them,” he explained. “It will be close and a great game for sure, but like I said we will be ready, we’ve had a good pre-season and are confident we can get the job done.”
Sorrento have hit the ground running, with Brodie Martin returning to ‘Windy Hill’, and new signing Scott Witschge scoring against his former club last weekend. Gulls keeper James Morgan is yet to concede a goal in the tournament, and he said last week’s win against Inglewood was just rewards for their play, and continued on from the first round win against Perth Glory. “We are really happy with how we are playing at the moment, yes we had to blow off a few cobwebs in the Glory game and it was good to come out with a win,” he said. “In the Inglewood game I thought we started the game off with a bang and they couldn’t handle us, especially it being their first game in the competition gave us the upper hand, and I thought we dominated them all over the park.” Morgan said Sunday’s game will be their biggest test so far, but they are looking forward to the challenge. “Playing Bayswater is never an easy game, but we are a big club and the boys will be pumped up and ready for the game,” he explained. “We’re all looking forward to the game and I believe if we start as well as we did against Inglewood we should come away with a place in the final.”
GLORY NEED TO GET SEASON BACK ON TRACK
Perth Glory return home on Saturday evening when they entertain Newcastle Jets at nib Stadium (7.00pm) It’s a huge game for Kenny Lowe’s side, after their surprise loss against Central Coast Mariners last week, and they need a win to keep the Jets, Wellington Phoenix and Western Sydney Wanderers off their tails. They will do it without keeper Liam Reddy, who was sent off last week in the 2-0 defeat, but they do regain the services of skipper Rostyn Griffiths.
The midfielder says he won't be changing his combative playing style as he returns from a two-game suspension. He was banned for two matches after being sent off and giving the referee a serve in Perth's 2-2 draw against Saturday’s opponents Newcastle, and it was the first red card the 28-year old has picked up in his long career in Australia, Europe and China, while he has received 38 yellow cards in six and a half seasons in the A-League.
Griffiths said he won't alter his game anytime soon. “No, I'm in there to break up play and try and intimidate and by physical as a footballer," he said. "Obviously its copped me a red card unfortunately but that's been my playing style and it's the first red card I've ever got, so I'm not going to change at 28."
Griffiths missed Glory's win over Melbourne Victory and their loss to the Mariners, and he said it was hard to watch from the sidelines. "I think it’s probably the worst thing ever, especially when I watched it last week when they beat Melbourne Victory," he said. "Obviously I was happy that they won, but to not have any influence or anything like that over the boys was pretty tough. Last week losing as well was difficult, but back in this week so hopefully the coach picks me."
Nick Feely will come into the side for his A-League debut for the Glory, and Griffiths said Reddy will be missed, but is confident they will be ok. “Rocket's' had a great season, but like anyone, it's a good chance for someone to step up and take his place. It's another chance for us to rectify what happened last week,” he said.
“The A-League's a strange league, you can lose one week and then win the next week and be back up amongst it again and it's the same this week. If we'd have won last week we would have been on the same or equal, or close to Melbourne City, which people didn't anticipate, but we want to be in the top four - that's what everyone's aiming for. A win on the weekend puts us right amongst it."
It took the Jets 11 years to break their Perth hoodoo, but skipper Nigel Boogaard says the side’s drought-breaking 2-1 win over the Glory at nib Stadium back in early December is largely irrelevant as the Jets prepare for another trip across the Nullarbor. Buoyed by a great defensive effort and big contributions in attack from Andrew Nabbout and Andrew Hoole in last Friday’s 2-1 win over Melbourne City in Coffs Harbour, the Jets can leapfrog fifth-placed Perth if they can make it back-to-back wins this weekend., and they also get back the services for English midfielder Wayne Brown.
“They’ve got some quality and we are going to have to be at our best again defensively,” Boogaard said. “But we are confident as a squad that we can break anyone down and score and hopefully get a clean sheet. “That’s probably the only disappointing thing from the weekend. The three points were great but the performance deserved a clean sheet and hopefully that will come this weekend.”
Squads - Perth Glory: GK Nick FEELY, GK Jordan THURTELL, 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, 20 Aryn WILLIAMS, 22 Adam TAGGART, 24 Milan SMILJANIC - *two to be omitted* - Ins: Rhys WILLIAMS (promoted), Rostyn GRIFFITHS (returns from suspension), Jordan THURTELL (promoted) - Out: 1 .Liam Reddy (suspended – 1 week)
Newcastle Jets – GK Jack DUNCAN, GK Tomislav ARCABA, 2 Daniel MULLEN, 3 Jason HOFFMAN, 4 Nigel BOOGAARD (c), 7 Andrew HOOLE, 8 Mateo POLJAK, 10 Wayne BROWN, 12 Harrison SAWYER, 15 Andrew NABBOUT, 16 Nicholas COWBURN, 18 MA Leilei, 19 Morten NORDSTRAND, 22 Lachlan JACKSON, 23 Devante CLUT, 28 John KOUTROUMBIS, 29 Joel ALLWRIGHT -*One to be omitted* - Ins: Wayne BROWN (returns from injury), Joel ALLWRIGHT (promoted) - Outs: 6.Steven UGARKOVIC (suspended – 1 match)
GLORY SET FOR SEMI-FINAL SHOWDOWN AGAINST SYDNEY
Perth Glory Women's captain Samantha Kerr has warned former teammate and Matilda star Caitlin Foord looms as the danger-player ahead of this weekend's home semi-final clash against Sydney FC at nib Stadium. Glory secured the home final with a dramatic last-gasp win over Western Sydney courtesy of Caitlin Doeglas's stoppage-time winner, without the influential skipper, who served a one-week suspension for her sending off against Adelaide United.
The skipper believes the match-up, which will be played before the men's game against Newcastle Jets, is a "huge event" for not only the club, but the younger players within the squad.
"It's lovely playing at nib [Stadium], it's like playing on carpet," Kerr said. "Hopefully a lot of people get down and support us because it's such a big game and a lot of the girls on our team haven't played in the semis.”
The striker is not surprised by the team's success in Season nine of the Westfield W-League, despite a new look squad. "We lost nine players [over the off-season], so it's always tough to bounce back,” Kerr explained. “But I knew from the start we had a good squad, as the pre-season was more intense than ever this year, so I knew we would be up there, but to finish tied first is something else.”
The Matildas star has enjoyed a prolific season spearheading the Perth attack, having narrowly missed out on the Golden Boot with 10 goals to her name. “I've had a little bit of success scoring goals, but really the team has been awesome this year, "We've all come together and gelled well. I think as a club we've had a great year," Kerr stated.
Glory's talisman is wary of their semi-final opponents Sydney, who have enjoyed another high-flying season, having led the league for a majority of the campaign, only to lose top spot on the last day of the season to Canberra United. "I think Sydney are going to come out firing," the local Perth product said. "We beat them last time in Perth, so I think the ball is in our court, we play well and we'll win this game.
“They've got six or seven Matildas, so there's a few [to look out for]...I think the main one is probably Caitlin Foord, she played here last year and she's one of the best footballer's in the world, "But I think we have the players to match her, so I think they will be just as worried about our players, our Americans and Kim Carroll at the back...we have a lot of solid players," Kerr says she is full of confidence with the squad and said "the home final is a bonus, it's every footballer's dream to play in a semi at home."
GLORY YOUTH TRIO SELECTED IN YOUNG SOCCEROOS CAMP
Perth Glory Youth trio Stefan King, Jack Leech and Walter Scott have been named in Young Socceroos Head Coach Ufuk Talay 25-player squad for a training camp at the AIS from 6-9 February. The squad, which consists of players from teams in the Foxtel National Youth League, will assemble in Canberra on Monday 6 February looking to impress Talay and his coaching staff. “The squad comprises of players born in 1999, most of whom have been playing in the recently completed National Youth League season,” Talay said. “The aim of the camp is to have a look at these players in our environment, get them to understand the philosophies of the national teams and the way we want to play, and moving forward beginning to prepare for our qualifiers in October.”
For Leech the selection is a huge honour and one he’s looking forward to, and he thanks Glory Coach John Gibson for helping his development in the game. “I feel very honoured to be given this opportunity, and am very thankful of it,” he said. “To be selected in this training squad is a huge and something I couldn't be happier with, it's something I've only really dreamed of being a part of so I am so grateful to be part of it. I'll be sure to give this opportunity my best shot and make the most of it and the experience. Gibbo has had a huge influence on my football, his philosophies and systems of playing the game have influence my football greatly since being coached by him.”
The 17-year-old, who started playing at North Beach, before stints at Perth SC, Sorrento and the NTC, was skipper of the Glory side that travelled to Japan recently and he said it was great experience to play international football. “The tour was an amazing experience, it educated us both on and off the pitch with regards to our preparation for games and how we conduct ourselves when we are not playing football,” Leech explained. “It also gave us and insight into the level of football that is played around the world helping us to compare how we are to others around the world pursuing the same dream. It was an experience that will never be forgotten.”
King has come on leaps and bounds between the sticks this season, and was also on the tour of Japan, he said it’s an opportunity he’s going to take with both hands. “A great honour to be chosen for this camp which will be an amazing experience not just for me but for the other boys to, I can't wait to walk out onto the pitch and show the coaches what I'm capable of,” he explained. “Japan was an experience of a lifetime and a massive education on international football, I was very impressed with how the team conducted themselves on and off the pitch, just a shame we didn't get more results out of it but all in all was a great experience that I will never forgot.”
The 17-year-old keeper started playing the game at Beeliar Spirit, before moving to Armadale, and then to East Fremantle, where he got the goalkeeping bug, and was selected in the NTC, before joining the Glory. He gives a great deal of credit to Glory keeper coach Danny Milosevic for his development and he hopes to follow in his footsteps one day. “Danny has been a great role model for me, he picked me up from when I started to first become a goalkeeper and has just developed me so much for me to become the goalkeeper I am today,” King said. “I hope to improve more under him, he is a great coach and a great person with advice on anything not just about football, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.”
Scott said to get the call to go in camp was unreal, and he said it will be good to have two of his Glory teammates there with him. “Like my team mates I was so excited being selected for the young Socceroos camp, it is truly an honour,” he said. “To be representing the Perth Glory boys is something I’m really happy about, an also very privileged to train with the best players in my age group in the country, I really can't wait. We had a glimpse of international football in Japan, the tour was so amazing. I was so lucky to be given the opportunity to travel and play football. The tour was a great eye opener to international football, and was great to see how we faired against some of the best Under 18 clubs in the world.”
Scott, played for his local club East Fremantle from grassroots, until he joined the NTC from Under 14’s, said the coaching his got from the club has been fantastic and he can’t thank them enough. “I’ve been very lucky, and all my coaches have been amazing and have contributed greatly to my development to this point,” the 17-year-old said. “The Coaches at the Glory have been unbailable, Kenny Lowe, Bobby Despotovski, Callum Salmon and John Gibson, have all taught me so much throughout my time at Glory, which I’m really grateful for.”
Young Socceroos squad - Nathaniel Atkinson (Melbourne City FC), Joshua Cavallo (Melbourne City FC), Mathieu Cordier (Western Sydney Wanderers FC), Henry Davies (Western Sydney Wanderers FC), James Delianov (Melbourne City FC), Mitchell Dobson (Newcastle Jets), Macklin Freke (Brisbane Roar FC), Dennis Genreau (Melbourne City FC), Dane Ingham (Brisbane Roar FC) John Iredale (Sydney FC), Stefan King (Perth Glory), Taci Kumsuz (Western Sydney Wanderers FC) Patrick Langlois (Newcastle Jets FC), Daniel Leck (Brisbane Roar FC), Jack Leech (Perth Glory), Connor Metcalfe (Melbourne City FC), Oliver Puflett (Western Sydney Wanderers FC), Aaron Reardon (Brisbane Roar FC), Adam Sawyer (Brisbane Roar FC), Walter Scott (Perth Glory), Apostolos Stamatelopoulos (Adelaide United), Gianni Stensness (Central Coast Mariners), Gerrie Sylaidos (Melbourne City FC), Christian Theoharous (Melbourne Victory), Mark Tokich (FFA COE)
KNOWLES REWARDED WITH A-LEAGUE CONTRACT
Former ECU Joondalup striker Joe Knowles has signed his first professional contract after signing for Perth Glory for the 2017/18 A-League season. The 20-year old impressed strongly during the club’s pre-season tour of the Philippines and in the recent Youth League campaign. He thanked ECU for giving him the start on his football journey. “I think if it wasn’t for ECU I wouldn’t be where I am today,” he said. “I am really happy to be offered such a great opportunity and to play at home is what I have always dreamt of.”
Knowles, who has made five Hyundai A-League appearances to date, the most recent was in this season's Round One opener against Central Coast, but he knows the hard work starts now as he looks to impress the coaching staff. “Yes the hard work starts now I just need to work my socks off, keep improving and getting better and hopefully I can start pushing into the squad,” he explained. “Having a taste of A-League and FFA cup makes me want more, so I’ll be doing everything I can to be playing as soon as possible.”
ECU Coach Dale McCulloch gave Knowles his first team debut, and he said he know he had talent. “Were delighted for Joe to sign a professional contract at the Glory, but he would look better in an ECU shirt,” he joked. “We could see the talent he had as a junior and I never had a problem putting him in the first team here, and he never let me or the club down and he scored his first goal in the local derby against Sorrento.”
The chance to train alongside the like of Diego Castro, Adam Taggart, Chris Harold and Andy Keogh has improved Knowles game and he hopes it continues. “It’s great to train and play with the likes of those names, and many more big names in the squad because you learn so much from them,” he said. “They have all really helped in making me and the other young boy’s better players.” Glory Coach Kenny Lowe said he was happy for Knowles. “It's great for Joe, he's been in our system for a while now and he's worked ever so hard to earn this opportunity." he said.
The coaches at the club – Kenny Lowe, Andrew Ord, John Gibson, Richard Garcia and Jacob Burns have all had influence on his football, but he had a special mention for one of them. “I think highly of all these coaches and I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the guidance of these guys,” he said. “Gibbo has had to put up with my moaning for the past three years, so I think it’s only fair he gets a mention. He has changed me as a player, and also as a person in everyday life, so for that I’ll be forever thankful.”
FROM ARMADALE TO SERIE A FOR SAINSBURY
Former Armadale SC youngster, and Socceroos defender Trent Sainsbury has swapped the Chinese Super League for Italian giants Inter Milan in an intriguing and exciting transfer deadline day move. The 25-year-old, who started his football at Morgan Park in the Armadale Juniors, before starting his professional career in the A-League with the Central Coast Mariners, has joined the Nerazzurri on loan from Jiangsu Suning until the end of the Serie A season.
The shared ownership between the two clubs is a pivotal part of the move. The owners of Jiangsu Suning took majority ownership of Inter Milan last year, with new Chinese football regulations easing Sainsbury’s passage to Europe. Each Chinese Super League side is allowed to own five foreign players, including one from the Asian confederation which includes Australia, but field only three at the same time.
With South American stars Ramires, Roger Martinez and Alex Teixeira – who signed for the club in a $A60m deal last year – on Jiangsu Suning’s books already, Sainsbury’s move has opened up another foreign spot at the club. But the club’s loss could be Sainsbury’s gain, having secured a home at one of Europe’s grand old clubs. Inter is a three-time European champion and an 18-time national champion.
The first-choice national team centre-back will join an illustrious group of Socceroos to have played in Italy when he makes his debut. Zeljko Kalac played for cross-town rivals AC Milan, while Mark Bresciano, Vince Grella and current A-League coaches Paul Okon (Central Coast) and John Aloisi (Brisbane Roar) spent part of their careers in Italy.
Inter have sold Italy international centre-back Andrea Ranocchia to English club Hull City in another deadline day move, freeing up a place in the side. Additionally, Brazilian centre-back Joao Miranda was sent off in the club’s Italian Cup quarter-final played on Wednesday morning (AEDT), which could see Sainsbury thrown into first-team action.
The Perth-born defender won the 2012-13 A-League title with the Mariners, earning a move to Dutch club PEC Zwolle. It was there that Sainsbury established himself as a Socceroos regular, helping the national team lift the Asian Cup in 2015. After three years in Europe, Sainsbury made a big-money move to China, where he increased his annual wage to a reported $4 million.
He is likely to retain that salary while on Inter’s books. A brief statement on Inter’s website suggested Sainsbury is likely to wear the number 20 shirt – made famous by Uruguayan forward and one-time Socceroos nemesis Alvaro Recoba. Inter sit fourth on the Serie A table, nine points behind leaders Juventus.
BURY TAKE BEADLING ON LOAN
English League One side Bury have confirmed the loan signing of defender Tom Beadling from Sunderland until the end of the season. 20-year old Beadling played localy for the National Training Centre before entering the Black Cats' academy system, breaking into the development squad in 2013.
