2000 Premier League All-Stars

(Inglewood United)

(Inglewood United)

(Floreat Athena)

(Western Knights)

Michael MIRCO
(Fremantle City)

(Floreat Athena)

(Fremantle City)

(Fremantle City)

(Western Knights)

(Western Knights)


This team has been chosen from the performances that I witnessed over the course of the winter season in the W.A. Premier League, Boral Cup and Champion of Champions competitions. I have named 22 players (a task difficult in itself) and have attempted to find a balance between youth and experience for a side that I believe would produce attractive, attacking football. - Brett Klucznik

The Starting Eleven

Robert ZABICA (Goalkeeper) - The one-time Adelaide City, Perth Glory and Socceroo custodian went into the season with two W.A. Goalkeeper of the Year trophies to his credit and emerged at the end of the winter with a well-deserved third. After successive seasons with Cockburn City and the Bayswater City Panthers, Zabica arrived at Inglewood United for 2000 and he had an outstanding season, conceeding just 13 goals in 20 outings and undoubtedly one of the chief reasons behind United making the play-offs. Polled strongly in the Siena Cafe/"Sunday Times" Player of the Year award.

Troy BERNARD (Sweeper) - Still in his early 20's, Bernard has already wracked up a wealth of experience playing with with Floreat Athena. Coming up through the ranks at the club, Bernard was looking the goods to sign with Perth Glory in 1998 when he made his first appearance for the W.A. State team. As luck would have it, a change of coach saw his chances evaporate but how he's not been picked by for NSL action since is beyond me. Comfortable playing as sweeper or in midfield, he put in another strong season in a side which battled to avoid relegation for much of the winter. The end of the seaosn saw Bernard's talents recognised when he took out the Siena Cafe/"Sunday Times" Player of the Year award and came fourth in the Gold Medal count. Recently picked up in a management and development deal by Sportsgroup Soccer International, Bernard was also included in the State squad which played Perth Glory and Malaysia.

Steve MacDONALD (Central Defender) - MacDonald spent his junior years with Kingsway Olympic and broke into their first team in 1998, polling well in the Rookie of the Year award. The following season he joined Inglewood United, quickly established himself as a regular and by 2000 was handed the club captaincy at the age of 20. Learning fast from experienced campaigners of the calibre of Robert Zabica and Alex Cummings, the tall defender capped a fantastic season when invited to trial with Perth Glory during September. He was recently identified as one of 18 players to be managed and developed under the guidance of Sportsgroup Soccer International and selection in the 2000 State Under-23 squad followed. MacDonald was the highest ranked Inglewood player in the end of season Siena Cafe/"Sunday Times" Player of the Year award and the McInerney Ford Gold Medal.

Andy WRIGHT (Central Defender) - Veteran defender Wright once again proved his value with a another sterling winter at the heart of Ronnie Campbell's defence. He's an experienced player with some big honours to his credit including the 1997 and 1998 W.A. Player of the Year awards, collected during a lengthy stint with Stirling Macedonia/Lions. Wright polled well the following season also but with his club relegated made the move to the Knights for 2000. Finished joint fifth in the 2000 McInerney Ford Gold Medal.

Jason SMITH (Defensive Midfielder) - This might be a surprise selection for some, but in my mind Smith had an outstanding season for Floreat Athena. The former ECU Joondalup player overcame injury early in the winter to add strength and experience to a struggling Athena team. Getting better as the season progressed, Smith was just what his club needed as they fought to avoid relegation, including a man-of-the-match effort against Ashfield/Bunbury to ensure his club retained their Premier League status. Polled strongly in the 2000 Siena Cafe/"Sunday Times" player of the Year award to finsih in sixth place.

Michael MIRCO (Right Wing) - The eldest of the two Mirco boys at Fremantle City, Michael started out with Spearwood Dalmatinac before moving to City a couple of seasons back. A State representative, Perth Glory coach Bernd Stange is a big fan of Mirco who has twice trialled with the NSL side in as many years. A hard-working flank player who is quick to get forward, Mirco narrowly edged out skillful Sorrento winger Todd Harnwell in the starting eleven.

