DAU RETURNS TO INGLEWOOD (courtesy inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)
Livewire attacker Chok Dau has returned for a second spell with Inglewood United after agreeing terms for the 2019 National Premier Leagues season. The Kenya-born attacker was previously with the club in 2017 when his pace and flair wide on the right were instrumental in Inglewood placing second in the league.
Dau's efforts didn't go unnoticed and soon after the season ended he was rewarded with a spot in Perth Glory's 2017/18 National Youth League squad. The 19-year old continued his development this winter by starring for Glory's NPL side and a place in the senior squad that toured Malaysia in August.
"I'm happy to be back at Inglewood and are really excited for the upcoming season," commented Dau, who made 24 appearances for the club in his previous spell. "I enjoyed the season I spent here a couple of years back, the lads are welcoming and allow me to play my best football."
"I met with the new coach, Tim Morgan, about his plans for 2019, was impressed with what I heard. The club is ambitious, they're always up there competing for the league title and they play good football. I can't wait to get back into it and do my bit to help drive us into the finals."
ATHENA'S $3MILLION GRANT ON HOLD
A $3 million grant to National Premier Leagues club Floreat Athena is yet to be handed over - two months after it was announced - as bureaucrats scramble to determine if it is value for money. The grant was announced by One Nation senator Peter Georgiou in August, prompting accusations it was a bid to win support from the minor party for the Federal Government's proposed company tax cuts.
The money, from the Community Development Grants program that has been criticised by the Auditor-General, is to upgrade E&D Litis Stadium. The move blindsided the City of Vincent and governing body Football West. Regional Development Department deputy secretary Judith Zielke has told a Senate inquiry that despite the announcement, the money has not been approved.
"There hasn't been an assessment provided to the minister on value for money as yet," Zielke told rural and regional affairs Senate estimates hearing. "An agreement is not issued to the proponents until after the minister has taken a decision in relation to that value-for-money assessment. So it's not contracted at this stage."
The Auditor-General's review of the $1 billion grants program said there was little critical analysis of proposals, with the department relying on organisations to justify their plans. The department is waiting on information about the proposal. Without the information, largely around the lease arrangements for the ground, the grant cannot go ahead.
GLORY HOLD NO GRUDGE TOWARDS TAGGART
Defender Shane Lowry insists there won't be any hard feelings when Perth Glory players face off against Brisbane Roar striker Adam Taggart on Saturday night. Glory owner Tony Sage was fuming when Taggart left the club at the end of last season, calling the former Socceroo a liar in a brutal Facebook spray.
Taggart looms as a crucial cog in Brisbane's fortunes this season, and it will be interesting to see how he's greeted by Glory fans this weekend at Perth Oval. But Lowry, who played alongside Taggart for the past two seasons, did his best to play down the situation.
"It's part of football - players leave football clubs," Lowry said. "It's just part of the business. So there's no ill-feelings from the players or anything like that. Every player has to look after themselves. I'm sure he's focused on trying to score against us, and we'll be trying to keep him quiet."
Taggart has already scored one goal this season, but he has missed several other chances. He'll be aiming to make an impression on Saturday night against his former club. Brisbane have opened the season with draws against Central Coast Mariners and Wellington Phoenix.
Glory followed up their 1-1 draw against Western Sydney with a thrilling 3-2 away win over Melbourne Victory on Sunday. Lowry said the first win under new coach Tony Popovic was a significant step forward. "To take three points off the champions on their home turf is a massive mental boost for the players, the staff, and the club," he said.
ONIONS' ON THE ROAD TO GLORY
Playing alongside Matildas superstar Samantha Kerr will be a childhood dream realised for Jenna Onions. While Kerr became the W-League's first marquee player this month and is one of Australia's highest-profile sports stars, Onions has become the first Albany product to play professional football in Australia.
17-year old Onions, who moved to Perth two years ago to pursue a professional career, last week signed with Perth Glory Women. "I was really happy and kind of surprised but really excited," Onions said of learning of her place in the Glory squad. "Pre-season has gone well and I'm enjoyed training with what is a really talented group. I'm confident it's going to be a great year."
Onions path to a professional career began in the Albany Junior Soccer Association. She went on to represent Albany at country week and later played in the Great Southern Soccer Association for Albany Royals and Port Albany. She was signed by Glory after impressive performances with Queens Park and at the National Talent Centre Challenge.
Onions, the second-youngest player in Glory's squad, said Kerr had already been a positive influence on her. "She is amazing to train with and a great inspiration for youth athletes and I can't wait to learn more from her," Onions said. "I can hopefully get a spot on the bench at least ... but if I get the chance to get on the pitch I will be stoked."
POPOVIC EYES TITLE AFTER THRILLING WIN
After scoring one of his most special wins of a decorated career, Tony Popovic has set his sights on hardening up Perth Glory into A-League title contenders. Popovic steered Glory to a 3-2 win over Melbourne Victory last night, the first win by the West Australian club in Melbourne against the champions in five years.
Glory were on track for a straight-forward night when early Joel Chianese and Andy Keogh strikes put them two to the good, only for Terry Antonis and Storm Roux to draw Victory level in the second half. In the third minute of stoppage time, Chris Ikonomidis pounced for the winner that Popovic hopes will set the tone for the season.
"You think of Perth Glory in the past, whenever they've played well, they've usually won regardless of the opponent," Popovic said. "But they've always found it hard to win games or consistently get results when they've had to fight or had adversity or difficult periods. Hopefully this is a real step forward for us in that regard."
Glory have been consistent but not outstanding in recent years, finishing between fifth and eighth in the last six seasons for a sum total of one finals win. But they've been tipped as big improvers this season after appointing Popovic, who claimed the Asian Champions League and reached three A-League Grand Finals with Western Sydney Wanderers.
Popovic recruited three members of Australia's 2015 Asian Cup-winning squad in a strong off-season of recruitment. He said his first league win in charge - in that manner - was a first step on the road to success. "It's these moments when you come away from home at these venues, that's what gives you a chance to challenge for the title," he said. "That's what you're trying to change."
The season to date has been dominated by dodgy refereeing calls and dubious use of the video assistant referee, but
The five-goal thriller turned the spotlight onto everything that is right about the woerld game. "It's a fantastic game of football," Popovic commented. "I hope we'll have a lot more entertaining, tough encounters against each other this season. The away team gets a fantastic result ... I think that's a much better headline than talking about VAR."
IKONOMIDIS WINS FOR GLORY
A stoppage-time goal from Chris Ikonomidis has given Perth Glory a 3-2 win against reigning champions Melbourne Victory in Sunday's Hyundai A-League Round Two clash at AAMI Park, and in doing so gave Head Coach Tony Popovic his first A-League victory. Glory raced to a 2-0 lead at the break with goals from Joel Chianese and skipper Andy Keogh. But Victory hit back early in the second half through Terry Antonis, and it looked like the points would be shared when former Glory youth defender Storm Roux headed in with just three minutes remaining, but deep into stoppage-time, Ikonomidis finished well from a quick counter-attack, his first goal for the club on his starting debut, to win it.
"It’s these moments when you come away from home, at these venues, that’s what gives you a chance to challenge for the title,” Popovic said. “That’s what we’re trying to change. We can do that. We believe that when we play well we have a good chance of winning. But when you come away from home and with the travel that I’m still trying to get accustomed to. It was my first long trip, but I’m starting to understand a lot more what the players have to go through. Putting that together, the performance and the other little issues you have trying to get here, I thought it was a fantastic display. But now it’s about backing it up. That’s something we have to do.”
The home side were on the front foot early, looking to bounce back from their Melbourne Derby defeat last week, but it was Glory were hit the front on their first attack on eight minutes. Jason Davidson made space down the left and whipped in a teasing cross with was deflected towards goal by Antonis and Chianese thumped home and had a nervous wait as the dreaded VAR looked at the goal but gave the all clear. It was a perfect start for Popovic's side and it got better 15 minutes later when Glory added a second.
Glory were pressing but lost the ball in the area, but Corey Brown's clearance was headed back into the box by Tomi Mrcela, and the Victory defender left it for keeper Lawrence Thomas, but Keogh nipped in and lifted the ball over the stranded keeper to score his second goal of the season, much to the delight of the Glory travelling supporters. The home side were struggling to break a tight Glory defence, and apart from a few nervy moments from set pieces Glory went into the sheds two goals to the good.
Victory needed a good start to the second half to get back in the game and they did reduce the deficit two minutes in. Antonis was given far too much room just outside the box, but his low shot flashed past Liam Reddy and in off the far post. Glory settled and Ikonomidis' curling effort whistled wide, but it was Victory who were now in the ascendancy. Reddy then came to Glory's rescue on 68 minutes, the veteran keeper saving low to his left from a powerful shot from Victory skipper Keisuke Honda.
Reddy was then out quick to punch away Honda's free kick, and took out Georg Niedermeier in the challenge, and the keeper and Lowry and Alex Grant jestered to the sideline as the German looked in a bad way. After treatment the big defender was replaced by Socceroo Thomas Deng. Victory were pressing for the equaliser and Reddy need to be alert again on 86 minutes, this time pushing Kosta Barbarouses' volley around the post. But from the resulting corner Victory did level. Honda's corner picked out Roux, who lost his marker and headed into the corner of the net.
Victory pressed looking for the winner and Reddy saved low to thwart Barbarouses, but it was end-to-end as both sides weren’t happy to share the spoils. There were six minutes of stoppage time and it looked like both sides would fail to find a winner, but Glory had other ideas and on 94 minutes they won it. Ikonomidis picked the ball in the middle of the park and sent Chianese racing down the right, he cut inside his marker, but Lawrence got a foot to his shot, but the ball fell to Ikonomidis who hammered it home to set off wild celebrations among the Glory fans.
Melbourne Victory: GK Lawrence THOMAS, 2 Storm ROUX, 3 Corey BROWN, 4 Keisuke HONDA (c), 5 Georg NIEDERMEIER (14 Thomas DENG 75'), 7 Kenny ATHIU (23 Jai INGHAM 57'), 8 Terry ANTONIS, 9 Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10 James TROISI, 15 Raul BAENA (21 Carl VALERI 80'), 22 Nick ANSELL - Subs not used: RGK Matt ACTON, 6 Leigh BROXHAM
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Ivan FRANJIC (23 Scott NEVILLE 81'), 7 Joel CHIANESE, 9 Andy KEOGH (c) (22 Fabio FERREIRA 78'), 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 27 JUANDE, 88 Neil KILKENNY (15Brandon WILSON 88') - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 20 Jake BRIMMER - Referee: Jonathan Barreiro
GLORY LET IT SLIP LATE IN W-LEAGUE OPENER
Perth Glory have started their 2018-19 Westfield W-League season with a hard fought 1-1 draw against Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday afternoon. It could have been better after Alyssa Mautz had given Bobby Despotovski's side the lead just before the hour mark, but it the final minute Carson Pickett popped up to level, meaning both sides shared the spoils. "Overall, the way Brisbane played in the first half and the way we responded in the second, a draw was probably a fair result," Despotovski told the Glory website.
"When you look at it, their captain, Katrina Gorry, was playing her 100th game and is one of the most influential players in the world and she's being marked by Abbey Meakins who's playing her first game. Then there's Jamie-Lee [Gale], Isabella [Foletta] and Liana [Cook] also all making their debuts, but everyone contributed, and I was pleased with how we played. We were missing three influential players, but everyone who played today did themselves, us coaches and the club proud."
Glory went close to the lead early in the game when American import Rachel Hill hit the bar with a powerful shot after just nine minutes, but it was Roar who created the bulk of the rest of the chances before the break with new Glory keeper Eliza Campbell producing some fine saves, the best from Ubogagu, while Gorry and Allira Toby were both guilty of wasting good chances for the Roar.
But after the break the Glory lifted and started to get on top and they were rewarded with the lead on 54 minutes, Mautz lost her marker and fired home Caitlin Doeglas’s cross from 10-meters. They almost added a second when Hill’s effort was well saved by Roar custodian Eli Chapple. But in the final minute Roar snatched a point. Chioma Ubogagu played a ball deep into the box for Pickett, who finished well past Campbell. Roar almost nicked all three points in injury time, but Campbell produced another good save to deny them.
Brisbane Roar FC: GK Elli CHAPPLE, 2 Carson PICKETT, 4 Clare POLKINGHORNE (c), 5 Jenna MCCORMICK, 6 Celeste BOUREILLE, 9 Chioma UBOGAGU, 10 Katrina GORRY, 11 Natalie TATHEM, 12 Allira TOBY (18 Leah DAVIDSON 68'), 19 Hollie PALMER (15 Abbey LLOYD 87'), 22 Anna MARGRAF (14 Summer O’BRIEN 79') - Subs not used: RGK Kezia PRITCHARD
Perth Glory FC: GK Eliza CAMPBELL, 2 Sarah CARROLL, 3 Kim CARROLL (c), 4 Alyssa MAUTZ, 5 Shannon MAY, 6 Abbey MEAKINS, 9 Rachel HILL, 13 Jamie-Lee GALE (17 Liana COOK 62'), 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS (18 Isabella FOLETTA 76'), 24 Natasha RIGBY, 25 Katie NAUGHTON - Subs not used: RGK Stacey CAVILL, 15 Alexia MORENO - Referee: Rachel Mitchenson
"WE ARE NOT WORRIED" SAYS ROTHERHAM'S WILLIAMS
Ryan Williams insists there is no panic at Rotherham United despite their slide towards the Championship drop zone. A seven-match winless run has left the Millers just one point - and one place - above the bottom three.
It is a statistic that suggests the alarm bells should be ringing at Rotherham as they attempt to avoid a swift return to League One. But Williams insists spirits remain high at the AESSEAL New York Stadium, with four draws in their last five outings.
"We are not worried, I know we are just outside the relegation zone, but we are playing well," said Williams. "We are not getting hammered, we just need to turn these one-pointers into three, and defeats into one point."
"Hopefully, we can get enough points on the board to stay out of that bottom three. We maybe need a bit of luck too. We just need to keep doing what we are doing. I definitely think we will be in this league next season."
Rotherham have not won since beating Derby County on 15 September, but secured their first away point of the season in Tuesday's 0-0 draw at Middlesbrough. So can the Millers go one better today and clinch a first win on their travels at fellow strugglers Preston North End?
"Why not? We are unbeaten in two," said 24-year old Williams. "It's not a massive run but we will take it. If we could get three points at Preston, that would be a massive result and put us further away from the bottom.
"I have played in the Championship for four different clubs now, but never been in a position where I can assert myself. Now I am fit and healthy. I had a full season last time, got promoted, and am just really enjoying myself."
"I am enjoying working with the boys, it's working out really well. What would make it even better is if we can get more points. I am happy off the pitch, too. I recently got engaged, got a baby on the way, so there's not really a lot for me to be unhappy about."
GLORY HEAD TO MELBOURNE LOOKING FOR A VICTORY
Perth Glory will look to build on their first up 1-1 draw against Western Sydney Wanderers in the opening round when they visit AAMI Park to take on last season's Champions Melbourne Victory on Sunday afternoon (4.00pm WA time). Many supporters thought last week was two points lost but the performance was pleasing, and Tony Popovic will be looking for more of the same against Kevin Muscat's side. Victory were beaten in the Melbourne Derby last week, with City coming from behind to take all three points. Glory have only won once in the eight games played at the venue and will be looking for a second on Sunday to kick start their season.
Glory's new signings all put in good performance last week no more than Jason Davidson, who alongside skipper Andy Keogh was picked in the 'Team of the week'. The former Socceroo is determined to push for a spot in the Green and Gold again, but he knows its performances for Glory that will help him do that. He has worked tirelessly to get his fitness up and shape, and he said after a chat to Popovic he determined to continue with it. "Since I've come into the club I've lost five kilos," he said. "I've been drinking more water and eating smaller portions and I fell a lot better for it. I feel healthier, stronger and faster.
Davidson has plied his trade in Croatia, Portugal, Holland and England during his career, but he said he jumped at the chance to link up with Popovic in the west. "The biggest reason I came to the Glory was to work under him," he said. "His attention to detail is unbelievable and that makes a difference, he's a hard task master, and what you see is what you get with him. If you work hard and put your body on the line for the team he's the type of coach that rewards that behaviour.
"Firstly, I was just happy to make my debut for the club in front of all the fans, last week, and playing back in Australia, having family and friends being able to watch me regularly is great. I really enjoyed the game, result aside. I think the first half we played some great football playing out from the back. I was fortunate enough to find some space on the left, which really opened for me. It was a positive start for the team and myself. It was four months of hard work leading up to that game and this season, so it's always nice to have people talk positively about your individual performance." Squads for the game
Melbourne Victory: GK Lawrence THOMAS, RGK Matt ACTON, 2 Storm ROUX, 3 Corey BROWN, 4 Keisuke HONDA, 5 Georg NIEDERMEIER, 6 Leigh BROXHAM, 7 Kenny ATHIU, 8 Terry ANTONIS, 9 Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10 James TROISI, 13 Birkan KIRDAR, 14 Thomas DENG, 15 Raul BAENA, 16 Josh HOPE, 21 Carl VALERI (c), 22 Nick ANSELL, 23 Jai INGHAM - *two to be omitted*- Ins: KIRDAR (promoted), HOPE (promoted) - Outs: Nil - Unavailable: Ola TOIVONEN (leg)
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Tando VELAPHI, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 9 Andy KEOGH (c) 13 Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 22 Fabio FERREIRA, 23 Scott NEVILLE, 27 JUANDE, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *two to be omitted* - Ins: SPIRANOVIC (promoted), DJULBIC (promoted) - Outs: None - Unavailable: 11 Brendon SANTALAB (hamstring – 1 week), 14 Chris HAROLD (illness – 1 week), 17 Diego CASTRO (hamstring – 1-2 weeks), 21 Jacob ITALIANO (knee – 1-2 weeks), 25 Walter SCOTT (international duty)
WESTFIELD W-LEAGUE KICKS OFF THIS WEEKEND
The W-League kicks off this weekend and Perth Glory open their season with an away trip to Suncorp Stadium to take on Brisbane Roar. Head Coach Bobby Despotovski has added some quality to his squad over the off-season, but the return of marque signing Sam Kerr is the biggest as they look to improve on last season's disappointing finish and will be focused on making the finals. Unfortunately, Kerr will miss the trip due to suspension, and she will be joined on the sidelines by Nikki Stanton, while Morgan Aquino, Jacynta Galabadaarachchi and Leticia McKenna are all on international duty with the Young Matildas.
Despotovski is up-beat ahead of the season opener. "The sooner we start, the better, the group is absolutely raring to go after a longish pre-season," he said. "Like all players at this stage of the year, ours have had enough of training and just want to get out there and play. Yes, we will be missing several players which is not ideal, but Brisbane will be in the same boat. So, we'll go over and give it our best shot and there's no reason why we can't come away with the win."
Glory headed to Brisbane last season and came home with all three points, with Rachel Hill announcing herself on the Westfield W-League scene by bagging a hat-trick. The American striker is expected to line up again on Sunday and could be joined in the side by fellow-Americans Katie Naughton and Alyssa Mautz. Centre-back Naughton is set to debut having enjoyed a stellar campaign in the NWSL with Chicago Red Stars, while Mautz will be out to recapture the kind of form she showed during her first season with the club two years ago.
Fellow-new arrival Eliza Campbell is poised to start in goal and the versatile Grace Henry could also make her first appearance in purple. Glory struggled in the Sunshine State during the early years of the W-League, failing to win on any of their first four visits. They finally secured a maiden victory in November 2015, however and followed that up with last season's spectacular 4-1 triumph. Unfortunately, Despotovski's side were unable to repeat the trick when they faced Roar in the return fixture, going down 2-0 at Dorrien Gardens.
Brisbane Roar FC squad: GK Elli CHAPPLE, GK Kezia PRITCHARD, 2 Carson PICKETT, 4 Clare POLKINGHORNE (c), 5 Jenna MCCORMICK, 6 Celeste BOUREILLE, 9 Chioma UBOGAGU, 10 Katrina GORRY, 11 Natalie TATHEM, 12 Allira TOBY, 14 Summer O’BRIEN, 15 Abbey LLOYD, 18 Leah DAVIDSON, 19 Hollie PALMER, 21 Danielle WARD, 22 Anna MARGRAF - *one to be omitted* - Unavailable: 7 Indiah-Paige RILEY (international duty – 1 week), 8 Kaitlyn TORPEY (international duty – 1 week), 16 Hayley RASO (injured), 20 Annie GROV (international duty – 1 week)
Perth Glory FC squad: GK Eliza CAMPBELL, 23 Stacey CAVILL, 2 Sarah CARROLL, 3 Kim CARROLL (c), 4 Alyssa MAUTZ, 5 Shannon MAY, 6 Abbey MEAKINS, 9 Rachel HILL, 13 Jamie-Lee GALE, 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS, 15 Alexia MORENO, 17 Liana COOK, 18 Isabella FOLETTA, 24 Natasha RIGBY, 25 Katie NAUGHTON - Unavailable: 7 Nicole STANTON (suspended – 1 week), 20 Sam KERR (suspended – 1 week), 10 Jacynta GALABADAARACHCHI (international duty), 11 Leticia MCKENNA (international duty), 21 Morgan AQUINO (international duty)
JACKSON SIGNS ON (courtesy inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)
Golden Boot winner Chris Jackson will wear Inglewood United colours in 2019 after signing on for the coming National Premier Leagues season. The 24-year old striker, scorer of 30 goals this year for Armadale, is the Clubs’ first signing since last month’s appointment of Trim Morgan as head coach.
“I’m really excited to join Inglewood United,” Jackson commented. “It’s a fresh challenge for me; a new club working with new players in a new environment. I’m really looking forward to working with Trim Morgan, to getting to know my teammates and to bring some long-overdue silverware to the club.”
“I’ve spoken with Trim and his ambition - along with that of the Club - is to win next year; making the Top Four won’t be enough, he wants a clean sweep of all the trophies. I want to win as much as possible so the goal is the treble … and it’d be nice if I can beat my goal tally from this season.
England-born Jackson is coming off a sensational debut with Armadale. He spearheaded the Reds to victory in the State Cup, scored 24 goals in as many games to share the Golden Boot with Daryl Nicol (ECU Joondalup) and, at seasons’ end, represented the State against Perth Glory.
Jackson played in Yorkshire’s non-league prior to relocating to Western Australia in January last year. He started out as a junior with Barlby Rovers and progressed to first team football at Selby Town before switching to Pontefract Collieries in mid-2016. He also enjoyed a brief spell with Goole AFC.
RISDON ADMITS WANDERERS OWE FANS A DERBY VICTORY
Defender Josh Risdon says it is about time Western Sydney Wanderers overturn their dreadful Sydney Derby record. The Red and Black have won just one of their last 14 Derby matches in all competitions but have the chance to exact revenge in Saturday night's blockbuster clash at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The Wanderers faithful have endured some bitter Derby nights in recent years, and Risdon says it is time the players deliver local bragging rights back to their loyal supporters. “Coming over last season (from Perth Glory), I’ve got to experience first-hand the rivalry and what this game does to the city. It’s an amazing tradition to be a part of,” Risdon said.
“The results probably haven’t gone our way but credit to our fans who come every time in numbers and are very loud. We probably owe those fans a win and I believe we can do that on Saturday. We’ve got massive fans who will come and follow us everywhere. They’ll be right behind us and I’m sure they will be there in big numbers on Saturday.”
Risdon admits Markus Babbel's side were far from their best in last Sunday's season opener against Glory. But the 26-year old is relishing the chance to nail Western Sydney's Hyundai A-League credentials to the mast with a statement Derby triumph. “We definitely are, despite what the critics say, a strong team this season,” he said.
“It wasn’t probably our best performance but proving that we could go to Perth and get a point on the road, not playing our best, I think that says a lot. There’s still lots to come from us. We’re improving every week and (there is) no better test than to come here on Saturday and to get the job done.”
VICTORY NEW BOY ROUX QUIETLY FINDS HIS FEET
He may not be the highest profile recruit Melbourne Victory brought in over the off-season but Storm Roux is quietly going about impressing his new employers. The full-back inked a two-year deal with Victory over the winter, following five years and 105 games with Central Coast Mariners.
Roux made his Victory debut in the weekend derby with cross-town rivals Melbourne City, who claimed a 2-1 win. The former Sorrento junior commemorated the occasion by laying on the game's opening goal, scored by marquee man Keisuke Honda. For Roux, it was the perfrect way to start his time at a new club.
“Coming here was more just about refocusing and when you’re not the most high-profile recruit, it helps,” the 25-year old explained. “There’s not much attention on you and pressure so it’s been good just to slot in under the radar and get working hard. To make the squad and make my debut in such a big game was a positive.”
“There’s heaps of pressure (to keep your spot) and that’s why I wanted to come here, you’ve got to test yourself week in, week out. If you’re not performing, there’s someone waiting in the wings to take your spot and you might be out for a while. Each week, every position on the field is up for grabs and if you’re not performing, you won’t be surprised if you’re not picked.”
Beyond football, it has been a big fortnight for Roux, who has welcomed a son into the world. “He came last week, just before the big game,” he said of the arrival of Mason, born on 15 October. “So (it’s) an exciting time to have a newborn and to be at a club like this and make my debut in front of a massive crowd in such a massive game.”
GALLOWAY LAPS UP ADELAIDE CHANCE
Perhaps the most crucial season in Scott Galloway’s young career has begun in the perfect fashion. The 23-year old Adelaide United full-back netted a sublime goal against Sydney FC in the A-League’s season opener on Friday night, lifting the ball over goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne.
Galloway’s long-range, opportunistic effort gave Adelaide the lead on the stroke of half-time against the Sky Blues. His efforts were rewarded with selection in the Daily Football Show’s Team of the Week and two votes by in the Player of the Year count.
A strong start to life in red is exactly what the doctor ordered for Galloway, who is facing an important season in his football life, perhaps the most vital yet. Since initially making his mark at Melbourne Victory, Galloway has struggled to find continuity.
Injury curtailed his sole season with Central Coast Mariners and the same could be said of his time with Wellington Phoenix after returning from a trial with Dutch club Willem II. Now 23, Galloway is hoping to bring together that continuity at Adelaide under Marco Kurz’s tutelage.
“He’s given me the confidence. He keeps telling me that I’ve got quality about me,” Galloway said. “Last year was a disappointing year for myself but I’m here, I wanted to come to a team that was going to compete for titles, really push for spots and have some quality players around me and under a quality coach from whom I’m going to learn constantly.”
“That’s what I feel like I have. The training standard is completely different to wherever I’ve been, the intensity at which we train. That’s what I love. I love to be pushed. I love to be driven along by other players and that’s why I’m really, really enjoying it. I feel like my game’s going to get better and better here.”
TAGGART SAYS HE'LL BOUNCE BACK AGAINST WELLINGTON
Adam Taggart’s Brisbane Roar debut against Central Coast Mariners verged toward the stuff of nightmares – but he’s relishing a return to the scene of the crime this weekend. The 25-year old squandered two golden first half opportunities in Roar’s season opener on Sunday and saw a second half finish chalked off for offside upon Video Assistant Referee review.
However, Taggart would ultimately be rewarded for his persistence thanks to a neat swivel and finish in the 65th minute. That was his 40th goal in 93 A-League games, and one that salvaged a 1-1 draw with the Gosford club. “I’d be lying if I was to stand here and say I wasn’t going to miss again,” said Taggart, who switched to Brisbane from Perth Glory over the off-season.
“I’m prepared to miss in order to score. Anyone who understands sport knows you’ve got to put yourself in those positions. Something I can guarantee is that I’ll never go hiding, as tough as the game is or as bad as I’m playing ... if I miss 20 chances I’ll still show for the 21st. I’ll show for my teammates and I’ll always want to take responsibility for my own performances.”
One of John Aloisi’s headline signings, Taggart will look to take full advantage of Roar’s impressive attacking form when they host Wellington Phoenix this Sunday. The former Fulham marksman typically relishes facing the Kiwi outfit and has scored five Hyundai A-League goals in total against Wellington, including a pre-season strike in July’s 2-1 behind-closed-doors triumph.
“Wellington as a side seem to have recruited well,” Taggart said. “They’ve definitely improved on what they were the last season or last few years. I think they’ll be a strong side. We know what they can do, we’ve already started looking at how we’re going to exploit them and their strengths and weaknesses.”
WE HAVE SOMETHING TO BUILD ON: POPOVIC
It’s not the dream start he was after but Tony Popovic must be pleased with what he saw from his Perth Glory in their A-League season opener. Glory were superb in the first half against Western Sydney Wanderers and were perhaps unfortunate to not lead by more than the 1-0 scoreline they did at the break.
But as can often happen in the early rounds of a new season, the same energy, purpose and goal threat couldn’t be maintained after the break. They were made to pay for that slight drop off as Roly Bonevacia struck 25 minutes from time to salvage a 1-1 draw.
“If we just look at the result we’re a bit disappointed not to get the win,” he told Fox Sports post-match. “I think we had enough of the game, certainly enough control and opportunities to win the match but we go away with a point and we have something to build on.”
There are certainly plenty of positives for the new-look Glory. Socceroos left-back Jason Davidson was excellent on his first start in the A-League, while Glory have extended their unbeaten run in an opening round match at home to 13 years. Glory also looked threatening in Popovic’s adventurous 3-4-3 formation he’s implemented for much of the pre-season.
Central defenders Shane Lowry, Alex Grant and Tomi Mrcela were excellent, while Davidson and Ivan Franjic made the most of the space on the flanks. The midfield duo of Neil Kilkenny and Juande appear to have struck up an immediate understanding and with skipper Diego Castro still to return, Glory can only get better.
However, Popovic knows it will take time before they are at their peak. “It’s a new coach, new staff in the football department, there’s a lot of new players, it’s a new formation,” he said of his Glory side. “Overall we’re pleased with the parts of the game where we saw what we have been working on was there but I’m sure it will get better and better.
“You can see there are a lot of good patches of our football. Unfortunately, we couldn’t finish it off with a goal and we conceded a soft goal really. It was their first attempt on goal so it’s a disappointing one from our point of view. But (Glory) kept going at the end and kept creating opportunities.”
WHY KERR SNUBBED EUROPE FOR GLORY
There is no argument that Sam Kerr is one of, if not the best female footballer on the planet right now. As the reigning Asian, W-League and US National Women's Soccer League player of the year it’s hard to raise any objections. And Kerr may finally receive the global recognition she deserves after being shortlisted for the inaugural women's Ballon d'Or.
But being one of the most in demand footballers in the world isn’t without its challenges as Kerr revealed when tasked with determining her playing future. “It was a real stressful time to be honest,” said Kerr, who recently agreed to an eighth season with Perth Glory. “Europe was the main one - I was talking to a few clubs.
“Every footballer wants to play in Europe. It’s where football was made and everyone loves it. I definitely want to go over there and show the Europeans how the Aussies do it. I will eventually get out there but whether it’s next year, whether it’s two years, I don’t know. You never know I could be at Glory for another year.”
Kerr revealed she chose to snub Europe and play in Perth because she wanted to be in the best shape possible leading into France 2019. “At the end of the day the World Cup is the most important thing,” she said. “I’m really comfortable at home. I always play well for Glory so hopefully I can stay fit and healthy and get in the World Cup team.”
Kerr heads into the coming W-League after scoring 16 goals in 19 games for the Chicago Red Stars to win the NASL golden boot for the second consecutive season. After scoring for club and country on a regular basis the 25-year old striker has put her consistency down to having found happiness away from football.
“Honestly I just really started to take care of myself,” she said. “I know my routine now, I know what makes me happy. My personal life off the field is much more important than playing well on the field. If I’m happy off the field then I play well. So honestly, I think I found a balance with football and my personal life and it’s helped.
GLORY VETERAN DJULBIC HUNGRY FOR SUCCESS
At 35 and in his third stint at Perth Glory, Dino Djulbic has seen more upheaval at the club than most. As success-starved Glory prepare to launch yet another fresh era at Perth Oval today, the big-hearted defender said the players now had a deeper understanding of what was required from them.
Djulbic has been impressed by the obsessive attention to detail of new coach Tony Popovic, who will face his former side Western Sydney Wanderers in the season-opener. “He’s down to detail and he knows what he wants,” Djulbic said. “As long as everyone is doing their job, I think we’ll be fine.”
Djulbic said he was fit and eager to play but that Popovic had kept his cards close to his chest when it came to who would start. The big centre-half said the new defensive signings would create strong competition for places and he expected Perth would regularly switch between back-three and back- four systems this season.
“I’m good; I might be old but I don’t break down very easy,” he said. “Competition’s always healthy, I’ve never shied away from competition. I think it brings the best out of me as well and I think out of everyone else. “We played against Chelsea with three at the back or five in midfield, so we can play different styles.”
POINTS SHARED IN SEASON OPENER PLUS FROM THE SHED
Perth Glory have fought a 1-1 draw against Western Sydney Wanderers in the opening Hyundai A-League game of the season at nib Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Skipper Andy Keogh gave the home side the lead in the first half but Roly Bonevacia leveled for the Wanderers just after the hour. both sides had chances to win it but at the final whistle both sides took a share of spoils. “If we just look at the result we’re a bit disappointed not to get the win,” Popovic said post-match. “I think we had enough of the game, certainly enough control and opportunities to win the match but we go away with a point and we have something to build on.”
However, the coach knows it will take time before they are at their peak. “It’s a new coach, new staff in the football department, there’s a lot of new players, it’s a new formation,” Popovic said. "Overall we’re pleased with the parts of the game where we saw what we have been working on was there but I’m sure it will get better and better. You can see there are a lot of good patches of our football. Unfortunately, we couldn’t finish it off with a goal and we conceded a soft goal really. It was their first attempt on goal so it’s a disappointing one from our point of view. But we kept going at the end and kept creating opportunities.”
The View from the Shed - Footballwa.net speak to Glory fans from 'The Shed' on the game - "We had opportunities didn't we, but we didn't finish them. We're looking a lot tidier in the midfield, which is good, but we missed Castro up front. I thought Kilkenny is controlling the centre of the park and Ikonimidous came on late and made a difference up front - It's looking better but a lot of tiding up to do." - Sam (Murdouch) - "We need a lot of work and with the new faces in the side it does take time - The back three will work, but needs fine tuning - We missed Castro and Spironovic tonight but we've got faith in Poppa - He's brought players to play a certain way and I'm sure we will be alright." - Tyson (Huntingdale)
"I thought we had the chances to win tonight, and we were good in the first half, but lacked a bit after half time. We did have chances, but we didn't really create many clear cut chances in the second half. We looked good going forward - we had more intent than last season and we looked solid at the back." - David (Success)
"I thought we were unlucky tonight we had some good chances and on the balance of play should have taken all three points - Their goal was probably the only chance they had all game, so unfortunate with 1-1 put it's a point, and all games against the Wanderers are tight games, as they are well organised team - I thought the wing backs worked well for us tonight and it will be interesting to see how we go in the upcoming games." - Daniel (Bassendean) - "We need to learn play for 90 minutes, but it's still early in the season and we have to get fitter and faster, but I think there is exciting things to come from the side. I thought we looked solid at the back, but we really did miss Castro tonight and Andy Keogh will have to learn the offside rule." - Kim (Champion Lakes) - "I thought we were pretty good tonight - typical Popovic very solid and not given much away - The goal we conceded was a litle disappointing and I thought on the balance we deserved to win so it looks pretty positive. It's still early days but overal it looks impressive - Algus (Perth CBD)
Glory went into this one without the injured skipper Diego Castro, Brendon Santalab, Jacob Itliano, Matthew Spiranovic and Chris Harold, but Popovic gave home A-League debuts to Jason Davidson, Ivan Franjic, Tomislav Mrcela, Juande and Fabio Ferreira. It was a lively opening for the home side and Wanderers [keeper Vedran Janetovic was out quick to save at the feet of Ferreira early. The Wanderers first opportunity came on 10 minute, Rashid Mahazi's long range shot fizzed wide. Glory went close again on 24 minutes, Keogh sent the overlapping Ferreira down the right, his low cross was well defended by the lively Ruon Tongyik. But sixty seconds later the Glory had the lead. A poor clearance to Tongyik from Janetovic put the defender under pressure and he was disposed of the ball by Neil Kilkenny who slipped Keogh in on goal, Janetovic stood tall to save his first shot but the Irish striker made no mistake from a tight angle with the rebound. Wanderers looked for a quick response, but Mahazi headed over the top from a corner on the half hour. Keogh was nearly in again just before half time, Chianese's cross picked out the striker, but his headed flashed just wide of the near post. There was till time for another chance in stoppage time. A short corner picked out Kilkenny, who stung the palms of Janetovic, before Ferreira blazed over the follow up shot.
Wanderers went close to leveling just after the break, Jaushua Sotirio was given far too much space and his shot from the angle was well saved by Liam Reddy. The Glory custodian was at it again moments later, this time Sotirio's cross picked out Oriol Riera, who's headed was tipped around the post by the alert Reddy. But on the hour Glory were within inches of a second, Alex Grant's powerful header beat Janetovic, but the crossbar came to the rescue of the Wanderers keeper. But four minutes later and with their first real chance the Wanderers leveled. Tarek Elrich played in Bonevacia, who beat the offside trap and held Mrcela at arm's length to slot home the equaliser. Roared on by a healthy 10,206 crowd, Glory lifted and Davidson's header at the back post deflected wide, before Mrcella headed straight at Janjetovic. Wanderers should have took the lead on 74 minutes, a ball into the box found an unmarked Riera, but the Spanish striker failed to test Reddy, or find the target from close-range. Substitute Ikonomidis looked lively on his Glory debut, and his low shot whistled just wide four minutes later. Ikonomidis was in again moments later, a teasing cross from Franjic found the Socceroos striker, but his glancing header flashes inches past the far post and Glory had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Perth Glory 1 (Keogh 25') Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 (Bonevacia 64')
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 9 Andy KEOGH, 16 Tomislav MRCELA (23 Scott NEVILLE 82'), 22 Fabio FERREIRA (19 Chris IKONOMIDIS 65'), 27 Juande (20 Jake BRIMMER 72'), 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 15.Brandon WILSON
Western Sydney Wanderers: GK Vedran JANJETOVIC, 4 Josh RISDON, 5 Brendan HAMILL (c), 9 Oriol RIERA, 10 Alexander BAUMJOHANN (7 Nick FITZGERALD 82'), 12 Ruon TONGYIK, 16 Jaushua SOTIRIO (11 Bruce KAMAU 72'), 17 Keanu BACCUS, 21Tarek ELRICH, 22 Rashid MAHAZI, 28 Roly BONEVACIA - Subs not used: RGK Danijel NIZIC, 8 Jordan O’DOHERTY, 24 Raul LLORENTE - Referee: Peter Green
GALLOWAY: IT WAS DEFINITELY A SHOT
Adelaide United goalscorer Scott Galloway insists his strike in Friday's 1-1 draw with Sydney FC was a shot not a cross. The Reds new signing opened the scoring with a 45th minute goal from just outside the corner of the 18-yard box which caught Sydney goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne out.
"The ball just fell to me at the edge of the box and it was definitely a shot," Galloway said. "Some people are questioning that. I was going a bit more backpost but a goal is a goal. I'll take it. That's where I wanted it … They were having a bit of a laugh saying was it a cross or a shot but definitely a shot."
