Archived News : November-December 2001



Christmas came early this year for 18-year old Greg Sharland who made his National Soccer League debut for Wollongong Wolves in their 3-1 away win over South Melbourne last weekend. Having joined the club little over two months ago, the former Inglewood United attacker was more than a little surprised to find himself in the starting line-up for the re-match of last years' Grand Final. "The coach didn't announce the line-up until about 10 minutes before kick-off," Sharland told Brett Klucznik this week. "I thought I'd be on the bench but when we came in from the warm-up I saw my name on the board and was shocked to have been named in the eleven."

Wearing the No.25 shirt, Sharland was far from being overawed by the occasion and turned in an impressive performance before being given a well-deserved rest by Wolves coach Ron Corry with 10 minutes remaining. "It was fantastic, I don't think I looked out of place on the park and I was really happy with my performance. I wish I could have scored though, I had a few chances but just couldn't make anything of them. Overall I was really pleased with the way it went, obviously the standard of the players is much better than in Perth, the crowds are bigger and the game is quicker, but I fitted in really well."

The one-time State Under-19 representative is now looking forward to cementing his place in the Wolves first team over the remainder of the season, which could include a possible return to Perth late in January when his club takes on Perth Glory. "I'd love to be involved in that game at Perth Oval, that would be fantastic. I've just got to work hard and do the best I can to keep my place," Sharland added.



Swan I.C. and the Swan Districts Junior Soccer Association developed a strategy that will offer local youngsters a pathway to playing senior soccer. Their first initiative is the Swan Soccer Development Course, a 10-week program for children aged 10 through to 16 where players will benefit from the knowledge and experience of UEFA coaches Paul Wozny and Mike Brazil. Once the 2002 season kicks-off in April, the Junior Soccer Association of W.A. will provide the infrastructure for players to compete in the local competitions. Also on the drawing board is the Swan Soccer Academy which is planned to begin late next year. For more information on the development course, which costs just $45.00, contact Paul Wozny on 9203 7170.



Former Perth resident Collette McCallum is making quite an impression in the Women's National Soccer League where she's playing with table-toppers New South Wales Sapphires. The teenage midfielder missed her teams opening round fixture, but hard work and dedication has seen her force her way back into the starting eleven and a place in the Young Matilda's training camp ahead of April's Oceania Under-19 Women's World Championship Qualifiers.

"The season has been going quite well," McCallum said this week. "I was in Scotland for a holiday in October and managed to take in some Champions League games. When I came back I didn't play in our first game as the coach wanted to give me a chance to fully recover from the flight. I came off the bench in the next two games, then started against Queensland and scored our goal in the 1-1 draw. I also played in the 4-2 win over Northern New South Wales before the season went into recess."

With the league resuming on the first weekend in February, McCallum is confident the so-far undefeated Sapphires can go and win the championship. "I think we can do it. We have a very strong side with seven Matilda's in the line-up so we have a lot of experience. We've actually played four away games with only two at home so far this season and we're still well ahead in goal difference, scoring 26 and conceding just 5."

As for next year, McCallum has her sights set high. "My goals are to play in all the Sapphires games and win the Championship, some of the players there are great to play with and I'm just trying to learn as much as I can. Beyond that I'd like to be selected in the Young Matilda's side to go to the Under-19 Qualifiers which are being held in Tonga. If we can qualify then I would love to go to the Finals in Canada during August."



Soccer Australia are facing stiff opposition to their controversial plan that would see the nations 300,000 players hit with a $10.00 levy to in an effort to alleviate what is believed to be a $2.75 million debt surrounding the national body. The Queensland and South Australian Soccer Federations have been quick to respond, both announcing that they will not support such as levy. "Our members have spoken and they are not prepared to agree to it for fear it could cause soccer registrations to drop in the state," said Queensland Soccer Federation president Tony Petty.

Soccer Association of Western Australia chairman Paul Afkos said it was up to it's members to decide whether to accept the levy. "We have five junior associations and they will decide what happens. I have asked them to inform me as soon as possible," he told "the Australian" newspapers Ray Gatt this week. Also yet to make a decision are the powerful New South Wales Amateur Association, who control a third of the registered players in the country.

Steve Doszpot, chairman of Soccer Canberra, said his board has agreed in principle to the levy but that a final decision would not be made until a general meeting early next year. The only association who have so far agreed to accept the fee is the Victoria Soccer Federation, although they will collect only $6.00 from each registered player.



Following the recent announcement that Perth Oval will be developed into a venue suitable for soccer, Town of Vincent Mayor Nick Catania has urged the various local authorities to get their house in order. "The changes that have to take place in soccer in Western Australia, the quicker they take place the more they will be included in developing the role of soccer in Western Australia. And obviously the more they will partake in the arena that will house soccer."

In an interviewed conducted by John O'Connell and aired on Saturday night's International Soccer Program on 990AM, Catania said the facilities will be greatly improved at Perth Oval. It is envisioned that venue will have a capacity somewhere in the vacinity of 20,000 with improved comfort for spectators, a large on-site car park, television standard floodlighting and the ability to stage international fixtures.

Catania also stressed that the development, a partnership between the Town of Vincent and the State government, will not be exclusively for the use of soccer. "As one of the caveats the State government has put on in using the money, the rectangular stadium has to have a multi-functional purpose," he said. "So Perth Glory will obviously play in that stadium, but like any stadium now built in Western Australia it has to be used by various sports rather than just one."



Former Perth Italia defender Chris Coyne, now on the books of Luton Town, is expected to be out of action for up to six weeks after injuring his knee in last weeks English Third Division clash with Rushden and Diamonds. "Chris Coyne has ligament damage to his knee," said club physiotherapist Bruce Sewell recently. "He had a scan and saw the specialist and he says it will be four to six weeks. It depends on how he heals, but if I get him back in four weeks, I'll be delighted."



John Higgins is slowly adjusting to the pace of life in England where he recently took up a three-year apprenticeship with First Division side Birmingham City. "Perth would be my preferred place to live but I do like it over here," the 15-year old said this week. "The football here is quality but the lifestyle of the English is 100-miles an hour."

"In Perth it's more like you turn up for training twice a week and then have a game on Sunday. But over here it's a fight for your position every week and the training is so intense it's amazing, but they want to push you that little bit further." Having arrived in England less than two months ago, Higgins has already established himself as a regular in the club's youth ranks. "On Sunday I played against Nottingham Forest but I've mainly been playing Under-16's because the players who are my age are on the brink of getting their scholarships, so they have to play in the Under-17's so the coaches can see if they are up to scratch."



It's been a big week on the local scene with the professional body, Soccer West Coast, forging relationships with both the Junior Soccer Association of W.A. and Perth Glory which will ensure the continued success of the sport in this state. These positives moves are down solely to the organisations involved, and this week both Paul Tombides, general manager of SWC, and Nick Tana, president of Glory, expressed their disappointment with the lack of activity from the Soccer Association of W.A. in bringing together the game in this state.

Speaking with John O'Connell, host of 990am's International Soccer Program, Tana pulled no punches. "At this point in time the governing body - SAWA - has, as far as I'm concerned, held the game back by not being able to pull the different representatives of the game together. Now that the JSA, the affiliates and Soccer West Coast look like forming alliances, and strategic alliances at that, I believe they represent 90% of the game and SAWA should recognise that and allow the natural progression to happen."

Although interviewed seperately by O'Connell, Tombides also criticised the controlling body and asked them to consider where their priorities lay. "SAWA should actually be leading by example and I've got my doubts if they are at the moment. Over the years they have done a good job for soccer but the time has come for some changes and the way SAWA is structured - people call it a toothless tiger - I just think it's about time they started operating for the betterment of the game."



