VALE GARIN COLLINS
The West Australian football community is in mourning following the sudden death of former State team representative Garin Collins. The left-sided attacker, a Hibernian fan from Edinburgh, passed away earlier this week at the age of 38.
Collins played much of his senior career with ECU Joondalup where, in 2002, he collected a State Cup winners medal. He was a key figure in the Floreat Athena side that claimed the 2007 Premier League title without loss, as well as the 2011 Night Series.
Spells with Mandurah City and Wanneroo City preceded Collins' joining Joondalup United, who he helped go undefeated in 2014 to win Division Two. In more recent times he turned out for Canning City, Olympic Kingsway and Quinns.
The Western Australian football family offers its deepest sympathy to Garin's family and friends. His funeral will take place on Thursday, 8th March, at the West Crematorium Chapel at Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park, Whitfords Avenue, Padbury. The service commences at 10.00am.
If you need to talk for any reason, don’t hesitate to contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or MensLine 1300 78 99 78.
O'NEILL: PRESS ME IF YOU DARE
As another brilliant season draws to an end, Sydney FC midfielder Brandon O'Neill is brimming with confidence, saying other teams' tactics just make him play better. O'Neill has starred in the A-League this season alongside fellow Aussie Joshua Brillante, with the two regarded as Sydney's midfield engine-room.
In response to their effectiveness transitioning possession from defence to Sydney's marquee frontmen, O'Neill says opposition teams have tried to pile pressure on the midfield duo, which has made them better players. “Teams are pushing higher up now and trying to press me and Joshy [Brillante] and get on the ball,” O'Neill told Fox Sports.
“But it's actually really good – it’s making me and Joshy think quicker, making sure our first touch is right and it's making us better players. If someone is up our backside we need to know where Ninko is and where Adrian is before the ball is played. If we keep doing that and we keep getting it to Aido, Ninko, Bobo and Brosquey, we'll continue to hurt teams.”
Sydney sit 11 points clear in the A-League and have only lost once all season. Their real challenge may prove the Asian Champions League, where a loss and a draw so far leave Graham Arnold's side in unusual circumstances. “It is a joy to play in this team,” O'Neill said. “It's a joy on a night like this to get down, get dirty, me and Joshy sliding into tackles, getting water up our nose – it’s great! Me and Joshy love it!”
SAINSBURY CLOSING IN ON RETURN
Socceroo and new Grasshoppers signing Trent Sainsbury says he’s not far off a return to competitive football following surgery in November. The 26-year old went under the knife after Australia sealed their 2018 World Cup spot to fix a groin issue which had plagued him throughout last year.
More recently, Sainsbury secured a switch from Chinese club Jiangsu Suning, where he had struggled for game-time, to join Swiss powerhouse Grasshoppers on a six-month loan. He had to watch from the sidelines as Grasshoppers won 1-0 over FC Zurich on Sunday and is yet to debut for his new club.
“It’s going well,” Sainsbury, a former Armadale junior, told his new club’s website when asked about his recovery from injury. “They’re putting me through some hard work in the gym at the moment, which is nice, but I’ll be back out there shortly.”
Sainsbury is hopeful of returning in time to be included in the Socceroos squad for next months’ friendlies against Colombia and Norway. The defender missed the 2014 World Cup due to a knee injury but was a key figure in qualifying for 2018 and is determined to be part of this year’s squad in Russia.
“I missed the opportunity to go to the last World Cup with a broken knee so I had a lot of fire and hunger to qualify for this one,” he said. “To take a leadership role with this team, we want to do really well at the World Cup and get some good results. For us we’ve got a lot to look forward to.”
Sainsbury added that the move to Switzerland was chiefly motivated by the lure of the World Cup. “I think it’s a nice club, it’s a proud club with a lot of history, obviously the most titles in Switzerland,” he said. “Obviously with the World Cup coming up I need game-time and to be playing at a high level. I can help the squad and they can help me.”
GLORY SWEAT ON CASTRO
Perth Glory are sweating on the fitness of in-form striker Diego Castro ahead of a season-defining clash this weekend against Western Sydney Wanderers. Kenny Lowe's team are four points behind sixth-placed Western Sydney with just six regular season games to play, and a win this Sunday would leave them on the verge of finals action.
But much will rest on Castro, who has battled calf injuries throughout the season and copped a kick to the troublesome muscle in Glory's 2-1 win over Melbourne City. Despite recent better form, Lowe isn't daring to dream of a finals finish just yet. "Not interested. I haven't got a Scooby Doo," he said. "It's all bollocks isn't it. A season's a season."
Castro has been a key figure for the Glory this season despite his injury troubles. The 35-year old came off in the 80th minute against Melbourne after his calf started to stiffen after the knock but Lowe said the star Spaniard had been resilient all year. "He's been carrying a little calf for five or six weeks," Lowe said.
"He just wants to play, he just wants to play for the team. He's probably (been going at) 60 per cent (fitness), I would say. I think we just (need to) put him in a block of ice for three days, and then chip him out and roll him out on the training ground for the last two sessions."
KILKENNY TAKES SWIPE AT FORMER COACH
Neil Kilkenny has laid bare the strained relationship he endured with Melbourne City coach Warren Joyce with an extraordinary outburst after his late heroics helped Perth Glory to a dramatic upset win last night. Released by Melbourne last month, Kilkenny turned in a man-of-the-match performance for his new club which included an 85th minute equaliser.
Kilkenny appeared to have words in the direction of Joyce after scoring. And he didn’t hold back on Fox Sports post-match, airing his dirty laundry after being frozen out of Melbourne’s starting line-up. “Football is about opinions,” Kilkenny said. “I played like that every day in training and the man ignored me. I had something to prove and hopefully I did that.”
Kilkenny said “it wasn’t personal” between himself and the Melbourne club as a whole. “It is a fantastic club, I’ve always said that. The players are brilliant as well, a fantastic set of lads,” Kilkenny added. “It was just one person’s opinion, he didn’t like me. It’s one of those things. I didn’t get the opportunity I thought I deserved.”
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES, WEEK THREE - REVIEW
It was another entertaining round in the State League Night Series, with Week three this weekend. In Group A league leaders Gosnells City made it three from three with a hard fought 2-1 win against Murdoch University-Melville at Walter Padbury Reserve on Sunday evening.
Gosnells opened the scoring against the run of play. Some great work by Elliot Ireland in the midfield who played a great ball to Charlie White who squared to Jason Al Bunajin for a tap in. They doubled their lead when a well worked free kick by Josh Johnstone delivering the ball deep with Scott Pereira heading the ball back across the face for Jordan Parfitt to finish from close range. The visitors pulled one back Simon El Chami heading home, but they couldn’t find the equaliser. “Melville where a good side who caused us a lot of problems,” Gosnells Coach Alan Dunlop said. “We were not at our best, but we defended during the game and took our chances when they came, and probably could have had a couple more. I was pleased with the individual performances of Liam Cave, Elliot Ireland and Tony Chandler.” In other games Mandurah City beat Kelmscott Roos 5-0, while Rockingham City drew 2-2 with South West Phoenix. Phoenix raced to a two goal lead with Lee Stewart and Kieran Quinn on target, but the home side back with James Harmer and Ryan Kennedy giving them a share of the spoils.
In Group B leaders Wanneroo City maintained their unbeaten start with a 3-1 win against Morley Windmills at Wanneroo Reserve on Sunday evening. Goals from Nathan Scully, Scott Johnston and Godfrey Asimwe won it for Wanneroo and Coach Tim Kantor was delighted with the performance of his team. “It was probably the best first half of football we’ve played with three absolute quality finishes,” he said. “We dictated terms and to be fair a two goal half time lead didn’t reflect our dominance. But I’m extremely pleased with the way the boys have embraced the game style especially as we have six new lads in our starting 11, so we are now looking forward to Quinn’s on Friday night.”
In other games in the group Joondalup City drew 1-1 with Quinns FC, Luke Doyle scoring for Quinns, while Gwelup Croatia beat Balga 5-0. Gwelup opened the scoring three minutes before half time, Gavin Knight was shoved in the back during a corner, and the striker dusted himself off to score from the resulting penalty. Gwelup took control after the break and it was 2-0 on 52 minutes, Knight finishing clinically from the edge of the box. Knight completed his hat-trick four minutes later, tapping home from close-range. It was 4-0 on 63 minutes Isaac Koomson found the top corner with a rocket from outside the box following some good build-up play. It was 5-0 a minute later Noah Shamaki charged into the penalty area and smashed it into the roof of the net. “I thought the first 45 min was pretty tight and even though we probably had the major balance of possession we never really threatened the Balga goal,” Gwelup coach Taki Nicolaidis said. “Second half after a couple of tweaks, I thought we upped the tempo and intensity to get a couple of crucial goals back to back which pretty much sealed the game.”
In Group C Fremantle City made it back-to-back wins with a 4-0 win against Shamrock Rovers at Walter Padbury Reserve on Friday evening. While the other game in the group Canning City beat Curtin University 3-1, and Western Knights had the bye. In Group D the top two teams UWA Nedlands and Dianella White Eagles fought out an entertaining 2-2 draw. UWA started off very brightly and giving Dianella all sorts of trouble, but the Eagles started to take control and had a great opportunity to take the lead when Angel Andres was in on goal, but the Spanish marksman failed to find the target, and UWA raced up the other end and teenage striker Zeke McPherson fired home under the body of Joel Driscoll. But Dianella were level before half time, Andres making emends with a stunning free kick. Dianella continued to dictate terms after the break and Andres gave them the lead, blasting home into the roof of the net from close-range. It looked like Dianella would take the points but deep into injury-time UWA levelled, striker Alex Kretowicz buried the equaliser to ensure the spoils were shared at Walter Padbury Reserve. “UWA were good in the first half, but I thought we totally dominated the second half and deserved a big win,” Dianella Coach Robbie Dunn said. “We spoke about putting teams to the sword when in such positions but it’s early in the season and I am sure it will all fall into place soon. The lads were very good today and played well against a very good UWA side who will beat a lot of teams this year for sure.” In the other game in the Group Ashfield beat Swan United 3-0, while Kingsway Olympic had the bye.
GLORY STUN PERTH IN SEASON OPENER
Perth Glory opened their NPLWA season with a shock 1-0 win against last season’s runners-up Perth SC at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday evening. A Jake Brimmer cross was turned into his own goal by former Atlanta and Socceroos defender Adrian Madaschi, to win it for John Gibson’s side, as they continued the good form from their Foxtel Y-League campaign. “We’re pretty happy, and tonight was a complete performance from us,” Gibson said. “The maturity of the group is a concept we’ve been working on in terms of managing games and being aware of situations. We are transitioning from youth league football to men’s football, but the group have confidence and belief in what we’re doing.”
It was bright start for the Glory youngsters and midfielder Henry Hore’ saw an early effort pushed around the post by Perth SC keeper Francis Soale. The home side thought they had the lead moments later when the speedy Frank Furfaro burst clear, but the flag was up for offside. But the Glory good start was rewarded with the lead on 33 minutes. Brimmer found space down the left and his low cross was turned home by the unfortunate Madaschi. They deserved their lead and they went close to doubling it just before half time. A free kick from the edge of the box was taken by Brimmer, and the former Liverpool trainee curled it just past the post and into the side netting.
The home side were on the front foot after the break and went close to the equaliser early. Brazilian striker Gustavo Catarcione was found on the edge of the penalty area, and he held of his marker but his shot was deflected just wide. From the resulting corner, striker Richard Howles header was straight at Glory custodian Jackson Lee. But it wasn’t all one-way and Daniel Stynes’ long-range volley whistling over the top, before Stynes and Knowles combined to force Soale into a point blank save. Howles was a constant threat and his curling effort on the hour flashed just wide of the target. Perth were pushing players forward looking for the equaliser but the Glory youngsters stood firm with teenagers Luca Bodnar and Riley Warland both outstanding.
Perth SC: GK Francis SOALE, 2 Alex SILLA, 4 Adrian MADASCHI, 6 Harley ORR, 7 Aleks JOVIC (5 Niccolo SABATINI 67’), 9 Gustavo CATARCIONE, 10 Nicholas AMBROGIO (14 Kristan SANTICH 62’), 12 Jordan DE LEO, 16 Kieran COLWELL, 17 Frank FURFARO (3 Andreas THEODOSIADES 55’), 18 Richard HOWLES Subs not used: RGK Daniel PASSARELLI, 13 Rocco PIZZATA Yellow Cards: Colwell 29’, Furfaro 36’, De Leo 40’, Theodosiades 88’
Perth Glory: GK Jackson LEE, 2 Luca BODNAR, 3 Walter SCOTT, 4 Riley WARLAND (15 Daniel WALSH 69’), 5 Ollie ANNIS, 6 Callum TIMMINS, 7 Chok DAU, 8 Jake BRIMMER (13 Daniel STYNES 57’), 9 Joseph KNOWLES, 10 Henry HORE, 11 Yacoub MUSTAFA. Subs not used: 12 Jack LEECH, 14 Michael DOMFEH, 16 Michael MCDOUGALL Yellow Cards: Bodnar 54’
CHAMPIONS OFF TO A WINNING START
Bayswater City survived a second-half scare to defeat a hard working Balcatta 4-2 in round one of the NPLWA season at Frank Drago Reserve on Sunday afternoon. The 2017 champions were strolling early with Luka Ninkovic and Jason Mirco giving them a handy lead at the break. Todd Howarth added a third early in the second half and it looked game over, but Balcatta hadn’t read the script, and goals to Adriano Jelenovic Anton de Francesch had them back in the game.
But they had defender Jon Corness sent off with four minutes remaining and despite pressing late it was the home side who wrapped up the points, with substitute Tristan Colli scoring in stoppage time. "The first game of the season is always difficult, and we've seen that with the results throughout the league in the first round so I'm very pleased with the win today,” City Coach Chris Coyne said. “I'll take the three points today but I won't let that polish over the performance because we weren't at our best today. I know it's still early on but I do want to see an improvement from the boys and we'll be working hard during the week to make sure we see it."
It was Bayswater who opened the better and they were ahead on six minutes. A low cross from Mirco found Ninkovic, who poked the ball past Domenico Savoldelli from close range. Balcatta went close to levelling on 24 minutes. Skipper Calum O’Connell wasn’t closed down and his shot from the edge of the box crashed off the cross-bar and away to safety. That missed opportunity came back to haunt the visitors with Bayswater doubling their lead five minutes later. Former Armadale midfielder Jake Sardelic picked out Micro at the back-post, who finished well from a tight angle. The game looked over eight minutes into the second half when Bayswater added a third, Howarth’s free kick gave Savoldelli no chance.
They should have killed the game off on the hour Gustavo Giron-Marulanda raced clear, rounded Savoldelli, but a defender got with a last-ditch tackle to deny him. Balcatta pulled one back with 20 minutes remaining, Jelenovic free kick curled into the top corner of the net. Then on 82 minutes they added a second, Jelenovic stole the ball off a defender, before playing in De Francesch who finished via the post. It was game on but four minutes later Balcatta were reduced to ten men when Corness was showed a second yellow card by referee Brendan Skinner and sent off. Bayswater sealed the points in the fourth minute of stoppage time, substitute Colli scored to win it.
Bayswater City: GK Devon SPENCE, 4 Arron MAPLESTONE, 6 Todd HOWARTH, 8 Paul MCCARTHY, 9 Gustavo Giron MARULANDA, 10 Jason MIRCO, 13 Trent KAY (C), 17 Gian ALBANO (21 Riley VAN DIEKEN 67'), 18 Brent GRIFFITHS (23 Andrija JUKIC 90'), 19 Luka NINKOVIC (14 Tristan COLLI 76'), 24 Jake SARDELIC - Subs not used: RGK Dejan ALEKSIC, 22 Luke Salmon
Balcatta: GK Domenico SAVOLDELLI, 2 Joseph MARINO, 3 Hayden STEVENS, 4 Calum O’CONNELL (C), 8 Carmelo GIUFFRE, 10 Jonathan CORNESS, 11 Renee ALBA, 14 Vasco DA SILVA (17 Brody KENNEDY 63'), 15.- Adriano JELENOVIC, 20. Shubham MOKALA (Scott NEWLAND 72'), 23. Mathew MCROBERTS-OLANSO (12. Anton DE FRANCESCH 55') Substitutes not used: 6. Kris GATE, 25. Kyle MCDONALD - Red Cards: Corness 86
EX-GLORY CAPTAIN GRIFFITHS REVEALS WHY THE A-LEAGUE HAS STAGNATED
Former A-League midfielder Rostyn Griffiths believes the malaise that has gripped the competition this season is down to the conflict with the Football Federation Australia over the governance of football. Ratings and crowds for the A-League have declined and negotiations between FFA and warring groups have dragged on and on.
Griffiths, now playing in Uzbekistan with Pakhtakor Tashkent, captained Perth Glory last season and has previously had spells with Adelaide United, North Queensland Fury and Central Coast Mariners. He admits he has tried to follow the A-League from afar but has been turned off. “I’ve tried to watch it as much as possible but to be completely honest it’s getting on my nerves a bit,” Griffiths said.
“With national team qualifying for the World Cup and the Matildas absolutely flying, we’re producing some nice players but the A-League has sort of gone backwards. It’s disappointing. It’s turned me off this season and the whole issue with the FFA and the governance, it’s absolutely killed this season.”
“Most of the A-League players I’ve spoken to are saying the same thing and it’s sort of vindicated my decision not to be there at the moment, which is disappointing because I wish it was where I wanted it to be. It’s not where it needs to be.”
Griffiths believes the A-League is lacking direction, and that is affecting both the clubs and players. “If I’m the owner of an A-League club and I don’t know what direction the game is going in, am I going to throw money at it and try and grow my team?” he said.
“Probably not. I’m probably going to wait to see what happens and then make my decision from there. I think that’s what happened across the board. Teams have gone in half-hearted because they’re not quite sure what’s happening with the direction of the league. It’s fair enough.”
“At the end of the day when you throw money in as an owner you want to see some reward for it - some direction that the league’s going in. It hasn’t happened this season so it’s probably stagnated the league in general. You’re seeing more and more players going overseas, probably who didn’t want to go overseas, but left because there was nothing else.”
Griffiths, 30, started his career at ECU Joondalup before embarking on a professional career that includeed time in England, Scotland, China and the Netherlands. He believes the A-League salary cap needs to be scrapped, expansion needs to happen and squad sizes should be expanded. “For me, the salary cap’s done now,” he said.
“It did what it needed to do in the initial stages but it’s gone to the point where it’s going to hold the league back, in my opinion. Players are going to go to countries in Asia that they don’t need to to get that money. That’s the reality where they have to go to less-superior countries, or less-superior leagues, and you can earn three or four times the amount you would in the A-League.”
“That needs to go and I think expansion of teams is a huge thing, but also squad sizes have to get bigger. Looking at Perth Glory for example, you’ve got players in the youth team coming through who are decent players. Jack Iredale has gone over to Scotland and done well, got some game time. But he’s a prime candidate of a player who, if the squad size was bigger, the club would keep him around and give him a bit of cash.”
“Maybe not in the starting eleven but in the squad and ready to go if called upon. But when you’ve only got 23 players, and only two in each position really, people like Jack, they don’t need them because they don’t have a spot for them. So you lose good talent. There’s so much talent around Perth, generally, but it’s got nowhere to go. Before you know it they’re playing back in the state league.”
DE SILVA BULLET FELLS PHOENIX
A Daniel De Silva goal snapped an eleven-game winless streak for Central Mariners as they edged Wellington Phoenix 1-0 last night. In the battle of the low-scoring cellar-dwellers both sides went into the contest equal on points and lacking quality in front of goal.
Central Coast had the ball in the area 22 times in the first half but had to wait until the 46th minute to break the deadlock. Andrew Hoole weaved his way into the danger zone, lifted the ball towards De Silva who, ghosting in from deep, slid it past goalkeeper Tando Velaphi for the only goal of the game.
"In a lot of our games we've gone ahead but not been able to hold on for whatever reason," De Silva told Fox Sports post-match. "I think tonight we fought extra hard down to the last minute and we were able to hang onto those three points."
"I know runs from deep are hard to defend, and I started a little bit deep and I know Hooley's got that in his locker to whip a nice ball in. It was a quality ball and I was happy just to stretch and get a toe in there and of course get the goal as well."
De Silva had a great chance to net a brace in the 94th minute but couldn't get the right swerve on the ball. "It's been a tough season for us but for sure these these three points are really important for us and hopefully we'll kick on for the rest of the season," he added.
"A lot of games we've gone ahead and if we'd been able to hold on we wouldn't be at the boytom we'd be somewhere in the (top) six. Unfortunately that's football, that's how it's been and we'll just try and finish strong in these last games and there's nothing we can do about the previous games."
The former Roda JC player admitted it's the first time in his professional career that he's played 20 games in a season. "I played a fair few games in Holland but not like this, week in and week out," the 20-year old said. "So yeah it's been an important season for me and I'm enjoying playing football."
ALL SQUARE IN NORTHERN DERBY
It ended all square between local rivals ECU Joondalup and Sorrento after a 1-1 draw at the ECU Joondalup Football Stadium on Saturday afternoon. New signing Lukas De Lima gave the hosts the lead on 23 minutes, but Scott Witschge levelled on the hour. Both sides had good chances to win it, but the home fans were left fuming when a late penalty claim was turned down by referee Michal Jasinski. “We couldn’t believe one it wasn’t given, and two Daryl (Nicol) as shown a card for simulation,” a disappointed ECU assistant Coach David Tough said. “I thought we did enough to win it today, and the lads played well in patches, but we didn’t take our chances. We will look for an improvement at Floreat next week.”
The Jacks were on top early and Nicol went close after only four minutes, the skipper’s shot flew just wide of the target. Sorrento were struggling to break down a tight ECU defender, but as the game opened up both sides had good chances. Alex Morgan was given far too much room on the edge of the box and his shot on the turn was well saved by Johnny Perkins. Moments later Gordon Smith went close, but his shot was straight at Sorrento custodian James Morgan. But on 23 minutes the home side hit the front. De Lima pounced after a Brad McDonald was caught in possession, and he raced into goal and finished low past James Morgan, much to the delight of the home faithful.
Sorrento almost hit back Witschge’s free kick crashed off the post, before Nicol hit the side netting. The home side almost added a second in first half stoppage time, a dangerous low cross into the area was deflected just wide by Sorrento defender Steven McDonald, as he tried to clear it.
But after the break Sorrento lifted and pressed ECU, and their good start was rewarded with the equaliser on the hour. Witschge was picked out on the right of the penalty area, he cut inside his marker and his shot flew past Perkins and into the corner of the net. Both sides pressed for the winner, but clear cut chances were few and far between, but the home fans were left incensed after a penalty claim was turned down seven minutes from time.
Nicol raced into the area and was brought down by Sorrento defender Daryl Platten, and the home side were convinced it was a penalty, but to bewilderment of the home supporters referee Michal Jasinski booked the Scotsman for simulation. The home side were well on top and had one final chance to win in stoppage time. Smith picked out Nicol on the edge of the area, but his shot was well saved by James Morgan.
ECU Joondalup: GK Johnny PERKINS, 3 Ross MILLARD (7 Cameron Murray 66’), 4 Steve MCGARRY, 5 Adam TONG, 6 John WHITMORE, 8 Lukas DE LIMA (13 Tommy AMPLHETT 60’), 9 Daryl NICOL, 10 Gordon SMITH, 11 Andy HIGGINS, 19 Cian HIRRELL (2 Jack Jones 60’), 15 Shane CASSIDY – Subs not used: RGK Jack NUNN, 16 Declan HUGHES
Sorrento: GK James MORGAN, 6 Daryl PLATTAN, 7 Alex MORGAN (22 Danny JONES 88’) 8 Ryan PEARSON, 11 Tim HILL, 13 Steve McDONALD, 14 Scott WITSCHGE, 17 Reece VITIGLIA, 18 Jordan BROWN, 19 Jack SLATER, 20 BRAD McDONALD - Subs not used: RGK Anastasis FARSALEAS, 4 Shaun KILKELLY, 26 Joel PROUT, 27 Jaxon TAMATA
TEN MAN COCKERELS BEAT SUBIACO
Cockburn City started their NPLWA 2018 season with a 2-1 victory over Subiaco AFC on Saturday evening at Dalmatinac Park. Daniel Robinson gave the Cockerels the lead in first half stoppage time, but they were reduced to ten men when Daniel Santich was sent off on 67 minutes. But four minutes later Luccas Mello doubled their advantage, and despite David Perich pulling one back for Subiaco, Cockburn hung on for the points. “I thought we were really dominant and especially in the first half," Cockburn City Coach Scott Miller said. “Their keeper was outstanding tonight and made some great saves, but we showed a lot of character when we went to ten men to hold on for the win.”
It was a tight first half with both sides creating half chances, but it was the home side who snatched the lead in the first minute of first half stoppage time. A quick counter attack ended with striker Julian Teles, he rounded his marker and cut the ball back to Robinson who had an easy finish. Subiaco pressed after the break and were back in the game on 67 minutes when Santich was sent off by Julian Serra after receiving his second yellow card. But despite being a man down it was Cockburn who doubled their lead four minutes later. Mello’s free kick from 25 yards flew into the top corner of the net giving Ryan Montgomery no chance.
It was a bitter blow for Montgomery, who had produced a number of fine saves to thwart the home side, but Subiaco did find a way back in the game four minutes from time, Perich finishing well. Subiaco pressed late looking for the equaliser and they almost found it in stoppage time, Alex Randell’s low shot was well saved by keeper Ryan Barker. Subiaco player-coach Ian McMurray said his side just wasn’t good enough. “We didn’t keep the ball well and we were very flat," he said. “The first game is out of the way now and we’re just focusing on next week. We got into some good areas but really just ran out of ideas.”
Cockburn City: GK Ryan BARKER, 4 Euen GRANT, 5 Keiron STALLARD (2 Chris THACKRAY 45’), 6 Reuben TRISTAO, 7 Luccas Mello (12. Ryan PRATT 84’), 8 Cameron EDWARDS, 9 Julian TELES (19 Anthony SKORICH 79’), 15 Daniel SANTICH, 16. Daniel ROBINSON, 17 Jesse LAZZARO, 18 Aden Da Luz – Subs not used: RGK Luke RADONICH - Red cards: SANTICH 67
Subiaco: GK Ryan MONTGOMERY 4 Alex RANDELL, 6 Jackson DONGRAY, 9 Daniel PEARCE (8 Joshua BOOYSEN 67), 10 Asher NELSON, 11 Robert HARDING (15 Albert LUWI 65’) 12 Nathan SMITH, 14 Ross JARMAN (19 Ian MCMURRAY 75’), 16 Steve PURTON, 17 Alex CASTIELLO, 18 David PERICH - Subs not used: 13 Fanuel DAWIT, 21 Teophile BROWN
NINE MAN ARMADALE WIN OPENER
Armadale have opened their new season with a 3-0 win against Joondalup United at Alfred Skeet Reserve on Saturday evening. Second half goals to Chris Jackson Michael Rizidis and Billy Quinncroft won it for John O’Reilly’s side. The gloss was taken off the win late when Quinncroft and Rizidis were sent off, but the damage had been done. O’Reilly was happy with the win. “The first half was a bit scrappy,” he said. “But early in the second half we saw a few opportunities that we could exploit and we scored so overall I think we did well.”
It was a game of very few chances in the first half, but it was the visitors who did create the best, but Armadale keeper Sam Hutchings was in fine form, making a number of fine saves. But after the break it was the home side who took control. They were ahead five minutes in, Jackson pouncing on a defensive error to race clear and finishing past James Bosdet. It was 2-0 fifteen minutes later, new signing Rizidis firing home after Bosdet had saved Jackson’s shot. Moments later it was 3-0, Quinncroft lost his marker to fire home, and the Armadale faithful were in full voice.
But Quinncroft was sent off by referee Steven Gregory on 75 minute with a straight red card, and things went from bad to worse for Armadale, with Jackson sent off eight minutes later, after receiving a second yellow card. Armadale’s defence held strong in the later stages and they managed to keep the clean sheet. United coach Nick Jennings was disappointed in his side’s performance. ”It came down to our defensive errors in the final third and not capitalising on our opportunities in the attacking third,” he said.
Armadale: GK Sam HUTCHINGS, 2 Joshua KUSER, 3 Dylan DA SILVA, 4 Nathan COSTELLO, 5 David ANNALL, 6 Kevin CASTLE, 7 Charlie KENNA, 9 Billy QUINNCROFT, 10 Chris JACKSON, 11 Michael RIZIDIES, 14 Jonathan BOGONI, 19 Alex BOND, 22 Charlie SIMPSON - Subs not used: RGK Struan HERD - Red cards: QUINNCROFT 75, JACKSON 78
Joondalup United: GK James BOSDET, 2 John CHALMERS, 3 Fraser GARNAUT, 4 Danny O’SHEA, 5 Joel LEDSHAM, 6 Sam WYNNE, 7 Matthew SPARROW, 8 Jay MARSDEN, 9 Alex WILD, 10 Elliot TATTERSALL, 11 Tony TAYLOR, 15 Callum STOCKS, 17 Luke SERRA, 19 Adam BUCKLEY, 23 Jake BENSON-COOPER - Subs not used: RGK Luke GREEN
HINA EARNS ATHENA A POINT
A goal ten minutes from time from Floreat Athena new signing Hamza Hina has given them a 1-1 draw, and spoil Forrestfield United’s historic first NPLWA game at the Wildlife Safari Stadium, at Hartfield Park on Friday evening. The home side good start was rewarded with the lead five minutes into the second half with Hansani Sinclair finishing clinically. They had chances to increase their lead, but failed to convert and Floreat hit back with Hina finishing after Forrestfield failed to clear a cross. Floreat defender Chris Saldaris was sent off two minutes later, after he received a second yellow card from referee Stuart Muldoon, but they hung on for a point.