Galloway added that he was disappointed the Reds couldn't hold Sydney out, with Adam le Fondre levelling from Milos Ninkovic's 78th minute pass. "We limited them to very few chances but a team of this quality, all it takes is one chance," he said. "It's disappointing to not get the win but it's only Round One."
TAGGART: ROAR SHOWED FAITH WHEN OTHERS DIDN'T
Socceroos World Cup striker Adam Taggart says he switched to Brisbane Roar over the off-season because the club showed more faith in him than Perth Glory. Controversy followed Taggart’s move from his hometown club to Brisbane with Glory owner Tony sage lashing out at the striker for what he felt was a betrayal.
Taggart revealed Brisbane showed greater belief in him following his time on the side lines. “Brisbane Roar showed the faith in me even when I was injured last season when everyone else really didn’t to be honest,” said the striker.
“I wanted to repay that faith by joining the club that wanted me through good times and bad. Brisbane wanted to sign me throughout the whole year. Perth came in last minute and as much as I appreciate it I decided to choose Brisbane Roar.”
Taggart showed glimpses of his 2013/14 form, which was rewarded with a spot in the Socceroos 2014 World Cup squad, during his two-season stint with Glory. With nine goals from in 14 starts last season, Taggart is confident of getting on the field more consistently this season.
“I’d like to think so,” he said. “I have a good pre-season I’ve worked a lot on the things that I need to work on and just going back to basics and working hard on the field and it’s working well. Previously I’ve tried to focus on a million and one things and just eventually overloaded something or I broke down.”
“I’m really confident in my body and my fitness at the moment. I’m a hungry guy and I want as much success as I can and I believe that (coach) John Aloisi will also help me get to the level that I want to be at and reach my life long dreams and goals as a footballer.”
Many pundits and fans don’t see Brisbane as a threat to the teams from Sydney and Melbourne but Taggart prefers Roar being viewed as the underdogs. “It’s probably difficult these days to compete with those clubs and the hype that they have because of the amount of money they spend,” he said.
“But it doesn’t matter it doesn’t bother us. We are all confident in what we are doing and that’s all that matters really. We are the only ones that see what is happening behind the scenes and of course we are the only ones who can make the right judgement on the way that we are going.”
PERTH SC ALIGN WITH GERMAN GIANTS
After taking out the 2018 NPLWA title and Top Four Cup Perth SC continue to strengthen ties within the club and are aligning with German giants Borussia Monchengladbach to hold academy camps at Dorrien Gardens in January. Perth Soccer Club President and former Perth Glory Head coach Gary Marocchi said it's an exciting new initiative from the club as they look to link their successful youth development with the 1976-77 European Cup winners.
"Perth SC is always looking at opportunities to link with external sources where our youth development can continue to prosper," he said. "We have won two out of the last three NPL titles, with a majority of younger players coming through our youth system. Players such as Alex Silla, Jordan De Leo, Rocco Pizzata, Harley Orr, Nick Ambrogio, Matthew Milenkovic, Malec Kuc, Alex Jovic and Paul Zimarino all having come through our club’s junior development."
The Borussia Academy Singapore is a partnership between Head Coach Ulli Niedermeyer, who has coached at Football West previously, and the Bundesliga club Borussia Monchengladbach, who are world famous for its youth department and developing its own players. Niedermeyer has worked in coaching and sports development in Germany, Malaysia, Australia and, for the last 25 years. It’s this grassroots approach and inclusive spirit that Ulli wants to bring to his Singapore Academy, and ultimately to the Perth Soccer Club.
“We are looking forward to our partnership with Perth Soccer Club in January and working with the clubs talented players," Niedermeyer said. "Our company motto is to ‘inspire through sport, so we need to get kids away from the phone, the iPad, the computer – get them out, having fun and dealing with everything that a sports programme brings; building character, working together, dealing with winning and losing.”
The academy caters for all abilities and is not selective, and Niedermeyer said it's all about learning the world game. “If you walk through that door, you are in,” he said. “You might be in the second or third team, but you’ll get a chance to play and we’ll take care of you. Everyone has a different starting point as far as talent and potential is concerned, and we’re here to develop their potential and ignite their passion.”
Marocchi said the introduction of Perth Glory in the NPL has made it difficult to retain players, but they are determined to continue to develop players to push for first team spots and last season they unearthed another talent, with Kristian Santich playing good minutes in Ramon Falzon's side. "We recruited Kristian from Cockburn City as a 16-year-old and I've no doubt he will develop into one of WA's best players in the future. At 18 he is showing the ability to succeed at the next level and he showed ability way above his age last season in our first team," he explained.
"But the introduction of Glory into the NPL ranks has made it more difficult to retain talented junior players. Our potential association with the Bundesliga club may give our promising youth an opportunity to further their development by attending overseas training opportunities and it also may open up opportunities for some of our coaches to gain further experience by attending coaching sessions in Germany."
The Holiday camps will be held at Dorrien Gardens on January 28 to February for girls and boys aged 7-12 from 8.30am – 11.00am, while the competitive camps are on the same dates but from 6.00pm – 8.30pm – both cost $450. The holiday camps offer children an experience full of Football with appropriate dribbling, passing and shooting exercises. Small sided games such as 3 v 3, 5 v 5 and tournaments add to the learning and will be lots of fun. While the Competitive Camps are designed to inspire players to develop ball skills, motor coordination, decision making at high intensity and appropriate attitudes in a team environment. Contact Perth SC for further details at firstname.lastname@example.org
LET THE GAMES BEGIN - 'COME ON GLORY'
Perth Glory begin a new era in their 23-year history on Sunday with Tony Popovic taking charge of his first Hyundai A-League game at the club when they host his former club Western Sydney Wanderers in the season opener at nib Stadium. (4.00pm WA time) Popovic, who led the Wanderers to the Asian Champions League title in 2014 has taken over as coach from Kenny Lowe, and the 45-year-old will be plotting the downfall of his former club this time around.
It's been a low-key pre-season for Glory, wins against a number of state league clubs and the Goldfields WA State team, but they have lost against Melbourne Victory in the FFA Cup, and a behind closed door friendly against Melbourne City, but earned a draw against Adelaide United, but come Sunday a good home performance and three points against Markus Babbel's side would be a great lift for the club.
In team news for the opener the Glory will be without influential skipper Diego Castro who has a hamstring injury, while new recruit Brendon Santalab, Jacob Italiano and Chris Harold are also missing due to injury and illness. Meanwhile for the visitors Patrick Ziegler and Mark Bridges are also out with injury.
Glory have recruited well in the off season and spots in the starting eleven are up for grabs. One of those signings is Matthew Spiranovic, who will also face his former club on Sunday. The defender said he jumped at the chance to join the club when he was contacted by Popovic, and he is looking forward to playing against his former club. "I don't know if it will be weird. It'll be exciting, I guess," he said. "I have a lot of good memories there in a short period of time. The fans were second to none. I guess that creates a bit of extra hype around the game but it's all positive."
It's been a long time between drinks for the Glory, and they haven't won a piece of silverware since the last season of the National Soccer League in 2003, when Nick Mrda’s goal gave them a 1-0 win against Paramatta Power, but with Popovic, new CEO Tony Pignata and a number of impressive new signings on deck, there is genuine hope that there is a good season ahead for the men in purple.
Spiranovic will be part of what promises to be a new look back four, given Perth's defensive stocks include fellow fringe Socceroos Jason Davidson, Ivan Franjic and Tomi Mrcela, plus tried and tested A-League campaigners Dino Djulbic, Alex Grant, Scott Neville and Shane Lowry. The defender said it's important to get it right at both ends of the park. "Perth has never really had a problem with scoring goals," he said. "But we all know championship-winning sides are built on strong foundations defensively."
Popovic is ready to lead the Glory to their first title, and he is not interested in hope, he wants expectation. The Coach said he is quite happy to shoulder the weight of that expectation. Too often Glory have been seen as perennial mid-table finishers hoping for a chance to make the finals, but Popovic doesn’t do things by halves and insists there are no limits to what can be achieved in a much-anticipated season.
“We don’t want hope any more. We want to be the club where there is an expectation, we want to be a club that people expect to be among the top four," he said. "The alternative is to say, ‘OK let’s try to make the top six and get in there. In the past there was no expectation on where Perth Glory would finish. It’s up to us to change that. We want people to say: ‘We expect Perth Glory to be challenging’. Can we do that this season? Of course, we can. How far we can go? I don’t want to put any limits on the squad. The sky’s the limit. Let’s see how far we can go.”
Popovic has moulded the squad to his high expectations, especially at the back, and that's a good sign after they leaked 53 goals last season, but he believes it's a squad more than capable of taking the big prize. “You win games with your attack. You win titles with your defence,” he said. “People will see that the players we have brought in will be important in terms of our playing style. We want to be a team that can be quick on transition both ways and play at speed. It's still early stages and we have a long way to go ... I’m pleased with the progress.”
Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, GK Tando VELAPHI, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Shane LOWRY(c), 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 9 Andy KEOGH, 13 Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 22 Fabio FERREIRA, 23 Scott NEVILLE, 27 Juande, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *two to be omitted* - Unavailable: 11 Brendon SANTALAB (hamstring – 1-2 weeks), 14 Chris HAROLD (illness – 1 week), 17 Diego CASTRO (hamstring – 1-2 weeks), 21 Jacob ITALIANO (knee – 1-2 weeks), 25 Walter SCOTT (international duty)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: GK Vedran JANJETOVIC, GK Danijel NIZIC, 4 Josh RISDON, 5 Brendan HAMILL (c), 7 Nick FITZGERALD, 8 Jordan O’DOHERTY, 9 Oriol RIERA, 10 Alexander BAUMJOHANN, 11 Bruce KAMAU, 12 Ruon TONGYIK, 16 Jaushua SOTIRIO, 17 Keanu BACCUS, 21 Tarek ELRICH, 22 Rashid MAHAZI, 23 Lachlan SCOTT, 24 Raul LLORENTE, 28 Roly BONEVACIA, 49 Abraham MAJOK - *two to be omitted* - Unavailable: 6 Kosta GROZOS (international duty), 13 Tass MOURDOUKOUTAS (international duty), 18 Marc TOKICH (international duty), 19 Mark BRIDGE (injury – 6 weeks), 32 John ROBERTS (international duty), 33 Tate RUSSELL (international duty), 34 Patrick ZIEGLER (injury – 2 weeks) 18.10.2018
WILLIAMS: ARNOLD HAS BEEN IN TOUCH
Rotherham United winger Ryan Williams has revealed Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has been in touch as he strives towards an international call-up. The 24-year old, an Australia youth international, was recently named in the standby list for the Socceroo's friendly with Kuwait.
"I made the stand-by squad after getting a message off the coach which said keep doing what you are doing which was nice,” Wiliams said. "I kept myself ready in case the call came, and hopefully now I can keep starting games, keep my form to a high standard and try to impress again."
Williams joined Rotherham last year and helped the club get promoted from League One via the play-offs. This season the winger has been a regular for the Millers, playing in every one of the Yorkshire side's 12 league fixtures. Currently Rotherham sit in 19th spot in the Championship with three wins, two draws and seven defeats.
Williams said the competition for places at Rotherham keeps everyone performing at their best. "At the start of the season the gaffer always said that he wanted to strengthen in the middle to help out Will (Vaulks) and Matt (Palmer)," said the one-time ECU Joondalup junior.
"Now we have Ryan Manning and Richie, and we also know young Ben Wiles is making great strides too. There is real competition now, which is great and it gives us that chance to play with three in midfield knowing Semi can do a great job in there as well. The gaffer is all about good competition for places and you can see that now right across the midfield."
GLORY ANNOUNCE SPANISH MAESTRO AS SKIPPER
Perth Glory have confirmed Spanish maestro Diego Castro as club captain for the 2018/19 season. Castro will take over the role from Andy Keogh, who will be part of the clubs’ leadership group along with defender Shane Lowry and keeper Liam Reddy. The announcement was made at club’s special event - 'Glory in Business Lunch' on Wednesday, and the little Spaniard is thrilled to have been awarded the armband.
“It’s a big honour and a responsibility at the same time, but I’m taking that responsibility with all the support of my teammates and the coaching staff," he said. "It’s a positive thing in my career and I’m ready for the new challenge. I’ve been a captain before a couple of times in my career and this will be an experience that will help me grow and develop.”
When the former La Liga star was asked about his leadership style, the 2015-16 Johnny Warren Medal winner insisted that not much will change. “I don’t think I’ll be too different to the way I’ve been before, I’ve always tried to lead by example and suggest advice to the younger players," he said. “We have lots of experienced players and staff who can help with this. In football, it’s easy to communicate. It is simple to get my message across to the other players. Maybe talking to the media is a tough one because it’s not as easy to express myself as well in English as I do in Spanish, but I will do my best. I think we will do our talking on the field this year.”
Glory Head Coach Tony Popovic is adamant that the man who joined Glory in 2015 is well qualified to lead the side. "Diego was a natural choice,” he said. "During the three seasons that he has spent here at Perth Glory, he has been a leader on and off the field. We are fortunate to have a strong leadership group in the squad which will be a great benefit for us throughout the exciting journey that lies ahead."
BIRIGHITTI REVEALS WHY HE CHOSE CITY
Melbourne City goalkeeper Mark Birighitti says he is stronger person after his stint in Europe. The 27-year old arrives in Bundoora battling for the first-choice goalkeeping spot with Eugene Galekovic, who he spent time with as a youngster in his Adelaide United days. He is also reunited with Scott Jamieson and Dario Vidosic.
Birighitti made it clear he has returned to City for more game time after stints at Swansea and NAC Breda. "I spent a year at Swansea and I knew after it was time to move on and take the next step to find a club in Europe where I can play," said Birighitti, who didn’t feature for Swansea and made 16 appearances for NAC Breda.
"I was fortunate that Breda believed in me and gave me an opportunity. I played many games there and the Dutch league is fantastic for young players to gain that experience in Europe. They had a lot of problems with the goalkeepers and throughout their season, they weren’t happy with the goalkeepers."
“They started one goalkeeper for the first three games and they didn’t believe in him, so they brought me in. It was quite difficult to go there and perform straight away and the supporters are very passionate and have their say."
Birighitti added he was relishing game time with City this season. "Last year was a solid year in Holland, I played a lot of games and things change at the club," he said. "A new coach came in and he had different ideas and plans and he brought in one of the goalkeepers at his old club."
"It was difficult for me and at this stage in my career, it’s important to be playing every week and I thought Melbourne City was a perfect fit. If I was going to come back to the A-League, it was always going to be City because of their links and the club in general has come so far."
Birighitti has signed for City in a three-year contract, but did not rule out returning to Europe in the near future. He also denied he was disappointed to be back in the A-League after his stints in Europe. "If you see the setup at City, not many clubs in Europe and Australia have the facilities we do at City," Birighitti said.
"Coming back wasn’t difficult at all, I know the league and I was involved for many years. It’s a league I can do well in and hopefully I have a good season and we’ll see what happens in the future. It’s something I’d like to get back to, but I don’t want to set long-term goals. I just want to perform well and the rest will take care of itself."
Birighitti is yet to play a competitive game for City as Galekovic started in their 2-1 loss to Western Sydney Wanderers in the FFA Cup quarter-final. It is the Melbourne Derby on Saturday and Birighitti recalls playing against Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV Eindhoven in the Eredivisie as the biggest games of his career.
He added he was excited to meet Melbourne Victory. "I kept a close eye on the A-League last year and City were so close to making the Grand Final," he said. "There’s a sense of feeling at the club this year that it’s a bit of revenge and everyone is hungry and fighting."
"In my Newcastle days, the Melbourne Derby was always a game we’d try and watch because it’s an epic battle and to be part of one will be very exciting. There will be a big crowd and these are the games you’ll be involved in."
KERR WANTS MORE W-LEAGUE MARQUEES
Matildas superstar Sam Kerr wants a longer W-League season and more marquee players, and neither may be too far away according to FFA boss David Gallop. Kerr rejected offers from European clubs to sign for Perth Glory as the W-League's inaugural marquee player.
"It's a huge honour. It's something I'm really proud of and hopefully it's a big step for women's football in the right direction," Kerr said at today's W-League season launch in Sydney. "Hopefully one day there can be one (marquee) for every team which I think is well deserved for the girls."
Asked how far away that might be from happening Gallop said: "I wouldn't have thought that far. The Matildas will go to a World Cup in the middle of 2019 and if we had our way, a number of them will come away as world names. Therefore, the commercial interest will hopefully be there to be able to continue to lift their remuneration and have other marquee players."
The W-League season starting on Thursday week will run over 14 rounds, well short of the 27 played in the A-League. Asked how close the W-League was to being one of the world's best women's competitions, Kerr said: "Once we get a home and away season and the season is longer I think it can definitely compete."
"But I've played in the US seven years and I've always said teams like Melbourne City, Sydney FC and Perth Glory could compete with teams over there. At the moment I would love to see a home and away but obviously you've got to take small steps."
Kerr stressed the current season length had some advantages as it meant quality imports could be recruited as the W-League doesn't clash with other domestic women's competitions in Europe and the United States. She said she planned to play in Europe at some stage of her career.
POPOVIC LOOKS TO LIFT GLORY STANDARDS
New Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic is not interested in hope. He wants expectation. And he is quite happy to shoulder the weight of that expectation as he leads Glory into a new A-League era. Too often Glory have been seen as perennial mid-table finishers hoping for a chance to make the finals.
But Popovic doesn’t do things by halves and insists there are no limits to what can be achieved in a much-anticipated season. “We don’t want hope any more. We want to be the club where there is an expectation,” he said. “We want to be a club that people expect to be among the top four.”
“In the past there was no expectation on where Perth Glory would finish. It’s up to us to change that. We want people to say ‘We expect Perth Glory to be challenging’. Can we do that this season? Of course we can. How far we can go? I don’t want to put any limits on the squad. The sky’s the limit. Let’s see how far we can go.”
Popovic, a former Socceroos defender with proven coaching credentials - three A-League Grand Finals and an Asian Champions League title with Western Sydney Wanderers - is a shrewd tactician who knows what he wants. He has a reputation as a master motivator but has faced some big challenges at Glory.
“The biggest challenge was a mental one, the psychological aspect, to get a shift from we want to win to winning to win,” Popovic said. “When I think back to where we started, where the group was psychologically to where they are now, they’ve all really grown along that path.”
Popovic, who faces his former side in the opening game, has replaced a third of the squad since his arrival with much of the recruitment aimed at plugging a defence that leaked 53 goals in each of the last two seasons. In Ivan Franjic, Jason Davidson and Matthew Spiranovic, Popovic has three of the back four that began the Socceroos’ 2014 World Cup game against Chile and he has also added the well-travelled Tomi Mrcela.
“You win games with your attack. You win titles with your defence,” Popovic said. “People will see that the players we have brought in will be important in terms of our playing style. We want to be a team that can be quick on transition both ways and play at speed. It's still early stages and we have a long way to go ... I’m pleased with the progress.”
NICOL TAKES OUT NPLWA ALL FLAGS GOLD MEDAL
ECU Joondalup Soccer Club striker Daryl Nicol capped off a superb season for the club in the NPLWA by taking out the All Flags Men’s Gold Medal as the leagues fairest and Best player at the 2018 All Flags WA Football Awards at Crown Perth on Saturday night. Nicol who also won the leagues Golden Boot had a stellar season and he said the award means a great deal to him, but he said he couldn’t have done it without his team mates. “I’m absolutely thrilled to win the gold medal, and it’s one of the biggest highlights in my life as I know how many good players there are in the NPL,” he said. “I’d to thank everyone associated with ECU Joondalup for helping me achieve it, and also a massive thankyou also has to go to my girlfriend Alison for putting up with my obsession with football throughout the season.”
Nicol received 45 votes on the night, ten ahead of Subiaco’s David Perich, who was five votes ahead of Floreat Athena’s Dean Evans, who was ineligible, and Forrestfield United skipper Liam Merigan. The rest of the top ten in order were Perth SC midfielder Harley Orr with 25 votes, Balcatta striker Luccas Mello and Stirling Lions midfielder David Micevski tied on 21 votes, Balcatta skipper Callum O’Connell on 20 votes along with Floreat Athena midfielder Ludovic Boi, with Cockburn City skipper Cameron Edwards picking up 19 votes. In other awards on the night Perth SC’s Ramon Falzon was named NPL WA Coach of the Year after guiding the Azzurri to the league title and Top Four Cup success, while Floreat Athena’s Jason Saldaris and Inglewood United’s Alex Dunn were joint winners of the NPLWA Goalkeeper of the Year.
Rockingham City midfielder James Harmer was named State League Division One Player of the Year after helping his side gain promotion to the NPL, “It was a massive shock to win to be honest with you, especially after missing five games this season I really did not expect it but it was a real accolade to get the award and it was a superb night, and it was a nice way to finish off an incredible season,” Harmer said.
“Everyone wrote us off to finish bottom and get relegated and we went on to win the league and get promotion. The gaffa and coaches were incredible and created a very enjoyable and professional atmosphere throughout the year and the squad of boys were superb all year. In my opinion we had several lads that deserved to be playing NPL and they really showed that this year. We’re looking forward to making a good impression on the NPL next season and making a good start to a sustained period in the top league.”
Olympic Kingsway striker Danny Hodgson claimed the Division Two Player of the Year award after helping his side to the title. “It was great to win the award, it just topped off an amazing season at Kingsway. I’m just thankful to be back playing after three years out with the bad knee,” Hodgson said. “I obviously missed five weeks this season which was also a little set back, but to take out the best player award was a great achievement for myself. Everyone involved at the club is excited for the upcoming season in a hard league, and hopefully we can continue on from last year.”
Gwelup Croatia’s Taki Nicolaides won the State League Division One Coach of the Year award after his side finished second to Rockingham and reached the national Round of 32 in the FFA Cup, while Wanneroo City’s Tim Kantor was named Division Two Coach of the Year. Perth Glory’s Jake Brimmer, who is part of the club’s A-League squad, won the Dylan Tombides Young Player of the Year Award.
The Belt Up Amateur League Player of the Year went to Jesse Higgins of Kingsley, the Belt Up Amateur League Coach of the Year award went to Kingsley’s Steve Dimitrovich, while Paul Rainford made it a clean sweep for Kingsley by taking out the Belt Up Amateur Premier League Goalkeeper of the Year. Quinns FC stalwart Vicki Frost was recognised as the 2018 Volunteer of the Year.
Queens Park striker Katrina Jukic was a worthy winner of the Women’s State Premier League Gold Medal as the Best Female player of the season, and like Nicol also won the Women’s Premier League Golden Boot. Jukic won by three votes from her nearest rival Christiane Astorp of Balcatta, and in doing so meant she went back-to-back, after winning the award last season. “I really didn’t expect this,” said Jukic. “The girls have been fantastic all season. We have a special bond.” Queens Park’s Coach Ben Anderton, whose side were unbeaten in winning the Women’s Premier Division, was named Women’s Coach of the Year, while Football West NTC keeper Morgan Aquino won the Women’s State Premier League Goalkeeper of the Year.
Full list of awards
All Flags Gold Medal Winners
NPL WA Best Male Player: Daryl Nicol (ECU Joondalup)
Women’s Premier Best Female Player: Katarina Jukic (Queens Park)
Dylan Tombides Young Player of the Year
Jake Brimmer (Perth Glory)
NPLWA Goal of the Season
Antoine Lemarie (Forrestfield United)
NPLWA Golden Boot – Top Scorer
Daryl Nicol (ECU Joondalup and Chris Jackson (Armadale)
State League Players of the Year
Division One: James Harmer (Rockingham City)
Division Two: Danny Hodgson (Olympic Kingsway)
Belt Up Amateur League Player of the Year
Premier Division: Jesse Higgins (Kingsley)
Coaches of the Year
NPL WA: Ramon Falzon (Perth SC)
Women’s Premier Division: Ben Anderton (Queens Park)
State League Division One: Taki Nicolaidis (Gwelup Croatia)
State League Division Two: Tim Kantor (Wanneroo City)
Belt Up Amateur Premier Division: Steve Dimitrovich (Kingsley)
Women’s State Premier League Goalkeeper of the Year
Morgan Aquino (Football West NTC)
NPLWA Goalkeeper of the Year
Jason Saldaris (Floreat Athena) and Alex Dunn (Inglewood United)
Belt Up Amateur Premier League Goalkeeper of the Year
Paul Rainford (Kingsley)
Volunteer of the Year
Vicki Frost (Quinns FC)
David Cantoni Disabilities in Football Player Achievement Award
Alessandro La Verghetta
All Flags Golden Whistle Referee of the Year
FOOTBALLWA.NET NPLWA ‘TEAM OF THE SEASON’
We have strived to give you the best cover of NPLWA football in 2018, and we've picked our best NPLWA team for the season. It's been a hard job to get the right mix, and we've gone with a 4, 4, 2 formation and have picked a six-men bench and coach. I'm sure the selection will cause some debate in the football community, but we believe we have the right mix.
Here is the 34-player squad we selected to choose the side from:
Goalkeeper - Francis Soale, Jason Saldaris, Alex Dunn, Sam Hutchings
Central Defender – Billy Quinncroft, David Stokoe, Rocco Pizzata, Alex Castiello, Tom Southgate, David Cyrus
Left Back – Jon Higgins, Josh Kuser, Walter Scott, Jordan De Leo
Right Back – Luke Bodnar, Adam Harris, Alex Silla, Chris Saldaris
Central Midfield – Cameron Edwards, David Micevski, David Perich, Dean Evans
Left Wing – Rhys Loxley, Gian Albano, Nick Ambrogio, Chok Dau
Right Wing – Scott Witschge, Matthew Milenkovic, Paul Zimarino, Alex Tanevski
Striker – Chris Jackson, Alex Salmon, Daryl Nicol, Daniel Robinson
So here we go here is the Footballwa.net 2018 NPLWA All Star Team - Formation 4, 4, 2
Goalkeeper - This was the hardest spot to fill but we went for Floreat Athena's Jason Saldaris, who just pipped Alex Dunn. The big shot stopper was in magnificent form all season, even when Floreat were struggling early in the season. He produced several fine saves which helped Floreat go unbeaten in their final nine games.
Defence - At left-back we have selected Perth Glory's Walter Scott. The 19-year-old made his A-League debut last season and his good form in the NPL has seen him selected in the Young Socceroos squad. At right-back we chose Bayswater City's Adam Harris. The South Australian has been a mainstay for the Black and Blues and he was impressive at both ends of the park. For our central defensive partnership, we selected Perth SC'S Rocco Pizzata and Inglewood United's David Cyrus. Both players led by example for their respective teams all season. Pizzata was outstanding and helped the Azzurri to the title, he reads the game well and was a huge part of the club’s success this season. Likewise, for Cyrus, whose good season saw him take out the clubs fairest and best award.
Midfield - In our central midfield we selected Cockburn City's Cameron Edwards and Floreat Athena's Dean Evans. Both ran the engine room in their club’s midfield, and both were instrumental in their club’s success. Evans set pieces helped Floreat out of their early season slump, while Edwards lead his young side into the play-offs and only just missed out on a place in the Top Four Finals. On the left wing we selected young Bayswater City's Gian Albano. The former Perth Glory youth player was a standout for the club last season. His pace and guile caused problems to all defenders and he topped the goal scoring charts for City. On the right wing we selected Perth SC's Matthew Milenkovic, whose stellar season was topped off by winning the Perth SC Fairest and Best. His runs from deep and eye for goal made him a dangerous player and he bagged 12 goals in the NPL.
Strikers – For our selection for the two strikers we went for the NPLWA top goal scorers Chris Jackson from Armadale and Daryl Nicol from ECU Joondalup who both bagged 24 goals this season. In his first season at Armadale, Jackson scored some crucial goals to help Armadale to the last 32 of the FFA Cup and winning the State League Cup. Nicol's pace caused havoc all season, and his fantastic season was rewarded by winning the ECU Fairest and Best.
Coach - The coach of the Footballwa.net 'Team of the Season' is Perth SC Head Coach Ramon Falzon. He has found the right formula to bring success to the Dorrien Gardens club and has brought on many youngsters through the club’s junior ranks to shine for the first team. It's been a fantastic two and half years for Falzon at Perth, bringing them the league title twice in the last three seasons.
Full team - GK - Jason Saldaris (Floreat Athena), Left Back - Walter Scott (Perth Glory), Right Back - Adam Harris (Bayswater City), Centre Backs - Rocco Pizzata (Perth SC), David Cyrus (Inglewood United), Centre Midfield - Dean Evans (Floreat Athena) Cameron Edwards (Cockburn City), Left Wing - Gian Albano (Bayswater City), Right Wing - Matthew Milenkovic (Perth SC) - Strikers - Chris Jackson (Armadale), Daryl Nicol (ECU Joondalup) - Bench - RGK Alex Dunn (Inglewood United), Alex Castiello (Subiaco), Paul Zimarino (Perth SC), David Perich (Subiaco), David Micevski (Stirling Lions), Nick Ambrogio (Perth SC) - Coach - Ramon Falzon
WE WILL WIN THE 2018 NPLWA GOLD MEDAL
It's Football West's Night of Night's on Saturday when the 2018 Gold Medal will be awarded for the best player in the NPLWA at the Crown Casino Ballroom. We have taken a look into our crystal ball to see which players from each club who we believe will poll well on the night.
We start with the Champions Perth SC, who won their 22nd league title in 2018, and they had several players who will poll well on the night. Matthew Milenkovic was outstanding all season and he deservedly won the clubs Fairest and Best last week and is one of the favourites for the award, while midfielder Paul Zimarino and defender Rocco Pizzata will also be among the votes. Runners-up Perth Glory have had a break out season under the guidance of John Gibson, and many were dismayed when he was released by the club at the end of the season. Walter Scott has had a great season and will be amongst the votes, while midfielder Henry Hore and defender Luke Bodnar will also poll well, although Hore is ineligible due to a sending off against Joondalup United in round three.
Cockburn City also had a successful season, with Scott Miller's side just being pipped for a spot on the Final by Perth SC. It was the clubs’ best season for a number of years, and they were led superbly by skipper Cameron Edwards, who will poll well on the night, while others to poll well will be leading scorer Daniel Robinson, and winger Harry O'Brien. Bayswater City finished fourth and in the words of coach Chris Coyne, they never got started. But Gian Albano was a standout in his first season at the club and will be high in the votes, while defender Adam Harris and Paul McCarthy, will both do well on the night.
Inglewood United just missed out on the top four finals under Andy Keogh, the Glory striker stood down after the season and he has been replaced by Trim Morgan. Skipper David Cyrus took out the clubs Player of the Year and will poll well on Saturday, while Kenny Keogh and Brian Woodall will also be up there. ECU Joondalup also missed out on a finals spot and their home form hurt Dale McCulloch's side, losing five games which ultimately cost them. Skipper Daryl Nicol has been outstanding in 2018 and won the clubs Fairest and Best and was equal top scorer in the NPLWA and he is one of the favourites to take out the award, while defender Andy Higgins and midfielder Ross Millard will also poll well.
Floreat Athena ended the season well under new Coach Garrett McDuling, who took over from Howard Tweets midway through the season, and the club were unbeaten in the final nine games to finish the season in seventh. Midfielder Dean Evans was standout in the middle of the park and he will poll well, but he is ineligible after getting sent off against Subiaco in round 12. Defender Jesse Fuller and midfielder Calvin Whitney will also be amongst the votes, although Whitney is ineligible after also being sent off against Subiaco. Sorrento also ended the season well, after Jamie Harnwell's side hovered around the relegation spots for a while. Winger Scott Witschge had a great season for the Gulls and will poll well, while New Zealand import Jack Salter and striker Reece Vittiglia will also be in the votes.
Stirling Lions were also at the wrong end of the table, but a late surge by Keegan Ashley's Lions' moved them clear, and an 8-0 win in the final game of the season at Forrestfield saw them secure their spot next season. David Micevski was outstanding, and the former winner of the award will poll well again, while youngsters Alex Tanveski and Alex Suleski will also be amongst the votes. It was a huge season for John O'Reilly's Armadale, winning the State League Cup Final and a spot in the last 32 of the FFA Cup. Import striker Chris Jackson was equal leading goal scorer in the NPLWA and will poll well but is ineligible after being sent off on his debut for the club in round one. Defender Josh Kuser and striker Chris Rizidis will also poll well on the night for the Reds.
Balcatta also left it late to stay up, and Goran Static's side won the final game for the second season running to avoid relegation. Skipper Calum O'Connell was outstanding all season and will poll well on the night, while defender Hayden Stevens and midfielder Jon Corness will also poll well, although Corness is ineligible after being sent off in the opening game against Bayswater City. Subiaco ended the Glory's title hopes in the final game of the season but it wasn't enough for Ian McMurray's side and they were relegated. The form of midfielder David Perich was outstanding, and he will poll well again, while defender Alex Castiello and midfielder Nathan Smith will also pick up some votes.
It was a tough first season in the NPL for Forrestfield United and Rod Banjac's side were relegated. The experienced coach left the club at the end of the season for family and work commitments and the club have given Graham Normanton the responsibility of leading them back up next season. Skipper Liam Merigan was a standout for the club and will poll well, while winger Rhys Loxley and defender Tom Southgate will poll well, although Southgate is ineligible after being sent off against Stirling Lions in round 13. It was a season to forget for Joondalup United on and off the park, and Nick Jennings' side finished at the foot of the table and without a home due to a lack of support from the local council. Elliot Tattersall was their best all season and will poll well, while midfielders John Chalmers and Callum Stocks will also poll well.
TIME FOR THE ‘SILLY SEASON’ IN NPLWA
It's that time of the season in the NPLWA, which many call the 'Silly Season', when clubs jostle for players for 2019. Last season brought up many scenarios, have you got the budget to fit these players in your salary cap - do you have the right balance, and will your players stay loyal to your football club.
The season however, one of these scenarios has been lifted with Football West and the NPL considering scraping the salary cap. Many players in 2018 went to play for clubs in the state league, who were paying more than some of the NPL clubs as there wasn't a cap in the league. So now they will be looking to return to the Premier League but with two less clubs in 2019 is there room for these players to return?
But loyalty in my opinion is something that has gone from our great game. There are players who would fight tooth and nail to get in the first team and wear the shirt with pride and money is the least of their concerns. Unfortunately, they are rare, most are pimping themselves out to the highest bidder, and it's there for all to see with players going from club to club to get the best deal they can - Loyalty - I don't think so!!!!
At the end of the day if clubs are willing to pay it then why shouldn't the players do it? Many of these are visa players, who jump on a plane to play the World Game in another country by getting sponsored for a working visa. But the immigration department are now clamping down on players who flaunt the rule by jumping from one club to the other. In some cases, they are released by clubs, and that is ok, but if there isn't a contributing factor due to work situation etc, and not just looking for a bigger pay packet, these players could feel the wreath of the immigration department.
Yes, the import players lift the standard and profile of the league, and there has been some outstanding players that have graced the pitch in the NPLWA over the years, but when is time to say enough is enough? The talented young players at clubs are not getting a look in, and many dropped down to the state league and have improved the standard of those leagues this season, and having watched a number of games this season, including a pulsating Relegation & Promotion Play off Final second leg last week, and everyone who watched the game would tell you the football was a good level and some of the players wouldn't look out of place in the NPL.
So, what is the solution? If I knew that we wouldn't be writing this article, but what we do know is our beautiful game is being hijacked for the detriment of our kids. Sponsors are difficult to come by for all clubs in WA, but most of your sponsors money goes to bring in one or two import players leaving the kids and junior development to fight for scraps - Is it the right way to go? Only time will tell, but if we want to give our kids the opportunity to play at the highest level, then something has got to give.
CLISBY REVEALS INGLEWOOD’S IMPORTANCE IN HIS CAREER (courtesy inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)
97 A-League appearances, four A-League clubs and hit-outs against Manchester City and Arsenal - Jack Clisby has achieved a lot in his relatively young career. However, the 26-year old Central Coast Mariners defender says he would not have achieved any of it had it not been for the season he spent at Inglewood United.
As a teenager Clisby joined St Johnstone with the hopes of working his way into the Scottish Premiership. “I was there for a year,” Clisby told ccmariners.com.au “I was part of the youth set up for St Johnstone. I didn’t really get the chance to break through into the first team, so I decided to come back to Australia.”
“At that point, I thought I might not have been able to make it as a professional. I was actually thinking about giving up football. But my dad, who loves football, and has always driven me to keep going, said ‘Look, just give it one more year, play in the WA National Premier Leagues for Inglewood United.’”
It was a sage piece of advice, and the resilience Clisby showed put him back on track for a bright future in football. “I ended up getting player of the season for the whole league as a centre back, and that put me on the books for Perth Glory,” said Clisby, reflecting on his breakthrough 2012 season at Inglewood.
“It was not long after that they (Perth Glory) approached me and I started training with their first team, and the next week I signed a contract and I was playing my first professional game. My debut, which was on Australia Day back in 2013, that was a fantastic experience and a proud moment for my family.”
Clisby went on to play two summers with Glory before switching Melbourne City. A mid-2016 move to Western Sydney Wanderers saw him play in the Asian Champions League and in friendlies against Manchester City and Arsenal. He is preparing for his first season with Central Coast having signed for the club in May.
GLORY SWOOP FOR HIGHLY-RATED DEFENDER NAUGHTON
Perth Glory Women have made their third signing of the week with the recruitment of Katie Naughton for the coming W-League season. The highly-rated central defender joins Glory fresh from another impressive campaign with Chicago Red Stars in which she made 24 starts and won the club's Best Defender award.
A former United States youth international, Naughton is no stranger to the W-League having spent the last two seasons with Adelaide United and is relishing the prospect of donning the famous purple this year. "I'm excited to see what this new season has in store," she said, "especially since I'll be with a new team and in a new environment.
"I've heard so many amazing things about the city of Perth and I can't wait to experience it for myself alongside my teammates. I feel confident going into this season with what I've heard about this team and the calibre of players that we have and I can't wait to get started."
JONES WELCOMES FIGHT FOR SOCCEROOS GLOVES
Veteran goalkeeper Brad Jones has hailed the three-way fight to wear the Socceroos' gloves in next week's friendly against Kuwait. First-choice 'keeper Mat Ryan was this week ruled out of the international to manage an undisclosed injury suffered with English Premier League club Brighton and Hove Albion.
And it's opened the door for Jones, Mitchell Langerak and Danny Vukovic to stake their claims for spots in the Asian Cup tournament in January. "We have a great group of 'keepers at the moment," said Jones, during preparations for the friendly in Dubai. "The training level is always high because it is natural that you're competing against the guys in training.
Jones said it was important there is strong camaraderie among the goalkeepers in the squad. "In the past you've had fractious competition where it creates a problem," he said. "We certainly don't have that. We are in there working towards one goal. It is enjoyable to come in and train hard. That's the best way to look at it."
Jones, who at 36 is the oldest player in Graham Arnold's squad, has enjoyed a fruitful move to Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr FC after a long career in Europe. He has started in five of seven games for the undefeated club in the Pro League. "The team's performed really well. It's a good standard," Jones said.
"This year they've changed the foreign rule from three players to eight players. There's a lot of players that have come in and the league's definitely grown with it. We've had seven matches, seven wins, so I couldn't wish for a better start. Life in Saudi is good. My family moved over, the kids are in school and it's going well."