Perth S.C. midfielder Robbie Gaspar is rumoured to have been offered terms by English Second Division club Bristol City. It is believed that City have opened talks with Gaspar's club over the permanent transfer of the one-time Australian Schoolboys representative. Gaspar spent his junior years with the Western Knights and Cockburn City before a spell with Sydney Olympic in the National Soccer League. He joined Perth earlier this year and was a key member of the side that took out the treble in 2001.



Fresh from Australia's World Cup campaign, Perth Glory's Tony Franken is ready to share his expertise with Western Australia's young goalkeepers by running the Uhlsport Goalkeeping Clinics during the coming school holidays. Franken will be joined by former State and Adelaide City player Willie McNally at venues both north and south of the river.

Clinics will run from 8.00am through to 9.30am at Prendiville College, Ocean Reef, and 10.30am to noon at Aquinas College in Manning starting 12th January and going through to 2nd March. The course is open to players of all ages at a cost of $110. Bobby 10 Sportsworld is offering participants a 20% discount on all Uhlsport products, while there are special rates for clubs sending six or more goalkeepers. For more information call 0417 983 165.



16-year old Jordan Rhodes, a former Mandurah City junior, has amicably parted company with English Premier League club Charlton Athletic. "Charlton offered to keep me on for the next 18 months but they would not offer me the scholarship which I wanted, and felt I deserved," Rhodes said this week. "I've had a great 18 months with Charlton. Being part of the 1999 squad which won the Northern Ireland Milk Cup in front of 10,000 people and playing at Stamford Bridge and White Hart Lane last season were probably the highlights."

"Steve Avory, the Charlton assistant academy director, is the best coach I've ever had (apart from my Dad - he told me to say that!). I've learned heaps and know I've got heaps to learn yet. I won't say I'm not disappointed, because I honestly believe I deserved and had earned a scholarship. Charlton also believe I'm good enough to get a scholarship, but it's not going to happen with them. The good thing is I've had a couple of phone calls and offers already, but my Dad wants me to take my time and choose carefully. The released players' list doesn't go out to clubs for another couple of weeks, so I'm expecting more offers. Dad's always told me to choose my coach as well as my club, and it's such an important stage in my career that I know he's right. What I also do know after playing in the Premier Academy is that I still really want a scholarship and to go on to be a professional footballer, and I believe I'm good enough."



Soccer West Coast general manager Paul Tombides spoke with John O'Connell, host of the International Soccer Program on 990am, recently about moves which will see the professional body work more closely with the Junior Soccer Association of W.A. "There's an integration, we've signed a heads of agreement and we believe this to be the beginning of re-structure of soccer in Western Australia," he said.

"We believe now that the time has come for Soccer West Coast to take the leading role and also maybe direct a little bit of policy towards the JSA. They are an organisation that have had their highs and lows, their results with the state sides this year have been great, and financially what they've done over the past 12 months has been a great improvement. So I think it's a good time for the integration to take place and the beneficiaries are going to be all the youngsters playing soccer in Western Australia."

"Apparently there are some breakaway groups, people who are going to try and pull the juniors into their own 'mickey mouse' league. All I can say from a Soccer West Coast point of view is that, between the two parties, we hope to fund all the state trips so parents aren't paying for their kids to go away and represent Western Australia. There are some good things on the agenda and if we achieve half of them the kids are going to be that far in front. We just want everyone to support the JSA clubs at the moment and in turn you'll be supporting soccer in this state."



Perth girls Collete McCallum and Lisa Devanna have both been called up for the Young Matilda's training camp that commences on 8th January. Australian youth coach Mike Mulvey has named a 22-player squad ahead of the Oceania Under-19 Women's World Championship Qualifiers in April. The 10-day camp will include three games against opposition from the Women's National Soccer League, namely Canberra Eclipse, New South Wales Sapphires and Victoria Vision.



Under the watchful eye of the club's youth development manager Frank Arok, Perth Glory this week held trials for their newly established youth sides. With the Under-19 team kicking-off their season in February's local Night Series competition, players not currently 'in contract' are invited down to Leederville Oval to try out for a place in one of the Glory teams.

Trials for the Under-19's commenced on Wednesday with Arok saying he would be looking to build a squad of around 12 players because of a provision that allows Glory to use four over-age players for each match. The former Socceroos coach added that he did not want to create a bigger squad because players would get less match exposure. Players successful in winning themselves a place in the squads will be required to make a firm commitment to training and development with up to six training sessions a week planned. Additional trials for the Under-19 side will be held on 29th December and 9th January.

Try-outs for the Under-16 team got underway on Monday with further sessions planned for 27th December, 2nd and 7th January. Under-17 selections began the following afternoon and will continue on 28th December, 3rd and 8th January. For additional information on the trials please contact Frank Arok on 9240 1212.



The Under-19 squad from Perth S.C. has returned from their successful tour of Adelaide where they played four matches against sides representing the best South Australia has to offer. "The tour was excellent," 18-year old Miki Vujacic said this week. "It was a great experience to go away with such a professional set-up and we did well as a team. Personally it wasn't so great as I got injured, but some of the players did really well to the extend that questions were being asked about some players by scouts at the games."

Perth's youngsters kicked-off the visit with a comprehensive 2-0 victory over their Under-19 counterparts from Adelaide City Force courtesy of goals from Damien Catalano and Rhys Graham. Next up was a meeting with the South Australian Sports Institute team, and again the boys from the west came out on top with Scott White netting the only goal of the 90 minutes. Perth made it three wins in as many starts when they downed Force 1-0 a few days later, this time Jason Colli bagging the decider. Perth's winning run came to an end in the curtain-raiser to the National Soccer League fixture between Force and Marconi Stallions, the Adelaide-based side utilising several players from their senior ranks to run out 3-1 winners, Graham scoring what was the goal of the tour for Perth. "It was a real cracker, Rhys hit it from outside the penalty area and it just flew into the net, it was a fantastic goal," exclaimed Vujacic.

On Sunday morning Perth's Under-19 team made up was the core of the side that met a Perth Glory XI in a friendly at Leederville Oval. Former azzurri favourite Nick Mrdja bagged a double as Glory came away victors 4-1. Alistair Edwards and Antonio Naglieri also found the net for the National Soccer League club while midfielder Robbie Gaspar was the lone scorer for Perth.



One-time Perth Glory general manager Roger Lefort welcomed last weeks' announcement that Glory would be fielding a side in the local Premier League competition in 2002. "I'm glad to see that that's happened and that they've come to terms with each other," Lefort told the crew from Radio Fremantle's Saturday Morning Soccer Program. "It's something that's long overdue and it's a move that I put forward four years ago. I'm glad that Glory and Soccer West Coast are working closely together. It should raise the level of competition and it should create a lot more awareness for people."

Lefort, now general manager of the Soccer Administration of Western Australia, said that the move was a positive one but stressed there was still work to be done in bringing together the state's fragmented soccer community. "At the end of the day you can't have lots of different bodies. If ever this game is going to go forward you've really got to be running it from the top with one person in charge and with many people who are working under that person. It can never work successfully that way it's operating at the moment, whether it's referees, juniors amateurs, whatever, it's got to be looked at in a for more positive and unanimous way * there are some good people in soccer, it's just getting those people to be able to combine and go forward in strength."

"I think that the mood between the juniors and Soccer West Coast is an indication that they could move together," Lefort added before stating his believe that some of the problems experienced in the west are related to troubles at national level. "The problems still stem from over in the eastern states where it seems Soccer Australia are looking for money to go from here and all the other stakeholders back to them. There just isn't the kind of money to keep that sort of cash injection going over to the eastern states all the time. In most sports there's money coming back to help the development of the game but this doesn't seem to be the case."



Luton Town defender Chris Coyne is still getting over his rollercoaster weekend. He stayed up all night on Friday to be by his wife Rebecca's side as she went through a 24-hour labour before giving birth to their first child Kieran. Then he rushed from the bedside to line-up for the Hatters in their home meeting with Rushden and Diamonds - only to pick up a knee injury and go off after just 10 minutes.