“Yes disappointed we couldn’t hold on to the end for the three points, but the boys showed tonight they are up for the fight in the NPL and there is positive signs going forward,” Floreat defender Scott Barker said. “The pre-season games haven’t really gone to plan, but we spoke before the game about hitting the ground running and I thought we did tonight.”
The grandstand was packed at kick off and it was the home side who opened the brighter and skipper Liam Merigan’s shot from the edge of the box flashed over the top early. Floreat, who were coming off winning the NPLWA Night Series Final last week, hit back with Phil Arnold finding Keylun Pollard, but the youngsters shot didn’t trouble Forrestfield keeper Luke Martino. The home side were threatening, with Sinclair a constant threat down the right, and Rhys Loxley down the left.
Forrestfield went close again on the quarter hour, Callum Dobbs found the overlapping Loxley on the left, his deep cross was headed just wide by Jordan Hart at the back post. There were chances at both ends as the game opened up. First Merigan found space on the edge of the box, but his shot flew wide of the target. Before Calvin Whitney’s free kick was headed goalwards by Dennis Galan, but Martino saved. Forrestfield went close again just before half time, Loxley raced down the left, cut inside his marker but his shot flashed inches past the far post.
The home side were on the front foot after half time, Tom Southgate raced forward, but his shot was straight at Jason Saldaris. The Floreat keeper was working overtime and he had to be alert to deny Hart, before producing a good low save to thwart the same player again moments later. But the home sides’ good start to the half was rewarded with the opener on 50 minutes, Sinclair racing clear and finishing clinically past the keeper, to send the home faithful into raptures.
Floreat went close to the equaliser sixty seconds later, Arnold nipped in behind a static Forrestfield defence, but he blazed wide. The home side went looking for a second and Hart and Merigan combined on the edge of the box, but the skipper couldn’t find the target. It looked like Forrestfield were going to record a famous victory, but ten minutes from time Floreat spoilt their party by leveling. Whitney’s ball into the box wasn’t dealt with by Forrestfield, and Hina, who was making his debut after signing from Inglewood United in midweek, finished well.
The action wasn’t over and two minutes later defender Chris Saldaris was sent off, and Forrestfield went in search of the winner. A quick free kick by Mitch Crocker caught Floreat napping, sending Thomas Jebb into the box, his shot looked like it the arm of the Floreat defender but the referee, after taking to his assistant waved away their strong penalty claims. They had one last opportunity to win in stoppage time, Crocker wasn’t closed down and his long-range shot flew over the top.
Forrestfield United: GK Luke MARTINO, 2 Tom SOUTHGATE, 4 Mark BARNETT (8 Mitchell CROCKER 70’), 5 Scott BARKER, 9 Hasani SINCLAIR, 10 Jordan HART (7 Callum ROBERTS 66’), 11 Liam MERIGAN (C), 12 Callum DOBBS, 16 Thomas JEBB, 17 Jamie DUNCAN (57’)15 Josh APPLEBY, 23 Rhys LOXLEY - Subs not used: RGK Ben PARRY, 14 Ben ROGERS
Floreat Athena: GK Jason SALDARIS, 4 Andrew SCALDAFERRO, 5 Marco SANTA LUCIA, 6 Jesse FULLER, 8 Keylun POLLARD (2 Juma AWAKA 73’), 9 Carlo COELHO (20 Joe TWEATS 63’), 10 Calvin WHITNEY, 11 Dennis GALAN, 15 Chris SALDARIS, 18 Phil ARNOLD (13 Liam HUDSON 86’), 33 Hamza HINA - Subs not used: RGK Jordan BARBAS, 12 Ethan KERRIDGE - Red Card: Chris Saldaris 82’
LIONS LEAVE THE WOOD WITH A POINT
Stirling Lions have let the lead slip twice to draw 2-2 with Inglewood United in an entertain clash at the Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium. Robert Petkov gave the visitors a perfect start scoring after only three minutes, and the home side were reduced to ten men when new defender Scott Robertson was sent off just before half time. But two minutes after the break new English import Ellis Healing levelled. The Lions regain the lead on 69 minutes, with Alex Tanevski scoring, but Inglewood earned a point four minutes later with David Cyrus scoring.
Stirling Lions new coach Keegan Ashley felt his team should have taken home the points. “I’m disappointed, to a degree,” he said. “But you know, first game, reasonably happy with the result. I think we stopped a little, for the first 20 in the second half. But then when we got going again, we created enough chances to win the game, so overall I really can't fault the boys all that much."
The visitors were ahead early, Petkov forced his way into the penalty area and beat Alex Dunn. They should have doubled their lead, with Tanevski and David Micevski going close, and the home side started to get a foot hold in the game. There first real chance came on the half hour, Robertson found himself unmarked at the back post, but he failed to keep his shot down firing high and wide from close range. Then just before half time, Tanevski went close to a second for the Lions, but with the goal at his mercy he fired wide of the target. But as the players left the pitch at half time referee Tom Glavovic showed a straight red card to Robertson.
Despite being a man down Inglewood came out strong after the break and Healing levelled with a stunning free kick two minutes in. But the Lions were producing the better chances, David Molinari shot cannoned of the cross-bar on 55 minute, and five minutes later, his free kick was saved by Dunn. The Inglewood custodian was keeping his side in the game and he produced another good save to deny Micevski on 67 minutes.
But he could do little two minutes late when Tanevski restored the Lions lead. The former Perth Glory youth striker went on a great solo run, muscling his way past some static defending, before finishing clinically past Dunn. But four minutes later the home side restored parity. Cyrus lost his marker at the near post to head home Healings delivery powerfully past Lance Alavakis. Both teams had late chances to win it, but had to settle for a point apiece.
Inglewood United: GK Alex DUNN, 2 Alex ISHIDA-LIVINGS, 3 David CYRUS, 5 Scott ROBERTSON 11 Ellis HEALING, 14 Hanafi GHAZALI, 8.Jason BARRERA, 7.Kenny KEOGH (C) 4.Scott BLACKMORE, , 19.Steve BURTON, 10.Ash ROSINDALE, 15 Brian FARRELL, 6 Miki VUJACIC, 17 Rikki SMITH, 20. Michael COHEN (GK) 23.Brian WOODALL - Red Cards: Robertson 45+2
Stirling Lions: GK Lance ALAVAKIS, 15. Abu DULLEH, 4. Alex SULESKI, 11.Alex TANEVSKI, 18.Ben CAMPBELL, 3.Darren O RIORDAN (C), 2.David MOLINARI, 10.David MICEVSKI, 5.Liam HENDERSON, 12.Matthew CHERRIE, 9.Robert PETKOV, 3.David FILIPPOU, 6.Dhhors CHOL, 20.Pasquale GIOFFRE (GK), 19.Zane CASELLA, 17.Robbie McNEILL
LOWE DEFIANT AS GLORY SEEK FINALS FAIRYTALE
Seven games left and each one is a must-win for Perth Glory if they are to have any chance of making this season’s A-League finals. That’s the reality facing coach Kenny Lowe as he prepares to face Melbourne City in tomorrow night’s clash at Perth Oval.
Eighth-placed Glory are seven points out of the top six and while Lowe admits he is fast running out of games, he is still confident the side can still make the finals. “There are seven cup finals left,” Lowe said. “It’s dead easy — win the next seven and I get manager of the month. We’ve gone six or seven games on a roll in every single season that I’ve been here so there is no reason why we can’t do it again.”
“We’ve got the players to do it, the firepower to do it. We are probably running out of games but wins change mindsets. There is a desire. There is a hunger to win the next game. If that happens then you go to the next one with renewed confidence and if the next one happens all of a sudden you’ve got momentum.”
“We are performing in games, we are in games, we should be getting something out of the games. Let’s just have a bit of luck. I’m more than content about the way I’m working. There are circumstances surrounding everything. That’s why Tony (Sage) is wholeheartedly supporting me ... that gives me a lot of belief in myself.”
Lowe will be without without winger Chris Harold and midfielder Brandon Wilson who have quad injuries. Defender Shane Lowry is suspended after collecting his fifth yellow card in the loss to Wellington Phoenix. Lowry will be replaced by Dino Djulbic while striker Adam Taggart (hamstring) is set to return. He could be joined on the bench by teenage defender Walter Scott.
INTO THE LOOKING GLASS: THE NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUE SEASON-WA PREVIEW
The NPL-WA season kicks off this weekend, with fourteen teams once again in the competition. Reigning State champions Bayswater City are looking to make it back to back titles, however they will be strongly challenged by Perth and recent Night Series winners Floreat Athena. A host of clubs will be waiting in the wings if Bayswater, Perth or Athena slip up, with Inglewood United, ECU Joondalup and Sorrento looking good to challenge for the title.
The battle at the other end of the table is likely to be hard fought, with three clubs being relegated. It is expected that newcomers Forrestfield United, Perth Glory, Armadale and Balcatta will be fighting it out to avoid the bottom three.
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 fourteen clubs, and are joined by Blayne Treadgold from the "The Far Post Perth" and Eamon Duffy, host of "Let's talk Football", in offering their thoughts on how season 2018 will pan out...
NPL-WA ROUND ONE PREVIEW
The 2018 NPLWA season kicks off this weekend, with split over the weekend. It all starts on Friday night, and the Footballwa.net ‘Match of the Round takes us to the Wildlife Safari Stadium at Hartfield Park where newly-promoted Forrestfield United entertain Floreat Athena. (8pm) It’s a huge day for Rod Banjac’s side, with them playing their first game in the top flight of WA football since 1986. Defender Mark Barnett said everyone at the club are buzzing, and although they go into Friday’s clash as underdogs, he knows the players are relishing the opportunity to get their season off on a high in front of their passionate supports.
“The club is in a fantastic position at the moment, and all the hard work in the off season by all the guys behind the scenes and on the committee to make this happen and run as professional as it has been it takes big characters to do so here in WA football so a massive hats off to them, led by our super motivated president Andy Osbourne,” he said. “It’s really down to us players now to make the difference. It will be a massive year on the pitch and a challenge everyone’s looking forward to. We are very lucky to have our first game of the season at home. It’s always a massive turn out at the Wildlife Safari Stadium and it’s just going to be turned up a notch when the well-respected Floreat Athena turn up to rustle a few feathers. Attacking football is our brand and we will do everything to bring that to the table on Friday night.” Barnett knows the quality Floreat have in their side, but he said it’s who wants it more on the night. “There’s no doubt Floreat are the favourite this season, with a very impressive squad,” he said. “For us every game will be a new challenge and everyone is very excited to take part in what will be a fantastic journey for Forrestfield United.
Floreat defender Dennis Galan said the Night Series Final win was a perfect start to their season, but the hard work starts on Friday with a trip to Forrestfield. “It was a good result for the boys, but Subiaco made it very difficult for us from the start and pressed us which caught us a little by surprise, so took us a while to adjust and start playing our type of football,” he said. “But credit to the boys, we held on, Jason pulled some great saves for us to keep us in the game and when we created chances, we took them. It was a very hard battle but proud of the boys’ efforts and glad we got the result at the end.” Galan said the players are looking forward to the new season, but is well aware any team in the NPL can beat each other, and if you don’t turn up on the night you will get rolled, but he said new Coach Howard Tweats has hammered that home all week. “It's always nice to start the season with a bit of silverware, it gives us good momentum and confidence going into the season,” he said. “However, that's done and gone now, we have to be fully focused every game as we know it's a long season and there is no easy teams in this league. Howard has drilled this into us, so now we are just looking forward to the season and hopefully we can get some more success along the way.” The former Stirling Lions defender is expecting a tough game on Friday, and he knows the home side will be up for it in their first game in the NPL, but he said they are ready for the challenge. “Forrestfield are the new boys on the block, so I'm sure they will be up for it and want to prove to everyone that they deserve to be in the NPL, especially for the first game to be at their home ground they will want to make it their fortress,” Galan said. “We played them in the night series and they're a very attacking minded team, so should be a good entertaining game of football, but we look forward to the game and hopefully we can continue our winning streak into the season.” Referee - Stuart Muldoon
Also on Friday evening Inglewood United host Stirling Lions at the Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium (7pm) The Lions have a new coach at the helm with Keegan Ashley taking over from Rob Milevski who stood down at the end of last season. He has added some steel to the side signing Scottish duo, former Hearts and Falkirk defender Liam Henderson and former Livingstone midfielder Dean Cummings, and they have had the wood on the home side in recent seasons and they will be hoping it continues on Friday. Inglewood were pipped for the title last season on the final day and new Captain Kenny Keogh said it’s in the past they move on and are ready for another big season. ‘I’m very much looking forward to the challenge, it is exciting to be leading a great bunch of lads and we are definitely looking forward to starting the year with a good performance,” he said. “Friday night games are usually the best and playing at home makes it a lot more enjoyable, but we know Stirling are a good side so we have to be aware of their direct approach.” Keogh said it’s an important game as they have struggled in recent games against the Lions, but it’s important to start the season with a win and a good performance. “It’s the season opener and no matter who we play we want to win,” he explained. “We have a lot prove to ourselves as it's been very disappointing the last few results against Stirling, but we hope to change that on Friday.” Referee - Tom Glavovic
On Saturday afternoon there is the Northern Derby when ECU Joondalup host Sorrento at the ECU Football Stadium (3pm) Sorrento had a good Night Series and Jamie Harnwell goes into his fifth season as head coach at the Gulls, and he will be looking for a repeat of last season, when they did the double against their neighbours. Joondalup winger Daryl Nicol said it’s been a tough pre-season, but has been happy the way the new players have settled in at the Campus. “It’s been the longest pre-season known to man, but the team is looking very fit and the boys are just desperate to get going,” he said. “I think this is the strongest squad we’ve had since I’ve been at the club, and the new lads have settled in really well and we seem to have everybody fit and available for the start of the season.” Nicol, who headed to India for a trial in the off-season, said it’s always a tough game against Sorrento and it’s great to get them in the season opener. “I’m delighted with the way the fixtures have been drawn, it means we will have no issues getting fired up for what will be one of the toughest games of the season against our neighbours,” he said. “We know we have to get off to a good start this year and to win a local derby in the first game would give everyone a huge lift.” Referee - Michal Jasinski
Armadale have home ground advantage on Saturday evening when they entertain Joondalup United at Alfred Skeet Reserve. (7pm) The Reds didn’t have a good home record last season, and John O’Reilly will want to change that, and a repeat of the final game of last season (a 2-1 win) would be nice. Joondalup slipped away last season to miss the Finals and there has been a number of players leave the club, but Coach Nick Jennings said they will be up for the challenge. “We have had a big turnover in a playing personnel during the off season, but I believe the blend of youth and experience we have assembled will help us avoid a second season syndrome,” he said. “We are aiming to cause a few shocks along the way and finish where I believe we should of last year in the top half of the table. I’m also aware everybody is tipping Joondalup United to go down, but this small club loves proving our doubters wrong. We may still not have our own ground and not have the budget of many clubs but myself, my coaching staff and this talented bunch of players are determined to have our best ever season.” Jennings said it’s a tough trip to Armadale, but he is just happy to be playing league football again. “It’s fantastic to finally get the league campaign underway after three months of pre- season training and numerous practice games, so everybody at the club is chopping at the bit and can’t wait for 7pm on Saturday night,” he said. “I’m sure like ourselves Armadale are looking at the game as one they need to take three points so it will be a fiercely fought contest with neither team taking a backward step and hopefully we make the long journey home with all the points in the bag.” – Referee Steven Gregory
In the final game on Saturday Subiaco make the trip to Dalmatinac Park to take on Cockburn City. (7pm) Cockburn Coach Scott Miller will be looking for a more consistent season from his side, after falling away late to miss the Finals. They had a good run in the Night Series, until Subiaco ended that in the Semi-Final, and Miller will be looking to reverse that on Saturday. Subiaco were the big improvers last season, and their form in the Night Series bodes well for 2018. Midfielder David Perich was outstanding in the Night Series Final and he said they just couldn’t get the job done. “Making it to Subiaco's first final is a great sign for the season and a great reward for all the work the club has put in over the past two years,” he said. “We had a lot of young players who played in the night series, and I think playing four competitive games over the past four weeks, instead of having to play friendlies, will make a difference to how we start the season as well.” Perich said they rode their luck against City in the Night Series, but he said they will be looking for a different result from last season at the same venue. “We definitely had a lot of luck against Cockburn in the semis, but we had a very young team in the semi so I think it will be a different game on Saturday,” he said. We lost to them 3-0 in the first game of last year, so it will be a good game to set a different tone for this year and come home with the points.” – Referee Julian Serra
On Sunday afternoon league Champions Bayswater City open their title defence with the Italian derby against Balcatta at Frank Drago Reserve. (5pm) The home side will be looking to start were they left off last season, as they won their last nine games of the season to take out the title, but an early exit from the Night Series wasn’t what Chris Coyne had hoped for. Balcatta only survived relegation last season, after a final game win against Mandurah City, and new Coach Goran Static is hoping they don’t find themselves in that position again this time around. His views was echoed by skipper Calum O’Connell. “What happened last year wasn't were a club like Balcatta deserved to be, and in 2018 we are hoping to change that,” he explained. “Goran has come in with a refreshing philosophy on how the game should be played and recruited players that will execute that perfectly. I think you'll see a quick paced brand of football from us this year.” O’Connell said it’s a perfect start to the season for the Grindleford Reserve club, playing the Champions, but they will be up for it. “There is no better way to start the season than to play last year’s champions away,” he said. “No one expects us to go there and win, so the pressure is on them. But as a group we are very confident that we will turn a few heads on Sunday and who knows, and maybe cause the first upset of the season.” – Referee Arvin Shanmuganathan
The final game of the round takes place at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday evening, where Perth SC entertain Perth Glory (7pm) Perth lost the top four Finals last season and will be wanting to start the season with a win, against a talented Glory side. They had a good Night Series run, losing on penalties to eventual winners Floreat Athena in the Semi-Final, so I’m sure Ramon Falzon’s side will be searching for a positive start. The Glory ended the Foxtel Y-League with four good performances and defender Ollie Annis said they hope to take that form into the new NPL season. “We showed some great character in the second half of the Y-league season and picked up four great results and stayed unbeaten,” he said. “It brought great confidence within the squad and we hope to start the NPL off on a good result. We have been working hard the last couple of weeks to keep up the positive play.” It’s a huge opening game away to Perth SC, and Annis said the boys will be up for a big game. “The boys are buzzing and we feel as if we are ready for Perth,” he said. “They are always a tough team to beat and well organised, so it will be a tough game, but hopefully we get off the mark with a strong performance and a big win.” – Referee Nico Hoyle
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES, WEEK THREE - PREVIEW
It’s week three of the State League Night Series and Group A kicks off on Friday evening, when Rockingham City take on South West Phoenix at the Securitas Protect Stadium (6.30pm) Phoenix have lost both of their opening games, while Rockingham are undefeated and coming off a big win last week against Kelmscott. Rockingham coach Cameron Lord said last week was a good performance, but he is well aware the quality Phoenix have in their side. “It is really pleasing that what we are working on at training is coming to fruition in the Night Series. We had also talked about the Mandurah game from the week before, and in particular the need to be able to dominate games for 90 minutes instead of just 30 minutes,” he said. “We haven’t read too much into South West Phoenix’s start. We are preparing for a difficult game against a strong opponent. We need to continue to build on all of the positives, and make a few adjustments, from the Kelmscott game.” In the late game on Friday Mandurah City and Kelmscott Roos will be looking for their first wins of the competition when they meet at 8.30pm. The final game of the Group is on Sunday when unbeaten sides Gosnells City and Murdoch University-Melville meet at Walter Padbury Reserve (5pm)
In Group B all the games this weekend are at Wanneroo Reserve. It starts on Friday when Quinns FC and Joondalup City meet in a local derby (6.30pm) Quinns opened their account in the group with a big win against Balga, with striker Craig Tooley bagging a hat-trick. He said it was a good performance from the side and they will need to do better against a good Joondalup side. “It’s always nice to get that first win of the competition, the manager likes to change things up a lot and experiment with his teams in preparation for the new season so to get the three points is a good feeling,” he said. “Who doesn’t love a good local derby, I think it will be a very good match with both teams sitting on three points and both desperate for the win for any hope of pushing for a qualification spot, so I expect goals at both ends so defiantly a match to watch” The other games are on Sunday, also at Wanneroo Reserve. First up Gwelup Croatia take on Balga at 5pm, while the late game sees the top two sides Wanneroo City and Morley Windmills meeting at 7pm.
In Group C Shamrock Rovers and Fremantle City meet at Walter Padbury Reserve on Friday (6.30pm), while Curtin University host Canning City at Edinburgh Oval on Sunday (7pm) Curtin Coach Campbell Ballantyne said he was disappointed not to get anything from the game against Fremantle last week, but said it’s a balancing act in the pre-season “I think last week we had phases where are were definitely on top and was disappointed to get nothing from the game. Night series is a tough one, we need to balance managing the game time of your best players to build into the season,” he said. “We only played one friendly leading in. That was a deliberate decision, the league is only 20 games and if you do three friendlies night series and a cup game before if even starts pre-season can be half the season again. We did however look at our fixtures and have the two Division One teams first then have Shamrock and Canning, a tough start for us and yes of course we want to win.” Western Knights have the bye this week.
In Group D joint leaders Dianella White Eagles and UWA Nedlands meet at Walter Padbury Reserve on Friday evening (8.30pm) The Eagles had the bye last week but they took on NPL side Armadale and Coach Robbie Dunn said it was a good work out “We had a good competitive run out against Armadale where I got to see 20 players in action,” he said. “It allowed me to see where we are at and as it was only our third game in pre-season I was really happy with the way we are coming along.” Dunn is expecting a tough game against a good UWA side “UWA are always very competitive and have one of the best forwards in the league in Alex Kretowicz. They are a tight knit group that work hard for each other and I am expecting nothing less than a very tough game,” he said. “Our lads are up for the challenge from UWA and the way that this group is gelling with the addition of a few new players I think that potentially we could be a better side than last year. I have told them to start being more ruthless and to start finishing sides off when the opportunity arises so this week will be a good test to see how they are tracking.” In the other game in the group Swan United meet Ashfield at Wanneroo Reserve also on Friday (8.30pm) – Olympic Kingsway have the bye this week.
VUJACIC WARY OF THE LIONS (courtesy of inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)
New signing Miki Vujacic believes his knowledge of Stirling Lions inner workings will give Inglewood United the upper hand when the club's meet this evening at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium. The 34-year old midfielder recently ended a five-year association with Stirling by agreeing terms with Inglewood for 2018.
Vujacic will draw upon that deep knowledge he has of his former club when the new National Premier Leagues season kick-offs this evening. "Stirling have a strong, youthful looking team and (coach) Keegan Ashley has them playing a pretty high-tempo brand of football which will take a lot teams by surprise," Vujacic said.
"They lost a lot of experience and quality over the summer but they've been replaced by some really good players who are going to make them a tough team to beat. Against Stirling you can't relax until the final whistle, even when they're down a goal or two they are capable of coming back to get a result."
Vujacic joins Inglewood with a wealth of experience gained through spells at Perth SC, Future Glory, Adelaide City Force, Swan IC, Floreat Athena, Swan United and Stirling. His transition to becoming an Inglewood player has been smooth thanks in no small part to a warm welcome from across the club.
"It's been a great few weeks at Inglewood, the set-up is fantastic and the support from the committee, coaching staff and players has been really professional," he commented. "The players have been great. They're a close knit group who are all hungry for success, which shows in training and on match day."
"I know most of the boys from previous seasons and since the day I came to the club they've made me feel like part of the family. Andy (Keogh) has the team playing a good style of football which really suits my attributes, and hopefully I can repay the faith they've shown in me by helping Inglewood lift a trophy or two this year."
VAN MARWIJK REVEALS JONES IS BACK IN THE SOCCEROOS FRAME
Socceroos boss Bert van Marwijk has expressed his surprise that Brad Jones hasn't been included in Australia's recent squads. Speaking on Dutch television, van Marwijk said he had spoken to the Feyenoord goalkeeper - who has been one of the Eredivisie's standout players over the past two years - about an Australia recall.
"When I speak to someone, he also feels that he has a chance, and I was surprised that he (Jones) had not been with the national team in recent years," van Marwijk said. "I talked to him about that. It was a very pleasant conversation, he was very positive about the national team, I am glad about that."
35-year old Jones has excelled in the twilight of his career since moving to Feyenoord, who he helped win a drought-breaking league title last season. He kept 17 clean sheets last season and a recent shut-out against Heracles took his tally to 11 for the current campaign.
GARCIA URGES AILING GLORY TO HANG TOUGH
Perth Glory need to be mentally tough in their almost impossible mission to make the A-League finals, according to assistant coach Richard Garcia. Saturday’s loss to bottom-of-the-ladder Wellington Phoenix leaves Glory seven points outside the top six with seven rounds remaining. It was Glory’s seventh in their past eight matches.
And their problems were compounded by Diego Castro’s appalling penalty miss that summed up Glory’s season. “He didn’t need to say anything. His demeanour after the game probably painted the best picture,” Garcia said. “He was very disappointed. It will sit with him for the next couple of days, but he’s a great professional and he’ll know how to bounce back from it.”
“It’s about self-pride and how much you care about the side. If you give up now and have the mentality that ‘it’s too hard’ then what does that say about the group? It becomes a mental challenge. We’ve got to keep plugging away. It’s about guys digging deep, looking at themselves and making sure they are doing everything to be the best they can be.”
Castro’s feeble 83rd minute effort from the spot, a gentle chip into the arms of stationary goalkeeper Tando Velaphi, gave the Kiwis a huge boost in a game they had looked unlikely to win after coming under siege in the second half. But an own goal from Shane Lowry from a Roy Krishna cross gifted them victory.
Castro had pulled his side level with a stunning-free kick in the first half to cancel out Sarpeet Singh’s 20m screamer. “That was a game that we should have won and we had plenty of chances,” Garcia said. “They caught us on the sucker punch. They grew an extra leg when the penalty was saved. It’s do or die now, but there is no reason why we can’t start a little run. We have to get rid of the lapses in concentration.”
LAST-CHANCE SALOON FOR GLORY’S FINALS HOPES
Goalkeeper Liam Reddy has five reasons to seek revenge as Perth Glory’s A-League season goes on the line away to Wellington Phoenix tonight. Five times he found himself picking the ball out of the net when Glory were embarrassed 5-2 by the cellar dwellers in their last visit to Westpac Stadium in November.
Glory’s finals aspirations could evaporate if they suffer a similar fate against a side that has won only three games this season. A win for eighth-placed Glory is non-negotiable against a Wellington side thumped 4-0 in each of their previous two games, against Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers.
Only Wellington, with 40 goals, have conceded more than Glory’s 39 and Reddy said the side was well aware of its rocky position. “Everyone knows what’s on the line,” said Reddy, who helped Glory make last seasons’ A-League semi-finals. “It’s in our hands, well and truly in our hands, we’ve got to start winning games.”
“This is a must-win for us if we want to feature in the semi-finals. We need three points. Wellington can be dangerous as we saw when they put five on us when we had an off day. That game was a bit of an anomaly and we don’t want to go through something like that again. We know where their strengths are and we’ve been working on our shape in defence and our transition.”
Coach Kenny Lowe has an almost injury-free squad with only striker Adam Taggart and winger Chris Harold unavailable. “We’ve got 90 per cent of the squad available which has given Kenny a headache in terms of selection which he hasn’t had this year,” said Reddy. “Kenny is finally able to make a decision on what players to play and what players to leave out.”
“There are couple of decisions for him to make but it’s good from a player’s point of view. This season has been one of the worst I have seen in terms of injury. It’s just good knowing that I’ve got a back four in front of me that are fit. There have been times this year when we didn’t know who was going to play pretty much up until match day.”
ATHENA WIN SEVENTH NIGHT SERIES FINAL
Floreat Athena have won their seventh Night Series title, after an entertaining 3-1 win against Subiaco in Saturday’s NPLWA Final at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium. A first half striker from Carlo Coelho gave Floreat the lead at the break, before a stunning strike from youngster Keylun Pollard doubled their advantage. David Perich pulled one back for Subiaco, but Ludovic Boi made sure of the win scoring the third in stoppage time.
New Floreat Coach said they were slow out of the blocks but they got the job done in the end. “We had to defend doggedly early, they came with a different game plan and but us under q lot of pressure,” he said. “If it wasn’t for Jason (Saldaris) in the first half, who made two top draw saves, we could have been battling up hill. Questions were asked tonight, answers we need to find if we are going to have a good run in the NPLWA.”
Floreat skipper Dean Evans won the ‘Robbie Dunn Medal’ as best on ground, said it was a tough battle, but they took their chances when they came. “I thought Subiaco had the better of the first half, but in finals you need one chance to score, and we did that, and it put us in a good position,” he said. “We’re always capable of creating chances, and they got their goal back, which they probably deserved, but we stuck to our game and at the end of the day we got the goals and that’s important in games like this.”