STANTON BACK ON BOARD FOR GLORY WOMEN
Perth Glory Women continue to build towards the coming season with confirmation Nikki Stanton has re-signed with the club. One of Glory’s best-loved overseas recruits, Washington-born Stanton is poised for a fourth season in purple having made his debut back in 2015.
27-year old Stanton is thrilled to be returning to Glory and is hoping for better luck this season after breaking her arm two games into 2017/18. "I'm extremely excited to be back," said Stanton, who played the eyar with Chicago Red Stars.
"Perth has turned into a home away from home for me. I've fallen in love with the city, the club and the girls and I'm really looking forward to the upcoming season and hopefully getting a championship title. Avoiding any more freak injuries would also be nice!"
Stanton began her career at Seattle Sounders and then spent three highly-successful seasons at Sky Blue FC. She will be out to establish herself as one of the W-League's most influential players when the season gets underway on Sunday 28 October, with Glory's first home game on Saturday 17 November.
ANTHONY MOVES TO WALTER PADBURY RESERVE
Gosnells City have appointed Marc Anthony as Head Coach for 2019. Club President Garry Nickisson said it’s a huge coup for the club to get the former Celtic and Perth Glory midfielder to the club as they look to climb back up the league. “The Gosnells City Football Club is delighted to announce the appointments of the Coaching Team, Marc Anthony and Cathal Lennon (Lenny) as Senior and Assistant Coach to our State League First Team,” he said.
“Marc has been involved in football as a professional player in the UK, mainly playing in Scotland with Glasgow Celtic. He arrived in Australia in 2007 and continued his playing career with various WA Clubs including playing for Perth Glory. “Marc is joined by Lenny who has been involved with football for many years and has worked alongside Marc for the last five years as a very successful coaching team. The club is very excited with the appointments and looking forward to working alongside Marc and Lenny and enjoying a long and successful future together.
Nickisson added his thanks to coach Brad Rushton who stepped in last season after the departure of Alan Dunlop. “We would like to thank Brad for stepping into the Senior Coaching position last season and we wish him all the best for the future,” he said. “Also, the club would like to thank Dion Selby for his role as assistant coach to the first team. Dion has been involved with the club from a junior player, through to becoming a successful coach with our State League teams, especially with our U18's, twice winning the league. We thank Dion for all his work with Gosnells City FC and we are sure that he will find another fulfilling role within our club.”
Anthony, who left Fremantle City after the commencement of last season, said he is looking forward to the challenge. “My time at Fremantle was fantastic with an exceptional group of players who gave me so much hard work over the course of the season winning the night series and then finishing third, and I wish the club all the best in the future,” he said. “Gosnells came as a bit of a surprise, but once I spoke to the club and realised their ambition for the future I was really excited to take on the role with Lennie beside me, between the coaching staff and committee we hope to bring success to Gosnells City FC.”.
KERR NOMINATED FOR BALLON D'OR
Matildas superstar Sam Kerr has been nominated for the inaugural Women’s Ballon d’Or Award. Kerr – a two-time nominee for FIFA Best Women's Player of the Year – completes a field of 15 players nominated by the editorial staff of French publication France Football.
Nomination for the Women’s Ballon d’Or Award caps another stunning year for 24-year old Kerr, who recently became the first FFA-back marquee player in the W-League by re-signed with Perth Glory. The 2018 winner will be announced in Paris on 3rd December marking the first time in the 62-year history of the prestigious award that female players will be recognised.
The Women's Ballon d’Or nominees are Lucy Bronze (England), Pernille Harder (Denmark), Ada Hegerberg (Norway), Amandine Henry (France), Lindsey Horan, (USA), Samantha Kerr (Australia), Fran Kirby (England), Saki Kumagai (Japan), Amel Majri (France), Dzsenifer Maroszan (Germany), Marta (Brazil), Lieke Martens (Netherlands), Megan Rapinoe (USA), Wendie Renard (France) and Christine Sinclair (Canada).
RISDON RELISHING HOMETOWN RETURN
It will be a family affair for Western Sydney Wanderers fullback Josh Risdon when he travels west to face his old side Perth Glory in round one of the A-League. Having moved from his hometown club to the Wanderers last year, Risdon will return to the place it all began on Sunday 21 October seeking a positive start to the season.
Risdon, currently in camp with the Socceroos ahead of their 16th October friendly with Kuwait, said he was looking forward to taking a stroll down memory lane and hinted at some extra moral support amongst the vast sea of purple at Perth Oval. “They’ll (family) always stay with me,” Risdon said.
“A few of the family are Western Sydney fans now but it will be good to see them, I haven’t been back to Perth for a while now. There will be a big bus load coming up from Bunbury and it will be good to see the family that weekend. Hopefully we can get the win and start the season off really well.”
While excited to be returning home, Risdon stressed the importance of getting off to a good start after a long pre-season. “It’s back to business now after a long pre-season,” he said. “It’s getting closer and closer and everyone is hanging out for that round one, being such a long pre-season.”
Adding further intrigue to the opening fixture is the return of former Wanderers boss Tony Popovic to the A-League. Having been handed the reins at Glory in May, Popovic will begin his second managerial stint in the A-League against the club he helped build from nothing.
Risdon admitted that it would be an emotional occasion for some involved, but said the goal ultimately remains the same. “Drawing Perth first round, against the old team and against (Tony) Popovic as well so it will be big for both clubs,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to it and hopefully we can get off to a good start.”
GLORY WOMEN WELCOME BACK MAUTZ
Dynamic midfielder Alyssa Mautz says she's excited to be back playing for Perth Glory as the countdown continues to the 2018/19 W-League season. Mautz is no stranger to Glory fans having made 14 appearances for the club during the summer of 2016/17.
Mautz, 29, impressed for Adelaide United last season, scoring twice in 12 games, but is now really looking forward to returning to the West for what will be her third season in the competition. "It'll be fun to be back with such great girls," Mautz said.
"I hope we can make it back to the Grand Final this year which I’m pretty confident we can do given how much I’ve heard about the girls' improvement over the last year. I can’t wait to get the season started!"
Originally from Missouri, Mautz rose to prominence with Texas A&M University from where she joined Sky Blue FC in 2011. A move to Chicago Red Stars twelve months later has seen her chalk up over 100 National Womens Soccer League appearances for the club.
FORRESTFIELD SNAP UP NORMANTON
Forrestfield United have acted quickly to replace long-term coach Rod Banjac by securing the services of Graham Normanton for season 2019. Banjac stood down at the end of last season due to family and work commitments, but the appointed of the former Perth SC, Inglewood United, Olympic Kingsway coach, who coached them to the Division Two title last season without losing a game, will give the club a massive boost as they look to return to the NPL.
Forrestfield President Mark Twamley said the appointment is a huge coup for the club. "Graham is by far the most successful coach in Western Australian football and I'm thrilled that we could attract him to Forrestfield United," he said. "This club is determined to build on the success of past seasons, playing attractive style of football in front of our loyal supporters and the famous Forrie Army. We remain focused on our ambition to be a model club that engages with our local community and provides top class playing facilities and coaching in an affordable package to local families. Having a successful first team playing exciting football to represent our brand is something I have every confidence that Graham can deliver."
Normanton, who was inducted into the Football West Hall of Fame in 2008, said the chance to work with the progressive club was a major factor of him excepting the role. "I'm delighted to appointed Head Coach at one of Western Australia's best community-based clubs," he said. "I believe in what this club is trying to achieve and I'm excited to play my part in bringing success to Forrestfield United. I will quickly get to work with my coaching team to assemble a squad of players to once again excite the crowd at Hartfield Park."
CYRUS WINS INGLEWOOD’S PLAYER OF THE YEAR (courtesy inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)
Defender David Cyrus has written himself in Inglewood United history by winning the clubs top individual award, the Player of the Year. A bumper crowd on hand at Saturday evening’s presentation ceremony at the Clubhouse to commemorate the season that was.
Cyrus started the season quietly and didn’t feature on the Player of the Year leaderboard until midway through the season. The 29-year old excelled over the closing stages of the National Premier Leagues and when counting finished he was top of the pile with 75 votes.
Early pacesetter Jason Barrera (71 votes) was Runner-Up Player of the Year for the second successive year and in third place was Brian Woodall (70 votes). Experienced goalkeeper Alex Dunn was honoured by his peers in the form of the Players’ Player of the Year.
The Leading Goal Scorer trophy went home with Alex Salmon and 22-year old centre back Connor Becsi was presented the Rising Star award. The tireless efforts of Angela Antonas (registrar) and Nick Webster (juniors coordinator) were recognised as joint Club Person of the Year.
Federico Achilli picked up the Under-20s Player of the Year head of Griffin Becsi, who was also voted Players’ Player of the Year. The Leading Goalscorer award was split between by Ryan Moran, Saverio Scriva and Joel Jebaratnam, who netted five times each during the home and away series
Brendan Italiano scooped the pool in the Under-18s with wins in the Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year categories. Lewis Collier was Runner-Up Player of the Year with the Leading Goal Scorer trophy presented to Zuhar Gaboose, scorer of 12 goals.
LYDEN FIT AND READY AFTER SPELL ON THE SIDELINES
Midfielder Jordan Lyden is raring to go for his first bit of action at Oldham Athletic after picking up a thigh injury following his loan move from Aston Villa. The West Australian missed the whole of September with the injury but having recovered he’s now ready to show the Latics fans what he can do.
“It was disappointing to pick up that injury, it was my second training session, so it was unfortunate especially since I thought I was doing well, but now I'm fully fit and raring to go against Bradford,” Lyden said. “I'm fully recovered, so hopefully I can get past all these injuries now, push on and get some games under my belt.”
Despite being out injured, Lyden says he has settled in quickly at Boundary Park. “There's a great bunch of lads here and the first thing I noticed was the positivity around the place,” he commented. “It's a family club which you couldn't ask for more, so they've welcomed me really well, I've settled in and I'm happy just to be playing my football again.”
And he is also enjoying working with Oldham manager Frankie Bunn. “It's been really good working with the gaffer,” Lyden added. “He gets stuck in at training which is what the players need, I feel you can't always give them a pat on the shoulder, but when they do need it he knows when to do it.”
Bunn confirmed in his press conference before the Carlisle United fixture that Lyden would play some part in the Checkatrade Trophy match with Bradford City. The Villa loanee says he is looking forward to making his Latics debut in a vitally important game in terms of the competition for Oldham after losing the opening game narrowly to Barnsley.
“I can't wait, I'm raring to go, this injury held me back for a bit, so I've taken longer on my road to recovery, but now I'm fully fit and can't wait to be out there,” he said. “There's a lot to play for ... it’s a must win game for both of us since we lost to Barnsley, so we need this to get us going in the competition.”
GLORY BEATEN IN FINAL PRE-SEASON GAME
Perth Glory suffered their second defeat of pre-season, when they were beaten 1-0 by Melbourne City in a behind closed doors friendly at CFA Melbourne on Sunday. City won it early with Dario Vidosic on target, but both sides had chances in a good work out for both clubs just two weeks away from their season openers. "It was another very good hit-out for us against an A-League opponent which was invaluable to us as a team with many new players looking to play in a new way, “Glory Coach Tony Popovic said.
"We would have preferred to have got a result and in terms of the balance of play, I thought we deserved at least a draw, but it was still a pleasing performance. In the first half we looked a little bit flat and didn't quite get into any rhythm, but as the game wore on, we really started playing the type of football that we've been seeing at training and in our pre-season games back home. We were under pressure at times, but our structure keeps getting better and we had some opportunities of our own.
Popovic said they are heading in the right direction ahead of the season opener against Western Sydney Wanderers on October 21. "There are still a lot of things to improve, but it was a performance which will give us a lot of confidence heading into Round One," he said. "Overall, we will learn a lot from it and the physically, it will stand us in good stead. Initial reports are that we had a clean bill of health injury-wise, which is obviously another big plus. The players have worked exceptionally hard during what has been a long pre-season and I'm very happy in terms of where we're at with the new season now nearly upon us."
It was fast-paced opening to the match, which showed both sides were ready to go for the new season as the tempo and movement in the opening minutes was on show. The home side had the ball in the net after eight minutes, but Riley McGree shot was ruled out for offside. But City did take the lead on 17 minutes, Vidosic found a pocket of space just outside the box and his shot took a deflection and beat Liam Reedy. McGee went close again for City, his shot flashed wide of Reedy's post. Glory pressed before the break and Alex Grant headed wide, before Fabio Ferreira’s volley from the edge of the box whistled wide.
Glory opened the second half brightly and went close to the equaliser on the hour when Ferreira pounced on some sloppy City pass out of defence, but his shot was tipped over by Eugene Galekovic. Both sides pressed as the game opened up, but it was Glory creating the better chances. First a free kick from Jake Brimmer on 80 minutes was tipped over by Galekovic, before the lively Joel Chianese shot flew into the side netting. The match ended on a sour note for the hosts as second half substitute and former Glory midfielder Roystyn Griffiths was sent off for a second bookable offence in the final minutes of the match.
GLORY TOO STRONG FOR WA
A brace from Liana Cook has given Perth Glory a hard fought 3-1 win against the Goldfields WA Women State Team in the Women’s challenge Cup at Coker Park on Saturday evening. Cook gave Glory the lead early before Jacynta Galabadaarachchi doubled the advantage five minutes before half time, but WA pulled one back with Tia Stonehill scoring from the penalty spot just before break. Cook added her second on the hour, but the Goldfields WA side fought the game out well and created some good chances late, but they were unable to convert them.
Glory coach Bobby Despotovski was pleased with the first hit out of the season and said the new faces fitted in well. “I thought we controlled the game from the start, and we let them back into the game with a silly penalty, but overall very happy were we are at this moment of time,” he told Football West website. “Young Jacynta has come over from Melbourne, she is only 17 and has never been away from home, and she only arrived this week, I thought she put in a good 90 minutes today, she tired late, and it’s work in progress but it’s looking good for the season ahead. Eliza (Campbell) was good tonight and we’ve probably missed a little guidance from the back in the last couple of seasons, but along with Morgan (Aquino) we have two good goalkeepers that can push each other.”
Goldfields WA State Team coach Collette McCallum said her side were very competitive and put in a great performance on the night. “We started the game a little hesitant and the Glory had us on the back foot and played some good football, but I was really pleased after the break and we had some good moments,” she told the Football West website. “We created some really good chances late and Morgan (Aquino) pulled off a couple of good saves to deny us. But we’ve only really had one season with the girls, so to come out and play like we did tonight I couldn’t be happier.”
With Westfield Matildas star Sam Kerr in the crowd to watch her team mates, it was a lively opening in front of a big crowd with both sides having early chances. First the impressive new Glory teenager Galabadaarachchi raced down the left and fired into the side netting after only three minutes. Moments later Stonehill and skipper Katarina Jukic combined down the right, Jukic’s cross was well claimed by new Glory keeper Eliza Campbell, with Stonehill ready to pounce. But on 14 minutes it was Glory who opened the scoring. A great through ball from Shannon May sent Cook racing clear, see lobbed the on-coming Gabby Dal Busco, the ball bouncing off the crossbar, but Cook was quickest to the rebound to head home.
Glory went close again when Galabadaarachchi saw her shot well saved by Dal Busco, before the WA custodian produced another fine save to deny Lexi Moreno. The former Glory keeper, Dal Busco then stood tall to save Abbey Meakins on a one-on-one, before tipping over Moreno’s long-range shot over the top. But Glory’s pressure was rewarded with a second on 40 minutes. There looked little danger when Galabadaarachchi received the ball in the middle of the park, but the former Melbourne City striker’s long-range lob ended where the spiders live, in the top corner of the net giving Dal Busco no chance.
The Goldfields WA State side hit back, and Jamie-Lee Gale’s shot was tipped onto the bar by the alert Campbell, and the keeper reacted well to save Jukic’s follow up shot. But two minutes before half time WA found themselves a lifeline, when Stonehill was brought down by Moreno and the referee pointed straight to the spot. Stonehill picked herself up to score from the resulting penalty. It was game on after the break Galabadaarachchi was again thwarted by Dal Busco, before second half substitute Ashleigh Panala fired just wide for WA.
Panala was in again moments later, she raced clear of the last defender, but second half substitute Glory keeper Morgan Aquino saved low. But on the hour, it was Glory who restored their two-goal advantage, Galabadaarachchi’s corner was powerfully headed home by Cook. Both sides had late chances in an entertaining game. Caitlin Doeglas shot on the run flashed over the top before Emma McMurdo’s free kick was saved by Aquino. The Goldfields WA side ended the game well and Stonehill shot from the angle flew over the top, before Hana Lowry long-range shot stung the palms of Aquino, but Glory hung on to win the game.
Goldfield WA Women: GK Gabby DAL BUSCO, RGK Stacey CAVILL, 2 Georgia IRELAND, 3 Jamie-Lee GALE, 4 Ashleigh PANALA, 5 Rebecca BENNETT, 6 Cheyenne WISE-JARVIS, 7 Christi ASTORP, 8 Georgia CAWLEY, 9 Katarina JUKIC (C), 11 Stephi NADILO, 12 Tia STONEHILL, 13 Tanessha BAKER, 14 Thalia ORGAN, 17 Hana LOWRY
Perth Glory: GK Eliza Campbell, RGK Morgan AQUINO, 2 Sarah CARROLL, 3 Kim CARROLL, 4 Natasha RIGBY, 5 Shannon MAY, 6 Abbey MEAKINS, 7 Lexi MORENO, 9 Grace HENRY, 10 Jacynta GALABADAARACHCHI, 11 Leticia MCKENNA, 12 Ella HOY, 13 Rosie LEHANE, 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS, 16 Grace MITCHELL, 17 Liana COOK, 18 Isabella FOLETTA, 19 Roisin CONNOLLY
MANDURAH EDGE OUT SWAN IN PLAY-OFF THRILLER
Mandurah City will play State League Division One football next season after a thrilling 5-3 penalty shoot-out win against a gallant Swan United in the Relegation & Promotion Play off Final second leg at Securitas Protect Stadium on Wednesday evening. In a pulsating game City’s Joe O’Brien scored just after half time and the tie looked over, but goals to Brennan Borzecki and Gavin Knight levelled things up for Swan.
In extra time Oriol Fernandez restored parity for the hosts, only for James Burns to give the visitors back the lead and level things up again on aggregate and send the game to a shoot-out, where Mandurah keeper Kieran Shail saved Jay Lang’s first penalty, before the home side scored all five to win the game and set off wild celebrations in the crowd and on the pitch.
"What an unbelievable game, I'm speechless, I've never been involved in a game like that in my life and to see the big-time boys step up late was massive for us," Mandurah Coach Alex Grayson said. "I didn't realise going into extra time the away goals didn't count and I was trying to throw the kitchen sink at it as I thought we needed another goal. But what a great end to the season, and eight games to go everyone thought we were down, but credit to the players we stood together and finished the season off well and to stay up tonight is massive for this football club."
Keeper Kieran Shail said it was a great night for the club. “From a neutral point of view, it was a great game, for me it was mixed emotions, the game was up then down, and it’s been the story of our season,” he said. “But to be fair to the lads the last eight or nine game we’ve put in a tremendous amount of effort to turn things around. We were written off eight weeks ago and now we’ve stayed up – unbelievable. We’ve got a great bunch of lads, and I’ve never played in a side like this to be honest, we’ve got youth and experience in the side and we gelled so well and to share this win with the Pod, our great supporters, we couldn’t have done it without them.”
Mandurah went into the second leg with a 2-1 lead and they were on the front foot early, with O'Brien and Fernandez a constant threat, and Swan keeper Joey Smith saved well to deny O'Brien on the quarter hour. Swan went close themselves when John Monterosso and Knight combined on 35 minutes to pick out James Shamim at the back post, but his shot flew wide. The home side went close to the lead in the final minute of the first half, O'Brien fed the overlapping Jeff Bright down the left, and his shot on the run crashed off the woodwork.
The home side continued where they left off after the break and Reece Allan's snap shot was superbly tipped over by Smith early, and four minutes later Mandurah's pressure was rewarded with the lead. O'Brien found space on the edge of the penalty area and fired home off the far post. Smith then produced another stunning save to thwart Fernandez, before Andy Brown's free kick was deflected just wide.
Swan were struggling to break down a tight Mandurah defence but the introduction of Borzecki gave them a lift and he leveled on 74 minutes. A ball into the box wasn't dealt with by Mandurah and Borzecki pounced to fire low past Shail. It was game on and both sides pressed for the win. First Swan striker Knight's shot flashed wide, then Fernandez rattled the post moments later at the other end. The game ebbed and flowed which had the big crowd on the edge of their seats, but it was Swan who levelled the tie on 81 minutes.
Knight, who had been given plenty of advice by the Mandurah supporters all night, found space on the edge of the penalty area and finished with aplomb, and raced over to celebrate in front of them. Both sides had late chances to win the game, first Smith produced another fine save to deny Allan in the first minute of stoppage time, before Knight's header crashed off the post in the fifth.
Swans thought they had hit the front in the first minute of extra time, with Jay Lang's shot hitting Chris Marshall on the line, and after consulting with his assistant the referee disallowed the goal for offside. But it was Mandurah who regained the lead in the tie three minutes later. A long ball over the top sent Fernandez clear and he lobbed the on-coming keeper to score. But Dundo's side weren't going down without a fight and led superbly by skipper Aaron Colli they regained the lead on the night and levelled the tie in the first minute of the second period of extra time. Knight's cross from the right found substitute Burns, who headed home at the back post.
It was Swan finishing the game off well and Tom Black fired straight at Shail, before James Shamim's goal bound shot was blocked and cleared by Brown, but the teams couldn't be separated so it was off to penalties. Shail was the hero saving Lang's first spot kick, and Mandurah scored all their penalties and they sealed the game when Brown scored the fifth to set off wild celebrations on and off the pitch.
Swan coach Paul Dundo was proud of his players' performance and said they gave it everything. "It's a horrible way to lose the game on penalties, but I can't be prouder of the boys tonight," he said. "We knew we needed two to get the win and the game see-sawed but at the end of the day we finished 3-2 winners, but penalties are a lottery, and we didn't have the Powerball tonight. It's been a great season for the club, I joined a week before the first game of the season and the players have been fantastic. Yes, we're disappointed, but I told the players sometimes in football you must taste defeat and use that to carry on to next season, and make sure we don't feel that way again."
Mandurah City: GK Kieran SHAIL, 2 Mitchell FIRTH, 3 Jeff BRIGHT, 4 Matthew STARES, 5 Dylan URQUHART, 6 Aidan CLARK (7 Joshua WARREN 74), 8 Andy BROWN, 9 Michael DE BELISS (12 Regan DAVIDSON 73), 11 Joe O’BRIEN, 16 Reece ALLAN, 17 Oriol FERNANDEZ - Subs not used: RGK Lochlan MORRISON, 10 Jack WILD, 14 Luke HOBSON
Swan United: GK Joey SMITH, 3 Dom ANDO (17 Tom BLACK 59), 5 Chris MARSHALL, 6 Nick TATTSICIORE (4 Brennan BORZECKI 49), 8 Aaron COLLI, 9 James SHAMIM, 10 Gavin KNIGHT, 11 John MONTEROSSO, 12 Luke COLLI (2 James BURNS 69), 15 Rory MOUTTET, 16 Jay LANG - Subs not used: RGK Cory HUGO, 14 Josum MOWOWO - Referee: Shane Skinner
KERR BECOMES FIRST W-LEAGUE MARQUEE
Sam Kerr has become the first W-League marquee after re-signing with Perth Glory for the 2018/19 season. The 25-year old attacker has enjoyed a remarkable 12 months in which she has claimed a raft of awards including Young Australian of the Year, AFC Women’s Footballer of the Year and the United States' National Women’s Soccer League Most Valuable Player.
Kerr has also continued to shine for the Matildas, taking her international tally to 67 games and 26 goals. She passed 50 W-League appearances for Glory last season and is confident that her hometown club can make a major push for what would be their maiden title.
“I’m really excited to be back representing my home State again,” said Kerr ahead of her eighth campaign as a Glory player. “It’s great to be back. We’ve got a great group of girls in the squad at Perth Glory and I’m looking forward to us fighting for the Premiership this year.”
WALSH HELPS JOEYS TO THE WORLD CUP
Perth Glory NPLWA central defender Daniel Walsh was on the score board and Glory striker Jayden Gorman was also in the squad as the Joey’s Australia’s U17 National Team secured a berth at the 2019 FIFA U17 World Cup in Peru on Monday after defeating hosts Indonesia 3-2 in Malaysia to advance to the Semi Finals of the 2018 AFC U16 Championship. The big defender’s header put the youngster level on 51 minutes after Sutan Diego had given the host the lead in front of 14,000 supporters at the Bukit Jalil Stadium in Kuala Lumpur. But goals from Adam Leombruno and Noah Botic put the Joey’s 3-1 up and despite a late goal from Rendy Juliansyah, Trevor Morgan’s side held on to qualify for the 17’s World Cup for the first time since 2015.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the group,” Morgan said. “We had a slow start to the tournament with a loss against Korea Republic, however since then have shown quality and resilience to secure wins over Iraq, Afghanistan, and Indonesia which has helped us achieve our first target of this Championship – a place at next year’s FIFA U17 World Cup. “In a short period of time we have grown as a group, and we will now play Japan for a place in the Final of the AFC U16 Championship. Japan will be an immensely tough opponent on Thursday, however we will enter the game with the belief that we can win the match and progress to the Final. Qualification for next year’s World Cup in Peru will ensure more high-level international matches for this group of youngsters over the next 12 months, which will be critical to their development as footballers. While our focus must be on Thursday’s Semi Final, we must also recognise that qualification for the World Cup is an incredible achievement for everyone involved with the team and enjoy the moment.”
It was the home side who opened be brighter and the Joey’s found themselves 1-0 down at half time after Diego’s clinical finish from the edge of the area on 17 minutes. But on 51 minutes Walsh restored parity to the contest with a powerful header from a Birkan Kirdar free kick. The Joey’s were now in control and it wasn’t a surprise when they hit the front on 65 minutes, South Australia’s Leombruno finishing well. It was 3-1 on 74 minutes striker Botic curling home beyond Indonesian goalkeeper Fernando Ari Sutaryadi. Juliansyah pulled one back for Indonesia late and the Joeys had a nervy four minutes of stoppage time to hold on, but keeper Adam Pavlesic wasn’t going to be beaten and at the final whistle it was the Joeys celebrating.
FFA Chief Executive Officer David Gallop AM congratulated the Joeys. “Qualification for any FIFA World Cup is a fantastic achievement and congratulations must go this evening to Trevor Morgan, the players, and the staff with the team in Malaysia,” Gallop said. “We will look forward to watching the team in Peru, but before that supporting them when they play Japan for a place in the AFC U16 Championship Final on Thursday."
DOLPHINS HAVE THE EDGE IN PLAYOFF FINAL
Mandurah City hold all the cards going into Wednesday’s State League Relegation & Promotion Playoff Final second leg, after a 2-1 win on the road against Swan United in the first leg at Francis Street on Sunday afternoon. Reece Allan gave the visitors the lead before the break, before Oriel Fernandez doubled their advantage on the hour. But Swan scored a late penalty from Gavin Knight to give them some chance for the second leg at Securitas Protect Stadium on Wednesday evening.
“I’m really happy we won the game, but we should have put the tie to bed today with the chances we had, and we have to learn to not switch off at the back,” Mandurah Head Coach Alex Grayson said. “This tie should have been over with the chances we created in the first half, but it’s happened to us in a number of games this season, we need to be more clinical in the final third. We need to maintain our standards for the second leg and take this game as a win, but it should have been more than a win, it should have been game over.”
It was the home side who opened the brighter and they had Mandurah on the back foot, with Jay Lang firing over the top, before Rory Mouttet headed wide. But the first real chance fell to visitors on ten minutes, when skipper Andy Brown tried an audacious shot from his own half after spotting Swan keeper Joey Smith off his line, but the Swan custodian get back to save. But six minutes later the home side should have hit the front.
A great run by Nick Tatasciore down the left sent John Monterosso racing clear, his low cross picked out the unmarked Brennan Borzecki, but the youngster blazed over the top from six meters. That miss came back to haunt the Swans on 22 minutes, and against the run of play Mandurah hit the front. Allan’s in-swinging corner missed everyone and ended in the net, much to the delight of the visiting supporters. The visitors should have doubled their lead 10 minutes later when a quick counter attack ended with Mitchell Firth racing clear, his shot beat Smith, but the ball crashed off the post and cleared to safety.
Mandurah were in again moments later, Firth was the supplier this time sending Fernandez in on goal, but Swan custodian Smith stood tall to deny him. Swan ended the half well and went close to the equaliser themselves, when good approach work from Jay Lang and Aaron Colli down the right, ended with Colli’s cross picking out Knight whose goal bound shot was deflected wide.
Mandurah were on the front foot early in the second half and Firth’s header was well saved by Smith, but on the hour their pressure was rewarded with a second, when Allan’s corner picked out the unmarked Fernandez who headed powerfully home. The visitors should have put the game to bed moments later when a quick counter attack from Andy Brown who fed Fernandez, his cross was cleared off the foot of Jeff Bright by the alert Tatasciore.
Swan went for broke and changed their formation and went close on 89 minutes when Jay Lang’s curling free kick was superbly saved by Lachlan Morrison. But in the fourth minute of stoppage time Swan found themselves a life line when Brown hauled down Monterosso in the box and referee Stephen Knight pointed to the spot and booked the Mandurah skipper. Knight stepped up and buried the spot kick to give the Swans some hope in the second leg on Wednesday.
“We started really well and if Brennan had put that one away early it could have been a different game, and we know goals change games,” Swan Head Coach Paul Dundo said he said. “We then handed them two goals from corners, which isn’t like us, but we kept going and we pressed late and got a reward and a lifeline in the tie. “We’re still in this, we will re-group and hopefully Wednesday night we take our chances. I’ve seen enough today that we can go down there and get a result and I’m confident of my boys’ ability that we will get the job done - It’s only half time.”
Swan United: GK Joey SMITH, 4 Brennan BORZECKI (14 Marco TRIMBOLI 75’), 5 Chris MARSHALL, 6 Nick TATTSICIORE (3 Dom ANDO 85’), 8 Aaron COLLI, 10 Gavin KNIGHT, 11 John MONTEROSSO, 12 Luke COLLI, 15 Rory MOUTTET, 16 Jay LANG, 17 Tom BLACK (20 James BURNS 70’) - Subs not used: RGK Cory HUGO, 7 Jordan ROSSETTO
Mandurah City: GK Lochlan MORRISON, 2 Mitchell FIRTH, 3 Jeff BRIGHT, 4 Matthew STARES, 6 Aidan CLARK (11 Joe O’BRIEN 53’), 7 Joshua WARREN, 8 Andy BROWN, 9 Michael DE BELISS (12 Regan DAVIDSON 88’), 10 Cohen AITKEN (5 Dylan URQUHART 75’), 14 Reece ALLAN, 17 Oriol FERNANDEZ - Subs not used: RGK Niall DIXON, 16 Jack WILD - Referee: Stephen Knight
SWAN UNITED AND MANDURAH CITY MEET IN PLAYOFF FINAL
The final place in the 2019 State League Division one is up for grabs next week when Mandurah City and Swan United meet in Promotion & Relegation Playoff Final over two legs, the first leg takes place on Sunday afternoon at Francis Street (3.00pm). Both sides are coming off big wins in the Semi-Finals, Swan beating Dianella White Eagles 6-2 on aggregate, while Mandurah defeated Wanneroo City 5-4.
Swan head coach Paul Dundo is in his first season at Francis Street, and he said it’s going to be a great game. “Sunday’s game no doubt will be the first of two very competitive games,” he said. “Mandurah, who are fighting for survival in the First Division and us looking to continue the great efforts off and on the Park this season, and I hope it’s an exciting game and is entertaining for both club’s sets supporters.
“This season has been a great, regardless of the result of the next two fixtures, as the club is progressing in the right direction with a positive outlook at returning our proud club back to the position in the top League which the club once held. Let hope our performance on the park Sunday acts as another reward on the back of two fantastic performances from our players against Dianella.”
Chris Marshall has been with the Black and Whites for over 14 years and defender said they are confident they can get the job done over the two legs. “We haven't seen them play this season, but from their results against a good Wanneroo side I am expecting a really tough matchup,” he said. “Where they finished in the league is irrelevant, they are a Division One club and we will have to be ready to battle for 180 minutes. The first leg will be crucial and can set us up for what will be a tough trip down to their place on Wednesday. But if we can play the way we have in the last two matches, I am confident we can get the job done.”
Mandurah City Head Coach Alex Grayson said they are looking forward to the challenge and are ready for two tough games. “Everyone at the club is looking forward to another chance to fight for our spot in Division One,” he said. “We put a lot of effort into our games against Wanneroo and ultimately it payed off. However, we are fully aware that only half of the job is done. We understand that Swan are an experienced side with great quality, so we must prepare properly over these next few days and lead into the games with positivity and focus.”
Joe O’Brien has been in good form off the bench in both games against Wanneroo scoring in both games and he said they are determined to get the job done against Swan. “All the lads are feeling confident going into the play-off Final,” he said. “We’ve come into a great run of form and we’re motivated to get the job done, starting on Sunday.” First leg – Sunday September 30 – Francis Street, Middle Swan – Second Leg – Wednesday October 3 - Securitas Protect Stadium, Mandurah
SWAN SOAR ABOVE THE EAGLES
Swan United moved into the Final of the Relegation/Promotion Playoffs after a 3-0 win against Dianella White Eagles at Dianella Reserve on Wednesday evening, to go through 6-2 on aggregate. Jay Lang gave the Black and Whites the lead early and it meant the home side needed two goals to win the tie but Brennon Borzecki put the game out of the reach of the Eagles on the hour before Lang completed the win six minutes from time. Swan United coach Paul Dundo was delighted with his sides performance and said they go into Sunday's first leg against Mandurah in a confident mood.
"After the first leg the players were really down at the final whistle, but we spoke at length on the pitch after the game, and we told them we had won the game and the pressure was on them (Dianella) to score, and so for us to score early tonight put them under more pressure," he said. "We went in with a game plan and every one of my players, including the substitutes, put in a superb performance, and were well-deserved winners."
Dundo said he was quick to let his players know the job isn't finished and they need to be at their best against a good Mandurah side, starting in the first leg at home. "I’ve been in this game for a while now and we still haven't won anything yet and we need to bring our A game against Mandurah City on Sunday at Francis Street," he said. "They (Mandurah) were relegated from the NPL last season and will be desperate not to drop to Division Two. But we're a proud club with some great people working on and off the pitch and we'll be doing all we can to bring success to this great club."
Despite losing last Saturday’s first leg 3-2, Dianella had cause for optimism having scored two late goals at Francis Street to haul themselves back into the tie, and they started brightly in this one, but they couldn’t turn their possession into goals, and Swan showed them how to do it on 11 minutes. The ball wasn’t cleared well by Dianella, the ball falling kindly to Lang, who volleyed home superbly from 20-meters. The home side were desperate to get back into the game and it was now end-to-end football with both sides going close. First Dianella’s Kyle Jackson effort hit the side netting, before two hero from the first leg John Monterosso curled a shot inches past the post.
But it was Swan who looked the more composed going forward with skipper Aaron Colli leading from the front, while Gavin Knight and Lang were dangerous, and the pace out wide from Luke Colli and Borzecki was causing the Dianella defenders problems on the counter attack. Their pressure was rewarded on the hour with the decisive second goal. Knights raced past two Dianella defenders, and his shot was well saved by Mackenzie Ferguson but Borzecki was first to pounce to nudge the ball over the line from close-range. The game was sealed seven minutes from time when Lang superbly curled home a free kick low past Ferguson to set off wild celebrations in the crowd and setting up a playoff Final against Mandurah City.
Dianella White Eagles: GK Mackenzie FERGUSON, 5 Spiro NENADIC 14 Bojan RADINOVIC 4 Reece FRANK 11 Isaac NEHEMIE 6 Dhamion KALAMARIS (12 Jimmy TABAN 75’) 16 Ibrahim HAMAD 10 Jose ZUNIGA, 7 Yves MWILLA, 15 James OWEN (9 Scott NEWLAND 70’), 8 KYLE JACKSON (2 Sotiris THEODOSIADES 61’) - Subss not used: 13. Filip MINIC 23. Skye DOYLE
Swan United: GK Joey SMITH, 15 Rory MOUTTET, 17 Tom BLACK (3 Dom ANDO 82’) 12 Luke COLLI, 5 Chris MARSHALL, 4 Brennan BORZECKI, 8 Aaron COLLI (14 Josum MUWOWO 88’), 16 Jay LANG, 11 John MONTEROSSO, 10 Gavin KNIGHT (20 James Burns 86’) 6 Nicolas TATTSICIORE - Subs not used: 1. Cory HUGO 18. David DAONE - Referee: Stephen Knight
DOLPHINS STAY AFLOAT IN PLAYOFFS
Mandurah City will take on Swan United in the Relegation/Promotion Final after a a hard fought 5-4 aggregate win against Wanneroo City at the Securitas Protect Stadium on Wednesday evening. The home side looked out of sight after racing to a 3-0 lead on the night with goals from player/coach Alex Grayson and a brace from Joe O'Brien. But Wanneroo hit back to level on the night with a brace from Kye Douglas and another to Godfrey Asimwe, but they couldn’t find another which would have seen them through on away goals.
Mandurah coach Alex Grayson said it was a good win against a good Wanneroo side. "This is a massive result for us to see the tie out after going a man down so early on," he explained. "I'm really proud of how the lads kept their discipline and defended superbly for 70 minutes, whilst still creating chances at the other end. The positivity in the group is really high at the minute and we will hope that it can carry on into the playoff final."
The home side made the perfect start with player-coach Grayson finding space in the middle of the park from Jeff Bright's pass and firing home superbly from long-range to give them the lead on 21 minutes. But six minutes later the home side were reduced to ten men when Max Snelson was shown a straight card by referee Anthony Walsh for a late tackle. Wanneroo pressed forward looking to make their numerical advantage count and went close when Nathan Scully shot took a deflection, but Mandurah keeper Kieran Shail produced a great save to deny him.
Mandurah brought on O'Brien to replace Grayson at the break and he was a constant threat on the counter attack and it wasn't a surprise when he doubled the home sides lead on the hour. With Wanneroo pushing men forward they were caught out when a long ball over the top by Michael De Bellis sent O’Brien clear and he finished with aplomb past Wanneroo keeper Andy Williamson.
The game looked over five minutes later when the ten-man Mandurah added a third, De Bellis' great through ball sent O'Brien clear and he calmly finished past Williamson. It looked game over, but Tim Kantor's side pressed forward but couldn't breakthrough a tight Mandurah defence, but in the final minute they did pull one back, when Gareth Lloyd's cross found Douglas who headed home.
It looked a mere consolation goal but four minutes later they added another, Jack Hailstone's cross found Douglas at the back post who headed home. Then amazingly sixty seconds later Wanneroo scored a third to level the scores on the night, with Asimwe firing home in a goal mouth scramble after Mandurah failed to clear. But time ran out for the Roos and it's Mandurah progressing to the Play-off final.
"It was a disappointing end to an outstanding season, and whilst the lads are understandably gutted they can hold their head up high on what has been an outstanding season," Wanneroo Coach Tim Kantor said. "All the best to Mandurah and Swan in the Final and for us hopefully we can learn from this and we regroup and start planning for next season."
