Archived News : September-October 2023



With only three rounds to go in the Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division, North Perth United hold a two-point lead at the top of the table, and a win this week against Jaguar at Herb Graham Recreation Centre, in our ‘Match of the Round’, could see them take a giant step towards the title and state league football next season. (All game kick off at 3pm, unless stated) Before we look at that game, in midweek we had the two Amateur Cup semi-finals, and Wembley Downs and Division Two Perth AFC moved into the final after both winning their respective home games against Emerald and Kelmscott Roos.

At Butlers Reserve, the hosts lead at half time after Jack Mellor played a beautiful through ball to Tom Bish, who controlled the ball well and slotted it past the keeper. After the break Ben Swinnerton’s long-throw caused problems in the Emerald defence, and Mellor raced in on goal and beat the onrushing keeper to head home for 2-0. They sealed the win when some neat build up play ended with Omar Shatila down the left, he cut inside his marker and played a perfectly weighted pass to Niall Thomas, who finished clinically much to the delight of the home faithful. Emerald pulled on back midway through the half, after Andrew Wood’s was brought down in the penalty area, and James Craig fired home the resulting penalty, but it was too little too late.

“It was a glorious night with a lively crowd at Butlers Reserve under the lights, which resulted in our biggest win of the year,” Wembley keeper Jeff Cornez said. “The first half was a dog fight with both teams only having a couple good moments and we were happy to find the net with one of ours. The second half opened up a bit and again we were the ones to take our chances. Emerald kept coming but we saw the game out with confidence. They definitely will have a good chance at the league title, but we are thrilled to be in a final and will do everything to prepare for a battle with Perth AFC.”

In the other semi-final at Len Packham Park, Kelmscott Roos lead 1-0 at half time, with Benn Lewis on target, and early in the second half Alex Ekeze doubled their advantage, and they looked like taking their place in the final, but the hosts had other ideas. First on the hour a cross from the left was headed back across the keeper by Spiro Nenadic at the back post. The hosts could sense a comeback and six minutes later they were level, Alessandro Di Girolamo pouncing on a mistake from keeper David Andrews to score. Then moments later they sealed the game, a ball into the box found Lucas Pickering who headed home, much to the delight of the Perth AFC supporters.

“After 45 minutes we headed into the break 1-0 down with a great strike from the lad to be fair, and we come in at half time knowing that that was the worst half of football we’ve played all year, the message at half time was calm we had plenty of time to rectify that half, after conceding within the first minute we made changes and rolled up our sleeves to chase the game,” Perth AFC coach Nathan Thorp explained. “So, from being 2-0 down with 30 minutes to go and scoring three goals in eight minutes to turn game on its head was amazing and everyone at the club are super proud of the lads to take AFC to its first ever final.”

Back to league action, and Injuries and suspensions have hurt Jaguars in recent weeks, with only one win in their last six games, while North Perth broke away at the top of the table with a big win against Joondalup last week, and skipper Kelechi Osunwa said it was a pleasing performance from the whole squad. “I thought it was a good win against Joondalup, and we managed to score in critical moments and the best thing was seeing the depth of the squad in full play with players getting a chance to start, being positive, and making things happen,” the defender explained.

“That result just shows you how tough this league is and how important it is to just keep getting points. Anyone can beat to anyone on any given Sunday. We know Emerald will be hurting and looking to bounce back and know that East Perth are right there fighting for every single point that’s up for grabs. It’s really exciting to be a part of in all honestly and it sure beats last year where we were 9th and nervous about being dragged into a relegation scrap.”

Osunwa said Jaguars form of late has been down, but he is well aware they can’t be taken lightly. “Yes, they’re form isn’t the best at the moment and we know that’s down to injuries and the tightness of the league. But we’ve never had an easy game against them and think the club has only won at Herb Graham once in my time here so will be expecting another tough game on Sunday,” he said. “They are quick on the counter, tough in the tackle, and have some real serious ballers on the team and like always we’ll need to be at our best to make something happen.”

East Perth sit two points behind the leaders in third place, will look to keep the pressure on North Perth when they host Joondalup United at Cabrini Park. They are coming off a big win at Peel last week, and coach Colm Costello said they are playing some good football, but knowing how competitive the league is this season they will have to bring that again on Sunday. “Another big weekend for us, as Joondalup are going to be fighting for every ball this week in massive game for both sides,” he said. “Our form has been decent lately but this week will be a very tough battle as always with Joondalup. We have had a great couple of sessions this week and really looking forward to Sunday. I thought we played some good football last week and created lots of chances, and hopefully we can push on from last week’s performance.”

Second placed Emeralds will look to bounce back from their cup loss at Wembley in midweek, when they host Kwinana United at Fraser Park. Coach Shane O’Donovan said they need to get back to winning ways, and he is confident they can. “Disappointed with the game against Wembley, especially when we dominated the game and had plenty of chances but we didn’t take them and they did so we move on,” he explained. “Looking forward to the game against Kwinana, everyone is looking to get back on track after last week’s results. It won’t be an easy game by any means but as long we are patient and take our chances, we are confident of a good result and putting pressure on the teams ahead of us, it should be an exciting run-in.”

Likewise, Kelmscott Roos, who lost at Perth AFC in the cup, when they make the trip to Charles Riley Memorial Reserve to meet North Beach. Keeper Taylor Warwick returns to the squad, after missing the cup tie, and he said they have three huge games to end their season. “We go into the business end of the season, and we have three cup finals to play,” he said. “After a disappointing defeat midweek, we are looking at making amends straight away. North Beach will be no push over, and we've had two good battles with them this year. We go into the game with a point to prove and three points are a must.” In other games this weekend, it kicks off on Saturday evening when South West Phoenix welcome Peel United to the Onside Sports Stadium in Bunbury (5pm), while Wembley Downs will look to build on their cup win when they host South Perth United at Butlers Reserve.



The Top Four Final Series in the NPLWA – Women’s competition kicks of this weekend, with Champions Perth RedStar hosting Perth SC at the RedStar Arena, while Fremantle City entertain the Hyundai NTC at Hilton Park. (Both games kick off at 3pm) First up the Champions will look to defend their final series crown, but games against the Azzurri have been tight this season, with Peter Rakic’s side knocking them out the State League Cup and beating them in the Night Series this season.

RedStar coach Carlos Vega-Mena said games against Perth are always entertaining and he believes Sunday will be no different. “Finals are always different type of game and at the end of the day the results can go either way. Perth is always a tough team and has some very talented players,” he said. “We have been working hard in the break and the players have been preparing both physically and mentally. I believe they are well and truly are up for the challenge and will bring this to the pitch on Sunday. As always in a game like this, the team that makes the less mistakes will make it through.”

Perth finished runners-up in the league and coach Peter Rakic said they have prepared well for this game and are ready for it. "We know how tough this game is going to be, there's always so much on the line when it comes to playing first versus second and we were in the same situation last year,” he explained. “Redstar are a very experienced team so we have to ensure we are prepared both mentally and physically, the girls have trained really well during the week so now it's up to them for what they put out in the 90 minutes that's at stake."

The winners of this tie will go straight through to the Top Four Cup final, which will be played at the State Football Centre on Saturday 16 September, while the losers will host the winners of Sunday's other semi-final between Fremantle City and Hyundai NTC in midweek. The NTC will be looking to build on last week's 6-1 State Cup final win over Murdoch University Melville when they take on Fremantle at Hilton Park. But both sides will be without some key players, with Freo's Tash Rigby and NTC players Georgia Cassidy, Grace Johnston and Tanika Lala all having joined Perth Glory's A-League squad for the upcoming season. NTC assistant coach Fernando Barreiro said their preparation has been hampered by illness, but he is confident the young side can get the result.

“Another game we’re looking forward to, but are well aware Fremantle will prove to be another tough test for us. But it’s an opportunity for some of under 16s to get a chance in the first team and it’s also an opportunity for us to see who’s potentially ready to step up for next year,” he said. “Preparations this week hasn’t been ideal as we’ve had a few players sick and so numbers have been low and Ben (Anderton) has also been ill all week. But no excuses from us we’ll put out a team who we think can get the job done and be competitive in every aspect. While we’re very proud to have won the State Cup for the first time we’ve already forgotten about that and are fully focused on the game against Fremantle on Sunday, it should be a good game.”



We head into the final week of the Hyundai Womens League Division One, and with Hamersley Rovers taking out the title, the race for the runners up spot is still up for grabs. Perth AFC are in pole position, three points clear of UWA Nedlands, but they have the same goal difference, so Perth only need a point when they travel to Wauhop Park to take on Fremantle City to seal the spot. Fremantle, who came into the league mid-season, have performed well and it will be a stern test for Rob Caruso side, who missed the opportunity to wrap up second spot last week at Mandurah, but the coach is looking to bounce back on Sunday.

“Very disappointed with last week's performance, Mandurah are a very good side and punished us with a well-deserved win,” Caruso said. “We are hungry to bounce back this week and won't be taking Fremantle lightly. We’re going into this game with the aim of taking all three points and finishing our season on a high note. It would be a massive achievement to finish the season in second spot, but we know it won't be easy.”

UWA Nedlands host Subiaco on Sunday at the UWA Sports Park, and are coming off a narrow loss against the Champions, and coach Lawrence Lewis said they will be doing all they can to finish the season with a win, and see what happens in the other game. “All we can do is go out and try to get a win to put the pressure on Perth AFC, and that what we aim to do on Sunday,” he said. “We have done well against Subiaco in our past two games, but they are an ever-improving team, so we will be wary, but it would be nice to go out on a win after a few losses recently.”

Hamersley Rovers make the trip to Genesiscare Stadium to take on the inform Mandurah City. The hosts are unbeaten in the last six games, including last weeks win against Perth AFC and defender Melanie Loreto said they are looking to continue their good form against the Champions. “We played well last week against Perth AFC and are relishing playing the Champions this week,” she said. “We are very much looking forward to the game and hope to continue our undefeated round three of the competition and end the season on a high.”

Rovers are unbeaten this season, and coach Betim Ziba said the girls want to continue that on Sunday, but he is expecting a tough game against and improved Mandurah outfit. “Mandurah have been improving and they will definitely look to beat us, so we are expecting a tough game,” he said. “As nice as it would be to stay unbeaten, I’m not too worried about it. I’m using this game as an opportunity to try new things and give some game time to developmental and young players.

“This game is a good opportunity to try new things to implement for next season. If we try them and we lose, it gives us a better idea of how to do it better. We will look to go out and keep the unbeaten record, but I would much rather try develop and implement than play to win for a record that does not benefit us as much. Regardless it will be a good and tough game, but we are up for it and will look to end the season strong.” In the other game this weekend Sorrento welcome Port Kennedy to Percy Doyle Reserve.



After last week’s dramatic State League Cup Final, we are expecting more drama on Saturday as the NPLWA - Men’s Top Four Finals Series kick off, involving Champions Perth RedStar, Stirling Macedonia, Olympic Kingsway and Perth SC. First in the Qualifying semifinal Perth RedStar host runners up Stirling Macedonia at the RedStar Arena. (3pm) The hosts are the holders of the end of season trophy, after defeating Floreat Athena 3-2 in last season’s final.

It looked like Floreat were on course to win the game after goals from Bayley Brown-Montgomery and Phillip Arnold gave them a two-goal lead at the break. But the game changed in a dramatic last 19 minutes. Ryan Lowry reduced the margin on 71 minutes, before Daryl Nicol levelled three minutes later. It looked like we were going to extra time, but deep into stoppage time Nicol secured the win, and took out the ‘Gary Marocchi Medal’ as player of the match.

On Saturday the RedStar’s will have to do something they have failed to do all season, and that is beat Stirling. In round two goals from Calvin Whitney and Kingsley Eshun gave Stirling a 2-1 win on the road, while in Round 13, Whitney was on target again, along with Kade Fearnall as they won at home 2-0. RedStar striker Daryl Nicol said they hold the trophy and they will be doing all they can to keep hold of it, to continue the good season for the Northern suburbs club.

“It’s been a phenomenal season for the club, with the women going back-to-back and the men getting over the line in probably the toughest NPL season to date. I’m not sure the gap between top and bottom has ever been smaller in our league so to come away with the title in what has possibly been the highest standard in recent memory is quite an achievement. Two major trophies in two seasons are something to be proud of and we hope to always be up there challenging for the top awards,’ Nicol explained.

“We know it will be a very tough game against Stirling as it always is, and I’m sure they’ll still be hurting from the fact that we have beaten them to the league trophy, but that’s what complacency does to you and we will be looking to make sure that we don’t fall into that trap on Saturday. The top four cup is our trophy to defend and we want to make sure we’re in the Grand Final come 5pm on Saturday.”

