2002 State Team

South Australia 0 Western Australia 0

Status: Centenary Challenge Match
Date: 9 March 2002
Venue: Hindsmarsh Stadium, Adelaide, South Australia
South Australia :
Western Australia (squad): Troy Bernard, Robyn Dyers, Adrian Sutton, Daniel Trim, Dale Wingell, Lucas Gobbi, Dale McCulloch, Aaron Cole, Todd Howarth, Andreas Oliveira, Ryan Jeans, Corey Hugo, Ivan Zuvela, Antonio Naglieri, Michael Garcia
Dismissals: None

Western Australia have held South Australia to a scoreless draw in Saturday's Fasta Pasta Centenary Challenge match at Hindsmarsh Stadium in Adelaide. Both sides had their chances but failed to make the most of them in an entertaining match watched by a crowd of little over 1,000. While WA took to the field in their traditional colours of black and gold, the home side fronted in a replica of their 1905 strip of all white with a diagonal red stripe. The visitors were the quickest of the two teams to settle, dominating the opening first 20 minutes and creating several chances through Michael Garcia on the left and lively forward Andreas Oliviera.

SA worked their way back into the match with midfielder Aaron Westervelt left wingback Michael Pirone sending some dangerous crosses into their 18-yard box. But the strong and at times physical defence of Troy Bernard, Aaron Cole and Adrian Sutton stood firm. On the few occasions they were breached goalkeeper Corey Hugo came to the rescue of the team from the west. In the 32nd minute he denied SA captain Michael Brooks with a world-class save from a header at point-blank range, and four minutes later turned a rasping left-footer by Frank Sergi around the post.

The home side started the new half with renewed enthusiasm, forcing their opponents into defence and to reply on counter-attacking moves. Hugo was again called into action in the 52nd minute, this time producing another spectacular save to keep out Brooks' powerful shot from 6-metres. Not long after Bill Misailidis and Pirone combined on the left to tee-up Sergi who pushed a simple header wide. With the warm afternoon taking it's toll on the players, both coaches looked to their benches to introduce fresh legs and try and find the goal to break the deadlock. While the score ended in a nil-all draw, this was an entertaining match played between two committed sides relishing the opportunity to wear their State colours. Corey Hugo contributed with a man-of-the-match performance for the west, while others that impressed included Garcia, Bernard, Cole and Todd Howarth. For SA their best players were Pirone, Sam Barbaro, George Tsonis, Westervelt and Misailidis.

"The young lads gave themselves to W.A. soccer 100% today," commented WA coach Robbie Dunn post-match. "It was a better result than you think because the South Australian side have been training since November and were predicting a 5-0 scoreline. Our performance today was fantastic. Troy Bernard gave everything, I had to take him off 10 minutes after half time and put on young Ivan Zuvela at sweeper and at 19 he played like a veteran. Another outstanding performer was Dale McCulloch, he was absolutely brilliant and took over the captains armband when Troy went off. If you'd have watched the team today, nil-nil doesn't really reflect the game." Praise was also heaped on goalkeeper Corey Hugo who constantly frustrated the home forwards with a series of great saves.

Western Australia 2 Perth Glory 3

Status: Friendly
Date: 10 November 2002
Western Australia : Corey Hugo (Oliver Taseski 79), Dino Djulbic, Troy Bernard (Stuart Banks 79), Dean Johnson, Miki Vujacic (Rob Giorgi 63), Scott Campbell (Robbie Gaspar 63), James Afkos, Todd Howarth, Carl Medica (Stuart Montgomery 79), Andres Oliveira, Branimir Mikulic (Ryan Newhill 79)
Perth Glory : Jason Petkovic (Tony Franken 46), Ben Blake, Mohammad Mouhouti, Jamie Coyne, Michael Garcia, Todd Harnwell, Nick Ward (Peter Lord 55), Anthony Danze, Antonio Naglieri, Bobby Despotovski, Adrian Caceres
Dismissals: None