Coyne was injured when challenging Rushden striker Duane Darby and, after receiving treatment, realised that he could not continue. "I'd got in front of their centre forward and I thought he caught me, but Joe and Mick said that Ahmet Brkovic came in on the blind side and did it," Coyne told the Hatters official website. "I don't remember seeing him, but it was right in front of the bench, so they had a good view. It hurt straight away and I tried to go on, but it was no good. The knee is quite sore and it's swollen up a lot. I'm having a scan on it this afternoon (Sunday) and we'll see how it goes."

While his knee looks almost certainly keep Coyne sidelined for at least a week, the good news is that mother and baby are doing just fine. "They're both great, but it was a long time because Rebecca had her first contraction at 1.00am on Friday morning and he wasn't born until 1.00am on Saturday morning." The one-time Australian Under-23 representative joked about the horror that his first born son is half English. "Yes, he's a little Pommie bastard! I can't believe what I've done! I'm going to make sure that he has an Australian passport, though. And I'm going to put on my best Ocker accent so that he gets one as well. That way he might grow up half-decent at least, even if he is half a Pom!"



It has been a long time coming but Perth Glory have been admitted into the ranks of Soccer West Coast after the organisation's member clubs voted unanimously in favour of the move on Friday. The National Soccer League club will field an Under-19 side in the local competition which kicks-off in February wit the Night Series competition. Glory become the second team to be added to the ranks of SWC this month, joining Mandurah City who came on board just a few weeks ago.

Glory chairman Nick Tana was understandably pleased after discussions between Glory, SWC and its clubs had spluttered along for several months. "I am absolutely delighted that Perth Glory has been able to come together with Soccer West Coast to advance the cause of soccer in Western Australia," Tana said. "This is a great day for soccer and is the first step in bringing the game in Western Australia together."

Although the initial agreement is for Glory to compete in the State's professional competition for 12 months, S.W.C. general manager Paul Tombides said it could lead to a longer commitment. "If it benefits both parties this could be a long-term on-going venture," he said. The deal will allow up to four over age players to be included in Glory's Under-19 side which will be coached by youth development manager Frank Arok. Glory will also enter an Under-17 team in the Under-21 competition and an Under-16 team in the Under-18's.



After significant discussion, the Junior Soccer Association of Western Australia and Soccer West Coast have reached agreement on moving towards an integration of their activities. This in-principle agreement will see the two bodies work in unison for the good of the local game. While still very much in its infancy, the two bodies expect to develop a detail plan of action over coming months.

Since the publication of the Fielding Report several years ago, there have been efforts made by various parties - including the State government - to begin the re-structure of the game in W.A., as outlined in the report, all to no avail. Both the JSA and SWC hope and believe that they have now made the first step towards the future of soccer in this state.

The agreement will result in an integration and not a takeover by SWC of the JSA. It is hoped that the move will provide many benefits including the opportunity to utilise economies of scale in relation to financial and other resources, and stronger development plans and pathways for the game. Essentially, the primary activities of the junior body will remain as is, with the benefits from the alliance serving to build upon the services that the JSA currently provides.



Fremantle City striker Joshua Kamasz is Western Australia's sole representative in the 20-man Australian Under-16 squad named by National Youth Coach Ange Postecoglou for next years' Pacific Cup tournament. Kamasz was one of the stars of the State Under-15 side which competed in October's National Talent Identification Championship, featuring in six of the side's seven games and scoring twice as W.A. claimed third place in the age-group.

With eleven nations entering the competition, the Pacific Cup is designed to prepare teams for the Under-17 Oceania Qualifying Tournament in 2003. The Australian team goes into camp 12th January at the New South Wales Soccer Federation at Glenwood. The tournament gets underway three days later and runs until 24th January with Australia grouped with Samoa, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands and Tonga. Group B consists of Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, American Samoa, Fiji and New Zealand.



Following an agreement between Soccer West Coast and the Junior Soccer Association to merge, it is expected that within the next 12 months a new body, tentatively named Soccer W.A., will control the game locally. David Schrandt, recently re-elected as president of the professional body, told the "West Australian that he hoped the move would streamline some aspects of the game.



The past 10-months have been something of a rollercoaster ride for Portsmouth's Fremantle-born goalkeeper Andy Petterson. Unable to break in the Pompey first team, the now 32-year old spent a short but enjoyable period on loan to Torquay United before a late-season recall by Portsmouth which saw him make his first senior appearances in over a year. But due to injury Petterson is yet to pull on club colours this season. "I have been out of action since early July with a badly torn calf muscle and have tried unsuccessfully to come back into training three or four times. I am, however, glad to say that I'm now back in full training as of last Monday and determined to be fully fit in order to play for the reserves next Wednesday (away to Barnet)," said a confident 'keeper this week.

Having made a full recovery from injury, the well-travelled goalkeeper is hoping to re-establish himself at the club he has called home for the past two seasons, but he isn't ready yet to rule out another move to extend his professional career. "I'm aiming to get a couple of games under my belt before Christmas and then I will be able to gauge whether my future lies at Pompey or somewhere else. I do feel though, with my contract expiring at the end of the season, that my future seems to lie elsewhere. There has been some sound interest from other clubs, but until I have played a few games, and back to match fitness, nothing can be confirmed."

Petterson signed with Portsmouth early in the 1999/2000 season and his time with the club started with a four-month stretch as their first choice custodian. But after making 30 appearances, a change of management saw him fall from favour and since then he has struggled to regain his place in the side. "Due to circumstances and injury, my career progress at Pompey has definitely not panned out the way I would have liked. However, events have made me hungrier to succeed. My reign as 'number 1' went well under Alan Ball, the manager who signed me, but there have been managerial changes since which have not worked in my favour. Last season I played for Torquay on loan - I had known Colin Lee, then their stand-in manager, from my time at Wolves and asked me to help the club out. I had a hugely successful stint playing for a team who were fighting all odds against relegation - which we won!"

"Before I saw the whole loan period out I was recalled to Pompey at the rear end of the season to play in another relegation battle, this time in Division One. I relished a couple of good games for the club - against Fulham and Blackburn - before being injured, ironically, by my own team mate Carl Tiler. I suffered from cracked ribs and was unable to see the season out. I spent the summer in Perth recouperating and training extremely hard for the new season, and I felt fitter than I ever had in my career. Luck was not on my side in pre-season training, where I picked up the calf injury. However, back in action now, I'm ready to pick up the number one shirt, whether that is at Pompey or elsewhere."

There was speculation in the local media prior to the start of the current National Soccer League season that Petterson was ready to return to Australia to see out his career, something the 'keeper dismisses as little more that rumour. "I saw the talk last season in the W.A. papers of my possible return to play for Perth Glory. This was a little premature, as my plans for the moment are to continue playing in the English League for another few years. However, I do want to return to Australia in the future to play in the N.S.L. - if this club was to be Perth Glory it would be an honour to have the opportunity to contribute to their success, and give something back to W.A. soccer."

Petterson has had something of a chequered career since leaving W.A. State League side East Fremantle Tricolore in 1987. After a year at the Australian Institute of Sport, he headed to England and linked up with Luton Town where he spent the next six years, a period which included loan spells to Swindon Town and Ipswich Town. Mid-1994 saw the 'keeper sign with Charlton Athletic and further loan periods at Bradford City, Ipswich, Plymouth Argyle and Colchester. It wasn't until the 1996/97 and 1997/98 seasons that Petterson became a regular between the posts - and a crowd favourite - for the Addicks, winning the 1996/97 Supporters' Club Player of the Year and playing his part in the club winning promotion to the Premier League. Displaced by new signing Sasa Ilic, he joined Portsmouth, initially on loan, in November 1998.