Stirling we’re promoted back to the NPL in 2021, and have made the top four in the last two seasons, and defender Luke Palmateer said it was a season of what could have been, but to finish second, and get the second chance was huge for them. “Overall, our season has had plenty of ups, but to finish with second place is bitter sweet. Our goal for the year was to win the league, so it is a bit disappointing however we have the opportunity in the top four cup to get some revenge on the team that finished ahead of us,” Palmateer explained.

“RedStar have a large degree of quality filtered throughout their side and should be credited with how consistent they were in their season efforts. Having beaten them twice this season is quite an achievement however you are only as good as your last game and hopefully it ends with us progressing through to the finals ahead of them. They are a side we have had many battles with, so we know it will be difficult however we go into the game knowing if we play our game, we can beat any side.”

In the elimination Semifinal, Olympic Kingsway host Perth ASC at Kingsway Reserve (3pm) Olympic has had the wood on Perth this season winning both games, and in round six a brace from Liam Murray helped them to a 5-0 win at home, while in round 20 goals from Ciaran Bryne and Tyler Garner secured a 2-0 win at Dorrien Gardens. Olympic have been outstanding in their first season back in the Premier League since 1999, and David Tough’s side will be looking to continue on with it on Saturday, and look to continue their dominance in the fixture.

“Looking back at the season I think we’ve had a great season. At the start of the season our aim was to finish in the top four and we achieved that. But we are a little disappointed in some ways as we did have an opportunity to finish higher in the league, but with a few disappointing results towards the end we finished third,” Olympic striker Ciaran Bryne said. “But overall, if you said you can have a Night Series trophy with a top four finish and a possible other trophy in our sights, we’d definitely take that.

“It’s Kingsway’s joint highest ever finish in the top league and we’re delighted to be able to achieve that in our first season back for the club, and we’re not finished. I’m looking forward to another big game for the club, yes, we’ve beaten Perth on both occasions this year, but that means nothing now going into this. Perth had strong finish to the season and won’t make it easy. But I think with the quality we have in the team and the advantage of the home draw we will be looking for a strong win. We’re not taking these games lightly and want to win this top four cup.”

The Azzurri edged out Armadale for the final spot, with a 3-3 draw at Bayswater, with French striker Jeremie Mba scoring the important final goal, and defender Julian Teles said the appointment of coach Danny Hay gave them a push late in the season. “Yes, the season has had its ups and downs that’s for sure, but since Danny came in, we have got stronger and it’s great to be in a position to be playing finals football,” Teles said. “Kingsway are a structured and organised team with strengths but also weaknesses. With having lost to them on both occasions previously, this has given us extra motivation to put on a great performance and progress to the next round.”

The other Top Four Final games, in the under 18’s, Champions Perth Glory take on Sorrento at the RedStar Arena, while Floreat Athena meet Bayswater City at Kingsway Reserve. (Both kick off at 11am) In the under 20’s Champions Perth Glory take on hosts Perth RedStar at the RedStar Arena, while Perth SC meet Bayswater City at Kingsway Reserve. (Both kick off a 1pm)



A spot in next season’s NPLWA - Men’s competition is up for grabs on Saturday, when the first ever NPL/State League Relegation/Promotion play offs begin. Cockburn City were relegated from the NPL, while Sorrento will have to battle it out in playoff, and in the first leg they travel to Forrest Park to take on local rivals Joondalup United. (3pm) The Gulls slipped into the playoff place on goal difference, after a heavy loss against Armadale in the final game of the season, and they face a tough game against a Joondalup side that has a number of old Sorrento players in the squad.

Last time they met in the league was in round 23 in 2018, when the sides shared Perth Doyle Reserve as a home venue, and it was Sorrento have won the 'Battle of the co-tenants' after a come-from-behind 3-1 win. The home side (Joondalup United) were ahead at the break through Elliot Tattersall, but the visitors (Sorrento) hit back after the break with Godwin Darkwa levelling before Jack Salter and Jordan Roberts made sure of the points.

Sorrento skipper Dean Cummings said it was a disappointing performance to end the league season, but that is in the past and they are focused on getting the job done in the playoffs. “As a group, we are very disappointed to be in the relegation play offs, but it is what it is, so we move on and have a chance to put it right starting this Saturday,” the midfielder said. “We have re grouped and are training well, so we will be going into Saturday’s fixture with a positive attitude looking to win both playoff games.”

It’s been a huge week of the pitch for Joondalup, after a deal with WAFL side West Perth, will see them play all their home games next season at Pentanet Stadium, and Head Coach Nick Jennings said it’s a great boost for the club. “The executive committee and President, have endlessly worked behind the scenes for years in an attempt to move the club forward off the field, and thanks to West Perth are Football Club we now have an elite complex to prepare and play home games,” Jennings said. “In turn this should make the recruitment and also retention of players easy as we look to propel the club into the upper echelons of WA football.”

Only two defeats in the last ten games for Jennings’ side, and he said after a poor start, they got things going, and its all down to the players. “Our off-field issues and a lack of training facilities, killed our night series, and put us on the back foot in our preparation for the season, which in turn meant we started off very slowly,” he explained. “However, the playing groups attitude was spot on, and our work ethic enabled us to turn things around and deservedly earn a top four spot.”

Jennings, who has coached at United for the last eight years, can remember when they called ‘Windy Hill’ as their home ground, and he said with a number of players with links to both clubs, this should be a cracking game. “Playing Sorrento is an exciting prospect for the coaches and the playing group. We have a number of boys with links to Sorrento and they all want to get one over on their former club. For me it’s a reminder of the good and bad times we had as an NPL side,” he said. “When we ground shared Windy Hill and we’re definitely the poor relations in the arrangement, but now we meet as equals on the playing field with one side with everything to lose, and the other with everything to gain.”

In the other semi-final Fremantle City entertain Mandurah City at Hilton Park. (3pm) The pair have met twice this season, with Mandurah winning both. In Round three they fought out an entertaining game at Genesiscare Stadium, with Mandurah running out 3-2 winners. Leigh Griffiths gave the hosts a two lead, but Hamza Hina pulled one back on the hour. Joey O’Brien added a third for the Dolphins five minutes from time to wrap up the points, with Hina scoring a late consolation goal for the port side. Then in Round 14 Mandurah came home from Hilton Park with all three points after a 3-0 win, with goals from Murray Mackintosh, Graham Tough and O’Brien.,

Mandurah were pipped for the title and promotion in the final game, after Western Knights scored in stoppage time to beat Joondalup, but coach John Baird said it was a great season to be involved in, and they have turned their attention to the play-offs. “Firstly, congratulations to Western Knights on winning the league, they have been trying for years to get out the division, and to go as close as it did shows you how tight it’s been all season, so well done to the Knights and all the best for next season,” Baird said.

“My players have been outstanding not just for one season but two seasons, that’s what makes this group what it is we never stop, we never give up and to take the league to the last minutes of the league proves that, night series was another example of that. To say how proud, I am of this group of players would be an understatement, they are a joy to work with. We know all the teams in the play offs, including our opponents on Saturday Fremantle, are going to provide crackers. But my thoughts are totally on us and to have us in the best condition to win the tie and as everyone is saying, looking forward to the challenge.”

Fremantle finished the season well, with only one defeat in their final six games, and coach Matthew Sparrow said they hope to take that form into the play-offs. “Yes, we finished strongly which was exactly what we needed to cement a playoff spot on the final day of the season, and we will look to take our good form into Saturday’s game,” Sparrow said. “We know Mandurah are a good side, who will be disappointed not to have won the league, but now there’s a second chance for them and ourselves to get promoted.

“Saturdays first leg match has the potential to be a cracker, going on history this season we’ve not beaten them yet and that really hurt us so they’ll be going into the game as favourites so we know we’ll need to be ready and focused for the challenge Saturday. Both teams play attacking football and like to score goals and John Baird has always had them well drilled as a group so we’ll need to compete and match them in every department if we want to get a positive result, we are in good form and we will give everything we have to win the game at home.”



The State League First Division/Second Division Promotion/Relegation Play-off’s will be closely fought, like games in the league have been all season. In Division One Forrestfield United were relegated, with Subiaco dropping into the playoff spot after throwing away a three-goal lead at half time to loss 4-3 against Gosnells City in the final game of the season. Kingsley Westside won the Division Two title, with Maddington-Kalamunda White City, Curtin University and Swan United, also securing a place in the playoffs.

The first game sees Subiaco AFC hosting Swan United at Rosalie Park. (3pm) United sealed their spot with a win against Carramar Shamrock Rovers, while Subiaco were stunned at home by Gosnells, and with UWA winning their match, Marc Wingell’s side dropped into the relegation playoff spot. Subiaco skipper Sean Cronin said the loss against Gosnells hurt the group, but they will be doing all they can to stay in Division One. “It was a massive disappointment for us losing to Gosnells, and the way we did. Injuries in the second half didn’t help, but we’ve no excuses for the way things went. Luckily none of the injuries were severe so we’re looking forward to giving Swan a good game on Saturday. They are a good side with some dangerous players, so we’ve made sure to put in the right trainings following the Gosnells defeat and make sure we are going into the game 100%.”

Swan winger Rhys Loxley said promotion is what they are looking for, and he knows Subiaco will be desperate to stay in Division One, so it should be a great game on Saturday. “Our aim since the beginning of the season was always promotion, and we knew that we had a capable squad, but the competition was strong which meant we had to fight hard to finish in the final playoff place. It still gives us a chance and one we are relishing going into the weekends game,” he said. “I love playing in these games. There is always an extra buzz, and I am looking forward to testing ourselves against them. I was a little surprised to see them end up in the bottom two as Mark and Dale have done well since taking over. They will be up for the challenge and desperate to avoid relegation, but I’m confident in our ability to win games of football no matter where, or who we are playing.”

In the other game, Maddington-Kalamunda City makes the trip to Edinburgh Oval to take on Curtin University. (3pm) The sides met in the final league game of the season, with Maddington running out 2-1 winners, and it has been a huge season for Maddington, in their first season in the State League since 2013, and coach German Montealegre Quijano said all their hard work has been rewarded. “It has been a great session so far for Maddington–Kalamunda, and It was a huge achievement in the first year in the league. The players and coaches have been working so hard to get this result (runners-up),” he explained.

“Overall, we had a great campaign despite the fact the beginning of the season was quite slow losing the three first games. However, during the progress of the tournament, we improved to the point that we were unbeaten at home ground this year. I cannot deny that our main goal was to be champions at the beginning of the season, but Kingsley did well and they highly deserved the championship. Congratulations.”

On the trip to Curtin in the playoffs, the coach said if last weeks game is anything to go by, it should be another entertaining game. “Last week we got a great result beating them 2-1, and it was a fantastic game to watch in general. Both teams had great chances to score more goals during each half. But I thought we deserved to win the game by more than two goals, but their great keeper performed well, and we know every game is completely different and more challenging.

“Curtin are a strong team to play against, they have a young and physically strong squad with some very interesting players. As far I know, this has been their best participation in the state league two since they have been taking part. It will be a huge motivation for them in the play-off continue with this momentum. I can guarantee that it will be a very entertaining two legs games. From my team perspective, we are quite motivated and confident that we can get a positive outcome in the playoff as we got great result in both games during the normal season against them.

“As coach, I am very pleased, because I have my full team available for these critical games against them. Unfortunately, the last three games of the season we missed some important and essential players for our main squad, but it won’t be the case for the play-off. Our final goal is to be promoted to the Division One and get the second promotion in row, and my team will not give up until they get it.”

Curtin finished third, which was their best finish in state football, and Nathan Smith said it was good, but he thought they deserved more. “I think if at the start of the season, if you said we would finish third, I would have taken that and ran, but I think we played a quality of football that deserved a bit more,” he said. “Everyone involved at the club would have been slightly disappointed with how the season turned out cause of the quality and the high standards we've set, but we have the opportunity to get more in the play offs. I think it’s going to be a great battle between two good footballing teams. Both games against Maddington this season have been tight and won in just a couple of key moments, and I'm sure Saturday will be the same, and I know everyone at Curtin is absolutely raring to go.”



Before he has even won his first Socceroos cap, Alessandro Circati has had more written about him than most uncapped 19-year olds. The central defender, who is in Graham Arnold's squad for this weekend’s friendly against Mexico, has created a fair bit of excitement that he could become a long-term member of the Australia national side.

Circati is thriving for promotion-chasing Serie B side Parma, who sit joint-top of the Italian second division and have only conceded one goal - a penalty - through their opening four games. Parma's social media team have christened the Australian, "il muro" (the wall) after helping maintain an undefeated start to the season.

"Being young and being a centre half, it's hard to get trust and faith because if you make a mistake the ball is in the back of the net," said Circati, a former Perth SC and Perth Glory player. "As a club we've had a strong start and topping it off is the chance to come to the national team."