Beadling has since trained with the first team and cemented his place in the Under-21 team. ""Very happy to have joined Bury FC on loan until the end of the season," Beadling said of his move via twitter. "Can't wait to get started." Bury currently sit 21st in League One, two points from safety.
QBE PS4NPLWA NIGHT SERIES – QUARTER FINAL REVIEW
It was Quarter-Final action in the QBE PS4NPLWA Night Series this weekend, and all four games produced some good football. In the early game on Saturday evening, newly promoted Mandurah City moved into the Semi-Finals with a come from behind 2-1 win against Floreat Athena at the E&D Litis Stadium. (5.30pm) The Dolphins were without Jordan Rhodes, Andrew Brown, Ollie McGee and Jack Eades, and Coach Doug Hesketh shuffled the pack bringing in teenagers Mitchell Firth, Joe O’Brien, Josh Warren and Slade Rule into the squad.
It was Floreat who opened the scoring on 12 minutes after some good lead up play ended with Lewis McMahon, who played in Ludovic Boi, and his first time shot beat Cyril Sharrock. Mandurah almost levelled on the stroke of half time, but Daniel Dyson effort from a corner sailed wide.
After the break Mandurah settled and began to get in the game, but Floreat still looked dangerous going forward, but with Firth outstanding at the heart of the back four Mandurah started to create chances for themselves. The introduction of Warren, O’Brien and Craig Tone and a change of formation helped and on 77 minutes they were level. Tone made space and played in O’Brien, and the teenager drilled a shot low past Connor Campbell.
The game was there for both sides, but four minutes later Floreat were reduced to ten men when Taban Makoi was sent off, and Mandurah made their numerical count with the winner five minutes from time. Ryan Francis and Tone, who were causing Floreat all sorts of problems, combined and Francis fired home from a tight angle to seal victory. Mandurah Coach Doug Hesketh was delighted post-match. “We finished strong and closed the game well, and Mick, Robbo and I are delighted for the players and the club,” he said. “We waited for this opportunity we stood tall and showed we can compete at the top level, the lads fully deserved the win, and I’m delighted and proud of the result.”
In the late game Armadale continued their good start under new Coach John O’Reilly with a 3-0 win against last season’s runners-up Stirling Lions. The Lions, who had the bye in the first round, found themselves behind in this one on the quarter hour. A ball over the top by Jordan Pravett sent Kyle King clear, the striker outpaced his marker and finished low past Lance Alavakis.
Armadale doubled their advantage four minutes from half time. Josh Tumoe beat three Lions defenders down the left, and played a reverse ball into the path of King, and the striker dinked the ball over the on-coming keeper.
The game was made safe on 69 minutes with Armadale adding their third. Charlie Kenna won possession down the left, his played a great ball across the top of the penalty area and picked out Pravett, who finished clinically. King said it was a good performance from the side. “It was a good test and the next step of our preparation, we are building nicely after playing a few lower league teams in pre-season and Subiaco last week,” he said. “We are happy with the win and we were worth every bit of it, playing to a solid system and exploiting weaknesses using our strengths as a whole. The lads and I are looking forward to seeing who we have in the next round and can't wait to get back out there to continue our progress.”
On Sunday night it was off to the Inglewood Stadium, and in the early game Bayswater City’s hold on the trophy continued after a hard fought 2-0 win against ECU Joondalup. Both sides created chances in the first half Andrija Jukic hit the post for Bayswater, and Fraser Greenwood was alert to deny Luka Ninkovic, and Steven McGarry cleared Trent Kay’s header of the line, before Daryl Nicol was thwarted by Devon Spence, and Gordon Smith’s shot flashed wide of the target for ECU.
City got on top after the break and the lively Ninkovic fired inches wide, before Borbor Sam shot crashed off the post, while McGarry saw his header bounce off the crossbar moments later. Spence then came to City’s rescue saving superbly to deny Nicol on 72 minutes, and that save became more important two minutes later when City hit the front. Todd Howarth’s free kick was headed home by skipper Kay from eight meters.
ECU looked to hit back and Jayden Drummond raced into the box, but his shot was straight at Spence. But three minutes from time the result was made safe. Sam, who was a constant threat down the flanks, cut in from the left and eased past two ECU players before finishing low past Greenwood, to send Bayswater into the Semi-Finals with a well-deserved win.
Kay said it was a good performance, and it’s always nice to get on the scoresheet. “I thought we deserved the win tonight, although credit to ECU they put up a good fight,” he said. “Nice to score the opener, but it came off my ear and shoulder, but hey I’ll take it. We started pre-season early because we didn’t make the finals last year, and we’ve worked extremely hard and have had two wins in the Night Series, and it would be nice to hold on to the trophy, but also give us good momentum going into the league season.”
In the late game Sorrento beat hosts Inglewood United 3-0. The Gulls were ahead after only 12 minutes, former Inglewood winger Scott Witschge ran at the defence, and his deflected shot looped over the standard Alex Dunn. Sorrento doubled their lead on 24 minutes; Scott Bulloch picked up an attempted clearance, and cut in from the left and fired low into the bottom corner of the net from outside the box.
Inglewood looked to hit back after the break, but they couldn’t find way past James Morgan and Sorrento sealed the win on 64 minutes when they added a third. A quick counter attack caught United flat footed, and Witschge played Bulloch one-on-one with Dunn, and the former Perth Glory midfielder rounded the keeper and finished with aplomb. Inglewood was then reduced to ten men moments later, when John Migas was shown a second yellow card. Some of the gloss of the win was taken off in stoppage time when Sorrento striker Sean Canham was shown a straight red card by referee Matt Southern.
Sorrento Coach Jamie Harnwell said the performance of his players was outstanding. “I was extremely pleased with the manner of our win tonight, he said. “I thought we looked great going forward and dug in when Inglewood pressed us after half time. The new players are starting to gel, and we are looking forward to the Semi-Final next weekend.”
GLORY TOP SIX SPOT IN DOUBT AFTER LOSS TO MARINERS
Perth Glory’s top six spot is hanging by a thread, after they were beaten 2-0 by Central Coast Mariners in Gosford in week 17 of the Hyundai A-League on Saturday afternoon. The loss ended the Glory’s five game undefeated streak, and continued the hoodoo the Mariners have over the men in purple, winning only once in 19 attempts at the Central Coast Stadium. But the Glory should have been out of sight at the break with Adam Taggart and Andy Keogh wasting clear cut chances, but two quick second half goals from Josh Bingham and a Fabio Ferreira penalty wrapped up the points. Things went bad to worse for the Glory late on, with keeper Liam Reddy sent off.
Kenny Lowe said his side can’t afford to give away the types of chances which saw them concede the goals. “I don’t think you can give away goals like we give away and expect to come away with anything,” he said post-match. “Even though we’ve created a fair amount of chances, I thought their keeper was excellent to be truthful, he made some excellent saves. But you can’t hand people gifts like we’ve handed gifts today. “I think there was a ball into the box, no player from their anywhere near, we panic and kick it out for a throw and from that throw they end up scoring. Then there’s a throw down the right hand side, they throw it down the line and we don’t react. They flick it over someone’s head then it’s a penalty, and all of a sudden you are down 2-0 and momentum changes and you’ve got no real chance of getting back into the game.”
In somewhat of a surprise Lowe named an unchanged side, to the one that beat Melbourne Victory last week, with Joel Chianese holding his place even though Chris Harold was fit, but he had to do with a place on the bench. Chances were few and far between early, with both sides struggling in the final third, the first real chance fell to the Glory on the half hour. Chianese was sent down the right by a Keogh flick, he cut the ball back to Diego Castro, but the Spanish maestro fired over the top. The best chance of the half came on 40 minutes.
Keogh ball across the box picks out Castro, and his cross on the run was perfect for an unmarked Taggart at the back post, but somehow the striker completely missed the ball with the goal at his mercy. Conor Pain and Trent Buhagiar’s pace was causing the Glory problems, but the Mariners lacked the final ball, and on the stroke of half time it was the Glory who went close again. A quick counter attack ended with Castro, who played in Keogh, but his curling shot flashed wide of the target.
The Glory should have been out of sight but two minutes into the second half the Mariners opened the scoring. A ball into the box was intercepted by Milan Smiljanic, but his touch only found Bingham, who finished low past Reddy. His celebrations was cut short with the flag up for offside, but after referee Kris Griffiths-Jones spoke to his assistant the goal stood. It was a bitter blow for the Glory but five minutes later they took another hit, with Josh Risdon having a brain fade and handling the ball in the box and Griffiths-Jones pointed straight to the spot. Ferreira stepped up and sent the ball down the middle of the goal with a panenka with Reddy diving to his left.
It was the Mariners’ who were now dictating terms, and Ferreira almost added a third, but his shot crashed off the post and away to safety. Reddy then had to be alert on the hour, after Nick Montgomery’s long-range shot stung the palms of the Glory custodian. The Glory almost pulled one back five minutes later, Castro wriggled his way into the box, but Mariners keeper Paul Izzo produced a stunning save to deny him. The two went at it again on 80 minutes, Harold cutting the ball back to Castro, but Izzo wasn’t to be beaten, tipping the ball around the post.
The Glory were reduced to 10 men when Reddy was given his marching orders, after he hesitated on the ball, and his attempted clearance tripped Buhagiar, who was heading into goal and he was given a straight red card. It looked a little harsh with a defender behind the keeper, who would have cleared the ball, but his protests fell on deaf ears by the referee and the Glory had to play the final ten minutes a man short, but the damage had been done. The Glory need to re-group for next week’s home game against Newcastle Jets, it’s a vital game with the Jets only being one point behind them on the table, and they have Wellington and the Wanders breathing down their necks .
LATE GOAL FROM DOEGLAS GIVES GLORY HOME SEMI-FINAL
After missing a perfect opportunity to go top of the table last week and go in pole position for the league title, Perth Glory Women had a late Caitlin Doeglas goal to thank to beat Western Sydney Wanderers and move them to second place on the Westfield W-League table and earn a home Semi-Final next weekend against Sydney FC at nib Stadium. It looked like Bobby Despotovski’s side would be travelling next week, but second half substitute Doeglas popped up in the second minute of stoppage time to win it.
Despotovski said he was thrilled with the result and happy his players had achieved what they set out to do at the start of the season. “We dominated big parts of the game, but with Sammy (Kerr) being suspended we missed her speed but it’s great Caitlin stepped up to grab the winner,” he said. “The girls deserve to be in the position they are in. I was a bit disappointed for them not to take top spot, but from last year to this year it has been a vast improvement, from the coaching and across the whole organisation. The players worked very hard for this and I want them to rise to the occasion and it’s only fitting to play at nib in the semi-final as well.”
The home side were first to threaten when American Katie Stengel played the ball into the path of Joey Burgess but her shot from the edge of the penalty area flashed over the top. Moments later EllieCarpenter raced down the right, her cross shot was parried by Gabby Del Busco, but the Glory cleared the rebound. Glory hit back and went close to an opener, after Alyssa Mautz caused chaos in the box, but luckily for the Wanderers Chloe O'Brien was quick to clear the ball to safety.
After the break Dal Busco had to be alert to deny a powerful Burgess header, before Mautz raced clear moments later but Wanderers keeper Jada Mathyssen-Whyman produced a good low save to deny her. Then Shawn Billam’s long-range shot was saved by Mathyssen-Whyman. But with time running out the Glory won it. A long clearance from the back was flicked on to Mautz down the left, and her cross wasn’t dealt with by the Wanderers defence and Doeglas fired home from four meters to set off wild celebrations.
BLUE IS THE COLOUR FOOTBALL IS THE GAME!!
Football in Western Australia has been given a massive boost with English Premier League leaders Chelsea set to tour Australia, and will be one of the first fixtures to be played at the new 65,000-seat Perth Stadium next year. The Blues will travel to Australia to face Perth Glory in a pre-season friendly in mid-2018. The only concern of many is what sort of squad will head to Perth, with the World Cup being played that year, and a number of Chelsea’s stars will be playing in the tournament, but it’s a great boost to the Glory and to football fans in Perth and Asia.
It will be Chelsea's only match in Australia ahead of the 2017-18 EPL season, as the Londoners return Down Under for the first time since beating Sydney FC in a friendly in May 2015, and the club are looking forward to head ‘Down Under’. “This is a very exciting opportunity for Chelsea to play in front of some of our most passionate supporters," Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said.
"We were delighted with the reception we received in Sydney when we visited in 2015, and now we can look forward to the same in Western Australia. We anticipate an excellent match against Perth Glory in what promises to be a fantastic new venue for the city."
Glory chief executive Peter Filopoulos said the fixture will help grow the game in the state. “This is an enormous opportunity for not only football fans, but sport fans in general, from around the nation and the Asia-Pacific region, to witness one of the best and biggest clubs in the world to play in our own backyard,” he said. “This will not only help grow and foster football in Western Australia but will expose Perth Glory's brand to a new market and millions of viewers and fans around the globe. This will be Chelsea's only match in Australia during the Hyundai A-League pre-season campaign and will play an important role in Perth Glory's preparations for the 2018/19 season."
QBE NIGHT SERIES ROUND TWO PREVIEW
After last week’s sensational start to the QBE PS4NPLWA Night Series, this week it’s Round two with games over the weekend. The first games will be played on Saturday evening at the E&D Litis Stadium, and first up Mandurah City take on hosts Floreat Athena (5.30pm). Both sides were involved in goal fests last week, Floreat beating Balcatta 3-2, while Mandurah edged out Joondalup United in a seven goal thriller.
Mandurah keeper Brad Eiffe said last week was a good start to their pre-season competition, and said some of the goals were top draw. “It’s always great to get a good solid 90 minutes in early doors and to top it off with a win is even better,” he said. “It was definitely a rusty performance by all and the goals we conceded were down to basic errors which will be ironed out by the start of the season proper. In saying that, the boys are looking sharp and hungry to succeed this season, and we scored 2 or 3 goals worthy of winning any game.”
It’s a return home for Eiffe, who played for Floreat for two seasons, and won the Football West Goalkeeper of the Year in 2012, and he said it’s another chance to get game time into the side and said he is looking forward to catching up with a few mates at Floreat. “I’m really looking forward to returning back to Litis Stadium. My time there was great I meet some great people and made some friends for life. Glen and his team have done great over the last couple of seasons and have assembled a squad capable of going all the way,” he explained. “It will be a tough challenge but something the club is excited about and I’m confident we can come away with a win with the squad Doug, Robbo and Mick have at their disposal. We will need to be at our best on and off the ball with the likes of Ludo, McMahon and Dean Evans in their side and we will need to cut out the basic errors if we do want to succeed.”
Floreat’s Andrew Scaldaferro said last week’s game was well-deserved and said they have worked hard in the pre-season. “It was a good solid performance coming off a strong pre-season from the squad so far,” he said. “I think we had a few chances to put the game away earlier, but Balcatta were clinical with their couple chances and credit to them fighting back but we held strong to take the win.” Scaldaferro said Mandurah will be looking to put down a marker after promotion to the NPL, but he believes they have the quality to make it to the next round. “Mandurah will be a good test for us this week, and it will be good to see Brad return to Floreat as well,” he said. “But I’m confident we can continue our pre-season form and take the win.”
In the late game Stirling Lions make their first appearance in the competition, after having the bye last week, when they take on Armadale (7.30pm) The 2016 Football West Gold Medalist David Micevski said it wasn’t ideal to have the bye last week, but he said the side are ready for a big challenge. “Yes having the bye isn’t ideal in terms of gaining some competitive match practice before the league season begins,” he explained. “We haven’t had much competitive match time this pre-season but I’m sure the boys are looking forward to this Saturday match and start our campaign.” Micevski said Armadale, who beat the Lions last season at Macedonia Park in round 21, are a dangerous side. “We are well aware it will be a difficult game as Armadale usually are, so it will be a good test for us to see where we’re at leading into the league season,” he said. “Last season we got to the final of the night series and I’m sure the boys are eager to go one step further this season.”
On Sunday it’s off to Inglewood Stadium and in the first game holders Bayswater City take on ECU Joondalup (5.30pm). City won the Italian derby against Perth SC last week, and former Perth Glory Youth winger Borbor Sam scored in the 3-0 win. The speedy winger has re-joined City this season and said last week’s win was well-deserved, but they need to improve their first half performance. “I thought we deserved the win last week, although we might not have played too well in the first half, but I thought we came out in the second half and were the better team and we scored two more goals and won it comfortably in the end,” he said. “They (ECU) finished last season really well and have some good players, so I think it will be a good game and one we’re all looking forward too.”