It was Subiaco’s first appearance in the Night Series Final and they opened the brighter, with Perich’s volley on 10 minutes flashing wide of the target, before Albert Iweu fired straight at Jason Saldaris. The Floreat custodian was Man of the Match in the semi-final win and he was in the thick of the action again moments later. Alex Randell’s cross from the right was flicked goalwards by Alex Castiello, but Saldaris produced a great reflex save to deny him.
Floreat began to take control of the game and went close themselves on 21 minutes, Evans sent Pollard racing down the left, he cut inside his marker but his low shot was well saved by Ryan Montgomery. But four minutes later Floreat hit the front. Phil Arnold held the ball up well on the left, and fed Boi, who picked out Coelho who fired into the corner of the net, giving Montgomery no chance. Subiaco almost hit back immediately, Randell’s cross was met sweetly on the volley by Perich, but Saldaris produced another great save to deny him, and at the break Floreat held a narrow lead.
Floreat went close to a second two minutes after the restart, Evans’ free kick crashing off the base of the post, and the former Perth Glory midfielder fired wide moments later. But their early pressure was reward with a second on 58 minutes. Subiaco failed to clear their lines, and Pollard finished superbly from long-range. Despite being two down Subiaco still pushed forward and Randell’s free kick flashed over the top, before Ross Jarman headed over when well placed.
It was a good spell of pressure for Subiaco, and they reduced the margin on 75 minutes. A long ball was flicked on by Ian McMurray and Asher Nelson picked out Perich who finished clinically from the edge of the box. Both sides pressed in a frantic last 15 minutes, Calvin Whitney fired wide for Floreat, before Saldaris saved bravely at the feet of Perich in a goalmouth scramble.
But in stoppage time Floreat made sure of the win, by adding a third. Second half substitute Mehdi Rabei Gholami slipping in Boi, who finished low past Montgomery to seal the win.
Subiaco: GK Ryan MONTGOMERY, 4 Alex RANDELL, 6 Jackson DONGRAY, 10 Asher NELSON, 12 Nathan SMITH, 14 Ross JARMAN, 15 Albert IUWI (11 Robert HARDING 72’), 16 Steven PURTON, 17 Alex CASTIELLO, 18 David PERICH (13 Fannuel DAWIT 86’), 19 Ian MCMURRAY - Subs not used: RGK Theo BROWN, 2 Nathan HARDIE, 3 Cherro KABA BAH
Floreat Athena: GK Jason SALDARIS, 2 Juma AWAKA, 4 Andrew SCALDAFERRO, 6 Jess FULLER, 8 Keylun POLLARD, 9 Carlo COEHLO (13 Jamie STREET 86’), 10 Calvin WHITNEY, 11 Dennis GALAN, 14 Ludovic BOI (20 Joseph TWEATS 95’), 17 Dean EVANS (C), 18 Phil ARNOLD (33 Mehdi Rabei GHOLAMI 79’) - Subs not used: RGK Jordan BARBAS, 12 Ethan KERRIDGE - Referee: Michal Jasinski
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES, WEEK TWO - REVIEW
It was week two of the State League Night Series and in Group ‘A’ Murdoch University Melville continued their good start to the competition after a 3-2 win against South West Phoenix in the early game at Securitas Protect Stadium on Friday evening. They were ahead when Christian Long raced clear from a Dean Thurston through ball, and rounded the keeper to score. But Phoenix levelled just before half time Jayden Prosser on target. But within a minute of the restart Murdoch-Melville regained the lead. Long was clean through and was brought down by Michael Farmer just outside the area, and he was sent off. Mark Lucas hit the resulting free kick low into the bottom corner. With 20 minutes remaining they added a third, Grant Mowatt scoring clinically. The Phoenix through men forward and pulled one back 12 minutes from time Jack Eades on target. But with Phoenix pressing late Eades was sent off four minutes from time. “We were solid first half and although they had a lot of possession, I thought we looked more dangerous,” Murdoch-Melville coach Gavin Brown said. “There were special performances from a lot of the boys, Ryan Tucker, Dean Thurston, Mark Lucas and Grant Mowatt all showed great leadership and it was really rewarding to see two 16 year olds start for the second week - Nemanja Jankovic (Goalkeeper) and Daniel Davey.”
In the late game Rockingham City thrashed Kelmscott Roos 8-0, with Mitch Morrin scoring a hat-trick, Thomas Walsh bagging a brace, with other goals to James Harmer, Ross Staley and Matt Brooks. The final group game was on Saturday evening, with Gosnells City beating Mandurah City 1-0 at Walter Padbury Reserve. The only goal of the game came just before half time, with another superb finish by our new signing Charlie White. He received the ball just outside the box after some great pressure in our final third, he eased past his marker before executing a terrific strike into the top corner. “It was a pleasing team performance after we were forced to make a couple of changes from the South West Phoenix win last week,” assistant Coach Dion Selby said. “Our team was led well by captain Scott Pereira who kept our defence solid and was brilliant at the back, and I thought we controlled long periods of the game and created some great chances. We have a long way to go but it is promising that we are getting the right players in that fit our positive team atmosphere and want to play for Gosnells. We look forward to next Sunday when we take on Murdoch University Melville and we hope to build on our early momentum and continue to improve as a team.”
In Group ‘B’ Morley Windmills and Gwelup Croatia fought out an entertaining 1-1 draw at the Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Friday night. Morley were ahead on 19 minutes, with Ismael Bangura scoring, but Gwelup restored parity, James Sammut on target. Just before half time Gwelup’s David Heagney and Morley’s Mawien Deng were both sent off. Both sides pressed in the second half but they had to settle for a point a piece. On Saturday Quinns and Balga fought out a 10 goal thriller, with Quinns running out 6-4 winners. Quinns went 1-0 up through a great free-kick by Gareth Hamilton, which gave the Balga keeper no chance. Balga equalised within a minute, a through ball found Vlad Naumovski, who shot between the legs of Quinns keeper Joey Smith.
Balga were ahead after with a great shot from Alec Femia, but Quinns hit back and were level on the quarter hour Brandon Buchanan scoring. It was raining goals and Quinns went 3-2 up, a rare defensive mistake from Mile Petkovski let in Craig Tooley to finish. It was 4-2 on the stroke of half time, with an own goal. Balga pulled one back early in the second half, Aaron Farrier finding space in the box to score. However, not long after Quinns scored again, with Tooley making it 5-3. Naumovski gave Balga another life line, making it 5-4, but once again Quinns stayed in control and Tooley added a sixth to complete his hat-trick. Balga ended the game with nine players after Danny Moss and Alen Patarov were both sent off.
In the final game of the group Wanneroo City beat Joondalup City 2-1 at Wanneroo Reserve on Saturday evening. Joondalup went ahead before half time, Jason Rubidge finding the target.
Wanneroo were on the front foot after the break and were level when a mix up between keeper and defender left Dom Brearo Elliot with a simple finish. Wanneroo won it after some clever work from Godfrey Asimwe and young Flynn Nolan from a set piece corner, which saw Flynn brought down in the box by Rubidge, and from the resultant penalty Brearo Elliot made no mistake to seal the win. “It was always going to be difficult to replicate the intensity of the previous week against Gwelup and that was my main concern going in. We also had key players Kye Douglas and Scott Johnston out with minor injuries,” Wanneroo Coach Tim Kantor said. “We started a bit sluggish and conceded a soft goal quite early. Joondalup are a quality physical side and we knew we were in another battle. Jack Hailstones received an accidental head knock and was taken to hospital but thankfully he’s ok. So all in all very pleased for the lads, they are working hard and starting to gel well. But it doesn’t get any easier with another Division One opponent in Windmills next week.”
In Group ‘C’ Western Knights continued their unbeaten start to the competition after a 2-0 win against Canning City at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Friday evening, with goals from Paul Lloyd and Ryan Sardi. In the other game in the group Fremantle City overcame Curtin University 2-1 at Edinburgh Oval. Wade Farmer and Josh Wade were on target for City, while Simone Sichel scored for Curtin. Dilip Masrangi missed a penalty for Curtin. Shamrock Rovers had the bye in Group ‘C’ this week.
In Group ‘D’ Olympic Kingsway opened their account after a 2-0 win against Ashfield at Wanneroo Reserve on Friday evening. It was scoreless at the break, but Kingsway hit the front when a deep cross was turned home by Mella Loding at the back post. They made sure of the points when a quick counter attack from Ryan Francis, sent Jake Cherrie in one-on-one with the keeper to score. In the late game UWA Nedlands first game in the competition ended with a comprehensive 8-2 win against Swan United. UWA took the lead early through new signing Ben Meredith, his header found the top corner from Joe Hayden's set-piece on the left-wing. Swan responded about five minutes later with a near-post header from a corner by James Shamim.
After that it was all UWA, young striker Zeke McPherson netted four in the first-half with some individual brilliance. He capped off a sterling display with a quality first-time volley from 8-yards following a cross from Bryce Conway to make it 5-1 at the break. It was much of the same in the second-half with UWA enjoying all the play and possession. About 10 minutes into the second half Luke Randazzo hit the scoresheet from Ben Meredith's perfectly placed cross from the right-hand-side. Randazzo's shot struck the inside of the near post and nestled into the net. A cheap turnover in the defensive-half saw John Monterosso capitalise and make it 6-2 on the hour. But UWA hit back and Mordecai Junior was played in on goal by Conway with a through-ball into the box, but the winger was brought down by the Swan defender, with Randazzo scoring from the resulting penalty, at the second attempt. Mordecai Junior then made it 8-2 as the substitute curled a fantastic effort from the right-hand-side of the edge of the box with his left foot. Dianella White Eagles had the bye this week.
GLORY PAY THE PANENKA PENALTY
Perth Glory’s poor form continued after a 2-1 defeat against bottom of the table Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium, made it only one win in seven games for Kenny Lowe’s side. Nix youngster Sarpreet Singh opened the scoring early, but the Glory were level at the break with curling Diego Castro free kick. But the Spanish midfielder went from hero to villain, after his attempted Panenka penalty was saved by Tando Velaphi. But second half substitute Roy Krishna late shot was turned into his own net by Shane Lowry, to seal the three points.
Glory dominated the second half and got their just reward after Castro was fouled in the box, but the Spaniard's Panenka penalty was saved by Tando Velaphi as the WA side spurned a golden chance to win the game. “That was a game that we should have won and we had plenty of chances,” Glory assistant Coach Richard Garcia said. “They caught us on the sucker punch. They grew an extra leg when the penalty was saved. “It’s do or die now, but there is no reason why we can’t start a little run. We have to get rid of the lapses in concentration.”
Both were desperate for a good start in the bottom of the table clash, but it was the visitors who were ahead after only three minutes. The teenager was given far too much space and he eased his way to the edge of the box and rifled home and unstoppable shot.
On ten minutes the whole ground stood as one to applaud in tribute to former Glory midfielder Liam Miller who tragically passed away last week, a lovely touch from the Phoenix faithful. Glory custodian Liam Reddy then dealt well with Matthew Ridenton’s free kick, before Shane Lowry's fine block foiled Anrdija Kaludjerovic as the Serbian striker prepared to pull the trigger from close range on the half-hour mark.
Glory were looking dangerous themselves going forward and they were rewarded on 35 minutes with the equaliser. Castro’s free kick from the edge of the box, went in via the post, giving Velaphi no chance and Mitch Nichols let everyone know what he thought. After the break the Glory were well on top and Xavi Torres header from Neil Kilkenny corner flashed narrowly wide.
Moments later, substitute Joel Chianese looked to be in on goal after beating Thomas Doyle, but Velaphi was out quickly to save bravely at his feet. There were chances at both ends as the game opened up, Kaludjerovic was inches away from Krishna’s cross, before Castro sent Chianese in on goal, but his shot was pushed around the post by the Phoenix custodian.
It looked as though Glory's second-half pressure would finally be rewarded with nine minutes left when Galloway was adjudged to have blocked Castro illegally in the box. It looked a harsh decision, but having dusted himself down, the Spaniard stepped up to take the spot-kick, but his dink (Panenka) was easily saved by Velaphi. But things went from bad to worse for the Glory as Phoenix struck at the death to snatch all three points. Michael McGlinchey’s through ball sent Krishna down the left and his shot was diverted into the net by Lowry to give the home side all three points.
NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES, FINAL - PREVIEW
It’s the 2018 NPLWA Night Series Final on Saturday evening with Subiaco and Floreat Athena battling it out at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium (7.00pm) It’s Subiaco first appearance in a Night Series Final, while it’s the eleventh time Floreat have reached the pre-season showcase, winning it on six occasions.
Subiaco have battled their way to Saturday’s big game with three hard fought wins against Balcatta, Joondalup United and a backs to the wall win against Cockburn City in last week’s Semi-Final, and defender Alex Castiello said it’s been a team effort. “We have definitely gained strength in the back four, and the team is defending better as a unit,” he explained. “We are priding ourselves in keeping clean sheets, and winning games from there, so this is something we are looking to achieve through the season.”
It will be Subiaco Coach Ian McMurray’s birthday on Saturday and Castiello said the side are looking to win for him. “Ian has been a great leader for us and has really turned the team around,” he explained. “The boys are looking to give a perfect present, it would be awesome to bring it home for the big man on his birthday.”
Floreat’s route to the Final saw them well beat Inglewood United and Forrestfield United, before a penalty shoot-out win against Perth SC in the Semi-Final. The hero in the Semi-Final was keeper Jason Saldaris, saving three penalties and he said they are on a good run. “This year's night series has been a test for us, we have really just been taking it one game at a time and focusing on us as a team collectively,” he said. “But taking nothing from the squad it's been a great start even though it is pre-season Night Series, but things look positive.”
Saldaris said new Head Coach Howard Tweats has brought a different game plan and the players are enjoying it. “Having Howard at the club is a breath of fresh air and he is well respected around the playing group,” he said. “We've been able to jell and mould together quite well since his arrival, so it'll be interesting what the season brings on.”
The big keeper said Saturday’s game will be another tight affair, but they will be doing all they can to take the trophy home. “This week's final will be a good battle between us and Subiaco, and it’s a final so we will be up for it,” he said. “I know they have been quite tight defensively recently and we have watched some of the games prior to ours so I'll be very interesting game on the weekend.”
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES, WEEK TWO - PREVIEW
It’s Week two of the State League Night Series and in Group A this week, South West Phoenix will be looking to bounce back from last week’s loss against Gosnells City when they take on Murdoch University-Melville at Securitas Protect Stadium on Friday evening. (6.30pm) Murdoch-Melville will be looking to make it two from two, and winning their opening game against Kelmscott. In the late game on Friday Rockingham City take on Kelmscott Roos (8.30pm). Rockingham opened the competition with a draw, and they will be hoping to get their first win in this one.
In the final game of Group A Mandurah City host Gosnells City at Walter Padbury Reserve on Saturday evening (7.00pm) Mandurah fought back to draw 2-1 with Rockingham, and new Coach Alex Grayson said they had a poor start. “It was disappointing to concede so early but overall it was pleasing to get ourselves back into the game,” he said. “We have shown great ability in pre-season to grow into games so I'm hoping a fast start this weekend coming will allow us to finish even stronger.”
Grayson said Gosnells picked up a good win against the Phoenix last week, and is expecting a competitive game. “They (Gosnells) are a big club with a lot to prove this year, so I imagine it will be another competitive game for us,” he said. “Hopefully our preparations this week will leave us in good stead for Saturday.”
In the opening Group B game sees Morley Windmills and Gwelup Croatia do battle at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Friday evening. Morley opened their account with a 6-3 win against Quinns, while a ten man Gwelup were beaten by Wanneroo City. Gwelup striker Gavin Knight said it wasn’t the result they were looking for. “It was a very disappointing result last week, especially being 2-0 down and down to 10 men early,” he explained. “But we showed great character and we got back to 2-2, but let a soft goal in late to lose it.”
Knight said this week’s game is vital, if they are to make the next stage of the competition. “It’s definitely a must win game this week and we know it will be a very tough,” he said. “With Cam Yorke being suspended for the game we will have Bobby Wilson in team to replace him. We have trained well this week, and with Taki arriving he doesn’t want to just take part in night series, he wants to win it, and then go straight in to season full of confidence.” The other Group B games are on Saturday at Wanneroo Reserve. First up Balga and Quinns will be looking to open their account in the Night series when they meet at 5.00pm, while in the late game Wanneroo City and Joondalup City will go in search of back-to-back wins. (7.00pm)
In Group C Western Knights open things up when they meet Canning City at Perth Plasterboard Stadium on Friday evening (6.30pm), and the other game is on Saturday evening at Edinburgh Oval where Curtin University host Fremantle City. (7.00pm) Curtin were well beaten at Nash Field last week, and will be searching for a better performance on home soil. City had the bye last week and striker Alex Robinson said pre-season has been a challenge and they are looking forward to starting their Night Series with a good performance. “Pre-season has been good, the coaches have had a chance to work with the lads and have bought in a lot of new faces,” he said. “We have played several NPL sides and given them a chance to look at a lot of new faces and different combinations. They're still looking for a few key additions in key areas so the process of evaluating players.”
Robinson who was the clubs top goalscorer last season, will miss the game with injury, but he said it will be another game for the coaches to take a look at the new lads. “No doubt the coaches will continue to monitor players this week against Curtin,” he said. “Having torn my MCL earlier in pre-season myself and several others are missing this weekend, it will give other lads a chance to make an impression with places for the season very much still up for grabs.” This week Shamrock Rovers have the bye.
In Group D Olympic Kingsway and Ashfield will be looking for their first wins in the competition when they meet at Wanneroo Reserve on Friday afternoon (6.30pm) In the late game UWA Nedlands enter the completion taking on Swan United (8.30pm). United edged out Kingsway in a five goal thriller in the first round, while UWA had the bye. UWA Coach Michael Janssen said things are ticking along nicely. “Pre-season has gone well so far with the squad doing the hard work and preparation for the Division One League opening game is our focus,” he said. “Our performances are getting better over longer phases of the games. Playing teams like Perth SC, Forrestfield, Cockburn and Armadale were very good tests on different styles of football on a high level. The coming six weeks will be important for us to turn the screws to the right positions. The players are now looking forward to start the Night Series with its special atmosphere.”
Janssen said Friday’s game is another opportunity for his players to press their claims this season, but he has a long list of players who are not available. “Friday night’s game is basically for us another session and pre-season game to test and become better and more competitive in all departments,” he explained. “Swan is definitely keen to add another win for their perfect start, while we have some players missing due to injuries and we have given them another ten days to fully recover. But with Liam Kessel, Mark Trev, Ben Meredith, Ezekiel McPherson and Jack Valentine, and we have signed some players who are up for a statement on Friday. We are looking forward to the game and performing to our best level to launch the Night Series.’ This week Dianella White Eagles have the bye.
VITAL TRIP FOR GLORY TO WELLINGTON
Perth Glory head over the ditch to meet Wellington Phoenix at the Westpac Stadium on Saturday afternoon, knowing three points are a must with their top six hopes fading fast. The last visit to the cake tin in round six was one to forget for Kenny Lowe’s side, hammered 5-2, but he has two big inclusions this week with defender Joseph Mills and midfielder Andreu Guerao coming back into the squad.
Mills feels that the squad will be refreshed and raring to go after a week off. "Having the break gave us time to reflect on what we've done this season and work on some things," the 28-year-old said. “We've still got a third of the season left, so it's like a mini-season within the season and it's time to kick on now and propel ourselves towards the finals. We know what to expect from Wellington having played them twice already and we'll focus on that going in. We've worked really hard in training this week and will be looking to put into practice what we've worked on come game day."
The English defender said they need to start their now-traditional late-season surge immediately. "If we don't start now, two or three games can drift by and we'll be playing catch-up," he warned. “So we'll be looking to hit the ground running and if we can go there [to Wellington] and put in a performance, hopefully the result will follow. We have a lot of home games still to come and as a club we take a lot of pride from being strong at home. So if we can pick up some away points as well, they could prove vital come the end of the season."
Unfortunately Chris Harold has succumbed to a quad strain which is expected to keep him out of action for a couple of weeks, while Adam Taggart is still battling his way back from a hamstring injury. For Phoenix midfielder Michael McGlinchey is poised to make his 200th Hyundai A-League appearance on Saturday, while former Glory 'keeper Tando Velaphi could be handed his debut for the hosts, with another Glory keeper Lewis Italiano omitted from the squad.
Wellington Phoenix squad: GK Keegan SMITH, GK Tando VELAPHI, 3 Scott GALLOWAY, 4 Goran PARACKI, 6 Dylan FOX, 7 Nathan BURNS, 8 Matija LJUJIC, 9 Andrija KALUDJEROVIC, 10 Michael MCGLINCHEY, 14 Alex RUFER, 17 Monty PATTERSON, 18 Sarpreet SINGH, 19 Tom DOYLE, 21 Roy KRISHNA, 22 Andrew DURANTE(c), 23 Matthew RIDENTON, 24 Logan ROGERSON, 26 Liberato CACACE - *two to be omitted*- Ins: DOYLE (returns from injury), RUFER (promoted), KRISHNA (returns from injury), ROGERSON (promoted), Velaphi (promoted) - Outs: 1. Lewis ITALIANO (omitted), 2. Daniel MULLEN (knee), 12.Adam PARKHOUSE (omitted),
Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, GK Nick FEELY, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Marc WARREN, 4 Shane LOWRY, 6 Mitch NICHOLS, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 8 Xavi TORRES, 9 Andy KEOGH (c), 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Joseph MILLS, 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Andreu GUERAO, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 23 Scott NEVILLE, 26 Jacob ITALIANO, 66 Dino DJULBIC, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *two to be omitted* - Ins: MILLS (returns from suspension), GUERAO (returns from injury), BRIMMER (promoted) - Outs: 14.Chris HAROLD (injured)
SAINSBURY SIGNS FOR SWISS GIANT
Socceroo Trent Sainsbury has left the Chinese Super League on loan with one of Switzerland’s biggest clubs. Sainsbury joins Grasshopper Zurich - Switzerland's historically most successful club - on a short-term loan from Jiangsu Suning that will take him through to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Top flight European preparation is likely to be Sainsbury’s principle motivator for the move, where he’ll come up against the likes of Tomi Juric at Luzern. The 26-year old defender is still recovering from a groin injury, which means the move will be vital in returning to full fitness ahead of the tournament.
“Trent is currently still recovering from an operation late last year,” said Grasshopper’s sporting director Mathias Walther. “We aim for a longer term cooperation with him. Trent convinces above all with his duel strength and a good game trigger.”
ROUX SET FOR MILESTONE IN ADELAIDE
He’s set to notch an impressive milestone and defender Storm Roux hopes to celebrate with a much-needed win to help turn Central Coast Mariners’ season around. Roux will make his 100th A-League appearance on Saturday night in the Mariners’ clash against Adelaide United.
It’s a special achievement for the 25-year old, who has matured into a real leader at the club since making his debut against Western Sydney Wanderers at the start of the 2013/14 Season. “I think the first game is definitely a highlight - coming in for that first season after winning the Championship and being in a great team was probably my proudest achievement in my career so far,” Roux said.
“Players like Nick Montgomery who have been here from the start of when I’ve been here, and he’s still involved with the club. He’s a big mentor for me, he’s always been good to me. Other players in the past as well like Hutch (John Hutchinson), our captain, he’s been at the Mariners so long and he’s helped me a lot.”
“I’m 25 now and I’ve grown up at the Mariners in my young career, so I look up to players like that who take the lead. I was very honoured to wear the captain’s armband a couple of times last season – it’s a special feeling when you’ve been at the club for this long. This club has really helped me grow as a player and as a person so I am very honoured to have done that.”
While Saturday’s match will be special for Roux should he get on the pitch against Adelaide, it will be truly memorable if the Mariners can snap their 10-game winless run. After looking like potential top six contenders in December, Paul Okon’s troops now have plenty of work to do if they want to figure in the Finals Series.
“We’ve just got to keep going. We know we’ve needed wins desperately these last few games,” Roux said. “We’re losing games and drawing games that we should be winning, but we’re not getting blown out ... it’s tight games, and we’re always giving ourselves a chance to win the game. We just need to keep the defence nice and tight and hopefully pick up some wins in these last games.”
MATILDAS HEAD WEST FOR THE FIRST TIME
The Westfield Matildas will play their first ever match in Perth next month as they continue their preparations for the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup in Jordan. Perth’s nib Stadium will be the scene of the Westfield Matildas’ farewell friendly against fellow 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup participants Thailand on Monday, 26 March 2018. Tickets to the fixture, which start at $10 for children and $20 for adults, will go on sale tomorrow (Thursday, 15 February 2018) at 9am local time (12pm AEDT). The match will also be shown live on Fox Sports.
The game between the Westfield Matildas, who are currently ranked fourth in the world, and Thailand, 30th, will feature one of Western Australia’s top sporting stars, Samantha Kerr. The striker, who has received a host of accolades for her exploits on the pitch over the past 12 months, joined Westfield Matildas Head Coach Alen Stajcic at nib Stadium on Wednesday as the match was officially announced.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) Chief Executive Officer, David Gallop, said was delighted that the Westfield Matildas would play in Perth before jetting to Jordan. “Over the past 12 months the Westfield Matildas have gone from strength to strength both on and off the pitch,” said Gallop. “Following the team’s triumphant display at the inaugural Tournament of Nations in the United States, our girls have played and performed exceptionally in front of strong crowds in New South Wales and Victoria.”
“Now it’s Western Australia’s turn to see the Westfield Matildas in their backyard. We trust that the football and sporting communities of ‘WA’ will turn out in record numbers to send the squad off to the Asian Cup in style. We thank the Government of Western Australia for its support in making this match happen.”
Westfield Matildas Head Coach, Alen Stajcic, said the friendly will provide a timely tune-up for his team ahead of their 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup assault. “Thailand secured qualification for this year’s AFC Women’s Asian Cup last April after topping their qualification group, and in the last 14 months have played 19 friendly or competitive matches,” Stajcic explained. “There is a concerted effort going into developing Thai football domestically and internationally, so this will be a solid hit out for our squad before we venture to Amman where we will be aiming to win the AFC Women’s Asian Cup for a second time,” he said.
The top five teams at the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup will qualify for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which will be held in France. Prior to March’s friendly in Perth the Westfield Matildas will continue their preparations for the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup at the 2018 Algarve Cup in Portugal. Australia will play Norway, China PR, and hosts Portugal at the invitational tournament.
THREE POINTS A MUST IN WELLINGTON FOR GLORY
Perth Glory’s season is teetering on the edge as they head to New Zealand for Saturday’s night’s must-win encounter with Wellington Phoenix. Coach Kenny Lowe knows his eighth-placed side cannot afford to drop any more points. Glory are already six points behind Western Sydney Wanderers in sixth spot but have five of their last eight games at home.
“Yeah it’s a big game,” Lowe said. “Every game’s important but more so this one because it sets you up. We’ve got a few home games. If we can go there (Wellington) and get three points then you roll into some home games which can carry a bit of momentum with a third of the season left ... There’s still lots to play for, there are lots of twists and turns. A lot of things can happen in a third of a season.”
A-League cellar-dwellers Wellington are coming off successive 4-0 thumpings away to Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers and Lowe was wary of a bounceback at home. “They are probably going through a little bit of a tough time but they are a decent side,” Lowe said. “They are probably a little bit down on their luck, not firing, but well capable of firing.”
Glory will have plenty to prove after the 5-2 loss at Wellington last November, one of only three wins this season by the New Zealand side. Lowe will still be without striker Adam Taggart who has not fully recovered from the hamstring injuries that have wrecked his season. Winger Chris Harold will also moss the trip to Wellington after picking up a quad injury in training.
WILLIAMS: WE STILL FEEL LIKE WE'RE THE BEST
Melbourne Victory defender Rhys Williams is hopeful positive results will create momentum and change the fans’ attitude this season. Victory are in Asian Champions League mode and prepare to travel to China next Tuesday to meet Shanghai SIPG, coming off a 3-3 home draw to K-League Classic outfit Ulsan Hyundai.
Pressure has been mounting on coach Kevin Muscat as the club sits fifth on the A-League table, with fans’ patience wearing thin with the club legend. Williams understands the supporters are frustrated, however, he said he was used to it from his time with Championship side Middlesbrough FC.
“I’m experienced enough to know that a few results changes everything, at the start of the season we went a while without winning, then we won a few on the bounce and things changed,” Williams said. “The fans can feel a bit hard-done-by and that’s football all over the world, not just here, so it’s up to us to turn it around.”
“I’ve loved every minute of it, it’s a great club. To play under Musky is brilliant and to play with these boys is unbelievable. I still feel as though we are the best team in the league and we’re just not performing to our maximum yet, so hopefully that comes soon.”
“We still feel like the season’s not lost. We can still finish as high as possible, go into the finals with a bit of consistency and who knows? If we can play a bit better than normal and play like we did against Ulsan then who knows?”
Williams took confidence from their performance against Ulsan, where Victory fell behind three times, but managed to secure a point. “I thought we played really well, I thought we controlled the game from start to finish,” said the 29-year old, scorer of the equaliser against Ulsan.
“You look at the goals; a free kick, avoidable, another set-piece, again avoidable, and their third goal has taken a bit of a deflection. I know they haven’t started their season yet, so they’re not fully up to match speed, but we played well and we’re gutted to come away with just a point.”
LYDEN STEPS UP RECOVERY FOLLOWING ANKLE SURGERY
Young midfielder Jordan Lyden is stepping up his recovery from an ankle injury at Aston Villa. Captain of his club’s under-23 team, Lyden was in sparkling form before succumbing to injury in November. Having gone under the surgeon’s knife, he returned to the training track this week as he works his way back to fitness.