There's also a buzz that Circati, who was born in Italy but raised in Perth, has chosen the Socceroos when a career in blue could have been a very real possibility. When he was called up for an Italian U20s team last year, Australia fans feared he might have followed the lead of Christian Vieri or Croatia's Joe Simunic and gone on to become one of those that got away.

Instead, after endless speculation over his allegiance and more than 12 months of communication with Arnold, he called the Australia boss prior to June's friendly with Argentina to declare his commitment for the Socceroos. "It wasn't an easy decision because of the circumstances that such a decision can lead to," Circati said.

"It was about a year of talking with Arnie ... I knew at the time it was the right decision to make because I felt that within myself. I was being sent things (articles) but I don't feel like there was any pressure ... at the end of the day it's just headlines, people writing something for people to read."

Should Circati make his international debut on Sunday, it will most likely be off the bench and in front of a raucous, pro-Mexican crowd at the 80,000-capacity AT&T Stadium in Texas. Whether that maiden cap comes now, in World Cup qualifiers or at the Asian Cup in January, it sounds like Arnold's messaging is already have its effect.



Perth Glory have continued to bolster their squad ahead of the upcoming A-League Women season with the signing of Philippines international Quinley Quezada. The 26-year old attacking midfielder has been a key figure for the Philippines over the last few years, helping the national team win the AFF Women’s Championship last year.

Quezada also played her part in the Philippines reaching the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup semi-finals and qualify for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, where she start in all three fixtures. She is her nation’s all-time leading scorer with 22 goals to her name in 51 appearances.

At club level, Quezada started out in the United States college system with UC Riverside Highlanders in 2015. She has since played for in Taiwan for Xinbei Hangyuan, for Japanese club JEF United Chiba and with Serbia Women’s Super League outfit Red Star Belgrade.

“I’m very excited to be joining Perth Glory this season,” Quezada said. “Aside from Perth being a beautiful community to live in, I’ve heard so many admirable things about the club and team. I followed the women’s team last season and they made a great run in the league.”

“For this upcoming season I’m hoping the team will grow into a strong unit and be constantly gunning for that number one spot. Personally, I want to continue learning, improving my technical skills and trying to be a leader within the team in any form that I can. I’m looking forward to joining the team and fighting for the championship.”

Glory head coach Alex Epakis said he’s looking forward to being reunited with Quiezada, after working alongside her during his time on the Philippines coaching staff. “Quinley is a senior member within the Philippines women’s national team and has a strong level of versatility to her game across multiple attacking positions,” Epakis said.

“I have been conscious of the style of play we want to have this season and having various attacking threats and types of players is an important part of that vision. Quinley will provide us with different attacking qualities and will certainly build a great combination with our other players in attack.”



If Graham Arnold was looking for a new warrior then the Socceroos boss might have found one in the shape of Ipswich Town defender Cameron Burgess. The towering 27-year old hadn’t been sighted in Australian colours since playing for the Olyroos in 2016, but has won his maiden senior call-up for this weekend’s friendly against Mexico.

The Perth-raised defender had been on a journey through England’s lower leagues before landing at Ipswich. Burgess’s hopes of donning the green and gold have taken its fair share of setbacks along the way, most notably last year when he was involved in a sickening on-field collision that left him requiring facial surgery.

“I couldn’t tell you the amount of fractures, it was a bit like a jigsaw puzzle and not one that was made up,” said Burgess, who played locally for ECU Joondalup. “I want to say there’s high 30s bolts and screws still in my face. The pictures (of scans) paint a thousand words.”

“It was a case of waiting for the bones to heal to the right spots and the surgeon was happy for me to go ahead. I had to wear a mask ... there was a game where I forgot to put it on one day and from then on it was good to go.”

Burgess was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, but says he never considered switching his allegiance to his birth country when Socceroos calls passed him by. “As soon as I heard about a potential call-up for Australia, that’s exactly where I wanted to be,” the uncapped defender said.

“That was also something that was a dream of mine since I was back playing in the Olyroos camp. It’s taken time since my last trip away but it couldn’t have come at a better time.” Australia take on Mexico at AT&T Stadium in Dallas on Sunday morning.



Western Australia will be well represented when the Junior Matilda’s qualifying campaign for the Under-17 Women’s Asian Cup continues later this month with Ischia Brooking, Ruby Cuthbert and Jessica Skinner named in coach Rae Dower’s 23-player squad.

Brooking, Cuthbert and Skinner, who play in midfield, defence and goal respectively, were stand-out performers in the local competition over the winter for the National Training Centre. They will now get the opportunity to extend themselves in the four-nation tournament in Vietnam.

The Junior Matildas will open their Group B qualifying campaign against the Philippines (20 September) before facing host nation Vietnam (22 September) and Bangladesh (24 September. The top two nations will progress to the Under-17 Women’s Asian Cup to be hosted by Indonesia in April 2024.



Perth Glory have added to their midfield options with the signing of Philippines international Jessika Cowart for the coming A-League Women season. The 23-year old can operate as a centre back or holding midfielder and played in all three of the Philippines games at the recent Women’s World Cup, including their historic win over New Zealand.

A stand-out performer for the University of Washington Huskies between 2017 and 2021 in the United State collegiate system, Cowart gained her first experience of European football with Turkish side Caykur Rizespor. A move to Swedish club IFK Kalmar followed earlier this year where she established herself as a first team regular.

Cowart is looking forward to getting her first taste of A-League football. “After multiple conversations with the coaching staff, I was impressed with their commitment, not only to us as players on the field, but also as people off the field and that is a big reason why I signed for Glory,” Cowart said.

“I am highly impressed by the environment that has been built and it’s clear to me that this is a top organization and I’m honoured to be a part of it. I hope to not only represent Perth well throughout the season, but also to help bring home a championship.”

It was Cowart’s performances at the World Cup that caught the eye of Glory coach Alex Epakis. “Jess comes to us after a great personal experience from that World Cup campaign and past exposure to some strong competition from her recent time playing in the Swedish top division,” said Epakis, an analyst for the Philippines during the World Cup.

“Jess has a really strong technical skill set which will allow us to build up and start our attacks from deep areas and help us be the type of attacking team we want to be. Moreover, her character and energy is very infectious and I have no doubt she will be a strong and positive personality within the group this season.”



Perth Glory have continued their pre-season games on Tuesday evening, with a trip to Kingsway Reserve to take on NPLWA side Olympic Kingsway, and they ran out 3-1 winners in an entertaining game. Glory skipper Adam Taggart gave Alen Stajcic’s side the lead at the break, his fifth goal in pre-season, before former Bayswater City midfielder Giordano Colli scored a brace after half time to seal the result, before Olympic substitute Lebib Lebib scored a late consolation goal for the hosts, as they build up for Saturday’s elimination Semi-Final first leg of the NPL Top Four Finals Series

“It was another good hit out, and a different type of game to last week, against a team that sat in a bit more, which required a bit more cutting edge in the final third, and like last week we have a lot to work on,” Glory coach Alen Stajcic said post-match. ‘We’re just mixing and matching at the moment, trialists, scholarship players and regulars, to try get that team chemistry across the board and make sure everyone is up to speed with the game plan, and its up the players to fight for the spot in the side for the A-League.”

The rain clouds were hovering prior to kick off, and the rain and wind hit early in the game, and the hosts thought they should have had a penalty after 11 minutes, Riley Warland, who is on trial at the club, brought down Sasa Njegic, but referee Shane Skinner waved away their protests. Glory started to get on top and David Williams saw his effort crash off the post, before Olympic keeper David Keenan produced a fine save to deny Luke Ivanovic moments later. But on 26 minutes the Glory pressure was rewarded with the lead, the lively Ivanovic sending in Taggart, and the striker finished clinically past Keenan.

The hosts were finding holes in the Glory defence, but the last ball in the final third hurt them, while at the other end the Glory looked to add to their lead. Ivanovic’s powerful shot cannoned back off the crossbar, before Keenan got down well to push Mark Beevers’ effort around the post, but at the break Glory held a narrow lead. It was a good start to the second half for the Glory, and they added a second four minutes in, Colli finding space and his quick feet took him clear of his marker and he arrowed his low shot into the bottom corner of the net.

Then on the hour it was 3-0, Colli’s corner was spilled into his own net by the unfortunate Keenan. Both sides made changes, with trialists for both sides having the opportunity to shine, with Cypriot midfielder Antonis Martis, former Western Sydney Wanderers Midfielder Dean Pelekanos, former Glory defender Walter Scott and former Perth SC keeper Adrian Sinagra coming on for Glory. But it was the hosts who pulled one back on 67 minutes, a poor clearance from Sinagra, was picked off by Liam Murray, and he squared the ball to Lebib, who made no mistake.

The rain returned, and Glory went in search of more goals, but substitute keeper Joe Pollard made a couple of fine saves to deny them, before Glory substitute keeper Sinagra produced a stunning save to thwart former Glory youth midfielder Ollie Annis. Late on Glory substitutes Danie Bennie and Adam Zimarino combined the former seeing his effort go over the top. But at the end it was the Glory supporters in the big crowd who were celebrating the win.

Olympic Head coach David Tough said it was a great workout for his side as they prepare for Saturday’s Top Four Finals. “The game was a great occasion for the club, and we appreciate everyone that came out and supported us, especially with the heavy rain,” he said. “I thought we gave a great account of ourselves, and the lads stuck to our principles and worked extremely hard out of possession. We were able to give 20 players games time and we didn’t pick up any injuries.

“We had three first team players missing tonight, as we prepare for Saturday’s big game, but towards the end of the game, we had a couple of 15-year-olds and a 17-year-old from our 18's and 20's squads on the field, demonstrating the wealth of young talent within our club. The match served as a valuable exercise in preparation for our upcoming top-four showdown against Perth on Saturday.”

Perth Glory: GK Robert COOK (RGK Adrian SINAGRA (trialist) 65') 2 John KOUTROUMBIS (16 Joseph FORDE 60'), 4 Luke BODNAR (9 Dean PELEKANOS (trialist) 60'), 5 Mark BEEVERS (25 Aleksandar SUSNJAR 60'), 8 Riley WARLAND (14 Walter SCOTT (trialist) 46'),12 Luke IVANOVIC (7 Antonis MARTIS (trialist) 60'),18 David WILLIAMS (23 Daniel BENNIE 60'), 20 Giordano COLLI (26 Corey SUTHERLAND 60'), 22 Adam TAGGART, (11 Adam ZIMARINO 46'), 24 Joel ANASMO (21 James OVERY 60'), 28 Trent OSTLER (29 Darryl LACHMAN 60') - Subs not used: 42 Kaelan MAJEKODUNMI

Olympic Kingsway: GK David KEENAN (RGK Joe POLLARD 66’), 3 Daniel WALSH (15 Thomas SALLIS 82’), 4 Cian HIRRELL (6 John CHALMERS 60’), 11Trialist (17 Coby SUTTON 75’), 8 Ollie ANNIS (7 Jacob EVANS 75’), 9 Ciaran BYRNE (19 Noah KANZI 66’), 10 Tyler GARNER (15 Billy BAKER 82’), 12 James FANELLI (20 Mark WITHERS 66’), 14 Liam MURRAY (7 Jamie GARDINER 66’), 13 Sasa NJEGIC (2 Lebib LEBIB 60’), 16 David PERICH (5 Calum O’CONNELL 46’) - Referee: Shane SKINNER



New Northern Ireland women’s manager Tanya Oxtoby has made it her goal to guide the national team to major tournaments. Northern Ireland qualified for Euro 2022 under previous manager Kenny Shiels but missed out on the recent World Cup in Australia.

Oxtoby, 41, signed a four-year deal with the Irish FA last month and is keen to build on those successes when the UEFA Women’s Nations League kicks off later this month. "When I took on this role I was looking at the Euros and the World Cup," said Oxtoby.

"What would I like? To be competing in both of those of tournaments. How we get there is going to be a process. We have short-term ambitions and long-term goals as well. Hopefully I'm sat in a nice sunny place in the world, with this team competing at a major tournament."

Oxtoby was appointed after an eight-month gap without a manager following Shiels' departure in January. The former Northern Redbacks captain says the initial conversations with the IFA aligned with her personal views and that made taking the job the right decision.

"When I initially spoke to (IFA's technical director) Aaron (Hughes) we were really aligned in terms of our views and what the organisation stood for," commented Oxtoby, who has coached previously at Bristol City and Chelsea, amongst others. "That was really important for me for what my next role was going to be. "

"Having conversations with Aaron and (director of women's football) Angela (Platt) about where they want to go and how they want to get there, for me that resonated and I think once we realised we were aligned then the rest took care of itself really."