ECU beat Cockburn City 4-0 in the first round, and Gordon Smith returned with a bang scoring two penalties. The former Hearts striker injured his knee late last season and missed the clubs Top Four Finals run, but he’s back to full fitness and said the win last week gives them confidence going forward. “It was a great win for the boys, especially with the windy conditions, and it shows the hard work pre-season has paid off as we really upped our game second half,” he said. “Personally it was good to get back on the park and on the scoresheet after a long 4 1/2 months out, but on the night credit goes to Daryl Nicol for winning the penalties, and he's been flying pre-season.” Smith knows the quality Bayswater have in their squad, but said the club are looking forward to the game, but they need to maintain their focus and standard they set last week. “It's a really good draw and one we are looking forward too,” he explained. “They (Bayswater) will be fit and well organised, so we have to maintain the standard we set against Cockburn into Sunday’s game and if we do that we will have a good chance of progressing.”
In the final game hosts Inglewood United enters the competition and they entertain Sorrento (7.30pm). United played Gwelup Croatia last week in a friendly and Scott Blackmore said it was a good hit out. “Friendlies are always good for trying new things, whether that be new players, playing a different shape or playing players in different positions, bringing some of the younger lads into the fold, good for getting match fitness and sharpness back into the legs and good for getting the head into match play again,” he said. “Gwelup are a team on the rise and a team that we aren’t so familiar with, so yeah - it was a good hit out for us.” Blackmore knows the dangers Sorrento have, and is expecting another tough game on Sunday. “Playing Sorrento is always tough, whether night series, league or cup, it’s never an easy game,” he explained. “Given the new knock out style structure of the night series, it’s important that we start well... we don’t get a second chance. They're a physical team that like to mix it up and enjoy the battle, are direct, like to play the with width up top, are quick on the break... it should be a good early test for us, and it’s something we are looking forward to. We're all eager to get back into it, to be honest with you.”
The Gulls went through to the next round with a 1-0 win against Perth Glory last week and Scott Bulloch said it was a tight game and the Glory pushed them all the way. “We knew the young Glory lads would be fit and keep the ball well which they did. We were defensively solid and had the better of the chances, but were happy to walk away with a clean sheet, a 1-0 win and onto the quarter finals,” he said. “Inglewood showed last year they have a talented squad and should be there or there about this year. We have been working hard at training with the way we want to play and are confident that will show this week. It gives our boys another opportunity to get some minutes in the legs and a hopefully we come out with a win.”
GLORY HOPING TO SINK THE MARINERS HOODOO
After last week’s dramatic come-from-behind win against Melbourne Victory, Perth Glory hits the road this week to take bottom of the table Central Coast Mariners on Saturday in Gosford. (2.35pm WA Time). They have played the Mariners twice this season, in round one the Glory led 3-0 at nib Stadium, but the Mariners hit back to draw, and in round eight they sunned the Glory 2-0 in Gosford. The Mariners have been a bogey side for the Glory, and since the A-League was established in 2005, the Mariners have lost just once to Glory in Gosford, winning 14 and drawing three in 18 matches. Glory’s only win came November 2014, when Nebojsa Marinkovic scored in a 1-0 win.
Kenny Lowe’s side are on five game unbeaten run, this despite the reported rift in the dressing rooms, something Lowe adamantly denies, and he wasn’t pleased when asked about Rhys Williams absence from the Victory win. “He's got a hamstring injury, what are you reading into things that aren't there? What's that all about? At the end of the day, have a little bit of class and talk about the game - not bollocks,” an agitated Lowe said. “Talk about the game, how well we've done. We've played the second best team in the league, and all you want to talk about is negative stuff. Talk about good stuff. Talk about Castro. Talk about the goals."
Liam Reddy has been outstanding this season, and he returns to the Gosford after playing 52 times for the club between 2013 and 2015, and he said they would be looking for retribution in Saturday’s game. “We owe Central Coast something, it was disappointing to let three goals slip and we were poor against them last time so we need to be on our game,” he explained. “We can still catch fourth, we can reign in Brisbane, and so it’s a big game for us.
“We would love to have a home semi-final, that’s our goal and this week, if we can get three points, it goes a long way to doing that. That’s definitely in the back of our minds, that we need to turn up because it’s an important game. We know we haven’t done as well as we should but the last four or five weeks we’ve seen signs of improvement. We had a bad run before Christmas, we lost at home twice, and we had set ourselves a target of not losing at home. That was disappointing but we’ve responded.”
The Mariners will be without the suspended Roy O’Donavan, after the Irish striker was issued a one-match suspension for striking Melbourne City's Michael Jakobson in the their 1-2 loss against Melbourne City last week. O'Donovan, 31, has scored eight goals in 16 appearances for the Mariners this season, including a double against the Glory in the 3-3 draw, and another in their 2-0 win earlier in the season. They welcome back Jacob Poscoliero from a long term injury, while Josh Bingham and Steve Whyte have been promoted to the squad.
Poscoliero says that he can’t wait to step back onto the Central Coast Stadium pitch in front of our passionate fans. “If I am selected this week it would be my first match at Central Coast Stadium this season,” he said. “I love Central Coast Stadium, I love the fans and I’m just looking forward to getting back out there. It’s important for me to put in big performances on the training track to show the coach what I can do. I need to keep working hard and if he gives me an opportunity I want to take it with both hands.”
Central Coast Mariners Squad: GK Ivan NECEVSKI, GK Paul IZZO, 2 Storm ROUX, 3 Scott GALLOWAY, 4 Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5 Harry ASCROFT, 6 Blake POWELL, 7 Fabio FERREIRA, 8 Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 11 Connor PAIN, 12 Trent BUHAGIAR, 13 Kwabena APPIAH, 14 Adam BERRY, 16 Liam ROSE, 17 Josh BINGHAM, 21 Michael NEILL, 22 Jake McGING, 26 STEVE WHYTE - *two to be omitted* - Ins: POSCOLIERO (return from injury), BINGHAM (promoted), WHYTE (promoted) - Outs: 9 Roy O’DONOVAN (suspension – 1 week)
Perth Glory Squad: GK Liam REDDY, GK Nick FEELY, 3 Marc WARREN, 4 Shane LOWRY, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 9 Andy KEOGH, 10 Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11 Richard GARCIA, 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Joe MILLS, 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Josh RISDON, 20 Aryn WILLIAMS, 22 Adam TAGGART, 23 Kosta PETRATOS, 24 Milan SMILJANIC *two to be omitted* - Ins: HAROLD (promoted), Aryn WILLIAMS (promoted) - Unavailable: 2.Alex GRANT (foot - 3 weeks) 8.Rostyn GRIFFITHS (suspended - 1 week) 18. Mitch OXBORROW (foot – 3 weeks)
WE’RE READY TO ROCK ‘N’ ROLL SAYS CYRUS (courtesy inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)
A strong Night Series will lay the foundations for a successful league campaign for Inglewood United according to team captain David Cyrus. Inglewood makes their competitive appearance of the year on Sunday evening with a second round Night Series meeting with Sorrento at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium.
“The lads are buzzing,” said Cyrus, whose team was granted a bye in the opening round of the Night Series. “We have adapted well to the sooner than expected start to the season and are ready to rock ‘n’ roll. Our goal is to get off to a good start in the Night Series and that will set the tone for our league season.”
“We’ve had a good pre-season. The squad is much the same as last year and the few additions we’ve made have lifted the standard and are showing some great potential. The headache we’ve given (coach) Taki (Nicolaidis) is it’s going to be difficult for him to knowing what his starting eleven will be come Sunday.”
Cyrus says the short lead-up time to Sunday’s game - Inglewood only learnt they’d be playing Sorrento on Monday - will make no difference to his team’s preparation. “It won’t have much impact on the way we set up,” he said. “Sorrento have always been a tough side to play against, and their height always makes it that little bit more difficult.”
“I’m not sure what additions Sorrento have made to their squad although I am aware they lost two great players in Mathew Sparrow and Niccolo Sabatini. Johan Cruyff once said ‘To win you have to score one more goal than your opponent’ and that is what we will be setting out to achieve … it’s as simple as that.”
Inglewood pits skills with Sorrento at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Sunday (7.30pm), with the early fixture featuring Bayswater City and ECU Joondalup (5.30pm). Should either game finish level at the end of regulation time it will be settled via a penalty shoot-out.
ADELAIDE TAKE A SECOND LOOK AT BABALJ (courtesy inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)
Adelaide United have revealed former striker Eli Babalj is back with the club on a trial basis. Babalj, a free agent, made five appearances for Adelaide last season before rupturing his ACL this time last year. The 24-year old undertook his rehabilitation in Belgium and trialled with Western Sydney Wanderers earlier this month in a bid to re-launch his career. Adelaide have room to sign at least one striker during the January transfer window after the club recently parted with Spaniard Sergi Guardiola.
ON-LOAN BURGESS AIMS FOR UNBEATEN BURY HAT-TRICK
Cameron Burgess wants to build on his impressive start to life with Bury by helping to lead them out of League One’s relegation zone. Burgess has played a significant part in shoring up the league’s worst defence since joining on loan from Fulham.
Burgess was impressive in the 5-1 thrashing of Peterborough plus the draw at Port Vale. And the 21-year-old is keen to maintain his unbeaten start at life with Bury when they face Walsall on Saturday. “We want to win every game and get as many points as we can,” Burgess said. “But it’s the same story, we need to tighten up at the back.”
“Walsall is another one we’re looking to get full points from. We have to do our homework but we’ll concentrate on us. You can see by the quality in training every day that there’s no way this team should be down there (in the relegation zone).”
REDDY CREDITS COACH MILOSEVIC FOR FORM SPIKE
Penalty-save king Liam Reddy credits Perth Glory goalkeeping coach Danny Milosevic with getting him into some of the best form of his 16-year career. Reddy pushed away Besart Berisha's spot kick in Saturday’s home win over Melbourne Victory, adding to the two he saved from Melbourne City captain Bruno Fornaroli last month.
“Definitely this year I have been playing well and a lot of that credit has to go to Danny,” Reddy said. “He has been exceptional. He’s definitely brought my game to another level. I just think sometimes it’s a different voice and I really enjoy working under him. It’s definitely a good partnership, that’s key, and it’s definitely showing on the park.”
Reddy said Glory would be looking for retribution in Saturday’s away clash with Central Coast Mariners. They let a three-goal half-time lead slip in the 3-3 draw in the season opener and went down 2-0 at Central Coast Stadium in November. But history is against Glory who have just one win in 18 away games against Central Coast.
“We owe Central Coast something,” said Reddy who has saved three penalties this season, more than any other keeper in the competition. “It was disappointing to let three goals slip and we were poor against them last time so we need to be on our game. We can still catch fourth, we can reign in Brisbane, so it’s a big game for us. We would love to have a home semi-final. That’s our goal and this week, if we can get three points, it goes a long way to doing that.”
“That’s definitely in the back of our minds, that we need to turn up because it’s an important game. We know we haven’t done as well as we should but the last four or five weeks we’ve seen signs of improvement. We had a bad run before Christmas, we lost at home twice, and we had set ourselves a target of not losing at home. That was disappointing but we’ve responded.”
FOOTBALL WEST TAKES NPL TO THE REGIONS
Football history will be made in Geraldton this year when the first regional PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues WA match will take place between Sorrento and Perth Glory in the Mid-West region of Western Australia. The game, which will be a key feature of a Festival of Football running from June 28 to July 2, will be supported by the Department of Sport and Recreation through a $10,000 Country Sport Enrichment Scheme grant.
Sorrento and Glory’s NPLWA team will clash for competition points under lights at the redeveloped Wonthella Oval. Football West Chief Executive Officer James Curtis was delighted to have received support for the regional project, which underlined the organisation’s commitment to developing the game beyond the metropolitan borders.
“We know just how important the game is to regional footballers, their parents, officials and fans and recognise the potential for further growth in a number of areas,” Curtis said. “The South West has long been a booming area for football, last year we had the country’s biggest Mini-Roos Kick Off site in Broome, and Geraldton and the Mid-West continue to attract strong participation growth.
“Regional players make up around 20% of Football West registrations and we expect the Geraldton NPL game and accompanying Festival of Football will be very well received by the locals. We also expect that a number of people will take the opportunity to travel up from Perth to Geraldton and experience everything that the area has to offer – including a PS4 NPLWA match.”
The game will be scheduled alongside a series of activities including school clinics, ALDI Mini-Roos programs and coaching and refereeing workshops. More than 3,200 players participated in football in Geraldton last year thanks to the commitment of local associations including the Geraldton Junior Soccer Association, Midwest Soccer Association and Football West. The game, which is the first of a proposed three-year program, will provide a window to high-level football. Glory has indicated A-League players will travel to Geraldton to assist in promotion and with the associated activities.
PAHANG WILL GET BETTER SAYS DAVIES
Pahang captain Matthew Davies claims that his side are more than happy to have acquired one point from their opening Malaysia Super League fixture against Perak. Pahang managed to break the deadlock early in the second half though Syamim Yahya only for Thiago Aquino Junior to level the game.
“We were quite satisfied in terms of our performance. It’s not easy to play in Ipoh in front of a full house,” Davies said in reference to the 19,000-strong crowd. “They also recruited really well during the off-season and they have a strong side … Our team handled the pressure well and I think we will only get better.”
EDWARDS SALUTES HIS AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL ROOTS
Partick Thistle midfielder Ryan Edwards has paid tribute to the schooling he says reared him for the cut and thrust of Scottish football. As a teenager Edwards was awarded a scholarship at the Australian Institute for Sport, following in the footsteps of his father, Alistair, who had a short playing stint with Glasgow Rangers.
The move took the then 16-year old Edwards from one side of the country to the other and he reckons it helped turn him from a boy into a man. “It was my first time away from home - a five-hour flight from one side of the country to the other - but it was an amazing opportunity,” said Edwards
“It was and is full on for those that make the cut. It was an amazing environment. I was in with the best up and coming athletes from various sports, we stayed in the halls together and had all our meals provided. They paid for our schooling and drove us to and from classes everyday around training.”
“That would start from first thing in the morning and then again in the afternoon. Australia is known for its approach to sports science so we had access to everything you could think of - ice baths, pools, nutritional advice and cooking lessons, media training and advice from sports psychologists. It gave me a great grounding.”
Edwards claimed he was too busy to face any serious bouts of homesickness, but did admit there were some tough times as students dropped out along the way. “You had to set your own diary and you quickly realise how much your parents do for you. Being that far away, I was lucky to see the family once in a year.”
“I was probably okay because I was too busy to really dwell on things. There was always training or studying to do and I enjoyed mixing with everyone. Playing football in Europe was always the end-goal for me so that kept me going and there was no point when I considered giving up … I had a driven mindset and realised what an amazing opportunity I had.”
Edwards realised his dream with a move to Reading in 2011 and even attempted to continue his studies for a while. “When I first moved to England I tried an online course, but I wasn’t so keen on studying on my own from behind a computer,” he explained. “I did one semester of psychology, which was interesting, but football has always been the focus.”
Edwards was recently described by Thistle boss Alan Archibald as the fittest player he’s ever worked with and that was put to the test in the winter break La Manga training camp. “People must think we were away for a holiday but I can assure them it was nothing like that!,” he said. “For starters it wasn’t too warm. I think I kept my tracksuit on all week.”
“We trained at least twice a day but I think it will do us a lot of good. The league’s so tight that anything that can give you a slight edge is worth doing. I’m really enjoying my football just now. The club were good enough to give me stability with an early contract and I’ve benefited from playing regularly. My girlfriend, Oana, moved to Glasgow and I’ve even got a wee dog, Pablo the Chihuahua, so the UK feels like home now.”
GOALS GALORE IN QBE NIGHT SERIES ROUND ONE
The QBE Night Series kicked off with a bang with 22 goals scored in games over the weekend. First up on Friday evening hosts Sorrento edged out a young Perth Glory side in the opening game at Percy Doyle Reserve. The only goal of the game came from Billy Quinncroft who turned home Scott Bulloch’s cross on the hour. The Glory almost sent it to extra time late, but Ollie Annis’ shot was well saved by James Morgan and Michael Domfeh’s follow up shot flashed wide. Glory skipper Jack Leech said they performed well. “I thought it was an outstanding performance from us, considering the age of our team in comparison to Sorrento,” he told the Glory website. “I thought we put up a great fight and actually controlled the game, we manage to move the ball quickly around Sorrento to avoid the physicality they imposed on us. It was a very promising performance for the upcoming NPL season.”
In the late game it was a seven goal thriller with Mandurah City beating fellow newly promoted club Joondalup United 4-3. Doug Hesketh’s side took the lead after just 11 minutes through a Ryan Francis goal, but Joondalup equalised five minutes later with Arran Maplestone on target. The game opened up in the second half with goals to Lance Louvie in the 53rd minute and Oriol Fernandez in the 60th giving Mandurah a 3-1 cushion. But Maplestone’s second goal of the night with 13 minutes to play gave Joondalup hope, but Fernandez scored his second of the match with five minutes left before Mike Kenny responded just two minutes later to set-up a frantic finale but Joondalup were unable to complete the fightback.