Sorrento Soccer, Sports and Social Club presents an exhibition match between a Sorrento Select XI and an International Golfing XI on Tuesday 22nd January at Percy Doyle Reserve kicking-off at 5.30pm. The Sorrento team, christened the Old Fellows, will play a side made up of various golfers and their caddies, many of whom have come from the United Kingdom to play in the Johnny Walker Golf Classic that is being contested later in the week at Lake Karrinyup Golf Course. Entry to the game is free with bar and canteen facilities available.



The Junior Soccer Association of W.A. celebrated the remarkable achievements of some of the state's most promising young soccer players at their State Teams Dinner on Friday 7th December. During this years' National Talent Identification Championships which held in Sydney during September and October - where the State 15's and 16's teams finished third and second respectively - several young Western Australian's attracted the attention of talent scouts from around the globe.

Jeff Bright (Rockingham City), Liam Lilly (Canning City) Dean Apelgren and John Migas (Fremantle City) all earned themselves invitations to train at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra. Paul Oliver (Canning City) and Fred Wilson (Sorrento) received offers to trial for English Premier League club Charlton Athletic, while Kingsway Olympic's Bryan Hedges (Birmingham City, English) and Fremantle's Matthew Danskin (Werder Bremen, Germany) were also given the opportunity of a lifetime to trial with professional teams overseas.



During the week several Premier League clubs kicked out the cobwebs with their first training run ahead of the 2002 season. Light sessions have been the order of the week, coaching staff focusing for the time being on player fitness and some light ball work. The tempo will pick up over coming weeks as clubs look towards the pre-season Night Series tournament which kicks-off in around two months time.



One-time Eastern Pride midfielder Robbie Puca looks likely to miss the entire 2001/02 National Soccer League campaign due to a pelvic problem which as kept him out of action since the end of last season. With several eastern states clubs making enquiries as to his availability over the past month, the timing could not have been worse for the out of contract, 22-year old left-sided player. Born in Fremantle and having spent his junior years with Perth Italia, Puca joined Pride (then known as Gippsland Falcons) in the N.S.L. mid-1998 and went on to make 69 appearances and score 4 goals over his three seasons with the club.



Perth Glory's entry into the local competition will be determined on Friday morning when Soccer West Coast meets with it's member clubs to vote on the issue. While the National Soccer League club have long campaigned to enter a side in the local competition, it has only been over the past three months, following the most recent proposal of club president Nick Tana, that the wheels have begun to turn in Glory's favour.

Should Friday's vote go Glory's way they are expected to enter an Under-19 team in the Premier League for season 2002, along with Under-17 and Under-15 teams in the Under-21 and Under-18 competitions respectively. It is likely the club will ask to play their games on the Sunday of each round.



One-time Perth Glory player John Carbone is enjoying the best form of his career with the Brisbane Strikers, on the weekend hitting his third goal of the National Soccer League season. The 24-year old has quickly settled into life in Queensland where he has become a regular fixture in coach John Kosmina's line-up. "The team's been playing well and the lads have all been great. I'm enjoying getting a regular run," Carbone told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian" this week. "Playing week in, week out really helps keep you sharp."

"Before I joined the club he (Kosmina) told me I was in his starting eleven plans but obviously you've still got to do well. There was still a bit of pressure to perform but it was good to know I would be given a chance," the midfielder added. "Obviously in Perth it was hard to suddenly come into the team and be expected to play well when you haven't been doing anything for weeks. They haven't got a youth team and if you're not playing in the first team there's not much else you can do. I don't think people realise how hard it is to step up when you haven't been playing games."

A former Australian Under-17 international, Carbone spent his junior years playing for Perth Italia and later Floreat Athena where he was spotted by Glory. He joined the club for the 1998/99 summer and over the next three seasons made 49 appearances for the club, finding the net three times.



The newly formed alliance between Perth Glory and ZoneSport Limited has spanwed Glory Zone, a program aimed at helping Western Australian youngsters achieve their full potential. Trials for the program are being held over the school holidays between 14th and 18th of January 2002 at the Lords Indoor Stadium, Subiaco. For details of how to register for the trials consult the Glory Zone website - - or telephone the Glory Zone office on 9388 3548.

Glory Zone is dedicated to working simultaneously and co-operatively with soccer organisations and associations throughout Western Australia, and to providing valuable support for many of the programs already in place. The staff, coaches and players of Glory will be actively involved in many aspects of this unique, innovative and disciplined approach to junior development. Former Australian international Alistair Edwards has been appointed General Manager of the program, while Glory teammates Gareth Naven, Tony Franken and Scott Miller will be involved in a coaching capacity.



Having returned to first team action with Sheffield United this week, defender Shaun Murphy discussed the Socceroo's failure to reach the 2002 World Cup Finals, and his international future, with the Blades official website. "I was really disappointed with the game in Uruguay. I think on the day we were not good enough and we had too many players that had an off day, me included," Murphy said. "I'm disappointed that I'm not going to get another chance at a World Cup and to go out on that sort of note for your country is just a bit depressing." With 18 'A' internationals to his name the 31-year old has been quick to rule himself out of Australia's next World Cup campaign, saying it's time for national coach Frank Farina to begin planning for 2006. "I think that they've got to look to a younger brigade now. There are only a couple of us that are over 30 in the squad and we've got a very good nucleus there for next time." However, Murphy added that he wasn't about to retire from the national team. "I think I'll let Frank make that decision. Obviously I don't want to just be going and making up the numbers, if I see it's that he just needs cover or back-up then I think I'll be saying 'No, I don't see that as the way forward for Australia as well as for myself.' We've got to let the dust settle after this disappointment and I will be speaking to him in the future."



Socceroo Shaun Murphy rocked the Sheffield United camp this week when the defender was placed on the transfer list after failing to agree an extension to his playing contract. The 2000/01 Sheffield United Player of the Year has one and a half years left to run on his current contract, but Murphy and the club could not agree on the terms of his continued employment.

"I've been mulling it over for the past few months," the 31-year old told the Blades official website. "The club and I cannot come to an agreement over my long term future and I think it is best for both parties if I hand in a transfer request. I'm trying to tie up the next few years, I have a lot to offer and think I'm just coming into my best form. I've played a lot of games consistently and although I have talked about going back home to Australia eventually that is not the case just yet. I'd like to stay in England."

Murphy has been a popular player at Bramall Lane since his arrival from West Bromich Albion on a free transfer in July 1999. The club's only ever-present last season, Murphy is well aware that his decision will cause consternation at United. "I've really enjoyed every minute here and the fans have been great. I know I will cop some flak for this and they will be disappointed but it is a personal matter and I don't want to go into it further than that. I've been enjoying my football and I want to give it my best shot and achieve something in my next couple of years. The Gaffer has said I am still in his plans and I will not rock the boat on that score. I will give 100 per cent in every game as I always do."



Last week Mandurah City became the latest club to be added to the Soccer West Coast stable. While they will make their professional debut in the up-coming season, club president John Fitzmaurice said this week that their joining S.W.C. has been a long time coming. "Mandurah have a proud 30 year history," Fitzmaurice said. "We are where we are now because of the hard work and dedication of a lot of individuals and committees over the years. The committee we have in place this year will hopefully continue that work to develop Mandurah as a club and to raise the profile of soccer in our region."

Formed in 1970, the club have been part of Perth's amateur leagues for the better part of that time, a period which has seen them win numerous trophies including the 1995 Premier Division and last season's Amateur Cup. "Taking Mandurah to the semi-professional level has been a vision shared by club management for a number of years," Fitzmaurice added. "This vision has been fostered by the likes of long-serving secretary Tom Duxbury, Alistair Rhodes, who helped to develop what is now a very capable junior section, Paul Dixon, Bob Smith and numerous others within the junior and senior sections. They and others have taken our club from playing friendlies on the western foreshore to fielding 1,300 players in all competitions ranging from joeys to masters and ladies."