Oxtoby will begin her tenure in Northern Ireland's Nations League opener with the Republic of Ireland on September 23 in Dublin. "It's a role for me that is really, really exciting," Oxtoby commented. "I've been in club football mostly and this is going to be a fantastic new challenge for me. "

"I was lucky enough to see them at the Euros and that sets me up really well. It's a fantastic fixture to start with and I'm really looking forward to it. We need to focus on us, we have a lot to do with bringing the squad back in and trying to embed some of the things we want to work on."

"It's a great challenge and hopefully we will give everyone something to get excited about. The foundations have been fantastic and we have a really good platform to launch the team forward. It's been a really exciting journey and one I want to carry on."

Hughes, who was key to Oxtoby's appointment, added that he felt the West Australian was the right person for the job and defended the association's eight-month wait to replace Shiels. "We sat down and said, 'what are we looking for here?'," the former Northern Ireland defender said.

"To be honest, there aren't many of that calibre (of managers) around, especially knocking around free as most of them are in jobs. It was a case of going through a detailed process and doing our due diligence. I suppose to get to the level of candidate that we got, with Tanya's calibre, you don't get that overnight."

"A lot of the pressure comes from the games on top of the time. If you remove the games, the pressure - you look at any other industry in the world, when they go out and they try and get the right fit, they take that time. Football just adds that pressure, as you know. We never felt like we were dragging our heels."

"We were always continually in that process and doing our due diligence, taking our time and it's really nice that we can sit back and be really satisfied with having someone like Tanya in the building. We can be really proud of our work and be really excited for what's ahead and the success we hope we can have, with Tanya leading that."



Perth Glory have added some attacking depth to their ranks after signing attacker Bruce Kamau on a one-year deal. The 28-year old has been without a club after his deal with Greek Super League outfit OFI ended, having spent the second half of last season on loan to Melbourne Victory.

Kamau, a winger, is well-known to A-League fans. He helped Adelaide United win the 2015/16 A-League premiership and championship double, played two seasons with Melbourne City and spent three summers at Western Sydney Wanderers. Kamau collected Australia Cup winners medals with Adelaide United (2014) and Melbourne City (2016).

The arrival of Kamau, a former Australia Under-23 international, follows the recruitment of Perth-born defender Aleksandar Susnjar last week, and will help make up for the loss of Ryan Williams. Kamau said he was excited to head home to Australia and was excited at the prospect of linking up with Glory and new coach Alen Stajcic.

“After speaking to not only the head coach (Stajcic) and his staff, but also other people that have worked with him or know him in a football capacity, working under him is part of the reason why I want to come to Perth,” he said.

“I believe that he can help me get the best out of myself.”

“I want to get back to playing consistently and enjoying my football and I think we’ll surprise a lot of people. It’s not a case of going there just to be competitive and make up the numbers in the league. I personally want to have as much success as I can with the team and strive to win silverware and championships.”

“I wouldn’t be returning to the A-League if I wasn’t confident in my abilities and what I can do on the pitch. I’m looking to return to the kind of form and quality that I had in my last season at Western Sydney and not just replicate that, but build upon it and have a better and brighter season.”



Our ‘Match of the Round’ in the Hyundai Women’s Division One Week 20 was a tight affair, with champions Hamersley Rovers taking on third placed UWA Nedlands at Carine Open Space, and it was Rovers who continued their unbeaten run with a narrow 1-0 win. The only goal of the game came just before half time, a cross into the box found top goal scorer Christine Astorp, who reacted the quickest, and slipped the ball past UWA keeper Maria Flandes Iparraguirre and into the bottom right corner, for her 29th goal of the season. It was a big day for the hosts who received the champions trophy from Football West Competition and Clubs Manager Dan Israel.

Rovers Head Coach Betim Ziba said it was a tight game, with chances to both sides, but he thought they deserved the win. “It was a competitive game against a good UWA side, and there were times they had the momentum and then there was times we did,” he explained. “I thought we were unlucky not to score earlier on, but some good saves from the UWA keeper kept them in the game. The game, like all this season against UWA, was great to be a part off, but I thought the better team won. Just means one more game to go this season, to keep our unbeaten record going, and the girls are determined to do that.”

The race for the runners-up spot in still up for grabs, after second placed Perth AFC were beaten 2-0 by Mandurah City at Len Packham Park. Knowing a win won seal second spot, Perth AFC were on the front foot early, but the Dolphins held firm, and had chances of their own, and on the half hour Mandurah found the opener. The referee spotted a handball in the penalty area, and Suria Priya Varatharaja made no mistake with the resulting spot kick.

It was 2-0 seven minutes later, Georgia Aiesi raced down the right, and he cross into the penalty area found Katrina Breen, who smashed the ball into the back of the net on the volley. Perth AFC pressed after the break looking to get back into the game, but Mandurah held firm to take home all three points. “The girls battled hard and kept the pressure on Perth to hold onto the lead till the end, and the growth in this team has been fantastic to see with so many young players stepping up the challenge,” Mandurah defender Melenie Loreto explained. “We look forward to hosting Hammersley this Sunday and want to say thank you to all the other teams and coaches in the competition for an excellent season.”

In the other games, Port Kennedy have won for the sixth time this season, after a 2-0 win against Subiaco AFC at Koorana Reserve. The home side were ahead on 24 minutes, when Taylor Olson’s shot from long-range went straight through the hands of the Subiaco keeper, and they doubled their advantage just before half time, Keira Turner scoring after some neat build up play. Port coach Kevin Cole said it was a deserved win, and they hope to end the season on a high at Sorrento next week.

“I thought both our goals were well taken, and we dominated from the first whistle,” he said. “After the break the game became a little scrappy, due to the strong winds, but it was a nice win to end our home games for the season, and hopefully we can go to Sorrento and get a win to finish off the season.” In the final game Sorrento and Fremantle City have played out an entertaining 4-4 draw at Percy Doyle Reserve.

Hamersley Rovers - Hyundai Women’s Division One Champions (Photo courtesy Hamersley Rovers)



The Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division continues to be gripping, and with three weeks remaining we have a new leader, with North Perth United moving two points clear after leaders Emerald were well beaten at North Beach. First in our ‘Match of the Round’, we focused on the bottom of the table and Kwinana United boosted their chances of survival after a 2-0 win against Wembley Downs at Kelly Park on Sunday afternoon. “I thought it was a decent game really, and pretty tight, but I believe on the balance of play we deserved the three points,” Kwinana coach Mark Purvis explained. “It was a good way to bounce back after last week at Jaguar, and keeps us in the fight to stay up.” The hosts found the opener after the break, when Sean Troop found space, and with a controlled finish, found the bottom. They sealed the points with a second, Micheal Lawson converting from the spot to give them only their second home win of the campaign.

Emerald lost spot after they were thrashed 6-1 loss by North Beach at Charles Riley Memorial Reserve. “Couldn’t be prouder of the boys after an amazing performance against the league leaders. We were able to match Emerald physically across the park and take control of the game, and club captain Chris Judge led from the front winning crucial challenges across the midfield which lifted the whole team,” North Beach coach Nick Di Carlo explained. “We wanted to make amends for our last outing against Emerald as well as a below par performance last week, and we executed our plan to perfection and were clinical in front of goal. It reminded us of the quality we have which we haven’t been able to emulate week in week out. The performance excites us for the challenge next week again at home and it is fair to say the mood in the group is at an all-time high.”

The hosts hit the front on 17 minutes, Keiran Moores played an early low cross from the left, which was finished neatly by Ben Reynolds inside the box. They doubled their lead six minutes later, James Ashford sent a ball out wide to Moores on the right, and continued his run into the box and headed home Moores cross into the bottom corner. It got better for the hosts, who made it 3-0 on the half hour, Ben Reynolds cross from the left picked out Chris Judge, who converted with an impressive scissor kick from just inside the box.

The visitors were shell-shocked, but they pulled one back eight minutes later, Shane Young’s shot from the edge of the box beat Aaron Persse. But the hosts regained the three-goal advantage five minutes later, Luke Jones lot his marker and headed home unmarked from a corner. Emerald needed a good start after the break to get back into the game, but it was North Beach who added a fifth early, Daniel Yelland-Hunter ran onto a through ball between two defenders and finished well into the roof of the net from the edge of the penalty area. The icing was put on the cake for North Beach when they added a sixth twelve minutes from time, Yelland-Hunter pounced on a defensive error to score, and complete a comprehensive win.

North Perth United took advantage of Emerald’s slip up with a 5-1 win against Joondalup United at Woodville Reserve in the early Sunday game. “I thought we controlled the tempo of the game from start to finish, and it was great to take chances when they presented, as the game was killed off early,” North Perth coach Alex Carter said. “Credit to all the lads that came off the bench and had a positive impact. It was good to have a full bench again after having a very thin squad for the last few weeks. The commitment of the boys for the last few weeks great with boys canceling tinder dates and work trips to be involved in what should be a fun run home.”

The Rattlesnake was at his best early in this one, Patrick Montgomery getting on the end of a Liam Fyfe diagonal ball into the box to finish into the top corner after only seven minutes. He was in again four minutes later, finishing well to double the home sides advantage. It was 3-0 moments later, Ben James broke down the left, and his low cross was turned home by Brian Woodall at the back post. Joondalup pulled one back before the break, with Niall McGurk scoring, but that was as good as it got for the visitors. Woodall added the fifth early in the second half wit ha neat finish, while Scott Blackmore completed the scoring 19 minutes from time, his half volley giving Joondalup keeper Patrick Lawless no chance.

East Perth moved up to second after a 6-0 win against Peel United at Bortolo Park. “A brilliant performance from the boys today, and were happy to come away with the points and a clean sheet in a very difficult place to come. Peel never gave up, and at 2-0 had some chances that if they go in it’s a different game then,” East Perth coach Colm Costello said. “At half time, although we were two up the lads were disappointed in a first half with too many missed chances and sloppy mistakes. And to be fare we didn’t have to say too much at the interval as the players knew it needed to be better on the ball and more clinical. So, we were delighted with a brilliant response in second half from the lads, and we move onto preparation for Joondalup next weekend, and will hit the training truck hard this week.”

The visitors hit the front on 25 minutes, a long throw was flicked on by Ryan McGready and Adam McCarron lost his marker to head home. They doubled their lead on the half hour mark, Dean Wall’s free kick crashed off the crossbar, but McGready was quickest to the rebound to score. After the break Peel pressed to get back into the game, but the visitors were sloid at the back, with skipper Darren O’Riordan outstanding, and it was East Perth who added a third just after the hour. Wall sending McGready in on goal and he finished clinically. They added a fourth when substitute Stephen Geoghegan raced down the left, and cut in, before firing home superbly into the top corner. McGready completed his hat-trick on 76 minutes, getting on Chris Smith’s through ball, while Smith capped off a brilliant performance by adding a sixth late to complete a good performance.

Kelmscott Roos are up to fourth after a 6-2 win against South West Phoenix at Frye Park. “We started off poorly in the game and SWP took advantage of that, but once we grew into the game, we took control and didn’t look back. We played some of the best football we played all season and finally got the reward for it,” Kelmscott keeper Taylor Warwick explained. “We are not out of the race for promotion yet and until we are mathematically out of the race we will not give up, but we have a huge cup semi to play on Wednesday now which is where our focus is.”

It the visitors who opened the scoring early, with Corey Barclay on target after only eight minutes, but the host levelled on the half hour. A mazy run down the left by Jonah Kuman, saw him take on two defenders, before curling home. Kelmscott hit the front five minutes before half time, a superb run by Ishmael Greywood, cutting the ball back from the bye-line, and Alex Ekeze made no mistake. It was 3-1 moments later, Jonah Kuman made space down the right, and he found Lemeo Reece, who eased past his marker before curling home.

Phoenix found a lifeline nine minutes into the second half, with J Menzies scoring, but that was as good as it got for them, and Greywood added a fourth for the hosts two minutes later, superbly curling home a long-range free kick, while Miguel De Oliveira added a fifth after getting on the end of a Brodie McRae through ball. It was 6-2 late, Isaac Koomson finishing well across the keeper to seal a big win for the hosts.

In the final game South Perth United moved to fifth and leapfrogged Jaguar after beating them 4-0 at Challenger Reserve. “I thought we put in a dominate display after an initial slow start,” South Perth coach Lee Hayward said. “We had to make a couple of changes as we lost Theo Petropoulos to Covid and Beau Rahim for work, but Brayden Burton has been injured since round three, and he came back into the squad for the first team last week and had to start today, and he put in a great shift and really helped balance the midfield out. I said weeks ago after the Kwinana draw, that I don’t think the top three is possible anymore, but I did say we will have a big say on who finishes where and we will be looking to finish strongly in the last three games, two of which are against teams still fighting for the title and or promotion.”

South Perth hit the front on seven minutes, good build up play between Ben Greaves, Ben Godfrey and Cohen Aitken, found George Stephens, who scored from close range. Both sides had chances for the rest of the first half, but it was the hosts who took the lead into the break. But five minutes into the second half the hosts doubled their lead Stephens broke free and delivered into the box for Aitken to score. Stephens made it 3-0 seven minutes from time heading home Dave Hardy’s cross, and Stephens completed his hat-trick in stoppage time to seal a 4-0 win.