Had Lyden not suffered the injury towards the end of last year he would have headed out on loan in the January transfer window. The Australian was one of the few youngsters first team manager Steve Bruce was open to moving away temporarily with Shrewsbury Town and Northampton Town tracking his progress.
NICOLAIDIS NEW GWELUP COACH
Former Inglewood United and Perth SC Head coach Taki Nicolaidis has been appointed as new coach at Sate League Division One newcomers Gwelup Croatia Soccer Club. The club parted company with Paul Dundo on Saturday, after the clubs First Round defeat by Wanneroo City in the Night Series. The club issued the following statement on Nicolaidis’ appointment:
“Gwelup Croatia Soccer Club is pleased to announce that it has appointed Taki Nicolaidis to the helm of First Team coach, ahead of our inaugural State League First Division campaign. Nicolaidis is vastly experienced in all aspects of Western Australian Football, having built his coaching reputation at Floreat Athena - helping that club to Premier League, State Cup and Night Series glory during an eight-year spell. He also guided Perth SC’s Under-20 team to three trophies in two years before taking the reins of the First Team, whom he steered to second position in back-to-back NPL seasons.
“In 2016, Nicolaidis capped off a memorable first season coaching Inglewood United in the NPL by winning the First Team Coach of the Year prize at the WA Football Awards. As a player, Nicolaidis enjoyed a successful 17-year career that took in time with Floreat Athena, Perth Kangaroos (S-League), Western Knights and Inglewood, amongst others. Along the way, he collected three League championships, plus three State Cup medals, two Top Four Cup medals and one Night Series winner’s medal. Additionally, Nicolaidis represented the State on four occasions.
“He will be assisted in the role by former State Team coach, Eric Williams, who joined the club in December to help with the Junior Academy setup and as First Team assistant. Williams has just returned to Australia after 15 years coaching in South-East Asia and is best remembered locally for winning two League championships with Spearwood Dalmatinac, before going on to successfully coach North Perth Croatia, Dalmatinac and Floreat Athena.
"In acknowledgement of his expertise, Williams was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame WA's “Hall of Recognition” in 2005. The club wishes Taki and Eric the best of luck for Friday’s crucial Night Series clash with Morley-Windmills and hopes for a positive result to start the club’s exciting new era in the best way possible.”
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES, WEEK ONE - REVIEW
There were a number of surprising results in the opening round of the State League Night Series over the weekend, but we start in group A, with Mandurah City coming from 0-2 down after 10 minutes to draw 2-2 with local rivals Rockingham City at Securitas Protect Stadium on Friday evening. The visitors were on the front foot early and goals to Lydon Hodgkiss and Josh Mackinder gave them the lead at half time. But a second half brace from Bailey Mullins gave both sides a share of the spoils. In their first game as a merged club Murdoch University Melville beat Kelmscott Roos 2-0 in the late game on Friday, with goals from Ryan Tucker and Farruh Mavlonov.
The final game of the group was Walter Padbury Reserve where Gosnells City surprisingly beat last season’s night series winners South West Phoenix 2-0. The hosts first goal was an own goal, the second Charlie White turning home Jason Al Bunajin’s cross. “Thrilled with the win, and it was good to see we played well as a team, a few players on debut where terrific,” Gosnells Coach Alan Dunlop said. “Obviously we still need a little more fitness, but it still early doors in pre-season, but overall we wanted to get a win for the fans as it was a special night at Gosnells with our new floodlights.”
In Group B the biggest shock of the round came at Wanneroo Reserve where Wanneroo City beat Gwelup Croatia 3-2 on Friday night. Scott Johnston opened the scoring for the hosts on 15 minutes, and ten minutes later Gwelup defender Cameron Yorke was sent off. Johnstone added his second on 35 minutes, after some good work from Jack Hailstones on the right, to send The Roos into half time on top. But Gwelup hit back with new striker David Heagney opening his account for the club two minutes after the break. Then the ten men levelled with Gavin Knight scoring on the hour and the game was in the balance. But ten minutes later Nathan Scully scored the winner, after some clever work from Shak Alexander, Scully had a bit to do and finished well with a good strike giving Connor Campbell no chance.
Wanneroo coach Tim Kantor was obviously delighted with the result and the performance. “We decided to go into the game with an attacking mentality to test our game plan against one of the best teams going around,” he said. “We went into half time 2-0 up and the simple message at half time was not to drop our intensity and continue to play attacking football because we knew the quality of Gwelup and they would throw everything at us in the 2nd half, and we started very slowly and we sat back inviting pressure and within 10 minutes it was all square. To our boys credit they didn’t drop their heads and we started to play attacking football again and got the winner. An extremely pleasing result and the team was well lead by Ash Corker. We are certainly not getting ahead of ourselves but early signs are very good and we now need to produce that same intensity against Joondalup City on Saturday night.” In the late game at the venue Joondalup City ran out 3-0 winners against Aleks Vrteski’s Balga. Joe McQuade converted a penalty, with new striker Jason Rubidge bagging a brace. In the final game in the group Morley Windmills beat Quinns FC at Wanneroo Reserve on Saturday.
In Group C Canning City and Shamrock Rovers fought out a 2-2 draw at Perth Plasterboard Stadium on Saturday evening, while in the other game, Western Knights beat Curtin University 4-0 at Walter Padbury Reserve on Sunday afternoon. It was a tight first half, and it was scoreless at the break but the Knights took control after the break. Paul Lloyd gave them the lead from the spot, before the English midfielder bagged two more to complete his hat-trick, while new centre back Stefan Hill added the fourth. Fremantle City had the bye this week.
In Group D Dianella White Eagles beat Ashfield 2-1 in the opening game at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Angel Andres and Damion Kalamaris were on target for the Eagles, while Jamie Stewart scored for Ashfield. In the other game in the group Swan United beat Kingsway Olympic 3-2 at Wanneroo Reserve on Saturday evening. Swan were ahead with Brennan Borzecki headed home, but Chris Rizidis leveled for Kingsway. Swan hit back with John Monterosso chipping the Kingsway keeper, to give Mike Ford’s side the lead at the break. But Kingsway were level when Jake Cherrie scored, but it was the Black and Whites who went on to win it, Monterosso converted a penalty to give United the points. “It was a great win, Kingsway are a quality team and to get a result like that was tremendous,” United coach Ford said. “There was a lot to like about the way we played as a team, and there are still plenty of areas for improvement. But the character of the team was first rate, and everyone played there part and did the job that was asked of them.” UWA Nedlands had the bye this week.
SUBIACO INTO THEIR FIRST EVER NIGHT SERIES FINAL
A goal from new signing Albert Iuwi has helped Subiaco to a place in their first ever NPLWA Night Series Final after a 1-0 win against Cockburn City in the first semi-final at Dalmatinac Park on Saturday afternoon. Subiaco were on a the back foot for most of the first half, but nine minutes before half time the former Gosnells City winger raced clear and rounded the keeper to score the decisive goal.
Subiaco player/coach Ian McMurray said his players were great on the night and he said they’ve battled in every game in the competition to date and will be looking for more of the same next week in the Final. “That’s three in a row from the lads, it wasn’t the prettiest of games but the conditions were against both teams, but we battled hard and took the goal when it came along,” he said. “I said to the players before the Night Series started I wanted a good run, and the boys have got us to the finals so I couldn’t have for asked for more.”
It was the hosts who dominated early with Ruben Tristao heading wide, and they should have taken the lead on 26 minutes. Cameron Edwards sent Luccas Mello down the left, and his cross picked out Liam Murray, and with the goal at his mercy he somehow missed the target. But against the run of play Subiaco hit the front. McMurray and Rory Feely combined to free Iuwi, who raced into the penalty area, rounded keeper Ryan Barker to score.
Cockburn were on the front foot early in the second half and Subiaco keeper Ryan Montgomery saved well to deny Jesse Lazzaro, before Keiron Stallard headed over the top when well placed. They had the perfect opportunity to level on 53 minutes when Stallard was brought down in the box and referee Josh Mannella pointed to the spot, but Murray’s penalty sailed over the top. Subiaco were defending with their lives as Cockburn continue to press, but it wasn’t Scott Miller’s side’s night, with Edwards firing over the top and substitute Anthony Skorich, unmarked at the back post, blazed over late.
Cockburn City: GK Ryan BARKER, 4 Euen GRANT (C), 5 Keiron STALLARD (9 Julian TELES 68’), 6 Ruben TRISTAO, 7 Luccas MELLO, 8 Cameron EDWARDS, 12 Ryan PRATT, 14 Liam MURRAY (11 Anthony SKORICH 59’), 15 Daniel SANTICH, 16 Daniel ROBINSON, 17 Jesse LAZZARO - Subs not Used: RGK Luke RADONICH, 3 Daniel DOLS, 10 Adam ANFUSO,
Subiaco: GK Ryan MONTGOMERY (C), 6 Jackson DONGRAY, 9 Rory FEELY (2 Nathan HARDIE 88’), 10 Asher NELSON (3 Cherro KAB BAH 73’), 12 Nathan SMITH, 13 Fannuel DAWIT, 14 Ross JARMAN, 15 Albert IUWI, 16 Steve PURTON, 17 Alex CASTIELLO, 19 Ian MCMURRAY (11 Robert HARDING 61’) - Subs not used: RGK Theo BROWN, 5 Oliver CHEVRALLS - Referee: Josh Mannella
PERTH PAY THE PENALTY AS FLOREAT WINS SEMI-FINAL
Floreat Athena keeper Jason Saldaris was the hero for his side, as they beat Perth SC 3-1 on penalties in the second NPLWA Night Series semi-final at Dalmatinac Park on Saturday evening. The game ended 1-1 at normal time, with Richard Howles giving Perth the lead, and Carlo Coelho levelling. But the Floreat custodian starred saved three penalties in the shoot-out to send Howard Tweats side to their 11th Night Series Final. Saldaris saved Adrian Madaschi, Nick Ambrogio and Andreas Theodosiades penalties, while Floreat scored all three of theirs to take their spot in the Final against Subiaco next weekend at the Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Saturday evening (7.00pm)
New Floreat coach Tweats said it was a good defensive display from his side. “We had a game plan, but we lost a number of players in the week, so the preparation wasn’t the best, but I thought we defended well and absorbed a great deal of pressure,” he said. “Our last two games have been run away wins, so it was good to see us be so resilient tonight, and earn our place in the final. Subiaco have also earned their place, it may be a pre-season competition but there is a reward at the end of it and I’m sure Ian will have his side ready for us.”
It was Perth on top early, Gustavo Catarcione shot on the run flashing over the top, before Howles’ shot on the turn was straight at Saldaris. Floreat settled and ended the half well. Pacey Keylun Pollard was causing Perth problems down the flank, and he raced past his marker on the left and tied up Calvin Whitney, whose shot flew just wide of the target. Moments later Ludovic Boi was in on goal, but Francis Soale saved well to deny him. But in the shadows of half time it was Perth who hit the front. A free kick from the right by Kristian Santich picked out Howles, who lost his marker and headed powerfully home.
Floreat hit back after the break Dean Evans’ shot from the edge of the penalty area whistled past the post, and on 64 minutes they restored parity. Again it was Pollard’s pace that started the move, the winger racing down the left and his deep cross picked out Coelho at the back post, who made no mistake. Perth ended the game the better and Catarcione fired wide after being sent clear by Santich, before Frank Furfaro picked out the Brazilian again moments later, but the result was the same. It was one-way traffic as Perth looked for the winner and Saldaris saved well to deny Furfaro’s shot on the run. But they couldn’t find the winner, and in the shoot-out Saldaris was outstanding to lead Floreat to the final.
Perth SC: GK Frank SOALE (C), 2 Alex SILLA, 4 Adrian MADASCHI, 7 Aleks JOVIC (19 Andreas THEODOSIADES 65’), 9 Gustavo CATARCIONE, 12 Jordan DE LEO, 14 Kristian SANTICH (10 Nick AMBROGIO 85’), 15 Harley ORR, 16 Kieran COLWELL, 17 Frank FURFARO, 18 Richard HOWLES, Subs not used: RGK Daniel PASSARELLI, 20 Adam CARLINO, 21 Paul ZIMARINO
Floreat Athena: GK Jason SALDARIS, 4 Andrew SCALDAFERRO, 5 Marco SANTA LUCIA, 6 Jesse FULLER, 8 Keylun POLLARD, 9 Carlo COELHO (20 Joshua TUMEO 75’), 10 Calvin WHITNEY, 11 Dennis GALAN, 14 Ludovic BOI, 17 Dean EVANS (C), 18 Phil ARNOLD (19 Mehdi RABEI GHOLAMI 65’) - Subs not used: RGK Jordan BARBAS, 12 Ethan KERRIDGE, 16 Liam HUDSON - Referee: Tom Glavovic
FORMER GLORY MIDFIELDER LIAM MILLER DIES
Former Perth Glory midfielder Liam Miller has passed away at the age of 36. Miller, who was capped 21 times by the Republic of Ireland and represented Manchester United, Celtic, Hibernian and Brisbane Roar amongst other over a 16-year professional football career, has lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. Miller joined Glory in 2011 and played 49 senior games for the club before winning an A-League title with Brisbane Roar in 2013/14.
NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES, SEMI-FINAL - REVIEW
The NPL-WA Night Series has reached the Semi-Final stage and both games will be held at Dalmatinac Park in a double-header on Saturday evening. In the early game Subiaco take on hosts Cockburn City, and they will be eyeing their first appearance in the final of the pre-season competition. (5.30pm) Subiaco edged out Balcatta in the first round, before beating Joondalup United in the Quarter Finals, with Carlin Feely bagging a brace and Steve Purton adding the third. Purton said the squad is looking good. “Pre-season has been a good combination of fitness, matches and training,” he said. “Subiaco have a fantastic junior set up and Ian has bought in some new players but also bought up some reserve players who will be looking to gain more experience and are unknown to other teams so hopefully we can surprise a few teams this season and finish higher than last.”
Last season’s Subiaco fairest and best winner Nathan Smith said the win against Joondalup was a hard fought one. “Overall it was a good performance from the boys, especially at this early stage of the season, as we have new players and a few boys still building up fitness, so to still get the result and progress to the next round is a good sign. Joondalup always gives us a good physical game, so to stand up to that and score three against them is great, and we’ll be looking for more of the same on Saturday,” he said. “Playing Cockburn at their home ground is always going to be tough. They've had two good wins, but so have we, so should be a good game on a Saturday night. The boys have trained well this week and are looking forward to it.”
Cockburn reached this stage with a win against ECU Joondalup in the first round before a brace from new signing Luccas Mello and another from Daniel Robinson gave them a 3-1 win against Stirling Lions in the Quarter Finals. Defender Kieron Stallard missed the game, but he said the club have worked extremely hard in pre-season, and its great reward for them to reach the Semi-Finals. “Pre-season has been going well so far and it’s always good to stay in the night series for as long as possible as it gets more competitive games in before the start of the season “We lost a couple of lads early on in pre-season to other clubs which was a blow but the young lads who have come up from the 20’s and 18’s have been brilliant. We’ve got a good balance of experience in the squad this year and a great group of lads who don’t need to be told to work hard, who want to be at the club and do as well as they can for the club.”
Stallard is well aware of the improvement of Subiaco, and he gives a great deal of credit to their coach Ian McMurray, a former striker at Dalmatinac Park. “In my eyes big Ian without a doubt was coach of the year last year, he has transformed Subiaco from bottom of the league to a mid-table team, and done it by trying to play football the right way,” he explained. “I played with and against Ian numerous times, and his Subiaco side are a great reflection of him, hardworking, determined and honest and we won’t be expecting anything different come Saturday night. I know a few of the Subiaco lad’s very well so I’m sure there will be some friendly banter throughout and a few beers after regardless of the result.”
In the late game six times Night Series winners Floreat Athena meet 19 times winners Perth Soccer Club (7.30pm). Floreat have been in fine goal scoring form in the competition to-date beating Inglewood United 4-1 in the first round, before goals from Ludovic Boi, Calvin Whitney, Keylun Pollard, Zelfy Nazary and Carlo Coelho gave them a 5-1 win against Forrestfield United. Floreat defender Dennis Galan said it’s been a good start to the pre-season competition. “We have had a great start to the night series, and the good thing this year is that we are creating a lot of goal scoring opportunities and we finishing them as well. There is a couple of new faces in the team and Prior to night series we hadn't had much game time, but we have been working very hard at training, getting to know each other and slowly gelling well as a team, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.”
Galan said Saturday is a big test, but he is confident they can get the job done. “Over the years, games against Perth have always been very tight and entertaining, and both teams are very attacking minded, so there should be a lot goal scoring opportunities,” he said. “Here is a chance to test ourselves against one of strongest team in the competition, so would be good to see where we stand leading up to the season. However, I think we are ready for the test, the boys are up for it and if we continue playing the way we have been, I'm confident we can go all the way.”
Perth also had the scoring boots on in the first round, beating Perth Glory 6-0, but in the quarter finals they held their nerve to beat Sorrento 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out, this after Frank Furfaro’s stunning late strike levelled things up. Defender Alex Silla said they had to work hard to get the result, but thought they deserved it. “Yes, the game against Sorrento was a very hard fought win. We made a little defensive error in the first half which put us on the back foot, but I think we came out in the second half and really dominated the rest of the game,” he said. “The goal from Franky in the final few minutes was really well deserved and when the final whistle went, all the boys were full of confidence and believed that we could win the shootout and book ourselves a spot in the semi-finals.”
Silo said Floreat are playing some good football, and with both teams scoring at will he is expecting an entertaining game. “They (Floreat) have had two very convincing wins so far in the night series and will provide a real test for us this weekend. They've got a lot to quality players who are capable of scoring a lot of goals if you don't shut them down quickly,” he said. “But this is what we've been training so hard for, games like this and an opportunity to put ourselves in a situation to win some silverware at this early stage in the season. We are ready to go and will be doing everything we can to get the win on the weekend.”
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES, WEEK ONE - PREVIEW
The Football West State League Night Series kicks off with games in four groups across the weekend. In Group A Mandurah City entertain Rockingham City at the Securitas Protect Stadium on Friday evening (6.30pm), while in the late game Murdoch University Melville meet Kelmscott Roos (8.30pm) Murdoch-Melville Head Coach Gavin Brown said they will use the competition to look at players as they prepare for the new season. “It will be an experimental line up, we’ve got a lot of new players and a few older ones out,” he explained. “We played well in patches against Morley last week, and we hope to improve further this weekend and start the competition on a positive note.” The other Group A game is on Sunday at Walter Padbury Reserve, when Gosnells City host South West Phoenix (6.30pm)
Also on Friday evening there is games in Group B at Wanneroo Reserve. In the early game Wanneroo City host Gwelup Croatia (6.30pm) City Coach Tim Kantor said his players are looking forward to taking on the new Division One side. “After a long break we are really looking forward to the challenge. Gwelup are a quality outfit and the inclusions of a number of NPL players will make them an even more formidable opposition. I think Gwelup will make history this year going from Sunday League football to NPL in three seasons,” he said.
“Having said that, players love playing against benchmark teams and I’m sure we will make a good account of ourselves. It’s a new look line up at the Roos this season and it will take a few games for the boys to gel. I think the inclusion of Ash Corker, Jody Thomson, Gareth Lloyd and Scott Johnston will hopefully help us go the next step this year. Really looking forward to tomorrow night as we start preparations for the season proper. ” In the late game Balga take on Joondalup City (8.30pm), while the other game in the group is between Quinns FC and Morley Windmills at Wanneroo Reserve on Saturday (5.00pm)
In Group C Canning City takes on Shamrock Rovers at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Saturday evening (7.00pm). The other game in the group will be played on Sunday at Walter Padbury Reserve when Western Knights take on Curtin University (4.30pm) Knights new signing Tom Kennedy said it’s a new look squad this season at Nash Field. “Pre-season is traveling well, a lot of new boys have come into the squad, with only a few leaving so there's a lot of depth and quality. The boys are buzzing to fire in to a few competitive games,” he said. “Curtin should be a good challenge first up, and I'm sure they will be up for it, so we're not expecting an easy game in the slightest, but we will definitely be ready to go.” Fremantle City are the other team in Group C, and they have the bye this week.
In Group D on Saturday Ashfield open proceedings when they take on Dianella White Eagles at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium (5.00pm), while the other game in the group is on Saturday evening with Olympic Kingsway meeting Swan United at Wanneroo Reserve (7.00pm) It will be the first game for Swan new Coach Mike Ford and winger Brennan Borzecki said things are going well despite a number of players missing. “Pre-season with Mike has been really good, but again we’ve been missing some of our key players, I’m sure it’s been hard for him to work without a full complete squad, but we’re looking forward to the Night Series,” he said. “I’m sure the first competitive game of the season will be a tough one for both teams, especially with some missing players away on holiday. The other team in Group D is UWA Nedlands, who have the bye this week.
PERTH GLORY CONFIRM CHELSEA CLASH IN JULY
Perth Glory today confirmed they will take on English Premier League giants Chelsea in a friendly game at Optus Stadium on Monday 23rd July. The date was revealed by WA Tourism Minister Paul Papalia at a press conference held at Optus Stadium earlier today. The Blues were represented by their former goalkeeper and Socceroos legend Mark Schwarzer, while ex-club skipper and current Head of Football Jacob Burns and CEO Peter Filopoulos headed up Glory's delegation at the well-attended event.
"This international friendly between Perth Glory and Chelsea, is a huge coup for Western Australian and football fans throughout Australia and Asia," said Filopoulos. "It is also an enormous opportunity for our club to play in front of a large attendance at the new, world class Optus Stadium in its rectangular configuration against a prestigious international football club in Chelsea. The scheduling of this game is ideally placed and the club will be using it as a platform from which to build its pre-season preparations for the 2018 FFA Cup and 2018/19 Hyundai A-League season."
Papalia said the goal was to attract international visitors from countries with big EPL fan bases, including Singapore and Malaysia. “This is a great opportunity for fans in those markets to visit Perth and see one of the most successful Premier League teams of the past fifteen years,” he said. “It will show them Perth is vibrant, right on their doorstep and the Western gateway to Australia. When Chelsea was last in Australia in 2015 to play Sydney FC, the 80,000 seat ANZ Stadium sold out in a matter of days. I expect Optus Stadium will be at full capacity for the match, providing a massive injection for tourism and hospitality businesses.”
Local Chelsea FC supporters’ group vice-president Ossie Pereira said he expected thousands of interstate fans to travel to WA for the match. “It is fantastic news for us the Chelsea Supporters group in WA and in Perth and also for WA as a community to get a fantastic team like Chelsea to come down,” he said. “There won’t just be Chelsea supporters from here, there’ll be supporters from people from all over Australia and the world watching this game. How often do they have the see a chance to see a top team like Chelsea play, I think it would be great.”
Perth Glory members have an opportunity to be first in line for tickets to this game with a pre-sale window set to commence on Monday 12 February, and they can purchase a maximum of 20 tickets per transaction. A sea of blue is set to sweep over Optus Stadium later this year, with July 23 set for English Premier League giant Chelsea FC’s friendly against Perth Glory.
IRDALE MAKES HIS MARK AT GRENNOCK MORTON
Former Perth Glory Youth and ECU Joondalup defender Jack Iredale is making his mark in Scotland’s Championship, after breaking through at Greenock Morton. Iredale, who was born in Scotland, spent part of his childhood in New Zealand before his family relocated to Western Australia at the age of 10. The fullback came through the WA national training centre and the AIS, before three and a half years with Glory’s National Youth Team, before he moved to NPL-WA side ECU Joondalup for a six game stint before heading to Scotland. .
With his path to the A-League seemingly blocked, the defender headed to Scotland last year and eventually earned a six-month contract with Scottish Championship club Morton after a successful trial. He was loaned out to League One side Queens Park FC in Scotland and impressed and he returned to Morton last month and won another six-month deal with regular first-team appearances.
"I came over in June last year and had a trial with a club but it didn't work out," Iredale told SBS The World Game. "But then the manager of Morton called me and invited me to a trial game, and then it just sort of took off from there. I was on trial for a few weeks and then he offered me a six-month contract, which I snatched at and took it as soon as I could. Then, thankfully, I got another extension at the end of last year and that’s the deal till the end of June now. The gaffer said I need to get game time, I needed to get first-team experience and he said that going to League One with Queens Park could do that for me. So I went and I certainly learned a lot. Now I’ve come back and I feel a lot more confident, I feel a lot sharper and better. It was definitely a good decision to go out on loan."
Iredale has racked up six games for Morton in all competitions so far, scoring one spectacular goal in a win over Dundee United and grabbing an assist, and he enjoying his time and said it’s improved his game. “I’ve got an opportunity at left back at the minute,” Iredale said. "I’ve not played as much left back as I have centre half, but I grew up as a left winger so I'm just trying to find the right amount of balance between defending and managing to get forward and contributing to attacking as well. But I’m really enjoying playing left back.
"The club’s really good, they’ve been really, really good to me. They’ve helped me out with a few things and there’s a really, really good group of boys. The standard - I was very surprised when I got to Scotland how quick the pace of the game was compared to Australia. That was definitely the biggest change I’ve noticed. The technical ability in the Championship compared to the A-League is pretty similar but it’s just the pace of the game that is so different here."
It has been a long and hard road for Iredale, who represented Australia at Under-17 level back in 2012. The 21-year-old has already gone through three knee reconstructions, which hampered his development years. But Iredale points to his time in Canberra at the AIS as a formative one in his fledgling career. "That was a really good experience helping me grow up," he said. "I was there for two years but I only played eight games because I was injured for 18 months. I did my ACL. I was basically injured the whole time but I still learnt a lot there.
Iredale admits it was difficult to leave the Glory last year, without a chance in the A-League, but has no regrets. "It was disappointing. I was training with the first-team basically full-time but there just didn’t seem to be a clear pathway that I could see for myself," he said. "I knew that if I wanted to be a pro footballer I needed to go and chase that elsewhere. Perth were good to me in my time at the club but I thought if this is what I want to do, I have to make something of it."
But now he has got an opportunity in Scotland, the left-back is eager to cement his spot. "Football in Europe is such a different culture to back home, especially with promotion and relegation and play-off spots and all that stuff,” Iredale said. "I've definitely been learning about the culture and how dog-eat-dog it is. There’s ‘no prisoners’ here – if you make a mistake you know about it – and that might be your opportunity gone. Growing up as a kid my dream was to play football in Europe and right now I’m doing that. I’m doing everything I can to make sure I get an extension or keep playing football in Europe. It sounds cliched but it's the best job in football and it's all I've ever wanted to do. I'm really happy so I just want to carry on over here."
KEOGH CONFIDENT OF A STRONG START (courtesy of inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)
Attacker Kenny Keogh says Inglewood United will make amends for their early Night Series exit by starting the 2018 National Premier Leagues season strongly. Inglewood hosts Stirling Lions under lights at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Friday 23 February in the first game of the new campaign.
It will be the team’s first competitive outing since last month’s loss to Floreat Athena which saw them eliminated from the Night Series at the first hurdle. Speaking on the eve of his fourth winter at Inglewood, Keogh made it clear he and his teammates have put that disappointment behind them.
“Getting knocked out of the Night Series was pretty tough to take. We didn’t perform against Floreat and the whole team was disappointed with the result,” Keogh admitted. “But we have re-grouped and are working very hard to be ready for the season opener against Stirling Lions in a couple of weeks.”
“The bonds we’ve got within the player group are brilliant. In the last two years we’ve been through a lot together and those experiences have made us stronger as well as increased everyone’s desire to pick up a trophy. We’re keen to raise our standards to make sure we’re better than we were last year.”
“It’s important that we start strongly and get as many points on the board as possible from those first few games. The league was very close last year and it’ll be the same again this year, there are four or five teams that are very evenly matched and if you lose ground early it’s going to be difficult to recover.”
BEADLING RELISHING FIRST TEAM OPPORTUNITY
The Stadium of Light has been dimmed with gloom this season but Tom Beadling insists Sunderland has provided a bright football education. And the Dumfermline Athletic loanee believes his rise through the youth ranks on Wearside can help him shine for his new club as he attempts to make a name for himself in a first team environment.
Beadling agreed to a temporary switch from red and white to black and white stripes last week after impressing Allan Johnston, who enjoyed a spell playing with Sunderland during his career. The 22-year old, who spent time growing up in West Australia, can operate both a centre back and in his preferred position of central midfield.
Although he has made the bench for Sunderland’s first team – including in their recent FA Cup defeat at Middlesbrough – Beadling has yet to make a senior appearance for the club. Beadling did spend time on loan at English League One outfit Bury last season but, after just two appearances for the Shakers, he’s determined to grasp the chance to play regular first team football.
“I’ve been looking to get out somewhere and play some games, and this is the perfect place to do that, so I can’t wait to get started,” Beadling said prior to scoring on his Pars debut against Greenock Morton on the weekend. “It’s (the move to Scotland) been in the pipeline for a couple of weeks.”
“I came up last week and got a feel for the place – and obviously they got a feel for me – so it’s been pretty straightforward since then. I got a call to say that they wanted me to come up, so straight away I said yeah no problem, get it sorted. The club looked after me very well, I really enjoyed my time so I’m delighted to get it over the line.”
“I came through at the Sunderland Academy. I’ve been there since the age of eight; I went on loan to Bury, came back to Sunderland and then joined here on loan for the rest of the season. It (Sunderland) is a great club and a big club. They’re obviously not doing too well at the minute but hopefully they can turn it around. I spent the majority of my time growing up there and I learned a lot.”