The club have developed strong links with the Peel Junior Soccer Association, whose membership exceeds 1,000 players, but over the years they have seen many of Mandurah's youngsters lured away by the bright lights of the big city. Players of the calibre of Gary Numan, Daniel Beard (Cockburn City), Daniel Harrop and Andy Cornmell (Inglewood United), David Twigg (Armadale), Graham Matthews (Rockingham) and Jordan Rhodes (Charlton Athletic, England) have all played for the club at one time or another. "It's like a who's who of young players playing in the Soccer West Coast leagues," commented the club president. But Fitzmaurice is hopeful that, by joining the professional ranks, Mandurah will be able stem the flow of players away from the region in the future.

Last season saw three clubs added to the SWC ranks. Of those Bunbury-based South West Phoenix were the surprise packet by making the First Division Major Series play-offs. Fitzmaurice is confident that his club have what it takes to be as competitive in the first season. "Preparation is the key. We have already appointed our coaches for next year and set-up a process to support them with committee member Neil Patten Williams appointed as an interim director of coaching to ensure our coaches have access to whatever skills development and support is required before and during the season. We have an extremely talented bunch of players with a lot of young players coming through to senior ranks. We had an Under-18 team play under the Morley banner last year, this side had a very good season under coach Jamie Martley who has been appointed our Under-18 coach for next season."



Australian international Stan Lazaridis has returned to the training track with Birmingham City and is expected to return to first team action with this weekend's English First Division fixture against high-flying Norwich City. The wing-back delayed his return from international duty after being taken ill while travelling back from the Socceroo's recent World Cup qualifier in Uruguay.



With strong rumours indicating that it will only be a matter of time before Perth Glory are given the go-ahead to field an Under-19 side in the Premier League next season, it's looking likely that the State League will undergo some modifications in time for the coming winter. It is believed that the top flight will be expanded to 11 clubs featuring the top nine finishers from 2001 - Sorrento, Perth S.C., Floreat Athena, Cockburn City, Western Knights, ECU Joondalup, Fremantle City, Inglewood United and Bassendean Caledonian - First Division champions Ashfield and the Glory side. This scenario would see one club have a bye each weekend.

The lower divisions are also set for revision as Soccer West Coast do away with the First Division North and South competitions in preference of a simpler format. While it is by no means a deal done, indications are that a new-look First Division will consist of 10 clubs that play each other twice over the winter months. The remaining 7 clubs will made up a new Second Division where it has been suggested teams will play each other three times. However, it is believed that the SWC clubs are preparing for submission a motion that would see a 17-team First Division in 2002.



The Junior Soccer Association of Western Australia have acted quickly following the recent decision by the Western Australian Amateur and Social Soccer Association to being planning a juniors competition of their own. Lisa Bradock, general manager of the JSA, this week issued the following letter to their member clubs which outlined the JSA's position in regards to the proposed WAASSA competition.

"At a meeting of the board of the Soccer Administration of Western Australia on Tuesday 27 November, a resolution was allegedly put that allows the Western Australia Amateur and Social Soccer Association (the amateur body) to run junior competitions next year.

The resolution was apparently put to a vote, and reports indicate that the Soccer West Coast representative present abstained from the vote, the Affiliates' representative voted against the resolution and the two WAASSA representatives voted for the motion (which was obviously in the interests of their own organisation), allowing it to be carried.

The JSA understands that at the AGM of Soccer West Coast, held the following evening, Soccer West Coast and their member clubs indicated their disapproval of this motion and have indicated their support for the JSA to continue to run all junior competitions in Western Australia and to not splinter the competition.

Additionally, Soccer Australia continues to recognise and support the running junior competitions in Western Australia by the Junior Soccer Association of Western Australia. We urge you to ignore any attempts to convince you otherwise, or to entice you to assist in the destruction of junior competitions in Western Australia by joining a separate competition.

The JSA will continue to exist and will operate 'business as usual' whilst working towards the establishment of a new administration structure for soccer in Western Australia; one that takes into consideration the needs of all stakeholders in soccer in this State."



At a specially convened meeting on Tuesday night six representatives of Soccer West Coast clubs discussed the drafting of a "Letter of Agreement" to Perth Glory in regards to their entry into the Premier League for season 2002.



There is a lot of rumour and speculation flying around at the current time concerning the future of the Dianella White Eagles. During last year's First Division play-offs the club were suspended by Soccer West Coast following an attack on a referee during the game with Queens Park, a ruling that they did not appeal at the time and yet to apply to have lifted. Adding fuel to the fire that the club are about to cease activities, it is believed the White Eagles have not submitted their affiliation fees to SWC for the up-coming season, something they must do in order to be eligible to start the winter campaign.

The club were founded as Mount Lawley Serbia in April 1978 and the following year entered the old Fourth Division of the then Soccer Federation of Western Australia. Having changed their named to Dianella Serbia in 1987, the club won the right to compete in the State's top flight after being crowned 1993 Second Division champions. But after just one First Division season they were relegated and since then have spent time in both the Premier League and First Division without collecting any further silverware. 1995 saw the club become the Dianella White Eagles with the nation-wide de-ethicising of club names.



At their Annual General Meeting last week, Soccer West Coast president was David Schrandt was re-elected unopposed to his position. There were three nominations for the two vacant director's positions with Liam Twigger retaining his place as treasurer while Andrew Carr replaces Tom Mijatovic on the SWC board.



After an indifferent start to the season, South Melbourne goalkeeper Michael Petkovic was back to his best on Sunday night as he helped his team to a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Adelaide City Force in the National Soccer League. The Australia international missed the start of the season due to being on loan to Norwegian club Lillestrom and has been inconsistent since his return to the first team in the Round Three loss to Sydney United. But on the weekend the former Cockburn City custodian turned in a superb display which coach Eddie Krncevic described as 'world class'. "I take my hat off to Petka. He made three or four vital saves for us. He was brilliant, world class."



In August the Soccer Administration of Western Australia gave both Soccer West Coast and the Western Australian Amateur and Social Soccer Association permission to run their own junior teams and competitions should they so feel the need. So it should come as no surprise that the amateur body have taken up that option, putting it to the vote at the recent SAWA meeting where it was passed 2-1.

However, should WAASSA continue down this path and create a new junior's competition for 2002, it is difficult to understand how it will be 'for the good of the game'. Such a competition would run in direct opposition to those activities of the Junior Soccer Association of Western Australia, undoubtedly the largest soccer organisation in the state in terms of player numbers, and will only create further divisions within an already fractured Perth soccer community.



An Under-19 representative squad (right) from treble winners Perth S.C. left for South Australia on Thursday morning ahead of a three game series which will pit them against the best young players from Adelaide City Force. The 10-day visit kicks-off with two friendlies against a combination team from the National Soccer League clubs' academy and youth set-up. Then, on Friday 7th December, Perth take on Force's Youth National Soccer League side at Hindmarsh Stadium as the curtain-raiser to the NSL clash between the Adelaide-based club and long-time rivals Marconi Stallions.

The bulk of the Perth squad is drawn from their successful Under-18 side that lost just once over the course of the 2001 home-and-away series to be crowned regular season champions. Also making the trip is highly rated left wing back Todd Howarth, a member of the State squad and a regular fixture in Perth's first team over the past two years. The squad also includes goalkeeper Gianni Papalia, towering defender Dino Djulbic, and midfielders Rhys Graham, Scott White and Jason Colli who all made their senior debut for Perth during the winter months.

Without a doubt Western Australia's most successful club, one of the keys to Perth's continued success has been their fertile youth system. Two of the more recent products of this program have been attackers Richard Garcia and Adrian Caceras who are now plying their trade in England with West Ham United and Southampton respectively. Others that have used the club as a career launch pad include Craig and Gareth Naven, Vince Matassa, Chris Coyne, Adrian Madaschi, Shaun Murphy and Scott Miller, all of whom have since represented Australia at various levels.