On Sunday in the early game at Dalmatinac Park Armadale beat Subiaco 2-0. The Army hit the front on nine minutes, Jake Sardelic played a one-two with Charlie Kenna and crossed into the box, where Dylan White brought the ball down on his chest, eased past his marker and finished low past the keeper. They doubled their advantage on 34 minutes, James Atkins sent Jordan Pavett down the flank, and his cross was volleyed home supply by Faustinho Machochi. Armadale new Coach John O’Reilly was pleased with the performance. “We are working a new system and setting out fresh boundaries and work ethic,” he said. “The win was a reward for the effort so far and a good indicator of our progression in the short time we, the team, have been working together. We look forward to the next round and see it as opportunity to test ourselves.”
In the late game ECU Joondalup overcame hosts Cockburn City 4-0, with all the goals coming in the second half. ECU hit the front on the hour, Nathan Diaz found Gordon Smith, who controlled the ball well and laid the ball off to Tommy Amphlett, who made mistake across the keeper. Then six minutes later it was 2-0. Nicol, whose pace caused problems all night, raced into the area and was brought down and referee Michal Jasinski pointed to the spot, and Smith stepped up and scored to double their advantage. Smith added another penalty on 70 minutes, again after Nicol was brought down, and Nicol added the fourth in stoppage time, racing the whole length of the pitch and finishing low past Luke Radonich.
The final games took us to the E&D Litis Stadium and in the first game hosts Floreat Athena edged out Balcatta 3-2. An own goal from Patrick Quinn gave Floreat the lead after only 13 minutes, and Ludovic Boi added a second on the half hour. Balcatta pulled one back before half time with Patrick Sara on target, and they levelled on 67 minutes, Nathan Scully the scorer. But sixty seconds later Floreat scored the decisive third, with Taban Makoii scoring. In the late game Night Series holders Bayswater City beat last season’s league champions Perth SC 3-0. Jason Mirco gave Chris Coyne’s side the lead just before half time, and second half goals to Bor Bor Sam and David Heagney wrapped up the win for the Blue and Blacks.
GLORY LEAVE IT LATE TO BEAT VICTORY
A superb second half performance from Perth Glory has been rewarded with a come from behind 2-1 win against second placed Melbourne Victory at nib Stadium. It was a lackluster first half from Kenny Lowe’s side, and they had Liam Reddy to thank for keeping them in the game. The veteran making a number of fine saves, including a penalty save to deny Besart Berisha. The Albanian striker made emends after the break sending Reddy the wrong way from another penalty to give the visitors the lead, but a curling free kick from Nebojsa Marinkovic and a clinical finish from inform striker Adam Taggart gave the Glory the points.
“We’re just focused on doing well,” Kenny Lowe said post-match. “We’ve had a bit of a topsy-turvy season and there are reasons for that. But I think now you can see there is a real spirit amongst the guys. We’ve got Tags fit and Keogh and Castro. We’ve just got to make those guys stay well and healthy. I just want our lads to enjoy themselves honestly and see where we end up.”
Lowe made three changes to the side that draw in Newcastle, with Brandon Wilson coming in for the injured Chris Harold, while Joel Chianese made his starting debut in place of the suspended Rostyn Griffiths, and Dino Djulbic returned from suspension to partner Shane Lowry in the heart of the back four to replace the injured Alex Grant.
It was the Victory who started the brighter, as they looked to bounce back from the shock 0-3 loss against Wellington Phoenix in midweek. Reddy was called into action after only two minutes, saving low to deny Berisha, before Rashid Mahazi’s shot from the edge of the penalty was superbly blocked by a desperate tackle from Lowry.
The Glory were cut apart again on 22 minutes, Mahazi playing in Daniel Geogievski on the left, he cut into the area, but his poor shot was saved easily by Reddy. It was worrying signs for the big 11,271 fans, but there were signs of improvement late in the half and Josh Risdon’s curling shot was saved a full stretch by Lawrence Thomas.
But on the stroke of half time Victory had the perfect opportunity to hit the front when Lowry slipped going in for a tackle on James Troisi and referee Peter Green had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Berisha stepped up in front of The Shed, who was giving him heaps, and Reddy guessed the right way to push the ball on to the post and away to safety, much to the pleasure of the Glory faithful.
After the break the Glory lifted, with Diego Castro and Milan Smiljanic pulling the strings. Castro sent Andy Keogh clear, but Spanish defender Alan Baro got back with a superb last-ditch tackle. Then on 56 minutes the visitors were rewarded another penalty, when Joe Mills brought down Troisi, this after the Glory were caught short from a corner of their own. This time Berisha sent Reddy the wrong way to give Victory the lead.
The Glory looked for an immediate response, and Smiljanic’s long-range shot was pushed around the post by Thomas, and moments later the Serbian tried again, this time the ball flashed agonisingly wide of the target with Thomas well beaten. The Victory should have wrapped up the points on 67 minutes, Marco Rojas clear in on goal, but his weak shot was saved low by Reddy.
Rojas had the ball in the net on 72 minutes, but the goal was disallowed for offside, but it was a very close call. The Glory needed a spark and Marinkovic supplied it. First his snap shot from the edge of the box flicked the crossbar, before he levelled on 77 minutes. Taggart was brought down on the edge of the penalty area, and the Serbian midfielder curled the ball around the wall and in via the post, to set of wild celebrations in the crowd.
The Glory faithful were on their feet again seven minutes later. Josh Risdon mazy run ended by pulling the ball back from the bye line and Taggart did the rest, side footing home into the corner of the net and celebrated with the Shed. The Glory were never in danger after that, and some of the skill from Castro, had the crowd cheering for more, and the win keeps them in the top six and keeps their unbeaten run going.
REDS PUT A DENT IN GLORY’S TITLE HOPES
Perth Glory’s Westfield W-League title hopes took a major hit on Sunday when they were beaten 2-1 by bottom of the table Adelaide United at Dorrien Gardens. It started really well with Rosie Sutton giving Bobby Despotovski’s side the lead, but the Reds hit back with two stunning goals from Danielle Colaprico. Things went from bad to worse late in the game with Glory’s Sam Kerr sent off after receiving a second year card.
Import Vanessa DiBernardo said her team was disappointing to lose after dominating for most of the game. “We definitely had the better of the chances, I think they had two shots for two goals,” she told the Glory website. “It’s hard to lose that way but the good thing is that we created a tonne of chances. The best thing is that we’ve already made the final four, but we want to make the top two and, if we can, win the league. That’s definitely our goal and we still have another game to get things going before the playoffs start.”
Sutton gave the home side a perfect start after just 10 minutes, when she latched on a clever pass from skipper Kerr before sidestepping goalkeeper Sarah Willacy and finishing into an empty net. However, Colaprico caught the Glory defence napping five minutes later, striking a superb shot from outside the box to put the contest back on even terms.
Kerr continued to be a pest for the Reds defence, and she almost regained the lead on 36 minutes, but Willacy was out quickly to save at the Matildas’ feet. Di Bernardo was also in the thick of the action and her pin point cross was headed over the top by Kerr early in the second half. Reds keeper Willacy proved to be the thorn in Glory’s side, pulling off brilliant saves to deny Sutton, Kerr and Alyssa Mautz around the hour-mark.
DiBernardo appeared to score in the 67th minute after tapping in a follow-up chance from close range, but Sutton was ruled offside following the first attempt. The classy midfielder then sent a free kick from 30 yards cannoning into the crossbar in the 75th minute, continuing a frustrating night for Glory. Then with six minutes left the visitors nicked all three points and silenced the home crowd with another stunning goal from Colaprico to seal an upset win for Adelaide.
Glory is currently third on the Westfield W-League ladder, equal on 20 points with second-placed Canberra United and two behind leaders Sydney FC, with one round remaining in the regular season before the semi-finals. Skipper Kerr will miss next Sunday’s final regular season match against Western Sydney at Popondetta Park, kicking off at 12pm AWST, after receiving two yellow cards.
GLORY YOUTH END SEASON ON A HIGH
Perth Glory ended their Foxtel National Youth League campaign with a hard fought 2-0 win against Adelaide United at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday morning. Second half goals to Gian Albano and Daniel Stynes won it for the Glory youngsters, the win leapfrogging them over Adelaide and into third place in the Conference.
Glory keeper Nick Feely was in good form between the sticks and he said it was a good win and was also happy with a clean sheet. “Obviously a great way to finish the season with a win and a clean sheet,” he told the Glory website. “It shows the improvement of the group under the guidance of John, Bobby, Danny and Richard (Glory Coaches) over the course of 10 rounds to go from those first few results to the final few performances. Disappointing to not make the finals but I think early performances cost us in that regard. But overall a good team performance with lots of positives to take out of it.”
The Glory dominated from the off, but they couldn’t find a way past Reds keeper Daniel Margush, who celebrated his call up for the Australia under 23’s training camp, with a fantastic performance. Kosta Petratos was busy early, and his ball sent Stynes one-on-one with Margush, but the keeper was out quick to clear the danger.
Moments later Margush produced a fantastic reflex save to deny Ross Millard’s shot from the left. Petratos was the provider again on the half hour, feeding Stynes down the left, his cut-back into the box was intercepted and cleared by the under pressure United defence. Yagoub Mustafa created two great chances late on. First a neat through-ball from Stynes sent Mustafa into goal but Margush produced another good save, then he found space in the box, but fired straight at the Reds’ shot-stopper.
The Glory had to be patient in the second half and they were rewarded with the opener on 55 minutes. A quick counter attack ended with Albano, whose quick feet took him clear and finished low past Margush. Ten minutes later it was 2-0. Stynes, who had been a constant threat for the Reds all afternoon, fired home after a cross from Dejan Spaseski. Adelaide pressed late but Feely was in no mood to be beaten. First he tipped over Blake Carpenter’s powerful shot, before the former Celtic trainee produced a stunning save to deny Charlie Devereux curling effort. But the Glory held on to take the points.
NEVILLE LINKED WITH GLORY
Western Sydney defender Scott Neville has been linked with a move to Perth Glory next season. Neville comes out of contract at the end of the current campaign and, with Josh Risdon expected to join Western Sydney, it is believed the former Sorrento junior will return to the club where his A-League career started. Neville, 28, made 64 appearances for Glory between 2008 to 2012, after which he headed east to play for Newcastle Jets.
QBE NIGHT SERIES READY FOR A KNOCK OUT
The 2017 PS4NPLWA season kicks into action this weekend with the QBE Night Series starting at venues across the metropolitan area. This season there will be a new format, with the Night Series being a knock-out competition, and it all starts on Friday evening with games at Percy Doyle Reserve. First up hosts Sorrento meet a young Perth Glory side. (6.30pm) With the Glory side still in Foxtel National Youth League action, it will be a young side that take on the Gulls, but Coach John Gibson said it’s a great challenge for his youngsters. “It’s a nice challenge first up young the side, but they have been away in the tournament in Japan playing against footballers of the same age and performed well - we are sure they will enjoy the upcoming fixture on Friday night,” he said. “We go into the Night Series looking to expose members of our extended squad to senior football and gain invaluable game time."
In the late game the two new NPL side meet, with Joondalup United and Mandurah City doing battle (8.30pm) Mandurah midfielder Andy Brown said the club can’t wait for the new season to start. “The feeling at the club is that our position in the NPL is well-deserved and where we feel we belong,” he said. “I think the ties between JUFC and ourselves have only strengthened through the off season, with what eventuated off the field. But saying that, its new friendship aside and back to battle on the playing field.”
Brown said the Night Series will be used as an opportunity to get the squad up and running for the NPL. “The night series in its new knockout format, so it won’t allow for any complacency. We need to hit the ground running and progress technically and structurally as the season continues,” he said. “There will be a fair bit of tinkering by management player wise, but the foundations of our structure and strategies will remain the same, as they have served us well so far. We haven’t played any friendlies as yet, the coaches have been drilling us in training and prepping us for the extra-long season, and we all can’t wait to get started.”
The rest of the first round of fixtures are on Sunday evening, and first up at the E&D Litis Stadium hosts Floreat Athena entertain Balcatta (5.30pm). Floreat won the 2015 Night Series and skipper Ludovic Boi said they are looking for a repeat this season, but is expecting a tough first up game, and he knows a loss and they are out in the new format. “This year should be interesting and with the night series now being a knock out completion means that teams will have to win games,” he said. “Like I always say, every team can beat anyone in this league, so it's just a matter of who decide to turn up on the day. Balcatta will be a good test for us and vice versa. I'm sure they have recruited some players during the off season and so have we. It will be a good see if we gathered the right balance of players this year. But saying that pre-season competition or not, we want to win everything. Teams won't be able to test many formations if they don't win games, as it is a knock out competition. We are going to have to be able to test formations and new players but making sure we win as well.”
In the late game last season’s Night Series winners Bayswater City take on last season’s League Champions Perth SC. City finished a disappointing fifth place last season and winger Jason Mirco said they are hungry to rebound this season and starting off with a good showing in the pre-season competition. “Being the current holders of the trophy is a great achievement, but like every team going into the competition, we want to give it a good crack. It might be early on in the peace but it's a trophy up for grabs and we'll be looking to make sure it stays at the club,” he explained. “Games against Perth are a big game weather it's a pre-season game or a cup final. It's still early doors for us but we've had a good pre-season and looking forward to getting into competitive matches.”
Bayswater are coming off a big win against Division Two newcomers Gwelup Croatia in midweek and Mirco said everyone at the club is on the right page and focused on a good 2017. “The coaching staff have bought the under 23’s in to do a full pre-season with us off the back of their championship season, so I'm sure they'll monitor the young boys closely coming into the season. Jamie Murphy and Luka Ninkovic have come in and really gave it a good rattle,” he said. “We’ve played a number of matches and it’s been good for Coyney to look at how some of the younger lads go, and they have all done well.”
The final games are too played at Dalmatinac Park, and in the early game Armadale take on Subiaco, both sides under new coach. Ian McMurray will take charge of his first competitive game for Subi, while John O’Reilly will do likewise for Army. In the late game hosts Cockburn City entertain ECU Joondalup. Last season ECU surprised many, and this season the northern suburbs club will be looking to continue their improvement. New signing Fraser Greenwood will make his debut for the club on Sunday and he said games at Cockburn are never easy. “An away trip to Dalmatinac Park has never been easy for any team over the years but whether it's against Cockburn or any other team, it doesn't make a difference as we're ready to take on anyone and progress in this competition,” he said. “I'm friends with a few guys from Cockburn and by the sounds of it they're just as excited for this game as we are so it will be tough test.” Due to the expansion of the PS4NPLWA to 14 clubs, Inglewood United and Stirling Lions have a bye in first round.
GLORY HOPING TO EXTEND UNBEATEN RUN AGAINST VICTORY
Perth Glory will hoping to continue their four game unbeaten run, and also add misery to Melbourne Victory, when the pair meet at nib Stadium on Saturday evening. (5pm) Second placed Victory are coming off a big defeat against Wellington Phoenix in mid-week, and if the Glory turn up to play they could give Kevin Muscat’s side more headaches. But they will be without skipper Rostyn Griffiths who is suspended, and defender Alex Grant, who could be out for the season because of serious foot ligament damage sustained in the 2-2 draw with Newcastle Jets last Sunday. There is also doubt of in-form Chris Harold, who injured a shoulder in the Jets game.
Kenny Lowe has added defenders Dino Djulbic, Rhys and Aryn Williams, and midfielder Kosta Petratos, who has been in good form with the Youth side, to the squad for the Victory game, and despite the outs Glory striker Andy Keogh believes they have the depth to cover. The Irish striker, who broke his five-match scoring drought against the Jets to become Glory’s top scorer in the A-League era with 30 goals, is confident they can fill the gaps and his strike partners can cause the Victory problems. “It was nice to get back on the scoresheet for sure,” he said. “But the manager signed a squad that has got a good strength in depth. Dino Djulbic is back from suspension as well so we should be OK. Tags (Taggart) has been out a long time and he’s gradually getting there. He’s working on his fitness and he’s scoring some goals now. It’s more a case of fitness and familiarity with each other. Diego (Castro) is creating, I’m back on the scoresheet, so it’s looking good.”
The defeat in Wellington brings an extra edge to Saturday's game, and it will be Victory's third game in nine days. They'll be without defender Jason Geria and forward Fahid Ben Khalfallah, both of whom collected their fifth yellow card of the season against the Phoenix. Coach Kevin Muscat has few concerns about making the long haul trip to Perth so soon after the trek across the Tasman to Wellington. "It's a good challenge for us to go across there and get our performance back to where it should be," he said. "We're capable of it - I'm not going to be asking the players something that's foreign to them, or that they're not capable of. We'll head across to Perth with a positive mindset - there's no reason why we can't get ourselves back up to the standards that we desire very, very quickly."