Floreat Athena have secured their ninth State League Cup crown, after an exciting 3-2 win against Inglewood United in Saturday evening final at the State Football Centre in Queens Park. The game had everything, great goals, good football and red cards, which saw the game end prematurely, after a scuffle in the tunnel between players. Floreat coach Vas Vujacic said he was proud of his players, after a tough season for them in the league. “Very happy to win a trophy in what was a challenging season for us,” he said. “I think both sides felt a bit more freedom after a tense league campaign and it was quite an open game. I think we deserved the win but credit to Inglewood who put up a strong fight. I’m mostly proud of the way we were able to stick together in the last month to not only survive relegation but to put ourselves in a position to win last night.”

Both sides had only secured their NPL survival in the final league game of the season, and both wanted to end their season on a high, and it was Floreat who found the opener on 11 minutes, Bayley Brown-Montgomery picking out his strike partner Nick Ambrogio in the box, and he finished low past Alex Dunn. But five minutes later, Inglewood levelled, Rene Kisesa cut in from the left, drifted past a number of Floreat defenders before finding the top corner of the net from just outside the penalty area, giving Floreat keeper Joshua Hunter no chance.

It was end-to-end football and it was Floreat who regained the lead on 23 minutes, Brown-Montgomery’s free kick picked out Ambrogio, who lost his marker to head home. Then in first half stoppage time Inglewood restored parity again, a corner wasn’t dealt with Alexander Ishida-Livings’ shot saved on the line by Hunter, and in the goalmouth scramble the ball rebounded off the unfortunate Robert Petkov and into his own net, and at the break the game was still up for grabs for both sides.

Then three minutes into the second half Floreat won it, Ambrogio’s corner was cleared back to him on the left, and his ball back into the box found Petkov, who rode his marker and fired low past Dunn. Both had chances late, but neither could convert, and the tension was building as we went into stoppage time, and it unfortunately boiled over, with an incident between Brown-Montgomery and Anthony Bafobusha and referee David Bruce sent both players off. But it wasn’t the end of the incident, with both players going at it again in the tunnel, with players from both sides getting involved, and the referee called time early, with Floreat taking out the 2023 State League Cup, but I’m sure there will be more to come from the ugly incident.

“What a game,” Floreat striker Nick Ambrogio, who won the Stan Lazaridis Medal winner as best player on the night,” said post-match. “It was a tough season for us this with a lot of injuries and players coming in and out but to cap it off with a trophy, we’ll take it. Floreat’s not a club that should be down in the bottom half of the table. A relegation scrap was a foreign place to most of us but Credit to the boys always sticking together and grinding out results when needed. Big shout out to Bailey and Rob, they’ve been out more than half the year but when the big games come round those two never fail to rock up. We’ll enjoy the off-season, regroup and set our sights on pushing for a league title next year.”

Floreat Athena: GK Joshua Hunter, 6 Jesse Fuller, 8 Sean McManus, 9 Robert Petkov, 10 Nick Ambrogio (25 Noah Shamaki 54’), 11 Dennis Galan, 14 Ludovic Boi (19 Mohammed Al-Zaidy 54’), 16 Bayley Brown-Montgomery, 17 Alex Christodoulakis, 18 Phil Arnold, 20 Andrew Palmer – Subs not used: 3 Filip Minic, 5 Ethan Mom, 23 Gianluca De Felice

Inglewood United: GK Alex Dunn, 2 Alex Ishida-Livings, 3 Roberto Del Borrello, 4 Ciaran Salinger (14 Dhuors Chol 84’), 6 Matt Ntoumenopoulos, 9 Michael Domfeh, 10 Anthony Bafobusha, 12 Benson Nsegetse (8 Harry Evans 66’), 13 Rene Kisesa (7 Chad Nilson 84’), 19 Chris Tilson, 20 Shubham Mokala (17 Dylan White 88’) – Subs not used: RGK James Lindsay, 11 Egide Ngendakumana, 15 Joseph Marino – Referee: David Bruce

Floreat Athena celebrate winning the 2023 State Cup (Photo courtesy by Fotoenzo)



Perth Glory have completed the league and cup double, after a comprehensive 5-0 win against Armadale in Saturday’s State League Reserves Cup Final at the State Football Centre in Queens Park. Glory coach Ivan Zuvela said it was a tight game, but after half time they took control, and he was really pleased with the performance. “The game started fairly tight and close and we got what looked like to be a bit of a lucky goal in the first half. We then come out in the second half and remained focused on what we needed to do. We were then rewarded with some nice goals at the end,” he explained.

“Credit to Lee Taylor and his Armadale side who gave it everything and certainly didn’t make it easy for us. I’m just happy for our players for how they performed in the game. It was a fairly big occasion for them and some of them have never experienced cup finals like this. But they didn’t get overawed and they showed that they can deliver on the big stage. Overall, for me, it was nice to get the win and let the players enjoy and celebrate the successful season, considering all the hard work they have put in throughout the year.”

Glory had beaten Armadale twice in the league this season, and they made a great start in this one, finding the opener on nine minutes, Samuel Barry made space down the right and his cross found Royie Rahamim, whose shot was turned into his own net by Armadale defender Cohen Lane. The game was tight after that for the rest of the first half, with both sides cancelling each other out, and it was Glory heading into the sheds with a narrow lead.

But on the hour Glory added a second, Barry was sent clear down the right, and he cut inside his marker before finishing clinically past Tyson Paterson. It was 3-0 eight minutes later, the impressive Barry again was the supplier, getting to the bye-line and beating his marker, and his low cross was turned home by Rahamim from close-range. That broke the back of a competitive Armadale side, and Glory added a fourth on 77 minutes, good approach work ended with Seb Despotovski, and like a son-of-a-gun, the son of former Glory striker Bobby raced into the box and finished with aplomb Paterson.

Glory completed the scoring in stoppage time, Rahamim spot kick was saved low by Paterson, and the Armadale custodian also saved the follow up shot from substitute Abdulla Dofash, but Rahamim made it third time lucky, firing home to seal a comprehensive five-star show for Ivan Zuvela’s side. All their hard work was rewarded on the day and Despotovski said they now turn their focus to the top four finals.

“The cup final was a good game and was well fought by all the boys, I thought everyone who played did their role well, and that is what gave us a comfortable win by the end of the game,” Despotovski explained. “All the boys had a good season and we were all consistent with our performance though out the season and that was what made us finish top of our league, now everyone’s focus is on winning the top four so we can get the treble, but overall, a great performance by everyone who was involved.”

Perth Glory: GK Sam Reilly, 2 Tadiwanashe Kuzamba, 3 Luke Sprigg (13 Daniel Jankuloski 64’), 4 Manolo Veneracion, 5 Aston Montgomery, 7 Samuel Barry (18 Abdulla Dofash 70’), 8 Gert Prinsloo (14 Damon Karasavidis 70’), 9 Royie Rahamim, 10 Sebastian Despotovski, 11 Louise Hewings (17 Khoa Ngo 64’), 12 Giovanni De Abreu – Subs not used: RGK Kaveen Waran, 15 Jonathon Leithead, 16 Julian Kelly

Armadale: GK Tyson Paterson, 9 Angel Andres Jnr, 18 Eli Holdsworth, 23 Max Adlem, 24 Marley Kay, 25 Sean Palethorpe, 29 Abdirahmaan Warsame (28 Jivan Tharmarajah 80’), 32 Delano Adams (50 Solomon Finch 70’), 33 Simuteya Sikazwe, 34 Purvishna Appadoo, 36 Cohen Lane (38 Lachlan D'Silva 70’) – Subs not used: RGK James Wratten, 14 Chad Samuels, 30 Thabo Mazibuko

Perth Glory are the 2023 Reserves State Cup Winners (Photo courtesy by Fotoenzo)



Perth Soccer Club are the 2023 State League Under 18’s Cup winners, after a thrilling 5-3 win against Floreat Athena at the State Football Centre in Queens Park on Saturday morning. Perth SC coach Basil Lenzo said it was a fantastic performance from his chargers. “A massive congratulations to our young men who started off shaky however really turned it on in the second half. They really played well and took the chances when they needed to. We kept persisting by working through our process to stay in touch at half time,” he explained.

“Floreat scored a very good third goal however everything that we asked them to do at half time they did and we really took over for a well-deserved win. We knew we would finish strong and the last 30 minutes we were really good in all facets. These boys have toiled hard all year, three sessions a week and we play lots of games (I think we need to play a lot more competitive ones at this level) and they continue to give us their best commitment and efforts. Just sad as we had a few serious injuries with Finn Wesley and Gion Escape out for long period but glad they got that Cup medal. Well done to Giordano and Floreat who not only made the final however always gives us a really tough game.”

The two teams had split their league games this season, but it was Floreat who found the opener and the first goal at the new venue on six minutes. A neat back heel from Aidan McKie sent Jack Sparkes racing into the box, and he finished calmly past Samuel Hocking. But the Azzurri levelled five minutes later, Abdulraman Saccoh pressure saw an attempted clearance from a Floreat defender rebound off him and crash against the crossbar, and Oliver Carr was on hand to fire home the rebound past Hood Majiet.

But Floreat regained the lead on 25 minutes, Gianluca Paiano was played through by a slide rule pass from Xavier Medica, and he finished clinically across Hocking via the post. It was end-to-end football, and Perth restored parity eight minutes later, a corner from the right wasn’t dealt with and Jamie McNelis swiveled to fire home from close-range.

The second half began like the first with both teams pressing, and it was Floreat who went ahead for the third time on 52 minutes, the impressive Medica finding Harry Stonehouse, and he fired home superbly into the top corner from the edge of the box. But the Azzurri hit back again three minutes later, Carr and Saccoh combined on the edge of the box, the ball falling to Jonathan Ricupero, who fired low past Majiet.

Amazingly Perth hit the front for the first time in the match on 68 minutes, a great run from Ricupero saw him race past three Floreat defenders before finishing clinically. Then nine minutes later Perth sealed the win, a corner from the right by Marley Reddy wasn’t cleared and Nicolas Echeverria headed home at the back post to secure the 5-3 win. Perth skipper Massimo Paiano said it was a great game, and they are so happy to win it. “Words don’t do it justice as to what a roller coaster ride this game was, and it was an honour to be the first official game to be played at the new State Football Centre and to be part of making history in Football WA,” he explained.

“With it being 2-2 at the break and we changed a few things, and the last thing was written on the whiteboard in the changing rooms was ‘Leave everything on the pitch’, but we found ourselves behind again to a great finish, but we managed to get ourselves in front, with a fantastic team effort, and we defended nice and compact so that Athena couldn’t break us down. The final whistle blew and lifting the trophy with the squad was a great way to finish off our season. Having just missed out on the top four cup by two points. Well done to Giordan Serra and his team for making it to the final. To finish off I would like to say a big thankyou to our coaching staff Basil Lenzo, Paddy Strano, Dom Ciullo, Perth SC, all the people behind the scenes, all the supporters and most importantly all the boys who made this happen.”

Perth SC: GK Samuel Hocking, 2 Ethan Pangilinan, 3 Marley Reddy, 5 Alexander Stevenson, 6 Lucas Mucciarone, 7 Massimo Paiano, 8 Nicolas Echeverria, 9 Jamie McNelis, 14 Abdulraman Saccoh, 15 Jonathan Ricupero, 18 Oliver Carr – Subs: 4 Christophe Yao, 10 Raymond Sales, 11 Jamie Bilaloski, 12 Kaien Lim, 13 Leonardo Vicoli, 17 Zakharias Efthymiou, 23 Will Barker

Floreat Athena: GK Hood Majiet, 44 Manav Vohra, 45 Kyeson Barker, 46 Akshay Nadkarni, 47 Harry Stonehouse, 48 Joseph Miraudo, 50 Stefan Baiamonte, 51 Aidan McKie, 52 Jack Sparkes, 59 Gianluca Paiano, 66 Xavier Medica

Perth SC are the 2023 Under 18's State Cup Winners (Photo courtesy by Fotoenzo)



The Hyundai Women’s NTC have secured the 2023 State League Women’s Cup Final after a convincing 6-1 win against Murdoch University Melville at the State Football Centre in Queens Park on Saturday afternoon. “Finally happy to play and win a final after the year we’ve had. This just tops it off for the girls and rewards for their hard work this year. Congratulations to MUM for making the final as well, but the way we played with so much bravery and discipline was very pleasing,” NTC assistant coach Fernando Barreiro explained.