Shane McNALLY (Left Wing) - The 24-year old left-sided player joined the Western Knights during the off-season after successive spells with Morley Windmills, Cockburn City and the Bayswater City Panthers. He proved to be an inspiration for his club over the season which culminated in trialls with Perth Glory after displaying an uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time and slot home vital goals. Beat off Perth's Todd Howarth for a berth in the starting eleven.

Paul McVITTIE (Central Midfielder) - The former Perth Glory and State team player had a strong debut season with Fremantle City after a couple of years with Western Knights. McVittie came to Australia after several years playing in Europe and, after spells with the Perth Kangaroos, Canberra Cosmos and Glory, the midfielder is now enjoying the twilight of his career. Named as one of five over-age players in the 2000 State Under-23 squad.

Gary FARIA (Central Midfielder) - Faria's potential was evident several years ago and it is only fitting that he's recently signed professional papers with Perth Glory. A product of the youth system at Fremantle City, the 21-year old attacking midfielder represented W.A. at junior level before breaking into the State League in 1998 when he took out the Rookie of the Year award. Several solid seasons for the port side followed over which time Glory coach Bernd Stange monitored his progress, signing him on loan in February 2000 to strengthen a depleted squad. Returning to his local club for the winter campaign, Faria played a big part in City taking out the minor premiership for the first time but unfortunately left the club for Glory before City lifted the trophy.

John NICOLAOU (Striker) - Nicolaou took out the 2000 Golden Boot with a total of 17 goals in the home-and-away season - 13 of those coming in the last 11 rounds! Having recently made the move to the Knights as a midfielder, Nicolaou missed the opening six weeks of the season but quickly made up for lost time. He shifted into out-and-out attacking role at the suggestion of assistant coach Willie Kelly mid-season and instantly struck gold to lead the club's charge for the title. The 23-year old capped a great season with a double in the Boral Cup Final against Sorrento to earn the club their first trophy of the year.

Adrian CACERAS (Striker) - Caceras is without a doubt one of the most exciting young talents to have emerged from Perth in the past few years. A product of Perth's youth program and a junior State team representative, Caceras' goal-scoring abilities were on display in the pre-season Night Series when he found the back of the net eight times in five games, form which he carried over to the Premier League Season which included a four goal haul against Rockingham City in June. Equally comfortable playing up-front or in midfield, Caceras trialled with Perth Glory and Parramatta Power during the latter part of 1999 but was lost to the game in Australia when he signed a three-year contract with Southampton in August.

Stand-by Squad

Corey HUGO (Goalkeeper) - A Swan I.C. junior and graduate of the WAIS soccer program, Hugo was a key ingredient in Swan making the play-off's for the first time in their history. Having polled strongly in the 1998 Goalkeeper of the Year award, he spent an extended period trialling with Perth Glory over the summer that followed. Hugo recently was called up for the State Under-23 squad and has been identified as one of 18 players to be managed and developed by Sportsgroup Soccer International. Gave Robert Zabica a run for his money for the seasons' Goalkeeper of the Year trophy.

Craig NAVEN (Sweeper) - Naven was part of the inaugural Perth Glory squad but left the NSL side late in 1998 due to family and work committments. He returned to Perth - whom he started out with at senior level a decade earlier - and quickly re-established the respect of his peers with his tough-tackling, never-say-die attitude. Now entering the twilight of his playing career, Naven marshalled the Perth defence with aplomb in 2000 and could still easily walk into the starting eleven at most NSL clubs. Amongst the highlights of Naven's distinguished career to date are AIS graduation, State presentation at all junior and senior levels, Australian Under-16 team, captain of the Perth Kangaroos (S-League) and Perth for the past couple of years.