Perth Glory squad: GK Liam Reddy, GK Nick FEELY, 3 Marc WARREN, 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Rhys WILLIAMS, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 9 Andy KEOGH, 10 Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Joe MILLS, 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Josh RISDON, 20 Aryn WILLIAMS, 22 Adam TAGGART, 23 Kosta PETRATOS, 24 Milan SMILJANIC - *two to be omitted* - Ins: Rhys WILLIAMS (promoted), Dino DJULBIC (returns from suspension), Aryn WILLIAMS (promoted), Kosta PETRATOS (promoted) Outs: 2 Alex GRANT (foot – 4 weeks), 8 Rostyn GRIFFITHS (suspended)
Melbourne Victory squad: GK Lawrence THOMAS, GK Matt ACTON, 4 Nick ANSELL, 5 Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 6 Leigh BROXHAM, 7 Marco ROJAS, 8 Besart BERISHA, 9 Max BEISTER, 10 James TROISI, 11 Mitch AUSTIN, 13 Oliver BOZANIC, 15 Alan BARO, 16 Rashid MAHAZI, 17 James DONACHIE, 19 George HOWARD, 21 Carl VALERI (c), 22 Stefan NIGRO, 23 Jai INGHAM - *two to be omitted* - Ins: Rashid MAHAZI (promoted), George HOWARD (promoted), Stefan NIGRO (promoted), Jai INGHAM (promoted) Outs: 2.Jason GERIA (suspended – 1 match), 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH (suspended – 1 match)
WILLIAMS OUT TO JOIN SOCCEROOS' EFL ARMY
Ryan Williams is aiming to persuade national team coach Ange Postecoglou to call him into his army of Championship-based Socceroos. While Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa), Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield), Massimo Luongo (QPR), Jackson Irvine (Burton) and Bailey Wright (Bristol City) are all green and gold staples, uncapped Williams, 23, is the odd one out at newly promoted Barnsley.
After casting aside the considerable setback of two-years plagued by groin problems, Williams is making inroads for the mid table Tykes. And with his contract winding down, he is aiming to put himself in the spotlight in this weekend's Yorkshire derby which has Barnsley at home to promotion-chasing Leeds United.
"If I can play every week in the Championship then I don't see why Ange Postecoglou wouldn't take a look at me," said Williams. "There are five others playing in this division each week who are part of the squad. If I start performing people are going to take notice - and the one I want to notice the most is the Socceroos coach."
Williams has featured in several preliminary Socceroos squads without making the breakthrough. "It's always been a dream of mine to play for the Socceroos," he said. "I think I might have been involved before but for the injuries. I am on the road to being a regular Championship player and the next step is being an international player."
And the pacy attacker knows an eye-catching performance against Leeds will benefit him on both fronts. "It would be a great occasion to show people what I can do," he said. "I am off contract at the end of the season but the club have the option to extend it by a further year and hopefully they will do that. If not we'll just have to wait and see what happens."
Williams, who is currently playing as an attacking midfielder, can also play out wide and even in a deeper midfield role. And he is in England for the long-haul, with the Premier League at the end of the rainbow. "I have never planned to go back to Australia until I am 30-plus and that's still my goal," he said. "I want to get to the highest level possible here ... and that's the Premier League."
ABAIN LATEST TO BRING UP TON
Melbourne City midfielder Marianna Tabain became just the second player to crack a W-League century when she featured in last Sunday’s Melbourne derby. Perth-born and raised Tabain follows on from Matildas co-captain and Brisbane Roar skipper Clare Polkinghorne who was the first to achieve the feat a week earlier.
Tabain spent seven seasons at Perth Glory and remains second on the club’s honour board for both appearances (77) and goals (20). After helping the Glory to their first premiership, Tabain joined Melbourne City where she has continued her impressive goal return and was part of the record-breaking side which won last year’s championship.
Always with an eye of for the unexpected, the silky-skilled Tabain won the W-League's maiden goal of the year aged just 16 for a spectacular curling effort for Glory against Adelaide United. Canberra United defender Ellie Brush and Sydney FC midfielder Teresa Polias may join the 100 club in this weekend’s round.
KEOGH SAYS GLORY HAS DEPTH TO STAY AFLOAT
Irish striker Andy Keogh believes Perth Glory has the depth to cover its injury toll and the suspension of captain Rostyn Griffiths for several games. Glory will be looking to stretch their unbeaten run to five games when they host second-placed Melbourne Victory on Saturday night.
Glory will be without defender Alex Grant (foot), winger Chris Harold (shoulder), midfielder Mitch Oxborrow (foot) through injury while suspension has ruled Griffiths out of the game. Keogh, who broke his five-game scoring drought against Newcastle Jets on the weekend, is confident his team can fill the gaps.
He also believes his understanding with Adam Taggart and Diego Castro will bring more results. “The manager signed a squad that has got a good strength in depth. Dino Djulbic is back from suspension as well so we should be OK,” Keogh said. “It was nice to get back on the scoresheet.”
“Tags (Taggart) has been out a long time and he’s gradually getting there. He’s working on his fitness and he’s scoring some goals now. It’s more a case of fitness and familiarity with each other. Castro is creating, I’m back on the scoresheet, so it’s looking good.”
GRIFFITHS COPS TWO-GAME BAN
Perth Glory won't appeal the two-game ban handed to captain Rostyn Griffiths over his second-half brain snap at Newcastle Jets on the weekend. Griffiths was shown a second yellow card for a challenge on Devante Clut late in Sunday's 2-2 draw with Newcastle, before then copping a straight red for giving referee Stephen Lucas a retaliatory earful.
After receiving submissions from Griffiths and Glory, the A-League match review panel found the midfielder guilty of breaching the national code of conduct and warned any further violation could draw more severe sanctions. That means he'll miss Saturday's vital home clash with Melbourne Victory along with next weekend's trip to Central Coast.
STEPHENSON TAKEN BY INGLEWOOD CULTURE (courtesy inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)
New signing Riley Stephenson’s first impressions of life at Inglewood United have been positive. Stephenson, one of the best young goalkeepers in Western Australia, recently became Inglewood’s first signing ahead of the 2017 National Premier League seasons after agreeing terms with the club.
“There is a fantastic culture and a winning attitude throughout Inglewood … it’s something I very much want to be part of,” said Stephenson, who will celebrate his 19th birthday early next month. “Inglewood has very good facilities and everyone puts their best foot forward for the club.”
“I’ve had only a few sessions with the playing squad but I’m loving training and being part of Inglewood. All the players and coaching staff have been really welcoming and easy to get along with. There is a real competitiveness to every aspect of training and that will drive me to do my best.”
Stephenson joins Inglewood fresh from a three-season stint with NPL rivals Perth Glory. “The chance to play for Inglewood came through goalkeeper coach Dave Whalley, who has been a big part of my development,” he explained. “Dave introduced me to head coach Taki (Nicolaidis) and he invited me to join them for training.”
“As a player, I’m always looking to keep improving myself and Inglewood will provide me that opportunity. Alex (Dunn) is a very good goalkeeper and is understandably the number one so I’ll be learning all I can from him. And I’ve known Dave for a few years and it’s great to be working with him again.”
“My goal for this year is to push Alex and bring the best out in both of us. Obviously I want to be starting games for the first team and I might have to bide my time with that. But I know I can play at NPL level and if I keep training well I’ll be ready for when Taki throws me into the mix.”
SPARROW FLIES SEAGULLS’ NEST AND LANDS AT JOONDALUP
Newly promoted PS4NPLWA side Joondalup United have added to their Division One Championship side by signing former Scunthorpe United and Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Matt Sparrow from Sorrento. As well as bringing a wealth of experience to the club, the 35-year-old will combine his playing duties with a role as a coach having completed his B License in recent months.
Joondalup coach Nick Jennings described the signing as a great coup for the club and believes that Sparrow can have a big impact this season. “He’ll be an asset on and off the field using his experience, his leadership and his knowledge of the game having been a pro since he was 16-year-old,” said Jennings. “He’s played 500 professional games so with him it’s a two-way thing – it’s not just his football ability.”
Sparrow spent eleven years of his career at Scunthorpe, and scored twice in the 2008/09 League One Play-off Final at Wembley as the club overcame Millwall 3-2 to reach the English football’s second tier, the Championship. Following his 300th appearance for The Irons in 2009, Sparrow was given a testimonial by the club and then made a move to Brighton & Hove Albion the following year and also played for Crawley Town, Cheltenham Town and Lincoln City during his professional career in England before he moved to Perth in 2016 to link up with Sorrento. The midfielder said he’s looking forward to the new challenge at Joondalup. “I have only been around the boys for a week but they seem like a good bunch of lads, it helps that most are English and the banter seems good and they like a laugh,” Sparrow said. “I had around 10 games for Sorrento last season and the standard was good, every team has one or two really gifted players and the rest are fit and up for a battle. The standard was good and I enjoyed the battles I had last year.”
The decision to move to JUFC was made easier by the fact that Sparrow’s good friend of over 30 years, Rudy Proctor, is part of the club’s NPL coaching staff. “I didn’t think that spending more time together was possible seeing as we are housemates, but now we are involved in football together I am sure the banter will get even better,” he said. “I’m not sure I will be able to take instructions from him though! I went ten years without seeing him so we have some catching up to do.” With the season just around the corner, Sparrow is confident that United can be very competitive in the club’s first year of NPL football. “I always want to win every game I play in, so my aim is to win every game of football I play in for JUFC,” he said. “From what I have seen so far I think we should be aiming to finish in the top four cup places.” Sparrow will be part of the Joondalup United squad for next Friday’s QBE National Premier Leagues WA Night Series clash with Mandurah City which takes place at Percy Doyle Reserve in Sorrento (8:30pm kick off).
GRIFFITHS GIVEN TWO WEEK BAN BY FFA
Perth Glory skipper Rostyn Griffiths will miss the next two Hyundai A-League games after he was sent off for a spray at referee Stephen Lucas in last week’s game against Newcastle Jets. Football Federation Australia (FFA) has determined that Griffiths, has breached the FFA National Code of Conduct (the Code) by actions he engaged in immediately after receiving an indirect red card in or around the 88th minute of the Hyundai A-League Round 15 Match between Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory on Sunday, 15 January 2017 (Match).
Griffiths was asked to make a submission to FFA in response to the allegation, which he has done. After consideration of the submissions made by Griffiths and Perth Glory, FFA determined to sanction Griffiths with a one (1) match suspension for breaching clauses 2.1 and 6.1(a) of the Code. In determining the sanction, FFA considered sanctions applied in comparable incidents in the Hyundai A-League.
In addition, FFA has informed Griffiths that any further breach of the Code could result in more severe sanctions being applied.
Accordingly, Griffiths will be ineligible for Perth Glory’s next two (2) Hyundai A-League matches against Melbourne Victory on 21 January 2017 and Central Coast Mariners on 28 January 2017 due to the suspension he has incurred as a result of the indirect red card and the subsequent breach of the Code of Conduct. Griffiths has seven (7) business days to appeal FFA’s determination, should he wish to do so.
TEN MAN GLORY SHARE THE SPOILS AGAINST JETS
A ten man Perth Glory have maintained their spot in the Hyundai A-League top six after a hard fought 2-2 draw against Newcastle Jets at the McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Roared on by The Shed Boys Tour of Duty, the Glory made the perfect with Adam Taggart giving them the lead early. But the Jets hit back with Mateo Poljak converting a dubious penalty, before Andrew Nabbout gave the home side the lead in stoppage time. Andy Keogh bagged his eighth goal of the season to level and the woodwork and former Glory keeper James Duncan then denied the Glory all three points. The result was soared late with skipper Rostyn Griffiths sent off.
Taggart said the Glory are starting to gel and the point keeps their unbeaten run going. “In patches we were really good. It’s definitely an improvement on recent weeks,” he said post-match. “At the end of the day that’s now four games unbeaten and we just have to make sure we’re hard to beat. It’s a step forward but disappointing not to get the three points. We’re going in the right direction and we’re starting to click a little bit more now. As long as we keep working hard and we continue to turn those 20 minute patches into a full 90 minutes, we’ll be able to beat anyone on our day.”
Glory went into the game with the same side that beat Wellington Phoenix last time out, and The Shed boys were in full voice at kick off and they didn’t have long to celebrate the opener. Keogh’s through ball on seven minutes was misjudged by Lachlan Jackson, giving the ball away to Taggart who finished clinically low past Duncan, to score against his former club and make it six for the season for the striker.
The Glory almost added a second three minutes later, Keogh lost his marker, but his curling effort drifted narrowly wide. Moments later Taggart found space in the box, but his header crashed off the woodwork and away to safety, before Chris Harold did likewise from Joe Mills cross. The Jets began to get into the game with Nabbout a constant threat. His shot on the quarter hour flashed wide before Nick Cowburn’s cross shot was tipped over by the alert Liam Reddy.
But on 36 minutes the Jets levelled. Andrew Hoole’s cross was headed away by Glory defender Shane Lowry, but referee Stephen Lucas said the former Aston Villa defender had fouled Jets’ Danish striker Morten Nordstrand. Reply’s showed there was little or no contact, but Poljak stepped up to score from the resulting penalty. Then in first half stoppage time the Jets hit the front. Nordstrand was the supplier this time feeding Nabbout, who finished with aplomb past Ready. There was a scary moment in the celebrations when a fence gave way squashing the Jets fans, but lucky no one was seriously injured and the Jets went to the break with the lead.
Despite conceding late the Glory were out of the blocks quick after the break, and Diego Castro saw his shot hit woodwork two minutes in, after being picked out by Harold. Moments later Castro long-range shot flicked the crossbar as the Glory looked for the equaliser. That duly arrive on 55 minutes. Harold made space down the right and whipped in a superb cross to the back post and Keogh did the rest, finished low past Duncan, to end his barren spell in front of goal.
The Jets went close to a third on the hour, but Jackson’s header flashed wide of the target. The home side were tiring and it looked like the Glory would go on and win it, but former Glory custodian Duncan had other ideas. On 69 minutes Keogh crossed to Taggart, and it looked like the striker would score, but Duncan produced a stunning point blank save to deny him. Both sides pressed late but clear cut chances were few and far between. The Glory were reduced to ten men three minutes from time when Griffiths was shown a second yellow card by the official, but when the Glory skipper gave him a spray, he received a straight red, and he could hear more about it later in the week. The Glory remains unbeaten in its last four games, and meet form team of the league, Melbourne Victory, next Saturday at nib Stadium.
GLORY YOUTH FINALS HOPES GONE
Perth Glory Youth side three game winning streak in the Foxtel National Youth League came to an end, and also their finals hopes, after a 0-1 defeat against Melbourne City at Dorrien Gardens on a hot and humid Sunday morning. A 54th minute goal to Gerrie Sylaidos secured the result for City who overtook Brisbane Roar at the summit of the table and qualified for the Grand Final as winners of the Conference.
The visitors opened brightly and Aryn Williams was working overtime with the rest of the Glory back four, but it was the Glory with the first chance on the quarter hour. Calvin Whitney cutting the ball back to Gian Albano, whose shot was straight at City keeper James Delianov. Daniel Stynes’ long-range shot was deflected wide as the Glory looked for the opener. City had plenty of possession but the Glory were finding holes in their back four. On 35 minutes Stynes sent Kosta Petratos clear, but a poor first touch from the midfielder allowed City to clear the danger.
Daniel Arzani and Mahmut Ali Eyigun were causing the Glory problems, and both went close late in the half, and in the final minutes both sides had chances to take the lead. First Braedyn Crowley was sent clear one-on-one with Glory custodian Jordan Thurtell, who stood tall to deny him. Then from Joe Knowles’ corner Aryn Williams’ header flashed inches past the post, and at the break it was scoreless.
Petratos had an early effort flash wide of the target, but on 54 minutes City scored the winner. The Glory failed to clear their lines and Sylaidos was on hand to fire home from close-range. The Glory pressed and half chances fell to Mustafa and Petratos, and Delianov was out quick to save at the feet of Knowles as they pushed for the equaliser. Aryn Williams headed inches wide late on but the Glory couldn’t break down a solid City defence and the visitors’ win handed them the conference title.
CANBERRA STUN GLORY
A first half blitz from Perth Glory bogey team Canberra United helped them to a stunning 7-2 win at McKellar Park on Saturday afternoon. The win leap frogging United over the Glory with only two games remaining in the season. Four goals in 50 minutes from Ashleigh Sykes and strikes from Grace Maher, Stephanie Ochs and Hayley Raso saw Canberra United romp home and despite late goals from Vanessa DiBernardo and Sam Kerr, the result put a dent in the Glory’s title hopes.
The home side got off to the perfect start in the sixth minute. American striker Jasmyne Spencer found Sykes at the near post and she made no mistake from close-range. Canberra were well on top and five minutes later Spencer’s flick was clawed off the line by Perth goalkeeper Melissa Maizels as United looked to double their advantage.
Kerr’s pace was again causing problems, and on 16 minute she raced clear, but she was denied by Trudy Burke who was shown a yellow when she handled the ball outside the box. But Canberra doubled their advantage three minutes later. Emma Checker sent Spencer free down the right, and her cross found Sykes again who calmly rounded Maizels before rolling the ball home.