“The girls had a game plan and stuck to it through the whole game, plus scored some fantastic goals and our final third creativity was also very pleasing. A great way to send off Tanika Lalla, Grace Johnston, Ruby Cuthbert, Georgia Cassidy and Ischia Brooking who have all signed professional contracts. For myself and Ben (Anderton) this is why we coach and makes it all worth it when we get to see these players rewarded for their efforts. Really happy to see the program produce all these players and would like a few more if I’m honest.”

The rain was pouring at kick off, and MUMFC went into the game having not lost against NTC this season, winning one and drawing the other two, but two minutes in the NTC youngster found the opening goal. Maja Archibald pass sent Emily Garnett down the left, and her low cross picked out Louise Tana, who finished low past Stacey Cavill. But 16 minutes later MUMFC had the perfect opportunity to level when Sophie Meaden sent Charli Wainwright into the penalty area, and she was brought down by Hannah Collins, and the referee pointed straight to the spot.

Clara Hoarau stepped up to take the resulting penalty, but NTC keeper Lilly Bailey guessed the right way to save. That miss came back to haunt MUMFC, and eight minutes later NTC doubled their advantage, 11N slipped in Garnett down the left channel, and she finished low past Cavill. But three minutes later MUMFC were back in the game, Jessica Johnson started the move, racing through the middle of the park, before playing a one-two with Meaden, and racing into the box and finishing well past Bailey. It was game on, but NTC hit straight back and regained their two goal advantage moments later, new Perth Glory recruit Tanika Lala make space on the edge of the box, before firing home with aplomb, to give them the lead at the break.

The rain returned in the second half, but it didn’t stop the NTC, and they added a fourth on 58 minutes, Mischa Anderson’s free kick wasn’t dealt with, the ball falling to Garnett whose shot on the turn flew into the net. They added a fifth, 15 minutes from time, substitute Mia Britton sent Lala down the right and she pulled the ball back to Garnett, who made a late run, and she completed her hat-trick with a powerful shot into the top corner of the net. The scoring was wrapped up moments later substitute Klaudia Houlis finishing from close-range, to complete a comprehensive win, with Emily Garnett receiving the Sandra Brentnall Medal as Player of the Match from Federal MP for Swan Zaneta Mascarenhas.

NTC captain Georgia Cassidy said she is really happy to be winning a trophy in her last game for NTC. “It was a really tough game but I think our quality and our intensity was what got us through in the end, also staying disciplined and sticking to our principles helped us a lot too,” she explained. “We’ve got a really talented group of players and even though some of the senior players like myself and Grace are leaving I still believe there’s a lot more in the future that will be identified. I’d like to thank the coaching staff at NTC who always believed in me and pushed me and never doubted my abilities. I will always look back at my time in the NTC program with great fondness and I’m very grateful to have grown as a player and person - Thank you to Ben and the rest of the coaches.”

Hyundai NTC: GK Lilly Bailey, 5 Mischa Anderson, 6 Georgia Cassidy, 8 Grace Johnston, 9 Tanika Lala (24 Ella Marwick 85’), 10 Hannah Collins, 11 Louise Tana (7 Mia Britton 63’), 15 Nelli Johnson (33 Niamh Healy 46’), 17 Violet Longmore (12 Anna Powell 85’), 19 Maja Archibald (14 Klaudia Houlis 77’), 37 Emily Garnett – Subs not used: RGK Megan Phillips

Murdoch University Melville: RGK Stacey Cavill, 2 Rosie Lehane, 4 Lucy Hope, 7 Isabella Wainwright (19 Nicolina Ierino 72’), 8 Clara Hoarau, 10 Charli Wainwright, 11 Jessica Johnson, 12 Kathryn Schubert, 23 Sophie Meaden, 24 Brooke Burdett (20 Danielle Brown 58’), 35 Bonnie McQueen (13 Samantha Mathers 46’) – Subs not used: 27 Luana Ascenzo-Cabello, 34 Iva Beretovac

NTC celebrate winning the 2023 Women's State Cup (Photo courtesy by Fotoenzo)



Perth Glory began their pre-season on Friday evening, with a game against NPLWA – Men’s side Stirling Macedonia and they started the Alen Stajcic era at the club with a solid 5-2 win at Macedonia Park. Former Socceroo striker Adam Taggart was the star bagging four first half goals, with David Williams adding the other, while former Glory youth striker Alex Tanevski bagging a brace for the hosts.

“It was a good first half, we were four goals up at half time, and we tried a few things in the second half, somethings worked and somethings didn’t, but I was happy with a lot of things in the match, obviously we have seven weeks till the season starts, so we have a lot of things to work on, and get game time into the legs,” Stajcic said post-match. “Adam scored four, and he could have scored a couple more, but he is a great goalscorer, as we all know, he’s always in the right position, and that will give his confidence a boost as well.”

In what was his first game in charge, Stajcic saw his side make the best possible start, Taggart opening the scoring with a close-range finish past James Bosdet inside the opening two minutes. The Stirling keeper was back between the sticks after missing the last two NPL games with injury, but he was beaten again on 14 minutes, Taggart doubling his and Glory’s tally, again finding the net following a goalmouth scramble. He completed his hat-trick midway through the first half by crashing in a fierce shot having been teed up by the lively Stefan Colakovski.

Stirling went close on the half hour, when former Glory youth midfielder Calvin Whitney long-range shot was tipped around the post by the alert Oli Sail. Then moments later Taggart went close to a fourth, Luke Ivanovic pass finding the striker, but his volley flashed just wide of the post. But in the shadows of half time Glory added a fourth, Salim Khelifi and Luke Ivanovic combined to create the chance for Taggart who again made no mistake.

After half time Stirling hit back and pulled one back early, Dejan Spaseski and Brent Quick combined down the right, Quick’s ball into the box found Tanevski, who finished clinically past Sail. They added a second when half time substitute Liam Price’s goal kick found Asher Nelson, who held off his marker and played in Tanevski, who cut inside and his shot beat Sail at his near post. Glory changed all ten outfield players on the hour-mark and the new-look Glory side managed to have the final word when David Williams rose highest to nod home Trent Ostler’s fine cross in the final minute.

“Perth Glory showed us the difference between the level we play at and being a full time professional. Each time we made a mistake they capitalised on it and were very clinical in the final third,” Stirling defender Brent Quick said. “Even though the score doesn’t reflect it we were quite comfortable in possession and at times we were able to play some good football. Overall, there was things we were disappointed with and things we were happy with. It was a great opportunity to play a professional side.”

Stirling Macedonia: GK James BOSDET, 2 Brent QUICK, 4 Hristijan JANKULOSKI, 5 Luke PALMATEER, 8 Gyles DAVIES, 9 Kade FEARNALL, 10 Sam WYNNE, 12 Kai MATTHEWS, 13 Calvin WHITNEY, 14 Kingsley ESHUN, 17 Alexander TANEVSKI - Subs: RGK Liam PRICE, 6 Dejan SPASESKI, 7 Asher NELSON, 20 Jack TELFORD, 18 Luke PASSERETTO, 19 Yousif TOTO

Perth Glory Line-Up (first 60 minutes): GK Oli SAIL, 2 John KOUTROUMBIS, 5 Mark BEEVERS, 7 Stefan COLAKOVSKI, 12 Luke IVANOVIC, 14 Salim KHELIFI, 20 Giordano COLLI, 22 Adam TAGGART, 26 Corey SUTHERLAND, 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 36 Riley WARLAND Perth Glory Line-Up (Final 30 minutes): GK Oli SAIL, 4 Luke BODNAR, 9 Jayden GORMAN, 11 Adam ZIMARINO, 16 Joseph FORDE, 18 David WILLIAMS, 23 Judd MACDOUGALL, 24 Joel ANASMO, 25 Jaylan PEARMAN, 28 Trent OSTLER, 37 Shade STEWART - Subs not used: RGK Robert COOK, 6 Aiki TSUKAMOTO, 21 James OVERY – Referee: Shane SKINNER



With four rounds to go in the Belt-Up Premier Division, the title race is hotting up, but our ‘Match of the Round’ is at the other end of the table when Kwinana United host Wembley Downs at Kelly Park. (All games kick off at 3.00pm, unless stated) The hosts sit joint bottom of the table and are coming off a loss at Jaguar last week, while the visitors have moved clear of the relegation zone after only one defeat in their last six games, the latest a 3-1 win against North Beach. If last season’s game at the venue is anything to go by, we should be in for a thriller, after the sides fought out an entertaining 3-3 draw.

Wembley keeper Jeff Cornez said their good run is down to the hard work the players and coaching staff are putting in. “We’ve been finding different ways to get results and playing some good football. It’s a very long season so at this point in the season it’s about digging deep, and our current coach Bob Jackson has done a superb job of not letting us drop our standards,” he explained. “We have to keep our momentum against Kwinana. We know it won’t be easy (a theme of everyone’s comments this year -what a competitive league!). It will be easy to look ahead to Wednesday’s cup semifinal game, but we have to stay focused on the three points or Kwinana will make us pay.’

Kwinana coach Mark Purvis said they didn’t take their chances last week, and he hopes they can turn that around on Sunday. “I thought last weeks game, we didn’t take advantage of opportunities really, but hopefully we can put that right this week,” he said. “Wembley will be a tough challenge and for us, the points are critical, but I told the players this week that the situation we are in is my responsibility only and hopefully they can go out and play with freedom and enjoy the challenge and with some luck come away with three points.”

League leaders Emerald hit the road this weekend, a trip to Charles Riley Memorial Reserve to take on North Beach. They lead the league by one point from North Perth, and North Beach coach Nick Di Carlo said it will be tough game, but one his side are looking forward too. “Massive challenge back at home this weekend against the league leaders in Emerald, who in my opinion, deserve to be sitting at the top currently,” he said.

“The result will be massively important for both teams, both for different reasons, so we can expect solid efforts across the 90 minutes. We've felt really comfortable playing back at home but understand the challenge that Emerald will bring given we were totally outplayed and out worked against them in the reverse fixture. Everyone wants to make amends and have a really strong performance this time round as we head into a really big final month of football.”

North Perth United sit second, and they host Joondalup United at Woodville Reserve. (1pm) The visitors sit three points clear of the drop zone, and coach Mike Ford said they will look to build on last weeks win against Peel. “Yes, we will be looking to build on the win last week, and go into the game after a good week on the track,” he said. “North Perth have been a quality side every year and this year is no different. So, we will need to be at our very best to come away with anything this week, but the boys trained well and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

In other games on Sunday, third placed East Perth make the trip to Bortolo Park to meet Peel United. The visitors sit three points behind the leaders, while Peel are five points away from the drop zone, so a win for both teams is vital. South Perth United welcome fourth placed Jaguar to Challenger Reserve, the visitors looking to keep the pressure on the leaders, while in the final game Kelmscott Roos host bottom of the table South West Phoenix at Frye Park.



The title may have been decided in the Hyundai Women’s Division One, but there are still some big games this weekend, and our ‘Match of the Round’ takes us to Carine Open Space where champions Hamersley Rovers entertain third placed UWA Nedlands. (All games kick off at 1pm) Rovers continued their unbeaten season with a hard fought 2-1 win against Port Kennedy last week, while UWA lost second place on the ladder, after a 0-2 loss against Perth AFC, so they will be looking to bounce back this week, and look to end the host’s unbeaten run.

UWA coach Lawrence Lewis said missed opportunities cost them last week. “It was a big game for both teams, and I thought we started the game well and had chances but unfortunately could not take them, then Perth took their chance after their pressure gave them a ball in the box to latch onto,” he explained. “We came out fighting in the second half but again couldn’t get the ball over the line, then Perth doubled their lead halfway into the second half. It was going to have to be a big fight to get back into the game but that Perth defence is so strong and we couldn't manage it. So, it leaves us three points behind them now after dropping some other games this season, big couple of games coming up for us over the next two weeks.”

Lawrence said Sunday is another huge game, and he said if games between the two sides this season is anything to go by, it should be an entertaining game. “Hamersley are now champions and congratulations to them, with their first year in the league,” he said. “More than likely, they will be looking to finish out this season unbeaten also, so still a big game for us and them. I’m sure it will be a good game to watch and we’re hoping to take some points off of them.”

Rovers captain Ella Kerman said they have had to earn every point this season, with the league so tough, and she said it’s a credit to the whole squad. “Despite the unbeaten record, this has been an extremely competitive season. We’ve really had to earn our wins which makes winning the league even more satisfying,” Kerman explained. “We’ve been able to continue to get results despite losing multiple players to long term injuries and weeks of low numbers. The depth of our squad has really shone through this season and the girls should be extremely proud of themselves.”

Kerman said last week’s win against Port Kennedy was a tight affair, and she is expecting the same against UWA on Sunday. “The first 20 minutes of the game last week, we were extremely threatening, finishing two of our early chances. We had a few more opportunities to score but unfortunately couldn’t convert. Port Kennedy grew into the game and made the game competitive. Credit to them, they fought back and it was a grind for the second half but was a great game to be a part of,” she said.