Mandurah City: GK Kieran SHAIL (20 Niall DIXON 78’) 2 Mitchell FIRTH, 3 Jeff BRIGHT 4 Matthew STARES 5 Maxwell SNELSON 6 Aidan CLARK 7 Joshua WARDEN 9 Michael DE BELISS 10 Cohen AITKEN (17 Dylan URQUHART 52) 12. Alexander GRAYSON (11. JOSEPH O’BRIEN 46) 16. Reece ALLAN - Subs not used: 13. Regan DAVIDSON 14. Jack WILD - Red cards: Snelson 27
Wanneroo City: GK Andy WILLIAMSON 4 Dave WHILLIANS 8 Kye DOUGLAS 9 Scott JOHNSON 11 Nathan SCULLY (35 Flynn NOLAN 47) 16 Connor LYNCH (7 Jake HAILSTONGS 63) 21 Ash CORKER 23 Godfrey ASIMWE 26 Matt FRANKEN (30 Shakeel ALEXANDER 66’), 36 Gareth LLOYD, 40 Adam O’NEILL - Subs not used: 13 Ryan BROWN, 59 Joe ALLSOP
GLORY TOO STRONG FOR ROCKY
Perth Glory continued their 2018-19 Hyundai A-League preparations with a 7-0 win against newly-promoted Rockingham City at Lark Hill on Wednesday afternoon. Glory skipper Andy Keogh marked his comeback from injury with a well-taken goal, while Yagoub Mustafa bagged a second-half hat-trick, with other goals to Chris Harold, Michael Domfeh and Zayd Farah. Add Popovic's comments.
The Glory, who kick off their season at nib Stadium on October ? against Western Sydney Wanderers, were on the front foot early and Jake Brimmer stung the palms of Rockingham keeper Cyril Sharrock in the opening minute but they did find a way past the Rockingham custodian on eight minutes. Diego Castro slipped a ball into Harold, and the striker finished clinically into the top corner, via the crossbar.
Rockingham regrouped with James Harmer and Koty Millard causing problems and they created a couple of half chances, but they couldn't breach a tight back four, and it may have been they were still hungover from their promotion celebrations. Glory suffered a blow moments later with Spanish talisman Castro limping off with what looked like a hamstring injury.
He was replaced by Abias Bukuru who went close to doubling the lead when played through by Keogh, but his shot on the run was saved by Sharrock, before the Rockingham keeper denied Keogh. But in the final minute of the first half Glory doubled their advantage, a slip by Jacob Aquino let in Keogh, and the skipper raced into goal and finished clinically past Sharrock.
Glory made several changes at the break, and one of them Mustafa added a third two minutes in, before the young striker added his second and Glory fourth, after finishing a neat move and pass from Ivan Franjic. Mustafa completed his hat-trick on the hour, finishing well after good approach work from the lively Brimmer. Mustafa was denied a fourth late, when substitute keeper Phil Herschall produced a great save, and he also did well to save from Trent Ostler and Domfeh, as Popovic gave his talented Youth prospects some game time ahead of their Y-League season.
Cheered on by a big crowd Rockingham went close themselves on 70 minutes, Ross Staley, whose double won them promotion to the NPLWA in the final game of the league season against Fremantle City, shot flashed across the face of goal. But Glory had the final word, with Domfeh finishing well after showing a great turn of pace to fashion a one-on-one opportunity with Hershall, before Farah's shot from the edge of the box finished the scoring off.
“Overall it was a great day for the club. It was important for us to have our Division One trophy presented in front of our great home support which was well received by both Rockingham and Perth Glory supporters,” Rockingham Coach Cameron Lord said. “It was a wonderful opportunity and experience for everyone involved. We gave a number of first team debuts today, to a 15 and 17-year-old, which is massive for their own personal development and that of the clubs in giving our young junior players pathways into our first team. We wish Perth Glory all the best in their A-League campaign.”
Rockingham City: GK Cyril SHARROCK (RGK Phil HERSCHELL 55'), 2.Jason CONSTABLE, 3.Justis BRADLEY, 6.Blake SOKOLOWSKI (5 Cody WILLIAMS 75'), 7.Koty MILLARD, 8.Jason POTTIER,10.James HARMER (12 Max MCVICKER 65'), 11.Ross STALEY (4.Harry GEEVES 75'), 13. Jacob AQUINO (16 Jethro YUMANGE 65'), 14.Lydon HODGKISS, 15.Ryan KENNEDY (9 Josh MACKINDER 55') - Subs not used: Nil
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY (RGK Jackson LEE 46'), 3 Jason DAVIDSON (25 Walter SCOTT 46'), 5 Ivan FRANJIC (7 Joel CHIANESE 67'), 6 Dino DJULBIC, 9 Andy KEOGH (26 Yagoub MUSTAFA 46'), 14 Chris HAROLD (31 Michael DOMFEH 67'), 16 Tomislav MRCELA (19 Zayd FARAH 67'), 17 Diego CASTRO (11 Abias BUKURU 8', 4 Nic MCDONALD 71'), 20 Jake BRIMMER (8 Trent OSTLER 67') , 23 Scott NEVILLE, 27 JUANDE (15 Brandon WILSON 46' - Subs not used: Nil – Referee Adam Fielding
ITALIANO BOLSTERS NEWCASTLE'S GOALKEEPING RANKS
Newcastle Jets have announced the signing of goalkeeper Lewis Italiano on a one-year deal following a successful trial period. The former Wellington Phoenix gloveman returns to the A-League following a spell with Stirling Lions, where the 27-year old made six appearances earlier this year.
Newcastle boss Ernie Merrick says he expects Italiano to push Jets number one Glen Moss all the way during the 2018/19 campaign. “I know Lewis well from my time at Wellington, and I know what he can bring to the side,” Merrick told Newcastle's official website.
“He’s a tremendous physical presence and has all the attributes you look for in a keeper – he’s dependable, a quality shot stopper and very good in the air. He’ll push Glen hard and the competition for a starting position will benefit them both as we embark on a busy year ahead.”
Italiano said he was pleased to be linking up with familiar faces in Newcastle. “To have the chance to work with Ernie and Glen again is something I’m really looking forward to,” said Italiano, who worked under Merrick and alongside Moss whle at Wellington
“My game came a long way under Ernie at Wellington, Mossy and I both pushed each other hard over there and being in a similar environment here in Newcastle will help me reach my best. The team plays an aggressive brand of attacking football which I saw plenty of last season, and hopefully I can do my bit for the fans and help the Jets have another successful campaign.”
TAGGART PUTS FOCUS ON FITNESS
Adam Taggart knows if he gets his body right, goals and possibly a Socceroos recall will follow. One of Brisbane Roar’s leading off-season recruits, Taggart has worked hard on his fitness after a frustrating battle with injuries last season at Perth Glory.
Brisbane have privately questioned the medical support Taggart received in Perth, and have taken a slowly but surely approach to ensure the 25-year old is fully fit for the start of the 2018/19 A-League campaign on 21 October against Central Coast Mariners.
That approach is paying dividends, with Taggart feeling healthy after playing a full 90 minutes last weekend for the first time since arriving in Brisbane. And not surprisingly, he scored a brace in their 3-2 win over Football Queensland Premier League champions Peninsula Power.
Taggart was kicking himself for not making the most of other chances, included a golden opportunity from the penalty spot, but goals in previous trials against Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory suggest Taggart is primed for a fruitful season.
“It’s a long pre-season so we planned it in a strategic way for myself,” Taggart told couriermail.com.au ahead of Tuesday’s behind-closed-doors friendly with Melbourne City. “If you use the time in the right way, you can take a lot of advantages into the season and maintain it throughout the season.”
Taggart won’t set himself a goal target this season, but rather concentrate on staying on the park for the duration of the Brisbane’s 2018/19 campaign. “I normally do (target an amount of goals) but I think it’s the wrong thing to focus on and probably not the right thing to say in the media as well,” he said.
“The focus has to be on the process. To be honest, staying fit and on the park is one of my biggest goals because I know that from the past, if I can do that, normally the rest takes care of itself because I’m always going to be working hard in training to make sure my finishing is ready for the games, and I’ll always get myself in the right position on game day.”
And if he’s scoring regularly, Taggart believes he can force his way back into national team reckoning. “Playing for Socceroos is always going to be in the back of my mind,” admitted Taggart. “All I can do is concentrate on doing as well as I can for the Roar. If I do that, then the rewards will come.”
KERR POISED FOR AN EIGHTH SEASON WITH GLORY
Superstar Sam Kerr is closing on a deal that will see the Matildas striker back for her eighth season at Perth Glory. Pressure has been mounting on Football Federation Australia to retain its highest-profile player as it looks to grow the W-League ahead of next year’s Women’s World Cup in France.
Talks have been ongoing for several months to re-sign Kerr, who has received a host of offers from European clubs. All parties have been waiting for the 25-year old’s season with the Chicago Red Stars in the United States’ National Women’s Soccer League to end before finalising the deal.
Kerr scored 16 goals this season to win back-to-back golden boots and was named in the league’s best XI for the second year running. She has a long list of awards to her name including back-to-back Julie Dolan Medals as W-League’s best player and best international women’s soccer player at the ESPY Awards.
WILLIAMS SOUNDED OUT BY SOCCEROOS COACH
He might now be playing in the Middle East for Saudi Arabian club Al Qadsiah, but Rhys Williams is determined to play again for the Socceroos. While his last season with Melbourne Victory saw him miss the Grand Final through injury, the 30-year old defender had been impressing and earned a move abroad over the off-season.
Having not played for the Socceroos since 2013, Williams revealed new Australia coach Graham Arnold has been keeping tabs on him. "A bit of contact with his staff just about a few bits and pieces, about how training is,” Williams told the Daily Football Show.
“But nothing major. I think the main thing is once you’re doing well and playing regularly, then hopefully you’ll be in his eyes for the next camp. That’s all I can keep doing now. I’m pleased he got the job. He’s a man who knows Australian football inside out and he’s got a proven record.”
A regular at club level, Williams has set his sights back on the Socceroos from the heat of Saudi Arabia. "I’ve got one eye on the national team again," he said. "I feel like last year I was doing well and maybe I would have got a chance, but it never happened."
"So I get my head down and keep working hard and I’ve seen this option as maybe a way back in. All in all, I can’t have any hard feelings about this move because I’m really enjoying it, I’m really enjoying the competition and the fight over here."
RISING STAR HILL RE-SIGNS FOR GLORY WOMEN
Perth Glory Women is delighted to confirm that Rachel Hill has re-joined the club for the 2018/19 season. The 23-year old enjoyed a stunning debut campaign last year, finishing third in the goalscoring charts with nine goals and also contributing a league-best six assists.
Hill returned to her homeland to play for Orlando Pride at the end of the last W-League season and helped the United States Under-23 team to win this month’s Nordic Cup. She is now relishing the prospect of heading back to Perth and linking up with the rest of Bobby Despotovski’s squad.
"I had a lot of fun last season and I'm really looking to forward to an even better year this time around," Hill said. "Making the finals is definitely within reach for us this year … But the W-League is a strong, competitive league and you really have to be ready to go in every game."
Despotovski believes that Hill is capable of taking her game to another level this summer. "Rachel made a massive impact last season and we're delighted to have her back again this year," he said. "She complements our other attacking players really well, has great pace and provides assists as well as goals."
"She's came to us last year having not played that many NWSL games, but after impressing in the W-League, she featured a lot more regularly for Orlando Pride and has furthered her international career as well. I'm sure that progress will continue this year and I know our members and fans will be excited about seeing her in action again."
JOHNSON’S BRACE GIVES KINGSLEY THE CUP
A brace from Sean Johnson has helped Kingsley beat Leeming Strikers 2-1 to win the 2018 Belt Up Amateur Cup Final at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Sunday. Johnson gave Kingsley the lead 18 minutes from time, but it looked like Leeming player/coach David Palin had sent the tie to extra time, but Johnson popped up with two minutes remaining to win it.
“What a game,” Kingsley coach Steve Dimitrovich told the Football West website.
“It had everything; tackles, red cards, yellow cards and some decent football played – I thought it was actually not a bad game. I thought first half it was probably on an even keel, second half I thought we were probably the better team. I didn’t see their goal coming from a set-piece, I thought we defended them well all night. But apart from that it was a great game and happy to get that monkey off the back and push forward now. You can see what it means – it’s unreal, it’s huge. This club has been starved of success for a long time and to finally get this today, I think it’s only going to propel this club forward more and more.”
It was tentative first half with both sides creating half chances, but both were struggling in the final third. The first real chance fell to Kingsley after Jayden Drummond found David Ashworth, who failed to find the target. Moments later Leeming went close themselves, Leandro Fernandes’ cross picked out Ben Greaves, but he failed to get enough contact on the ball. Both sides were going for it and roared on by a big crowd and Kingsley went close before the break. Lee Thomas’ long-range was heading into the top corner but Leeming custodian Jordan Jones produced a stunning save to deny him.
The tempo of the game lifted in the second half with early chances at both ends. First Leeming’s Karl Gorman effort crashed off the post, before Johnson fired wide for Kingsley moments later. Kingsley keeper Paul Rainford kept his side in the game, saving well to deny Greaves, before reacting well to save Lucas Pickering. But Kingsley were reduced to ten men when Luke Armstrong was shown a second yellow card and sent off. But Leeming’s man advantage only lasted three minutes when Tom Grant was sent off, also for a second yellow card when referee Anthony Walsh pointed to the spot after a foul in the box and sent the Leeming defender off.
Johnson kept his nerve firing home from the resulting penalty, despite Jones getting a hand to it. Leeming weren’t going down without a fight and Gorman fired wide moments later and eight minutes from time they found the equaliser. A free kick picked out Palin, who lost his marker and headed past Rainford. The game was up for grabs, and two minutes from time Kingsley won it. A poor clearance from Jones went straight to Drummond, who squared the ball to Johnson who rolled the ball into an empty net to win it and spark off wild celebrations amongst the Kingsley supporters.
“I think the difference was we made two mistakes. You make mistakes in cup finals and you’re going to pay for them. We’ve made two today and they’ve cleaned up,” Leeming Player-Coach David Palin told the Football West website. “Performance wise, I don’t think I can ask for any more from the players. We want to challenge, we challenged in all three competitions this year and we won the Night Series, finished fourth in the league and we’ve come runners-up today. But we’re there from the start to the finish and we couldn’t be happier with where we are. I think we’ll get everyone back, everyone wants to go again. We’re not getting any younger, but we’ll give it another crack and we’ll keep going until we can’t do it anymore.”
Leeming Strikers: GK Jordan JONES, 2 Lee THOELE, 15. Matt BENNION, 5 Tom GRANT, 3. Kudli CHIGUANDA, 8. Danny MCKENZIE (18 Michael JENNINGS 79’), 6 Karl GORMAN (17 Michael MARATEA 90’), 12 Leandro FERNANDES (10. Paulo COELHO 79’), 7 Ben GREAVES, 11 Lucas PICKERING, 19 David PALIN - Subs not used: 14 Tom WOOD, 23 Greg CHRISTIE - Red card: Grant 71
Kingsley: GK Paul RAINFORD, 5 Brett CUTTING, 16. Jesse HIGGINS, 4. Aaron LICKISS, 3 Bailey SALMON, 11 Luke ARMSTRONG, 13 Lee THOMAS, 14. David ASHWORTH (6 Luke COLTMAN 69’), 9 Sean JOHNSON (7 Stuart MONTGOMERY 89’), 12 Josh WALDOCK, (8 Nick LOWE 75’), 10 Jayden DRUMMOND –Subs not used: , RGK Mark WOOLLEY, 15 Cathal QUINN – Red Cards: Armstrong 68, Montgomery 90+6 - Referee: Anthony Walsh
LEEMING HEAD NORTH TO SEAL CUP WIN
A goal fifteen minutes from time by Leeming Striker’s Brad North has given them a hard fought 2-1 win against League winners Kingsley in the 2018 Belt Up Amateur Reserves Cup Final at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Oli Mortensen gave Leeming the lead on the half hour, but after the break Kingsley levelled with Luke Dove scoring from the spot. But it was Leeming who claimed the cup for the first time in their history North scoring and setting off wild celebrations on and off the pitch. “The boys battled hard, it was a tough game in tough conditions but at the end of the day we got the result we wanted and that’s the main thing we can celebrate,” Leeming Coach Will Kirkpatrick told the Football West website. “We probably weren’t the best team if we’re honest, but we did enough, we battled hard and ended up with the win. I think it’s important, we’ve played for six, seven months now and to come and actually take something back after the end of the season, I think it’s a credit to the boys.”
It was Kingsley who had the brighter start, and Dove was played through early, but Leeming keeper Josh Blackman saved well, but Dove was quickest to react to the rebound and pulled the ball back to Joe Joyce, whose shot crashed off the post. It was one-way traffic and moments later Ryan Meyer was then forced to clear the ball off his goal line before Jamie Kane headed over the top. But against the run of play it was Leeming who hit the front. Mortensen found space and raced into the box before finishing clinically past Kingsley keeper Mark Woolley. Leeming when close to a second when Woolley played in Josh Brennan, whose shot was flashed inches past the upright. In the shadows of half time Kingsley nearly levelled, Oliver Valentine was given far too much space on the edge of the penalty area, but his shot crashed of the crossbar and away to safety.
Kingsley were on the front foot after half time, and their early pressure was rewarded with the equaliser five minutes in. Valentine was brought down in the box by Tom Wood and referee Alex Best pointed straight to the spot. Dove stepped up and converted the penalty to bring Kingsley level. Kingsley should have hit the front six minutes later when they were awarded another penalty after Cameron Bishop was upended in the box. This time Sam Church stepped up to take the resulting penalty, but he fired wide of the target. That miss came back to haunt Kingsley as Leeming regained the lead on 75 minutes. North, who is Leeming’s top goal scorer, was given too much space on the edge of the box and he finished clinically past Wooley.
Kingsley pressed late looking for the equaliser, and they created some good chances, but couldn’t find it. Leeming should have added to their lead late when Brennan hit the woodwork, but the damage had already been done. “It was probably just a game of missed chances really. First half we had a lot of chances that we probably should’ve put away and unfortunately we missed the penalty, but that’s the way things go sometimes,” Kingsley Coach David Swales told the Football West website. “They had a couple of chances and took them and won the game, so well done to them. You’ve got to take the positive of winning the league, but we would’ve been the first team within Kingsley to have done the double, so it would’ve been nice to. But we’ll build on it and hopefully it will give us some drive for next year.”
Leeming Strikers: GK Josh BLACKMAN, RGK Zaim ZAINI, 2 Ryan MEYER, 3 Will KIRKPATRICK, 4 Tom WOOD, 5 Armin TUKA, 6 Liam MONTGOMERY, 7 James DIXON, 8 Reece TERRY, 9 Kieren WITT, 10 Brad NORTH, 11 Oli MORTENSEN, 14 Mark TOWNSLEY,15 Josh BRENNAN, 17 Garrie MOULD,
Kingsley: GK. Mark WOOLLEY, 2 Jason MURRAY, 3 Tim HIGGINS, 4 Paul BOX, 5 Ryan CARR, 6 Jamie KANE, 7 Joe JOYCE, 8 Sam CHURCH, 9 Luke DOVE, 10 Jon MAGHERN, 11 Stuart SIMMONS, 12 Oliver VALENTINE, 13 Aaron PARSONS, 14 Cameron BISHOP, 15 Chris Beck, 16 Liam CAMM - Referee: Alex Best
AFC JOONDALUP WIN IT FOR GARIN
AFC Joondalup have put an emotional season behind them by taking out the Masters Cup Final, with a 3-0 win against Kingsley at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Sunday afternoon, and they dedicated the win to former player Garin Collins who passed away early this year. Danny Allen gave AFC the lead early, and they dominated for most of the game, but they had to wait till late to put the game to bed, with late goals from Richard Burton and Darron Morris. At the final whistle all the AFC players put on blue shirts with Collins’ name and his number on the back, and Coach Graham Tyson said it was a huge win for the club.
“We had Garin’s parents and sister here today to watch the game, and it’s a massive game for the club and for Garin, and this win means so much to us,” he told the Football West website. “It’s the only trophy we haven’t won in ten years and Garin’s last words to me was we’re going to win the league and cup we’ve done it for him today, and we scored a couple of great finishes to seal the win. It was a little cagey in the first half, they (Kingsley) hadn’t been beaten all season, but once we got ahead there was only one winner. Credit to the lads we’ve been through thick and thin this season, and it’s absolutely magic to get that result today.”
AFC and Kingsley both wore green armbands in a mark of respect for the late Garin Collins, but it was AFC Joondalup who made a perfect start and they were in front after only two minutes. Referee Darren Quinlan pointed to the spot after Jamie Astley was brought down by Kingsley keeper Kevan Towers. Two penalties were missed in the first cup final of the day, but Allen made no mistake with his to give AFC the lead. Kingsley looked to hit back immediately when Stuart Green was given far too much space on the edge of the penalty area, but his shot was saved low by Andy Banks.
AFC were creating the better chances, Burton snap shot flashed wide on 10 minutes, before Astley sent Kevin Munro in on goal six minutes later, but his shot was deflected wide. It was more of the same after half time Steven O’Kelly’s free kick was headed back across goal and Simon Turner’s shot on the turn flashed wide, before Burton’s long-range lob drifted just over the top. There were two drinks breaks on the day as the hot conditions made it difficult for both sides, but still it was AFC creating the better chances.
On the hour Ian Griffiths great through ball sent Astley in on goal, but Kingsley keeper Towers was out smartly to save at the strikers’ feet. Kingsley task was made even harder when John O’Brien was shown a straight red card by referee Quinlan after he hauled back Astley, who was heading towards goal and was deemed the last man. Then ten minutes from time AFC scored the decisive second goal. Kingsley lost possession in the middle of the park and the ball was played to Burton down the left channel, who curled his shot home superbly giving Towers no chance.
The icing was put on the cake six minutes later when AFC added a third. The lively Griffiths played in Morris who finished clinically to finish off a special day for the AFC Joondalup club.
Kingsley coach Ben Foster said the early goal wasn’t the best of starts and they were caught out late looking for the equaliser. “The penalty early was what it was, and we battled until half time and I said at half time we weren’t going down without a fight and made some changes and pushed forward and they took advantage,” he told the Football West website. “But we’ve had a real solid season for our first season in the Masters, and we’ve got a great bunch of lads and we did well to reach the cup final, but it wasn’t our day today.”
AFC Joondalup: GK Andy BANKS, 2 Scott WYETH, 3 Steven O’KELLY, 5 Simon TURNER, 6 Mark SALMON, 7 Lee FLETCHER, 8 Paul HOLLIDAY, 9 Andy SALLIS, 10 Jamie ASTLEY, 12 Kevin MUNRO, 14 Ian GRIFFITHS, 18 Richard BURTON, 19 Francis WESTHEAD, 27 Darron MORRIS, 33 Stephen LLOYD, 55 Danny ALLEN
Kingsley: GK Kevan TOWERS, 2 Graeme BLACK, 3 David WILLIAMS, 4 Ian WOOLLEY, 5 Barry LEWIS, 6 David SWALES, 7 Stuart GREEN, 8 Adam MCCREATH, 9 Adam ROBERTSON, 10 Alistair WAYDA, 11 Allan BRADY, 12 John ASHWORTH, 13 Adam KITCHEN, 14 Shaun LITTLE, 15 Oliver FORSTER, 16 John O’BRIEN - Red Cards: O’Brien 75’ - Referee: Darren Quinlan
TURNERS BRACE GIVES HILLARYS THE METRO CUP
A brace from Hillarys FC striker Thomas Turner has given them a 2-0 win against Sorrento Vikings in the 2018 Metropolitan Cup Final at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Sunday morning. The margin could have been greater, but Vikings keeper Brad Smith saved two Ciaran Judge penalties. “I thought overall we were the better team, unfortunately it could have been more, but their keeper made two penalty saves,” Hillarys coach Ian Greg told the Football West website. “The goals today were fabulous finishes, and Thomas has done that all season for us. But we are delighted we’ve only been in the league a couple of years and this is our first cup, so it’s onwards and upwards for us.”
Hillarys made a perfect start and they were ahead on four minutes, and what a goal it was. There looked little danger when Turner received the ball, but his long-range shot flew into the top corner of the net giving Vikings keeper Smith no chance, They should have doubled their lead five minutes later when referee Robert Newbury pointed to the spot for a foul in the box, but Judge’s spot kick was well saved by Smith, and the keeper did even better to push away the rebound. Sorrento started to get into the game and Andrew Roland’s volley from the edge of the box whistled just wide before Wayne Guest’s shot was saved low by Ryan Stocks.
Hillarys were dangerous going forward with the hard-working Nick Banks a constant threat, and he went close to adding second on 20 minutes, but his shot on the run was tipped around the post by Smith. Then from the resulting corner Philip Bridle’s header was cleared off the line. But Hillary’s pressure was rewarded with a second on the half hour. A long throw by Bridle into the box wasn’t dealt with and Turner spectacular overhead kick flew past Smith.
Sorrento pressed after the break and Darko Mikic shot was saved low by Stocks, before Guest’s shot flashed over the top. But Hillary’s and Turner almost added a third on the hour, but the striker’s free kick was saved low by Smith, as the heat was taking its toll on the players with a number going down with cramp. Still Sorrento pressed for a goal to get them back in the game and Harry Gent wriggled his way into the box moments later, but his shot was saved low by Stocks. But against the run of play Hillary’s were awarded another penalty on 83 minutes when Jason McBride was brought down by Dillon Page.
Judge stepped up again and buried his spot kick, but his celebrations were cut short when the referee spotted some encroachment and made him re-take it. His second spot kick was straight down the middle and saved easily by Smith. To Sorrento’s credit they continued to push forward but they couldn’t find a consolation goal and it was Hillary’s taking out the Metropolitan Cup Final Derby. Vikings coach Scott Taylor said the best team won on the day. “It wasn’t our day today, but the lad put everything into the game, but the best team won on the day,” he told the Football West website. “The weather took its toll today, but we did have a few half chances, but they created more and were worthy winners today.”
Hillarys FC: GK Ryan STOCKS, 2 Jason MCBRIDE, 3 Thomas PETTAN, 4 Declan BYRNE, 5 Mark HUGHES, 8 Anthony NOLAN, 9 Daniel NUGANT, 10 Nick BANKS, 12 Chris CRAIG, 14 Thomas TURNER, 15 Aiden HOGAN, 16 Ciaran JUDGE, 17 Philp BRIDLE, 18 Yannick KARECH, 19 Christopher BROOKER, 61 Eoin MURPHY
Sorrento Vikings: GK Brad SMITH, 23 Wayne GUEST, 24 Harry GENT, 25 James YOUNG, 26 Bailee YEOMANS, 27 Wancharlem VICHA, 28 Dale BLOOR, 29 Dillon PAGE, 30 Andrew ROLANDS, 31 Remo VENDITTI, 32 Matt THOMAS, 33 John HAYDON, 34 Dane RADLEY, 35 James GREATHEAD, 36 Darko MIKIC, 61 Scott DUFFY - Referee: Robert Newbury
EAGLES CLAW BACK LATE TO STUN SWAN
After dominating for long periods, Swan United will take a slender 3-2 lead into the second leg of the Promotion/Relegation play-off game against Dianella White Eagles, after an entertaining first Leg win at Francis Street on Saturday afternoon. The home side were cruising after goals from Gavin Knight and a brace from John Monterosso, which had them 3-0 up going into stoppage time, but late goals from Reece Frank and an own goal from Swan defender Chris Marshall put the visitors back in the tie. “Disappointed with the finish, Joey called for it but Chris made the call and unfortunately headed into his own net, but won the game and we’re happy about that,” Swan skipper Aaron Colli said. “We put in a great performance today, and as skipper I was really happy the way the lads played today, and I think we can do the same on Wednesday and keep our run going.”
The home side were on the front foot early and Knight and Marshall heading over from set-pieces, but it was Dianella with the best chance on 20 minutes. Midfielder Jose Zuniga wasn’t closed-down, and his long-range shot looked destined for the top corner, but Swan keeper Joey Smith produced a stunning save to deny him. The Swan custodian was at it again three minutes later, this time turning Jimmy Taban’s shot around the post. United looked dangerous going forward with Knight and Monterosso a handful up top, and the pair combined on the half hour.
Knight crossed from the left found Monterosso, whose volley was superbly saved by Mackenzie Ferguson. But on 34 minutes it was Swan who hit the front, when Rory Mouttet was brought down in the box, and referee Brendan Skinner pointed straight to the spot, and Knight stepped up to score. Both sides had late chances in an end-to-end game. First Zuniga shot on the run flashed just wide for Dianella, before Marshall’s header was cleared off the line by Dianella’s Sotiris Theodosiades, but at the break the home side led 1-0.
Swan opened the second half well and had Dianella on the back foot and it wasn’t a surprise when they doubled their lead on the hour. The lively Monterosso was sent clear by a clever Knight pass, and he finished clinically past Ferguson. The Black and White faithful were on their feet again two minutes later as they added a third. Knight’s corner was only cleared to Jay Lang on the edge of the box, his shot was deflected into the path of Monterosso who fired home. It looked game over, with Swan tight at the back and Dianella were struggling in the final third but in the final minute the visitors pulled one back. A free kick from former Swan defender Spiro Nenadic found Frank, whose header was well saved by Smith, but Frank was quickest to the rebound to score. Dianella pressed forward and should have scored again moments later, Dhamion Kalamaris was sent in on goal, but with only Smith to beat he fired wide.
But in the fourth minute of stoppage time that miss was forgotten as Dianella found a crucial second goal. A long ball into the box caused confusion and Marshall didn’t hear the call from his keeper and headed the ball into his own net, to set up an enthralling second leg at Dianella Reserve on Wednesday evening. The action wasn’t over there and at the final whistle Dianella Coach Graham Normanton was sent off for an incident on the touchline. “The game never over till it’s finished, and we’ve got a lifeline for the second leg,” Normanton told the Football West website. “It’s difficult for me as I’ve only had one session with the players, but I will get two more in before the next game. But the boys were inspired to get a result today and two away goals is good, but we know Swan are a hard side to play against, but we feel we’re good enough to get the job done.”
Swan United: GK Joey SMITH, 4 Brennan BORZECKI (3 Dom ANDO 84’), 5 Chris MARSHALL, 8 Aaron COLLI (6 Nicolas TATTSICIORE 67’), 9 James SHAMIM, 10 Gavin KNIGHT, 11 John MONTEROSSO (20 James BURNS 78’), 12 Luke COLLI, 15 Rory MOUTTET, 16 Jay LANG, 17 Tom BLACK - Subs not used: RGK Cory HUGO, 14 Cillian FAGAN
Dianella White Eagles: GK Mackenzie FERGUSON, 2 Sotiris THEODOSIADES (7 Yves MWILLA 54’), 5 Spiro NENADIC, 9 Scott NEWLAND (16 James OWEN 76’), 10 Jose ZUNIGA, 11 Jimmy TABAN (3 Nikola ZMUKIC 72’), 12 Isaac NEHEMIE, 13 Reece FRANK, 14 Bojan RADINOVIC,15 Dhamion KALAMARIS, 18 Ibrahim HAMAD - Subs not used: 4 Philip ANGELO, 23 Skye DOYLE - Referee: Brendan Skinner
O’BRIEN BRACE GIVES DOLPHINS THE ADVANTAGE AT WANNEROO
An injury time penalty from substitute Joe O’Brien has given Mandurah City a 2-1 away win at Wanneroo City in the first leg of their Division One/Two Promotion & Relegation Play Off Semi Final at Wanneroo Reserve on Saturday afternoon. O’Brien had opened the scoring on 67 minutes, only five minutes after coming off the bench, but a stunner from Wanneroo midfielder Ashley Corker levelled things up four minutes into stoppage-time. But O’Brien had the final word stroking home from the spot to send them home with the advantage.
“Really pleased with the lad’s performance today, to come here and beat a side who haven’t lost at home all season, shows the resilience we have in our squad, and that’s something we’ve had all year,” Mandurah Coach Alex Grayson said. “We know it’s only half time in the tie, but to come here today and go home with a win is huge. We could have dropped our bundle when they scored late but worked so hard and stayed positive to stay in the game and we got the reward in the end. I’m absolutely delighted for the boys and it sets up the second leg nicely for us.”
It was a tight first half with both sides setting up defensively, and despite a few half chances it was a real arm wrestle. Mandurah came into the play-offs on a good run of form, while Wanneroo were unbeaten in the last 16 games, but try as both teams might they couldn’t find the opener and it was scoreless at the break. But if the first half was lacking in action the second half wasn’t and it was the visitors who hit the front on 67 minutes. Reece Allen played a through ball to O’Brien who cut in front of the defender and lobbed Wanneroo keeper Andy Williamson.
The home changed tactics and went in search of the equaliser and they thought they had found it when a cross was whipped into the far post by Gareth Lloyd and Adam O’Neill headed home, but his celebrations were cut short as the flag was up for offside. It looked like Mandurah would head back down the Freeway with a 1-0 lead but in the fourth minute of stoppage time the home side levelled. Mandurah lost possession in the middle of the park and Corker strode forward and unleashed a stunning shot from 28-meters which moved in the air and flew into the top corner of the net giving Kieran Shail no chance.
But Mandurah weren’t finished and two minutes later they scored the winner. Jeff Bright played the ball forward to substitute Regan Davidson, whose superb little touch the on-running Bright who was brought down in the box and referee Shane Skinner pointed straight to the spot. O’Brien kept his nerve to score much to the delight of the Mandurah supporters in the big crowd, to give them the advantage going into the second leg on Wednesday. “It’s only half time in the contest,” Wanneroo Coach Tim Kantor said. “Whilst we have a mountain to climb now we get three key players back for Wednesday, who will be fresh and ready to go.”
Wanneroo City: GK Andy WILLIAMSON, 4 Dave WHILLIANS, 7 Jack HAILSTONES, 8 Kye DOUGLAS, 21 Ashley CORKER, 23 Godfrey ASIMWE, 26 Matt FRANKEN, (13 Nathan SCULLY 46’) 30 Shakeel ALEXANDER, (10 Dom BREARO ELLIOTT 66’), 35 Flynn NOLAN (52 Erik LOPEZ HERNANDEZ 70’), 36 Gareth LLOYD, 40 Adam O’NEIL - Subs not used: 50 Alex ANNIS, 6 Matt HATTON
Mandurah City: GK Kieran SHAIL, 2 Mitchell FIRTH, 3 Jeff BRIGHT, 4 Matt STARES, 5 Maxwell SNELSON, (15 Dylan URQUHART 81’) 6 Aidan CLARK, (11 Joseph O’BRIEN 62’) 7 Joshua WARREN, 8 Andrew BROWN, 9 Reece ALLAN, 10 Cohen AITKEN, (Regan DAVIDSON 85’) 17 Oriol FERNANDEZ - Subs not used: 12 Alex GRAYSON, 20 Niall DIXON - Referee: Shane Skinner
STATE LEAGUE PROMOTION AND RELEGATION PLAY-OFF SEMI-FINALS PREVIEW - FIRST LEG
After twenty hard fought regular league games the relegation/promotion play-offs will complete the 2018 State League season, with the first leg on Saturday, and the return leg on Tuesday evening. First up Wanneroo City host Mandurah City at Wanneroo Reserve. Wanneroo finished second in Division Two, while Mandurah finished tenth in Division One. Wanneroo pushed Champions Olympic Kingsway all the way and missed out on the title on the last day, but Coach Tim Kantor has been pleased the way his squad have played this season. "It's been an outstanding season by our boys finishing equal points with undefeated Kingsway," he said. "They are a resilient and determined group and they can’t wait till Saturday."
Kantor said Saturday's opponents can be very damaging, but he is hoping his side can maintain their good home form on Saturday. "I’ve watched Mandurah a couple of times this season and I’m surprised at where they finished on the table because I thought they are a lot better than the table suggests. They’ve got a few really experienced lads and if allowed to play can be very damaging," he explained. "We are at home in the first leg and have taken 28 of the 30 points at home this season so we go into Saturday with confidence and momentum. It’s extremely important that we defend well because we certainly don’t want to give up away goals which in this format are critical."
Wanneroo will be missing Stuart Siddall for the game due to injury, but Kantor said they up for the challenge. "Stuart received a boot in the face midweek against Swan and unfortunately broke his nose so that’s the season for him," he said. "We have other lads who are carrying little niggles, but I think at this time of year everyone is so no other real injury concerns and thankfully no suspensions. The whole club is looking forward to Saturday and the boys will be ready to go come 3pm."
Mandurah looked down and out mid-way through the season, but a good run of form took them out of the relegation spot and Coach Alex Grayson said the players turned things around and played some good football. " We switched a few things up towards the back end of the season which seemed to fit our personnel a bit better and it saw us come into a bit of form,” he explained. “Huge credit to the players for taking the information on board and applying it to the best of their ability. We are still learning so training time has been crucial. It's tough right now to find the balance between end of season fatigue and the sharpness to learn something new but I feel like we are getting better every day.”
Grayson said Wanneroo have a great home record, but his side head their full of confidence they can get the job down. "Really tough fixture to begin this post season campaign but with the format, no game is going to be ideal. Again, their tremendous form opposing our late revival will make for a fantastic game I'm sure,” he said. “We aim to keep our good defensive record going from these past few weeks and have it all to play for in front of the pod on Wednesday night. We are a full-strength team going into the games which is not something I have said often this year. Our post season training squad is super competitive with a lot of guys eager to play in these games. Andy Brown and Josh Warren back in this week are huge additions for us.”
The Other Semi-Final sees Swan United host Dianella White Eagles at Francis Street. It's been a difficult season for the Eagles, Robbie Dunn standing down due to work commitments early in the season and Salv Todaro doing likewise after last week’s 1-0 against Mandurah City in the final league game. The club have acted quickly to replace him for the play-offs, with former Olympic Kingsway coach Graham Normanton coming on board, but unfortunately, he has been given a two-game suspension by Football West so will have to watch the game from the grandstand. Dianella defender Spiro Nenadic said the win in the final game of the season has given them a massive boost going into Saturday's game. "Yes, getting a win always gives your team a boost, and the win was well-deserved," he said. "It was more important, especially this time considering we are going to have play in the relegation play offs."
Nenadic heads back to his former club in Saturday's first leg and is expecting a tight contest. "Swan have made huge strides since the previous two times we played them this season, they have brought in a few quality experienced players into a squad that already was good to begin with," he said. "It will be a great contest, I believe it’s a club with great tradition and history and especially for me since I used to play for them and will be coming up against some former teammates of mine."
Swan United were in the mix for the title midway through the season but after several years in the wilderness it's their second consecutive appearance in the play-offs, and midfielder Jay Lang said it was a very competitive league this season. "Unfortunately, we had a few games when we weren’t quite firing on all cylinders and it ultimately cost us in our pursuit of the title," he said. "In this division there are a lot of teams who are capable of taking points off each other."
Lang, who broke his leg three years ago playing against Dianella for Ashfield, is looking forward to the home leg of the playoffs and getting off to a good start is vital. "With the first leg at home it would be nice to get a positive result to take into Tuesday second leg," he said. "We’ve prepared well and hopefully we can put our game plan into practise over the two legs and come away with a positive result and take the club one step closer to promotion.