Stephanie Ochs added a third in the 24th minute after a great chip pass from Maher caught the Perth defence napping to allow her in behind for a composed finish. Maher had one of her own in the 33rd minute when Raso's cross found her unmarked at the back post to tap home as Canberra turned the screws on the visitors, and Sykes completed her hat trick in the final minute of the half with another calm finish.
The second half opened as the first finished, with Sykes scoring after just 25 seconds to grab her fourth goal and Canberra's sixth, while Raso put away the seventh four minutes later when Maizels could not keep out her strong drive. The Glory eventually got on the board on the hour, when they were awarded a penalty when Checker brought down Kerr, and DiBernardo dispatched the spot-kick into the corner.
Kerr grabbed a second for Perth in the 79th minute when the ball fell back to her after a Burke save and she made no mistake on the second attempt, but it was too little too late for Bobby Despotovski’s side. The Glory will host Adelaide United next weekend in what will be the last home game of the season, and a must win game - Kick-off is at 4pm on Sunday January 22.
GLORY STARTING TO CLICK SAYS TAGGART
Adam Taggart believes Perth Glory’s Season is beginning to click into gear after they earned a draw away at Newcastle Jets on the weekend. Glory extended their unbeaten run to four games as goals from Taggart and strike partner Andy Keogh early in each half allowed them to come away with a 2-2 draw.
In an end-to-end contest, Glory also hit the woodwork on two occasions but also had captain Rostyn Griffiths sent off late on for a second bookable offence. “In patches we were really good,” Taggart said post-game. “It’s definitely an improvement on recent weeks.”
“At the end of the day that’s now four games unbeaten and we just have to make sure we’re hard to beat. We’re going in the right direction and we’re starting to click a little bit more now. As long as we keep working hard to turn those 20 minute patches into a full 90 minutes, we’ll be able to beat anyone on our day.”
It was Taggart’s first match in Newcastle since he left the club at the end of the 2013/14 campaign when he took out the competition’s Golden Boot with 16 goals. And he came back to haunt his former club with the opening goal, capitalising on a shocking error to net his fourth goal in his last five appearances.
“I loved my time here (at Newcastle). The fans were great, the club were great but at the same time, I’m at Perth now,” said Taggart. “I’m giving my all for (Glory) now, I gave my all for Newcastle and that’s how I’ll continue to be. I wanted to win and it was nice to get a goal, regardless of who it’s against.”
WILLIAMS CONTRACT SAGA ‘NOT AWKWARD’ FOR LOWE
Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe has denied any personality clash with an out-of-favour Rhys Williams after the midfielder made a welcome return to training this morning. Williams joined in match practice with his Glory teammates just 72 hours after a mediation session with club officials in a bid to be released from his contract.
Williams, who has not played since early last month, missed Wednesday’s training session with what a club spokesman described as illness. Lowe said it was not awkward having the 28-year old former Middlesbrough captain on the training track. “Rhys understands where I sit and I understand where he sits,” Lowe said.
“It’s a professional relationship. He’s trained today and trained very well. He’s a contracted player at the club open for selection. There’s a few other players who haven’t been selected, but you haven’t mentioned them. It’s not (awkward) at all, we’re all big boys. It’s a game of football, it’s not life or death.”
“Every club has got some little issues going on, but we’ve dealt with it in the way we’ve always said. The club has had a mantra and a steadfast way of dealing with it and we’ve stuck to that. You always want quality players in your team firing on all cylinders, training the house down, being the best players in the club ... that’s what you want your best players to be.”
JETS AND GLORY LOOK TO KEEP IN TOUCH WITH LEADERS
Perth Glory heads east for round 15 of the Hyundai A-League, when they visit McDonald Jones Stadium to take on Newcastle Jets on Sunday (2pm WA time) The Jets beat the Glory for the first time in a number of years in round 10, a 2-1 come-from-behind win at the nib Stadium. Kenny Lowe has been happy with the players work rate in the recent three weeks, with two draws and win last time out against Wellington Phoenix, and believes the front three (Diego Castro, Andy Keogh and Adam Taggart) will start to shine after playing those last three games together.
Taggart will come up against his former club on Sunday, and the Young Socceroo has scored five goals from six starts this season and believes last weekend’s 2-1 victory over Wellington Phoenix at nib Stadium is the kick-start they need to secure a play-off spot. “There’s a job that needs to be done. We need to go there with a lot of confidence, with a positive frame of mind, and take the game to them,” he said. “It (the Phoenix win) was fantastic for us but we need to keep working hard to go into the end of the season with a good run. It’s not time to panic just yet there’s still a long way to go and we need to find a run of form. There’s still a lot more to come, and we haven’t reached our full potential yet.”
Taggart endured a difficult period overseas with Fulham, where he was unable to make a lasting impression and was often farmed out on loan, and the 23-year-old even missed a large portion of 2016 by virtue of the fact he had played for too many clubs according to FIFA rules in one year. “Especially over the last couple of months, I’ve been able to stay fit and play regular football, and just being back in the home town, where I can play in front of family and friends again,” Taggart said. “Over the last few years it’s sort of just been turn up to the stadium by yourself with no one watching. It’s definitely a nice feeling, especially having the win on the weekend, that’s just top the last month off. We had a good trip away, results are decent for any club, and it’s a positive for myself and the club.”
The Jets have been on the improve and last week’s 3-2 win against Brisbane Roar moved them to sixth place on the table only one point behind the Glory. English midfielder missed the second half of the game flying back to Newcastle to be at his wife’s side when she gave birth to their second son. Last week, Morten Nordstrand struck Newcastle's winner in the 84th minute, and it was the third time in their last four games that Newcastle secured points with a decisive goal in the final 30 minutes.
Brown believes that proves the Jets are able to overrun their opponents at the end of matches. "If you look at the performances, you know, we're strong all the way to the end of the game," he said. "You know, we never give up and we score late goals, so in order to do that you have to be fitter and stronger." Brown has now turned his focus to Sunday's clash with the Glory, and hopes to see a similar performance this week. "That was, for me, the best performance of the season and the most enjoyable game," the Englishman said of their win in Perth. "If we can do the stuff that we did that day and try and perform like we did then hopefully we can get the three points and push on again."
DE SILVA ON THE GLORY RADAR
Young Socceroo midfielder Daniel De Silva is considering A-League and overseas options after parting company with Eredivisie outfit Roda JC. The 19-year-old is back home in Perth, with his two-season loan deal from the Glory to the Dutch club ending six months prematurely. The Glory would be interested in signing the talented midfielder, but his immediate future has yet to be resolved - with the playmaker hoping to return to Europe to continue his career progression.
De Silva started the campaign as a first-teamer only to fall out of favour at Roda, for whom he made nine appearances this season. The youngster believes he has added considerable polish to his game during his 16 months in Holland, but has dropped down the pecking order at his club heading into the winter break. "I have learned a lot about the mental side of the game, and that's what so much of football is about," De Silva said. "I think that has helped me mature and prepare me better for whatever lies ahead, wherever that may be. Right now there are a few options but I can't say what will happen, whether that's returning to the A-League or overseas."
Glory CEO Peter Filopoulos sounded a conciliatory note when asked whether the club would enforce De Silva's return. "We are in embryonic discussions with Danny and his management to find out what he wants to do next," he said. "We certainly need to take his wishes into account. It's premature to say whether he will be rejoining us or not."
The former Glory youngster was originally signed by AS Roma but when that move hit a stumbling block, he was subsequently loaned to Roda, pending a possible full transfer. He made 20 appearances for Roda in all competitions. "I have left with a lot of good memories and enjoyed my time there ... I'd have been happy to have stayed, but I didn't fit into the style of the team so it was time to move on," De Silva. “I want to be playing, and even though the season started well, I am back home now and I am keen to sort out my future as soon as possible.
“I would love to return to Europe, but also staying in Australia is possible, there are a few options but nothing has been decided yet, so I really can't say for certain what will happen next. But I know I have become a better player and I'm stronger and more resilient for the experience I've now had in Europe, and I'm looking forward to building on that now and pushing on with my career."
TAGGART: I’VE REDISCOVERED MY LOVE FOR THE GAME
Striker Adam Taggart says he has rediscovered his love for the game in the early stages of his second stint with Perth Glory. Taggart endured a difficult period overseas with Fulham, where he was unable to make an impression and was subsequently loaned out to Scottish Premier League club Dundee United.
Released by Fulham in January last year, Taggart sat out the closing stages of the 2015/16 A-League season by virtue of the fact he had played for too many clubs in one year, according to FIFA rules. Now back to full fitness, the 23-year old is enjoying life with his hometown club.
“Especially over the last couple of months,” Taggart commented. “Just being back in the home town where I can play in front of family and friends again. Over the last few years it’s sort of just been turn up to the stadium by yourself with no one watching ... it’s definitely a nice feeling.”
Glory are unbeaten in their last three matches and now sit fifth on the A-League table, four points behind Brisbane Roar. Taggart warned there is still plenty more to come from Glory in the second half of the season. “I think we’re all still building up to the second half of the season,” he said.
“In the A-League, if you can have a good run into the finals, everyone forgets about what happened in the first half of the season, like what happened with Adelaide (last season) and what happened with Perth last season. There’s still a lot more to come ... it’s pretty obvious we haven’t reached our full potential yet.”
RISDON CONFIRMS WE WILL LEAVE GLORY
Perth Glory has been dealt a huge blow with star defender Josh Risdon confirming he will leave the club at the end of the A-League season. Glory had tabled a lucrative contract extension to Risdon in the hope of convincing the Socceroo to stay with the club for at least another season, however, it is believed he will accept an offer to play for Western Sydney Wanderers in 2017/18.
"This has not been an easy decision. I feel the time is right for me to explore a new adventure and grow in a different environment and move out of my comfort zone in Western Australia," Risdon said. "For the past seven years I have bled purple and I owe a lot to Perth Glory and my coaches. It's here where I have been fortunate to lead the team on the park, and as a result earn a berth in the Socceroos."
DE SILVA BACK IN GLORY’S SIGHTS
Perth Glory officials are preparing to meet gifted midfielder Daniel De Silva, who has returned to Perth. De Silva, 19, has been released six months early from his two-season loan deal with Dutch club Roda JC and is now assessing his options in the A-League and overseas. The Australia youth international earned Glory a $1.8 million windfall in 2015 when he left the club for Europe.
WILLIAMS SKIPS GLORY TRAINING AS CONTRACT DRAMA DRAGS ON
The nightmare homecoming of Socceroo Rhys Williams has taken another turn with the Perth Glory utility told he will not be released to join Sydney FC during this month's transfer window. Williams, who did not train today with a club spokesman saying he is ill, looks set to miss a fifth consecutive A-League game as tensions between Glory and Sydney continue to simmer.
Williams joined his hometown club at the start of the season following several injury-ravaged years in England. Sydney are keen to add Williams as a replacement for Matt Jurman (released to Suwon Bluewings) and Seb Ryall (hamstring), however, Glory are not interested in releasing a player to one of their A-League rivals.
A meeting between Williams, his manager Tony Rallis, the players' union, and Glory was held on Tuesday. The mediation session ended with the same result - Williams being told he will not be released by Glory to a rival A-League club under any circumstances. That has left Williams with two options - find an overseas club during the transfer window or work his way back in favour at Glory.
RISDON TO LEAVE THE GLORY AT SEASONS END
Perth Glory defender Josh Risdon has rejected a strong offer to stay at the club for at least the next two seasons, opting instead to continue his career outside of Western Australia from next season. The 24-year old was re-signed by the club last year on a one-year deal and over the past several weeks, the club had been negotiating with the player and his management team, to renew his contract for another two seasons.
Glory CEO Peter Filopoulos said contract negotiations with the 24-year old Bunbury born Socceroo and his management, ceased today, after Risdon informed the club of his intentions. “Despite presenting a very strong offer to Josh and his management, we’ve been advised today that he won’t be renewing his contract for season 2017/18 and beyond” Filopoulos said. “We understand Josh is keen to explore life outside of Western Australia, and while we respect his decision, we are extremely disappointed he won’t be wearing the purple kit after season 16/17.
Risdon, who has been reported to be joining former Socceroos Tony Popovic’s Western Sydney Wanderers, said it was time to move on and grow as a person. “This has not been an easy decision. I feel the time is right for me to explore a new adventure and grow in a different environment and move out of my comfort zone in Western Australia” he said. “For the past seven years I have bled purple and I owe a lot to Perth Glory and my coaches. It’s here where I have been fortunate to lead the team on the park and as a result earn a berth in the Socceroos”.
“I’m a WA boy through and through and hopefully I’ll be back one day to play in front of my family and friends. I’d like to thank the fans who’ve embraced me along the way and I’ll always be grateful for their support. In the meantime I’m looking forward to helping the team with its quest for another Hyundai A-League finals campaign and hopefully a third championship.”
Risdon began his professional career with Perth Glory FC in 2010 at the young age of 18 where he has now amassed 127 matches, making him the club’s most capped player in Hyundai A-League history. Along the journey he has appeared for the Socceroos three times, including a friendly against England. Risdon was given the captain’s armband mid-way through last year and is a former winner of the club’s Most Glorious Player (MGP) award.
GLORY DEAL IN PIPELINE FOR RISDON
Perth Glory have opened contract negotiations with defender Josh Risdon for next season amid speculation he has already signed with Western Sydney Wanderers. The Socceroos right-back has been linked to a move to Belgium during this month’s transfer period, while several A-League clubs have inquired about the out-of-contract 24-year old’s status. But with a proposed deal for 2017/18 on the table, Glory are increasingly hopeful about retaining the services of Risdon.
SLOPPY GOALS "THE STORY OF OUR SEASON" CONCEDES GALLOWAY
Central Coast Mariners defender Scott Galloway says his side have developed something of a habit of conceding sloppy goals this season. Central Coast have let in the most goals of any team in the A-League, conceding 31 in 14 games, and Galloway believes it has come part and parcel of his team’s form.
“We switch off at the wrong times and concede sloppy goals,” Galloway, who switched to Central Coast shortly after the season began from Melbourne Victory, said. “We have to work for our goals but we seem to give them away cheap. It just kind of seems to be the story of our season.”
The weekend 3-2 loss to league leaders Sydney FC saw Galloway get on the scoresheet for the first time since this summer. But the fullback says his individual accolade counts for nothing given Central Coast failed to pick up points. “It was nice to score the goal but I still wasn’t happy with my performance,” he commented.
“In the first half I could have given away a goal with the mistakes I made. It’s nice to get on the scoresheet but in the end it means nothing because we don’t get the points.” Central Coast are second from bottom in the A-League and preparing to travel to Wellington Phoenix, who sit just one rung above them.
DE SILVA SET TO LEAVE RODA
Promising 19-year-old Australian midfielder Daniel De Silva is set to leave Eredivisie side Roda JC after falling out of favour. De Silva, 19, has made nine appearances this season but he's managed just one outing in his team's last seven league fixtures.
De Silva joined Roda in August 2015 from Perth Glory on a two-year loan, a deal which is set to expire at the end of the 2016/17 campaign. The attacking midfielder is not part of the Roda squad currently in Portugal for a training camp and, although his future is unclear, he is expected to remain in Europe.
BURGESS SIGNS ON WITH BURY
League One club Bury have taken Cameron Burgess on loan until the end of the season as part of a triple transfer swoop to boost their defence. In a busy afternoon for the Shakers, they brought in 21-year old Burgess and fellow youngster Taylor Moore, from Fulham and Bristol City respectively, along with Reece Brown.
Burgess entered the Fulham academy in 2011 after playing juniors with ECU Joondalup. Comfortable in the centre of defence and on the left, he helped Fulham to the FA Youth Cup final in 2013/14 and has made four league appearances for the Cottagers. He gained 17 outings for Cheltenham Town while on loan last season and similar deal this term saw him play 31 times for Oldham Athletic.
MAKAROUNAS HAILS VICTORY'S YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Adelaide United midfielder Jesse Makarounas has praised former club Melbourne Victory for its youth development but says he has no regrets about leaving. Makarounas has played eight games for Adelaide this season after gaining 36 appearances for Melbourne between 2013 and 2016.
Makarounas began his senior career with Perth Glory in 2011 but managed four outings in two years. He shares similar stories with former teammates Connor Pain (Central Coast Mariners), Scott Galloway (Mariners), Andrew Nabbout (Newcastle Jets) and Joey Katebian (Brisbane Roar) who all left Victory to further their careers.
“I enjoyed over three years at Victory, I enjoyed my time a lot but for me on a personal level I wanted to try and move away and get some more game time,” Makarounas said. “That’s football, you have to move to where you think is going to be the best place for yourself so that was the decision I went with.”
“I learned so much while I was there and I’m sure a lot of other boys did as well. From my perspective I think the youth part of it has a pretty good development system. Victory’s such a big club and they always have great foreign and Australian players as well so I guess it makes it hard to break into regular game time there.”