The full 26-man travelling party consists of players Damien Catalano, Cosimo Cavallaro, Jason Colli, Damien De Laurentis, Dino Djulbic, Rhys Graham, Todd Howarth, Robert Icanovski, Daniel Kovacevic, Damir Kuduzovic, Daneil Milevski, David Milevski, Robert Montorosso, Gianni Papalia, Nick Paone, Joseph Princi, Milorad Vujacic, and Scott White. Accompanying them are Frank Farone (coach), Eric Bambaci (assistant coach), Pasquale Quaglia (manager), Vasco Vujacic (goalkeeping coach), Sam Duff (physiotherapist) along with tour officials Cesera Colli, Tony Catalano and Angelo Papalia.



Western Australian Under-16 representative Jeff Bright is back in Perth after spending two weeks with English club Leicester City earlier in the month. The Premier League club invited the Cockburn City youngster, along with 14-year old James Wesolowski (from New South Wales) and Australian Under-17 squad member Adam Van Dommelle (South Australian), for trials after the recent National Talent Identification Championships.

"My trials went very well," Bright told us this week. "The first game I played was against Premier League side and rivals Derby County, I played very well and should have scored. After the game Leicester brought over an Irish Under-16 team for trials so we played six games in seven days. After those games I trained with the Under-17's until it was time to come back to Perth. I believe I was as good as or even better then some of the 17's, but because Leicester had three international left backs on their books they decided they didn't want me."

"I really enjoyed the experience because I've never been over to a country that is totally football focused and I didn't know what to expect," said the teenager, somewhat overawed by his stay. "Their facilities are world class and I couldn't believe it when the first team trained on the next pitch. We had lunch with the first team and they were more than happy to chat with us about anything. Before I came home I even had lunch with the manager Dave Basset and, to top it off, I was involved in a friendly against the first team. I was even tackled by Dennis Wise!"

Bright said that he learnt a lot from his time in England, including a weakness or two in his own game, "But the most important thing I found out was that Australian players aren't that far behind those over there. England has some players that are amazing, but there are some in Australia that could just as easily take their place. The skill level in England was a bit of a disappointment, I really thought they would have more then they did. Don't get me wrong, their skills were good but not what I thought they would be." The biggest difference Bright noticed was in the level of commitment shown by the academy players at Leicester. "First of all most of them have left their country of origin to play football in England. They'd get up about 7.30am to have breakfast and be down the training field by 9.30am for some cleaning of boots, not just their own but also those of the first and reserves teams. Then it was pumping up the balls and getting the training ground prepared before they went out, and this happened every day!"

While in England the Cockburn youngster had a chance encounter with the politics involved in the modern game. "Leicester said that if the over 18 rule hadn't come in then I would've stood a better chance, but they ended up knocked me back as they'd have had to bring my parents over and I'd have to live with them," he said. "In my mind that ruling is shocking - young players in Australia don't get the same level of coaching and if they could go over at a young age there would be a dramatic improvement in their play and abilities because they'd be on the go all year round, not just in winter. In Australia we play soccer in the winter and cricket in the summer, so while in England they're improving we fall behind because the sport isn't rated so highly here, which makes it really difficult."



Soccer West Coast have delayed the vote on whether or not Perth Glory will be permitted to enter an Under-19 team in the local competition next season. However, the controlling bodies member clubs voted unanimously at a mid-week information meeting to establish a working party that will look at Glory's proposal in more detail.



Birmingham City goalkeeper Clint Davies is back on deck after fracturing his arm in a training ground accident late in September. The 18-year old received the all-clear to re-commence playing last Thursday and a couple of days later was between the posts for the Blues Under-19's when they thrashed competition leaders Ipswich Town 6-1 at home. Davies was also included on the bench for the reserves when they defeated Rotherham United 2-1 on Wednesday night. With the English youth season going into a month's recess over the Christmas period, the young goalkeeper will be taking advantage of the break by heading back to Perth to spent time with family ad friends.



Soccer West Coasts ranks have been swelled by one with the admission of Manduarh City at Wednesday night's Annual General Meeting. Mandurah become the fourth club to become aligned with the professional body in the past 12 months, joining South West Phoenix, Canning City and Morley Windmills who came on board for the 2001 season.



Heartbroken at the Socceroo's failure to make next years World Cup Finals, speedy wing back Stan Lazaridis has been cautious about making a decision on his international future. "I'm sure you're going to ask me if I'm going to retire, but I can't seem to make a decision," he told reporters from "the Age" newspaper just hours after the 3-0 loss to Uruguay. "Obviously the next campaign is three years away, but I've just got to see what happens. A lot of it depends on what left-sided players we've got coming through."

The former Floreat Athena player is just one of a long list of players who could have featured in their last World Cup match for Australia. At 31, Shaun Murphy and Tony Vidmar are the oldest players in the current squad and are unlikely to be around in four years time. Captain Paul Okon will be 32 by then, as will Kevin Muscat, Steve Corica and Danny Tiatto. Utility player Steve Horvat is also likely to end his international career as he will be 34 by the time the 2006 qualifying campaign begins.



Eight rounds into the National Soccer League season and Perth's two representatives on the eastern seaboard, James Afkos and John Carbone, both formerly of Floreat Athena, have become firmly entrenched in the starting line-up at their respective clubs. Having joined Marconi Stallions last season and made 21 appearances for the club, midfielder Afkos has featured in the starting eleven in every fixture this term as the side struggle to find some consistency on the park. Following his off-season departure from the Perth Glory camp, Carbone has settled quickly with Brisbane Strikers and has recently discovered his goalscoring touch. Three weeks ago he bagged the decisive goal in the 2-1 away win over Parramatta Power, and on the weekend the wing back gave the Strikers a 60th minute lead in the 1-1 draw with Adelaide City Force.



Australia have once again stumbled at the final hurdle in their quest to make the World Cup Finals. After defeating Uruguay 1-0 in Melbourne last week, the Socceroo's crashed 3-0 in the return leg played in Montevideo early on morning. Perth-born wing back Stan Lazaridis saw out the full match for the national team, while Shaun Murphy was replaced in the 81st minute as Australia threw everything into finding a vital away goal.

"We knew we needed a goal, but if that meant them scoring two, so be it," said Lazaridis post-match. "We just couldn't seem to nudge the ball over the line. We had some chances, but it didn't seem to fall." It was the third time in succession that Australia failed to qualify for the finals tournament after missing out to Iran four years ago and Argentina before that.



Perth Glory should know whether or not they will have an Under-19 side in next season's State League competition after this Wednesday night's meeting between Soccer West Coast and it's member clubs. "Some people genuinely believe we are trying to take something out of the game," said Glory chairman Nick Tana on the weekend. "That is definitely not the case. (But) I'm not sure I'm going to be able to convince them." Should the vote go against the National Soccer League powerhouse, Glory will push forward with their back-up plan that would see them become aligned with an existing local club.



With an open offer of further trials with English club Crewe Alexandra, Sorrento's Neil Young has returned to Perth where he's undergone surgery on a troublesome hernia. The runner-up Goalkeeper of the Year has been told by the coaching staff at the First Division club that, once back to full fitness, he can resume his trial period with the club. Young headed to England two months ago, initially spending time with Stockport County and Bournemouth before linking up with Alexandra whose coach Dario Gradi has been greatly impressed by his 'keeping abilities. He featured in reserves games against Rushden and Diamonds, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Chesterfield Town and an American select eleven while abroad.