"The clubs got a lot of very good people who have been working hard behind the scenes so it's great for them that we're now in a position where we can gain promotion back to Division One. But we're under no illusions how difficult the games against Dianella will be, but we're fully focused and confident that if we play to our maximum then we can come away with a positive result."
AMATEUR CUP FINAL PREVIEW
The Belt-Up Amateur Cup Final takes place on Sunday when Leeming Strikers take on Kingsley at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium. (4.45pm) Leeming eased past Murdoch University Melville 5-0 away in the first round, before a hard fought 3-2 win again on the road against Stirling Lions in the second. In the third round they travelled to Ballajura and had a might scare. It was 1-1 after normal time and in the shoot-out, they prevailed 10-9 to take their spot in the Quarter finals. There they faced fellow Premier League side Wembley Downs and ran out 4-0 winners. In the Semi-Final they took on Division One side Stirling Panthers and goals from Lucas Pickering, David Palin x 2 and Karl Gorman gave them a 4-2 win.
Leeming player/coach David Palin said he was expecting a tough game in the Semi-Final and he got one. "We knew heading into the game Stirling Panthers, would be a tough test, as they were going well in Division 1 and on top of that any Semi Final is always going to be tough," he explained. "On the night we started well, but we just couldn’t make our pressure count and they scored in the last minute to take it to extra time. The boys kept their nerve in the extra 30 minutes and showed good character to get us into the final."
Led by skipper Danny McKenzie Leeming will be looking for their first Amateur Cup Final win, and player/coach Palin is the leading scorer, and he said they are looking forward to the game against a side they have had several close games this season. "This will be the fourth time we play Kingsley this year, so we are aware of each other at this stage of the season. All three encounters were tough affairs, they’ve got a lot experience in their side and they are well drilled. We expect the final to again be a close, we’ve been out of the league running for a month or so now, so we have been able to rest players and rotate to get everyone available for the final," he said.
"We are confident moving into Sunday and we know as a squad if we execute our game plan the result will take care of itself. It’s a great achievement to make the final it was one our main goals at the start of the season after falling short at the semi-final stage last year. To win the night series, challenge for majority of season in league and to make the cup final, I couldn’t be prouder of the squad and its reward for all the hard work, but we need to be at it one more game and we are desperate to win our second piece of silverware this season on Sunday."
Kingsley were given a bye in the first round, before making the trip to South Perth United and came home with a convincing 14-0 win. In the third round they travelled to Olympic Kingsway in a Saturday double-header with the State League game and came home with a 3-0 win. In the Quarter-Finals they played Joondalup United and won 4-0, to set up a Semi-Final tie against fellow Premier League side Jaguars. Josh Waldock levelled to send the game to extra time and in the 118th minute Jesse Higgins popped up with the winner.
Head coach Steven Dimitrovich said it was a great Semi-Final and the Jags played well but he was happy to get the win. "The Semi-Final was a very hard-fought win against a well organised Jags outfit who played some great football on the night," he explained. "They made it hard to break them down and to be fair they probably could’ve been more than one goal up at half time. But we stuck to our game plan and Josh brought us level, before Jesse bagged the winner late in the second period of extra time."
Kingsley keeper Paul Rainford has been outstanding this season, while skipper Higgins and leading goal scorer Jayden Drummond will be vital in this one, and Dimitrovich said it's going to be a great game. "Leeming are a good side and they have proved that throughout the year," he said. "They play a hard-physical game and get numbers behind the ball, so they make you work hard to break them down. So, I’d imagine the final would be no different and pretty sure the game will be full of entertainment with the final piece of silverware up for grabs this season."
AMATEUR RESERVES CUP FINAL PREVIEW
The Belt-Up Amateur Reserves Semi-Final also sees Kingsley and Leeming Strikers in action, the pair meeting at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Sunday afternoon. (2.30pm). In the first round Leeming were given a 3-0 forfeit against Murdoch University Melville, before a 9-3 win against Stirling Lions in the second round. In the third round they beat Yanchep United 3-0, before a 3-2 penalty shoot-out win against fellow Premier League side Southern Spirit. In the Semi-Final goals they beat Warnbro Strikers 6-0 with a hat trick from Ethan McKenzie, with other to Kieran Witt, Mark Townsley and Garrie Mould.
Leeming coach Mark Howell said the Semi-Final could have been a banana skin for them, but they put in a good performance to get the win. "We were really happy with the semi-final win, it can be tricky when playing a team from a lower division because it’s an unknown," he explained. "On the day Warnbro played well and battled to the end, but it was one of the best performances of the year. We were well organised, were very professional and got the job done with a 6-0 win."
Brad North has bagged 20 goals this season and will be one Kingsley need to close-down, while skipper William Kirkpatrick will lead the side out in the big one. Howell said they have had some tight games against Kingsley this season and he’s expecting more of the same on Sunday. "We knew Kingsley would be our biggest competition this year. After a good pre-season we went to Kingsley and executed the game perfectly to get the 4-1 win," he explained. "At home we weren't at our best and Kingsley had the better of the game. I was happy that we fought back from two goals down to draw the game 2-2. I have a lot of respect for Kingsley and know it will be a very tough game. They are strong and very well organised, so we will need to perform to our best to win the Cup. I expect it to be a hard, physical and competitive game. With so many goals in both teams i expect it to be a crowd-pleasing high scoring game."
Kingsley had the bye in the first round, before a big 9-1 win against South Perth United in round two. They travelled to fellow Premier League side Ellenbrook United in the third round and came home with a 3-0 win, before a big 6-0 win against another Premier League side Subiaco. That set up a Semi-Final game against Kwinana United and a hat-trick from Ollie Valentine and others to Sam Church, Joe Joyce and Cameron Bishop gave them a comprehensive 6-0 win.
Kingsley Coach Chris Brady said their Semi-Final performance was outstanding. "It was an excellent all-round team performance from the lads in the semi-final, probably one of our best overall performances of the season. We knew Kwinana would come out firing early and if we could contain that then our pace up top would cause them plenty of problems as the game went on," he explained. "It was a brilliant night for the club with our Masters, Reserves and First team all winning their semi-finals together, so it was great for the reserves to be a part of and it sets up a big day for the club on Sunday."
Kingsley took out the league this season with skipper Jamie Kane leading from the front, while leading goal scorer Luke Dove will be one to watch. Brady is expecting another tight tussle in the final, but they will be hoping to do the double. "Leeming have no doubt been the big improver in the Reserves competition this year and the first league game between us in Round two, Leeming won quite comfortably 4-2 at Chichester, and it was a good wake-up call for us," he said. "In the second game down at John Connell, we were cruising at 2-0 up midway through the second half and it probably should have been more, but in the blink of an eye Leeming banged on two goals to finish the game level at 2-2.
"So, we know how dangerous they can be and I'm sure they won't want to finish 2018 trophy-less after such a good season. That said, our lads have been outstanding all year long and the league title was testament to that. Cup games are of course a completely different affair, but the lads now have a chance to create a little bit of club history by winning a double and will be going all out to do that on Sunday. With ten goals between the sides in the two league games this season, it's sure to be an entertaining match and I'd encourage all the neutrals to get down and see two very good reserves sides going at it on Sunday."
MASTERS CUP FINAL PREVIEW
The 2018 Masters Cup Final sees North Premier League AFC Joondalup taking on Division Three Kingsley at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Sunday afternoon (12.15pm) AFC Joondalup beat Spearwood Dalmatinac 3-2 t Beale Park in the Preliminary round, before a 5-0 win against Olympic Kingsway in the first round. They then beat Perth Saints 10-0 in the second round, and in round three they travelled to Rosalie Park and came home with a 3-0 win, before a 3-0 forfeit win against Fremantle United. That set up a Semi-Final against FC Shoalwater at John Connell Reserve, and late goals from Danny Allen and Stuart Banks gave them a 2-2 draw and in the penalty shoot-out they won 4-2 with Simon Turner scoring the winner.
AFC Coach Graham Tyson said the come-from-behind win in the Semi-Final was great and showed the character they have in their side. “It was an unbelievable win especially after being 2:0 down with seven minutes to go and down to nine men,” he explained. “But the boys never stopped creating chances in the second half and got what they deserved with the two goals late on, Danny straight from a corner, while Stuart’s was a screamer from the edge of the box into the top corner.”
AFC will have former Preston, Fleetwood, Morecambe and ECU Joondalup keeper Andy Banks between the sticks, while leading scorer Richard Burton, who has scored 24 goals in 12 games this season will be a key in this one. Tyson said it will be a tough challenge but one they are looking forward too. “It’ll be very tough as they have beaten some good sides on the way to the final, and are unbeaten in their league,” he said. “We have some friends in their team as well which always makes the game interesting.”
Kingsley had the bye in the Preliminary Round before edging past Bozzy SC 4-3 on penalties in Round One after the game had ended 3-3. In Round Two they travelled to Gumblossom Park and came home with a 7-0 win, before a forfeit in Round Three against Dianella White Eagles. In the Quarter Finals they beat Premier League side Carramar 4-2 at Houghton Park, which set up a Semi-Final clash against Premier League Southern Spirit at Chichester Park. It was a tight affair with Adam Robertson (Robbo) scoring in normal time, and in the shoot-out, John O’Brien scored before Spirit missed the final spot kick.
Kingsley Coach Ben Foster said it was a game of very few chances, but they held their nerve in the shoot-out. “We switched Robbo to Left wing to see if that would change the game and he managed to get a toe onto a through ball that got past the Keeper,” he said. “It was literally a game of two chances Spirit took theirs and we took ours, it was a real tug of war with neither team wanting to give any opportunities away. I was pleased with our defence against a Premier side as we have had little to test it playing in Division Two.”
Skipper Adam McReath will need to be at his best on Sunday, while keeper Kevin Towers has been in good form this season. Foster said it’s a huge occasion for the club having three sides in the Cup Final and they are looking forward to the day. “For me it’s just amazing that we have been able to pull a team together from the “ageing” Kingsley Members, who most have been a part of this club and have played together for years in the amateur leagues,” he explained. “So, to be able to walk out to the Masters Football West Cup Final on Sunday in our first season it’s a massive credit to the quality of players we have and the kind of Club that has kept us all together. We know AFC are a good high-quality talented team and my plan is to make sure the lads enjoy the moment and go out with a Cup Final mentality where anything can happen.”
METROPOLITAN CUP FINAL PREVIEW
In the Belt-Up Metro Cup Final it’s a local derby when Metro North Premier pair Sorrento Vikings and Hillary’s FC meet at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium at 10.00am. Hillarys beat UWA-Nedlands 6-1 at UWA Sports Park in the Preliminary Round, before a big 9-0 win at Kelly Park against Kwinana United in Round One. In Round Two they beat Phoenix Glory 3-1 at Flinders Park, then beat their (Hillarys) North Division One side 9-0 in Round Three. In the Quarter-Finals they won in a penalty shoot-out 5-3 against Perth Saints, after the game was 3-3 after normal time, and that set up a Semi-Final against Balcatta at Percy Doyle Reserve and goals to Danny Hockridge, Anthony Nolan and Jonny Morris gave them a 3-0 win.
Coach Jason McBride said Balcatta were head to beat and it wasn’t till late they managed to take control of the game. “It was a tough game on a crap pitch - we are used to playing on a carpet at Flinders – but Balcatta pushed us all the way and kept battling until around the 80th minute mark,” he said. “But our second goal killed them off with the third following soon after. They were a decent side and you could see why they made it through to the semi’s and turned over a few Premier League teams on route.”
Eoin Murphy will skipper the side on Sunday, while Nick Banks is the leading goal scorer for Hillarys, but it’s Ciaran Judge who has done the damage in the cup, scoring nine goals. McBride said games between the two sides has a history and Sunday will no doubt be a tough encounter. “Sunday should be a good game given the previous two encounters. The first game was abandoned when the Sorrento player went straight over the top of the ball and fractured our players ankle,” he explained. “The second game was a nil contest as we ran out 6-0 winners, so I’m sure they will be looking to put that behind them and get some redemption in the final.”
Sorrento Vikings beat Sporting Bibra Lake in the Preliminary Round, before beating Peel at Percy Doyle Reserve in Round One. They then beat Fremantle City in Round two, before a 3-1 home win against Quinns FC in Round Three. They were at home again in the Quarter-Final when they overcame North Perth United 3-1, to set up a Semi-Final against Chipolopolo against at Perth Doyle Reserve. John Haydon gave them the lead, but Chipolopolo scored two to take control. But a late goal from Dale Bloor sent it penalties and they won 4-3.
Coach Scott Taylor said it was a great Semi-Final. “We took the lead but let them back in the game and they scored twice, and it looked game over,” he explained. “But we equalised with Dale’s header from a corner in the last minute of normal time. They had a chance to win it with their last penalty in the shoot-out, but Scott Duffy saved, then we won in sudden death penalties.”
Joint top goal scorers Bailee Yeomans and John Haydon will be important in this one, and Taylor will look to keeper Duffy to see them home on Sunday. Taylor said it will be a typical derby and one they are looking forward too. “No doubt it will be a tight game for sure. Both teams like playing football and have match winners in their squads,” he said. “They (Hillarys) recently won 6-0 against an undermanned Sorrento so no doubt go in as favourites, but we’re hoping for a fair honest game, but should be tight all the way to the final whistle.”
MORGAN APPOINTED FIRST TEAM COACH (courtesy inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)
Inglewood United have begun a new era with the appointment of Trim Morgan as first team coach. Morgan, 50, joins the club following a successful three-year spell at the helm of Western Knights, who he guided to last year's Division One and State Cup titles. He takes over from Andy Keogh, who vacated the top job last month.
"We feel strongly that Trim is the right person to lead Inglewood United and that his appointment can be a catalyst for change within our club," said president Cesare Colli. "Trim matched all the criteria and qualities we were looking for in a coach and he is enthusiastic about moving Inglewood forward."
"Trim is a no-nonsense character who is respected for what he has achieved as both a player and a coach. He has a detailed knowledge of the local leagues and its players, an understanding of what it takes to be successful and a holistic approach towards coaching and player development."
As a player, Morgan carved out a reputation as a finisher of the highest calibre. An England Schoolboy international, he wore Sorrento, Stirling Lions, Inglewood, Western Knights and Fremantle City colours while collecting two Premier League championships, two Top Four Cups and one State Cup winners' medals.
His time on the local stage was interrupted by professional spells with Canberra Cosmos (Australia) and Negeri Sembilian (Malaysia). Amongst his eight appearances for the State team were outings against Werder Bremen (Germany), Cereko Osaka (Japan) and Red Star Belgrade (Yugoslavia).
It was on the English Channel island of Guernsey that Morgan first turned his hand to coaching at Vale Recreation, Sylvans SC and Northerners AC. He was reunited with the Knights in 2016 and the following year guided the club to a historic league and Cup double, for which he was awarded Division One Coach of the Year.
HONOURS EVEN IN PRE-SEASON CLASH
Perth Glory continued their preparation for the up-coming A-League season with a 2-2 draw against Adelaide United in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Wednesday evening at Coopers Stadium. Elsey inadvertently volleyed Fabio Ferreira's cross past Paul Izzo in the home goal to gift Glory the lead after 11 minutes and Tomislav Mrcela made it 2-0 with a half-volley from outside the area, his second goal in two games. But a Ken Ilso penalty just before the break halved the arrears, however and sixty seconds later, fellow-new-recruit Mirko Boland found the net with a low shot to lock it up at 2-2. Chances were fewer and further between in the second half, although Liam Reddy was called upon to deny George Blackwood at close-range with a fine save on the hour-mark.
Glory coach Tony Popovic drew plenty of positives from the friendly. "Ultimately, it was about playing an A-League opponent which is a tough thing to do for us, we accept that," he said. "These games are very beneficial for us. We travelled today, and the boys' attitude was excellent, and I thought they performed very well. It's clear that we're making progress. We were up 2-0 which was very good and aspects of our game, both in attack and defensively, were also very good. Ok, we gave two cheap goals away just before half time which may have been due to a bit of fatigue and a lack of concentration, but this was a game against the kind of opposition that we haven't faced since Melbourne Victory in the FFA Cup.
“It was a satisfying night in terms of the game, the performance, the result and the fact that we didn't pick up any injuries. We really appreciate the club making it possible for us to travel over here and would like to thank Adelaide for the hit-out. Now we head home, recover, tick off more progress in our playing style, work hard and keep improving as we continue to close in on the Round One game against Western Sydney."
Adelaide United: GK Paul IZZO, 3 Scott GALLOWAY, 4 Ryan STRAIN, 6 Vince LIA, 8 ISAIAS, 10 Ken IISO, 14 George BLACKWOOD, 22 Michael JAKOBSEN, 23 Jordan ELSEY, 26 Ben HALLORAN, 31Mirko BOLAND - Substitutes: RGK Isaac RICHARDS, 2 Michael MARRONE, 9 Baba DIAWARA, 16 Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 27 Louis D'ARRIGO, 28 Kristin KONSTANDOPOULOS, 33 Apostolos STAMATELOPOULOS, 39 Carlo ARMIENTO
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Shane LOWRY, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 11 Brendon SANTALAB, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 22 Fabio FERREIRA, 27 JUANDE, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Substitutes: 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 14 Chris HAROLD, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 23 Scott NEVILLE
PERTH BOW OUT OF NPL NATIONAL FINALS IN A THRILLER
Perth Soccer Club have bowed out of the NPL National Finals Series after a pulsating Elimination Final 1-0 defeat against NPLNSW Champions Sydney Olympic at Lambert Park on Sunday afternoon. The only goal of the game came from the skipper Jason Madonis, but Perth had their chances the best falling to Paul Zimarino, whose shot was well saved by Olympic keeper Ezequiel Consoni.
It was a great day for football at the home of APIA Leichhardt, and Olympic were on the front foot from the first whistle, and they hit the front on six minutes. William Angel cut inside from the right and was brought down by Kieran Colwell and referee Steven Lucas pointed straight to the spot. Madonis stepped up and drilled the resulting penalty down the middle giving Francis Soale no chance.
Perth went close to a quick response, Matthew Milenkovic found Zimarino, and the midfielders shot from the edge of the box was saved low by Consoni. Sydney looked lively on the break and they went close to adding to their lead moments later, Max Burgess was sent clear, but Soale was out bravely to save at the strikers’ feet. The Perth supporters were off their seats on the quarter hour when Niccolò Sabatini’s corner picked out Harley Orr, whose goal bound header was cleared off the line.
It was end-to-end football with chances at both ends. First Perth’s Jordan De Leo raced down the left and found Gustavo Catarcione, who fed the lively Zimarino, whose shot was well saved by the alert Consoni at his near post. Olympic hit straight back and former Perth Glory defender Riley Woodcock crossed from the left and Nikolas Tsattalios fired inches wide. Olympic were in again just before half time the impressive Max Burgess sending Sanchez in on goal but Soale stood tall to deny the Spanish striker.
Perth opened the second half brightly and Sabatini’s cross was headed back across goal by Catarcione, but Zimarino couldn’t keep his volley down. Zimarino was in again moments later, this time picked out by Matthew Milenkovic, but his shot was deflected wide. The challengers were getting more aggressive and Orr and Woodcock were both shown yellow cards for a couple of tasty challengers.
It was a great game and the tie was still in the balance, and Max Burgess went close again for the home side, his shot from the angle was well saved by Soale. Then on 64 minutes Perth should have levelled, Sabatini sent Milenkovic clear, he held off Thomas Whiteside and raced into the box, but his shot drifted just wide. Perth were pressing, but Olympic looked dangerous on the counter attack.
This was the best period of the game for Ramon Falzon’s side, and they went close again on 71 minutes. A quick free kick from Catarcione caught Olympic napping and Zimarino’s flick sent the Brazilian in on goal, but his shot on the run flashed inches wide of the post. Perth defender’s Rocco Pizzata and Colwell were outstanding, and the pair kept the talented Sanchez quiet all afternoon, but it was Max Burgess who was the danger, and after combining with his brother Darcy, ended with a Sanchez’s volleying home but the flag was up for offside.
It was a great advert for NPL football with both sides pressing forward and Max Burgess sent Sanchez in on goal again, but Soale was quick off his line to block. Then it was Perth’s turn on 83 minutes, Sabatini cross found Zimarino, and it looked like the youngster would score, but Consoni produced the save of the match to deny him. Perth went all out attack in the final three minutes of stoppage time, but they couldn’t find the equaliser, and their brave effort was in vain and Sydney Olympic move through to take on Campbelltown City who beat Canberra City 3-0, in next week’s Semi-Final.
Sydney Olympic 1 (Madonis 6’ pen)
Perth SC 0
Sunday September 16, 2018
Referee: Stephen Lucas
Assistants: Lance Greenshields, Brad Wright
Sydney Olympic: GK Ezequiel CONSONI, 2 Thomas WHITESIDE, 6 Nicola KULEVSKI (24 Christopher GLIGOR 72’), 7 William ANGEL, 8 Jason MADONIS (21 Steven ATHANASERIS 91’), 10 Max BURGESS, 11 Junya AN, 12 Zachary MACKENZIE, 14 Alejandro SANCHEZ LOPEZ, 23 Riley WOODCOCK, 33 Nikolas TSATTALIOS (61’)19 Darcy BURGESS Subs not used: RGK Nikolas LOE, 5 James DEMETRIOU Yellow Cards: Orr 52’
Perth SC: GK Francis SOALE, 2 Alex SILLA, 5 Niccolò SABATINI, 6 Harley ORR, 9 Gustavo CATARCIONE (18 Richard HOWLES 84’), 11 Matthew MILENKOVIC, 12 Jordan DE LEO, 13 Rocco PIZZATA, 14 Kristian SANTICH (7 Aleks JOVIC 80’), 16 Kieran COLWELL, 20 Paul ZIMARINO Subs not used: RGK Malek KUC, 8 Tom KING, 10 Nicolas AMBROGIO Yellow Cards: Angel 38’, Woodcock 60’
BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-TWO – REVIEW
The final relegation spot in the Belt-Up Sunday Amateur Premier Division has been decided after Subiaco were beat 8-0 by Champions North Perth United at Woodville Reserve. “It was definitely an impossible task, there was nothing that we could do about it. North Perth are quality and it is what it is,” Subiaco coach Keegan Roos said. “First half it was only 1-0, second half the red card made it tough and again not having a consistent team. We had three, four players out from last week. The commitment was just not there from us this season. A lot of players left us, top quality players, so we had five or six who all left us this season and we could not replace them.” On the day Alex Carter’s side collected the league trophy Subiaco need a big win to avoid the drop but found themselves behind after only on the half hour, Nigel Murray tapping home after good work from Oscar Kelly. Subiaco keeper Jeff Cornez was in sparking form and he produced a couple of fine saves to keep the score line to 1-0 at the break.
But after half time the floodgates opened, and Murray scored twice in as many minutes. First a fine finish, before heading home. Subiaco were then reduced to ten men when Jakub Chrusinski was sent off by referee David Bruce for a foul on Kelly in the box, and he picked himself up to score from the penalty, at the second attempt. Kelly added another moments later, before Patrick Montgomery added two more late. Murray added his fourth of the game in stoppage time to give United a comfortable 8-0 win. “It was an enjoyable day with no pressure,” North Perth Coach Alex Carter said. “Sometimes it can go two ways when there’s no pressure – you can take it for granted or you can go about your business as per usual. And I think we did for most of the time and the boys had a lot of fun. I think when you’re in the position where you’ve got that mindset – and you’ve had that mindset for such a long time – it’s hard to sway from that. So, it wasn’t too hard to get the boys motivated for today, but we also made a point that it is a bit of a celebration day and to really try and enjoy it.”
Southern Spirit ended their time in the Premier League with a hard fought 4-3 win against Leeming Strikers at John Connell Reserve. The home side were ahead on 25 minutes, a corner was flicked on by Karl Gorman and the unmarked Lucas Pickering slotted from 10-meters into roof of net. But Spirit hit back with Jacob Ledo’s shot deflecting into the net. But the home side hit the front again on the hour, a cross from the left was laid off by David Palin and Ben Greaves struck first time into the bottom corner from the edge of the box. Spirit restored parity with Ledo again on target and extended their lead when Brandon De Abreu’s long-range shot flew home. It was 4-2 when Ledo scored to complete his hat-trick. Leeming scored a late consolation goal in the final minute, a ball into the box was knocked down by Palin, and Karl Gorman volleyed home from 12 meters. "We knew it was going to be a tough game, and a hard-fought game,” Ledo said. “Although we knew we were getting relegated this year, we still played with are head held high and with pride, and it was great to end the season off with a win."
Ellenbrook United ended their season on a high with a 3-1 win against Kingsley at the Ellenbrook Spots Hub. The visitors hit the front early, a throw was flicked on and David Ashworth scored at the near post. The home side levelled before the break, Matty Clarke was brought down in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. The penalty was saved but Max Harlen was on hand to fire home the rebound. The home side hit the front early in the second half Kingsley lost possession of the ball in the middle of the park and Cammy Bar raced forward to finish clinically past the keeper. The points were made safe for the home side when albert Amankwaa raced into the box, rounded the keeper to score. “The boys put in a solid shift today and were rewarded for all the hard work they have put in on and off the training track,” Clarke said. “We showed today what we are capable of and look forward to next season.”
Jaguar travelled to Gerry Archer Sports Complex and came home with 5-1 win against Belmont Villa. The visitors started well and where ahead early when Derick Yuga found space down the flank, beat his marker before cutting inside and finishing well. Moments later Yuga grabbed his second racing through finishing clinically. Belmont where handed the chance to cut deficit when they were awarded a penalty, but Jags keeper Lam Gai saved. The Jags were then reduced to ten men when Akuei Guot was shown a second yellow card. After the break Belmont tried to make their one-man advantage count, but they were caught out again when Yuga shot was turned home by a Belmont defender. It was 4-0 when Bol Bol Wurok through ball released skipper Juma Wade, who kept his composure to fire low pass the keeper. It was 5-0 moments later, when George Duke race through before rounding the keeper. Belmont scored a late consolation goal, but it was Jags taking the points.
“It has been a great debut season in the Premier Division, we’ve come a long way from our debut season in the amateur Division 6 in 2010,” Gai said. “To finished third in our first season and make our second semi-final appearance amateur Cup, is great achievement and everyone around the club is proud of how the boys have done, and all the hard work they have put in. I’ve been lucky enough to see the transition around the club over the years.
It great to see the achievements over the years. No doubt next season is going to be even harder with Joondalup and Quinns joining the premier. But for now, we just going to enjoy the off season and hopefully we can take off from the start next season."
In other games Wembley Downs ended the season with a 3-2 win against UWA-Nedlands at the UWA Sports Park. Wembley were 2-0 up at the break, with goals from James Greene and Dean Wall. But UWA hit back with Abdul Farah and a brilliant volley from Brennan Childs, from Jack Retallack’s cross. But Wembley won it when Az Gray was brought down in the box and Wall added his second from the penalty spot. “It was nice to finish the season with a win and ensure our 5th place finish,” Wembley’s Ryan Fish said. “UWA gave us a good test and never gave up, with them nearly snatching the lead late on but it was a credit to the boys that they didn’t stop pressing for that decisive goal.” In the final game Kwinana United beat Hamersley Rovers 2-0 at Carine Open space. Robbie Hamm gave them the lead wit ha great finish, before Lewyn added the second with a great chip. “Delighted with the result and the work rate of the boys,” Kwinana coach Kris Donnell said. “But again, we went a full half with ten men, after Lee Bates was sent off at the death of the first half.”
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND TWENTY-TWO – REVIEW
Rockingham City have been crowned State League Division One Champions after a 4-1 win against Fremantle City at Lark Hill on Saturday afternoon. They had to wait until Sunday to officially take the title, with Gwelup Croatia needing a big win to topple them, but they could only draw 2-2 against Western Knights. Rockingham will take their place in the NPLWA next season, the first time the club has played in the top flight of WA football since 2000. “The result today was important and were all a bit disappointed we can’t celebrate the title after the game, but we will have to wait until after the Gwelup game tomorrow,” Rockingham Coach Cameron Lord said. "But regardless what happened today it’s been a fantastic season for this club and to cap it off with a good performance against a good Fremantle side, well in the first half, was good. We’ve made great progression as a club and fingers crossed the result goes our way tomorrow and we can celebrate the title and promotion.”
The home side made a perfect and they were ahead on nine minutes. James Harmer's through ball sent Ross Staley in on goal, and he held off his marker and lobbed the on-coming keeper to score. Fremantle looked to hit back, and Callum Roberts raced clear, but his shot from the angle flashed the wrong side of the upright. But on 24 minutes it was Rockingham who doubled their lead. Staley was the provider this time playing in Jason Pottier who finished clinically past Struan Herd. The home side were rampant, and they added a third ten minutes later when American import Kody Millard played a neat one two with Pottier and raced clear to score. They were in again five minutes later, Harmer picked out Staley who raced into the penalty area and lobbed the on-coming keeper to send them to the sheds well in command. The hosts opened the second half in the same manner and Harmer's shot was cleared off the line by Jason De Gennaro, before the Rockingham skipper saw a shot well saved by Harmer. Fremantle got themselves a consolation goal in the final minute, much to the disappointment of Rockingham keeper Cyril Sharrock, Sheldon Nogueira played in Alan Carroll, who finished low past the Rockingham custodian.
Gwelup needed a 12-goal win to take top start in the Croatian Derby against Western Knights at Nash Field and they opened the scoring on 17 minutes, James Sammut’s free kick picked out Bobby Wilson at the back post, whose cross found Cameron Yorke who made no mistake from close-range. But the Knights hit back and levelled two minutes later. A poor back pass to keeper Connor Campbell was intercepted by Domenic Sardi, who rolled the ball into an empty net. The Knights hit the front on the half hour, Dean Hurley was brought down in the box by Nelson Tshongo, and referee Shane Skinner pointed to the spot. Hurley picked himself up to score the resulting penalty. Gwelup levelled four minutes before half time Brian Mashingaidze cutting in from the right and curling past Sam Stone. The second half was another tight affair, but no one could score to give bragging rights, and it ended 2-2. “It’s disappointing to not come away with three points,” Gwelup Coach Taki Nicolaides said. “When it’s a situation like that where it’s beyond normal practices, I think we wanted to go out there and finish on a high and come away with a win and we couldn’t do that. When you look back and reflect on our season as a whole there’s been a lot of positives but there’s definitely room for improvement.”
Both Ashfield and Joondalup City needed maximum points at Iluka Sports Complex to avoid relegation and the play off's respectively, but it was Ashfield and that came away with a come-from-behind 2-1 win, to seal safety, while defeat sent Joondalup down to Division Two. The home side made a great start and took the lead when Jamie Gardiner’s cross picked out Jason Rubridge, whose glancing header beat the keeper. It looked like Ashfield would end up in the play-offs, but they rallied after half time and levelled, Pat Sara shot on the run from the edge of the box flew into the bottom corner. Both looked for the winner, but it was Ashfield who found it, Kevin Ashwood’s long-range free kick winning it for Matt Wardle’s side. “A massive result for our club and a much needed three points. Ending the season where we did was a disappointing result as we were second at the turn of the year and to not win a match in nine or so games was hard to take considering we were never out played or well beaten. Just individual mistakes and not taking our chances in front of goal effectively cost us,” Wardle said. “Now to enjoy a little break before I start planning for next year. With plenty of positives to build on from this year I’m expecting a big season next year.”
Dianella White Eagles were hoping for a different result at Joondalup to miss the play-offs, and despite a 1-0 win against Mandurah City at Dianella Reserve they will take on Swan United in a two-leg play-off. The only goal of the game came in the second half from Jimmy Taban, who pounced on a mix up between keeper and defender to finish into an open goal. “The goal came after a period of intensive pressure on the Mandurah goal and probably was deserved on the balance of play in the second half,” Dianella Coach Salv Todaro said. “The win is a good morale booster as the team prepares for the relegation play off’s next week.”
In the final game Morley Windmills finished of the season and the coaching career of Coach John Castrilli on a high, after coming from 0-3 down to beat UWA-Nedlands 4-3 at Wotton Reserve. The visitors arrived in good form and on the back three straight wins and hit the ground running with Alex Krteowicz scoring a hat-trick in the opening 35 minutes. But Morley hit back when Mitch Castrilli crossed to Darren Francis who headed home, and they added another before the break, Deng Mawien heading back across goal for Marco Perizzula to score to set up an exciting second half. Morley then levelled when Ben Wantee cut in from wide and finishing low past the keeper. Both sides looked for the winner, but it was Morley who found it. Boas Mtwale played a neat one-two with Francis on the edge of the box and fired home from 10 meters to win it. “To be 3-0 down and come back to win 4-3 it’s the kind of thing dreams are made of,” Mitch Castrilli said. “It’s also a extra special for me and my dad as it was his last season as he’s decided to step down from being manager. At the end of the game all the players and fans lined up and clapped him through the players run it was a pretty emotional day.” - South West Phoenix had the bye this weekend.
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND TWENTY-TWO – REVIEW
Olympic Kingsway are the 2018 State League Division Two Champions after a 4-1 win against Curtin University at Edinburgh Oval on Saturday evening. The win meant Graham Normanton's side went through the whole league season unbeaten, and pipped Wanneroo City, who beat Shamrock 2-0 to temporally top the table earlier in the afternoon, to the title. “All the lads were buzzing with the win and to go undefeated is pretty incredible,” Olympic striker Danny Hodgson said. “The lads have worked hard since day one and we deserved to win the league. All the boys are looking forward to playing in Division One next season.” The visitors made a good start and were ahead when Chris Rizidis’ cross was volleyed home by Hodgson. They doubled their lead before half time, this time Dan Corbett put pressure on the Curtin keeper, whose missed kicked the ball and Corbett rolled it home. The ‘Green Machine’ were fully tuned up after the break and added a third when Ben Fairburn slide the ball across the six-yard box and Rizidis tapped home from close-range. The party on the side lines was really getting started, and Olympic put the icing on the cake by adding a fourth, Corbett lost his marker and finished clinically from the edge of the box. Curtin scored a consolation goal late with Jon Krawec on target.
Wanneroo did all they could to push Olympic after a 2-0 win against Shamrock Rovers at Wanneroo Reserve, but will have to go through the First/Second Relegation/promotion play off's, and first up they will play Mandurah City on Saturday afternoon at Kingsway Reserve. “It has been a huge week for us, and yesterday capping off a great season,” Wanneroo coach Tim Kantor said. “Well we were top of the league at least for an hour or so, but we’d like to congratulation Kingsway on a great year going through the season undefeated.” The home side dominated possession and went in at half time 1-0 up courtesy of some great individual work from Shak Alexander, who eased past three Rovers defenders before slotting coolly in the bottom corner. It was more of the same after half time, but Shamrock defended well and made it hard for the hosts, but they did manage a second goal when Flynn Nolan delivered a defence splitting pass to Gareth Lloyd on the edge of the box and he finished clinically.
Swan United will also go into the play-offs after finishing third, but they go into the game against Dianella White Eagles on Saturday after a 1-3 home defeat against Murdoch University Melville at Francis Street. The visitors led 3-0 with a brace from Christian Long and another from Rion Robertson, while Gavin Knight scored a late consolation goal, converting from the penalty spot in the final minute. “It was another good performance, and I thought we totally dominated and were unlucky not to score more,” MUM Coach Gavin Brown said. “They only scored with a debatable penalty in the last minute and otherwise didn’t trouble us. The only frustration is that we couldn’t find the consistency we’ve shown in the last seven games in the first half of the season. We’ve finished with five wins and a draw out of seven. The draw was against Gosnells when they equalised with a last-minute penalty and the loss was against Kingsway (2-1) when we led 1-0 and had far more chances than they did. Overall it has been a season full of promise, but next year we need to be less naive and manage games and winning positions better.”
Balga, who finished just outside the play-off spots, ended the season with a comfortable 6-2 win against Kelmscott Roos at Princess Road Reserve. Balga made a great start and were ahead after only two minutes, Vlad Naumovski found himself at the top of the box and easily scored. Danny Moss then made it 2-0 on the quarter hour, curling home in the corner of the net gaving keeper Kristian Usedo no chance. Balga made it 3-0 on the hour, when Scott Bulloch was through on goal, his shot hit the post and his rebound found the net. Bulloch added his second to make it 4-0 in the 73rd minute before Kelmscott got one back from the penalty spot. Hermon Habtegergish scored to make it 5-1 in the 81st minute before Ogi Radonic shot from outside the box, Usedo could only carry it into the net. Kelmscott got a late goal in stoppage time, a great shot found the top corner.
In the final game Gosnells City ended their season on a high with 5-2 win against Quinns at Gumblossom Park. The visitors raced to a 3-0 lead with Jordan Parfitt, Liam Cave and Daniel Stone on target. The home side pulled one back Chris Williams scoring with a looping header from a corner. But Gosnells regained their three-goal lead when Parfitt added his second. Scott Pereira added a fifth to the visitors and sealed a comprehensive win. Quinns pulled one back late Williams adding his second. With Sunday Amateur Premier Champions North Perth declining promotion there will no teams relegated this season - Canning City had the bye this weekend.
PERTH HEAD EAST LOOKING FOR MORE GLORY - MATCH PREVIEW
Perth Soccer Club head to Sydney this weekend to take part in the NPL Finals Series Elimination Final against NPLNSW Champions Sydney Olympic at Lambert Park on Sunday (1.30pm EST) It's been a successful 70th anniversary at the Dorrien Gardens club, winning the title on the final day and it was capped off with a big win last week against Perth Glory in the McInerney Ford Top Four Cup Final. They take on an Olympic side who also won the NPLNSW title on the last day of the season and beat APIA Leichhardt last week in the Finals, so with both sides in good form this game should be a cracker - You can watch it live on the National Premier League website.
Perth midfielder Harley Orr said their consistently won them the title, and he said their character came to the fore last week against the Glory. "It was a fantastic season for our club no doubt, and it was like a fairy tale finish to the end the season, with a great come-from-behind 4-1 win against a good Glory side," he explained. "I thought the boys showed great character to overturn a 0-1 half time deficit, and our second half was fantastic, and we came away with a great win."
It was superb second half of the season for Perth, and they went unbeaten in their last 12 games to catch runaway leaders Glory, and the work of Head Coach Ramon Falzon and assistant Marc Wingell had a great deal to do with the resurgence. "The second half of the season was terrific, and there we’re a few games where it was do or die and we had to come away with wins and massive credit goes to Ramon and Marc," he said. "They continually believed in us week in week out and really showed great faith in us boys. Without them we wouldn’t be where we are today that’s for sure."
Orr said they are all looking forward to Sunday's game and they will be doing all they can to represent WA football on the national scene and come home with a positive result. "We fly to Sydney on Saturday, and we're determined to show the rest of the country that WA football is on the improve. " he said. "Sydney Olympic look like a strong side with a few key players, but we definitely fancy our chances against them, we have done some video study during the week and think we have a real opportunity to progress further."
Head coach Ramon Falzon said to win the clubs 22nd title in the club’s anniversary was a special moment. "It has been a great season for the Perth Soccer Club, and it's a massive achievement to win the double in its 70th year anniversary," he said. "From a coach’s perspective, we are very proud of our players and very happy to see them rewarded for their efforts by winning the double twice in three years is a fantastic effort."