22-year old Makarounas faces his former club for the second time this season at home tonight. Adelaide have been cut three points adrift at the foot of the A-League ladder whereas Melbourne are second but with a game in hand over leaders Sydney FC. “It’s always good to win against your old team,” Makarounas said.
“I think with the run they're on at the moment getting a win over them will be that much sweeter. I feel like I’ve improved a lot since I came down (to Adelaide) playing some games and I’m enjoying myself. I’ve settled into the team well and all the boys are well, the club’s good and I’m enjoying myself.”
“Life-wise it’s good but football-wise it could be better if the team had the results but I’m enjoying it here. We’re down the bottom and we need to pick up as many points as we can. Not so much to disrupt their form but to get ourselves on a roll, it’ll be a really big game in that respect.”
DESPOTOVSKI DELIGHTED WITH COME-FROM-BEHIND VICTORY
Perth Glory Women’s season has been outstanding and the side sit in second place on the Westfield W-League table, only two points behind league leaders Sydney FC, with a game in hand. Glory Coach Bobby Despotovski was delighted with the come from behind win against Melbourne Victory on Sunday, a five goal thriller.
“Not many times in my playing or coaching career have I been involved in a game where one team scores all of the five goals, but only wins 3-2,” he joked. “We started the game very strong with a clear mindset to win the game, and we pressed from the first minute and tried to win the ball higher up the park.
“But we were not patient enough in our build up and wanted to finish the game in the first half. Yes we did create a few good chances but didn’t score and result of it the players became a little frustrated. But after the break we scored the early goal and looked like we would run away with it.
“But what transpired was like a movie plot, scoring two own goals to lose the lead. But in saying that we still had control of the game but we needed a spark, and that was provided by the whole team who lifted the intensity to the next level and sure enough we levelled from the penalty spot.
“From that point on I believed we were always going to win, you could see it in the players’ faces – the desire to score again and we pressed late and it was rewarded with Rosie scoring the winner. The win sets a great platform for us and the upcoming game on the road against a very good Canberra side, to keep the pressure on Sydney FC.”
LOWE: MORE TO COME FROM TRIO
Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe is excited by the prospect of attacking trio Adam Taggart, Andy Keogh and Diego Castro teaming up regularly after combining to good effect last night. Glory claimed their first win in six games with a 2-1 triumph over Wellington Phoenix at Perth Oval, where the trio combined for the match-winner from Taggart early in the second half.
Johnny Warren medallist Castro and off-season recruit Taggart have both had their injury troubles this season, affecting their availability. “That’s only their fourth game they’ve played together and we’re into round 14,” Lowe said. “Any side wants their good players on the pitch and any side wants their good players firing, at the moment we seem to have those guys.”
Taggart has scored five times in nine appearances this term and Lowe said his goal return was outstanding. “If you go from day one, his very first game he scored,” Lowe said of the 2013/14 A-League Golden Boot winner. “Goals per minute, if you worked out how long he’s been on the pitch, he’d be up there with anyone in the league.”
SUTTON LEAVES TO LATE FOR GLORY
Perth Glory kept the pressure on Westfield W-League leaders Sydney FC after scoring twice in the final 10 minutes to secure a crucial 3-2 win over Melbourne Victory at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday afternoon. It was tight first half but all the action came after the break, Skipper Sam Kerr opened the scoring five in, but Victory hit back with a helping hand from the Glory, Arianna Romero and Alyssa Mautz both scoring own goals. But a penalty from Vanessa DiBernardo and a late striker Rosie Sutton had the Glory faithful on their feet in celebration.
“It’s obviously hard looking at the clock ticking down, but we stayed positive. A win’s a win, so we’re happy,” Kerr said. “We didn’t deserve it up until the 60th minute, when we really put things into gear and got working. I think we deserved the win in the end. We picked up our game and we played well as a team, so we’re happy. The ball’s in our court (for the rest of the season). If we win our last three, we finish top. We’re happy to make the four, but to go one or two would obviously be a bonus.”
The Glory made just the one change from the side that drew with Newcastle Jets last week, with Melissa Maizels replacing Gabby Dal Busco between the sticks. The home side made a good start and Kerr was sent clear by Sutton but she fired straight at Bianca Henninger in the Victory goal. Moments later Nikki Stanton fired over the top from a long-range free kick, before Victory skipper Christine Nairn’s free kick whistled inches wide.
But five minutes into the second half the home side made the breakthrough. Stanton’s corner picked out Kerr, who rose highest to head past Henninger. The home faithful didn’t have that long to celebrate as two minutes later the Victory levelled. Nairn’s corner deflected off the unfortunate Romero for an own goal. The Glory almost regained the lead sixty seconds later, Kerr’s header crashing off the crossbar. Then on the hour the Victory hit the front, again with a helping hand from the Glory, this time Mautz putting it past Maizels. Kerr was on fire for the Glory, going close on two occasions, but on 79 minutes the speedy striker was brought down in the box and referee Kate Jacewicz pointed to the spot.
American import DiBernardo stepped up to take the penalty and finished low past Henninger, making amends for her missed penalty against Newcastle last Monday. Then five minutes from time the Glory won it. A ball into the box caused havoc, and in the goalmouth scramble that ensued saw Henninger produced two good saves, before Sutton poked home from close-range to set off celebrations on and off the pitch.
GLORY BACK IN FINALS HOPES AFTER BEATING LEAGUE LEADERS (courtesy www.perthglory.com.au)
Perth Glory Youth side moved within four points of Foxtel National Youth League Conference A leaders Brisbane Roar, after beating them 2-0 in Week 6 at A.J. Kelly Park on Sunday morning. The home side thrashed the Glory 0-6 in the opening game of the season, but in the reversal goals from Kosta Petratos and skipper Joe Knowles won it for the youngsters and pleased Head Coach John Gibson, who said it showed how much the group has improved. “Pretty happy with the performance today from the group against a side who currently sits first in our conference but a team that handed a huge loss in the first game of the season,” he said.
“We started strongly and scored early - after that we controlled the rest of the half and possibly could have scored a few more. However, second half we knew Brisbane we're going to come out strong - which they did but we held strong and came out with a positive result. A fantastic week away and a great road trip producing two wins - its super pleasing for the whole group. Recent performances and form has been pleasing but this group has more improvement and look forward to our remaining two home games.”
The Glory, who were bolstered with former Socceroo Rhys Williams in the line-up, made the perfect start and hit the front after only four minutes. Petratos, the brother of Roar’s Dimitri, who was in the crowd to watch him, cut in from the left just outside the 18-yard box, and on an angle curled home superbly of the underside of the bar. The home side almost levelled six minutes later, Nicholas D’Agostino run ended with a cut back to Shannon Brady, who was only inches away from the ball in the penalty area.
The sides took a well-earned drinks break half way through the half, and it seemed to help the Glory and they doubled their lead on the half hour. Skipper Knowles was picked out by a pass from Ross Millard, and he calmly finished low past Tomislav Bilic. Both sides pressed late in the half but the Glory youngsters went to the shed with a two goal lead.
The Glory held firm early in the second half as the Roar lifted looked to reduce the margin, and Nicholas Panetta’s free kick flashed just wide of Nick Feely’s upright on the hour. Moments later Joe Champness found space down the flank, but his dangerous cross missed everyone in the penalty area. The Roar had a penalty claim turned down by referee Daniel Olson after Brady’s shot stuck the arm of Glory defender, but the official waved away their protests.
Moments later Champness shot rattled the post, and the Glory were defending in numbers. The Roar went close again two minutes from time, after Panetta’s in-swinging cross picked out Dane Ingham, but he couldn’t find the target. There was four minutes of stoppage time but the Glory stood firm to take the three points.
GLORY BACK IN THE WINNERS CIRCLE AFTER COME-FROM-BEHIND WIN
Perth Glory had to come from behind to win their first game in seven, after a 2-1 win against Wellington Phoenix at nib Stadium on Thursday evening. The visitors were handed the lead on 11 minutes when Roy Krishna’s shot under Glory keeper Liam Reddy, the goal was the 4,000th scored in the A-League, but one Reddy will not want to watch again. But his blushes were sparred with a stunner from skipper Rostyn Griffiths just before half time and a header from Adam Taggart won it for Kenny Lowe’s side after the break.
Glory striker Andy Keogh said they deserved the win and believes they can finish the season well. “We’ve got the players, we just need a bit more consistency, a bit more of a settled back four and we go from there,” he said. “We had a little more composure on the ball [tonight] and played the simple passes, and we deserved the victory.” Lowe said the trio up front are gelling nicely. “That’s only their fourth game they’ve played together and we’re into round 14,” he said. “Any side wants their good players on the pitch and any side wants their good players firing, at the moment we seem to have those guys. Hopefully (they’ll stay fit), you keep your fingers crossed.”
Lowe made one change to the side that drew with Western Sydney Wanderers last time out with Milan Smiljanic coming in for the suspended Brandon Wilson. It was the Phoenix who started the brighter and Krishna was sent clear after only six minutes, but Reddy was out quick to clear the danger. But five minutes later the visitors hit the front. Shane Smeltz picked out Krishna, whose shot was straight at Reddy, but the ball squeezed under the body of the Glory custodian and into the net.
The Phoenix continued to dominate and Adam Parkhouse shot on the run was saved by Reddy, and moments later Kosta Barbarouses shot was saved by the busy Reddy. It was a subdued Glory and Reddy produced a great save to deny former Glory striker Smeltz on 23 minutes, before Barbarouses stung the palms of the keeper again just before half time. It was a half to forget for the Glory faithful, but in stoppage time they were off their seats, Griffiths’ long-range shot flew into the net to level.
With Lowe’s half time address still ringing in their ears the Glory started the second half well and Griffiths tried his luck again from distance, but it was straight at Glen Moss, The Glory had the ball in the net on 49 minutes, Diego Castro’s through ball sent Keogh into goal, and the Irishman finished well, but the flag was up for offside. But on 51 minutes the Glory were ahead. Keogh found space down the left and whipped in a cross to Taggart, who lost his marker and head home, much to the delight of the 9,210 crowd.
The Phoenix suffered another blow on the hour when Roy Krishna was shown a straight red card by referee Shaun Evans, for a lung on defender Shane Lowry. It looked a little harsh, but his studs were up, but it meant the Phoenix had to play the final half hour with 10-men. The Glory went in for the kill and Joe Mills’ ball picked out Lowry, whose header is well saved by Moss. Despite dominating the Glory couldn’t find the third goal and late on Roly Bonevacia almost nicked a point for the visitors, his shot saved well by Reddy to secure the points.
GLORY NEED TO GET BACK IN THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Perth Glory will be looking for their first win in six games when they entertain Wellington Phoenix in the ‘Long Distance Derby’ at the nib Stadium tonight (Wednesday - 6pm). Just two points separate fifth-placed Glory from Wellington in eighth, giving added importance to the game, and throw in a likely debut of Phoenix’s Kiwi international – and ex-Glory striker Shane Smeltz - and there is plenty to like about tonight’s encounter. It was Glory that got the points when these sides met earlier in the season (a 2-0 win in Rd two) but much has changed since then. While Kenny Lowe’s side picked up two away draws against Melbourne City and the Wanderers over the Summer of Football, it’s now time to give the home fans something to cheer.
After back-to-back away draws, Kenny Lowe’s side need to get their home form back on track, after losing their last two games against Newcastle Jets and Sydney FC. Lowe is hoping the road trip to the east coast will give them a springboard for a late-season surge, starting against the Phoenix. “We had two road trips last year, won two on the one trip and won one and drew one on the second,” he said. “This season we’ve had two draws, so it seems to suit us.”
The return of Diego Castro has given the Glory a huge boost, but Lowe said the performance of other players has also improved. “We’re getting Cas (Castro) back, which is really good, and Taggs (Taggart) is lively – he’s getting more game time into himself,” he said. “Shane Lowry played his first game back and Milsy (Joe Mills) is getting to grips with things. We’ve got a good group of people starting to hit their straps, so hopefully we can kick on.” In team news Brandon Wilson and Dino Djublic are both suspended for the game, with Nebojsa Marinkovic likely to come into the middle of the park.
There will be a few familiar faces in the Phoenix squad, with former Glory striker Shane Smeltz and keeper Lewis Italiano in their squad, along with former ECU Joondalup Captain Ryan Lowry. Interim Phoenix Coach Chris Greenacre said the striker could come into the side. “I think its ruthlessness, being really determined to score a goal, and we just seem to be lacking that,” he said. “Going in with everything you’ve got, the old cliché about going in where the boots are flying and it’s dangerous and having the real killer instinct.
“We just don’t seem to have that, it’s something that’s just natural, you can’t coach it, that instinct to be where the ball is and I’ve no doubt that Shane would have scored against Adelaide.” In team news Vince Lea misses the game due to suspension, and Michael McGlinchey is still missing with a calf injury, and Alex Rodriguez and Matthew Ridenton will be in the mix to replace Lea.
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, GK Nick FEELY, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Marc WARREN, 4 Shane LOWRY, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 8 Rostyn GRIFFITHS (c), 9 Andy KEOGH, 10 Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 14 Chris HAROLD, 16 Joe MILLS 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Josh RISDON, 20 Aryn WILLIAMS, 21 Jamal REINERS, 22 Adam TAGGART, 23 Kosta PETRATOS, 24 Milan SMILJANIC - *two to be omitted* - Ins: WARREN (promoted), FEELY (promoted), REINERS (promoted), PETRATOS (promoted) – Out: Brandon WILSON (Suspended – I week)
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, 11 Hamish WATSON, 12 Adam PARKHOUSE, 13 Marco ROSSI, 16 Louis FENTON, 19 Tom DOYLE, 21 Roy KRISHNA, 22 Andrew DURANTE (c), 23 Matthew RIDENTON, 24 Logan ROGERSON, 99 Shane SMELTZ - *two to be omitted* - Ins: FENTON (promoted), ROGERSON (promoted), SMELTZ (new signing) - Outs: Vince LIA (suspended – 1 week)
GLORY YOUTH GO BACK-TO-BACK
Perth Glory Youth side have won back-to-back after a 2-0 win against Melbourne Victory at the Epping stadium on Wednesday morning. John Gibson’s side beat Victory in their last game before Christmas, and goals from Kostas Petratos and Joe Knowles were enough in this reverse meeting, and it moved the youngsters to within three points of second placed Adelaide United, and seven points behind Conference A league leaders Brisbane Roar.
It was a lively opening to the game with both sides having half chances, but it was the Glory who hit the front on 14 minutes. Petratos was brought down in the box and referee James Hortle pointed to the spot. Petratos picked himself up and fired past Victory keeper Lucas Spinella to give the Glory the lead. Dejan Spaseski and Jamel Reiners also went close as the Glory put pressure on the home side.
The Victory custodian then produced a great save to deny Knowles, as the Glory looked to add to their lead. The home side settled and went closer themselves on the half hour. Pierce Waring raced past Marc Warren, but his shot from the angle flew over the top. Moments later George Howard lost his marker in the penalty area, but his header was off target.
The Glory opened the second half well and defender Callum Goulding did well to clear Knowles’ shot off the line, and Scott Robertson fired the follow up shot wide. With that let off the Victory almost levelled just after the hour. Pierce Waring picking out Nicholas Sette, but his shot flashed wide of the target. With Victory pushing men forward the Glory went close to the second with Gian Albano and Daniel Stynes going close. But the points were made safe for the Glory on 80 minutes, Knowles finding space in the penalty area and the skipper fired past Spinella.
ECU JOONDALUP SNAP UP GREENWOOD FOR 2017 (courtesy ECU Joondalup)
ECU Joondalup have signed talented keeper Fraser Greenwood for the 2017 PS4NPLWA season. The former Bayswater City custodian will fill the void left by Lewis Italiano who re-joined A-League side Wellington Phoenix at the end of last season, and the 21-year-old is looking forward to the challenge. “With the standard set extremely high from Lewis last season, it feels nice to be included this coming season,” he said. “Yes I’ve got big shoes to fill, but I’m itching to show everyone how I can assist in what's already a fantastic looking team.”
Greenwood played a number of first team games for Bayswater last season and also helped the under 23’s to the league and Cup double, and the decision to leave was a difficult one. “No one likes moving from club-to-club but when there's only one position on the park and you’re at a club with one of the best goal keepers in the state, it's always going to be a struggle to get game time,” he explained. “I've spent a couple seasons with Bayswater, and don't regret a minute of it and they have an outstanding bunch of guys both on and off the park.”
The former Bunbury Dynamos, Shamrock Rovers, Perth Glory Youth, Floreat and Bayswater custodian said once he got the call from ECU it wasn’t a hard decision to move to the club. “Steve McGarry gave me a call a while back just asking what my plans were for next year and I told him I just want to be playing first team football again,” he said. “He basically told me that ECU needed a new keeper, and the rest is history, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Jacks Coach Dale McCulloch said it’s a great signing for the club. “We’re delighted to have signed Fraser, who we believe is a one of the best young keepers in the league,” McCulloch said. “He impressed for Bayswater last season and he was one we were looking at, and we believe he will be a great acquisition for us in 2017.”