Beadling is now also hoping to impress potential suitors as, while he is on loan with Dunfermline, his Sunderland contract expires at the end of the season. “I just need to get out there and play first-team football,” he said. “That was my aim from the start and that’s what I’ve done. I’m looking for regular games and to really establish myself, so fingers crossed I can do that here.”
NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES, QUARTER-FINALS - REVIEW
We are down to the final four in the NPL-WA Night Series after the Quarter-Finals over the weekend. In the first game on Friday evening hosts Cockburn City beat Stirling Lions 3-1 in an action packed game at Dalmatinac Park. The hosts were ahead on the half hour, new signing Luccas Mello finishing well past keeper Lance Alavakis. The home side doubled their lead five minutes after half time, Mello robbed the Lions defender and superbly lobbed Alavakis. It was 3-0 on the hour, Daniel Robinson continuing his good Night Series rifling home from the edge of the penalty area. But Stirling were back in the game sixty seconds later, Abu Dulleh’s ball into the penalty area was brought down well by Steve Sokol and he finished with aplomb. The game was temporally suspended by the referee after trouble in the crowd, but on resumption the Lions pressed but couldn’t find a way back into the game. “The first half was a bit disappointing and showed that we still have a lot to improve before the season starts, and I thought we were lucky to be 1-0 up at half-time against a team that seemed to want to win the game more than us,” Ruben Tristao said. “After Scott's chat during the break we were able to reorganise ourselves, improve our attitude and the second half was better. Stirling still managed to reduce the goal difference but we kept our composure until the final whistle.”
In the late game Floreat Athena were too strong for NPL new boys Forrestfield United running out 5-1 winners. Floreat were ahead on 12 minutes, a poor back pass was seized upon by Ludovic Boi and he finished low past Ben Parry. They doubled their lead two minutes later in similar circumstances, Phil Arnold seizing on a defensive mix up, his shot was saved by Parry, but he was brought by a defender and the referee pointed to the spot. New signing Calvin Whitney stepped up to convert from the resulting penalty. It was 3-0 on 24 minutes, another Floreat new signing Keylun Pollard cutting in from the left to finish superbly into the top corner of the net giving Parry no chance. I was 4-0 on 67 minutes, a quick one-two between Zelfy Nazary and Boi, and Nazary went through to slot home. Forrestfield pulled one back nine minutes from time Callum Dobbs free kick was headed from close range by Tom Jebb, but Floreat hit back moments later to add a fifth Carlo Coelho firing home from the edge of the penalty are. “We started off really well - pressing high and catching them at the back, hence why goals came so quickly. However, after that we seem to take the foot of the pedal a little and allowed Forrestfield to keep the ball a bit more, but they never really caused us much problems,” Dennis Galan said. “There’s a couple new faces in the team and we’re still getting to know each other and how to play as a team, but so far the boys have worked really hard and gelled well together, we hope we can carry this on to the next game and improve week by week, which I’m sure we will.”
On Saturday it was off to the Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium where Perth SC beat Sorrento 4-3 on penalties after the game ended 1-1 at normal time. The Gulls hit the front on the half hour, after poor clearance from keeper Francis Soale went straight to Scott Witschge, who sent Reece Vittiglia into the box, and he crossed to Alex Morgan who finished well at the back post. Perth pressed looking for the equaliser and it looked like it wasn’t going to be their night, but two minutes from time they levelled. Sorrento failed to clear their lines and the ball went to Frank Furfaro on the edge of the box, he cut past his marker and fired home a stunning strike into the top corner of the net giving James Morgan no chance sending the game to penalties. In the shoot-out Perth missed their first spot kick, Adrian Madaschi's strike was pushed onto the post by James Morgan. Sorrento then missed their second spot-kick after converting the first penalty of the night. Harley Orr, Andreas Theodosiades and Kristian Santich all scored before Reece Vittiglia’s fifth penalty for Sorrento was saved by Soale. It meant if Gustavo Catarcione scored it would seal a win for Ramon Falzon’s side, and the Brazilian striker made no mistake. “The win was much relieved because we definitely deserved to win and dominated the whole game,” midfielder Harley Orr said. “We made one mistake and it cost us the goal and we took a while to score but we easily could of won the game after we equalised hitting the post and crossbar, but all in all we are very happy to be moving into the Semi-Final full of confidence.”
In the late game Subiaco moved through after a hard fought 3-2 win against Joondalup United. Subiaco were ahead early Carlin Feely scoring after only eight minutes. But nine minutes before half time United levelled, Alex Wild was brought down in the box and Referee Steven Gregory pointed to the spot. Johnny Chalmers stepped and made sure, to send the two sides into half time all square. But it was Subiaco who regained the lead on the hour, Feely on hand to double his tally. It looked game over when Steve Purton surged forward to add a third for Subiaco on 74 minutes and six minutes later Wild was sent off after receiving a second yellow card. But two minutes later Subiaco’s Alex Randall handled on the line and was sent off and Chalmers added another penalty to narrow the margin. United pressed looking for the equaliser but Subiaco held on to move through. “It was a great win for us and more momentum leading into the season. We are feeling really strong defensively and going forward,” defender Alex Castiello said. “The club is really gaining strength with good quality young players stepping up we feel we can surprise some more people this year.” The Semi-Final draw was made today at Football West headquarters. Both games will be played at Dalmatinac Park, with Cockburn City hosting Subiaco at 5.30pm, and Perth Soccer Club taking on Floreat Athena at 7.30pm.
GLORY LET IN SLIP IN ADELAIDE
Perth Glory missed out on the opportunity to move into the top six of the Hyundai A-League as they let a one goal lead slip and were beaten 2-1 by Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Skipper Andy Keogh's fifth goal of the season gave Kenny Lowe's side an early lead, but the Reds hit back later in the first half after two defensive errors. The first, Dino Djulbic heading into his own net, before Djulbic didn’t step up with the rest of the back line leaving Nikola Mileusnic in the clear to score clinically past Liam Reddy. Glory pressed late and had a number of opportunities to gain a point but they were unable to do so. "We pushed to get something out of it late," Lowe said. "But maybe a little of bit of (lack of) finishing our opportunities, that is the way it is going for us at present. We've still got a few games left, there's no reason why we can't (make the finals).”
Glory could hardly have made a better start as Keogh broke the deadlock with the first chance of the game. Chris Harold sent Scott Neville down the right, and his pin-point cross was headed home powerful by Keogh, giving Reds keeper Paul Izzo no chance. But the lead lasted just seven minutes, Ryan Strain found space down the right and crossed into the box's cross and the unfortunate Djulbic headed past Liam Reddy and into the far corner of the net. The home side were starting to dictate terms and Reedy was at his best to deny Ryan Kitto and George Blackwood at close range, but there was nothing the Glory 'keeper could do to prevent the hosts from hitting the front on 37 minutes. Isaias’ defence-splitting through-ball sent Mileusnic clear, with Djulbic in chase, but the Reds speedster raced in on goal before finishing clinically across Reedy.
Castro threatened early in the second half, dragging a low shot off target from the edge of the box as Glory looked for the equaliser. The Spaniard then almost teed up Harold just short of the hour-mark, his free-kick picked out the winger at the near post, but his toe-poke flashed wide. The Reds had plenty of the ball but couldn’t find a way past a tight Glory defence, and they went close on 68 minutes. Substitute Jacob Italiano provided a shooting chance for Castro but his shot was saved low by Izzo. Reddy was then called upon saving well from Kitto at his near post, before Glory had a penalty appeal waved away when the ball appeared to strike Strain's arm as he blocked another effort from Castro.
Glory were on top late, and deep into stoppage-time, Italiano came agonisingly close to salvaging a point, but his header from a deep Castro cross flew the wrong side of the post, before Castro snap shot from the edge of the box was saved low by Izzo. Marco Kurz praised his sides’ performance. “I think we played a good first-half, we had the control in the first-half as well,” he said. “Also in the second-half it’s my opinion that we could have killed the game. We had a lot of counter-attacking situations, and then we had to change both our centre-backs in (Jordan) Elsey and Ersan (Gülüm). But I’m very proud about the performance from the boys and they give everything every game and they played very well and the win and the result was very important for us.”
NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES, QUARTER-FINALS - PREVIEW
We’re down to the last eight sides in the 2018 NPL-WA Night Series, and the first game takes place at Dalmatinac Park on Friday evening with hosts Cockburn City taking on Stirling Lions (6.30pm). The Cockerels made it to this stage after a good 2-1 win against ECU Joondalup, with Daniel Robinson opening the scoring and heavily involved with the winner. The midfielder said it was a good workout. “The win was great especially because most people would have written us off,” he explained. “All the lads put in a proper good shift, buzzing to have scored and set up the winner, the second goal showed how good team football we can play.”
Cockburn last won the Night Series in 1979 and 1993 (Spearwood Dalmatinac) and 1982 (Cockburn United) and were runners up in 2013 and 2015, and Robinson said they working hard to add another one this season, but knows Friday’s opponents will be difficult. “Pre-season is going good over at Beale Park. Haven't really been able to get on the pitch at Dalmatinac, but everyone's putting in the hard yards and Scotty’s showing us how he wants us to play. Hopefully we can get a few more sessions on there before the start of the season, it’s the best pitch in the league,” he said. “We know Friday is definitely another good challenge, anyone is this league can't go into any game thinking it's going to be easy. But I think if we keep to our game plan we'll come away with the win.”
Stirling were given a bye in the last round, but they played a friendly against Joondalup United, and despite going down midfielder Dejan Spaseski said it was a good workout for the squad. “The game against Joondalup was a good hit out for the boys against a very competitive NPL side. We had the opportunity to work on a new formation and it was a good chance for our new players to gel with the team,” he said. “I was injured, watching from the sideline and I believe we played good football in patches and dominated for majority of the game.” The former Perth Glory Youth midfielder is suspended for the game on Friday but knows it will be a test especially on their patch. “Cockburn are always a tough side to come up against. They will be full of confidence, coming off a win against ECU,” Spaseski said. “In saying this, all of us are more than confident that we will get the win on Friday night.”
In the late game at Dalmatinac Park newly promoted Forrestfield United meet six times Night Series winners Floreat Athena (8.30pm) Floreat stunned Inglewood United last week, a 4-1 win in Howard Tweats first game in charge and defender Andrew Scaldaferro said it was good start to their pre-season. “We didn’t have too many practice games heading into the game, so wasn’t sure what to expect to be honest,” he said. “But in the end it was a great win, I thought the boys performed really well and deserved the win.”
Floreat last won the Night Series in 2015, when they beat Cockburn on Penalties, and Scaldaferro said they are preparing for the new league season, when they play Forrestfield, but a good run in the Night Series would be good. “While the focus is on round one, we’re keen to give the night series a good go,” he explained. “I think they’ll be tough opposition, as they proved against Armadale. It’ll be a good game, and we’re looking forward to it.”
Forrestfield eased past Armadale in the opening round, when a stunning strike from Callum Dobbs won it. Midfielder Mitch Crocker said it was good to get some game time in the legs, and the win was a bonus. “The night series is purely to get match fitness for the proper season. We will be focused and organised but every minute in the legs now will count when it comes to that first game in the NPL,” he explained. “The boys had a good run out against Armadale, but there was a bit of rust in the legs, and a bit of squad shuffling, but I thought we dominated and deserved the win.”
The Hartfield Park club have won the Night Series twice in 1974 and 1978 (Ascot), and reached the Finals in the State League Night Series for the last two seasons, and Crocker said Saturday’s opponents have strong side. “We play them in the opening league game so it will be good to see we’re we are at,” he said. “They (Floreat) are a quality side, and we are well aware of the threat they can be. But we have a style of play that makes us a threat to anyone we come up against. It should be an interesting game seeing as we are both such attack minded teams.”
The next two games takes us to the Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Saturday evening, and in the early game Perth SC and Sorrento meet. (5.30pm) Perth have dominated this competition over the years winning it on 19 occasions, and in the first round overcame a very young Perth Glory side. In the game 17-year-old midfielder Kristian Santich made his debut for the senior side, and the 2017 Perth SC under 18’s fairest and best said it was a good performance. “We played very well and I was happy to be given an opportunity on the field early. It was good to go one nil up early and our second half performance was great to finish the game off. It was good to see what we have done at training coming out in the game,” he said. “Personally I’m loving the opportunity to be part of the squad this year and hopefully that can carry on into the season.”
Santich said Sorrento will be a difficult game, but they have worked hard in pre-season and are looking forward to the game. “Pre-season has been hard but all the boys have put in a strong effort which you can see coming through in the games so far, and we are looking forward to training on the astro turf facilities at Dorrien Gardens very soon as it is looking great,” he explained. “On Saturday it will be a tough game, Sorrento look like they have put a good squad together this year and from what I saw on the weekend I think it will be a tough game but I believe we have the quality and confidence to overcome them.”
Sorrento knocked out holders Bayswater City in the first round, and they will be looking to add to their single Night Series success in 1999. The penalty shoot-out win surprised many but midfielder Tim Hill said they dominated early but fitness showed late. “It was a great win for the boys, and I thought we played really well up until we scored our second goal and then fitness came in to play,” he said. “They definitely got the better of us, but we showed character and held out and we're glad to get the win in the end. It’s still pre-season, but doing well now will likely roll over into the season so we will be pushing for a good cup run.”
Hill, who joined the Gulls from Stirling in 2016 said Perth are coming off a big win, and will tough like games against them always are. “We know Perth are always tough and usually very fit so we're going to have to work just as hard to get the win again,” he said. “If we keep our shape and play how we know we can I'm confident we will advance. Like all teams we are preparing for the new NPL-WA season, and we all know come round one its full steam ahead, but honestly were just taking things as they come at the moment.”
In the late game at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium, Joondalup United take on Subiaco (7.30pm) It was Joondalup first season in the top flight last season, and they won the State League Night Series in 2016 before promotion. Like Stirling, they had the bye last week and keeper James Bosdet is was good get time into the player’s legs as they continue their pre-season. “Yes it was a good run out for the lads and a good result,” he said. “But we made it hard work for ourselves towards the end but the performance was a positive one.” “
Bosdet said they had a couple of tough games against Subiaco last season both winning one and with 15 goals between them. The Joondalup custodian said Saturday will be another tough test as they prepare for the new NPL season. “The boys are really looking forward to it, it’s another opportunity to get game time in. We had a couple of battles with them last season and we are expecting another tough match this weekend,” he said. “Pre-season has gone well, we are trying to get in to a winning mentality and everything we've done so far is all preparing us for the first game of the NPL. Armadale are a physical side so it will be a tough game but we know we have to get off to a good start in the league.”
Subiaco edged out Balcatta in the opening game, with Carlin Feely scoring the only goal, and Coach Ian McMurray said it wasn’t the best of performance, but was pleased with the endeavor of his players. “It was a close match at the end and definitely was an unpolished performance from us, but the attitude was first class and the work rate was second to none,” he explained. “We created chances but were wasteful in front of goal, but on the whole I felt we were the better team on the night and took a lot of positives from it.”
McMurray’s side finished eighth in last season’s NPL, the best in the clubs history, and he said they are looking to improve on that this season, and Saturday’s game will see how they are travelling. “I'm sure Saturday will be a tough match, and I’m sure they after last year (they) Joondalup will be looking to improve, and I’m positive Nick will have been working hard with the team to achieve this. I'm sure it will be a hard fought, physical match but one we're looking forward to,” he said. “Our pre-season is going well to date. The boys have been working extremely hard in training and are focused in improving individually and collectively and are looking to improve on last year.”
GLORY HEAD TO ADELAIDE IN ‘REBEL PLAY FOOTBALL ROUND’
Perth Glory travel to the City of Churches on Saturday to take on Adelaide United at Cooper Stadium, in ‘Rebel Play Football Round’ - Round 19 of the Hyundai A-League, looking to build on last week’s 3-1 win against Western Sydney Wanderers. A brace from Diego Castro and another to skipper Andy Keogh gave them the points, while new signings Neil Kilkenny and Dino Djulbic helped in the win, and Keogh is quietly confident that they can build upon last by securing another positive result against the Reds.
"You expect the new guys to come in and make everyone better and lift competition for places," he said. “A couple of years ago it was Shane Lowry and Krisztian Vadocz who arrived and they freshened the whole place up and Dino and Neil have done the same since they came in. They both made a difference in the game last weekend and obviously they'll be looking to back that up again against Adelaide."
The Irishman took his goal tally for the season to four last week, and he was happy to back among the goals and is hoping to continue that against The Reds. "It was a good feeling to get back on the scoresheet, especially as the chances have been pretty minimal recently," he said. "It's always nice to see them go in and they look great when they go in off the woodwork, but I wouldn't have cared if it had gone in off my backside to be honest. Adelaide are well organised and are a passing team that are very fit," he said. "We've beaten them and they've beaten us in the previous two games, so it's going to be a really competitive game over there."
The Glory welcome back Marc Warren, Alex Grant and Mitch Nichols to the squad, but will still be without Andreu (calf) and Adam Taggart (hamstring), while Joseph Mills is suspended. Castro and Joel Chianese impressed last week, while the return of Lowry, and Scott Neville moving back to right back, gave the backline some much needed reinforcements. United currently sit three places and six points above Glory, although they have actually been stronger on the road than they have at home this term. Marco Kurz's men have collected just eight points from eight games at Coopers Stadium compared to 17 from ten away games.
Adelaide United squad: GK Paul IZZO, RGK Daniel MARGUSH, 2 Michael MARRONE, 5 Taylor REGAN, 7 Ryan KITTO, 8 ISAÍAS (C), 12 Mark OCHIENG, 14 George BLACKWOOD, 16 Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 17 Nikola MILEUSNIC, 18 Lachlan BROOK, 19 Ben GARUCCIO, 22 Ersan GÜLÜM, 23 Jordan ELSEY, 24 Jordan O’DOHERTY, 25 Apostolos STAMATELOPOULOS, 29 Ryan STRAIN, 37 Daniel ADLUNG - *two to be omitted* - Ins: ISAÍAS (returns from suspension), BROOK (promoted) - Outs: Nil
Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Nick FEELY, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Marc WARREN, 4 Shane LOWRY, 6 Mitch NICHOLS, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 8 Xavi TORRES, 9 Andy KEOGH (c), 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Brandon WILSON, 17 Diego CASTRO, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 23 Scott NEVILLE, 26 Jacob ITALIANO, 29 Jeremy WALKER, 66 Dino DJULBIC, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *two to be omitted* - Ins: GRANT (returns from injury), WARREN (returns from injury), NICHOLS (returns from injury) - Outs: 16.Joseph MILLS (suspended)
BASSENDEAN AGAINST HOME OF FOOTBALL AT ASHFIELD
Bassendean council has shown the red card to the prospect of the State Government building 'Home of Football' at Ashfield Reserve. The previous council were in support of Ashfield being shortlisted as a potential site for a State Football Centre in 2016, but at Tuesday’s meeting the newly elected council voted to revoke that decision.
Councillor Melissa Mykytiuk moved for the change of heart and was backed by Mayor Renee McClennan as well as councillors Jai Wilson, Sarah Quinton and Kathryn Hamilton. Deputy Mayor Bob Brown and councillor John Gangell, who was Mayor at the time of the original proposal, supported the centre.
Cr Mykytiuk said her time spent door knocking in the lead-up to the election gave her an idea of the community attitude toward the centre. “Many residents in the vicinity of Ashfield raised it as an issue,” Mykytiuk said, citing concerns including excess traffic and insufficient parking.
Cr Hamilton believed an elite sports centre at Ashfield Reserve would discourage families from using the public space. “It’s not a charity, it’s an enterprise and if they take over and want to expand, I can’t see how that’s good for our community,” she said.
But Cr Gangell strongly supported the idea, accusing those opposed to it of being “against development in this town”. He claimed it would not be about “locking people out” of Ashfield Reserve, but bringing visitors into the town and giving Ashfield Soccer Club, which would be a co-tenant, a “decent facility”.
WELLINGTON SECURE VELAPHI
Wellington Phoenix have strengthened their A-League squad with the signing of experienced goalkeeper Tando Velaphi and New Zealand international attacker Monty Patterson. The 30-year old has signed with the club through to the end of the season and will offer competition for goalkeepers Lewis Italiano and Keegan Smith as Wellington chase a finals spot.
Velaphi, a former Perth Sc junior, has 100 A-League appearances to his name through spells with Queensland Roar, Perth Glory, Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City. He returns to the league following two season in Japan where he played for recently crowned J2 League champions Shonan Bellmare.
“Tando is a good professional,” said Wellington goalkeeping coach Fernando vaz Alves. “He’s very disciplined in his training and attitude and consistent with his performances. We’ve seen in his appearances in the A-League across the years that he’s a good shot-stopper, can play out well with his feet and is comfortable dealing with crosses – Tando will be a great asset for Phoenix moving forward.”
BEADLING LOANED TO DUNFERMLINE
Sunderland utility Tom Beadling has promised to show his passing abilities after joining Dunfermline Athletic on loan until the end of the season. The 22-year old is out of contract at seasons' end and has been allowed to leave Wearside six months early to sign for the Pars, who are managed by former Sunderland winger Allan Johnston.
"I am looking to play first-team football, so this will give me a great platform for that," said Beadling, who is comfortable operating in central defence or midfield. "A big part of my game is to get on the ball as much as possible, so hopefully the fans will get to see that from me."
Dunfermline manager Johnston told his club's website: "He has been here for a few weeks and has really impressed us. We've done our homework on him and people at Sunderland speak really highly of him. He is a good passer of the ball and has good energy, so hopefully he will bring something different to the team."
England-born Beadling grew up in Perth, where he spent time in the National Training Centre program and represented West Australia at Under-14 level. On returning to England he entered Sunderland's Academy and has become a regular member of the club’s Under-23 side. He made his first team debut while on loan to League One side Bury early last year.
JONES' FEYENOORD THROUGH TO KNVB SEMIS
Brad Jones' startling form continues with the West Australian goalkeeper making a string of saves to secure Feyenoord's progression to the KNVB Cup semi-finals. Feyenoord won the Eredivisie title last season thanks in no small part to Jones' shot-stopping talents which were again on display when Feyenoord defeated PSV Eindhoven 2-0 overnight. His form has made him first choice 'keeper for manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who recently allowed former Dutch national team goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer to be loaned to Club Brugge.
POSCOLIERO EXITS GLORY
Defender Jacob Poscoliero has left Perth Glory with immediate effect after mutually agreeing to have his contract terminated. Poscoliero, 27, joined the Glory in May from Central Coast Mariners but made only eight appearances for the club this season. He had been left out of the club's squad for their past four games.
GLORY TO GET STARTED ON NEXT SEASON’S PUZZLE
Perth Glory are poised to re-sign several key players as they start piecing together next season’s squad. Although Perth’s on-field priority is making the finals, they are already in talks with many of the 17 players off contract at the end of the season, including Spaniards Diego Castro, Xavi Torres and Andreu, striker Adam Taggart and defenders Alex Grant and Shane Lowry.
The final nine games of this season could decide some players’ futures, but Glory’s head of football, Jacob Burns, is confident the club can build well for next season. “We’re in discussions with a lot of players and we are comfortable in terms of building for next year,” Burns said. “We have some verbal agreements and we are waiting to put pen to paper. We are having ongoing discussions with some current players and discussions elsewhere.”
With so many injuries this season, Burns said it had been hard to assess some players. “It’s a tough one,” he said. “Normally this time of year you have seen a lot of games in people to be able to make your mind up, but you’ve got one eye on these guys who are coming back from injury. You are looking to see if they are going to be able to come back to full fitness and show enough quality to warrant or merit a further contract.”
“We will be looking at what players are producing now and whether they are in their comfort zone. Some get lengthy deals, rest on their laurels and don’t produce. Others rise to the occasion and you learn a lot about character when backs are to the wall.” Then there are other variables such as visa players to be considered. “For example, Andy Keogh is well down the process to become an Aussie and that frees up a visa spot,” Burns said. “There are a lot of permutations and variables to look at.”
SO FAR SO GOOD, SAYS GLORY NEWCOMER KILKENNY
New signing Neil Kilkenny got off to a winning start to life with Perth Glory, who defeated a ten-man Western Sydney Wanderers 3-1 last night. Kilkenny was rushed into the side after just one training session and it could hardly have gone better for the former Melbourne City midfielder and his new club.
"Brilliant win, that's what we needed and we look forward to the next game and hopefully we can get another win," the 32-year old said post-match. "I think the lads have got confidence. We've got some more players back on the pitch - a couple of new signings.
"It's been fantastic so far. I've only been here two days but the manager's brilliant and gives us all confidence … We maybe should have had more (goals) but we'll look forward to the next game." An incident-packed game which saw two penalties, a send-off and a disallowed goal snapped Glory's five-game losing streak.
NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES, ROUND ONE - REVIEW
Forrestfield United moved into the Quarter Finals of the NPL-WA Night Series after a 2-1 win against Armadale in the early game at Dalmatinac Park on Thursday evening. Ben Rogers opened the scoring on 54 minutes, the striker getting on the end of a great team move, before Michael Rizidis levelled for The Reds on the hour. But a stunning strike from Callum Dobbs won it eight minutes later. Head Coach Rod Banjac said it was a pleasing performance but they still have things to work on. “It was good to win the game, but we are not getting carried away we are still in pre-season, and it showed at times,” Banjac said. “But the Forrie spirt was on full show with the players matching a good Armadale side and a stunning strike from Callum and a great team goal finished off by Ben gave us the win.”
In the late game hosts Cockburn City beat ECU Joondalup 2-1. The visitors dominated most of the possession in the first half without creating any clear cut chances, and they found themselves behind on 22 minutes. Daniel Robinson lost his marker in the box and headed home Cameron Edwards’ corner. But ECU were back in the game on the stroke of half time, Jay Lang finding space and firing across Ryan Barker to level. ECU went close after the break when Gordon Smith rounded Barker, but a last ditch tackle denied the striker. Both keepers were in fantastic form Johnny Perkins and Barker produced some great saves to keep their sides in the game. But it was Cockburn who regained the lead on 72 minutes. Robinson raced down the right and pulled the ball back from the bye line and Daniel Santich’s shot deflected past Perkins. ECU pressed for the equaliser late with Adam Tong going up top, and it nearly paid off when the big defender found space in the box, but Barker produced a stunning save to deny him.
On Saturday evening holders Bayswater City were eliminated from this year’s competition losing 4-2 on penalties to Sorrento in the early game at E&D Litis Stadium. The Gulls were ahead on 10 minutes when Alex Morgan picked out Jacob Shore who it high into the net. They doubled their lead five minutes into the second half, Alex Morgan again the supply cutting the ball back to the unmarked Brad McDonald who finished. But City hit back and Gustavo Giron Marulanda fired home on the hour, and the Columbian striker levelled eight minutes later. It was all square at full time and it went to penalties. James Morgan saved Jason Mirco’s spot kick and Reece Vittiglia scored the decisive penalty to send Jamie Harnwell’s through to the next round. “It was a good hard fought win,” Alex Morgan said. “They had long periods of possession but we defended well and tried to make it hard for them to break us down. It was still pretty warm when we were playing but decent blow out and good to get 90 minutes under the belt.”
In the late game at E&D Litis Stadium Perth SC thumped a young Perth Glory side 6-0. The Azzurri were ahead after only two minutes, new signing Richard Howles crossing to Nick Ambrogio to finish. They continued to dominate Kristian Santich and Alex Sill hit the woodwork, but it was 1-0 at the break. Howles opened his account for the club heading home Matt Milenkovic on 50 minutes, and the floodgates then opened. Gustavo Catarcione made it 3-0 three minutes later and it was 4-0 when skipper Adrian Madaschi fired home from close-range after the Glory failed to clear their lines. Substitute Frank Furfaro added a fifth on 71 minutes, finishing well from Aleks Jovic’s pass, and Adam Carlino scored his first senior goal to round off a comprehensive win. It went from bad to worse for the Glory with Sam Riak sent off late.
Also on Saturday Subiaco edged out Balcatta 1-0 in the early game at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium. The only goal of the game came on 54 minutes, a corner wasn’t dealt with by the Balcatta defence and Carlin Feely finished. Balcatta pressed late looking for the equaliser but they couldn’t find one. “It was great to get a win in the first game of the year. Balcatta looked a little fitter and ended the game well, but we controlled the game for probably 75 minutes,” midfielder David Perich said. “If we had a bit more quality in the final third of the pitch we could have had a few more goals. Overall - happy we get to have another serious run out next week and hope we can keep building towards the season.”
In the late game Floreat Athena beat a ten man Inglewood United 4-1. Floreat were ahead after only five minutes, Phil Arnold getting on the end of a free kick to steer the ball past Michael Cohen. But the home side were level on 35 minutes. Kenny Keogh finishing past Jason Saldaris. But the game changed on 67 minutes when Feisal Zaw was sent off after receiving his second yellow card and Dean Evans converted from the penalty spot to put Howard Tweats side in front. It was 3-1 nine minutes from time, new signing Calvin Whitney firing home from the edge of the box, before Ludovic Boi put the icing on the cake drilling home a long-range effort to give Floreat a 4-1 win. “I thought we dominated from start to finish and were really deserving in our 4-1 win,” midfielder Evans said. “Hopefully we can go on with it next week in the Quarter Finals.”