“UWA have been sitting in the top three this season for a reason, they have a talented squad therefore we have to be switched on from the start. We have shown we can beat them, and we just need to make sure we play our game. After their defeat to Perth AFC, they will be looking to come out strong but we are prepared for it. There are no easy games this time of the season so we’re looking to finish off with two strong wins.”

Second placed Perth AFC welcome fourth placed Mandurah City to Len Packham Park. Perth vice-captain Amanda Smith said it’s been a great season for them, and the win at UWA saw them leapfrog them on the table, and with two rounds to go they hope to stay there. “UWA are always a tough opponent and we’ve had some great battles over the last few years so definitely good to get the win, especially at such a crucial time of the season,” Smith said. “It’s been a great year from the team so far and great to be a part of. We feel we’ve been there or there abouts to get a top two spot for a few seasons now so hopefully we can see it out and clinch it and push on even further next year.”

Smith is well aware the quality Mandurah have in their side, and they have only lost once in their last six games, so she is expecting another tight game, but they will be doing all they can to get the three points and consolidate second place. “Mandurah have had a solid season so far and have picked up a lot of good results recently, so it will be a good game on Sunday,” the captain explained. “All their score lines are very tight and I’m expecting another tight game, just like the two 1-0 wins we have picked up against them so far this year, I’m really looking forward to the game.” In the other games this weekend, Sorrento will look to build on their win last week at Subiaco when they host Fremantle City at Percy Doyle Reserve, while in the final game Port Kennedy host bottom of the table Subiaco at Koorana Reserve.



It’s been a difficult league season for Inglewood United and Floreat Athena, and they had to wait to the final day of the season to seal their spot in the NPL for next season. But they will put that all behind them on Saturday when they meet in the 2023 State League Cup Final at the State Football Centre, Queens Park on Saturday evening. (6.30pm) In the league the games were split, with Inglewood winning at E&D litis Stadium in round one, while Floreat won at the Inglewood stadium in round 12, so both sides will want to end their season on a high, so this should be a great game, and we hope for a big crowd at the new home of Football West.

How they reached the final… Both sides faced Amateur sides in round three, Floreat Athena overcame Jaguar 3-1 at E&D Litis Stadium, with goals from Nick Ambrogio, Noah Shamaki and Bayley Brown-Montgomery, while Inglewood beat Perth AFC 5-0 at Len Packham Park, with Anthony Bafobusha, Dhours Chol, Alex Ishida-Livings, Rene Kisesa and Harry Evans on target. In the next round Inglewood hosted Division One side Gosnells City at home, and won 3-0, while Floreat travelled to Edinburgh Oval to take on Division Two side Curtin University, and an early goal from Ambrogio saw them come home with a narrow 1-0 win.

In the quarterfinals both sides won tight encounters on the road. First Inglewood travelled to Alfred Skeet Reserve to take Division One Fremantle City, who had already beaten NPL sides Olympic Kingsway and Perth SC in the competition, and a late goal from Shubham Mokala gave Andrea Oliverira’s side a 3-2 win. Floreat took on Balcatta Etna at Frank Drago Reserve, and Jesse Roberts scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win.

It was an all NPL semi-final line up, and first up Inglewood played Sorrento at Inglewood Stadium, and a brace from Michael Domfeh gave them a 3-0 win, and a spot in the Cup Final for the first time since 2009. In the second semifinal Floreat took on reigning cup holders Cockburn City at Dalmatinac Park. Phil Arnold gave Floreat the lead early, but Cockburn skipper Jesse Lazzaro levelled for the Cockerels. But Arnold added a second in first half stoppage time, and that was enough to secure their first finals birth, and they will be looking to add to their eight State Cup Final wins.

It’s been a difficult season for Floreat, who were the reigning NPL champions, but assistant coach Miki Vujacic said it went down to the last game, but the lads held their nerve to see them survive. “Yes, it was a very tough season for us, I thought we played really well in a lot of our games, creating plenty of chances, but couldn't translate that into enough points. We did have our fair share of setbacks with long-term player injuries and availability but ultimately, as a whole, we should have done better,” he explained.

“The league was the tightest I have ever seen in my time in WA Football, with any team capable of taking three points on the day, but thankfully we did enough to stay up. Credit to our players, who have stuck together throughout the season and continued to fight to the end, although the last day drama, besides giving Vas and I a few more grey hairs, is a testament to the quality and competitiveness this league has.”

A spot in the Australia Cup round of 32 was a highlight, and Vujacic said despite the loss, the performance was good against A-League side Western Sydney Wanderers, and it took the spotlight off their relegation scrap. “To be honest it was a bit of a distraction from the league battle and came at a really crucial time of the year for us. It was a great experience for the players to play against a quality side like WSW, they are definitely looking to be a force in the A-league this year,” Vujacic said. “It was always going to be a tough ask for us, but I think the boys put in a good shift and did the club proud. Congratulations to Kingsway for hosting a great event, and many thanks to Con for all the hard work getting everything ready for the night.”

Vujacic, who won the State Cup Final with Swan IC in 2004, and with Floreat in 2009, said Saturday is a cup final and will be a tight encounter, just like the games they have played against each other this season. We've had some tight games this year, so no doubt Saturday night will be a very cagey affair. They have a lot of quality in the squad, and have put a good run of games together in the lead up,” he said. “But after the relief of last week's conclusion to the season, and some good performances of late, I feel our boys are primed to finish the season on a high.”

Inglewood coach Andres Oliveira said the season was disappointing, but the effort and commitment of his players shone through late in the season to pull clear of the drop zone. “The season was very inconsistent for us, and it was difficult for me as a coach due to a lot of circumstances, but the dedication and attitude from the players is the reason for us to stay above relegation and play in two finals this year,” the coach explained. “Our last eight games we only lost once, but we let ourselves down, and at the same time, we learnt from a couple of games that we should have won and not drawn.”

Like Floreat, a place in the Australia Cup round of 32 was the highlight of their season, and a trip interstate brought the team together, and Oliveira said even though they lost the game it was a catalyst in their NPL survival. “2. Playing MetroStars in Adelaide was a great experience for everyone involved at our club, and it gave exposure to Inglewood United and players to understand what kind of caliber is needed to play at a higher level,” Oliveira explained. “I honest believe this helped us for the season, as they bonded as a team/club and gave them that concentration and desire to push on together.”

It was be a sad day on Saturday, with Inglewood keeper Alex Dunn playing his final game before retiring, and Oliveira, who won two cup finals when he played at Perth SC in 2001 and 2005 said it will be a tough game, but he is hoping to send Alex out on top. “I believe Alex has been the best keeper in the last 10 years or so, and it’s ironic, Alex and I were laughing the other day because he made his debut with me as a player at Floreat and now retires with me as coach at Inglewood. I feel sorry for him having to put up with me all those years,” Oliveria joked.

“But you couldn't get a better person and keeper, and everyone who knows Alex or played with him would say the same. His dedication, attitude, and performances just show the reason why he played for so long at a high level. One thing I would really love is for him to go out with a trophy as he deserves it. But standing in our way are Floreat, and over my five-year coaching Inglewood, I enjoy coming against Floreat because it is always a great competitive game and has always been neck and neck with the results. This final will be exactly the same and just be who wants it more on the day.”



The Women’s State League Cup Final, sees the Hyundai NTC Women taking on Murdoch University Melville at the State Football Centre, Queens Park on Saturday afternoon. (3.45pm) The NTC youngsters, once again proved their quality, finishing fourth to reach the end of season finals, while MUMFC just missed out, finishing fifth. David Biancuzzo’s side have played the NTC three times in the league this season, and won one and drew the other two, so they head into the game in a confident mood, while the NTC will look to turn those results around in the final, it should be a great game.

How they reached the final…. Both sides had comfortable wins in round one, goals from Chari Wainwright, Jessica Johnson, Nitita Strickling and Sophie Meaden securing a 4-0 win for MUMFC against Subiaco Division One side at Besteam Stadium, while a hat-trick from Anna Powell gave NTC a 6-0 win against Division One side UWA Nedlands at E&D Litis Stadium. In round two NTC beat fellow NPL side Subiaco AFC 4-2 at E&D Litis Stadium, while MUMFC travelled to Division One leaders Hamersley Rovers, and goals from Johnson, Meaden and Isabella Wainwright gave them a hard fought 3-0 win.

Both semi-finals were all NPL affairs, and both were close games. In the first game MUMFC hosted Fremantle City at Besteam Stadium, and it was the hosts who prevailed, with Samantha Mathers scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win. In the second semi-final it was a five-goal thriller, with NTC running out 3-2 winners. Tanika Lala gave NTC the lead early, but goals from Ella Lincoln and Jaime Duncanson gave the Azzurri the lead at the break. But early in the second half Grace Johnston restored parity for the NTC, and four minutes from time they won it, with Georgia Cassidy converting from the spot.

It's been another successful season for the NTC youngsters, and the form of some of their talented players, saw them move to Perth Glory, with Grace Johnston and Tanika Lala both signing for the A-League Women’s league this season, and both have been named in the Young Matildas squad which will participate in a training camp in Sydney this week. NTC assistant coach Fernando Barreiro said its exciting times ahead for the pair. “Yes, definitely a year to remember for the NTC program in terms of identification and contracts for some of our youngest players,” he said. “We’re so excited to see this happening and we’re going to be following those players journey and supporting them.”

Barreiro said a good cup run was good for the development of the players, and he said the semi-final win against Perth SC, who beat them in the Night Series semi-final on penalties, was a great game for the supporters on the night. “I think cup final football’s important for the girls, you win you progress, you lose you go home, and the girls will be exposed to that type of football throughout their lives especially as they enter into the real world of must win games so this is an experience they should embrace and enjoy at the same time,” he explained. “Perth definitely gave us a tough game as always with the Azzurri. They’ve got some talented players and are coached really well, and they also play a similar style to us. But in the end our quality in the squad got the job done.”

On Saturday they come against MUMFC, who they have not beaten in the league this season, and Barreiro said they will be hoping to change that on Saturday, but is expecting another tough game. “Saturday’s final is a huge occasion for our players, and we definitely want to put things right against MUM. They’re a young team with a mix of some older experienced players, and we feel even though we haven’t beaten them this season, we still played some good football against them,” the assistant coach said. “I think it’s just about sticking to our principles and it might boil down to moments in the game. Ben (Anderton) and I have analysed our past games with them so we’ll try and be more prepared for Saturday and make sure the girls execute the game plan, but we’re looking forward to the game, it should be a good one.”

MUMFC coach David Biancuzzo said inconsistency hurt them in the league this season, but his younger players will get a great deal out of the season. “I thought it was a fantastic start to the season winning five out of our first seven games in the league and with a young squad, we were playing some great football, but in round 8 away at Redstar we lost 1-0 and lost Vanessa Miller, with a ruptured ACL which I think was a turning point for the season,” Biancuzzo explained. “Even though we drew at home against NTC and Perth soon after, players were starting to show signs of fatigue and we were getting injuries to key players most weeks.

“Add to that players were playing football with their schools and four players got selected in the State School Girls, the loads were just getting ridiculous for some of the players and it was starting to show with our results. We won only two out of our last 14 league games which was against Curtin and even though we had ‘good draws’ against NTC, Perth and Redstar, we were playing some U21’s players who were fantastic, but in the end, we were disappointed we weren’t able to maintain that good start. Having a young squad has been awesome this season because they have been so eager to adapt to our playing style but I think inconsistency and the amount of football they were playing really affected our season.”

The cup run was tough, and Biancuzzo said a game at Division One leaders Hamersley, in terrible weather, was a battle, and he was pleased to come home with a win, and the semi-final against Fremantle was a cliff hanger, but he said they defended well to get the right result and a spot in the final. “Cup games are always going to be tricky as you sometimes want to either rest players or limit their minutes and at the same time, it’s an opportunity for players who don’t normally start, to play 90 minutes,” he said.

“Our game against Hamersley the conditions weren’t fantastic - cold, wet, windy, lightening 10 minutes before kickoff and we struggled to adapt. We knew going into the game that Hamersley were a good team with quality players, but I think overall we created enough opportunities and were unlucky not to win by a bigger margin. In the semifinal against Fremantle, we had just played them four days earlier and lost 1-0 and knew the semifinal was also going to be a close game. We managed to score the only goal of the game early in the first half with a brilliant strike from Sam (Mathers) and then rode our luck at the end as Fremantle looked to equalise. I think either team would have been ecstatic to get through to the final and fortunately it was us on that occasion.”