The Top Four Final win against the Glory was huge, but Falzon said the score line probably flattered them a little. "The Grand Final against Perth Glory was a much tougher game than the result might indicate. Glory were the better team in the initial 30 minutes and took the lead, however we started settling in the game just before half-time," he explained. "Then, I thought that our players were superior in the second half, although it was not easy to break Glory down and level the score but once that happened, our players dominated the rest of the game and capitalised our chances to secure the result. Although we are very happy with the performances of our players, we recognise the massive improvement that Perth Glory made. They have been a very tough opponent to break down this year and they have reached new heights with John Gibson and his players."
Falzon said their unbeaten run at the end of the season was down to the hard work and determination of his squad, and he said he is proud of his players. "Marc and I are incredibly proud of the performances and results that our players delivered in the second round. Every club in the world, every season, has at least one very tough and challenging period, and we had ours at the end of the first round of fixtures," he explained. "But we persevered with our players because we were confident that we could turn things around, just like the previous two seasons. We consistently guided our players to believe and work harder because leagues are won in the second round and not the first round. Big credit to the players, because they performed to necessary standards to deliver consistent performances and results in the second round which ultimately led to 12 unbeaten NPL games, the NPL title and the Top 4 Cup."
The coach is relishing the challenge of pitting their wits against the best in country, and is hoping to do WA proud, but he knows we have struggled against NSW sides in the past. "We are very proud that we will be representing WA in the NPL Finals, however we are aware that as a State, we do not have a good track record against NSW clubs," he said. "Sydney Olympic have had a fantastic season, and they are a very strong team and won the double in the NSW NPL. We are mindful of their quick and powerful striking force and their work-rate and intensity compares to A-League teams. Although we know that Sydney Olympic will be a very tough team to break down, we do have our game plan and we are focused on delivering it come Sunday."
There is a familiar WA face in the Olympic side for Sunday's game and that’s former Perth Glory, Sydney FC and Cockburn City defender Riley Woodcock. The 23-year-old said it's been an unbelievable season for the club and they capped it off with a big win last week against a strong Apia Leichhardt side. "It’s been a great year for us taking out the minor premiership and then going all the way and winning the grand final as well," he explained. "We’re a really close group of players that want to win things, and I think our unity as a group really showed in the finals series winning 4-0 and then 3-1."
The club changed coaches’ days before the start of the season, and the appointment of former Socceroo Abbas Saad has given the club a huge lift, and Woodcock said they have flourished under his guidance. "Naturally it’s a little unsettling for the playing group when there is a change of manager just a few days before the start of the season, but we’re all professionals that understand our roles as footballers is to continue and perform on the pitch for the club," he explained. "Abbas has been great, he settled the group and brought out the best in everyone and got us playing an exciting brand of football that suited everyone."
Woodcock knows how successful Perth SC have been in WA football, but he said they are playing with confidence and believes they can get the job done on Sunday. "At the moment we don’t fear anyone and are thriving with confidence," he said. "Perth are a great side and have been dominant in WA football for a number of years now, and I’m sure it will be a great game of football and played a high intensity. We are both young teams and have players with a lot of attacking flair, but we’re confident we should get the job done on Sunday at Lambert."
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND TWENTY-TWO – PREVIEW
The State League Division One title has gone down to the final game of the season, with Rockingham City and Gwelup Croatia still in contention to lift the trophy. It's Rockingham who hold all the cards, and a win against Fremantle City at Lark Hill, in the Footballwa.net 'Match of the Round" will see them take their place in the NPL-WA. A draw or loss could let in Gwelup, who meet Western Knights in the 'Croatian Derby' at Nash Field on Sunday, and with Gwelup not illegible for promotion it will mean Rockingham will play Subiaco in a two-leg play-off to seal the final spot in the NPL-WA.
Rockingham's great form has seen them go 14 matches unbeaten and are close to their first ever appearance in the NPL-WA. Skipper James Harmer said all their hard work is now paying off. " Cameron and Gaz have really changed the atmosphere around the place this year. The things they have implemented into the training and game day routines are brilliant,” he said. “As for all the lads there is not one player who hasn’t put a shift in this year. Everyone has worked their socks off to put us in this position and I am so proud to be involved with this bunch of lads.”
City came home from Bunbury with a 7-1 win, which boosted their goal difference to plus 33, and they scored 52 goals the most in the league and have only conceded 19, also the best in the league. That win has put them on the verge of promotion, and Harmer said it was a great team performance. "We knew before the game that first and foremost we had to win the game,” he said. “It was as simple as that but after we were in control we knew we had to push as hard as we could to get that goal difference as high as we could.”
Harmer knows what is at stake on Saturday, a win will see them promoted and he said they will be doing all they can to beat a good Fremantle City side, who pushed them all the way in the reverse fixture earlier in the season. “We are well-aware Fremantle are no push over, they have a good side,” he said. “We had a really tough game against them early on in the season and expect the same this weekend. However, we know what it means this weekend if we win the game. Its history for the club and we will all be putting 100% in to win the game and get that trophy.”
Rockingham coach Cameron Lord said it's been a great season both on and off the park at the club, and he knows they need to stay focused and produce the football that has got them in this position on Saturday. " We are really looking forward to Saturday’s fixture against Fremantle City. We understand the implications and significance of the match, and we will be putting everything in to making sure we win the game,” he explained. “For us, Saturday is about doing as we have done for a large percentage of this season and that is winning. To be in the position that we are now, with just one game remaining, we are all desperate to win and be rewarded with the league title in what has been a great season, and a great battle with Gwelup throughout the season.”
Lord knows Saturday’s visitors have a strong side and they will have to be at their best to get the right result. “We would never expect Fremantle to come to us and roll over for us, we need to earn the win and if we do we will have rightly earned and deserved the opportunity to be league champions, pending the result on Sunday. The league will not be decided on the weekend games alone, but the league title is decided over an accumulation of all results over the course of the season,” he explained.
“To be in the position that we are with the last game of the season, there is no greater motivation in the world to play a football game, knowing that winning the game means that you are potentially league champions and earned the right to be promoted into the NPL. We are desperate to achieve something at Rockingham that has not been done in 42 years, and that is to be crowned as Division One champions. But again, we need 90 more minutes of our absolute best against a very good Fremantle City team, to put us in the best possible position to first of all win the game.”
Fremantle come into this game unbeaten in their last three games, including a come-from-behind win against Dianella last week. Coach Marc Anthony said all the pressure will be on Rockingham and they will be doing all they can to win the game and consolidate third spot on the table. "It was a good win against Dianella, it was wasn’t our best performance of the season, but important for us in terms of our finishing position in the league,” he said. “We know Saturday is going to be an extremely tough game travelling down there especially the run they are on at the moment. But it's a challenge we will face head on, my concern is Fremantle not Rockingham, so we will be doing our utmost to try and stay in 3rd place on the league.”
Gwelup will know their fate before they kick off on Sunday and will be hoping Fremantle can do them a favour at Rockingham. Last week they had to fight all the way to beat Morley and skipper James Sammut said it was a tight game but should have but it to bed earlier. "It was a good game against Morley and a shame we didn’t put the game to bed earlier,” he said. “We missed some chances throughout the game, but lucky it didn’t come back to bite us, and we got the three points which was the most important thing.”
Sammut said Sunday will be another tough game, like all Derbies are and if the results go their way then they are up for the fight. "Croatian derby is always a competitive fixture. They are a good side and we will be going out to hopefully come away with three points and finish the season on a high,” he said. “We can’t do anything about Saturdays fixture and what the results will be there, we just need to plan and prepare for a big game on Sunday. If results go our way, we need to ensure we give our best possibly chance to take the three points against the Knights.”
Gwelup Coach Taki Nicolaides said whatever happens this weekend it's been a great season for the club. "The Knights are a very good outfit and it definitely will be a competitive game. Our last encounter was a smashing end to end game and I expect this to be no different. Regardless of other results we will be going out there to get three points,” he said. “It has been a successful season and we have definitely raised a few eyebrows with our FFA Cup run and our consistency in the league. It’s a club that’s ambitious and have taken a massive step forward this year. We just need to make sure we keep on improving in all areas.”
The only other matter to complete is the relegation spot, with Mandurah City and Joondalup City fighting it out. This week Mandurah travel to Dianella Reserve to take on Dianella White Eagles, while Joondalup host Ashfield at the Iluka Sports Complex, one will be relegated, the other will go into the play-offs with two Division Two sides, while Ashfield and Dianella need a win to avoid the play-offs. The Dolphins are unbeaten in their last four games which has seen them move off the foot of the table, and they have a three-point advantage on Joondalup and plus three better goal difference, and coach Alex Grayson said their form late has been outstanding.
“We have worked hard over the past few weeks to put ourselves into a position to have our fate in our hands, so it is a huge credit to the lads for remaining positive towards the back end of the season,” he explained. “The senior boys stepping up coupled with the fantastic determination of the young lads has been the key to our recent run of form. Spirits are high at the moment, so we are hoping that can spur us on to a good performance against Dianella.”
Grayson said they go into Saturday's game confident they can get the right result. "Dianella will be a really tough place to go, especially with themselves having a lot to fight for,” he said. “Again, we have worked our socks off to claw our way out of the automatic relegation spot but our efforts this year will ultimately come down to the 90 minutes we can put in on Saturday. We are really looking forward to the occasion. The next few weeks basically become a knock out for all the clubs involved. It should make for some terrific neutral viewing.”
Joondalup’s Alex Robertson said last week’s draw wasn’t the result they were after, but it was a probably a fair result on the day. “Definitely not the result we were looking for, but the score reflected the game quite fairly. We held most of the possession but struggled to break down their experienced defence and it got harder to break them down the more the game went on,” he explained. “We came out flat footed after half time letting in a goal within 10 seconds of the whistle. We battled out the rest of the game having a goal disallowed and finally equalising in the last 10 minutes, which I thought we deserved.”
Robertson said on Saturday they need to focus on their own game and just give it everything they’ve got. “Our record against Ashfield the past couple of seasons has been good apart from them knocking us out the state cup early this season, so we are all feeling confident we can put them away at home,” he said. “Obviously we need Dianella to beat Mandurah and the goal difference is another factor, but we just have to do our bit and hope for a bit of luck with the other game. Luck isn’t something we’ve had much of this year so hopefully we finally get some on Saturday.” In final game the fast-finishing UWA-Nedlands make the trip to Wotton Reserve to take on Morley Windmills and a win and results elsewhere going their way could take them to third on the table, while a win for Morley could take them as high as fourth so it's all to play for. - South West Phoenix have the bye this week.
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND TWENTY-TWO – PREVIEW
Like Division One the State League Division Two title will go down to the wire with Olympic Kingsway and Wanneroo City level on points going into the final round of the season. Olympic are in pole position with a 11 goal better goal difference, and they travel to Curtin University on Saturday evening (5.00pm), while Wanneroo City host Shamrock Rovers at Wanneroo Reserve at 3.00pm. Wanneroo closed the gap on the leaders after a 2-1 win in midweek against third placed Swan United and head coach Tim Kantor was pleased with the win. “The boys were certainly up for Wednesday game. We started very well and had a couple of great chances early but couldn’t capitalise,” he said. “We continued to create chance after chance and if not for their keeper Joey Smith we could have been 3 or 4 up, but we did manage to take a lead into the break. In the second half Swan were pressing for an equaliser, and we caught them on a counter attack for a second. Late on we relaxed, and Swan got one back, but we hung on for a well-deserved win.”
The win continued their unbeaten run at home, and Kantor will be hoping for more of the same when they host Shamrock on Saturday. “Our unbeaten home form continues, having conceded a miserly six goals all season. We’ve made home a fortress and long may it continue,” he said. “But what a final week of Football coming up. We are certainly not getting ahead of ourselves because we know Shamrock are a very much improved side and we will have to be at our best to get the result. Should we achieve a win at the 3pm kick off, in the late game Kingsway will know they must win away at Curtin to win the league. I’m quite happy with the staggered kick off times. If we win on Saturday it will put massive pressure on the Kingsway lads, but fair play to them they have handled the pressure well so far.”
Olympic conceded a late equaliser last week against Swan, which prevented them from taking the title, and striker Danny Hodgson said it was a huge disappointment for the group. “It was disappointing to concede in the last few seconds, but we had two injury’s after 20 minutes which meant we had to change our game plan we suited the way Swan wanted to play, but I thought we deserved the three points,” he explained. “The goals that swan scored we couldn’t do anything about - A really soft penalty that not one of their players appealed for and no one saw the foul except the referee, and I thought the second one was offside, but in saying that Swan played really well, and they were the better team in the first half without a doubt. The lads showed character to get two second half goals and we were unlucky to share the points but over a 90-minute period I think a draw was a fair result.”
Hodgson said it’s been a great season, and they will be doing all they can to win the game and the title and go unbeaten for the whole season. “This season has been great, and we’ve played some amazing football. Every time we need to play well or step up we do, and every team has tried to knock us off the top since day one, but we haven’t moved. The league is tight up at the top, but we knew that if we didn’t lose any of our last 6/7 games the league is ours,” he said. “Saturday is a huge day for everyone the players, the staff and the club itself. Curtin are going to be hard to beat without a doubt, but I know the lads will be up for the game, and hopefully we can get the job done and claim the title.”
Swan United have secured the final play-off spot and this week they host Murdoch University Melville at Francis Street. MUM have consolidated fifth spot after last weeks win against Kelmscott, and Coach Gavin Brown will be looking to end the season with a win. Swan on the other hand face a play off game next week, and coach Paul Dundo said Saturday's game will be a perfect lead up game to them. "We're lookig forward to the play-off's but we have a tough game on Saturday against a very well organised MUM side," he said. "The first game between us was tough game with MUM coming out on top, be we will be looking to end the regular season on a high note. We need to continue the great momentum from our recent games, and take it into the play-offs, foucsing on achieving our target of promotion."
In other games this weekend Balga host Kelmscott Roos at Princes Road Reserve. It's been a long season for Kelmscott, and they will finish bottom of the table, but with North Perth United not wanting promotion they will stay in the league. Balga on the other hand just missed out on a play-off spot and winger Scott Bulloch said they will be looking to end the season on high with a win. "Its been a frustrating season for us. The ability and talent we have in the change-room, we really should be playing playoff football as a minimum," he said. "It just goes to show if your not switched on when the whistle goes, anyone can beat anyone in this league. We deserved a result last week against Wanneroo last week which ended our season, but it wasn't to be. With the hard work Aleks and the club have put in this year, we will make sure we go out with a win." In the final game Quinns host Gosnells City at Gumblossom Park. Quinns, who will finish sixth, were beaten at Canning last week, while a ten-man Gosnells, who finished ninth, fought back to draw 4-4 against Curtin, both sides will be looking to end the season on a high. - Canning City have the bye this week.
BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-TWO – PREVIEW
It's the final round of the Belt-Up Sunday Amateur Premier Division on Sunday and only position to be resolved is the second side to be relegated. Southern Spirit’s fate was sealed many weeks ago, but the other spot will be taken by either Kwinana United or Subiaco. United are three points clear of Subiaco, and have a six-goal advantage, and a point will keep them in the league, but a loss and a big win from Subiaco could see them drop down.
Kwinana produced a great come back last week to earn a valuable point against Leeming, and this week they head to Carine Open space to take on Hamersley Rovers. A long list of injuries has hit United hard this season, and coach Kris Donnell said they haven't had a settled side and that's hurt them, but it’s no excuse, and he was pleased with the character they showed last week against Leeming. " The result last week was probably the most important one for me this season. To come back from three nil down the way we did with ten men was a good team effort,” he said. “The injuries have hurt us a lot, but it can’t be an excuse, the boys know the position we are in and they never give up which is most important for me.” Donnell said they will be looking for a positive result on Sunday and end their disappointing season on a high but knows it won’t be an easy game. "We want to end the season on a high and go to take the three points at Hamersley,” he said. “But it has to be a big performance as they are a good side and have a few tricky players in their team.”
Rovers have ended the season well under the tutelage of Mike Howard and Terence Stupple, and striker David Morris said last week’s win against Subiaco, that secured their survival was a great performance. "We had a few late drop outs Sunday morning for various reasons which meant last minute reshuffles to squad and starting line-up, but we still should've been four nil up at half time, but we didn’t take our chances,” he said. We then started the second half slow, giving ball away a lot and sat to deep, inviting a desperate Subi unto us. But we weathered storm and got that all important second goal and ran out comfortable winners after they got best player sent off. Should've been double figures really with chances created but poor finishing and everyone trying too hard to get in on the goals.”
Morris said Kwinana will be looking for a win to seal their safety, so it should be an entertaining game. " We can now go out on Sunday, relaxed and enjoy the last game at home and hopefully play the great football we are well capable off,” he said. “Obviously they need the points more than us and will no doubt be a physical game, but we want to win, with the aim of jumping up to 5th for a good end to the season. We also have four players involved in the ongoing state team trail games, so we will want to keep going form and fitness wise, especially couple of us on the recovery road from injuries.”
Subiaco will be hoping Hamersley can do them a favour, but even if that happens they must go to Woodville Reserve and take on the Champions North Perth United and win big. The loss last week against Hamersley was disappointing and skipper David Grose said they had their chances. “I was a very disappointing result last week, although we had to reshuffle the team due to a couple late pull outs and we struggled to get going,” We had our chances, but we couldn’t put them away, and Rovers were clinical in front of goals and punished us in the midfield.” Grose said it's going to be tough, but they will go to North Perth and have a go and see what happens. " Yes, it’s pretty simple this weekend, we lose we get relegated. We win, and we have a chance of staying up,” he said. “Obviously will need a bit of luck and hope other results go our way but will just be focusing on our game and give it a go and will see what happens.”
North Perth lost for only the third time this season last week at Jaguars, but coach Alex Carter said the game could have gone either way. "Last week we rested a few players but the guys that came in put up a great show against a tidy Jags team,” he said. “There were very few chances for either side and they proved a little more clinical at the crucial times.” Carter said they have only lost once at home this season, and that was their opening game of against Hamersley, and he is looking to end the season with another win as they collect their trophy but is aware Subiaco have it all to play for, so he is expecting a tough game. "I’ve already said to the boys that I want to finish the season with a hard-competitive game of football,” he said. “Hopefully play some nice football that we can showcase to our loyal fans for one last time in 2018. It would be great to do this, get a win and lift the cup afterwards.”
In other games Kingsley make the trip to the Ellenbrook Sports Hub to take on Ellenbrook United, Belmont Villa entertain Jaguars at Gerry Archer Sports Complex, UWA Nedlands host Wembley Downs at the UWA Sports Park, while in the final game Leeming Strikers host Southern Spirit at John Connell Reserve, and will be doing all they can to reverse the score the last time the pair met, where Spirit won 2-1, they only win of the season.
LATE OWN GOAL SINKS WA STATE TEAM
A late own goal from Gold Fields WA State team skipper Callum O’Connell has given Perth Glory a narrow 2-1 win in Thursday’s Challenge Cup match at Dalmatinac Park. Tomislav Mrcela headed the Glory in front in the second half, before Bayswater City defender Trent Kay levelled with 17 minutes remaining, and it looked like they would hold on for a draw, but it wasn’t to be. “I was really pleased with the side tonight, they kept their shape well, and were disciplined all night, and I couldn’t have been more-prouder of them, and to lose narrowly to an A-League team, four weeks out from their season is very pleasing,” Gold Fields WA State team head coach Jamie Harnwell said. "The players enjoy playing these games and you could see the desire amongst them, the work rate was excellent. We flagged a bit late, but you get that, but I thought it was a great advert for the talent we have in our local leagues.”
The WA side made a positive start with Bayswater City's Gian Albano a constant threat, and after being picked out by great cross field pass by his club team mate David Stokoe early, his shot on the run was well blocked and cleared. Moments later Glory midfielder Jake Brimmer’s long-range effort stung the palms of WA keeper Luke Radonich, before Jason Davidson’s effort was saved low by the Cockburn shot stopper. Glory lost youngster Jacob Italiano on 16 minutes with a knee injury, but coach Tony Popovic strangely didn’t replace him, meaning the Glory played the rest of the half with only ten men.
Both sides had chances as the game started to open up. First Forrestfield United striker Hasani Sinclair headed over from an Albano cross, before Brandon Wilson’s long-range effort was well saved by the alert Radonich. WA were having their best spell of the game and they went within inches of the lead on 35 minutes, when former Glory Youth player Albano cut inside from the left and unleashed a shot which beat Jackson Lee but crashed off the upright. Glory should have gone into the break with the lead in the final minute, when a cross from Mrcela picked out the unmarked Chris Harold, but the striker failed to find the target.
They were several changes at the break for the Glory, and they did start the second half with a full side, but it was the WA side who went close early. A long ball sent Armadale striker Chris Jackson racing clear, but Glory keeper Lee stood tall to deny the 2018 Joint NPLWA Golden Boot winner. But on 56 minutes it was Glory who hit the front, Brimmer’s corner was headed home powerfully by Mrcela. It was a bitter blow for the WA side, and they almost conceded a second moments later, Harold’s shot on the run was saved low by Radonich.
WA continued to push and almost levelled when Sinclair’s header was saved by Glory trialist keeper Devon Spence. But on 73 minutes the WA side were rewarded for their pressure with the equaliser. Stirling Lions midfielder David Micevski’s corner picked out Kay, who rose highest to head home. It was well-deserved, and they almost grabbed a second when Spence spilled a Micevski in-swinging corner, but the keeper got back in time to save the ball on the line at the second attempt.
It looked like the WA side would hold on for a draw but five minutes from time Glory found the winner in fortunate circumstances. A great run into the box by Joel Chianese ended with a low shot that hit one post, and rebounded onto the other, before the unfortunate O’Connell’s attempted clearance went into his own net. WA had a final chance to earn a draw in the final minute, when Forrestfield midfielder Liam Merigan’s shot on the run was saved low by Spence, but the Glory held on for the win.
WA State Team: GK Luke RADONICH (RGK Sam STONE 63’), 4 Callum O'CONNELL, 5 David STOKOE, 6 Johnny CHALMERS, 7 Gian ALBANO (15 Chris SALDARIS 57’), 10 Chris JACKSON, 11 Hasani SINCLAIR (12 David MICEVSKI 71’), 14 Brian WOODALL, 16 Scott ROBERTSON (2 Liam MERIGAN 63’), 27 Jonathan CORNESS, 28 Shane CASSIDY (13 Trent KAY 63’) - Subs not used: None
Perth Glory: GK Jackson LEE (RGK Devon SPENCE 67'), 2 Alex GRANT (6 Dino DJULBIC 46'), 3 Jason DAVIDSON (25 Walter SCOTT, 46'), 4 Shane LOWRY (19 Zayd FARAH 46'), 23 Scott NEVILLE (7 Joel CHIANESE 67'), 14 Chris HAROLD (11 Brendon SANTALAB 67'), 16 Tomislav MRCELA (24 Henry HORE 67'), 21 Jacob ITALIANO (9 Michael DOMFEH 46'), 20 Jake BRIMMER (8 Jordan ABRAHAMS 67'), 15 Brandon WILSON (88 Neil KILKENNY 67'), 31 Chok DAU (22 Fabio FERREIRA 67') - Subs not used: None
Perth Glory: GK Jackson LEE (RGK Devon SPENCE 67'), 2 Alex GRANT (6 Dino DJULBIC 46'), 3 Jason DAVIDSON (25 Walter SCOTT, 46'), 4 Shane LOWRY (19 Zayd FARAH 46'), 23 Scott NEVILLE (7 Joel CHIANESE 67'), 14 Chris HAROLD (11 Brendon SANTALAB 67'), 16 Tomislav MRCELA (24 Henry HORE 67'), 21 Jacob ITALIANO (9 Michael DOMFEH 46'), 20 Jake BRIMMER (8 Jordan ABRAHAMS 67'), 15 Brandon WILSON (88 Neil KILKENNY 67'), 31 Chok DAU (22 Fabio FERREIRA 67') - Subs not used: None
WA STATE SCHOOLBOYS/GIRLS COME HOME WITH MEDALS
The 2018 WA State under 16’s Schoolboys and under 18’s Girls teams have come home from Shepparton in Victoria with medals after both teams performing well. Gavin Brown coached the boy’s side and he said it was a great tournament for the players. “We achieved the best-ever points total of any WA team at a National Schools Championships with 12, four wins and a loss,” he explained. “We started well against NSW but had a 20-minute nightmare spell just before halftime where they tore us apart scoring four.
“We were 4-0 down at half time in that (our first game) against NSW and it was looking a wee bit bleak, however, the boys showed great resilience and a real togetherness to turn their week around. We lost a last-minute goal to make it a 5-0 loss, but then won our 2nd game vs Queensland 2-0 in a solid defensive performance. Jasper Bourchier scored a penalty and Shaun Mukwevho finished off a great counter attack late on.
“We dominated the next game against South Australia leading 3-0 at half time, but tired late on and conceded two in the last five minutes to make it a nervy finish. In the fourth game it was a strong performance against the hosts Victoria. Jasper Bourchier was outstanding, scoring a hat trick and setting up the fourth for Adam Fields. The results meant that our final game against ACT was a silver/bronze decider. A draw or a win would mean we became only the second WA boys’ team to achieve Silver. We showed great maturity and discipline to control the game and won 1-0 thanks to a goal from Andrew Maranta.
Brown said the team’s performance was outstanding and he was delighted to see one of his players selected in the Australian squad. "Bunbury lad, Andrew Maranta was selected to tour the Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales in January as part of the Australian Schoolboys. Jasper Bourchier, Shaun Mukwevho and Declan Collins were all selected as part of the shadow squad," he said. "We were a little bit disappointed to have only one player selected in the touring party, but it does indicate that the selectors saw us as a group who lacked stars but achieved success through being well organised and demonstrating a strong team ethic.”
The Under 18’s girls were coached by Wayne Baseden and Jenny Porter, and they also achieved a good outcome finishing with the bronze medal. They overcame a disappointing start to the week by finishing with a win against South Australia, a draw against Victoria and a win against ACT to claim third. Jenna Onions (Queens Park) was selected for the Australian Schoolgirls touring team who are travelling to Dallas in January.
The team had two country players and ten first year players, and Baseden said they were outplayed by NSW in the first game but finished the tournament strong. "We were 2-0 down at half time the team went on to lose 5-0 with some clinical goals from NSW. The next game against Qld was better and after conceding a goal early from a defensive error a scrambled corner effort saw WA draw back to 1-1. In the first two minutes in a blustering breeze another defensive error saw a Qld player take an opportunity to capitalise on the breeze and lofted home a shot form 20m out to go 2-1 up. The game seesawed a little and with only 10 minutes to go WA was on the end of a great cross in front of an open goal to just tip over the bar and alas another loss," he said.
"The SA was game displayed of signs of continued improvement and going into half time WA were 2-0 up. A cracking 25 meter shot from outside the box from Corrine Denton (Fremantle City) and a one touch finish form Nyana Jayme (Fremantle City) were the highlight of the goals and WA won 4-0. With the no option but to get points from the last two games a tactical shift was required and the introduction of Meghan Hulsman up front helped prove that success. Victoria in the fourth game went two goals up by half time and with a game to go were confident of then going on to finish third. Meghan worked tirelessly once coming on up front and broke the game open with some relentless pursuit of a ball to regain possession for the team and then finish herself to make it 2-1. With WA now dominating play Chelsea Johnstone (Fremantle City) snapped the game back in our favour by getting on the end of a great cross from Charlie Wainwright (Rockingham City) to gather and beat a player 25m out from goal to slot home to make it 2-2. The Vics tried desperately to get ahead again and an appeal for a penalty with only 4 mins of play left was ruled a dive by the Vics to bring the game to an end and WA a point.
"With that point WA trialled ACT by a win going into the last fixture. ACT only needed to win or draw to see them finish 3rd WA 5th. WA opened strongly from the start and were dominating play and winning a lot of ball in and out of possession even though ACT had shown earlier in the week to be strong in these areas. On a rare move forward by ACT a flanking player took an opportunity to shoot form the far left to slip the ball past our keeper to go 1-0 up. WA then returned the favour just before half time when Meghan Hulsman again was able to be work inside the box and capitalise on her strength to give us a chance at 1-1 going into half time. With the game in the balance Meghan again got hold of a through ball weighted perfectly to hold off one player and an advancing keeper to put the game in WA’s favour at 2-1. With dominance still in play and a handy lead WA finished the game with a win and the right for third spot.
Baseden was thrilled at the end of the tournament, also having one player selected for the Australian squad. "We're delighted for Jenna Onions (Queens Park) who was invited into the Australian Schoolgirls team to travel to San Francisco and Dallas in the United States, while Grace Smith (Queens Park), Meghan Hulsman (Queens Park) and Asha McClurg (South West Phoenix) were named as Shadow players," he said. "Of the last representative team to travel to the US, 16 of the 18 players were offered scholarships for Football in the United States opening up options around the world. The squad’s success is contributed a lot to the team work shown by the players and the player rapport, but it was also a good reflection of the commitment of the coaches at club level to help players attain the skills required at this level and we thank all involved in the process for our success."
GLORY ADD MORE SOCCEROO TALENT IN IKONOMIDIS
Attacking midfielder Chris Ikonomidis has signed a three-year deal to join Perth Glory. The 23-year old becomes the fourth Socceroo to be added to Tony Popovic’s squad for the 2018/19 season, taking the total number of full internationals on Glory’s books to seven.
Ikonomidis flew into Perth last night and can’t wait for what he believes will be a very successful season. “The appeal of coming here was the project that is happening at the club,” said Ikonomidis, who scored three goals in ten appearances for Western Sydney Wanderers last season.
“I definitely think that Glory will be competing for the title this year and that was one of the most tempting things about signing. I spoke to Matt Spiranovic over the ‘phone a few weeks ago and he really convinced me what a great place this is. I enjoyed my time in the A-League last season and now I’m really excited to get started with Perth.”
Cronulla-born Ikonomidis, who first rose to prominence at youth level for Sutherland Sharks, moved to Italy at the age of 16 to sign with Atalanta. 18-months later he signed a three-year deal with Lazio from where he was loaned to Serie B outfit Salernitana, AGF in Denmark and Western Sydney.
MELBOURNE SIGNING FORMER SOCCEROO BIRIGHITTI
Melbourne City have completed the signing of former Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Birighitti. The 27-year old rejoins the A-League after two seasons abroad, following year-long stints at English Premier League outfit Swansea City and Dutch top flight side NAC Breda.
Birighitti made 17 appearances for the Eredivisie side last season, and returns home on a three-year deal that will keep him in Melbourne until 2021. He replaces Dean Bouzanis who joined Dutch club PEC Zwolle on loan last month.
“I’m pleased to be returning to Australia and to join a club with genuine title aspirations and a group with talent like Melbourne City is very exciting,” Birighitti said. “I’ve worked hard over the past couple of seasons and learnt a lot which I hope to put that to good use this season and challenge for a regular place in the team.”
Birighitti joins Melbourne with a legion of experience, having tallied up 87 appearances through spells with Newcastle Jets and Adelaide United. Capped once by Australia at senior level, he was a major contributor during his rise up through the youth ranks, turning out 38 times for the national Under-17, 20 and 23 teams.
MRCELA PLESAED WITH GLORY MOVE
Defender Tomi Mrcela always expected to return to Australia to play football at some stage of his career, but may not have planned on featuring alongside a shock Socceroos World Cup bolter. The 27-year old spent some 17 years of his life playing football overseas, predominantly in Croatia and more recently South Korea.
Mrcela moved back home to Western Australia in June, joining Tony Popovic’s revolution after ending his time at K-League 1 outfit Jeonnam Dragons. It was an anticipated - if unscheduled - return down under for the towering centre-back, who featured for the likes of RNK Split, Hrvatski Dragovoljac and Lokomotiva Zagreb.
Mrcela said it became evident the time was right to come home when approached by Popovic. “I planned to come for at least one year to play in Australia once in my career,” he said. “I didn’t know when it was going to happen but now it’s happened.”
“The preseason is so special from what I had before, it’s so long, 10-plus weeks of pre-season. It’s really intensive, especially under Tony Popovic. To be honest, it’s been the hardest preseason I’ve ever had and for sure it’s going to get harder.”
“But it’s all for being 100% ready for day one of the A-League and for doing something special this year. Hopefully at the end of the year, we’re going to look back at the preseason (and) we’re going to say ‘that’s why we worked so hard in the preseason, for this’.”
KERR CLINCHES SECOND GOLDEN BOOT
West Australian Sam Kerr netted her 16th goal of the National Women’s Soccer League to secure the Golden Boot for a second successive season. While Chicago Red Stars finals place was already assured, they were hoping to finish the regular season in style only to be undone by a second-half fightback by Utah Royals, wo triumphed 2-1.
But Kerr was again the star for Chicago, giving her side the lead to pull further ahead at the top of the scoring charts. The Matildas star got on the end of Arin Gilliland’s cross to head in from close range to put her team 1-0 up at the break. It was Kerr’s 16th goal of the season, one short of her record-setting haul of 17 last term.
Kerr became the first player to win back-to-back WNSL Golden Boot awards in the competition’s history. Chicago will take on Premiers North Carolina Courage in the semi-finals next weekend, when the winners progress to the season decider.
SAINSBURY DISCUSSES CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CHANCES
Trent Sainsbury says the possibility of playing alongside fellow Socceroo Aziz Behich in the Champions League is something special. World Cup squad members Sainsbury and Behich have both recently joined PSV Eindhoven, who have won the Dutch Eredivisie title in three out of the last four seasons.
The two defenders obviously impressed then Socceroos assistant coach Marc von Bommel, who took over as PSV head coach after the World Cup. Sainsbury, who made his PSV debut last week, and Behich, who only moved from Turkish club Bursaspor just over a week ago, were among Australia's best performers in Russia.
"It's always nice to have friends at the club, especially ones that I've known for a long time now,' Sainsbury said in an interview at the Socceroos training camp in Antalya, Turkey. "It makes the transition a whole lot easier and we can always communicate with each other if we ever need help with anything."
PSV have been drawn in a tough Champions League group alongside Spanish giants Barcelona, Italy's Inter Milan and England's Tottenham Hotspur. "It's a crazy group that we have been drawn in," said Sainsbury, whose football journey began as a junior at Armadale.
"But getting to walk out to that (UEFA Champions League) theme song, that's the stuff that you dream of as a kid. Being able to do it alongside a fellow Aussie, that's going to be something special. (We have) a long way to go, a lot of hard work to go, but we will get there in the end."
HOW THEWORLD CUP TRANSFORMED RISDON
Josh Risdon was watching on at home when the Socceroos won the 2015 AFC Asian Cup. Three years on, the Western Sydney Wanderers defender was one of Australia's brightest performers at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Risdon came face-to-face with the likes of French finisher Antoine Griezmann and Danish playmaker Christian Eriksen in Russia and has since emerged as a key contender to lead Australia's AFC Asian Cup defence in January 2019.
“It was the highlight of my career,” said Risdon. “I learnt a lot from not only the World Cup but also the camp before that. I learnt that I can mix myself with the best in the world. But nothing’s changed really, I still want to improve and work my way to cementing my spot.”
Risdon returned to Antalya earlier this week as the only A-League representative in Graham Arnold's 30-man squad. With the rest of the Socceroos well into their respective club seasons, the 26-year old is relishing the return of domestic football under new Western Sydney boss Markus Babbel.
Risdon says Babbel has made a big impression at the Wanderers during his short tenure as he attempts to fire the club back into title contention. “It’s been great. I’ve really enjoyed working with Markus, he brings so much to the club not only in his coaching career but also his playing career," Risdon said.
“He sets very high standards for all us players and I think everyone’s really enjoying working with him this season. We’ve also got a lot of changes in the coaching staff and players as well. It’s an exciting time for us.”
BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-ONE – REVIEW
In the Sunday Amateur Premier Division relegation battle, Hamersley Rovers have beaten Subiaco 2-0 at Rosalie Park to seal their safety, but the loss means Subiaco look like they will be relegated. The visitors were ahead on 36 minutes, Subiaco lost possession in the middle of the park, and Ricky Andrews and Yeta Mulugeta broke away on a counter attack against two defenders. Yeta played Ricky Andrews in who slotted the ball low across the keeper and in to the net. Subiaco should have levelled just after half-time, but Morgan’s free header failed to find the target. Rovers went close again on the hour, Tom Clarke was picked out in the box, but his first touch let him down and a Subiaco defender got back with a last-ditch tackle. Things went from bad to worse for the home side when Paul Sopp was shown a second yellow card and sent off.
The visitors took advantage of their one-man advantage by adding a second. A quick free-kick taken at the edge on the box by Ricky Andrews put Matt Emery through on goal whilst the Subiaco defence were setting up and he fired home close-range to seal the win. “Everybody at the club is extremely happy to have secured our position in the Amateur Premier league for next season,” coach Terence Stupple said. “It’s been a pretty close league this year from fifth down, so this game was massive for us, anything but a win would have meant we went in to the last game under pressure to beat Kwinana. “But from the kick-off the lads showed their desire to win and I don’t think Subiaco were able to match our intensity. It might not have been one for the purists but sometimes you need to go back to basics. We made sure we were disciplined in our shape and gave ourselves a platform to get the three points.”
Ellenbrook United have also saved themselves from relegation after a big 5-1 win against Wembley Downs at Butlers Reserve. Ellenbrook took the lead early from an Albert Amankwaa low drive from 20 yards. The home side continued to dictate terms and added a second when a great cross by Chassey David picked out Amankwaa to score. They added a third before half time, when Sahr cut in from the right and dispatched a fierce low drive from just inside the box.
Wembley player-coach Sully Sullivan pulled one back early in the second half, but Ellenbrook stayed compact and kept pressing and was soon out of sight with a great run and finish from Amankwaa to complete his hat trick, Wembley were reduced to 10 men when Jay McDonald was shown a second yellow card, and United made them pay and they added two more, the final one a penalty from Liam Hurley.
There were also three valuable points for UWA-Nedlands, after they beat Southern Spirit 2-1 at Watson Reserve. The visitors scored in the first minute of the game. A free kick given close to the touch line just outside the box and was whipped in by Langdon Heath with Simone Sichel getting on the end of it, the ball flew into the roof of the net. They added a second with Giorgio Savini scoring. After a quick break the ball found him just outside the box, and he finished clinically. Spirit pulled one back before half time, and the second half was a tense affair but UWA held on. “It’s great to have secured our spot for next season,” UWA coach Arthur Hiemstra said. “With the pressure off we’ll be able to fully enjoy our last (home) game of the season and maybe improve our standing on the table by one or two spots.”
Kwinana United and Leeming Strikers produced a six-goal thriller after a 3-3 draw at Kelly Park. The visitors opened the scoring on 25 minutes with Karl Gorman heading home at the back post. They doubled their lead ten minutes later Oli Mortenson was played though and finished well. It was 3-0 five minutes after half time, Lucas Pickering was found in the box, he controlled it well and fired home. It looked game over, but Kris Donnell’s side pulled one back with Lee Bates scoring. Then on 65 minutes the home side were reduced to ten men when Martin Barnes was given a straight red card, but the ten men reduced the margin again with Bates added his second. Amazingly the home side then levelled five minutes from time when Craig (Irish) Tone converted from the spot. Leeming pressed late to find a winner, but Kwinana weren’t to be denied a vital point.