The Socceroo's are just 90 minutes away from a place at next year's World Cup Finals which are being co-hosted by Japan and South Korea. At the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Tuesday night, Australia fought hard before over-coming Uruguay 1-0 courtesy of a converted penalty by Kevin Muscat 11 minutes from full-time. And West Australian's Shaun Murphy and Stan Lazaridis both played their part in the victory. Once again partnering Craig Moore at the heart of our defence, Murphy saw out the full 90 minutes, effectively snuffing out the chances of the visiting forwards and proving a constant danger at the Socceroo's set-pieces. After a strong first half in which he tormented the opposing backline, 29-year old Lazaridis came off at the interval in a tactical move by coach Frank Farina which saw Harry Kewell take his place out wide on the left.

Within hours of the final whistle, Murphy and Lazaridis were part of the Australian contingent that flew to Uruguay ahead of Monday morning's Second Leg. After a 24-hour trip to Montevideo, the Socceroos entourage was jeered, jostled, pushed and spat at by supporters of the home nation as they left the air terminal. Soccer Australia issued scathing letters to FIFA and the Uruguayan Football Association on Wednesday in which it expressed its 'absolute disgust at the lack of security' at the airport. After demands for action from Australian officials, which included a request for the game to be played at a neutral venue, The Uruguayan Government have agreed to deploy 800 police to ensure that Sunday's World Cup play-off against Australia goes ahead 'safely'.



It has been reported that Western Australia's representative in the National Soccer League, Perth Glory, are currently negotiating to enter an Under-19 side in this winter's Soccer West Coast competition. More details as they come to hand.



First Division Minor Series runners-up Armadale recently held their annual presentation night. Jason Goodwin was the recipient of the first teams' Fairest and Best, while Dennis Lee took out the Players Player of the Year. Goodwin also picked up the award for the Top Goalscorer. In the reserves it was Paul Scott that went home with the Fairest and Best, Players' Player going to Michael O'Neill. 15-year old Darryl Perella capped a great 2001 season, in which he broke into the senior squad, by winning the Under-18's Fairest and Best with Chris Abbot collecting the age groups Players' Player trophy.



Perth's two representatives in the National Youth League - Anthony Danze and Greg Sharland - have between them managed to score in every round of the competition which is now into its seventh week. Having joined Wollongong Wolves only last month, former Inglewood United attacker Sharland made his debut for the club in the top-of-the-table clash with the Australian Institute of Sport last week when he came off the bench with 20 minutes remaining and bagged his teams' solitary goal in the 1-2 loss.

That game was the only occasion on which Danze, formerly of ECU Joondalup and now contracted to Perth Glory, failed to find the target this season. The Young Socceroo opened his season account in the 3-0 win over Marconi Stallions Colts and followed this with goals in the wins over Northern Spirit (2-1), Parramatta Power (4-1) and Newcastle United (5-0). His goal scoring run was halted by the Wolves, but Danze bounced back on the weekend by netting in Friday nights 6-0 win over Brisbane Toro, and again two days later as the AIS downed Olympic Sharks Youth 2-0.



A few days out from the biggest game in Australian soccer history, Shaun Murphy has spoken about the knee injury which threatened to rule him out of the Socceroo's World Cup Qualifiers with Uruguay. While he has been undergoing a lighter training regimen than the rest of the squad, the centre-half stressed that he was fit enough to play his part for the national team.

Murphy has been playing with the aid of pain killers for Sheffield United virtually twice a week since the English First Division started in August. "There was a suggestion that I have an operation in England, but the medical staff here are pretty good and they have told me that I don't need an operation at all. I will need to strengthen the quadriceps after, but it would take something pretty serious for me to pull out of this," he told Michael Lynch, reporter with "the Age".

That the Australian treatment of Murphy's injury and the English diagnosis should differ so greatly should not come as a surprise. The financial pressure on many English clubs, particularly those outside the top flight, is to get their best players on the pitch as often as possible, meaning Murphy didn't have a scan or ultrasound examination until he came back to Australia. The English recommendation was for immediate surgery to remove half of the problem tendon and giving it up to six months to regenerate, putting the 31-year old defender on the sidelines for a lengthy period and, effectively, ending his international career.

Perth-born Murphy came into the international arena at senior level late in his career. After making the semi-finals of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games with the Olyroos, the defender didn't win his first senior cap until eight years later when he was part of Australia side that toured Chile in February 2000. Since that date he has become a regular member of Frank Farina's squad, winning 18 'A' international caps and scoring 3 goals to date.



Bolton Wanderers manager Sam Allardyce has welcomed the arrival of 19-year old Perth forward Andres Oliveira who is currently on trial with the English club. "The lad's got a fantastic scoring record back home," Allardyce said via the club's official website. "He's got bags of talent and played a major part in Perth's success last season. We'll have a look at him over the course of the week and see what he can offer us."



First Division club Queens Park are seeking coaches for their senior and reserves teams for season the 2002 State League season. The club invite all interested parties to submit applications in writing Queens Park Soccer Club, PO Box 12, Cannington 6107 by 5th December. 2001 was a very success season for Queens Park. Their first team finished runners-up in the First Division (South) competition, just two points behind champions Rockingham City, to qualify for the Major series play-off where they came in a creditable third. The reserves side went one better than their senior counterparts by taking out the regular season trophy by finishing five points clear of nearest rivals Leeming Strikers.


A CHAT WITH SHAUN MURPHY (by Richard Kreider)

Former Sorrento and Perth Italia defender Shaun Murphy may have come on to Socceroo scene late in his career but it didn't take him long to become a permanent fixture under current coach Frank Farina. Murphy played his part in last weeks friendly with France and is understandably keen to be involved again for the forthcoming clashes with Uruguay. Recently, he took time out to chat to Richard Kreider and to let him know how the preparations have been going before the start of 180 of the most momentous minutes in Australian soccer history.

How does it feel to be a part of one of the strongest Socceroo squads ever brought together?
Obviously, it's a great honour, especially since I came into it quite late. It was only a year or two ago at the age of 29 and I'm very glad to be a part of it. After having missed out for so long including the Terry Venables campaign and then to get a call up from Frank which I thought was just to be as a fill-in, was a pleasant surprise.

What are your thoughts of the teams performance against France?
I thought we were very disciplined. It was a funny old night because of the slippery pitch. We defended quite well and hit them on the break. I think they were restricted to a few half-chances outside the box and we tested their goalkeeper on a number of occasions. So, overall, we had the better chances and that was definitely a penalty at the end. Certainly a travesty of justice.

Were you happy with your performance?
I didn't have an awful lot to do. I just kept things organised at the back and thought we were quite solid.

Would that still rate as one of your footballing highlights?
Most definitely, along with the goal I scored against Brazil in the Confederations Cup. The last couple of games for my country have been pretty good for me.

What is your opinion of the Kevin Muscat incident?
It was a zealous tackle obviously, but I didn't think it was a bad tackle. The damage was done when they got twisted up after the tackle. With the slippery conditions it was an unfortunate incident.

Are you happy to play alongside someone like Kevin?
Kevin is a quality player. OK, he gets a rush of blood every now and then, which is what makes the player he is but I have no problems playing alongside him.

What sort of guy is Kevin away from the football arena?
He's fairly quiet although he does like a joke every now and then. Everyone makes him out to be a 'nutter' on the pitch but he's really a genuine down-to-earth guy.

Do you have any disappointing memories in football?
You always do Richard. I guess the one that stands out the most was in the English First Division play-offs with Notts County in the 1995/96 season I think it was. We played poorly that day at Wembley.

How are the boys preparing for the next two matches?
We have all been training pretty well. We're just days away from the games now and the boys are all focussed even though the pressure is going to build right up until next Tuesday. We all knew the France game was a friendly, there wasn't a lot riding on it except a good performance from each of the players because they had these matches in mind. We all realise it's a do-or-die situation and we have to get a good result here in Australia. I think the nerves will be there and obviously there is going to be a bigger crowd than there was last week. I'm sure if the conditions are right, there will be a full house at the MCG. There are many players here who were involved in the Iran 'nightmare' from four years ago and even for us who watched it on the telly - we will never forget that night in a hurry.