The draw for the Quarter Finals was made today at Football West Headquarters and the fixtures are as follows: Friday Feb 2 – Cockburn City v Stirling Lions 6.30, Floreat Athena v Forrestfield United 8.30pm - Both games at Dalmatinac Park - Saturday Feb 3 – Perth SC v Sorrento 5.30pm, Subiaco v Joondalup United 7.30pm - Both games at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium
KILKENNY HELPS END GLORY’S DROUGHT
New signing Neil Kilkenny and the returning Dino Djulbic have helped Perth Glory end a five game losing streak after a 3-1 win against a ten man Western Sydney Wanderers at nib Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Diego Castro gave the Glory lead from the penalty spot, before Oriol Riera levelled, also from 12-yards, before a stunning free kick from Castro and a stunner from Andy Keogh wrapped up the points.
Glory defender Joe Mills said it was good to get back to winning ways. “It was a great performance tonight and a great way to bounce back,” the Englishman said. “With the new players coming in they showed their qualities and I thought we grew as a team in the game and when we needed to dig it out we dug it out so a great win. We want to play finals and hopefully we can kick on from tonight.”
The VAR rose it’s ugly head again, and this time it went in Glory’s favour as Wanderers midfielder Keanu Baccus was sent off on the advice of the video assistant referee for pulling back Joel Chianese when clean through on goal in the sixth minute, but the Wanderers felt Glory goalkeeper Liam Reddy should also have received a red card when he upended Riera in a one-on-one situation, denying the Spaniard a clear goal-scoring opportunity.
"The referee explained to me it wasn't a football challenge, which is why he gave [Baccus] a red card," Wanderers defender Brendan Hamill said. "They looked on the VAR and obviously the rule was changed. We got the double punishment when we got the exact same thing with us with Reddy and a yellow card for what was deemed a football challenge. Unfortunately we had to play 85 minutes with a man down and it makes it tough. We can't change it, we have to deal with it."
The Glory were on the front foot from the first whistle and they were ahead on seven minutes. Castro sent a beautiful through ball in the path of Joel Chianese, who looked to be pulled back by Baccus, but referee Jonathan Berreiro initially waved the shouts for a spot-kick away, but after consulting with the VAR, changed his decision and issued a straight red to the Western Sydney defender. Castro converting the resulting penalty to give the home side a perfect start.
It looked like the Glory had doubled their advantage moments later, Chris Harold crossing to Chianese at the back post, but after awarding the goal VAR ruled he had strayed offside, so it was overturned. It looked like the home side would run away with the game, and Xavi Torres saw his header cleared off the line, but it was the 10 man Wanderers were levelled.
A ball over the top sent Riera clear and he was brought down by Reedy, and the referee pointed to the spot and the Glory custodian was lucky to only get a yellow card. The Spanish striker picked himself up to send Reedy the wrong way to draw the Wanderers level. But Glory restored their lead on 40 minutes, and what a goal it was. Chianese was brought down by Hamill and Castro curled home a superb free kick from 20 yards, giving Vedran Janjetovic no chance. They weren’t finished there and two minutes later it was 3-1.
Kilkenny played a superb ball into Castro who picked out Keogh and the Irish striker hammered it home to send Glory to the sheds leading 3-1. The Wanderers almost found a way back into the game on 57 minutes. Former Glory defender Josh Risdon crossed from the right and new recruit Marcelo Carrusca thundered a volley against the base of the post. Despite that scare Glory continued to dictate terms and Castro picked out Harold on the right of the penalty area, but his shot from the angle
Having survived that scare, Glory pressed hard to extend their lead, with Harold almost making it four from a tough angle on the right-side of the box after being teed up by Keogh, but Janjetovic got down well to save. Then the Wanderers keeper did well to deny substitute Jacob Italiano who was found by Harold’s cut-back, but the damage had been done earlier and a vital three points for Kenny Lowe’s side.
GLORY EDGED OUT IN SEVEN GOAL THRILLER
Perth Glory’s Westfield W-League season has come to end on a disappointing note going down 4-3 to Western Sydney Wanderers at nib Stadium on Sunday evening. Going into the game a win was vital to keep their slight top four hopes alive but Bobby Despotovski’s conceding two early goals. But they mounted an inspired comeback to hit the front with just 12 minutes remaining, before the Wanderers spoiled the party by scoring twice right at the death to win it front of 1,852 supporters. Rachel Lowe and Ellie Brush gave the visitors a great start scoring early, but a brace from Sam Kerr and another to Rachel Hill saw the Glory hit the front, but late goals from Olivia Price and Erica Halloway gave them all three points.
Perth assistant-coach Jessine Bonzas said it was a disappointing way for the team to end what had been an inconsistent season. “We’re still proud that they fought back from 2-0 down to get their nose in front, but obviously we just couldn’t finish it off,” she told the Glory website.” “We went out there and took risks in the second half and scored some good goals, but it wasn’t enough tonight. Until that final whistle goes, you’ve got to take care of the game. There are definitely some lessons for us to learn from this.”
The Wanderers made the best possible start with Lowe’s long-range strike giving them a second minute lead. Brush doubled Western Sydney’s lead three minutes later, reacting quickest on a spill by Glory goalkeeper Melissa Maizels during an attempted clearance. Despite the set-back, Glory began to settle with Raquel Rodriguez and Nikki Stanton taking control of the midfield, but they found Wanderers keeper Jada Mathyssen-Whyman in great form. The Wanderers custodian saving well to deny Nicola Bolger and Hill, before Rodriguez hit the woodwork.
After the break Mathyssen-Whyman was at it again, saving well to thwart Stanton, before Rodriguez again hit the woodwork. But on 51 minutes the Glory pulled one back, Kerr was sent in to goal by Bolger and she made no mistake. Glory restored parity on the hour, and it was Kerr again on target after neat link up play with Marianna Tabain. Then on 75 minutes the come-back was completed, Kerr flicked the ball on and Hill raced clear and finished clinically past Mathyssen-Whyman.
But the visitors weren’t done with referee Casey Reibelt awarded a penalty to the Wanderers, after Kim Carroll brought down Lee Falkon on the edge of the box, only for Maizels to pull off a brilliant save to keep out Brush's subsequent spot-kick. But two minutes from time Wanderers levelled. A deflected shot from substitute Olivia Price made it 3-3 and in stoppage time a strike from Halloway consigned the home team to a heartbreaking defeat.
GLORY HEAD HOME WITH THE VICTORY
Perth Glory have ended their Foxtel Y-League season with a 3-1 win against Melbourne Victory at the Epping Stadium on Sunday morning. Yagoub Mustafa put them ahead on 35 minutes, before Victory defender Cameron McGilp turned in Ollie Annis’ cross for own goal to double their advantage. The home side pulled one back two minutes later with a penalty from Christian Theoharous, but Annis made sure of the points curling home from corner 17 minutes from time.
“We fought really hard and all the hard work paid off. It’s was really hot but we’re used to the heat so it was easier for us to play cause they were struggling,” striker Mustafa told the Glory website. “But overall it was a great result, and I’m proud of the boys for putting in a good shift and ending the season with 3-1 win.”
The home side went close early, but Nicholas Sette and Theoharous unable to beat Jackson Lee and on 35 minutes the Glory showed them how to do it. Walter Scott picked out Daniel Stynes in the middle of the park and he laid into the path of Mustafa who eased past a couple of defenders before finishing clinically from the edge of the penalty area. Glory doubled their lead two minutes later. A switch of play by Henry Hore sent Stynes down the flank he squared the ball to Annis, whose shot deflected off the unfortunate McGilp, giving Matthew Sutton no chance in the Victory goal.
But two minutes later the Victory were back in the game, Theoharous fell under the challenge of Luke Bodnar and the referee pointed to the spot. Theoharous picked himself up to score from the resulting penalty. After half time the Glory continued to take the game to their hosts and Victory keeper Sutton produced a couple of fine saves to deny them going further ahead.
Second half substitute Trent Ostler almost made an immediate impact on the hour, he eased past his marker on the right and whipped in a dangerous cross to Chok Dau, but he couldn’t beat Sutton. But on 75 minutes the Glory scored the decisive third goal. Annis’ in-swinging corner flew over Sutton to seal a 3-1 win and end their Foxtel Y-League season on a high.
NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES, ROUND ONE - PREVIEW
The 2018 NPL-WA Night Series kicks off this weekend with games tonight at Dalmatinac Park and Saturday at E&D Litis Stadium and Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium. In the first game at Dalmatinac Park tonight newly promoted Forrestfield United take on Armadale (6.30pm) United midfielder Mitch Crocker said the pre-season has gone well at Hartfield Park, as they prepare for their maiden season in the NPL. “It’s going according to plan and we're looking strong,’ he said. “Coaches Rod Banjac and Terry Brown have it all mapped out and by the time the season rolls around we should be 100%.’ Crocker said tonight’s opponents were good last season and it will be a tough game first up. “They (Armadale) showed last year that they're not going to be the roll overs anymore and they played some great stuff last season,” he said. “Anyone we come up against this year is going to be tough because of where we have come from and it should be interesting on Thursday night to see what they throw at us.”
In the late game hosts Cockburn City take on ECU Joondalup (8.30pm) New ECU defender Shane Cassidy said he is looking forward to getting back on the park after a tough pre-season. “The pre-season has been great, the coaching staff have put on a lot of different sessions to get us ready for the night series and new season from short and sharp drills to endurance runs,” he explained. “It’s been tough but enjoyable with a new group of player all settled in well with the team, and it helps when all the lads have been very welcoming, so they made it easy for us to gel together quick.” Cassidy said Cockburn will be tough but the players are looking forward to the challenge. “It’s the start of the season really for us we will be putting in everything to get the job done on Thursday evening,” he said. “It won’t be easy because they are a well organised and a good footballing team, so all the boys know it’s a knockout competition, but from what I have seen from this ECU team in pre-season I’m sure if everyone does there job we will come back with result we want.”
On Saturday afternoon Night Series holders Bayswater City take on Sorrento at E&D Litis Stadium (5.30pm) Sorrento Head Coach Jamie Harnwell said with their home ground (Percy Doyle Reserve) being renovated, it’s hampered their pre-season. “It’s been a bit more difficult for us this year. The recent renovations at the club rooms have meant we have had to train away from Percy Doyle for the majority of the time,” he explained. “In saying that the players have been in good spirits and have been working hard to get to full fitness for the Night Series.” Sorrento have had some good tussles with City in recent years, and Harnwell said Saturday will be no different. “We are coming in to the game a little underdone. Given the volume of games we played last year we had a number of players we had to ease into pre-season so we certainly aren’t at our peak fitness yet,” he said. “However, a game against Bayswater is always a game the players look forward to and want to win and this will be no different once we are out there. I’m sure Chris will have had similar issues through his squad so it will be a competitive game as usual.”
In the late game at E&D Litis Stadium Perth Soccer club take on Perth Glory. (7.30pm) It is a busy weekend for the Glory, also in action on the road at Melbourne Victory in the Foxtel Y-League, but Coach John Gibson said they have a lengthy squad. “Obviously we’ve a number of players in our Foxtel Y-League squad plus integrating our younger group,” he told the Perth Glory website. “We’ve been pretty happy the way they have performed in the trial games to date - exposure to senior football for many of them has been invaluable.” Gibson said Perth SC will be a good challenge, but he said they are relishing the opportunity. “It’s a knock-out competition and a trophy to play for, so we will be doing all we can to perform to our maximum and move through to the next round,” he said. “Perth SC finished third in the table last season, and lost to Champions Bayswater in the Top Four Finals, and they always have a strong squad, so we know we will be in for a tough game. Our plan will be consistent and focus on process oriented approach - leading to a strong performance.”
In the early game at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium Balcatta meet Balcatta. (5.30pm) Balcatta have a new coach with Goran Stajic taking over from Salv Todaro, and vice-captain Jonathan Corness said the new look squad is coming together nicely. “We've been working since November to really improve the standard this year, the first team and under 20's have been training together so we can close the gap, which will be beneficial for the club in the long run,” he explained. “Goran and Dimitri have a real professional approach to things here at Balcatta, we're trying to implement a certain style of play which we hope will be successful to turn things around from last year.” The defender said Subiaco were the big improvers last season, but isn’t sure how they have recruited this season. “I don't really know what to expect from Subiaco to be honest, we know they've improved a lot over the past 12 months,” Corness said. “It's going to be a physical battle no doubt, we've got everything to prove this year and the night series will be a good indicator of where we're at.”
In the late game Inglewood United host Floreat Athena (7.30pm). It’s been a frustrating time for Floreat midfielder Jon Stynes, who will miss the Night Series after suffering an injury. “Unfortunately I’ve been out injured for past five months and won’t be playing in the night series,” he said. “But from what I’ve seen of the boys training has been really good and they all want to put a really strong performance in the night series to be in the staring 11 come the opening game of the season. We’ve had some good inclusions in certain areas so hopefully we use the night series to understand how the team works with the new players, and the game against Inglewood will show us were we are at.” There is a new coach at Athena with Howard Tweats replacing Glen Grostate and Stynes said he has good to work with. “Howard has been great so far, he kept in close contact with the lads in the off season and has organised a lot for me personally to make sure I am back fit as soon as possible,” he said. “He has a lot of experience behind him, albeit in England, but he has shown he knows how to manage the players and also has some ideas to incorporate into our team to make us even better.” Stirling Lions and Joondalup United have the bye.
GLORY FINALS HOPES ON THE LINE
Perth Glory top four final hopes go on the line on Sunday evening when they host Western Sydney Wanderers at nib Stadium (Kick off at 5.30pm) New signings Dino Djulbic and Neil Kilkenny are both expected to feature in the Round 18 clash, as the Glory look to end a five game losing streak. Djulbic has trained with his new teammates all week, while Kilkenny is set to join in Friday’s session having flown in from Melbourne late on Wednesday.
But the Glory are still without several first-team regulars due to injury, Head Coach Kenny Lowe feels that the arrival of the new duo has given the rest of the squad a lift. “We’re delighted to have brought two players of Dino and Neil’s quality on board, and Dino has already been buzzing around the place as he always does,” he said. “Both of them are out-and-out winners with bags of experience and it’s great to have them in the group. As well as the quality they bring, they also bring an attitude to the game that is a great example for our younger players as they come through.”
Lowe’s selection options have been further boosted by the return of Brandon Wilson who has been away on international duty with Australia Under-23s in China. Glory will move level on points with sixth-placed Wanderers should they manage to secure a fourth home win of the season. Josep Gombau’s side have been draw specialists on the road this term, sharing the spoils five times in nine away games, while also picking up wins at Central Coast and Brisbane.
Their recent record at nib Stadium is a poor one, however, as they have failed to win any of the last five meetings with Glory here in the West. Ahead of Sunday's clash, Wanderers have been bolstered by the return from suspension of Brendan Hamill and he could line up alongside three former Glory players in the form of defensive trio Jack Clisby, Josh Risdon and Michael Thwaite.
Perth Glory Squad: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Nick FEELY, 3 Marc WARREN, 4 Shane LOWRY, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 8 Xavi TORRES, 9 Andy KEOGH (c), 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Joseph MILLS, 17 Diego CASTRO, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 23 Scott NEVILLE, 24 Callum TIMMINS, 26 Jacob ITALIANO, 29 Jeremy WALKER, 37 Walter SCOTT, 66 Dino DJULBIC, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *three to be omitted* - Ins: WILSON (returns from international duty), DJULBIC (new signing), KILKENNY (new signing) - Outs: Nil
Western Sydney Wanderers FC Squad: GK Vedran JANJETOVIC, RGK Nick SUMAN, 3 Jack CLISBY, 4 Josh RISDON, 5 Brendan HAMILL, 6 Marcelo CARRUSCA, 7 Steve LUSTICA, 8 Roly BONEVACIA, 9 Oriol RIERA, 11 Brendon SANTALAB, 15 Kearyn BACCUS, 16 Jaushua SOTIRIO, 19 Mark BRIDGE, 22 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 24 Raúl LLORENTE, 25 Chris HERD, 33 Michael THWAITE, 42 Keanu BACCUS - *two to be omitted* - Ins: HAMILL (returns from suspension), SOTIRIO (promoted), ASPROPOTAMITIS (returns from international duty), BACCUS (returns from international duty) - Outs: 23.Lachlan SCOTT (not selected), 35.Tass MOURDOUKOUTAS (not selected)
GLORY GO INTO FINAL ROUND WITH SLIM FINAL CHANCES
In their final game of the regular Westfield W-League season, Bobby Despotovski's side take on the 8th-placed Western Sydney Wanderers at nib Stadium on Sunday (kick off at 8.15pm). The game is double header with the A-League side, and after last week's thrilling 4-4 draw with Canberra United in Bunbury, which was a memorable occasion, the result severely dented Glory's finals hopes. Perth remains a mathematical chance of reaching the top four, but they are now relying upon other results around the league this weekend going in their favour.
Despite the harsh reality, the team is determined to finish the season on a high-note and will be giving everything to keep their slender chance alive in front of the home crowd. Western Sydney, meanwhile, are out of contention for the finals but will be hoping to avoid the wooden spoon with a positive result.
In what has been another stellar campaign for the trailblazing Glory skipper Sam Kerr, with her hat-trick on Sunday earning her yet another coveted accolade. The well-taken treble against Canberra means that Kerr is now the club's all-time record goalscorer having overtaken her former striker partner, Kate Gill.
Last time we met - It was a good old-fashioned arm-wrestle the last time the two sides faced each other at Marconi Stadium, with Kerr's 50th-minute-strike enough to secure a hard-fought win for Glory. The captain was able to coolly round an onrushing Jada Whyman before slotting home after the Wanderers had squandered a number of golden chances in the first-half.
GLORY RECRUIT KILKENNY TARGETS FINALS
Perth Glory have confirmed the signing of Melbourne City midfielder Neil Kilkenny until the end of the season. Kilkenny is the second signing in the space of a new days, after fellow former Socceroo Dino Djulbic, as the A-League club attempts to breathe new life into its flagging season.
On the outer at Melbourne, 32-year old Kilkenny was keen for a move after making just three appearances for a total of 70 minutes this season. He flew into Perth on Wednesday evening and said he was eager to get back into action and help the strugglers, currently lagging in ninth spot on the ladder.
"I'm excited to have joined the club and am really keen to make the most of this opportunity," Kilkenny said. "We have a strong squad here and I'm looking forward to doing my bit to help drive us into the finals. That's the aim and I'm confident that we can achieve it."
Glory's Head of Football, Jacob Burns, believes Kilkenny will prove an excellent addition to the squad. "Neil has a wealth of experience and a winning mentality which will prove hugely beneficial for the whole playing group," Burns said. "He will have a vital role to play in the midfield engine-room and can also slot in at centre-back if required."
Described by Glory as "versatile, industrious and uncompromising," Kilkenny has spent most of his career in England where, after coming through the youth ranks at Arsenal, he played for Oldham Athletic, Birmingham City, Leeds United, Bristol City and Preston North End.
Capped 14 by Australia, he made over 400 first team appearances in Britain before joining Melbourne City in 2016. He claimed their Player of the Year and Fans' Player of the Year awards at the end of his first season. Kilkenny gained 29 outings in total for Melbourne.
GLORY BRING BACK EDGE TO DEFENCE WITH NEW SIGNINGS
Former Perth Glory defender Chris Coyne believes the recruitment of Dino Djulbic and Neil Kilkenny will bring a much-needed hard edge to the A-League side. Both are expected to be in the squad for Sunday’s home clash with Western Sydney Wanderers, with central defender Djulbic in a starting role and Kilkenny on the bench.
Coyne said Glory needed to get back to basics and could even introduce a five-man wall at the back. “You set your stall out and say ‘right, we are going to be hard to beat’,” the former Socceroo said. “You say you are not going to concede a goal today and if you can nick one on the counter that’s even better.”
“You can still play an expansive style of football and press numbers forward, but if you go into five at the back it means you are going to be a lot harder to score against. Who cares if it looks horrible. If they get a nil-nil draw on Sunday they can build on something, they can build belief, that’s the first stepping stone. Then, when they get some bodies back from injury, they can start picking up three points.”
SAM KERR ANNOUNCED ‘YOUNG AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR’
Matildas striker Samantha Kerr now has another award to her name, being recognised as Young Australian of the Year for 2018. Kerr was honoured alongside the Australian of the Year, quantum physicist Professor Michelle Yvonne Simmons, Sydney maths teacher Eddie Woo, who was named Australia's Local Hero for 2018, and biophysicist Graham Farquhar, who was named the Senior Australian of the Year.
Last year, Kerr was the first Australian woman to be named a finalist for FIFA Female Player of the Year, after already claiming awards as the Australian Sports Woman of the Year, the ABC Sports Personality of the Year, the MVP of the USA National League, the Julie Dolan Medal for Australia's W-League and Asian Women's Footballer of the Year. Now, Kerr's on-field achievements and work advocating for women's sport have been recognised on a national scale.
At the age of 24, Kerr is one of the best female soccer players in the world and continues to play for the Matildas after her first game at just 15 years old. The football star has also held contracts with Sydney FC, Perth Glory and is in her fifth season in America's National Women's Soccer League. But Kerr's work off the field was a big part of why she has now been awarded the title of Young Australian of the Year.
"It's great to see women's sports teams doing so well in Australia," Kerr said in accepting her latest accolade. "Women's AFL is growing, women's NRL is starting to build. The profile of women's cricket continues to grow and of course, the recent achievements of the Matildas on the world stage has not only brought fans to international fixtures but has also had a positive affect on the attendance throughout the W-League. As a female athlete, this makes me extremely proud to be Australian."
GLORY ADD DUO
Perth Glory have made their second signing of the week with experienced Socceroos midfielder Neil Kilkenny putting pen to paper following Dino Djulbic’s signing earlier in the week. The 32-year-old has spent almost his entire career to date in England where, after coming through the youth ranks at Arsenal played for Oldham Athletic (on loan), Birmingham City, Leeds United, Bristol City and Preston North End.
He made a total of almost 350 first-team appearances in British football before joining Melbourne City in 2016 and claiming their Player of the Year and Fans' Player of the Year awards at the end of his first season with the club. At international level, meanwhile, he currently has 14 Socceroos caps to his name and featured in the 2011 Asian Cup Final against Japan.
Having flown into Perth on Wednesday evening, the man who was born in Enfield, England cannot wait to get back into action. "I'm excited to have joined the club and am really keen to make the most of this opportunity," he said. "We have a strong squad here and I'm looking forward to doing my bit to help drive us into the finals. That's the aim and I'm confident that we can achieve it."
Glory's Head of Football, Jacob Burns, believes that Kilkenny will prove an excellent addition to the squad. "Neil has a wealth of experience and a winning mentality which will prove hugely beneficial for the whole playing group," he said. "He will have a vital role to play in the midfield engine-room and can also slot in at centre-back if required which is another major plus. A number of other clubs both in Australia and overseas were keen to sign him, so we're delighted that we managed to beat off the competition and get him on board."
Dino Djulbic is set for a third spell with Glory after signing a deal with the club that runs through to the end of the 2018/19 Hyundai A-League season. The Perth-raised defender originally joined in 2007 and featured for two seasons before embarking upon a global football journey that featured stints in Germany, China, UAE and also with the now-defunct Gold Coast United.
He returned to Glory in 2014 and spent a further three campaigns with the club, during which time he took his tally of league appearances in purple to 85. The 34-year-old spent last season playing for Malaysian outfit Felda United before joining Melbourne Victory on a short-term injury-replacement contract earlier this month. A huge fans' favourite throughout his long association with the club, Djulbic is thrilled to be back on familiar ground.
"It's fantastic to be back for a third spell at Glory," he said. "I have a long history and great connection with the club and have had loads of people welcoming me back which has been great. I just can't wait to get back into it and hopefully do my bit to help drive us into the finals." Those sentiments were echoed by Glory's Head of Football, Jacob Burns. "Dino is a local WA boy who has been a rock for us in the past and we’re delighted to welcome him back on board," he said. “He's a fantastic character on and off the field who will add great leadership and experience to the group.”
HIGGINS BACK AT ECU JOONDALUP (courtesy www.ecujoondalup.com.au)
Former Perth Glory and Portsmouth defender Andy Higgins has re-signed for ECU Joondalup for season 2018. The 24-year-old took a year away from the game and travelled, and he said he’s chopping at the bit to get back into it.
“Good to be back and can’t wait for the season to start,” he said. “I went on a couple of holidays - traveled around Japan and went to Bali and down south a few times and was pretty full on at work and going to the gym a lot so not too much different.,” he said.
“To be honest I didn’t really miss it for the first six months was actually good to get away for a bit but after that I did start to get the bug back and want to play after watching the boys play. I’m feeling good my precious back problems have been fixed and I’m feeling fitter than I have ever before as the last few years I haven’t had a proper pre-season.”
The last goal the defender scored in the NPL was his last minute in-swinging corner against Inglewood United in the final regular season game in 2016, but that high was proceeded with the low, being knocked out in the Preliminary Final, and Higgins said that did hurt the whole club. “We had been on a great run and it was hard for us all, but it was anyone’s game when it came to penalties especially as we both played games that went to extra time the weekend before,” Higgins explained.
“But it was hard to take after going on such a strong run for the second half of the season, so we will be looking for a similar run this season. The new squad is looking good we have a lot of depth this season which we have lacked a lot over the years which makes for healthy competition to fight for a spot in the team. We go in to tonight’s Night Series game with confidence, and I don’t see why we can’t get the win and go far in the night series.”
DUNN TO MISS NIGHT SERIES OPENER (courtesy inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)
Goalkeeper Alex Dunn has revealed he will miss Inglewood United’s opening game of the Night Series. The 31-year old shot-stopper is making a speedy recovery following off-season knee surgery but has declared himself unavailable for Saturday evening’s fixture with Floreat Athena at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium.
“It’s a shame to miss the first game of the season, I don’t think I’ve missed a start of a season for as long as I can remember,” Dunn explained. “I’m really disappointed to be missing out this weekend. I’m itching to get going again but I’m looking at the bigger picture and to get myself ready for game one of the season proper.”
“I had a small tear in my meniscus which I had been carrying for a while. I hadn’t had too many issues with it until last season when I disrupted it and for a few moths it caused me a bit of pain. The operation was stitch the meniscus back on rather than a clean out, which will allow me to have a healthier knee after my playing days.”
Dunn, who has made 63 appearances since joining Inglewood in September 2015, is pleased with how his rehabilitation is progressing. “I haven’t had any setbacks, which I am positive about, and the knee is getting stronger every day,” he said. “The recovery period for is between three and four months, which has gone pretty quick in the off-season.”
“I lost a couple of centimetres of muscle on the leg so I’ve just been concentrating on getting that back. This week is four months post-operation, and I’ll be getting back into goalkeeper specific drills and training with the main bunch of lads which is exciting. And If we progress to the next round of the Night Series I’ll be putting my hand up to play.”
MERIGAN PROUD TO LEAD FORRESTFIELD INTO THE NPL (courtesy www.fusc.org.au)
Forrestfield United skipper Liam Merigan was a wanted man after last season, and a number of NPL clubs were eying the talented midfielder and leader, but he said to win promotion was what the club were aiming for, and he’s proud to lead them into the new season. “I am very fortunate to have the responsibility as a leader at FUSC, I take the role very seriously and I’m looking to assist the squad where ever possible,” he explained.
“The assistance from other squad leaders is always valuable and we are very fortunate with the squad in general. All players are at the club for the right reasons and have the correct attitude in working together for a common goal, placing others before themselves, which definitely makes my job easier when leading the team. I also think that we know our style of play so well so instructions are easily understood by everyone and each player knows their role.”
With promotion to the top flight in WA Football, brings its own pressures, but Merigan said the whole club can’t wait for the season to start. “Excited for the season ahead, is an understatement,” he said. “We are under no illusions that we are now in the top league playing against the best teams in the state and will be facing some very tough challenges, however it’s a challenge the entire club is excited to face and put on show what FUSC has to offer.
“The win against Mandurah was the perfect reward for years of hard work on and off the field. To win so convincingly at home under lights was a fantastic way to thank the home support and obviously placed us with a clear advantage for the second game. The return leg was a nervy affair at times but the composure shown in the second half was a great response from the squad and thankfully we got the job done.”
Forrie Head Coach Rod Banjac said his skipper led by example last season. “Liam is an ultimate professional and a perfectionist, a great leader on and of the park. He leads by example and provides support to the team mates whenever required, but is a fierce competitor and has a high level of expectation from himself as well as his team mates,” he explained.
“He had a fantastic season last year and managed to lead by example while facing some tough personal challenges. His pain threshold is unbelievable as he took part in every single game of the season. This season we have a much more balanced squad which will take the pressure off him and allow him plenty opportunities to provide the cutting edge.”
Merigan said the pre-season has been positive and with new additions to the squad they are quietly confident they can compete in the NPL. “We know the challenges we will face this year will be like no other, having said that we are also very confident in our style of play. We have played some good football to date and we will be working very hard to make sure that improves further. We will thrive on that underdog status and really be looking to show the NPL what FUSC has to offer,” he said.
“Pre-season is all going to plan, the process has been planned out in detail to allow for the entire squad to be prepared for the beginning of the season proper. Lead up games have been used purely as conditioning games for minutes in the legs. Training has been very professional with a large emphasis placed on making sure the squad from 18’s through to the first team are best prepared mentally and physically.
“The new lads have settled in very nicely so far, a lot of time was spent before having new players be a part of the squad. As mentioned before the squad has a great attitude and mindset so the coaching staff and leadership group are very conscious of who joins the squad. As a result the new additions have adjusted easily and join the squad as if they have been there for years.”