Champions North Perth United lost for only the third time this season time this season after a 1-2 defeat at Herb Graham Recreation Centre against Jaguars FC. North Perth started well and keeper Lam Gai made a couple of good saves to keep his side in the game, but they did take the lead when Richard Dendle raced clear and held off two defenders before swivelling on the edge of the box and firing low past Gai. The home side levelled before half time, a great through ball by skipper Juma Wade sent winger Derrick Yuga in on goal and he raced clear of his marker before finishing well. Gai kept his side level after half time, producing another top draw save, and midway through the half the Jags won it. Yuga found space down the flank and his low cross was turned home by Akuei Guot. Both sides had chances late, but Jags held on to secure three points.
In the final game Kingsley easily beat Belmont Villa 6-0 at Chichester Park. Luke Armstrong headed home a cross early to give them the lead at half time, but they went on with after half time. It was 2-0 when Jayden Drummond picked out Luke Coltman to score, and it was 3-0 when a long throw from Lee Thomas found Jesse Higgins who put it away. They added a fourth after some good build up play ended with Bailey Salmon finishing well, before Drummond flicked the ball into Josh Waldock who went one-on-one with keeper and he finished with aplomb. They put the icing on the cake late with a sixth, Drummond sent in Aaron Lickiss who made no mistake. “It was a slow start by us, we didn’t really get going,” Drummond said. “But at the end of the day we’ll take six goals any day of the week.”
JOONDALUP UNITED AND QUINNS AMATEURS GAIN PROMOTION AND KINGSLEY WIN PREMIER RESERVES
Joondalup United and Quinn FC have both been promoted to the Belt-Up Sunday Amateur Premier Division after results over the weekend. United jumped above Quinns at the top of the table after a 11-1 win at Perth Royals, but both sides are clear of the nearest challenger Stirling Panthers, so the title will go down to next week, with both sides having home ground advantage against Perth Royals and Gosnells City respectively.
United coach Ben Williams said it’s been a great season. “Our target this year was to get promotion to the Premier Division after narrowly missing out last year, and we have achieved that and now we are one win away from the title, with Quinns also in the hunt,” he said. “It’s nice that the lads have set up a good rivalry with a very improved Quinns and a very exciting final weekend to go.”
“This year division one has been very competitive – Quinns, Stirling, Gosnells, Warnbro and the later Queens Park all decent sides we have been pushed the whole year and the lads have performed consistently knowing any slipping up Quinns are right behind breathing down our necks. It comes down now to how much the lads want to win the league. I'm looking forward to competing against the best amateur sides next year and think we will be very competitive.”
Quinns coach Darren Kay said it’s huge to get promoted, after many years of trying. “Promotion to the Premier Division was massive for our club, as Division One has been a brick wall for many years, it's a very tough league to get out of and this year was no different, so to gain promotion for the first time is a great achievement,” he explained.
“This season has been about consistency for us and playing a competitive brand of football week in, week out. Being such a competitive league, each week always presents a different challenge and apart from one slip up earlier in the year our group of players have been brilliant. Still, one week to go and it would be icing on the cake to win the league but either way, we can't wait to take things into the Premier Division next year.”
Meanwhile Kingsley Reserves side have made it three title in three years in the Sunday Amateur Reserves League after a 9-0 win against Belmont Villa. Coach Chris Brady said it’s been another good season for his side. “Delighted to again see our players lift the Reserves league title on Sunday and see their last eight months of hard work rewarded. The last couple of seasons we have won the league on the final day of the season, so it was nice to get it done with a game to spare this year, so we can go out and enjoy the final league game of the season next week at Ellenbrook,” he explained.
“The Reserves league this year was very similar to the First team league in that three teams (ourselves, Leeming and North Perth) broke away from the pack early on and it was cat and mouse each week as we all tried to steal a jump on each other. We were coming off an unbeaten season in 2017, and got a wakeup call in Round 2 this year when we were thumped by Leeming at our place. On reflection it’s probably the best thing that could have happened, as it made the lads realise they were going to have to work even harder for every single point this season and they took that resolve into the rest of the season, going 19 games unbeaten after that early loss.
“There’s been a real buzz throughout the whole club this season from the first team through to the masters and socials and it’s been great to be a part of. It looks like we will end up with three, possibly four, league titles from our six teams as well as three cup finals coming up on September 23rd. Dima has had a very settled first team squad this year which has really helped me, David Swales and John Cann run the reserves. Hopefully some of the younger players from the Reserves will make the step up to the first team in 2019 and help the club push for the Premier League title.”
PERTH TAKE THE GLORY IN MCINERNEY FORD TOP FOUR GRAND FINAL
Perth Soccer Club have made the perfect end to their NPL-WA season, and 70th anniversary celebrations, after beating Perth Glory 4-1 in the McInerney Ford Top Four Cup Grand Final at Frank Drago Reserve. They had to come from behind to do so, after the Glory youngsters took a 1-0 lead to the break courtesy of Michael McDougall's goal on the half hour. But a second half hat-trick from Paul Zimarino, who also won the 'Gary Marocchi Medal' as Player of the Match, and another from Gustavo Catarcione give Ramon Falzon's side a well-deserved win. "It’s an unbelievable feeling, the boys have been rewarded for their enormous hard work," Falzon said. "It took a long time to get into the game, I thought Glory dominated the first 30 minutes, but in the second half, our quality on the ball and the way we started driving forward made a big difference. “Paul (Zimarino) has had a fantastic season, he’s scored a lot of goals for us this year, never a hat-trick, but he waited for the right time to score one.”
These two side meet in a cracking Semi-Final last week, with Glory prevailing, and it looked like more of the same this time around as they made a fast start. Yacoub Mustafa saw an effort fly wide, but on 27 minutes they deservedly hit the front. Michael Domfeh turned his marker on the edge of the box and slide the ball into the path of McDougall who finished clinically. Both sides created some good chances, but it was Perth who picked the pace up and started to take control and went close to levelling in the shadows of half time. Young midfielder Kristan Santich's long-range shot was tipped on to the bar by the alert Jackson Lee.
It was an even start to the second half, but it was Glory who went close to doubling their lead on the hour, the lively Mustafa's curling shot looked destined for the net, but Perth 'keeper Francis Soale produced a stunning one handed save to deny him. That save became more important five minutes later when Perth levelled. A cross from the flank picked out Catarcione, his header was well saved by Lee, but the rebound fell to Zimarino who made no mistake from close-range. Glory almost regained the lead moments later when Domfeh broke on a quick counter-attack, he outpaced defender Rocco Pizzata, but he failed to test the keeper.
That miss came back to haunt Glory and on 72 minutes Perth hit the front. Alex Silla won the ball from Chok Dau and raced down the right flank, before delivering a perfect cross to Zimarino who fired home. That goal took the wind out of the sails of Glory and they conceded a third three minutes later. Niccolò Sabatini ball into the penalty area picked Catarcione, and the Brazilian striker made no mistake under the legs of the on-coming Lee. They put the icing on the cake five minutes from time when Zimarino completed his hat-trick, the midfielder racing clear after a wayward pass from Glory defender Daniel Walsh, his first shot was saved by Lee but he fired home the rebound, much to the delight of the Perth faithful.
Glory hat-trick hero Paul Zimarino said it was a great day for the club. “I thought it was a very tough game and Glory came out firing and we were really under the pump for the first 30 minutes especially, and you could say lucky to get in at only 1-0 at half time,” he explained. “But we got in and re-grouped and just gave it our all and came out on the front foot. We got the equaliser and from then I think we had them on the ropes and they just couldn’t get a handle of the game as they like to do. Even after playing Tuesday credit to the boys just kept pushing and managed to come away with the trophy.”
Glory head coach John Gibson said the better team won on the day. “We weren’t good enough today,” he said. “You’ve got to be honest, you have to give fantastic credit to Perth who showed fantastic spirit and wanted it more than us. “Has the season been successful? We’ve shown some growth, but it hasn’t been successful because we didn’t achieve what we set out to achieve in the end.”
Perth Glory: GK Jackson LEE, 3 Sam RIAK, 4 Daniel WALSH, 5 Ollie ANNIS, 6 Callum TIMMINS (12 Jack LEECH 78'), 7. Chok DAU (17 Gomo DUKULY 72'), 8 Henry HORE, 9 Michael DOMFEH, 10 Michael MCDOUGALL (13 Aiden EDWARDS 78'), 11 Yacoub MUSTAFA, 16 Zayd FARAH - Subs not used: RGK Nicholas SPECA, 14 Nic MCDONALD
Perth SC: GK Francis SOALE, 2 Alex SILLA, 4 Adrian MADASCHI, 5 Niccolo SABATINI, 6 Harley ORR, 9 Gustavo CATARCIONE (7 Aleks JOVIC 89'), 11 Matthew MILENKOVIC (16 Keiran COLWELL 86'), 12 Jordan DE LEO, 13 Rocco PIZZATA, 14 Kristan SANTICH (10 Nicholas AMBROGIO 83'), 20 Paul ZIMARINO - Subs not used: RGK Malek KUC, 19 Adam ZIMARINO - Referee: Adam Fielding
PERTH SPOT ON IN 20’S TOP FOUR FINAL
Perth Soccer Club have won the 2018 McInerney Ford Under 20 Top Four Cup after defeating league winners ECU Joondalup 4-2 on penalties after the game ended in a 1-1 draw over 90 minutes on Saturday afternoon at Frank Drago Reserve. Louis Rossi gave Perth the lead on 20 minutes, but ECU levelled when the unfortunate George Festa turned the ball into his own net. But in the shoot-out Perth were unstoppable and converting all four of their penalties to win it.
Goal scorer Rossi said it was a great day and huge in the clubs 70-year anniversary. “It was a great experience, to be on the field with some of the best players in the league and Western Australia,” he said. “To score in a final is also a surreal feeling, over all proud of my team and the clubs’ efforts.”
Keeper Malek Luc who saved two penalties in the shoot-out, echoed Rossi’s comments. “Yeah so first off, I think it’s a great win for the lads and I to get some gold around our neck, with the difficult times we have had with things changing around us and having to cope with that all while playing, so at the end we finished as winners, huge congratulations to the boys on that,” he explained.
“I think ECU has been strong throughout all their season and brought a challenging game to us. But as a team we all stuck together and played with a bit of character, we were fortunate with our goal and then unfortunate with the goal we conceded being an own goal. But that’s what happens, we manage to keep it 1-1 defending well and so did ECU. But we happened to come on top with the penalty shoot-out – it was a good game to be a part of.”
ECU, who beat Perth SC 4-0 in their semi-final last week, found themselves behind on 20 minutes, with Rossi firing home. ECU hit back and created several chances, the best went to Jack Carroll, whose half volley flashed over the top. ECU were on the front foot after half time, but couldn’t break a tight Perth defence, but on 70 minutes they did find the equaliser. Liam Fyfe’s ball into the box was turned into his own by Festa.
It was ECU on top now and they went close to winning it seven minutes from time, Liam Murray cut in from the left and his curling shot hit the post and away to safety. Both sides pressed late but couldn’t the winner, and it was off to penalties. Perth custodian Luc was the hero for his side in the penalty shoot-out, making two excellent stops to deny Ronald Rixer and Ben Hinshelwood.
“It just wasn’t our day, we had a nervous first half performance and conceded a poor goal from a follow up from a free kick, and at half time we refocused and came out more like ourselves,” ECU Coach Mark Scanlan said. “I thought we dominated the second half, Logan had a goal disallowed controversially for offside. We equalised but couldn’t find a winner, and penalties is a tough way to decide a game, they took their chances and we didn’t – but I couldn’t be prouder of my side though, we’ve had a terrific season.”
ECU Joondalup: GK Jack NUNN, 3 Ciaran SALINGER, 4 Harry EDWARDS, 5 Nicholas KOEFLER, 7 Jack CARROLL (17 Dylan LEONARD 57’), 8 Ronald RIXER, 9 Ben HINSHELWOOD, 10 Liam MURRAY, 11 Liam FYFE, 12 James BRUCE, 18 Logan MCISAAC – Subs not used: 2 Luke RHODES, 6 Lewis TUCKER, 13 Euan FRASER, 20 George JACKSON
Perth SC: GK Malek LUC, 3 Sam THORNILEY, 6 Michael ZIMARINO, 7 Luke GARAS, 9 Adam ZIMARINO, 10 Cameron PIQUE, 12 Callum MELLOWSHIP, 13 George FESTA, 15 Louis ROSSI (11 Ali NAZARY 82’), 17 James FANELLI, 19 Ben PULLELLA - Subs not used: 14 Jacob STUBBERSFIELD, 21 Lennon CRANE, 23 Seb BELL - Referee: Stephen Knight
BAYSWATER WIN 18’S TOP FOUR FINAL
Bayswater City have won the McInerney Ford Under 18’ Top Four Cup Final after a 3-0 win against Perth Glory at Frank Drago Reserve on Saturday morning. A brace from Conor McKee and another from Ajak Riak gave Gary Williams’ side a well-deserved win. “I’m very proud of this player group. They are an outstanding group with a great attitude to the game and this is reflected in their success this season,” he said.
“Whilst we were collectively disappointed to miss out on the league the lads stepped up and won both the State Cup and the Top four Cup. The games against Perth Glory have been particularly enjoyable as they are two teams who are well matched in terms of ability. I’m confident some of these players will progress through the club and will end up representing Bayswater at first team level which is and will continue to be the primary objective for the Under 18’s playing group.”
Glory started brightly with Danyel De Souza and skipper Christian Belladonna causing plenty of headaches for the City defence. But it was City who opened the scoring on the half hour, when Daniel Harrison picked out McKee racing into the box and finished well past Jacob Range. Glory went close to levelling before the break, Jacob Muir couldn’t force home after the ball broke loose to him from six yards.
It was a tight affair after the break and Matthieu Fellaife long-range for Glory flashing over the top, while at the other end Riak went close. But Glory were caught out again after keeper Range was forced to hurry a clearance under pressure from Riak, and it went straight to McKee, who’s long-range chip went into an empty net from 26 meters. Try as they might Glory could not force their way back into the contest, and it was Bayswater who added a third two minutes from time.
A ball over the top sent Riak in on goal, he held off his marker before finishing into the bottom corner. "We've had a great season and all the players deserve great credit for what's been achieved," Glory coach Callum Salmon said. “The result hasn't gone our way today, unfortunately, but I'm just so proud of the team and all the staff involved. Congratulations to Gary [Williams] and his staff and players on their win."
Bayswater City: GK Jak MALONY, 2 Tyler GARNER, 3 Jake MELIA, 6 Dean KEZURER, 8 Conor MCKEE, 10 Ajak RIAK, 11 Jayden LAM, 13 Gyles DAVIES, 15 Hristijan JANKULOVSKI, 18 Daniel HARRISON, 20 George NORTON – Subs not used: 5 Oleg TARSHIN, 12 Freeman NYATSAMBO, 21 Carl DIAS, 25 Jacob CAREY
Perth Glory: GK Jacob RANGE, 2 Joseph FORDE (17 Aiki TSUKAMOTO 77'), 3 Ale CIRCATI, 5 Albert FULLARD, 6 Hamish VAN DIEKEN, 7 Danyel DE SOUZA, 9 Christian BELLADONNA, 10 Tyler VECCHIO (12 Matthieu FELLAIFE 52'), 11 Oscar WRIGHT, 13 Jacob MUIR (18 Joseph HOBSON 55'), 14 Aiden FORMSTON - Subs not used: 16 Jayden GORMAN, 20. Michael HODGSON - Referee: Troy Malatesta
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND TWENTY-ONE – REVIEW
The 2018 State League Division One title will go down to the final game of the season after both sides won this weekend. Rockingham City sit in pole position, with a better goal difference, and it was helped on Saturday after a big 7-1 win against South West Phoenix at WML Stadium. The visitors led 3-0 at the break with James Harmer, Jason Pottier and Ross Staley on target. They added another four after half time, with Harmer bagging another three, and Pottier adding the other, while Lee Stewart scored the consolation goal for the Phoenix. It was a delighted Rockingham Coach Cameron Lord who spoke after the game. “We travelled to Bunbury with intent and purpose, firstly wanting to make sure we won the game,” he explained. “Our quality shone through and we were extremely clinical on the day. We are delighted with the result, but we need to perform for 90 more minutes against Fremantle to get the job done.”
Gwelup Croatia kept the pressure on Rocky after a hard fought 1-0 win against Morley Windmills at Wishart Street. It was a lack-lustre first half with chances few and far between, but after the break the chances started to come. First James Sammut curled an effort from the edge of the box which flew narrowly wide, before Benny Kouakou crossed to Sammut at the back post on the hour, but he was denied by a great save from Morley keeper Yousri Gharsallah. But on 78 minutes the home side got the opener, David Heagney’s cross picked out Bobby Wilson who headed home. Things went from bad to worse for Morley when substitute Anoa Loic was sent off by referee Simon Hicks, after a strong sliding challenge. But the ten men gave the hosts a scare late, when it looked like Marco Perizzula had levelled, but he was adjudged to be offside and the goal was disallowed. “I thought we moved the ball around quite well and I thought we got in behind and created some chances,” Gwelup Coach Taki Nicolaidis said. “We worked hard, we defended resolutely and got another clean sheet which is always good. At the end of the day I thought we deserved the win.”
Fremantle City maintain third place on the table after a 2-1 win against Dianella White Eagles at Hilton Reserve. The visitors were ahead in half time, with a goal from Jimmy Taban. But City hit back after the break, and Alec Robinson levelled from the spot, and they won it when a ball over the top found Callum Roberts, who made no mistake. “Really happy with the three points, especially after being one down at half time,” Fremantle Coach Marc Anthony said. “It sets up and interesting game next week and gives us a little momentum going into a tough game against Rockingham next weekend.”
UWA-Nedlands continued their recent good form after a 2-1 win against Ashfield at Ashfield Reserve. The visitors opened the scoring with a brilliant individual goal from striker Alex Kretowicz. He cut inside from the right side and fired home from 18 meters, with the help of a slight deflection which took it past the keeper. But Ashfield levelled moments later through Abdul Abudalla, but UWA regained the lead before half time, after some neat work from Tristan Taylor, Bryce Conway and Kretowicz. Taylor played in Conway, who played a first time pass to Kretowicz behind the defence out wide. Conway had continued his run into the box, and the striker crossed to him, and he made no mistake heading into the bottom right corner from 10 meters. “The lads showed great character to dig deep and grind out another win on the road, it wasn’t champagne football by any means, but we did enough in the first half to gain the ascendency and the defence did a superb job in the closing stages to prevent Ashfield from creating anything and we deservedly grabbed the three points,” Conway said. “I thought Andrew Xydas was pivotal in the second half, he bossed the midfield and won countless headers to keep the game on our terms.”
In the final game Mandurah City and Joondalup City fought out a 1-1 draw at Securitas Protect Stadium and takes both sides relegation fight to the final game. It was a tight first half, but it was the home side who hit the front early in the second half. The home side were ahead straight from the kick off after the break, Dylan Urquhart sent a long ball was nodded on by Joe O’Brien, and Jeff bright made no mistake at the near post. But Joondalup levelled when Jonny Hulme was brought down in the penalty area and Sam McCracken scored from the spot. Both sides had chances late but had to settle for a point each. “We’re all a bit disappointed we felt we could have won the game, but we got unlucky,” Hulme said. “But we’re not out yet, so we’re all still hopeful we can get a win next week.” Mandurah’s Joe O’Brien thought they deserved the points. “We’re disappointed that we didn’t get the win as we had many chances to seal the game and didn’t take them,” he said. “But there are positives we can take from the game.”
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND TWENTY-ONE – REVIEW
Olympic Kingsway's State League Division Two title celebrations will have to be put on hold for another week after a John Monterosso’s stoppage time goal gave Swan United a 2-2 draw in the game at Kingsway Reserve. It was tight game early and referee Anthony Walsh had his hands full with several tough challenges. But on 25 minutes it was the visitors who opened the scoring. The referee spotted a foul in the box and pointed to the spot and Gavin Knights made no mistake from the resulting penalty. Kingsway hit back and created several good chances, but not like them, they squandered them. After Coach Graham Normanton’s half time address it was a different Olympic side after the break and it wasn’t a surprise when they levelled on the hour, with skipper Luke Palmateer headed home from a corner. It looked like the title was theirs in the final minute when they hit the front, Dan Corbett scrambling the ball home from a free kick, much to the delight of the home supporters. But their cheers were replaced with groans on 92 minutes, when Monterosso pounced on a loose ball in the box to level.
“It was a tough game. In the first 45 minutes we didn’t carry out what we wanted to but in the second half we did,” Olympic Coach Normanton said. “We probably should have won the game and there were a few chances we should have taken. On the second half performance we probably deserved to win it, but we didn’t shut up shop and it cost us. But fate is in our hands. If we win the game (next week), we win the league – it’s as simple as that.” The point secured a play-off spot for Swan and Coach Paul Dundo was pleased with his sides character. “Credit to Kingsway they’re a good side, but at the end of the day we didn’t get beat. I’m proud of my boys just to stick it out,” he said. “It was concerning to concede two goals from set pieces and there’s still some things for us to work on as we head into the play-offs. But, the main thing is that we’ve secured that play-off spot. To see the club, get back to where it once was, that’s my intention. The boys have done well to get us into the position to do that.”
Wanneroo City moved to within three points of the leaders and have a game in hand after a 2-1 win against Balga at Wanneroo Reserve. It was a tense first half, with both sides needing the points, and it was the visitors who started on top with Nahom Michael, Scott Bulloch and Vinnie Longo having good chances. The home side weathered the storm and started to get back in the game and they found the opener, somewhat against the run of play. Gareth Lloyd’s ball into the box hit the arm of a Balga defender and the referee pointed to the spot, Lloyd stepped up to score and send the home side into the break with the lead. Balga pressed after the break and deservedly levelled fifteen minutes from time, with Danny Moss on target.
But the home side weren’t finished and made a few tactical changes, young Flynn Nolan was one of those changes and he came on and his impact was almost immediate. He was sent through one-on-one with Balga keeper Lance Alavakis, but he stood tall to deny him. Moments later Alavakis pulled off another unbelievable save low to his left to deny Joe Allsop. But the youngster wasn’t going to be denied and five minutes from time he found the winner. A ball into the box was flicked by Nolan, giving Alavakis no chance. It was a tense final few minutes as Balga pressed for the equaliser, but Wanneroo held on for three points. “It’s the start of an exciting week for us, with Swan heading to the Ashfield Arena on Wednesday,” Wanneroo Coach Tim Kanto said. “At 1-1 we knew a point was no good, so we made a couple of personnel and structural changes to try and get a winner and it worked. “
Murdoch University Melville maintained fourth spot after a 4-1 win against Kelmscott Roos at Murdoch University Synthetic Arena. The visitors took the lead early when they pounced on a mis-placed pass out of the back. But the hosts levelled after good work down the right by Matt Sljivic and Aldaine van Dyk ended wit ha header from Declan Tanna. MUM hit the front when Scott Campbell’s free kick was only parried by the Roos keeper and Adam Mangions pounced on the rebound to score from close range. After the break the home side continued to press, and Christian Long added a third with a great diving header after a great passing move. But Kelmscott had the opportunity to reduce the arrears when they were awarded a penalty, but Alex Radonich saved it. They added a fourth late when Tanna added his second after great work from Sljivic and Dan Davey on the right. The introduction of Brett Tucker led to a chance for Declan to get his hat trick, but he smashed over after another good passing combination. “We weren’t great on Saturday, and I was a bit disappointing after how well we played against Olympic the week before, when I think anyone who was there would say we dominated,” MUM Coach Gavin Brown said. “The performance didn’t match the heights of the last few weeks, but we have won four, drawn one (when Gosnells equalised with a last-minute penalty) and lost one (against Olympic when we led and dominated) of the last six, so we are travelling well with a young squad.”
There was a goal feast at Walter Padbury Reserve after Gosnells City and Curtin University fought out a 4-4 draw. The home side opened the scoring, Liam Cavo chipped a ball from our defence over the top for Jordan Parfitt to run through on goal, the keeper got a hand to his shot, but Parfitt fired home the rebound into an empty net. The visitors levelled before half time, Kristian Beven tapping home after some great work on the left by Eddie Tikoft. Curtin hit the front after the break, with Kye Middleton heading home a Tikoft cross. But Gosnells restored parity when a long free kick picked out Scott Pereira, who managed to get to it in the crowded box and head it into the net. But Curtin took control with two great goals. First on the hour Carlo Chiellini curling home a superb free kick from 18 meters, before Farruh Mavlonov’s great overhead kick from 10 meters gave the home keeper no chance. Gosnells then had Justin Onek sent off for two yellow cards, and it looked the points would be leaving. But Brad Rushton’s team had other ideas and they reduced the margin when another ball over the top sent Parfitt in on goal, his shot beat the Curtin keeper, despite him getting a hand to it. The home side went search of the equaliser and they found it when Kamando Sikazwe raced down the flank, and his low cross was turned into own net by a Curtin defender.
In the final game Canning City recent good form continued after a 3-2 win against Quinns at Burrendah Reserve The visitors were in control with only 12 minutes to go, with goals from Luke Doyle and Alex Sallery. But the hosts pulled one back through Dane Navarro and the momentum shifted. Steven Kane headed them level, before Navarro won it late firing home from close-range after a goalmouth scramble. “We struggled to get any rhythm going and were deserving to be a goal down at the break,” City coach John Drewett said. “We improved after half time and the game open up but found ourselves trailing 2-0 and heading for defeat, but the lads fought it out to the end to take the points. “Obviously we’re overjoyed winning three of our last four, is a tremendous effort from our group.” – Shamrock Rovers had the bye this week.
MCINERNEY FORD TOP FOUR CUP - GRAND FINAL PREVIEW
It’s the Grand Final of the McInerney Ford NPL-WA Top Four Cup on Saturday, as Perth Glory meet Perth Soccer Club at Frank Drago Reserve. (3.00pm) The sides met in the Major Semi-Final last weekend and it was a great game, with the Glory youngsters prevailing 4-2 on penalties after the game had ended 3-3 after extra time. The hero that day was Glory custodian Jackson Lee, the Australian under 18’s keeper produced two fine saves in the shoot-out to seal the win and he said it was a great game to be apart off. “It was a good game to win, I thought that we shouldn't have let it get to penalties, but we didn't crack under the pressure and showed our class when it counter,” he said. “Goalkeepers aren't favourites in penalty shootouts, so it’s always good to make a save or two in them.”
Lee has recently been on international duty with the Australian under 18’s a trip he said was a great experience and has given him an insight of what he needs to improve his game. “I really enjoyed it, and it was a great experience despite the results,” he explained. “There was a lot of things that I can take out of the games and implement them into my style of play, so overall it was a pretty positive trip and of course was an honour to represent my country.” The keeper said Saturday will be another tough game and if last week’s major Semi-Final is anything to go by it should be a cracker. “This weekend’s game will be a grudge match, after our semi-final win, but we're prepared for it,” he said. “We know what to expect from them and we'll be focusing on ourselves as we always do, to give us the best possible chance of getting the win. It should be entertaining to watch, and all the boys can't wait to get out there.”
Glory Coach John Gibson said the win in the Semi-Final was pleasing and showed how far the playing group have come this season and are ready for the challenge on Saturday. “We’ve trained well all week and are prepared for our final game,” he said. “Last week’s dramatic and gritty win again showed the character and resilience we have in the group - it was a super effort you our young enthusiastic group.” Gibson said nothing will change on their approach to the game and with the best two sides this season going head-to-head he is expecting a great game. “Our approach never changes - it’s a consistent process that keeps evolving - we will be brave and aggressive in our mentality – discipline, structure and organization will be key if we are to maintain our consistent performances. It’s finals football and a nice time of the year to be involved. Perth is a good side who have had an excellent year - both teams want to win and no doubt it will be an exciting game with a healthy crowd on hand - to watch.”
Perth reached Saturday’s decider after a hard fought 2-1 win against Cockburn City on Tuesday evening, with Nick Ambrogio scoring a stoppage time winner. He said it was a great win for the club. “I expected the game to be tough for both teams where a winner would potentially come from the side that could keep their discipline and focus the longest as both teams are quite mobile and play good football, which we evidently came out on top right at the death,” he explained. “After playing 120 minutes only a few days before, big Credit to the lads for putting in a solid shift, showed a lot of determination and heart to get the win and set up the big dance with Glory this weekend.”
Perth timed their run to the title well and finished the season with just one defeat in the last 13 games, that defeat was against Saturday’s opponents Glory. Ambrogio knows the first game in the Finals against Glory was a tight affair and he’s expecting the same in this one. “The rematch with arguably the two best sides in the competition this season should definitely be a mouth-watering one,” he said. “It’s going to be a tough battle with neither side in the final to put socks on centipedes. Both teams will be preparing all week for the final showdown which I’m sure will be a great encounter between two good footballing sides.”
Perth Coach Ramon Falzon said Tuesday was another tight game, but he was pleased the way his side fought back to win it, after conceding the equaliser late. “Cockburn have had an excellent season, so we expected a tough game. It was a very demanding game from a physical perspective especially since both teams played 120 minutes the previous Saturday. I thought that our performance during the second half was good enough to see us through,” he explained. “We missed a few chances to capitalise and make the score 2-0 and that hurt us because Cockburn threw everything at us in the dying minutes of the game. Although they managed to level the score with one minute to go, I remained confident of our boys. Our players persevere, they do not give up and they keep fighting till the last minute, so I was very happy to see our boys rewarded with a second goal in injury time. It was definitely good to avoid extra time.”
Falzon’s side will have the opportunity to add the Top Four Cup to their trophy cabinet, alongside the NPL league trophy with a win on Saturday, but the Coach said it will be another tough game, against a good Glory side. “I am very proud of the boys because this will be the third consecutive Grand Final in three years. I think that Perth Glory and ourselves have been the best two teams and the most consistent teams during the season so I think both teams deserve to be there,” he said. “The game last Saturday was one of the best games I have seen this year. It was a game played at high intensity, at a very good pace for the entire 120 minutes and both teams were making a lot of good decisions on the ball. I am sure that it was entertaining for the crowd, and I expect a similar game this Saturday. We know that Perth Glory are a very good side, we know that they will be better rested than us since they did not have to play Tuesday, however this is the Grand Final and I am sure that our boys will be ready to put in a big shift in our attempt to win another trophy.”
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND TWENTY-ONE – PREVIEW
It’s tight at the top of the State League Division One table, with only goal difference separating leaders Rockingham City and Gwelup Croatia, and with only two rounds to go this week’s fixtures are vital. This week’s Footballwa.net ‘Match of the Round takes us to WML Stadium, where South West Phoenix host Rockingham City. The hosts were thrashed 0-9 by UWA-Nedlands last week, while Rockingham took a huge leap to NPL football by beating Gwelup 1-0 in the top of the table clash.
City coach Cameron Lord said last week was huge, and he was pleased the way his players stuck to their game plan. “We want to win each game that we play and going into the Gwelup game was no different. We knew the challenge that was in front of us with the quality of Gwelup, but it was a great opportunity to show case our own quality in such an important game,” he said. “It was a wonderful battle between the two best teams in the league, but we have a certain game plan and style of play that the players executed to perfection and I’m delighted that they were rewarded with three points. It is so important that we play to the levels shown against Gwelup this week in Bunbury.”
Rockingham have shown for several years they deserve to be in the NPL – with its great junior set up and now they have found the right formula to get the senior side on the up, and Lord said there has been hard work to get them there. “The club has continued to progress each year, as it looks to achieve its long-term ambition of senior NPL promotion,” he explained. “The senior progression has accelerated this year as the players have responded brilliantly to a few questions and demands asked of them and are now in a wonderful position to finally achieve that long-term ambition this year. There has been a lot of work put in by me and Gary Christie, to get the best out of this group of players, but the job is not yet done and there are still two weeks of hard work left required by everyone involved.”
Lord said the Phoenix will be looking to bounce back from their heavy defeat last week and is expecting another tough game. “This week is like every other week we have played this season, we want and are desperate to firstly win the game,” he said. “We have tried to concentrate on our own group throughout the season and will try to ignore the noise of Phoenix’s result against UWA last week. I am sure they will want to finish their season on a high against us, so it is up to us to travel down to Bunbury with the attitude we have shown all season wanting to win. If Morley do us a favour against Gwelup again, then great, but we must concentrate on ourselves to get our job done first before we take interest in any other results.”
Phoenix skipper Michael Farmer said last week’s defeat was a disappointment, and obviously wasn’t what they were looking for, but he said there were reasons for it. “Yes it was a disappointing result, but we did field a very young and inexperienced team on Saturday and went into the game unprepared and UWA to full advantage,” he said. “We have all forgotten about last week and eager to make amends this Saturday and against Rockingham.” Under coach Tony Novello, Phoenix second half of the season has been good, and Farmer said they have gone from a relegation candidate to a top four spot.
“Yes, we did go on a good run but it’s very disappointing for it to end the way it did last week,” he explained. “That good run has helped us stay clear of relegation which at the start of the year looked a good possibility, so we are all happy about that.” Farmer said Saturday’s opponents will be a huge test, but the pressure is all on them. They can’t afford a slip up, while the Phoenix will be looking to end their season on a high. “Rockingham will be coming down to Bunbury full of confidence after their big win against Gwelup, so we will be trying to do anything we can on the pitch to unsettle them and get on top,” he said. “They are a quality side and have been the most consistent team all year, so we are looking forward to the challenge.”
Gwelup Croatia have home ground advantage this week when they host Morley Windmills at Wishart Street. Last week’s defeat at Rockingham was only the third of the season for Gwelup and assistant coach Richard Abrams said they had their chances but the home side that got the all-important goal. “Credit where its due Rockingham’s energy and work rate got them across the line,” he said. “I never felt it was going to be a high scoring affair, but we didn’t get the rub of the green on the day either which didn’t help our cause.”
Abrams said all they can do is win their last two games, and what happens in the other games is out of their control. It starts with Morley on Saturday, and he said it should be an entertaining game. “It’s Taki v Mauri so it won’t be dull game,” he said. “For us the maths is simple, we need to win the games and score a lot of goals in the next two games. We have the attacking threat to get us up and being our final home game, I know the lads want to sign off in style and give our home supporters three points.”
In other games Fremantle City host Dianella White Eagles at Hilton Reserve. The Eagles are coming off the bye but need to start to win games with Mandurah closing the gap on them, while a win for Fremantle will see them jump Western Knights on the table. Buoyed by last week’s big win UWA-Nedlands will fancy their chances of three points when they visit Ashfield Reserve to take on Ashfield. The home sides last win was in round 13, and that has seen them drop to eighth, but there is only two points separating the sides on the table, so it’s all to play for in this one.
The final game of the season is a relegation six pointer when Mandurah City host Joondalup City at Securitas Protect Stadium. Joondalup have not been beaten in their last two games, but they have drawn both, which has allowed Mandurah to move three points clear, so a win in this one is vital. Mandurah produced a good performance last week at Ashfield, and midfielder Joe O’Brien said it was a vital win for them. “It was a great win for the club, it’s what we needed going into the final two games,” he said. “They are really important for us, it looks like we’ve finally started to click.” O’Brien said the players have trained well this week and are looking forward to the big game. “All the lads are pumped and ready for the game,” he said. “There’s a lot of belief within the club at the moment and we’re excited to prove our quality, and a win on Saturday would be a great way to end our home games.”
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND TWENTY-ONE – PREVIEW
Kingsway Olympic could be crowned State League Division Two Champions on Saturday when they host third placed Swan United at Kingsway Reserve in the Footballwa ‘Match of the Round’. The Green Machine sit five points clearer of their nearest rivals Wanneroo, who do have a game in hand, but three points on Saturday could see them clinch the title. A ten-man Swan were held at home by Gosnells City last week, which put a dent in their promotion push, while Olympic maintained their unbeaten campaign, coming from behind to beat Murdoch University Melville.
Olympic midfielder Josh Pereira said they were made to work hard for the win against a good MUM side, but he said they fought it out and came home with three good points. “MUM have played very respectable football and had their chances against us in both games, so they’ve definitely made sure we have had to earn the points,” he said. “But we knuckled down in the second half and got our rewards late which was pleasing.” Pereira said the club have big ambitions after being in the wilderness for several years, and he said the work both on and off the park has paid huge dividends this season. “Yes, we all know where we stand right now, and with just two games left there is certainly a buzz around the club,” he said. “On the pitch we know what’s at stake and just need to make sure we go out to win the league, instead of trying not to lose it.”
Standing in their way are Swan United, but Pereira said they are confident they can get the job done. “We are confident, and I feel that confidence is justified, but we still respect each opponent,” he said. “There is a reason Swan are pushing for promotion, so we know it will take another strong performance, but back at our home ground for the last time this season I think it gives the guys extra motivation to make sure we come out on Saturday with three points.” United striker John Monterosso was on target last week in the draw against Gosnells, but he said it was two points lost, even though they played the second half with ten men. “I definitely feel it was two points dropped, especially after conceding early, but we managed to get back in the game just before half time,” he said. “It wasn’t until going down to 10 men that we really started to play and take control, and we should have sealed it late which is why it definitely felt like a loss at the end of the game.”
Like Olympic, Swan have been struggling on the park for several seasons, but under the guidance of Matt Debarro last season and Paul Dundo this, the club is back on the up and Monterosso said the depth of the side has helped this season. “I think this season we’ve been more consistent than seasons past,” he explained. “We were always there or there about and could beat anyone on the day but this season I feel we concede less and retain a lot more of the ball which has given us more consistency. Also, we have a lot more depth this season which gives us an edge compared to previous years.” Monterosso said Saturday is a huge test, but he said they pushed Olympic in the first meeting this season and he said they go there looking for a positive result. “We were unlucky with the first-round loss to them after a dubious late penalty which was the only difference between the sides,” he said. “So, we’re looking to square things up and we’re only thinking about securing our top three playoff position, and nothing else matters and we will be up for it. We spoiled Gwelup’s party last season to secure top four playoff and we’re looking to do the same on Saturday.”
Second placed Wanneroo City take on Balga at Wanneroo Reserve, and they will be hoping Swan can do them a favour to keep their title hopes alive. A hard-fought win at Quinns last week kept the pressure on Olympic and coach Tim Kantor said it was a pleasing win. “I was very pleased with this groups determination and never say die attitude,” he said. “It certainly wasn’t our best game of the season, but I think the difference in the end was that in the last 15 minutes there was only one team trying to get three points and that’s a great trait to have.” Kantor said Saturday’s opponents Balga are a good side and he was surprised to the see the result two weeks ago when they conceded nine. “I’m not sure what happened with Balga a couple of weeks ago when they were well beaten by our noisy neighbours, but we are going into this game knowing that anything less than three points essentially will end our title hopes,” he explained. “The boys know that we have already secured play offs but whilst it’s mathematically possible to overhaul Kingsway we will keep going. We’ve got three games in seven days which is going to test our depth, but we are ready and looking forward to an exciting end to what has been a great season so far.”