Biancuzzo said Saturday is going to be a great occasion for the club, and everyone is buzzing to play in the final, and on the back of the huge success of the Matildas, women’s football is on a high, and he hopes there will be good crowd to watch the game. “The team this week has been really excited about the Cup Final, and as we were finishing off the league season it was challenging to keep everyone’s minds off the State Cup Final, but now that it has finally arrived, everyone is buzzing,” he said.

“No matter what has happened during the season we know this Cup Final against NTC is going to be a very tough game. They are such a talented team with Young Matilda’s and players signing for Perth Glory and have an excellent coaching group. At the same time, we also have very good young players, and we know that if we can play at our best, we can enjoy the spoils of winning the Cup Final. Finally, I think what is going to be very exciting for women’s football in this state is that both teams have so many talented young footballers, and coming off the success of the Women’s World Cup, hopefully we get a big crowd and it’s a great game.”



In the State League Reserves Cup Final, NPLWA under 20’s Champions Perth Glory will be looking for the double when they take on fellow NPL side Armadale at the State Football Centre, Queens Park on Saturday afternoon. (1.15pm) Glory sealed back-to-back league title’s this season, and beat Armadale twice during the season, but Armadale improved as the season went on, and they be looking for an upset on Saturday.

How they reached the final… Glory, were pushed all the way in the second round when they took on Inglewood United, and a brace from Khoa Ngo, including a last-minute winner, saw them prevail 4-3 at Len Packham Reserve. Armadale were on the road in their game, a trip to the Croatian Sporting Complex, and a double from Delano Adams saw the runout 4-1 winners. In the third round Glory took on Gosnells City at Crazy Domain Stadium, Hartfield Park, and goals from Gert Prinsloo, Louise Hewings and an own goal saw them win 3-0, while Armadale beat Maddington-Kalamunda White City 5-1 at Maida Vale Reserve, with Abdi Warsame bagging a hat-trick.

In the quarter-final Glory took on Perth SC, again at Crazy Domain Stadium, and a brace from Daniel Adesina saw them through 2-0. Meanwhile Armadale were made to fight hard to move through 2-1 against Rockingham City at the Larkhill Sportsplex, but goals from Elias Sobol and Angel Andres Jnr was enough. In the semi-final Glory took on Sorrento at the UWA Sports Park, and Sebastian Despotovski gave them a perfect start scoring twice in the opening 15 minutes. Samuel Barry added a third on the hour, before Daniel Adesina made it 4-0. Barry added his second four minutes from time, to secure a comprehensive win. Armadale moved into the final, after another hard fought 2-1 win, this time against Murdoch University Melville at Alfred Skeet Reserve. Adams scored the opener just before the break, and Andres Jnr doubled their lead on the hour. Alex Moffatt pulled one back for MUMFC late, which set up a tense finish, but Armadale held firm to seal their spot in the final.

Glory Head Coach Ivan Zuvela said he has been delighted how his young side performed in league and cup this season, especially at the back, the side conceding the least number of goals this season. “We have been delighted with how the whole squad has performed this year. We clearly do a lot of work on the training field and we are blessed to have a bunch of players that are so committed to performing and putting the effort in,” Zuvela explained. “It is always nice to score the number of goals that we have, but it’s also pleasing that our defence as a whole has been so tight and we are proud of our defensive record this year.”

Zuvela said their cup run started with a tough game, and they rode their luck at times in the game, but after reaching the final he hopes his side can stay focused and take out the double. “Our cup run didn’t start that smooth, and we had a very tough game against Inglewood, and to be honest, we were lucky to come away with the win. Our form then continued where we started off well against Perth and then what I thought was an exceptional display when we played Sorrento mid-week in the semi-final,” the coach explained.

“Saturday is a big game, and I have a huge amount of respect for Lee Taylor and what he has done with his under 20s side with Armadale this year. Their form recently has been outstanding and its credit to him as a coach for what he has done. Our mindset this week is to really stay focused on the task at hand, but we are also telling the players to enjoy the week and enjoy the moment on Saturday. Cup finals are always special and you don’t get many opportunities to be a part of it. My role at Glory is all about developing these players as people and professionals, and this weekend is another opportunity for them to continue their growth, and everyone is excited, but we certainly won’t be taking Armadale lightly.”

Armadale Head Coach Lee Taylor said after a frustrating start to the season his young side have fought hard to end it well, and play with confidence, which has been pleasing. “Although we have improved our final position in league on previous seasons, it has been a frustrating season in terms of results, there has been a lot of games where we have played well and made mistakes which have cost us points,” Taylor explained, “We have improved over the back end of the season and were able to get wins against a couple of the teams in the top four which has been positive. Our main priority though in the U20s is to prepare players for first team football, and we have been able to give debuts to a number of players this season, which is positive for the future.”

Their cup run has been solid, and wins against form teams Rockingham and MUMFC from Division One were hard fought, and he knows what to expect against Glory on Saturday, but he knows they will have the Army faithful supporting them. “Both the sides you mentioned were in good form when we played them and had beaten NPL U20s teams before they met us so they were tough draws to come through, Murdoch in particular was a tough game they moved the ball well, as always with a cup football it’s about taking your chances when they come which we were able to do that night,” Taylor said.

“We are really looking forward to the final, I’m told it’s been a long time since the U20s group have reached a final and we are privileged to have some really good vocal support in and around the club that will be there on the day to support us. There’s no doubt that glory has been the standout team in the league this season, Ivan and Will have done a brilliant job but teams in the league have shown that they can be beaten. We have improved a lot since we last played them in round 13 so we will go into the game with no fear and will meet the challenge head on.”



In the State League Under 18’s Cup Final, sees Perth SC take on Floreat Athena at the State Football Centre, Queens Park on Saturday morning. (11am) Floreat finished third on the NPL table, to qualify for the Top Four Finals, while Perth just missed out, finishing fifth. In games between them in the league this season, Perth won the round five game at Dorrien Gardens 3-0, but Floreat turned the tables on the Azzurri in round 19 with a 2-0 win, so Saturday will be the decider.

How they reached the final…. Floreat began their cup run with a home tie against Subiaco at E&D Litis Stadium, and goals from Xavier Medica, Daniel Nikoloski and Aidan McKie saw them run out 3-0 winners. Perth hit the round for their opener, and Jamie Bilaloski scored the only goal in a 1-0 win against Fremantle City. In round three goals from Harry Stonehouse and Lucas De Melo Veloso gave Floreat a 2-0 lead early against Curtin University, and despite a late goal from Chris Amedeo they ran out 2-1 winners at Edinburgh Oval. Perth were big winners in their tie against Olympic Kingsway, with a brace from Jonathan Ricupero giving them a 4-1 win at the Inglewood Stadium.

In the quarter-final, both sides were made to work hard for the victory. First Perth took on Forrestfield United at Crazy Domains Stadium, Hartfield Park, and it was a nine-goal thriller, with the Azzurri prevailing 5-4 with a goal in stoppage time from Finn Wensley. Floreat travelled to Besteam Stadium to take on hosts Murdoch University Melville, and A McKie gave Perth the lead early, but S Kalutotage levelled for the hosts. But six minutes from time McKie added his second to secure the win. In the semi-final Perth took on Sorrento at the UWA Sports Park, and it was a tight encounter, the only goal of the game coming ten minutes into the second half, with Sorrento scoring an own goal. Floreat travelled to the RedStar Arena to take on Perth RedStar, but due to the pitch not being fit for play, the referee abandoned the game, with Floreat being awarded the tie on a forfeit.

It's been a successful season for Floreat Athena, and coach Giordan Serra said his young side have had their challengers, but have stuck together and deserve a top four spot. “It's been a good year overall, but like every team we still had plenty of challenges. At times our discipline has slipped, or we weren't as in sync as we would've liked, or we just made poor choices. This is the price of learning. Ultimately, we played more good games than bad ones and when we are on, its enjoyable to watch,” he said. “Xavier Medica's contributions in front of goal speaks for itself. However, the stats alone don't do him justice. He is incredibly important to the way that we play, and he has taken some of the younger boys in the squad under his wing. This has been a constant theme in the squad this year, with the older players mentoring and motivating the younger ones.”

Serra said their cup run have been interesting to say the least, and a hard-fought win at MUMFC on their artificial pitch, showed the character of his side, while the semi-final abandonment at Perth RedStar was really disappointing. “It was a wet and windy night at MUMFC on an unfamiliar surface posed some difficulties. Murdoch fought hard and they looked to capitalise on our mistakes, but in the end, we showed good resilience to come away with the result,” he explained. “The semi-final game was disappointing, unfortunately, the pitch was not marked to the required standard. This caused the referee to abandon the game. It was not rescheduled and resulted in a forfeit by the home side who contributed to the abandonment of the game. It was pretty disappointing as I have boys that live in Baldivis, Fremantle, Rockingham and Mandurah, so to travel two hours in traffic and not play was very poor.”

The final against Perth will be another tough challenge, and Serra said it will be an entertaining game, and he is looking forward to the challenge. “Playing Perth is always a game to look forward to, they are well coached and have some quality players, so I’m expecting a highly competitive and open football match, and it should be entertaining to watch,” Serra said. “Perth maintains a proud reputation of developing young players and has had reoccurring success in every age group, and this is something Floreat is trying to emulate. A good performance on Saturday will go a long way to showcase the improvements we have made as a group and a club. I am incredibly proud of our boys and certain you will see many representing the first team in the years to come.”

Perth SC Head Coach Basil Lenzo said missed opportunities cost them in their fight for a top four place, and they missed out by just two points, but a good cup run was important. “Yes, we were disappointed to not make the top four, as we threw a few games away when in good positions,” he said. “However, we have rebuilt the squad this season, and we’ve been really pleased with the young group, and overall, we achieved the Cup Final which was one of our objectives at the start of the season.”

The semi-final win against Sorrento was a pleasing performance, and Lenzo said they have performed well in the competition, and he hopes it continues on Saturday. “In the game against Sorrento, I thought we were outstanding, and to be fair to our players, it should have been a lot more. In all the cup games, we have really produced our best team efforts so here’s hoping that they continue that form,” Lenzo explained. “We have had some great battles over the last few years with Giordan and his team. They are well organised and like to get forward. We like to keep the ball and work the ball around. It’s a great game for the young boys at the new stadium and great opener to the cup final weekend.”



West Australian trio Cameron Burgess, Alessandro Circati and Ashley Maynard-Brewer are in line for their first senior Socceroos caps after being named in a youthful Australia squad for this month's friendly against Mexico.

Australia manager Graham Arnold unveiled his squad on Friday with Ipswich Town defender Burgess and Charlton Athletic goalkeeper Maynard-Brewer called up for the first time. Parma defender Circati was previously selected for June's friendly against Argentina but didn't play.

The Australia squad to play Mexico is Mat Ryan, Tom Glover, Ashley Maynard-Brewer, Nathaniel Atkinson, Aziz Behich, Cameron Burgess, Alessandro Circati, Milos Degenek, Kye Rowles, Harry Souttar, Ryan Strain, Keanu Baccus, Martin Boyle, Cammy Devlin, Denis Genreau, Jackson Irvine, Riley McGree, Connor Metcalfe, Aiden O'Neill, Sammy Silvera, Nick D'Agostino, Mitch Duke and Mathew Leckie.



Perth Glory have signed central defender Aleksandar Susnjar for the A-League Men season in the first recruitment move under new coach Alen Stajcic. The 28-year old defender notched 50 national league appearances for Macarthur FC across the past three seasons following spells in Lithuania, Romania, Czechia, Slovakia and South Korea.

Perth-born Susnjar is looking forward to turning out for his hometown club. "Coming back home is something that I've always considered but just haven't had the opportunity to do," Susnjar said. "Last year was a bit of a hard year for me, but coming back to Perth and being around family, I feel like I can get back on the park and keep moving forward."

"Personally, I'm here to do my best and help the team. Working together, I think aiming for the finals is something that's achievable for us. I went to Glory games when I was a kid and did a year in the youth academy, so I've been around the club before and I've always followed the A-League, so I know what's going on."

Stajcic, who was appointed coach of Glory last month, said Susnjar is an important addition to the squad. "Aleks will add a vast amount of experience into our team having played in both Europe and in the A-League and made over 200 first team appearances," Stajcic said. "Having another Perth local re-connect with our club is an important part of our vision moving forward."

A commanding aerial presence at 192cm, Susnjar played as a teenager in Glory's development system before linking up with Lithuanian side Ekranas in 2013. He briefly returned to the local stage two years later with Perth SC followed by spells at Lietava Jonava (Lithuania) and Gaz Metan Medias (Romania).

Two seasons in Czechia were split between FK Teplice and Mlada Boleslav after which he joined Sloavkian side MSK Zilina on a six-month loan deal. In 2019 the defender switched to Busan IPark, who he held win promotion to South Korea's K-League. Susnjar represented Serbia at under-17 level before gaining his Socceroos debut in 2018 against Norway.

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This page was last updated on the 24th August, 2023