Perth Glory withstood a strong second-half performance from a courageous State side before running out 3-2 winners in Sunday's friendly match that helped raise funds for the Perth City players injured in the Bali bombings. The first opening of the game came the way of the State side with Branimir Mikulic heading into the path of Scott Campbell whose dipping shot from 16-metres was comfortably held by Jason Petkovic. But some hesitant defending at the opposite end of the ground allowed Glory to draw first blood after 13 minutes, Nick Ward's fine cross into the area finding Antonio Naglieri who was allowed a free header that he sent past Corey Hugo. The goal sparked Glory into a frenzy of activity. Mohammad Mouhouti sent Bobby Despotovski through with only the 'keeper to beat but Hugo's sharp reflexes kept a rising shot from the Australian international. And moments later Jamie Coyne made his way past two opponents wide on the left before releasing Todd Harnwell but he too was denied by the State custodian.

With Glory dominating possession, it came as no surprise when the margin was doubled in the 22 minute. The State side failed to sufficiently deal with an Adrian Caceres corner, Coyne clipped the ball back into the area and, after coming off several heads, Naglieri controlled and drilled home from a narrow angle his second goal of the afternoon. Minutes after, Harnwell ran onto a defence splitting pass by Despotovski and slid the ball wide of Hugo but also the upright. The State team also created some nervous moments in their opponents defence without really troubling Petkovic. A powerful blast from 18-metres by Andres Oliveira was deflected wide by Coyne for a corner, Mikulic got in behind the backline only to see a desperate Michael Garcia cut out his through ball. But as the half came to a close it was Glory that went closest to adding to the scoreboard with Caceres and Despotovski both having good shots kept out by man-of-the-match Hugo.

The second half was only five minutes old when Caceres close-range effort was superbly blocked by Hugo and the striker's follow-up was cleared off the line by Dean Johnson. But the State team refused to be overwhelmed by the occasion and clawed their way back into the contest with a hard-working team performance. Miki Vujacic, who spent the winter playing for Future Glory, forced an acrobatic saved from second half goalkeeper Tony Franken with a blistering shot from the top of the area. Then James Afkos and Johnson combined for Vujacic whose curling effort was bound for the top corner before Franken flew high to prevent it from crossing the line. In the 76th minute Coyne send a high ball to the far post where Caceres rose above a stagnant defence only to have his close-range header brilliant blocked by Hugo.

The introduction of Rob Giorgi and Robbie Gaspar just after the hour had injected some new life in the State side, and three additional substitutions by coach Gary Marocchi in the 79th minute had almost immediate effect. With eight minutes left on the clock, Todd Howarth pumped a long ball into the danger zone where Oliveira brought the ball under control, shrugged off a challenge from Ben Blake before rocketing it into the top left hand corner of Franken's goal. Two minutes later Gaspar, Ryan Newhill, Stuart Montgomery and Afkos James held possession on top of the 18-yard box until an opening appeared, Afkos' cross was met at the far post by Howarth whose stunning half-volley bulged the back of the net before Franken had time to react. With the match looking destined to end in a draw, Despotovski popped up in stoppage time to score what was a very lucky winner. Coyne sent the ball high to the top of the area when Despotovski leapt at the ball, his out-stretched arm breaking the concentration of substitute goalkeeper Oliver Taseski whose attempt to punch the ball clear ricocheted off the Glory striker and into the net for the deciding goal.

Glory's third goal came as a cruel blow for the State team who had the tenacity to bounce back from a two-goal half-time deficit. Without a doubt, the star player for Western Australia was goalkeeper Hugo whose sharp reflexes prevented the score from blowing out in the opening period. There were also important contributions from midfielder Scott Campbell and teenage defender Dino Djulbic, who effectively kept dangerman Despotovski out of the game for long periods. Although worthy winners for their early dominance, Glory were very fortunate to get over the line with a very lucky goal. Glory coach Mich D'Avray said the game was much needed for the club's fringe players. "You could see near the end the lack of match practice showed. It was a great run out for the players." Teenager Anthony Danze made the most of a competitive match with a strong performance, while Ben Blake and Adrian Caceres also showed they are ready, willing and able to be promoted to the first team should the opportunity arise.

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