The talented midfielder said the preparation of the Coaching staff has left no stone unturned, and he said Banjac needs praise for the work he has done to get the club where it is today. “Rod’s work at the club is unbelievable. For Forrestfield to be in the situation they are now, given their recent history of no more than 4/5 years ago is amazing,” Merigan said.
“He works tirelessly and ensures that every player who crosses his path leaves a better player, with a greater understanding for the game and a love for football. He expects a lot of the squad, as he knows what each player is capable of, but the players respond well and do not become complacent under his watch. He has a clear philosophy which is visible throughout the club and his attention to detail allows the first team squad in particular to play such a good brand of football.”
KILKENNY AND DJULBIC ON GLORY’S DEFENSIVE RADAR
Desperate to tighten the worst defence in the A-League, Perth Glory are in talks with former Socceroo Neil Kilkenny and former player Dino Djulbic. Glory have lost five games in succession for the first time in five years and coach Kenny Lowe needs an urgent injection of resilience in a back line that has so far leaked 36 goals.
Midfielder Kilkenny is reportedly unhappy with limited game time at Melbourne City and Djulbic is on a short-term injury replacement contract at Melbourne Victory. Kilkenny went through the Arsenal youth system and played for Oldham, Birmingham, Leeds, Bristol and Preston, making over 300 appearances in a 12-year career in England. He joined City in 2016 and has made 14 appearances for Australia.
Central defender Djulbic was not happy when cut adrift by Glory at the end of last season, but is eyeing a return to the club. He signed with Victory earlier this month as an injury replacement following a spell with Malaysian club Felda United. If the deal is struck it would be the former Socceroo’s third spell with Glory, where he’s made 97 appearances already.
KERR SWITCHES FROM SKY BLUE TO RED STARS
Matildas superstar striker Sam Kerr has been traded from Sky Blue FC to the Chicago Red Stars in a National Women's Soccer League draft-day deal. The 24-year old set a new all-time goalscoring record in the competition last year but has been moved on by her New Jersey-based club as part of a blockbuster three-team trade.
The trade also sends Carli Lloyd, a two-time FIFA world player of the year, and US representative Christen Press to new clubs, along with other player and draft pick exchanges. The deal is yet to be officially confirmed because not all the players involved have been informed yet. Kerr, who is playing for Perth Glory Women, has been in hot goal-scoring form at both domestic and international level.
DAVIES: DECISION TO PLAY FOR MALAYSIA HAS PAID OFF
Qualifying for the quarter-finals of the AFC Under-23 Championship means a lot to Matthew Davies, who gave up his Australian citizenship to represent Malaysia. The Perth-born defender was granted citizenship in 2015 and the move, he feels, has paid off following Malaysia’s stunning run in China.
Davies said he was hoping for a clash against Australia in the last eight. “It did not materialise as Australia were ousted in the group stage. I am a bit disappointed as I was hoping to face them,” said Davies. “It does not matter as South Korea are equally strong. I made the right decision to play for Malaysia.”
Davies, captain of Malaysian club Pahang FC, is will give everything then his nation take on South Korea today for a place in the semi-finals, where the victors will meet Uzbekistan. “Korea will be a tough opponent,” he commented. “Our goal was to make the quarter-finals here and now that we have achieved it, we will continue with our good form.”
LOWE NOT FEELING HEAT AFTER FIVE STRAIGHT LOSSES
Five consecutive A-League defeats haven't dulled Kenny Lowe's sharp wit. The Perth Glory coach was at his effervescent best following his side's spirited 3-2 loss at Brisbane Roar last night, saying he did not fear for his job and is not feeling any pressure.
Lowe, the competition's one-liner king, threw up one for the ages as he rued a trio of costly defensive lapses in Brisbane, including their failure to nullify Italian veteran Massimo Maccarone's movement in the lead-up to Brisbane's match-winning goal.
"Maccarone, he's slower than a week in jail sometimes but at the end of the day, he's as cute as a box of monkeys and he'll pull off your shoulders and pull between you," Lowe said. "What did he do for the third goal? Everything we spoke about in our video analysis."
It was typical Lowe as he tried to bring light to a situation that has Glory fans feeling dark and gloomy. The injury-hit side have slumped to eighth on the A-League ladder and have conceded a whopping 17 goals across their last five outings.
However, Lowe said he was not worried about his future at the club. "Obviously, you don't want to lose," he said. "But you look at spirit, you look at other things - there's other factors in there. We're still together, we're still positive and we'll roll to the next game with the same attitude."
"No different - work our socks off, be genuine, be honest. There was some quality out there today, and we scored good goals and had good chances." Lowe remains adamant he still has the full support of Glory owner Tony Sage, who travelled to Brisbane for the match.
HERD REVEALS THE EPL HARD KNOCKS THAT GAVE HIM TOUGHNESS TO BE A FOOTBALLER (by Tom Smithies, the Daily Telegraph)
On a stinking hot day in Rooty Hill, Chris Herd has just finished a lengthy training session, but looks like he could happily go through another. There’s a feeling he doesn’t want to waste a moment, and wants to appreciate each one too. At 28 he has been a professional footballer for almost half his life, but this career is still to fully ignite despite the fact it began in the English Premier League.
Injuries, changes of coach and off-field issues have been obstacles along the way, but Herd feels a new maturity, not least from being a father twice over. In the next fortnight the Western Sydney Wanderers midfielder’s wife Amii and their two children will arrive from the UK finally, eight weeks after the second, Hunter, was born.
But Herd can also see the benefit now of some of the experiences he went through as a teenager at Aston Villa, signing as an apprentice under the UK’s old Youth training Scheme. “From when I was a youngster the game has changed a lot,” he said. “That’s all gone out of football, things like cleaning the dressing rooms, cleaning the stands, polishing the manager’s shoes.”
“I didn’t mind it - it gives you a grounding and shapes you up as a better person. It teaches you a lot of respect around the place. You have to earn the right to be in each changing room as you go up the ladder. It was a good system, but things evolve. It makes you a better pro because you respect everything - when you get there you value things.”
Perspective now also comes from the time spent on the sidelines, whether that was from two serious knee injuries or just falling out of favour. “Opinions are a big thing in football, with a change of manager you can be in or out,” he said. “I’ve not played as many games as I’d like, despite the fact I’ve been a professional since I was 15. I still feel I have a long time left in the game.”
“I’ve had a few injuries, but touch wood I’ve been fit for a while. That’s not in my mind anymore. I’m coming up to 29 this year, and it hardens you up mentally. You go through bad days, but it’s about coming through as a stronger person. Every football has a mental toughness about them. You have to, to be able to make it in football. If you’re mentally weak you get left behind.”
Even so, there are things that are hard to bear, and any parent will testify to the difficulty of being separated from their children. Herd had a brief return to England to be at the birth of Hunter, and now is counting the hours until they arrive in Australia. “It’s been tough but I have a great family - a great wife and two beautiful kids,” he said.
“They should be here in a couple of weeks. I think they’ll love it over here. We had to wait for our son to have his injections and get his passport. Once he’s all good as far as the doc is concerned they’ll be on the first plane over. You have to grow up fast when you have a kid, you’re a role model to them.”
HUGE GAME FOR GLORY IN BRISBANE
After four consecutive defeats in the Hyundai A-League, tonight’s game at Suncorp Stadium against Brisbane Roar is vital and a must win, and the injury hit Glory squad will have to be at their best to bring home the three points.
Kenny Lowe’s side have good memories from their last visit to the venue, when Andy Keogh and Diego Castro cancelled out Massimo Maccarone's first-half opener to give the Glory a 2-1 win, their last three points in the competition. But despite their recent poor form Lowe said they is a focused and upbeat e mood among the Glory squad heading into the game and he is quietly confident that his charges can produce a similarly impressive performance.
"We stayed over east after the Victory game and have been here in Brisbane since Sunday," Lowe explained. "That's given us a bit of extra time on the training ground and has also obviously meant a little less travel for the lads. Again we've had some injury issues, but we'll play the cards that we've been dealt as we've been doing all season and just get on with it. The intensity level in training has been good, the mood in the group is upbeat and we're all focused on securing three points on Thursday."
Glory will be without Alex Grant, Adam Taggart and Mitch Nichols all with hamstring injuries, while central midfielder Andreu will also miss out with a calf problem. There is also doubt about Diego Castro and Xavi Torres, with both picking up knocks against Victory last week, but both are expecting to play. Lowe has added Joel Chianese and Joseph Mills to the squad, after both recovered from their respective groin and neck injuries, Jake Brimmer has been recalled, while youngsters Callum Timmins and Henry Hore have also flown over as cover.
Roar are currently sitting two places and three points below Glory on the Hyundai A-League ladder and Lowe feels that their season to date has, mirrored there’s. "They (Brisbane) have been in a pretty similar predicament to ourselves," he said. "They've had a disjointed year due to the fact that they've had a lot of injury problems, much like ourselves. But they still have plenty of quality in their ranks and I'm expecting another tough game, just like the last time we came here."
Roar Coach John Aloisi has told his players to treat Thursday’s game as a Final. “We now have 11 finals and [Thursday night] is the first one. Brisbane Roar have usually done well in finals,” he said. “They [the players] are desperate to win – they want to win. The players are as disappointed as anyone that we haven’t been winning the football games that we should be. They’ll give everything…they’re the ones driving that finals mentality this week.
“It’s like a final for them as well. They’re coming here after four losses and there are quite a few players out. They’re in quite a similar position to the one we’ve been in without so many players out this season. It’s an important game for both clubs and I’m sure they’ll be up for it as we will.” Having had a long injury toll for most of the 2017/18 Season, Roar do get some key players back for the game. Ex Socceroos playmaker Brett Holman is set for his first appearance since Round 8, while Daniel Bowles, Corey Brown, Corey Gameiro and former Glory midfielder Mitch Oxborrow are all included in the squad.
Brisbane Roar FC Squad: GK Jamie YOUNG, RGK Brendan WHITE, 3 Luke DEVERE, 4 Daniel BOWLES, 5 Corey BROWN, 6 Avram PAPADOPOULOS, 7 Thomas KRISTENSEN, 9 Massimo MACCARONE, 10 Brett HOLMAN, 11 Corey GAMEIRO, 14 Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 16 Mitchell OXBORROW, 17 Matt MCKAY (c), 19 Jack HINGERT, 22 Eric BAUTHEAC, 24 Connor O’TOOLE, 36 Daniel LECK, 77 Ivan FRANJIC - *two to be omitted* - Ins: BOWLES (promoted), BROWN (promoted), HOLMAN (returns from injury), GAMEIRO (returns from injury), OXBORROW (promoted) - Outs: 8.Jacob PEPPER (omitted), 20.Shannon BRADY (omitted), 27.Adam SAWYER (omitted)
Perth Glory Squad: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Nick FEELY, 3 Marc WARREN, 4 Shane LOWRY, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 8 Xavi TORRES, 9 Andy KEOGH (c), 14 Chris HAROLD, 16 Joseph MILLS, 17 Diego CASTRO, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 23 Scott NEVILLE, 24 Callum TIMMINS, 26 Jacob ITALIANO, 29 Jeremy WALKER, 36 Henry HORE, 37 Walter SCOTT - *one to be omitted* - Ins: CHIANESE (returns from injury), MILLS (returns from injury), BRIMMER (promoted), TIMMINS (promoted), HORE (promoted)
PERTH SC REDEVELOPMENT OF DORRIEN GARDENS ALMOST COMPLETE
A new era begins at Dorriens Gardens next month, with Perth SC opening their brand new synthetic turf pitches. Perth SC President Gary Marocchi says that the club will now have a first class all weather training and playing surface that can be used seven days per week and 52 weeks of the year. He said, "Our junior teams from Under 6's to Under 12's will be able to play their competitive matches at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday mornings. The pitches will be made available to outside groups such as schools to use during the week. As we are a city based club, accessibility for training pitches is limited, hence, for Dorrien Gardens to be able to have greater usage, gives the club an opportunity to grow its numbers and create a social atmosphere at Perth SC."
Marocchi doesn't expect there to be a rush of synthetic turf pitches in WA any time soon, which has occurred over east. "Sydney and Melbourne clubs are going down that path due to the shortage of water. Maintenance of synthetic pitches is minimal compared to natural grass pitches, and the cost of running is lower. Councils in the eastern states have made decisions to go down that path. I am not sure if WA councils feel the same way."
Perth SC would like to thank to WA government and City of Vincent for their contributions in ensuring the Perth SC
can maintain its tradition as one of the leading clubs in WA. Anyone wishing to play in
the 5-a-side social competition which will be played on the brand new pitches, please visit the
Perth SC website.
ROSINDALE UPBEAT ABOUT NEW SEASON (courtesy inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)
Attacker Ash Rosindale is happy with the shape Inglewood United are taking ahead of their 2018 Night Series campaign. Inglewood will have home ground advantage when they face Floreat Athena in the opening round of the traditional pre-season tournament on Saturday 27 January (7.30pm).
"We are shaping up nicely for the Night Series," Rosindale commented. "This is my third season with Inglewood and I feel we will be fitter and better organised than in previous years. We've also got the benefit of the core group of players being together for another year and that will help develop our understanding on the pitch."
"There have been a few changes but overall the squad is similar to the one that finished last season. There may be a few more players come in between now and the start of the season, depending on where the coaches feel we need to add. But at the moment we are very happy with the squad we have and where it is at."
"Andy (Keogh) and his coaching team have done a great job of planning and organising our pre-season. We worked hard prior to Christmas purely on fitness to get a solid base into us. Now we are moving into more technical and tactical work, and we've had a few friendlies to help get us match fit and become more familiar playing alongside each other."
"The attitude of the lads has been fantastic. Everyone has been putting their best foot forward to impress the coaches and we are all raring to go for the Night Series. We had a great team spirit last year and there is a really positive vibe within the group again this year, which makes being at Inglewood United very enjoyable."
GLORY TO LAUNCH REVIEW INTO INJURY TOLL
Perth Glory will undertake a sweeping review of their injury-hit season that has plunged to a new low ahead of tomorrow night's clash at Brisbane Roar. The club will bring in outside experts for an end-of-season analysis of training, strength and conditioning and sports science programs to try to discover reasons behind the toll.
Glory has had a litany of soft-tissue injuries and other problems, with up to nine players out at any one time. Coach Kenny Lowe has lost striker Adam Taggart for the Brisbane game, with midfielder Diego Castro and fellow Spaniard Xavi Torres also in doubt. He is already without midfielder Andreu (calf), defender Alex Grant and forward Mitch Nichols (both hamstring).
Glory chief executive Peter Filopoulos said there would be broad scrutiny of the season. "We are not going to leave a stone unturned trying to identify improvements and in trying to work out exactly what has gone wrong," Filopoulos said. "We are already reviewing and we will review what we have been doing from pre-season right forward.
"We will have someone look at what we are doing and how we do it in the hope we can find something we are unaware of. But the fact is we have a very experienced sports science team, a very experienced medical team and a very experienced fitness and conditioning team. We improve on what we do every year but we have not fundamentally changed the program to such an extent to explain these injuries."
Glory already have extra watering on their training area at UWA Sports Park to soften the ground and have considered switching to another facility. Filopoulos said they would look at how to get their overseas signings into training earlier and an improved pre-season after only facing one A-League opponent, Sydney FC, in a friendly last September. "We might have to sacrifice some budgets and maybe get some more pre-season games," he said.
AMERICAN STRIKER SINCLAIR SET FOR NPL (courtesy of Forrestfield United SC)
Forrestfield United’s American striker Hasani Sinclair can’t wait to get back to Perth to start the clubs debut in the NPL-WA. The 26-year-old has had a break back home, but he has been waiting for his visa, but now it’s been approved, he can’t wait to get back to the club as they prepare to take on the big boys in WA football.
“The off season was great for me, it’s always good to get a chance to get some rest and get hundred per cent healthy for the season ahead,” Sinclair explained. ‘I am excited to compete at the NPL level and I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels this way on the team. Forrestfield is only going to continue improve with the new additions to the squad, as Rod (Banjac) has a good eye for players.”
Sinclair played a major role in FUSC’s play-off win against Mandurah and he said it was the highlight of the season for him. “Beating Mandurah in the playoff to get promoted into NPL was amazing for me and the club, and being able to score two and help the team get promoted was huge for me,” he said. “Winning that game was great for the whole club and I thought we deserved to win also. We celebrated a big achievement and we were very happy with the accomplishment of being promoted to NPL.”
Sinclair has played for two club, Forrestfield and Stirling Lions. He also represented USA in a youth national team tournament in Sydney in 2008. In USA he was on U15-u20 national teams and played second tier football and D1 college soccer at Penn State. FUSC Head Coach Rod Banjac said Sinclair injuries hampered him in 2017, but he will be pivotal in the NPL.
“Last season he was far from his best due to niggling injuries but still finished as our top goal scorer. He is a class player with skill, speed, fantastic aerial power and certainly knows how to put them away. He also has a fantastic personality which makes him very popular within the squad, and he is a pleasure to coach, being so humble and down earth. Can’t speak highly enough of him and can’t wait for him to join us,” he said.
“I expect him to make a huge impact this year as now we have a much better balanced squad with a lot of energy which will not only take the attention off him but will also provide him with many opportunities to do what he does best, and that is to score goals. I am constantly in touch with him and although frustrated, he’s fully fit, focused and very much looking forward to teaming up with the boys.”
The hard work and preparation for the NPL started for the club after that win at Mandurah, and Sinclair said even though he’s been away he has kept his fitness levels up. “Unfortunately I will miss some of the pre-season but I have been training while I’ve been America, so I won’t be behind the ball when I arrive,” he said. “But from what I have recently heard pre-season is going well for the boys and I can’t to get back and hit the ground running.”
HINSHELWOOD WORKING HARD TO FULFIL HIS DREAMS (courtesy of ECU Joondalup SC)
ECU Joondalup teenage striker Ben Hinshelwood is back at the Campus after a successful trial with English Premier League club Burnley. The 15-year-old impressed the Clarets Coaching staff and has been invited back next season and he working as hard as ever to fulfil his dreams of playing professional football. “I had an amazing two weeks trialing with Burnley FC at the start of October last year, and I mainly trained with the Academy U18's and U16's,” he explained.
“My training days usually started at 8.15am and I often didn't get back to the hotel until 6pm. I spent 57 hours in total at the club, which involved games, training, match analysis, gym work and school work. The Burnley Training Centre opened in August last year it was fantastic with 11 outside pitches, indoor full size pitch and gym. The coaches and players were great and very welcoming towards me.”
Hinshelwood burst on to the NPL scene last season, and after starting in the under 15's he made his way to the senior first team and made his debut late in the season and almost scored. “I had an unbelievable and great time last season starting off with U15s under Willie and Jessie who were excellent,” he explained. “After the first few U15 games of last season I was asked to play for the U18's and did quite well. When I reached playing the limit of times I was allowed to play for both teams I was then permanently moved up to the U18's.
“I loved the challenge of the increased speed and physicality of training and playing with the U18's. Then halfway through the season Mark Scanlon took me in to his U20's squad, which was another level again. At roughly the same time I also captained the 16's Football West team that went over to play in a tournament in Shanghai last July which, which was a great experience. Towards the end of the season I made my debut for the first team at home against Balcatta, which was truly unexpected but amazing. Unfortunately I didn't manage to score but came close.”
The talented striker will return to Burnley later on this year, and he said the work he’s done at ECU has given him the best opportunity to succeed in the UK. “I’m very grateful for getting the opportunity to have gone over to Burnley. Last season at ECU prepared me well for the intense training sessions and higher paced and physical games I experienced in the UK,” Hinshelwood explained. “I want to thank Dale, Steve, Toughie and Mark for the opportunities I've been given since being promoted to the ECU senior teams.
“Since my return from the trials in October Burnley have asked me to go back again in July this year to be further assessed, so the hard work continues. I’ve started this year's pre-season with the senior team at the beginning of November. It's been very intense and hard work particularly on the hotter days but I've enjoyed it though. I've been working hard on my strength and fitness and finishing and can't wait for the new season to start playing for ECU Reserves under Mark.”
Hinshelwood has had glimpse of playing at an EPL club and he said it was a great experience and he’s hoping there is more to come. “It was a great over there and it was a roller coaster ride, and I enjoyed every minute of it,” he said. “I travelled with U16s team down to West Bromwich Albion for a friendly. Unfortunately Burnley lost but it was fantastic to play against amazing players including several English internationalists,” he said.
“The following day I played in a trialist game in my own age group, which included eight other players from different parts of England and overseas. I played the full game scoring twice and our team won. I also played a 16's game against a visiting team from Sweden. I managed to score again and Burnley won, which was great.”
CLISBY SAYS THE WANDERERS ARE STARTING TO BELIEVE AGAIN
After an unbeaten start to the new year, Jack Clisby says Western Sydney Wanderers are starting to believe again. The team's mid-week draw with Adelaide United came after wins over Melbourne City and Brisbane Roar. Not only have those results lifted them up the A-League ladder, but Clisby says they have instilled some much-needed confidence in the team as they look to leave last year's horror run behind them.
"It was demoralising for everyone involved, but since then we've really stuck together and decided let's not give up on this," Clisby said. "The boys are starting to come around and believe in each other again. The confidence has definitely built up - week by week it's been getting a lot better and hopefully we can keep going that way."
It's taken time for the players to adjust to Josep Gombau's drastic change of style, but Clisby says the players are finally getting to grips with it. "It was a change from what everyone was used to; players were confused and not sure how to pick it up," he said. "But Gombau is a great coach and the belief is growing."
"He shows faith in us and gives us lots of encouragement to express ourselves on the field, which I think we're starting to do. We're starting to play some nice, attacking football and I believe we're quite exciting to watch now as well. We take a lot more risks going forward in our pressing, which is obviously still a learning curve, but I think we're getting better each week."
Clisby scored his maiden A-League goal against Adelaide, but the defender ended the match feeling deflated after Western Sydney conceded a late equaliser. It was a lesson in taking their opportunities, which is something they will hope to improve on against Wellington Phoenix tonight as Western Sydney look to build on their momentum.
"That's what happens when we don't take our chances - it always comes back to bite you in football," Clisby said. "But we're in good spirits despite the draw and seven points from nine to start the new year is beginning to look very positive for us as a club. Once you start building some momentum you can go on a good run."
"It looked like it wasn't going to be a good season, but now we're turning that around and slowly creeping up the ladder. I think if we can get all three points in Wellington, we're in a good position to kick on." A win away at last-placed Wellington will cement Western Sydney's spot in the A-League's top six.
LOWE ISSUES FINALS GUARANTEE
Coach Kenny Lowe has vowed to steer Perth Glory into the 2017/18 A-League finals series. Glory have slipped to seventh on the A-League ladder after losing three straight games, which has them sitting two points adrift of sixth-placed Western Sydney Wanderers and five points behind fourth-placed Adelaide United.
Worryingly, Glory have conceded 11 goals and scored none during their three-match losing run, and face a major battle to end that rot away to Melbourne Victory tomorrow night. During their mid-week home loss to Melbourne City, Glory fans started to voice their displeasure about how the team is performing.
Lowe says the club's fans have every right to be vocal - even if it means they are criticising him. But he's urging them to stick by him and the team, saying the club's fortunes will soon turn given their horror injury crisis is easing. "We've played finals every year I've been here.," Lowe said.
"We'll do the same again this year - we'll play finals. There's (36 more) points to play for. We've got players coming back. We've got more home games than away games (to come) ... We're in a good position if we can get the best eleven on the park, get everyone fit and firing ... we'll fly up the league."
Lowe gave his players a big spray during training on this morning. Shane Lowry (groin), Marc Warren (ankle) and Mitch Nichols (hamstring) could return against Melbourne. And with Adam Taggart, Diego Castro and Andy Keogh already back on the park, Lowe is optimistic about what lies ahead.
VELAPHI RELEASED BY SHONAN
One-time Australian youth international goalkeeper Tando Velaphi has been released by newly promoted Japanese club Shonan Bellmare. The 30-year old shot-stopper spent much of Shonan's triumphant 2017 J2.League campaign as second choice to Yota Akimoto and leaves the club having made just made five appearances across two seasons.
"I am thankful to all the supporters, players and staff of Shonan Bellmare," Velaphi told the club website. "I have had a wonderful experience at this club and I had a good time in Shonan's two years. I hope the 2018 season will be the best season for Shonan Bellmare."
Perth-born Velaphi's next move remains unclear, but he has plenty of A-League experience with over 100 outings for Perth Glory, Melbourne Victory, Melbourne City and the now defunct Queensland Roar. Velaphi has represented Australia at Under-20 and Under-23 levels.
LOWRY AND NICHOLS RETURN FOR VICTORY TEST
After a horror run of injuries and disappointing results, Perth Glory received some good news for a change on the eve of their Round 16 Hyundai A-League clash with Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Saturday afternoon. (4.50pm WA Time) Experienced defender Shane Lowry returns to bolster a back four that has conceded 11 goals in the last three games in his absence, while Mitch Nichols is back to give the forward line a huge boost, the Glory haven’t scored in their last three games.
They will still be without Joseph Mills (neck) and Brandon Wilson, who is away on international duty but there is a light at the end of the injury tunnel as the Glory look to kick start their season. Three points would lift Glory back into the top six depending on results elsewhere and Coach Kenny Lowe, who is under pressure from disgruntled supporters after their poor run, feels that his charges are relishing the prospect of facing the Victory.
"It's another short turnaround for us and obviously our last three results have been disappointing," he said, "But the lads have trained well this week and we're all looking forward to getting back into it on Saturday. "We're gradually starting to get some players returning from injury now and those that have already come back are getting a chance to regain their match-sharpness.
“So without wishing to jinx it, things finally seem to be on the up for us in that sense. We know what Victory are all about and there's no doubt that they have a lot of quality in their squad, but we've got quality as well and speaking personally, I always enjoy games against them. It'll be a good atmosphere at AAMI Park and as we always do, we'll go there targeting three points."
Glory have a good record against Victory, and they have drawn two of their last three away gmes, while the WA side's last win in this fixture came in January 2015 when first-half goals from Andy Keogh and Chris Harold secured the points in a game played at Geelong's Simonds Stadium.
Kevin Muscat's side won the last meeting between the pair, running out 2-0 winners at nib Stadium back in Round 7, but they have won only one of their seven home games so far this term and will be without Rhys Williams on Saturday after the former Glory defender was sent off against Wellington on Wednesday evening.
Lowe is not the only coach under pressure, Victory Coach Muscat has come under criticism after their loss against the Nix. Many fans were shocked at the lack of substitutions considering the game situation and recent heavy schedule, while others questioned why the Victory coach's choice to bring on a defender for a striker in the dying stages when the match needed salvaging.
It’s a big day for Victory midfielder Leigh Broxton who plays his 200th game for the club, and he or Mark Milligan will have to drop back into the back four to replace the suspended Williams. In good news skipper Carl Valeri returns, but the loss against Wellington ended Victory’s four-game unbeaten run, when they played almost the entire game with 10 men after Williams was sent off in the eighth minute. The result leaving Victory in fifth on the table.
Melbourne Victory Squad: GK Lawrence THOMAS, RGK Matt ACTON, 2 Jason GERIA, 3 Dino DJULBIC, 5 Mark MILLIGAN, 6 Leigh BROXHAM, 8 Besart BERISHA, 9 Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10 James TROISI, 16 Josh HOPE, 18 Matias SANCHEZ, 21Carl VALERI (c), 22 Stefan NIGRO, 23 Jai INGHAM, 24 Terry ANTONIS, 31 Christian THEOHAROUS, 41Leroy GEORGE - *one to be omitted* - Ins: VALERI (returns from suspension), HOPE (promoted) - Outs: 4.Rhys WILLIAMS (suspended)
Perth Glory Squad: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Nick FEELY, 2 Alex GRANT, 4 Shane LOWRY, 6 Mitch NICHOLS, 8 Xavi TORRES, 9 Andy KEOGH (c), 14 Chris HAROLD, 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Andreu GUERAO, 19 Joe KNOWLES, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 22 Adam TAGGART, 23 Scott NEVILLE, 24 Callum TIMMINS, 26 Jacob ITALIANO, 27 Riley WARLAND, 29 Jeremy WALKER - *two to be omitted* - Ins: LOWRY (returns from injury), NICHOLS (returns from injury), WARLAND (promoted) - Outs: 37.Walter SCOTT (omitted)
GLORY READY TO TAKE THE A-LEAGUE TO ASIA
Perth Glory have struggled for a number of years to get their membership up, but in a season when they have reached 9,000 they are considering taking an A-League game to either Singapore or Kuala Lumpur next season, this after owner Tony Sage claimed he had received the green light from Football Federation Australia to do so. If it happens, it would be the first time an A-League match has been staged outside of Australia and New Zealand, but what about their loyal supporters who still turn up in good and bad times to support their team, is it a kick in the teeth for them?
Sage was speaking on Football Nation Radio this week and he dropped the bombshell to their listeners. "I've already got permission from the FFA to play one game away from nib (Stadium) next season in Asia, if I can secure a team that would want to play against Glory up there," he said. "That's just one home game that we'll give up and play, either in Singapore or Kuala Lumpur. It hasn't been finalised yet but that's the wish and I've got the tick of approval from FFA."