Dave EVANS (Central Defender) - At the age of 36, Evans joined Fremantle City after close to a decade of playing in Malaysia with Sarawak where he was the longest serving foreigner in the M-League. A hard-working central defender, Evans has been the pillar of strength at the back for City this season and is particularly effective in the air where he towers over those around him. Finished in equal third place for the 2000 Siena Cafe/"Sunday Times" player of the Year award and level fifth (with Andy Wright) in the McInerney Ford Gold Medal.

Ivan LJUBICIC (Central Defender) - A strongly built defender, Ljubicic is a new-comer to the W.A. Premier League but has several years experience playing for North Geelong Warriors in the Victorian State League. Strong in the air where he uses his body to great effect, the 26-year old is an excellent marker as was evident in the play-offs clash with Perth when he kept the dangerous Nick Mrdja all but out of the game.

James DIMMOCK (Defensive Midfield) - Another player that started out at the Bayswater City Panthers, Dimmock was the stand-out at Swan I.C. this season. Coach Eric Williams used his versatility to great effect over the winter, be it playing Dimmock in creative role in the middle of the park, keeping an opposing striker out of the match at the back, or in a sweeping capacity behind the defense. Runner-up in his club's Fairest and Best award, Dimmock was selected as one of 18 players to be managed and developed under the guidance of Sportsgroup Soccer International in September.

Todd HARNWELL (Right Wing) - Harnwell has risen through the junior ranks at Sorrento and established himself as one of the first names to go down on the teamsheet. Brother of Glory defender Jamie, Todd made the 1999 State Under-23 team and, after another fantastic season on the flank, once again was called up for State honours when included in the squad to play Malaysia next month. A pacey and skillful right-sided player, Todd trialled with Glory recently and has been named as one of 18 players to be monitored by Sportsgroup Soccer International.

Todd HOWARTH (Left Wing) - Part of the Australian Schoolboys sides of the past two years, Howarth has had a consistent season on the flank for Perth. Often over-shadowed by the flashier players at the club, the hard-working youngster is always quick to break and never one to give up without a fight. Widely considered unlucky not be in the State Under-23 squad.

Jamie COYNE (Midfield) - Brother of Olyroo Chris Coyne, Jamie spent 14 months in the UK with West Ham United on apprentice terms before returning to Perth in February 1999. Shortly after he joined Kingsway Olympic and would poll strongly in the 1999 W.A. Player of the Year. 2000 saw him move to where's he's had an outstanding winter in the middle of the park, effective as a goal provider or leading the team out of defence. Played a key role in the Champion of Champions grand final victory over the Western Knights.

Joe VAZ (Midfield) - Vaz won the 1995 Rookie of the Year when playing with Fremantle City and has gone from strength to strength since. He represented W.A. at senior level in 1997 as a teenager and the 2000 winter was spent playing with Western Knights. An integral part of the Knights midfield, he trialled in Portugal mid-season and returned to the club on the eve of the Top Five play-offs when he added strength to an already impressive midfield. Called up for State honours when included in the squad to face Malaysia in early November.

Nick MRDJA (Forward) - Mrdja spent his junior years at the Bayswater City Panthers, establishing himself in the senior side in 1997 when he took out the W.A. Rookie of the Year award. This followed a spell with NSL outfit Canberra Cosmos but, having failed to break into the first team after two seasons, he returned to W.A. and joined Perth for the winter. In a team bristling with young talent, Mrdja's season was interrupted by injury but he still managed to find the target eight times over the winter to finish as his club's second leading scorer. Rewarded with trials at Glory where coach Bernd Stange is a big fan and was most recently selected in the State Under-23 squad.

Robyn DYERS (Forward) - Like his Floreat Athena teammate Jason Smith in the starting line-up, Dyers selection is probably a surprise to many. But had he had the service Athena promised in the Night Series, Dyers would most likely have finished the season as the League's top scorer. None-the-less, he found the target 13 times over the winter in a side which struggled for form and goals. Part of the original Perth Glory set-up in late 1995 and a veteren campaigner for Fremantle City, Dyers joined Athena this season where his experience - be it up-front or in a deeper midfield role - proved invaluable as the club fought to avoid relegation.

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This page was last updated on the 27th October, 2000