In other games Murdoch University Melville host Kelmscott Roos at Murdoch University Synthetic Arena. The Roos will be desperate for three points in their fight to avoid bottom place, and a defeat in this one could make sure of it, meanwhile MUM will be looking to consolidate fifth spot. Ninth placed Gosnells City host eight placed Curtin University at Walter Padbury Reserve, and with both sides level on 18 points a win be handy. In the final game Quinns make the trip to Burrendah Reserve to take on Canning City, who also need the points to stay away from the bottom. City have improved in recent weeks and hold a three-point gap from Kelmscott, and a win in this one will almost make sure they avoid last place. Meanwhile a win for Quinns could see them jump to fifth, but striker Craig Tooley said they should have done that last week after dominating Wanneroo for most of the game they conceded late to lose 0-1. “Gutted to not come away with at least a point," he said. "I think they only managed to have one shot on target all game and they scored from it,” Tooley, who has recently returned to the side after an oversea's trip, said Saturday is a huge game for both clubs, but three points in their final home game would be good. “We’ll approach the Canning game with the same attitude as we did the Wanneroo game, " he said. "It's our final home game of the season so we will try and dominate the game and hopefully walk away with the three points”
BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-ONE – PREVIEW
With the Belt-Up Sunday Amateur Premier Division title wrapped up last week, we will be looking at the fight to avoid relegation this week, and the Footballwa.net “Match of the Round" takes us to Rosalie Park where 11th placed Subiaco entertain seventh placed Hamersley Rovers. Subiaco gave their hopes a huge boost last week after a win against Kwinana, while Rovers’ recent good form came to a halt against Jaguar.
The win against Kwinana boosted Subiaco’s hopes of avoiding the drop and David Grose said it could have been by more. “Yes it was a good result for us last week, and a deserved one,” he said. “I thought we played well and could have come away with a couple more goals but credit to Kwinana they kept pushing us right up until the end.”
Grose is aware the importance of Sunday’s game and said both sides will be looking for the three points. “Sunday is a must win game for us, no way around it,” he explained. “The boys are up for it though and know that we can't come away with anything but a win to give us a chance of staying up. It was a tight game up until the end against Hamersley earlier in the season so am confident we can get a result this weekend.”
Hamersley are three points clear of Saturday’s opponents, but assistant coach Terence Stupple said they played well against a good Jags side but had their chances. “It’s always disappointing to lose but Jags are good team and have some excellent footballers. I think we competed with them pretty well over the 90 and on another day might have come away with a point,” he explained. “Despite the loss it was a vast improvement on our lethargic display against Kingsley so we’re hoping to be able to carry on that intensity for the remaining couple of games.”
Stupple said Sunday is massive for both sides and is expecting a good game. “It’s a very tight league and at this stage any one of five teams, including us, could potentially join Spirit in Division One next season. Normally 25 points would easily be enough to stay in the Premier league but this season it may not. It certainly makes for an exciting finish,” he said. “We’re just going to go about our business like we normally do. We try to set ourselves up to win every game and this one is no different. Hopefully we get the result we want.”
Another team in the relegation fight is UWA-Nedlands and this week they travel to Watsons Reserve to take on Southern Spirit. Spirit were relegated several week ago, and were beaten 1-2 at Ellenbrook last week, while UWA picked up three vital points with an upset 2-0 win against Leeming Strikers. Head Coach Arthur Hiemstra said it was a well-deserved three points. “It was an important three points that keeps us in control of our own destiny,” he said. “We went into the game with a lot of belief despite the dud against Kwinana the week before. Our focus and determination delivered us the win in the end.” Hiemstra knows how tight the table is and said a win will go along way to safety. “A win for us in combination with a loss for either Subiaco or Ellenbrook would see us pretty much safe so is another big round,” he explained. “We won’t make the mistake of underestimating Southern Spirit despite them being relegated already and will go at it as hard as we did against Leeming.”
In other games Champions North Perth United head to Herb Graham Recreation Centre to take on Jaguars FC, Wembley Downs host another team in the relegation mix Ellenbrook United at Butlers Reserve, while Kingsley entertain Belmont Villa at Chichester Park. In the final game Kwinana United will also need the points in their relegation fight when they entertain Leeming Strikers at Kelly Park. The Strikers will be looking bounce from defeat at UWA last week, likewise Kwinana who were beaten at Subiaco. Kwinana Coach Kris Donnell said little errors cost them dearly. “The Subiaco game was another hard one to take as I thought we started the game well,” he said. “But the more we went into the game there were some really sloppy goals conceded.” Donnell said it’s a huge game for the club on Sunday and he said the lads are up for it. “The guys know what’s needed at the weekend and we just have to pick ourselves up and go out and play the way we know we can,” he explained. “We have Injuries again through the squad but we have to get on with it and work hard to get the result.”
EDWARDS STUNNED BY MANAGER’S SACKING
Alan Stubbs was the main reason behind Ryan Edwards move to Scottish club St Mirren. But the midfielder was left stunned when the Saints boss was shown the door just hour after his first training session. Edwards reported for duty on Monday morning, then discovered the man who’d brought him to Paisley was sacked later the same day.
With St Mirren sitting second bottom of the Premiership, Stubbs paid the ultimate price for a poor start to the campaign. But his dismissal left Edwards, who joined Saints on a season-long loan from Heart of Midlothian last week, in a state of shock. The West Australian only joined his new team-mates for the first time at the start of this week.
“Monday was my first day at training and the boys and manager were all welcoming,” Edwards said. “It is a bit strange coming in on your second day and the gaffer has gone. I found out on Monday night and sent him a text just thanking him for bringing me to the club. It is never nice seeing someone lose their job. I experienced it a couple of times when I was at Reading and it is never good.”
“I was really looking forward to working with him (Stubbs) as he was one of the main reasons I came to the club. I had two good conversations with him before I came to St Mirren and he sold the club to me. Knowing my situation at Hearts, he made it an easy decision for me to come here … It is very disappointing to see him go so soon.”
WILSON FIRED UP FOR LATEST FRIENDLY
Perth Glory's pre-season campaign continues on Thursday night with a trip to Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium to take on Inglewood United. The Glory squad have continued to put in the hard yards on the training ground since returning from Malaysia some three weeks ago and midfielder Brandon Wilson feels that he and his colleagues are itching for a game. p> "We're really looking forward to Thursday night," Wilson said. "It's a great chance to put into practice what we've been working on during training. The two matches we played over in Malaysia seem a while ago now and speaking personally, I can't wait to hopefully get some more game-time under my belt." p> "The intensity and tempo at training continues to be super-high and we'll look to take that into this game and produce a quality performance. Inglewood are always there or thereabouts at the top end of the National Premier Leagues table and I'm sure they'll give us a good test." p> Glory have enjoyed a largely successful pre-season campaign thus far, adding two resounding wins in Malaysia to comfortable victories over Perth SC, Gwelup Croatia and the WA State Team, with the only friendly defeat coming at the hands of English Premier League giants Chelsea. Inglewood, meanwhile, will head into Thursday's clash having ended the regular NPL season in fifth spot.
RISING STAR MORENO ON BOARD FOR NEW SEASON
Perth Glory is delighted to announce that midfielder Lexie Moreno has signed on for the upcoming W-League season. The 16-year old Young Matildas representative announced herself on the W-League scene by scoring on debut against Canberra United last year, before going on to make several further substitute appearances.
And after moving from a scholarship to a full contract, Moreno is determined to take her game to the next level. "Last season I was lucky enough to get four games off the bench," Moreno said. "I got a taste of what the W-League is like and it's a big step up from the local league here.”
"The pace of the game is one of the big differences, plus just the quality of the players around you. For example, when I came on against Sydney FC, I looked around and there's Chloe Logarzo, Caitlin Foord and Lisa De Vanna, three Westfield Matildas players right there.”
"To share the pitch with players like that made me really proud and determined to try and reach the level that they are at right now. Getting that taste made me hungrier to want to continue to get more games for Glory and to learn from the players around me.”
"This year, my aim is to make the teamsheet more regularly, week-in, week-out, work hard and make an impact off the bench if I get put on. It's going to be tough this year because we have a very strong squad, but I'll just put my head down and keep working hard and hopefully it'll pay off."
PERTH BEAT COCKBURN IN PRELIMINARY FINAL (by Ryan Borrett, footballwest.com.au)
The McInerney Ford Top Four Cup delivered again on Tuesday night as Perth SC booked their place in the final after beating Cockburn City 2-1 thanks to Nicholas Ambrogio’s injury time winner. Ambrogio's effort came just minutes after Cockburn thought they had forced extra time at Dorrien Gardens following substitute Chris Thackray's equaliser. Ambrogio had other ideas, however, as he broke the Cockerels' hearts to ensure the league champions set up another meeting with Perth Glory at Frank Drago Reserve on Saturday. It is a fitting end to the season between the NPL WA's top two sides and there will be few complaints if there is a repeat of last Saturday's semi final, which Glory won on penalties.
Perth coach Ramon Falzon was delighted for his players who fought until the final whistle and he also praised Cockburn’s efforts. “Very happy to make our third consecutive grand final in three years,” he said. “I’m always pushing our boys absorb the characteristic of resilience, to keep fighting until the last second of the game. “Credit to Cockburn, they’ve had an excellent season.”
Cockburn’s Scott Miller was equally proud of his players and said tiredness played a part in the finale after playing 120 minutes against Bayswater on Saturday night. “The boys just showed a lot of heart,” he said. “They just kept going and going and got the equaliser and then I thought we just ran out of gas. “Getting that goal I think they sort of switched off, and it was a great goal by Nicky [Ambrogio] to win it.”
The first half was closely fought and both sides created a lot of chances but couldn’t find the back of the net. Cockburn winger Harry O’Brien came close to finding a breakthrough in the 28th minute but his low effort was saved well by Francis Soale. Perth had a great chance in the 37th minute after Ambrogio played in Jordan De Leo but he blasted his shot straight at Luke Radonich in goal for the Cockerels.
The opening goal of the match came early in the second half. Perth had a succession of chances before the ball spilt to Matthew Milenkovic inside the box and he drove a low shot into the bottom corner to make it 1-0. Fatigue came into play as the match wore on after both sides’ weekend semi-final matches went to penalties and their tiredness was exacerbated by the wet and windy conditions. However in the 89th minute Cockburn found an equalising goal. A corner was met by Reuben Tristao’s head, Soale saved but the ball rebounded to Thackray who headed in from close range to bring the scores level.
The crowd was settling in for another 30 minutes of action and possibly penalties after Cockburn’s late equaliser but Perth made them think again. Milenkovic broke down the right wing before delivering into the box to find Ambrogio at the far post and he headed into the net to send his side to the final. Glory will surely be fired up to beat Perth SC after letting the NPL WA title slip to the Azzurri on the final day of the season. Falzon said of the final: “Over the next few days we’ll recover as many bodies as we can and go again on Saturday.”
The loss for Cockburn sees their excellent season come to an end after a third place league finish. “It’s been a fantastic season, really proud of the season and really proud of our efforts today,” Miller said. "It’d be hard to beat Glory just because of [them] not playing tonight, but everyone said Perth weren’t going to win the league and then they won the league so you never write them off.”
Perth SC: 1. Francis SOALE, 4. Adrian MADASCHI, 5. Niccolo SABATINI, 6. Harley ORR, 7. Aleksander JOVIC (20. Paul ZIMARINO 83), 9. Gustavo CATARCIONE (14. Kristan SANTICH 80), 10. Nicholas AMBROGIO, 11. Matthew MILENKOVIC, 12. Jordan DE LEO, 13. Rocco PIZZATA, 16. Kieran COLWELL (2. Alex SILLA 90+4) Unused substitutes: 19. Adam ZIMARINO, 23. Malek KUC Yellow cards: Nil Red cards: Nil
Cockburn City: 1. Luke RADONICH, 3. Daniel DOLS, 6. Reuben TRISTAO, 8. Cameron EDWARDS (2. Chris THACKRAY 67), 9. Julian TELES, 10. David ARAYA (7. Lucas MELLO 53), 11. Harry O'BRIEN, 12. Ryan PRATT, 15. Daniel SANTICH, 16. Daniel ROBINSON, 21. Jesse LAZZARO (13. Blake ADAMS 43) Substitutes not used: 20. Harry COLLINS, 23. Ryan BARKER Yellow cards: O’Brien 57, Adams 62 Red cards: Nil
ROUX LOVING LIFE AMID MELBOURNE’S HIGH-PROFILE RECRUITMENT DRIVE
When Storm Roux arrived at Melbourne Victory, many of their championship-winning stars had departed the club or where on the brink of an exit. Leroy George, Besart Berisha, Rhys Williams and James Donachie have left the club all up, in essence the very core of the squad that pulled off the ‘Heist in the Hunter’.
Turn the clock forward some three months and Victory have rebuild their squad, and how? Midfielder Keisuke Honda has headlined the arrivals some three weeks ago and is well into his training regime at Victory. Swedish star Ola Toivonen meanwhile is set to jet into Melbourne shortly having been unveiled on Friday.
Roux, who joined the club in June from Central Coast Mariners, is loving life and the influence of the Japanese star. “Just last week, in the five-on-five games in training, he doesn’t want to lose,” Roux said. “He’s got such a winning mentality that we’re not allowed to lose in the five vs five games.”
“He brings that winning mentality and he doesn’t like losing and that rubs off on the whole squad. When you’ve got players like that in the team, they lift everyone else’s game. He’s got great pedigree … he’s done so much for world football and to bring that to our club, it’s exciting.”
While the star-studded signings have consumed much of the limelight, Victory have addressed holes in their defence too, often the less glamorous area of the park. One-hundred game Mariner Roux is one of four new defensive additions, along with Corey Brown, Nick Ansell and Georg Niedermeier.
“We do a lot of back four structure in training and that’s the best wait to build it and the friendly games we’ve got lined up,” he commented. “From my point of view, you come into a team like Victory, it’s so well coached and well drilled that it kind of comes naturally.”
“There’s no excuses. If you’re not performing, there’s someone that wants to take your spot. We’re working together well … there’s a lot of new recruits that are in but I’m gelling well with the team and the boys are looking good.”
BIRIGHITTI'S DUTCH DEAL TERMINATED
Socceroo Mark Birighitti has had his contract with Dutch club NAC Breda terminated effective. NAC Breda confirmed the news with the two parties agreeing to terminate the 27-year old's contract which was due to expire at the end of the 2018/19 season.
Birighitti made 16 appearances for NAC last season after joining the club from Swansea City in September. He also made one appearance this season where his mistake led to a calamitous goal in a 5-0 loss to AZ Alkmaar, leading to his demotion.
"Unfortunately Mark's period at NAC did not become what we had worked on in advance, because the arrival of two new keepers significantly reduced Mark's playing minutes," said club Technical Director Hans Smulders.
"We decided that a contract termination would be best for both parties and we wish him every success in his future career." The former Perth SC junior has already moved on and is believed to be in talks with a new club.
Birighitti, who has previously played with Adelaide United and Newcastle Jets, didn't disclose which club he was speaking with but said he was looking to the future after a disappointing end with NAC.
"Although I had expected more from my time in Breda, I also leave with good memories of NAC," Birighitti said. "The victory in De Kuip against Feyenoord and the celebrations that came after that is something I will not forget soon.
"I want to thank the whole club, my teammates and the supporters for all the experiences I have been able to do. Now it is important for me to look forward again and take on my new adventure in good spirits."
FLOREAT’S $3M ‘A DODGY DEAL’ LINKED TO POLITICAL HORSETRADING (from thewest.com.au)
The Federal Government used a $1 billion “slush fund” to hand $3 million to Floreat Athena after lobbying by a One Nation senator amid frantic horsetrading over government legislation.
The grant came from the Community Development Grants program, which has been attacked by Labor as a slush fund to prop up marginal seats and by the Auditor-General for a lack of accountability. Announced by One Nation senator Peter Georgiou, the grant will be used to upgrade Litis Stadium.
The decision to approve the grant, which blindsided landlord City of Vincent and governing body Football West, was made just two weeks after Finance Minister Mathias Cormann asked then regional development minister John McVeigh to consider it.
The grant was approved by Malcolm Turnbull on August 23, the day before he was deposed as leader, in what may have been one of his last acts as Prime Minister. The Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities has not yet done a formal assessment and offered no advice to the Prime Minister on whether it was a “proper use of Commonwealth funds”.
Senator Cormann met the club about its plans on August 9. He would not comment on whether he had asked Mr McVeigh to consider the grant as part of Senator Cormann’s negotiations with One Nation over legislation in the Senate, but confirmed the decision was made after lobbying from Senator Georgiou.
At the time Senator Cormann wanted One Nation support for tax cuts. Senator Georgiou denied he had requested funding as part of negotiations. He said Floreat Athena was a strong community club.
A National Audit Office report last week criticised the administration of the grants program, saying there was little critical analysis, the Department relied on organisations to self-justify and failed to reveal if criteria had been met. Labor has described it as a Government slush fund.
Labor’s government waste spokesman, WA MP Matt Keogh, said the grant looked like a “dodgy deal” with One Nation. “I’m concerned that such a significant amount of money has been allocated frivolously without appropriate viability testing, due diligence or community consultation,” he said.
“Outsourcing announcements to One Nation, no doubt while negotiating for votes in the Senate, and handing over millions of dollars without due diligence is becoming a habit for this Government.”
The Department said “the grant was approved subject to the receipt of a satisfactory project proposal and the response to request for information being consistent with all relevant requirements under the guidelines of the Community Development Program”.
ST MIRREN TAKE EDWARDS ON SEASON-LONG LOAN
Scottish club St Mirren have signed West Australian midfielder Ryan Edwards on loan from Heart of Midlothian until the end of the season. The 24-year old joined Hearts from Partick Thistle three months ago but has not yet featured in a competitive first team match this season.
After spells at Reading and Perth Glory, Edwards chalked up more than 100 appearances and scored eight times for Thistle during his three seasons at Firhill Stadium. He helped the Jags finish sixth in the Premiership in 2017 but they were relegated the following year.
LYDEN JOINS OLDHAM ON LOAN
League Two side Oldham Athletic have signed Aston Villa midfielder Jordan Lyden on loan until January next year. The Perth-born 22-year old has represented Australia at Under-20 level as well as making eight appearances for Villa, four of which were in the English Premier League. Lyden is available to make his Oldham debut against Crawley town this weekend.
BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY – REVIEW
North Perth United have been crowned 2018 Belt-Up Sunday Amateur Premier Division winners after a 1-0 win against nearest challengers Kingsley at Woodville Reserve on Sunday afternoon. It was a tight opening with chances few and far between, but on the half hour Sean Lahert was in on goal, but his shot was straight at Kingsley keeper Paul Rainford. Moments later William Pender eased past his marker before delivering a ball across the face of goal that was only inches away from the players in the box. Oscar Kelly then saw a header flash wide, before Edin Nalic header hit the underside of the crossbar and landed on the wrong side of goal line for the home team.
In the second half, Lahert again failed to beat Rainford, before the visitors went close themselves. The lively Jayden Drummond was played through, but North Perth keeper Jamie Serra was quick off his line to save bravely. Kingsley substitute Nick Lowe nearly made an immediate impact off the bench as his shot was just wide of the post. He was involved again moments later this time he played a neat one-two with Brett Cutting, who couldn’t find the target with his shot. It looked like the points would be shared but five minutes from time the home side won it.
A great cross from Pender picked out Kelly who made no mistake from a tight angle, to set off wild celebrations, both on and off the pitch. “It’s strange. You train, and you play, and you practise for eight or nine months of the year and it comes down to a game like that,” United Coach Alex Carter said. “It comes down to five or 10 minutes at the end when you sort of start sitting pretty deep and are just waiting for that bad roll or that bad knock. “It was a game of very few chances. We probably had a couple of half decent chances in the first half. Second half was very little in either box.
“But I said to the boys at half time they’re obviously going to have to change things up and try something different because they’ve got to push for the result. We contained ourselves and we kept our structure very well. We’re a club that’s basically run by players and volunteers, like most clubs are. We’ve had two or three years where there hasn’t been a trophy down here and that’s not the way I like to see it. I’ve got to also thank my assistant coach Kevin Flavin. He’s put in a hell of a role this year for us so credit to him as well.”
United skipper Paul Gabel said it’s a great day for the club. “Great game to a part of, and you’ve got to give credit to Kingsley as they are a tough side to beat and are great opponents to play against. We thrive for games like this as it helps raise the bar high and set a good standard to aim for week in week out. There is a strong rivalry between us which is very healthy to have as it helps motivate us,” he said. “We managed to beat them home and away this season which turned out to be so crucial. We know our next encounter they will be gunning for us, even more so as they witnessed the Champions popping champagne and doing the bouncy.
“We had an idea of what style of play they would start off with and contained their attack very well. I think they had a couple of long range efforts which didn't faze Jamie at all so that’s a credit to our defensive set up. “They could have been a man down when big Edo was through, but the referee saw it different. We knew it was going to be a tight game and it’s all about taking chances in games like this. Oscar has been in top form for us this season and scoring goals for fun and he proved it on Sunday. It’s been an amazing first season for me at North Perth, the lads are brand new and we've got some top players at our club. The coaching staff have been top quality for us and we'll be looking to do the double next year.”
UWA-Nedlands continued their survival push after upsetting Leeming Strikers 2-0 at the UWA Sports Park. The home side were ahead when Jack Retallack sent a ball over the top for Simone Sichel, who beat the offside trap and raced into the box one-on-one with the Leeming ‘keeper and finished clinically. They wrapped up the points after the break, Max Mess raced down the right and held off his marker before cutting the ball back to Shari Hayakawa at the back post and he fired low through a crowd of players to win it. “I thought we delivered the gritty performance that was needed to get a result against a tough opponent,” UWA Coach Arthur Hiemstra said. “It was good not to chase the score line for a change and have more fortune in our finishing. We knew we would be under a lot of pressure, but we coped well due to an outstanding performance of our backline and goalkeeper. Next week will be another final against Southern Spirit where we will need the same spirited performance to get the result we need to maintain ourselves in this league.”
Subiaco also gave their survival chances a boost after a 3-1 win against Kwinana United at Rosalie Park. It was the visitors who opened the scoring after a Subiaco player turned the ball into his own net. But the home restored parity when United keeper could only touch a long-kick on to the bar and in the goal mouth scramble which ensued Paull Sopp turned the ball home. They doubled their lead add other details? “Their goal inside five mins was an OG and summing up our season - we just can’t catch a break,” Subiaco’s Andy Rhodes said. “But thankfully the team didn’t let it overwhelm them with relegation at stake and showed good heart to fight back and take the points. Survival is in our own hands, we’ll be training hard to get more points and goals to ensure the last few years hard work isn’t undone by this transition season.”
Jaguar closed the gap on third placed Leeming after a 3-1 win against Hamersley Rovers at Carine Open Space. The visitors were on top early, but it was Hamersley should have taken the lead when they won a penalty for a hand ball in the box, but David Morris saw his spot kick saved. The Jags were then awarded a penalty of their own, when a one-two between Derick Yuga and Gojam Nyuon, who was brought down in the box. Nyuon picked himself up and the sent the keeper the wrong way to score from the resulting penalty. They doubled their lead just before half time, Akuei Guot eased past a couple of Rovers defenders before firing at goal, his hot was well saved by the Rovers keeper but Guot was quickest to the rebound to score. Rovers were back in the game early in the second half when they were awared another penalty after a foul by the Jags keeper, and this time Morris made no mistake. Rovers were now on top as they went in search of the equaliser, but by pushing men forward they were caught out at the other end and Jags scored a third to seal the win. A quick counter attack from Derrick Yuga found himself in aces of space before cutting the ball back to Juma Wade the skipper making sure all three points where safe.
In other games Ellenbrook United secured three vital points after a 2-1 win against Southern Spirit at Ellenbrook Sports Hub, while Wembley Downs came home from Gerry Archer Sports Complex with a 3-1 win against Belmont Villa. The visitors were ahead when Dean Wall finished well int the bottom corner. Anthony Jones doubled their lead when he finished low under the on-coming Villa keeper. The home side then pulled on back, with James McDaid scoring, but Wembley regained their two-goal advantage before the break with a great long-range strike from Jason Trpevski. “We went into the game lacking in player numbers due to injuries/suspensions/work, but we put in a good performance to get the win,” Wembley’s Ryan Fish said. “Our first half was good and had some good finishes, and in the second half it was more about keeping the ball as players started to tire. Still its three points in the bank and we now look to Ellenbrook at home next week.”
GLORY SPOT ON TO BEAT CHAMPIONS
Perth Glory will play in the 2018 McInerney Ford Top Four Cup Grand Final next weekend after an action-packed penalty shoot-out major semi-final win against League winners Perth SC at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday afternoon. Paul Zimarino had given then host the lead early, before Chok Dau levelled before half time. Matthew Milenkovic looked like he had sent Perth through to the final but two minutes from time Michael Domfeh levelled. The big striker added a second in the first period of extra time, but in the final minute of the second period Zimarino scored to take it penalties. Glory keeper Jackson Lee was the hero in the shoot-out saving two, and when Dau converted his penalty it sent the youngsters through 4-2 on penalties.
“Fascinating day – what a game of football it had everything today and I’m really happy for the group - particularly after last week’s heartbreak,” Glory head coach John Gibson said. “To come back from going behind twice - it’s just what we do, this group is tough and always display resilience plus character, both in extra-time the group was calm and focused - we were really disappointed with ourselves for not managing the game at the start and the last few minutes of extra-time. We as a group were very disappointed with our performance-against Subiaco the previous week, but we remained positive and focused and looking forward to playing in our first Top Four Finals series.”
It was the hosts who started the brighter and it wasn’t a surprise when they hit the front on 13 minutes. Zimarino was given too much room on the edge of the penalty area, and his finish was superb, curling home giving Lee no chance. Glory picked the tempo up and started to create some chances of their own and on 37 minutes they equalised. Domfeh was the supplier, picking out Dau, who finished well. Both sides had half chances for the rest of the half, but it was all-square at the break, and it was all to play for.
But it was Perth who regained the lead five minutes into the second half. The lively Milenkovic first to react to a loose ball and firing past Lee, who did get a hand to it but couldn’t stop it going in. It looked like that goal when send Perth into the Grand Final, but Gibson’s side had other ideas. In the final minute a Henry Hore corner picked out Domfeh at the back post, and the striker rose highest to powerfully head past Perth ‘keeper Francis Soale to restore parity and send the game to extra time.
It was Glory who made the breakthrough in the first period of extra time, and it was that man Domfeh again with the goal. Substitute Aiden Edwards found Domfeh in the box, and he held off his marker before curling home, much to the delight of the Glory supporters in the crowd. That looked like winning it, but the home side forced the game into a shoot-out in the final minutes of the game. Milenkovic made a quick break down the right, and cut the ball back to Zimarino, who was jogging on the spot to score from close-range.
In the shoot-out Hore and Domfeh both converted their penalties, likewise Perth duo Harley Orr and Nick Ambrogio. But Gomo Dukuly’s third spot kick was well saved by Soale to give Perth the advantage. But Lee produced a great save to deny Milenkovic’s third spot before Scott, who celebrated his call up to the Young Socceroos squad, by burying the fourth. Lee then produced another fine save to thwart Adrian Madaschi’s penalty, and it was left to Dau to convert his spot kick to send Glory through and set off wild celebrations on the pitch. “It is very disappointing because in the Night Series we got to the final without losing then lost on penalties, and in the FFA Cup penalties as well,” Perth Coach Ramon Falzon said. “It was a back and forth game and it was probably the best game I’ve seen this year, both teams created a lot of chances. When we had the 2-1 lead, we should have defended that corner better to avoid extra time.”
Perth SC: GK Francis SOALE, 2 Alex SILLA, 5 Niccolo SABATINI (10 Nick AMBROGIO 83’), 6 Harley ORR, 8 Tom KING (4 Adrian MADASCHI 116’), 9 Gustavo CATARCIONE (7 Aleks JOVIC 96’), 11 Matthew MILENKOVIC, 12 Jordan DE LEO, 13 Rocco PIZZATA, 14 Kristan SANTICH, 20 Paul ZIMARINO - Subs not used: RGK Malek KUC, 16 Kieran COLWELL
Perth Glory: GK Jackson LEE, 3 Sam RIAK, 4 Daniel WALSH, 5 Walter SCOTT, 6 Jack LEECH (12 Aiden EDWARDS 85’), 7 Chok DAU, 8 Henry HORE, 9 Michael DOMFEH, 10 Michael MCDOUGALL (13 Gomo DUKULY 79’), 11 Yacoub MUSTAFA, 16 Zayd FARAH - Subs not used: RGK Nicholas SPECA, 14 Nic MCDONALD, 15 Jordan ABRAHAMS - Referee: Michal Jasinski
COCKBURN END BAYSWATER’S SEASON
Cockburn City have progressed to the Preliminary final of the McInerney Ford Top Four Cup and ended the season for Bayswater City after a thrilling 5-4 win on penalties, after the game had ended 3-3 after extra time at Dalmatinac Park on Saturday evening. Daniel Robinson gave the hosts the lead early, before and own-goal from Jesse Lazzaro levelled for Bayswater five minutes before half time, but Harry O’Brien gave the home side the advantage at the break. Luke Salmon restored parity on the hour, before Robinson added his second to make it 3-2 for Cockburn, but Salmon’s second sent it to extra time, where no further goals were scored. In the shoot-out all penalties were scored until Cockburn ‘keeper Luke Radonich saved Salmon’s fifth spot kick to seal the win.
“I think it’s important that the boys enjoy it. It is the first time we have been in the top four for a long time,” Cockburn Coach Scott Miller said. “At one point it looked as though Bayswater would get on top of us, because they were playing some nice football, but I thought we showed great desire tonight, just like we have done all year. We move on now, Perth are a very good team, we had a draw with them in the first round and then they beat us in a close game at their home ground. So, we will go over there will no worries and have a crack at beating the champions."
Bayswater started the game on the front foot, but it was the hosts who took the lead on eight minutes when Ryan Pratt was brought down in the box and referee David Bruce pointed to the spot. Robinson stepped up to take the resulting penalty and scored past debutant keeper Luke Hutchinson. Bayswater looked to hit back, and started to dictate the tempo again, and were rewarded on 40 minutes. The ball fell Andrija Jukic in the penalty area, and his shot across goal was well saved by Radonich, but the rebound hit the unfortunate Lazzaro and rolled into his own net. But the home hit back and regained the lead on the stroke of half time, O'Brien scoring after a goal mouth scramble.
The visitors restored parity on the hour, former Cockerel striker Gian Albano’s cross picked out second half substitute Salmon, who made no mistake. It was end-to-end football which had the big crowd on the edge of their seats, and the home faithful were cheering again 13 minutes later when skipper Cameron Edwards’ cross found Robinson who finished well. But Bayswater weren’t going down without a fight and they levelled again two minutes later. A cross into the box was flicked home by Salmon, to send the game into extra time.
In the first period of extra time Albano was put through on goal, however his effort flashed wide of the post. So, after neither side were able to find the decisive goal in the second period, it was off to a penalty shoot-out. Both teams converted their first four spot-kicks before Lazzaro put Cockburn 5-4 ahead with a strike down the middle. Needing to convert to keep Baywater alive, Salmon had his penalty saved by Radonich which handed Cockburn victory.
“I think on the run of the game we deserved to get a result,” Bayswater Coach Chris Coyne said. “But that’s taking nothing away from Cockburn because I thought it was a really good game of football. I must give credit to Cockburn, that’s three times they’ve knocked us off this year and I wish them all the best in the preliminary final during the week. I’m disappointed to finish fourth especially being five points clear at the halfway point (of the league season) and letting it slip. I’m proud of the players though, they are a great group of boys, but I expect more from them because I know how good they are.”
Cockburn City: GK Luke RADONICH, 3 Daniel DOLS, 6 Reuben TRISTAO, 8 Cameron EDWARDS (C), 10 David ARAYA, 11 Harry O'BRIEN, 12 Ryan PRATT, 13 Blake ADAMS, 15 Daniel SANTICH, 16 Daniel ROBINSON (7 Lucas MELLO 87'), 21 Jesse LAZZARO - Subs not used: RGK Ryan BARKER, 2 Chris THACKRAY, 14 David DOS SANTOS, 20 Harry COLLINS
Bayswater City: GK Luke HUTCHINSON, 5 Adam HARRIS, 6 Todd HOWARTH, 8 Paul MCCARTHY, 12 David STOKOE (11 Ryan PEARSON 61'), 13 Trent KAY (C), 17 Gian ALBANO, 19 Luka NINKOVIC (22 Luke Salmon 54'), 23 Andrija JUKIC (15 Jordan POKLER 77'), 24 Jake SARDELIC, 26 Paul LLOYD – Subs not used: 25 Jacob CAREY, 29 Shayden PASALAQUA - Referee: David Bruce
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND TWENTY – REVIEW
Rockingham City have taken a giant stride towards NPL-WA football next season after a hard fought 1-0 win against Gwelup Croatia at Lark Hill. “We are absolutely delighted with the result. We knew it would be a great game, and that we would we be tested, being the two best teams in the competition,” Rockingham Coach Cameron Lord said. “But we were confident, and have always been confident throughout the season, that we are capable of beating any side in this league. It was an all-round great day for the club, with such great support for both sides. We know the job is not done yet though, and we must travel down to Bunbury ready to perform to the same levels to take another three points.”
The home side made the perfect start and were ahead on 12 minutes. James Harmer’s short free kick found Ryan Kennedy his shot was well saved by Connor Campbell put Matt Brooks was on hand to turn home the rebound. Gwelup went close to levelled moments later, Victor Brauner effort was well saved by City keeper Cyril Sharrock. The former Armadale keeper was in the action again just before halftime. Good work out wide by David Heagney ended with a cross to Brodie Martin, but his shot was well saved low at his near post by the Rockingham custodian. The homes side should have doubled their advantage just after the break, an errant pass by Bobby Wilson was picked off by Kody Millard, and the American’s cross picked out the unmarked Ross Staley who blazed wide.
The visitors pressed late, and Wilson’s long-range shot flicked off the crossbar. The big defender went close again late, Isaac Koomson’s cross picked out Wilson, but his header crashed off the post and cleared. “It sets us up pretty nicely for a very exciting end to the season that’s for sure,” Harmer said. “It was a great performance by all the lads but let’s not kid ourselves we still have two huge games to play and we have to make sure we are firing for them. In saying that it was nice to win the game especially as we had been pretty much written off by most, but we fully believed in that result as a squad and it was great to be involved in such a great day, especially with so many people in attendance.”
Western Knights moved back to third spot after a 1-0 win against Morley Windmills at Wotton Reserve. The only goal of the game came from the penalty spot after Brian Patterson was brought down, and Dean Hurley converted straight down middle. “It was a good result against a solid Morley team who battled right till the end,” Knights defender Tom Kennedy said. “It puts us in third spot and we aim to finish there with a win against Gwelup in our final game.” Fremantle City jumped to fourth but were held to a scoreless draw against Joondalup City at Iluka Sports Complex. Mandurah City’s revival continued after a 2-0 win against Ashfield at Ashfield Reserve. The visitors were ahead on the half hour, Mitch Firth was found from a throw and he let it bounce before volleying into the top corner from long-range. They wrapped up the points midway through the second half, a poor clearance from the Ashfield keeper was pounced on by Fernandez, who played in Firth and he made no mistake. “It was a well-deserved win for players and the travelling supporters,” Mandurah’s Jeff Bright said. “We now have to fully concentrate on this weekend’s match against Joondalup. Our last home game of the season and a win should have us avoid automatic relegation so massive week for our club.”
In the final game UWA-Nedlands produced another fantastic attacking performance, stunning South West Phoenix 9-0 at the UWA-Sports Park. The home side were on fire in this one and Alex Kretowicz bagged a brace early, before Bryce Conway added a third. Kretowicz wasn’t finished there and added two more before halftime to send UWA in at the break 5-0 up. Welton added a sixth, before Kretowicz added his fifth to make it 7-0. Conway then added the eight, before Kretowicz topped a magnificent performance by scoring his sixth and UWA’s ninth. “It was an overall great performance from the boys. We started strong and finished our attempts clinically,” UWA Coach Michael Janssen said. “All departments were strong from the start and we didn’t give Phoenix a chance to start their game. We didn’t stop in the second half after being 5-0 up and got a result we deserved Including the clean sheet. We are now looking forward to our next task at Ashfield and will work hard for this during week.” - Dianella White Eagles had the bye this week.
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND TWENTY – REVIEW
Olympic Kingsway maintained their five-point gap at the top of the State League Divison Two after a hard fought 2-1 win against Murdoch University Melville at Murdoch Uni Synthetic round. It was the home side who hit the front late in the first half. Some good build up on the right ended with a ball into the box to Declan Tanna, who had a defender tight on him, but he back healed the ball into Sam Garces, who made a run from midfield and he slotted it past Olympic keeper Tod Hoyle. It looked like Olympics’ unbeaten run was coming to an end, but they drew level from the penalty spot, Danny Hodgson making no mistake. Both sides had chances to win it, but it was Graham Normanton’s side that won it late. Ryan Francis made a darting run into the box and finished clinically.
Wanneroo City continue to keep the pressure on the leaders, but they were made to fight all the way after a narrow 1-0 win against Quinns at Gumblossom Park. The home side were on top and Brandan Buchanan went close on the half hour, after he was sent one-on-one with Wanneroo ‘keeper Andy Williamson, but the keeper stood tall to deny him. It was more of the same after the break and Brent Quick’s cross found Buchanan, but he fired wide when well placed. But despite dominating their profligacy in front of goal came back to haunt them as Wanneroo won it two minutes into stoppage time, as second half substitute Jack Hailstones finished well. “It was tough, it’s always tough coming up to Gumblossom to try and get a result,” Wanneroo Coach Tim Kantor said. “To be fair to Quinns, they were outstanding tonight and we are fortunate to get that goal, I think it was our only shot on target all night. I think we’ve almost secured play-offs, but we’re trying to win the league.”
Swan United lost ground on the top two after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Gosnells City at Francis Street. They had to come from behind to earn the point, this after good build up play and debutant Jack Allen played a neat one-two with Justin Onek and played a great through ball to Daniel Stone, who finished well past Joey Smith. The visitors were dominating and had several good opportunities to increase their lead, but failed to take them, and it was Swan that hit back levelling through John Monterosso who finished well past Tom Allen. The home side hopes took a dash early in the second half when Luke Colli was sent off, and despite Gosnells pushing late the points were shared. “I feel we deserved to win, our first half display was impressive, we just need to learn to put the ball in the net, then the second half would have been a completely different affair,” Gosnells Coach Brad Rushton said. “Over the last few games I feel that we have been the better side, apart from last week against Murdoch, against them we went back to the old days, but overall this set of players have shown growth, determination and belief.”
Balga remained fourth despite a 0-0 draw against Shamrock Rovers at Princess Road Reserve, meanwhile Canning City moved clear of the drop zone after a 3-1 win in the relegation six-pointers against Kelmscott Roos at Frye Park. The visitor went ahead when Dane Navarro fired home after Jakeb Vucic’s header was parried by the keeper. Navarro then hit the post with the goal at his mercy, but he redeemed himself moments later by curling home the second. The home side pulled one back on the stroke of half time to set up an exciting second half. City missed several clear-cut opportunities to put game to bed, but they found the all-important third goal when Navarro converted from the spot to secure his trick and the three points. “It was a very happy changing room at the end of game,” City Coach John Drewett said. “It’s been a very tough season for our young squad, but we have improved through the season and look forward to our final game against Quinn’s next weekend.” – Curtin University had the bye this week.
Back to the www.footballwa.net Archived News Index
This page was last updated on the 30th August, 2018