McCulloch said the club have some talent keepers and whoever takes over the number one shirt will do a job for the club. “With the help of goalkeeping coach Andy Petterson, all our keepers will be pushing for the starting role, and whoever takes the position, they will have big shoes to fill after Lewis (Italiano) starred last season between the sticks,” he said.
“Fraser has impressed the Coaching staff and is a player we’ve been keeping an eye on for a while, and he knows it’s a performance based gig, and if he continues with his form he will be the number one. We had the best defence in the league for the second half of last season and we will be looking to do the same in 2017, and the signing of Fraser has given us a massive boost.’
Greenwood had a stint with A-League side Perth Glory’s Youth side, and he said it gave a glimpse of what it’s like to play at the next level. “I think it gives you an insight to what it's like to play in a professional environment and of course it's something I'd like to do again,” he explained. “At the moment I'm trying to put myself in a position to play at the highest possible standard, and perform well for ECU Joondalup, but if something further comes along that would be a bonus.”
The tall keeper has worked with Jacks goalkeeping coach Andy Petterson in the past and said he’s learnt a lot form the former Charlton Athletic custodian. “From my first goalkeeping coach when I moved to Perth in Willy McNally, to seven years down the track to Andy (Petterson), every coach has played a part to where I am now,” he said. “Each coach has been different and helped me develop at different parts of my journey to date. I'm eager to get stuck in with Andy again, and I'm sure he will be quick to jump on me about something I need to change, from what I here.”
After just missing out on the Top Four Final last season the Jacks are determined to go one better, and Green wood said he’s ready for the fight. “I think signing basically every player from last season is a pretty clear indication that the clubs doing something right,” he said. “They have all made it clear they're not content with just settling for a top four finish. With the run home ECU had last season, it's not ambitious to say everyone here wants to go all the way this year, and I’m hoping to help them.”
DE VANNA HUNGRY FOR MORE MATILDAS ACTION
Veteran striker Lisa De Vanna still has the desire to continue her long and illustrious international career, but says she must plan playing commitments carefully to look after her body. De Vanna started a guest stint with W-League club Canberra United on Tuesday, as she prepares to get herself in shape for the 12-team Algarve Cup competition Australia will contest in Portugal in March.
De Vanna, a two-time FIFA World Cup All-Star team representative, didn't play for almost a month following Australia's 2016 Olympic Games quarter-final elimination in Brazil in mid-August. She featured in the last three matches of the National Women's Soccer League season for Orlando Pride but hasn't played since their campaign ended in late September.
"I had a bit of a break, I want to focus on my coaching and I want something different," said De Vanna after joining Canberra, her sixth senior Australian club. "So I decided to come to Canberra, where it's a good team environment. It's a place that I've been training for the last two years and it's just completely football, because my main goal is to be ready for the Algarves."
De Vanna has amassed 117 caps and 40 goals since her Matildas debut in 2005 and her appetite for international competition clearly hasn't been sated. "I'm 32 years old so I have think carefully about what I do next because I need to look after my body," she said. "I really enjoy playing for my national team, so for me to do that at such a high level, I need to look after my body."
De Vanna had no opportunity to exert a major influence on her first game for Canberra United in their 6-1 away loss to W-League leader Sydney FC. She was injected into the game at Lambert Park just before the hour with her team trailing 4-0. "That was tough 1-0, 2-0 you still have a chance to change something," she said. "But when it's four or five, all you can do is just keep working."
BABALJ TRIALLING WITH WANDERERS
Injury-prone striker Eli Babalj will start trialling with Western Sydney Wanderers this week as the A-League club looks to solve its goalscoring issues. Free agent Babalj has spent the last year recovering from an ACL rupture suffered during a loan spell with Adelaide United last season.
The 24-year-old twice-capped Socceroo has since left his Dutch parent club AZ Alkmaar and paid his own way through rehabilitation in Belgium. Western Sydney are keen to see how he's coming following Kerem Bulut's recent departure and with Brendon Santalab suspended for three games.
Babalj, who has also played A-League for Melbourne Heart, will begin training with the Western Sydney squad tomorrow in a bid to win a contract. "He's coming over to train," Popovic said. "The boy has been out for a very long time and we're going to give him the opportunity to train and see where he's at."
LOWE HAS HIGH HOPES OF ROAD TRIP
If road trips can change people, then Perth Glory boss Kenny Lowe sure hopes this one's done a job on them. A fortnight ago the Glory's A-League season looked on a path to nowhere, the team's performances stagnating as much as their woeful results. But something happened on the east coast between Christmas and New Year.
The team displayed a new resilience in drawing with Melbourne City and Western Sydney Wanderers, prompting Lowe to predict they can provide the springboard for a late-season surge. "Hopefully," Lowe said. "We had two road trips last year, won two on one trip and won one and drew one on the second. This one we've had two draws so it seems to suit us."
Glory's defensive fight stood out against Western Sydney, who they kept at bay for much of the game after Adam Taggart's 14th-minute opener which was eventually cancelled out by Jaushua Sotirio in the second period. The overall improvement has coincided with Diego Castro's return to the starting line-up, but Lowe insisted out others were also finding form.
"We're getting Cas (Castro) back which is really good and Taggs (Taggart) is lively - he's getting more game time into himself," Lowe commented. "Shane Lowry played his first full game back and Millsy (Joseph Mills) is getting to grips with things. We've got a good group of people starting to hit their straps, so hopefully we can kick on."
KERR STUNNER GIVES GLORY A POINT
Perth Glory’s Westfield W-League unbeaten run has extended to five matches after a come-from-behind 1-1 draw against Newcastle Jets at Dorrien Gardens on a hot Monday afternoon. Jets striker Jenna Kingsley gave the visitors the lead just after half time, but Sam Kerr levelled, and both sides had chances to take the points, but they had to settle for a share of the spoils.
“We’ve taken pride in our performances over the last couple of weeks and it was disappointing to let that one go, but tomorrow’s a new day and we’ll look to Melbourne Victory next Sunday,” Kerr said. “To be honest, I can’t put my finger on it. I felt I was a bit off too. The whole team looked to pass behind and step behind a lot. I don’t know if that’s because of a quick succession of games or the mentality wasn’t right, but we’ll talk about it over the week and hopefully fix that for the Victory game.”
It was 32C at kick off, but it was a cool start to the game with clear cut chances few and far between. The first real chance fell to the home side on the half hour, Nikki Stanton was given far too much space, and the midfielder’s long-range shot flashed just over the top. Two minutes later American import Vanessa DiBernardo tried her luck from long-range, but again it flashed inches wide of the target.
But on 36 minutes the Glory had the perfect opportunity to take the lead after Kerr was brought down by Grace Macintyre and referee Rachel Mitchenson pointed straight to the spot. DiBernardo stepped up, but Jets keeper Katelyn Rowland guessed the right way to save her penalty. The Jets were on the back foot and Rowlands had to be alert to save Nicole Stanton’s shot just before the break but it was goalless at the break.
The home side made a change at the break with Shawn Billam being replaced by Jaymee Gibbons, but it was the Jet’s we started the half with a bang and scored sixty seconds in. Kingsley pounced on a defensive mistake, and raced into goal, before rounding Gabby Dal Busco and scored into an empty net. It was huge blow for Bobby Despotovski’s side but they pressed for the equaliser, Kerr low shot was well saved by Rowland.
The Jets almost added a second on 51 minutes; Jennifer Hoy’s looping header was scrambled away by Dal Busco at full stretch. They went even closer eight minutes later in a real goalmouth scramble. Megan Oyster lost her marker and headed goalwards, but the crossbar came to Dal Busco and the Glory’s rescue, and from the rebound Thompson’s snap shot smacked off the post, and then Oyster hit the side netting. The Glory lifted their intensity and Kerr volleyed was blocked, before Kerr played in DiBernardo, whose lob drifted just wide.
It looked like it wasn’t going to be the Glory’s day, as Stanton and Kerr were both denied by Rowland, but on 69 minutes their pressure was rewarded with the equaliser. Kerr waltzed past three Jets defenders, before dinking the ball over Rowland, to register her eighth goal of the season. Both sides pressed late for the winner. Hoy’s long-range shot was superbly saved by Dal Busco, before Rowland produced another smart save to thwart Alyssa Mautz in stoppage time but it ended 1-1.
DURR READY FOR NPL VICTORIA CHALLENGE
Former Perth Glory Youth and ECU Joondalup midfielder Henry Durr has become the latest WA player to join the NPL Victoria, after the 21-year-old joined newly promoted North Geelong Warriors for season 2017. “I'm really excited about the move, and I’m looking forward to playing in another challenging NPL league,” Durr said. “Hopefully I'll be a good contribution to the squad and learn a few things along the way.”
Durr, who headed over to the UK for trials last year, said it was a great experience, but he’s looking forward to the challenge of helping the Warriors consolidate their NPL status. “I went on trial with Blackpool and Macclesfield Town, and it was a great experience,” he explained. “It was brilliant to get an insight of the professional game over there and be involved with such talented players in training, but I’m now looking to perform well for North Geelong.
“When I found out I was coming back to Australia I got in touch with a couple of mates playing over here to see what it was like and then sent a few messages out to managers in the league. North Geelong got in touch pretty quickly so started pre-season with them at the end of last year and after a few sessions and a game signed on for the season, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
North Geelong Coach Micky Colina said Durr is a great inclusion into their squad. “Henry spent a couple of weeks with us, we are looking to add depth to our squad and the midfield area was one we feel we are light in,” he said. “We were happy with what we saw and his attitude and character has been great so far, he seems to have settled in very well with the other lads and we certainly hope Henry can add value to our squad and play a big part in the NPL competition this year.”
Colina said the club have strengthened their squad as they look to make a mark in the NPL. “Naturally I’m very happy with promotion, in the end that's what you play for, we look forward to the challenges the competition has in store for us and hope we can add value to an already quality competition,” he said. “We have also added a few more young lads to our group, keeper Marko Stevanja (21), attacking winger - Bobby Vidanoski (22), centre back - Ivan Grgic (20). All three have senior NPL experience over the last 3-4 years and we are hoping can bring added depth and quality to our side this year.”
Durr was part of ECU Joondalup’s push for the PS4NPLWA title last season, and the midfielder said to leave the club mid-season was really difficult but he wishes them all the best in 2017. “I made sure I kept up with everything that was happening at the club once I left,” he said. “I was a bit gutted I wasn't there to see the season out, but the chance to head overseas was important to me, but the lads had a great season and I'm sure they'll go on to do even better this year.”
With pre-season well and truly up and running Durr said the squad is looking good, but when asked about another tilt in the UK, the midfielder said he only has one thing on his mind at the moment. “I've not really got any plans to head back overseas any time soon just looking forward to this coming season with North Geelong hopefully have a successful and enjoyable season,” he explained. “Pre-season is going really well we've got a decent squad together now with a few new signings. Now the breaks done I'm sure the sessions are really going to pick up ready for the season starting.”
GLORY LET IT SLIP DESPITE TAGGART’S EARLY STRIKE
Perth Glory continued their unbeaten festive period, after securing a 1-1 draw against Western Sydney Wanderers at the ANZ Stadium on New Year’s Day. After a 3-3 draw against Melbourne City last week, Adam Taggart gave the Glory the lead against the Wanderers, but a goal from substitute Jaushua Sotirio gave the home side a share of the spoils, although skipper Rostyn Griffiths almost won for the Glory in stoppage-time, but he shot from eight meters flashed just wide of the target.
Chris Harold, who was playing his 100th game for the Glory, was outstanding and won the Man of the Match, but he was disappointed to let it slip after taking the lead. “We worked very hard defensively in tough, humid conditions, but it’s kind of an annoying goal to give away, because we defended so resiliently but I guess we’ll take a draw away from home,” he said post game. “We scored an excellent goal early on and we frustrated them. They have excellent rotations in the wide areas with their wingers coming inside and their full backs bombing [on] so we nullified that for most of the game, so it’s annoying to get caught out by one.”
Kenny Lowe made just the one change from the side that drew with Melbourne City, with Shane Lowry coming in to replace the suspended Dino Djulbic. The Wanderers, who were still looking for their first home game of the season, had the first real chance on 10 minutes, Jumpei Kusukami laying the ball off to skipper Dimas on the edge of the penalty area, but his shot flew over the top. But four minutes later, and in their first real attack the Glory hit the front. Andy Keogh found Harold, whose first time ball sent Taggart racing clear, and he finished clinically past former Glory keeper Jerrad Tyson at his near post. The Wanderers thought Taggart was offside, it was close but the goal stood and it was Taggart’s fourth goal of the season.
The Wanderers went close to the equaliser on 27 minutes, and it was their Japanese winger Kusukami again in the thick of it. He raced clear of Shane Lowry on the left and cut the ball back to Nico Martinez, but the Argentine skied over the top from five meters. Mitch Nichols then stung the palms of Liam Reddy, but the Glory custodian wasn’t to be beaten. Wanderers’ young striker Lachlan Scott should have levelled just before half time but the unmarked 19-year-old headed over the top with the goal at his mercy.
Coach Tony Popovic's half-time team talk would have seemed all too familiar for a squad void of confidence at home, but the Glory were defending well and the home fans were getting restless, but a double substitution began to give the Wanderers more going forward. Kearyn Baccus and Sotirio were on the park for only a matter of minutes before the duo combined to bring the Wanderers back level on 67 minutes. Baccus' long pass found the angled run of Sotirio to beat Glory's offside trap, and the striker made no mistake, calmly slotting into the corner of the net past Reddy.
Both sides huffed and puffed late, Josh Risdon run and shot was deflected over the top by Aritz Borda on 76 minutes and two minutes later Keogh’s cross was well claimed by Tyson, with Diego Castro ready to pounce. Nichols’ cross was pushed away by Reddy, and Risdon cleared the danger. But in the first minute of stoppage time the Glory went close to the winner. Castro waltzed past five Wanderers players, before being halted by Borda’s tackle, but the rebound fell to Griffiths, but his shot flashed wide of the post.
HAROLD ‘ANNOYED’ BY DRAW WITH WANDERERS
Perth Glory’s star striker Chris Harold was annoyed after his side "nullified" Western Sydney Wanderers but could only manage a 1-1 draw with Tony Popovic's side. Western Sydney came back from a goal down to draw with Glory in a tight game that came to life in the final 20 minutes.
Harold was in fine touch for the visiting team but admitted he was angry his side allowed their hosts back in the game. “We worked very hard defensively in tough, humid conditions,” Harold said. “It’s kind of an annoying goal to give away, because we defended so resiliently but I guess we’ll take a draw away from home.”
The point gained keeps Glory in fifth spot, six points behind Melbourne City, as the race for fifth and sixth heats up. “We scored an excellent goal early on and we frustrated them," said Harold following his 100th appearance in Glory colours.
“They (Western Sydney) have excellent rotations in the wide areas with their wingers coming inside and their full backs bombing so we nullified that for most of the game. So it’s annoying to get caught out by one.” Glory have a short turnaround with their next game at home against Wellington Phoenix on Thursday.
CLISBY ‘NOT GIVING UP’ AFTER ANOTHER DRAW
Western Sydney Wanderers defender Jack Clisby says his side remain confident despite registering their eighth draw of the A-league season. Clisby's team recovered from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Perth Glory this evening at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
But Clisby felt his side should’ve taken more than a point from the clash and believes his side can and will come good. “Especially with the chances we had in the first half, we should’ve put them away,” Clisby said. “In the second half we played a good 80% of the game in their half. We really pinned them back, but it wasn’t to be.”
It was Western Sydney’s eighth draw in 13 games and the main reason why the club are in a battle for fifth and sixth rather than being part of the top four. That is something Clisby isn’t about to shy away from. “It doesn’t lie, the results ... we still haven’t won a game at home,” he said.
“But we’re not going to give up, we’re going to keep going and we believed we’d get a result today. It wasn’t to be and we showed great character to come back yet again.” Western Sydney’s next game is against fourth-placed Melbourne City on Friday night.
BELGIUM CALLING FOR IN-DEMAND RISDON
Perth Glory right-back Josh Risdon will reject offers from five different A-League clubs to chase his dream move to Europe. Risdon, who comes out of contract at the end of the season, has long been on the radar of overseas clubs but the defender has declined those offers to stay with Glory. However, it is understood he may now be ready to move with a Belgium club in the box seat for his signature.
With 125 appearances to his name, 24-year old Risdon has become one of Glory’s most popular figures. Risdon’s departure during the January transfers window would cause something of a headache for coach Kenny Lowe, who also looks like losing Rhys Williams. The situation regarding Williams, who has been omitted from Glory’s last three games, remains unclear with reports suggesting he’s looking to move to Korea or China.
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