The FFA has been contacted for comment, but are yet to respond, while the Glory are already considering moving one match to the new Optus Stadium this season, most likely their scheduled March 10 home clash with Central Coast, if fans and members are in favour. It comes as Sage reiterated his support for A-League expansion into south-east Asia. The idea has been raised numerous times, with FFA knocking back a plan presented by English player agent Jon Smith in 2014 and the Asian Football Federation was believed to be against it.
Sage said he had conducted "informal conversations" with the Football Association of Malaysia, who he said would "push so hard" to join the A-League. "Everyone laughs at me but I think we've got to have a team in Singapore, Jakarta, Malaysia," Sage said. "That's 300 million more eyeballs onto the game. The television numbers will be huge.
"I don't think there will be a big obstacle, as long as the associations in those countries agree to it. What's the use of having another one in Sydney or Melbourne? I can't see the point, you're not going to attract many more eyeballs to the game. Bringing that Asian market here ... I think we treble the TV money and that is beneficial to everyone. That's my view only. I'm the only owner that says that but that's the vision I have for the A-League." – Watch this space………
CYRUS DELIGHTED WITH PRE-SEASON RETURN (courtesy inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)
Inglewood United captain David Cyrus enjoyed his summer break but admits he could not be happier about being back in training with his club mates. Inglewood's players have been hard at work over the past six weeks in preparation for the fast-approaching Night Series, which commences later this month.
Cyrus, 28, is relishing getting back down to business with Inglewood and looking forward to the new season. "As much as it's nice to have time off, I'm sure I'm not the only person that misses the team atmosphere during off-season," commented Cyrus, who has represented Caribbean nation Grenada on 16 occasions.
"It's great to be back in and around the lads with a refreshed, injury-free squad. Pre-season is never going to be any players favourite time of the season but it has to be done. We have had a high-intensity start with some new faces in the squad bringing increased competition for places."
"We have some unfinished business to attend to this year, and we won't be taking things lightly. Andy Keogh and his coaching team have developed a challenging pre-season program and have been putting us through our paces, making sure we are ready to hit the coming season hard."
"There's not long now until the first Night Series game now so I'm sure we'll be doing a lot more shape and ball work in the coming weeks. We've also got a few friendlies coming up, you can do as much training as you like but there's nothing like getting out on the park and playing eleven-verses-eleven."
Inglewood's first competitive game of 2018 is a Night Series showdown with Floreat Athena on Saturday 27 January (7.30pm) at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium. The game is the second in a double-header that has Balcatta and Subiaco AFC getting the action underway from 5.30pm.
RUKAVYTSYA NETS EIGHTH GOAL OF SEASON
Socceroo Nikita Rukavytsya scored his eighth goal of the 2017/18 season as Maccabi Haifa triumphed 3-0 away to Hapoel Ra’anana in the Israeli Premier League overnight. The 30-year old attacker netted his side’s third goal in a win which moves them up to ninth spot on the table and ends a run of three successive defeats.
Rukavytsya, a former Inglewood United junior, is Haifa’s joint top scorer in the league this season with five goals, while he’s struck a further three goals in cup competition. Capped 16-times by Australia, he is vying with the likes of Tim Cahill, Jamie Maclaren, Awer Mabil, Apostolos Giannou and Nathan Burns for a spot in the Socceroos 2018 World Cup.
GLORY COMES TO ROCKINGHAM (courtesy www.soundtelegraph.com.au)
Rockingham City Football Club is set to move into a new era in the new year, with Cameron Lord taking the reins as first team coach ahead of the 2018 season. Lord was appointed after the resignation of former coach Rob Crerar in October, and enters the role after most recently working with Perth Glory as a sport scientist.
Starting his footballing journey as a junior for Rockingham’s under-11s at their old Dowling Street home, Lord progressed through the ranks as a player at the club, eventually playing in the first team. He later coached the club’s under-18s for a year as an assistant and for three years as head coach, before spending five years at the Glory through which he is currently completing a PhD. As he prepares to put his new squad through their pre-season paces, Lord told the Telegraph he was focused on helping the club become as successful as possible. “It’s quite close to me having grown up with the club so that will be a big thing for me to help try and make the club succeed,” Lord said. “It’s going to be a pretty competitive league. Gwelup Croatia came up with Morley and Mandurah came down from the NPL." “Plus Western Knights, who won the league last year, didn’t get promoted so it’s going to be tough.”
Lord said the club was working on bringing in new players ahead of the new season, with a focus also placed on keeping local born and bred talent in the area. “My job is to try and unleash or unlock a lot of the potential that is here,” he said. “There’s always a pool of young players in Rockingham who have got big talent. It’s our job to keep the Rockingham boys in Rockingham. “There’s big potential here.”
Gary Christie will join Lord as first team assistant coach, with Andy Harty and Anthony Geeves looking after the reserves while Alan Carter and Byron Wood will coach the under-18s. Rockingham’s first pre-season training session starts on January 9.
TABAIN LOVING "SPECIAL" RETURN TO GLORY
Creative midfielder Marianna Tabain is loving life back home in Perth, with the two-time W-League champion relishing the opportunity to play alongside those she rose through the ranks with. The 25-year-old began her professional career with Glory in 2008 and went on to make 63 appearances over a seven-year period before moving east to Melbourne City.
“I was definitely sad to leave Perth in 2015 but it was an exciting time for me,” Tabain said. “It was something I felt I needed to do for myself to grow as a person by getting out of my comfort zone. It’s great to see how much the club has developed since I left, the infrastructure and quality of players is really exciting.”
Success seems to follow Tabain around as, after playing a crucial role in Glory’s first ever Premiership in 2014, she secured further silverware with Melbourne in the form of back-to-back league and Grand Final titles. “It’s been amazing,” she said. “It’s something you dream of as a young player, to be able to be a part of teams filled with so many quality players.”
Following her two seasons with Melbourne, which saw the 2009 Goal of the Year winner net 10 times in 27 matches, Tabain insists she couldn’t be happier to be back home. “It’s a special experience to be playing in your home state for your hometown club,” she said. “And it’s something that means the world to me. To be able to play in front of friends and family again is a huge bonus.”
“My time over east was an opportunity I needed to take, but the decision to return to Glory I feel was the correct one as Bobby (Despotovski) and Jessine (Bonzas) have been great. There’s been a lot of adjusting, but the girls and the entire coaching staff have made the transition that much easier for me and I can’t thank them enough.”
Tabain is a prime example of the Western Australian football pathway in action having honed her skills as a youngster in the development programs. “It’s certainly very rewarding to have all those years of hard work with the state programs result in a professional career,” she said. “It really shows that the pathway is there and it does work.”
With just three regular season games to go, Tabain believes Glory have the capacity to bring silverware back to Perth. “We’ve got so many versatile players that can play in multiple positions across the park and each individual brings a unique set of skills to the team,” she said. “We need to concentrate on executing our gameplan more effectively across 90 minutes if we want to climb back up the ladder.
“We’ve had so many away games, so we’re buzzing to be home and hopefully we can recapture some of our early-season form to take into the finals. This squad can do anything on its day, so we’ve still got high aspirations and titles very much at the top of our minds.” Glory Women take on Sydney FC at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday (7.00pm).
LOWE IGNORES SACKING CHANTS
Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe is ignoring the boo boys calling for his sacking after his team slumped to their third straight defeat. Home fans were heard chanting “we want Kenny out” in the second half of last night’s 2-0 loss to Melbourne City, a result which dropped Glory out of the A-League’s top six.
Lowe, however was oblivious to the negative feelings. “The crowd is great for us. If we’re honest and genuine and we work ever so hard, which we do, the crowd supports that,” Lowe said. “They’re excellent, they always have been, they always will be. No matter which way the game is going, if you give that, they’ll be 150 behind you and they were tonight, you could hear them.”
“A bit of fortune here or there, you can be more in the game, you pinch something, Xavi (Torres) has a strike, keeper doesn’t know where it is, Cas (Diego Castro) has gone through a little one over the top, convert that into a goal and the momentum starts to come again. We were controlling the game in the second half.”
Lowe revealed he had been forced into a defensive re-shuffle with defender Jacob Poscoliero taken to hospital in the early hours of matchday due to a virus which left him vomiting. Poscoliero was later discharged from hospital, but it left Lowe short of options with Joseph Mills unable to prove his fitness to play due to a neck injury.
Xavi Torres and Scott Neville both returned early from injury, given Glory’s shortage of options. “Xavi shouldn’t have played, Nev shouldn’t have played,” Lowe said. “Andreu should’ve come off the bench. It shows the spirit in the group. The players are sacrificing for the team. They’re putting it in.”
GLORY’S POOR FORM CONTINUES AGAINST CITY
Perth Glory’s mid-season slump has continued when a brace from Scottish striker Ross McCormack gave Melbourne City a 2-0 win in Round 15 of the Hyundai A-League clash at nib Stadium on Tuesday evening. A stunning free kick from the Aston Villa loanee gave the visitors the lead, before a disputed penalty doubled their lead before the break. The VAR looked at the incident when Daniel Arzani fell in the box under a challenge from Andreu, and many in the 8,016 crowd watched the replay and there looked little contact but referee Jarred Gillett wasn’t convinced and McCormack converted.
The home fans showed their displeasure with a chorus of boos and most headed for the exits a long time before the final whistle sounded. "I thought he went down cheaply for the penalty," Glory coach Kenny Lowe said. "He had his swimming trunks on underneath his shorts. I thought it was soft. If that's a penalty for them, it’s a penalty for us, on Jacob Italiano. There was contact on Adam Taggart as well going into the box."
Glory made four late positional changes after full-back Joseph Mills aggravated a neck injury in the warm-up. He was replaced by Scott Neville, who had missed eight games, but he was rushed back into the side despite battling a broken toe. But with the big three Diego Castro, Andy Keogh and Adam Taggart reunited the home faithful were expecting big things, but it never materialize and City bossed the game.
The first real opportunity fell to the visitors, Dario Vidosic was sent into the box by McCormack, but Glory keeper Liam Reddy was quickly off his line to save. But the Glory custodian was at fault when City hit the front on nine minutes. Jake Brimmer had brought down Arzani on the edge of the penalty area, and McCormack’s curling free kick beat Reddy at his near post. Glory looked for a quick response, but Castro’s shot curled wide, before the Spanish midfielder was denied by Dean Bouzanis moments later. Keogh then saw his close-range shot deflected wide.
But eight minutes before half time City doubled their advantage. The tricky Arzani cut into the box and fell under the challenge of Andreu, it looked soft but the referee pointed to the spot and McCormack scored. Glory pressed late and Taggart was thwarted by Bouzanis, after being found by a Jacob Italiano cut back, but at the break City were two to the good.
Glory made a change at the break bringing on Youth player Walter Scott for his A-League debut, replacing Brimmer. The home side came out with more urgency and a different shape that allowed them to commit more players forward and Taggart’s long-range strike flew over the top early.
Xavi Torres also tried his luck from long-range on the hour but it was straight at Bouzanis. The home faithful were convinced they had a penalty on 79 minutes when Italiano was upended in the box, but the referee didn’t want to know about it. It summed up the night for the Glory and the fans were again left disappointed.
MORE GLORY FOR KERR
Perth Glory skipper Sam Kerr has begun 2018 in exactly the same style with which she finished 2017, by taking out another award. The Westfield W-League Julie Dolan Medal, NWSL MVP, NWSL Golden Boot, WA Young Australian of the Year and Women's Health Sportswoman of the Year were just some of the honours claimed by the 24-year-old in an incredible 12 months.
And that run has now continued in the New Year with the announcement that she has been named the PFA W-League Player of the Month for December. Kerr edged out Newcastle Jets’ American import Arin Gilliland for the accolade, with her two appearances over the course of the month yielding a winning goal against Western Sydney and a second-half hat-trick during the enthralling 3-3 draw with the Newcastle Jets in Round 8.
Voted on by the PFA’s W-League-based members, Kerr said she was honoured to gain recognition from her peers. “It’s obviously an honour to win this award with so many great players in the league and so many great performances throughout the month," she said. “I can’t thank my teammates at Glory enough. I thoroughly enjoy being a part of this great team and am very proud to play for Glory.”
PFA Executive Lydia Williams paid tribute to Kerr for what she has achieved and her ability to constantly perform at an elite level. “Sam continues to amaze and this award is a small cherry on top of what has been a truly phenomenal year for her,” she said. “There were a number of players who have had a fantastic past month in the W-League and that has reflected in the quality and standard of the matches.” Kerr is in action on with the rest of Glory W-League side on Sunday when they face Sydney FC in a crunch clash at Dorrien Gardens – Kick-off is at 7pm.
KEOGH AND TAGGART TO TEAM UP AGAINST MELBOURNE
Perth Glory’s twin strike force of Andy Keogh and Adam Taggart is poised to be unleashed for the first time in nine games in tonight’s clash with Melbourne City. The pair had a potent understanding last season, scoring 12 goals apiece, but coach Kenny Lowe has warned fans not to expect too much from them tonight in a side well below its best.
Taggart, who has recovered from a torn right hamstring, played the second half of last Friday night’s loss to Adelaide United. “We got him through 45 minutes against Adelaide, so if we can progress that, that would be good. That means we’ll probably start him,” Lowe said of Taggart.
“It’s good, but there’s all the expectation that, just because they are on, they are ready to fire, but Tags has not played for nine weeks. It’s going to take three weeks to get him up to 90 minutes. Hopefully he’s a quicker healer and a quicker up-to-speed player than you would normally expect and he bangs goals in.”
Midfielder Xavi Torres may come back into the side after two weeks sidelined with a groin injury, but defender Shane Lowry (groin) and Joseph Mills (neck) are in doubt. “We’re actually probably punching above our weight, to be truthful, with the sides we’re putting out,” Lowe said. “We entertain. We score goals. We’re a hard team to play against - normally.”
A four-day turnaround has not given Glory’s players time to dwell on the loss to Adelaide, which came seven days after being thrashed 6-0 by Sydney FC. The club have moved to tighten their defences by entering into talks with former Socceroo and Western Sydney Wanderers central defender Robbie Cornthwaite. Glory have leaked 28 goals this season and has the worst goal difference in the competition.
LOWE HAS OWNER SAGE’S SUPPORT ... FOR NOW
Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe is under increasing pressure to revive his side’s A-League season. The heat is on after Glory’s horrid 3-0 loss to Adelaide United on Friday night, a result which came hot on the heels of a humiliating 6-0 defeat by Sydney FC seven days earlier.
Glory are seventh on the ladder and a third consecutive loss against third-placed Melbourne City at Perth Oval tomorrow night could see them slide further from finals contention. Club owner Tony Sage is supportive of Lowe, who has battled an extensive injury list for most of the season, but wants to see on-field improvement.
“Absolutely we need results, but you’ve got to give Kenny a chance to play his first XI,” Sage said. “Until he gets that side out there’s no panic stations. This would have been a different situation, and an easier call to make, if he had his full side and we were in the same position.”
“Kenny feels the pressure, he knows it’s a result-driven industry. We talk about it all the time ... I understand the fans just want to win, we all do. You look at the surrounding noise, I understand the fans’ frustration, but Kenny’s had a lot of bad luck with the injuries.”
“I understand the fans just want to win, we all do, but it just can’t happen with the inexperience we’ve got on the pitch. We are going to back the coach until he gets his full first XI on the pitch. They can forge a result it’s just about getting them together fit and healthy.”
WILLIAMS DETERMINED TO MAKE SURE MILLERS’ PROMOTION CHARGE DOESN’T TURN TO ASHES
Rotherham United winger Ryan Williams is eyeing promotion with the Millers as he looks to put a torrid 18-months behind him. The 24-year old midfielder endured a difficult couple of years at Championship side Barnsley with a pelvis injury that was misdiagnosed and extended his time out of the game.
A move across Yorkshire in the summer took Williams to Rotherham, and he has not looked back since. Playing more than 25 games so far this term is more than he managed in the last two seasons combined. And with his career back on track, it has given him time to enjoy what has been going on back home.
“There is no doubt that the injury happened at a bad time in my career and, had it not, then I would probably have been further along than I am,” Williams said. “But you could say that about anyone who has suffered a serious injury. Personally, I feel I have grown a lot in that time and it has helped me as a person.”
“One of the main reasons I came to the club is to win promotion to the Championship. There is no reason why we can’t mount a challenge in the second half of the season. When I was at Barnsley and we won promotion in 2016, we were rock-bottom at Christmas, so anything is possible if we keep believing and working hard.”
Paul Warne’s side were just two points outside the play-off places going into the weekend’s game at Walsall. And Williams believes all the hard work put in over the summer will pay off in the months ahead. “We had a very hard pre-season and we put a lot of distance into our legs,” he said. “That is what we trained for, this period of the season.”
Williams has been just as busy helping the Millers climb the League One table as cheering Australia to victory in the cricket. “I am from Perth, so of course I am a cricket fan,” Williams said. “It has been great to watch the Aussies regain the Ashes, especially doing it in Perth.
“I’m based in Yorkshire, which is a big cricket county, and, when England are doing well, there are a lot of cricket fans about. But when they are not doing as well, there are none! Most of the staff and the younger players are the big cricket fans, so we have been talking about it a lot.”
KEOGH BLASTS GLORY AFTER ANOTHER HEAVY LOSS
Frustrated Perth Glory captain Andy Keogh says his side have no one to blame but themselves after slumping to a 3-0 home loss to Adelaide United last night. Some glaring defensive lapses were punished by goals to Daniel Adlung, Nathan Konstandopoulos and Johan Absalonsen.
The three-goal loss equals Glory’s biggest-ever defeat on home soil and leaves them with a lot of work to do in the second half of the campaign if they want to play in the finals. “It’s disappointing,” Keogh told Fox Sports. “We worked on their goal kicks but one player doesn’t do his job and they go down the other end and score.”
“We don’t track the runner for the next goal and the last goal is just whatever isn’t it? He gets fouled maybe, maybe he doesn’t, but the game’s over by then. It’s just disappointing, people aren’t doing their jobs. You just have to call a spade a spade and admit people aren’t doing their jobs when you lose games.”
The loss caps a horror week for Glory, who have dropped out of the A-League's top six, and comes hot on the heels of a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Sydney FC last weekend. The nine goals they have shipped in the last two rounds is the most-ever by the club in two consecutive A-League fixtures.
GLORY NEED TO 'MAN UP' SAYS LOWE
Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe is making no excuses after his team conceded nine goals and copped two thrashings inside a week. Lowe was hoping to see a strong response from his team as they hosted Adelaide United last night on the back of last weekend's 6-0 thrashing from Sydney FC.
Instead, Lowe got a similarly meek performance as Glory barely created a scoring chance and were woeful defensively in losing 3-0 to Adelaide. That drops Glory to seventh position and the nine goals conceded in a week leaves them with the worst goal difference (-13) in the league while also having conceded the most goals (28).
"Look, have we had the best eleven on the park this year? No and that's not an excuse, that's a fact," said Lowe, who was without Marc Warren, Shane Lowry, Joel Chianese, Xavi Torres, Scott Neville and Brandon Wilson against the Reds.
"We haven't had a settled back four, back six or back ten so there's inconsistency there. We haven't got all our best and biggest players out on the pitch, but we still have to cope with that and at the moment we aren't. We need to."
"What we need to do is take responsibility, grow some bollocks and then get out and perform in the next game. It's difficult for everybody but you just have to get on with it, man up and be brave enough to accept and take responsibilities for things that have gone on."
Glory have a short turnaround to hosting Melbourne City on Tuesday night. "Our focus is on the next game and on ourselves," he said. "Our focus is on to put a performance in and to be competitive. Hopefully we get one or two players back as well."
GLORY HOPING HOME SUPPORT GET BEHIND THEM
Perth Glory will be searching for redemption when they entertain Adelaide United in week 14 of the Hyundai A-League at nib Stadium on Friday evening. (7.00pm) Last week saw the Glory fall to its worst ever defeat in A-League history, and they will be looking for some home town support to bounce back from the 6-0 humiliating defeat against Sydney FC.
Owner Tony Sage said the performance was 'Unacceptable' and he will be looking for a response from the players this week. Yes there were key players missing last week but the team need to show more passion and determination on Friday if they are to stop the critics. I'm sure they will be looking forward to getting back home and playing in front of their passionate supporters, but they need to deliver against a good United side.
Despite all the doom and gloom the Glory are still well placed on the ladder, sitting in sixth spot and have eight of their final 14 games at home, and they want their fans behind them, starting on Friday. Kenny Lowe is confident that his side will bounce back against Adelaide United, and the Coach revealed that a lengthy review of last weekend's defeat at Sydney FC had taken place and that he is expecting a positive reaction from his charges in the clash with the Reds.
"You've got to reflect on games like that and we did probably the most video analysis that we've done on any game since we've been here," he said. "Sometimes out of adversity, good things occur and we've got a chance now very quickly to put a performance in to eradicate the memory of that [Sydney FC game].
"No side should lose 6-0 and that wasn't acceptable, but it's great that we have a chance to put it right on Friday and that's been our focus heading into the game. I'm confident that we'll get the right reaction. If we win this, we'll have won three of the last four and then another victory on Tuesday and its four out of five which changes the dynamic of things. Wins change things, so first and foremost we have to put a performance in and get the three points."
In team news Brandon Wilson is unavailable, the midfielder is away with the Joey's but Kenny Lowe hopes to have Shane Lowry and Adam Taggart available for the big game. The Reds will be missing three players to international duty, Paul Izzo, Ben Garuccio and George Blackwood are away while Vince Lia is still missing with injury. Reds Coach Marco Kurz is not impressed with the players’ unavailability but he is looking for a response from their 1-2 defeat at home to Brisbane Roar last time out.
“They’re three starters and for us it’s very hard and also I think it’s not the best decision from the national team (FFA),” he explained. “I think it’s a tournament you can only win a title, it’s not a qualification tournament. “For example Paul (Izzo), he can only play this tournament but not the Olympics and from my point of view its better he plays in the A-League. Also when the players are away maybe for five games they can lose their starting position and I think we are one of the only clubs with three players who are three starters.
That’s not positive but I hope we find the right decisions and the right line-up for the next games. The boys look good… after the Brisbane game, and we had a good recovery and a good team meeting about the game, and now we are looking forward to the strong and important away game in Perth.”
Perth Glory Squad: GK Liam REDDY, GK Nick FEELY, 2 Alex GRANT, 5 Jacob POSCOLIERO, 6 Mitch NICHOLS, 9 Andy KEOGH (c), (Gk), 14 Chris HAROLD, 16 Joseph MILLS, 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Andreu GUERAO, 19 Joe KNOWLES, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 22 Adam TAGGART, 24 Callum TIMMINS, 26 Jacob ITALIANO, 27 Riley WARLAND, 29 Jeremy WALKER, 34 Yagoub MUSTAFA - *two to be omitted* - Ins: BRIMMER (returns from injury), TAGGART (returns from injury), MUSTAFA (promoted) - Outs: 15.Brandon WILSON (international duty)
Adelaide United Squad: GK Daniel MARGUSH, GK Isaac RICHARDS, 2 Michael MARRONE, 4 Ben WARLAND, 5 Taylor REGAN, 7 Ryan KITTO, 8 ISAÍAS (c), 9 Baba DIAWARA, 11 Johan ABSALONSEN, 12 Mark OCHIENG, 16 Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 17 Nikola MILEUSNIC, 22 Ersan GÜLÜM, 23 Jordan ELSEY, 24 Jordan O’DOHERTY, 25 Apostolos STAMATELOPOULOS, 29 Ryan STRAIN, 37 Daniel ADLUNG - *two to be omitted* - Ins: WARLAND (promoted), DIAWARA (returns from injury), OCHIENG (promoted), STAMATELOPOULOS (promoted), RICHARDS (promoted) - Outs: 14 George BLACKWOOD (international duty), 19 Ben GARUCCIO (international duty), 20 Paul IZZO (international duty)
KERR RETURNS AS GLORY LOOK TO REBOUND IN MELBOURNE
Perth Glory will be looking to regain their early Westfield W-League season form following last week's defeat against Brisbane Roar when they travel to the east to face Melbourne City on Sunday. The Glory slipped to fourth on the table after the 2-0 defeat but without superstar Sam Kerr the Glory struggled against a very good Roar outfit who moved five points clear of Bobby Despotovski's side, although they do have a game in hand.
This fixture has developed into one of the biggest rivalries in the Westfield W-League in recent times, primarily due to the thrilling encounters it tends to throw up and, of course, last season's Grand Final match-up was a thriller. This time around, Glory and City find themselves in fourth and fifth spot respectively, perhaps lower than they and the public expected at this stage of the season. And with a home finals spot the focus for both sides leading into the final quarter of the campaign, it's set to be a huge game.
The Glory will be boosted by the return of Kerr, who still leads the race for the Golden Boot despite having played just five games so far this season. Despotovski said she was missed last week. “We tried and came up short but how can you replace your best player? It’s impossible,” Despotovski said. “You can try to patch up the empty positions and do the best you can but obviously we were not good enough. It’s an uphill battle for us from now on and we can’t slip up anymore. There is no hiding places anymore, if we lose one or two more games we’ll be out of the top four and that’s it. We have four games left and we have to win all of them, it’s as simple as that.”
The match was originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon, but due to the high temperatures forecasted across Victoria, kick-off will now take place on Sunday at 4:30 PM (1:30PM WST). The last time these two sides met was in the opening round of the season, and Rachel Hill announce herself to the competition, with her double on debut inspiring an emphatic 4-1 win over the reigning champions at nib Stadium, and Saturday’s game will be another tough challenge but one that is vital for the Glory to keep their top four hopes intake.
Melbourne City FC Squad: GK Lydia WILLIAMS, GK Melissa HUDSON, 2 Yukari KINGA, 3 Lauren BARNES, 4 Ashley HATCH, 6 Aivi LUIK, 7 Steph CATLEY (c), 9 Larissa CRUMMER, 10 Jess FISHLOCK, 12 Jodie TAYLOR, 11 Rhali DOBSON, 13 Rebekah STOTT, 14 Alanna KENNEDY, 15 Amy JACKSON, 16 Sofia SAKALIS, 17 Kyah SIMON, 19 Tyla-Jay VLAJNIC - *two to be omitted* - Ins: CRUMMER (promoted), SAKALIS (promoted)
Perth Glory Squad: GK Melissa MAIZELS, GK Morgan AQUINO, 2 Sarah CARROLL, 3 Kim CARROLL, 4 Natasha RIGBY, 5 Patricia CHARALAMBOUS, 6 Danielle BROGAN, 7 Nicole STANTON, 8 Shawn BILLAM, 9 Rachel HILL, 10 Raquel RODRIGUEZ, 11 Nicola BOLGER, 12 Shannon MAY, 16 Amanda FRISBIE, 17 Marianna TABAIN, 20 Samantha KERR (c) - *one to be omitted* - Ins: BROGAN (promoted), KERR (returns from family absence) - Outs: 13 Jaymee GIBBONS (omitted)
SAINSBURY TO JOIN SKY BLUES?
Socceroos star Trent Sainsbury is reportedly on the verge of signing a short-term deal with reigning A-League champions Sydney FC. According to BeIN Sports, the 25-year old central defender will return to the A-League after spending the last four years abroad including stints with Dutch club PEC Zwolle, Chinese Super League outfit Jiangsu Suning and Serie A giants Inter Milan.
The report claimed Sainsbury's decision to move back to Australia comes with an eye to maintain match-fitness ahead of June's FIFA World Cup. The move would also reunite Sainsbury with Sky Blues coach - and father-in-law - Graham Arnold for the first time since the pair won the league title with the Central Coast Mariners in 2013, and a little over a week after Sainsbury married Arnold's daughter Elissa.
On Thursday Sainsbury thanked the club for allowing him to "watch training" while being treated by the club’s physio. “Big thanks to Sydney FC for allowing me to come watch training and to their physio Elias for taking care of me during my return to fitness after surgery,” Sainsbury tweeted. “I’ve worked with many top physio’s (sic) in my time; he’s easily one of the best and most professional. Top bloke #thanks.”
VICTORY BOLSTER ROSTER WITH RECRUITMENT OF DJULBIC
Melbourne Victory has made a statement of intent by signing midfielder Terry Antonis and defender Dino Djulbic. The Socceroos-capped duo have commenced training with their new club and, pending international clearance, will be available for Saturday's match against Central Coast Mariners.
Antonis, 24, joins the club on a two-and-a-half year deal, while Djulbic has penned a short-term contract as cover for the injured James Donachie. Victory would like Djulbic to stay on beyond his injury replacement stint - likely to be 3-4 weeks - and play in the Asian Champions League, though a spot will have to open up on the roster for that to happen.
The move reunites Djulbic with last season’s Perth Glory central defensive partner Williams, following a stint with Malaysian club Felda United. “Musky (coach Kevin Muscat) showed a lot of interest he was calling me for a few weeks and I couldn’t pass this (chance) up to play for such a big club like Victory,” 34-year old Djulbic said.
“I know most of the boys, I also played with Rhys. He let me know what it’s about, so he helped a lot. The transition’s been very easy so far. I signed short-term on purpose so it leaves my options open. I want to go back to Asia, but you never know. I’ve come here and I feel good so far so only time will tell ... There are some options in Malaysia and other parts of Asia. But I’m concentrating with Victory.”
Djulbic, who started out with a Perth SC, already has over 130 appearances to his name in Australia with Perth Glory and Gold Coast United. He's added to that experience through spells at Rot Weiss Ahlen (Germany), Guizhou Renhe (China), Al-Wahda (United Arab Emirates) and most recently Felda United (Malaysia).
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This page was last updated on the 5th January, 2018