I think the whole world still remembers what happened against the Iranians ...
We've made a lot of people sit up and take notice of our ability over the last four years, especially with some of the results we've had. We know it will be a big occasion but we simply want to make amends for what happened. The game will definitely go through the roof here in Australia if we qualify, especially through television exposure and major sponsorships.

You would be competing for a place with Tony Popovic. What are your chances?
It's hard to say. He's back in training and I think it will be a decision that we won't find out about until tomorrow or Monday.

How's your current form at Sheffield United and how do you think the club will go this season?
On a personal level it's been quite good, but the team are at the wrong end of the table. We have been struggling to find the back of the net because there have been a few key strikers injured. But when we get these players back we should pick up and put in a late run like we did last year for the play-offs.

You turned 31 last week when would you consider returning to Australia?
I've got another year and a half at Sheffield and I've just started more talks for another year with them so I don't think it will be anytime in the near future to be honest. I'm still enjoying my football, regardless of age. I came into the game late in a professional sense at the age of 21. I still feel I've got a lot of good years left in me plus, in my position the experience comes when you are in your thirties.

Do you keep an eye on Perth Glory?
I do yes, and I believe they are doing very well. Five out of five so far this season is pretty good. Perth is my home, that's where I will eventually settle down and hopefully I can put in a couple of years with Perth Glory if they'll have me. Stan Lazaridis and I have actually been talking about where we will be in our final years and maybe a gig at Perth Glory. It will be good to give something back to the game where you started. You have got to do it well though, not just come back and treat it as some sort of paid holiday.



Sorrento junior Wayne 'Fred' Wilson looks likely to become the latest in a long line of West Australians to head overseas after recently agreeing terms on a three-year scholarship with English Premier League club Charlton Athletic. Although contracts are yet to be signed, the 16-year old is expected to link up with Athletic in July of next year. Should things go according to plan Wilson will become the second Perth teenager on the books of the London club where he'll be joining Jordan Rhodes, a regular in the Under-16 side.

Michael Browne, director of the Addicks youth academy, offered the Sorrento midfielder a 12-month contract after watching him play for the Western Australian Under-16 side at last month's National Talent Identification Championships in Sydney. A regular starter for the State side which finished the championship runners-up to Northern New South Wales, Wilson first came to the attention of the English club earlier in the year while he was on trial at Chelsea. "Mr Browne spoke to Dad and he seemed to know all about me and had seen me play for Chelsea against Charlton last April while I was in England," the teenager told the "Eastern Suburbs Reporter" this week.

"Dad came to the W.A. teams' motel and told me about the offer and explained that Mr Browne said I would have more chance breaking through to the first team with Charlton than one of the big five premiership clubs. We spoke about it during a rest day at the championship and decided it was in my best interest to go to Charlton. It was very hard for me as I am a Chelsea supporter and had a great time training at Chelsea alongside all the stars. But I have to think with my head and not my heart and am happy to start my career at Charlton," he added.



Young Socceroo defender Adrian Madaschi has spent the past few years playing in the youth ranks of Italian club Atalanta, whom he helped take out the Primavera Coppa Italia for two consecutive years, 1999/2000 and 2000/01. Over the off-season the 19-year old agreed to spend the 2001/02 campaign with Serie C side Monza and, after scattered appearances off the bench, Madaschi has featured in the starting line-up of each of the clubs past three League outings and two Cup games as they went through to the last eight of the Italian Cup for Serie C. This week we caught up with the talented youngster to discuss his summer move, playing in Italy and the season ahead ...

Tell us a little about your move to Monza ...
"I joined Monza at the start of this season as a part of a loan agreement that runs for one season. It allows me to learn more about the game and gain senior first team experience, all of which will be a vital stepping stone for the years to come. At the end of the season I'll again be considered an Atalanta player and they'll decide on what I'll do. That is, whether I will return to Atalanta with the first team, or whether I go out and play in another Serie C or B club depending on the offers and how I go this season."

How did the loan deal come about?
"The deal was part of an agreement with Atalanta, Monza and my manager and was one that had interests and benefits for all parties. Here in Italy, it is a very common thing for young players who have just come out of playing the Primavera league to move to clubs of lower category in order to gain experience. It's rare for a young player to be put straight into a Serie A first team - unless of course you're a wiz-kid - as they don't want to put their faith in youngsters who lack experience. Young players are encouraged to go to Serie C or B clubs for a few years and then, depending on ones' progress, an eventual return to their original club."

Monza is better known for car racing than it's football, why did you opt to join them?
"The reason I joined Monza is that it was a club located close to Bergamo, the city where Atalanta is based, and that would still allow me to keep in contact with my 'mother club' and the people involved with it. I also knew that Monza was a great place to allow a younger player to learn the tricks of the trade and that many of Serie A's talents and superstars have been through Monza's ranks, so that presented well. The club's training facilities are of optimal standards and the pitches are fantastic. It is a club that is administered well and the people around it are very welcoming and helpful so these were the principle reasons. I figured it would be a good starting position for me to develop further as a player and I hope that this can come true."

After establishing yourself as a regular in the Atalanta youth teams over the past few years, how are you finding the adjustment to first team football at Monza?
"One thing I must say is that Serie C football is very competitive and I don't think many people realise this. Whether you are playing against the best team in the league or the worst, it's always going to be a tough battle for 100 minutes. No one gives you any room to capitalize on ... I can guarantee you that!

On a personal level, are you happy with the way things are coming along?
"I'd say that on a personal basis yes I am happy. It's taken a while to for me to get the regular starts that I was hoping for, but nothing comes easy and the last few games are fruit of my very hard training, persistence and patience in waiting for my chance. So far I think I have done well and can honestly say that I am up to the standards. But there is no such thing as a regular spot here so week-in week-out you must train very hard and prove that you are the right person who should be starting on Sunday. I take every week one at a time, putting in my full effort and concentration at training to try and combine the new things I'm learning at Monza with those I'm used to doing in order to improve each and every aspect of my game. This of course is a very hard thing! I still have a hell of a lot of learning to do this season and in the future and I am more than excited to see what the situation will be 6 months from now ... let's hope all will be positive!"

Your new club haven't had the best of starts to the season, after eleven games they are sitting in the bottom half of the ladder. Do you think Monza will be able to turn things around and become a serious challenger for the title this season?
"As you said, we have not had the greatest start to our season but I firmly believe that we can get back on track and look to getting into the play-offs and try and make our way back into Serie B. The team is very young, has a great desire to train hard, make the sacrifices and arrive to the top. There is some great young talent and some very good experienced players. I think our problem is based on mentality and each and every player needs to take just a little bit more responsibility of ones' self to help the team run in perfect unison - that is, everyone having the same mentality and working for each other. When we are able to do this I think things will pan out very well and I hope that this can come about as soon as possible for the benefit of the team and then each individual."

What are your aims and goals for this season in Serie C1?
"My main aim is to learn as much as possible from Serie C/mens football ... that is the tricks, discipline, determination and effort required for competing at this level, and higher levels as well. I need to always put in maximum effort to get the rewards at the end, no matter what they may be. My goal with Monza is to play ten to fifteen - hopefully closer to the latter - full games this season and to show myself off to the major clubs here and the people that count. I need to prove to my 'mother club', Atalanta, that I am learning, maturing and progressing as a player and that I am also acquiring what I will hopefully need for an eventual return to the senior team. I am always positive and optimistic about this because that is the major goal."

Thanks for taking the time to chat Adrian and giving the folks in Perth an update on what you have been up to ...
Thank you for your interest in what's happening over here. It's much appreciated that you are giving soccer followers in Australia an idea of what the younger generation of players are doing abroad and how they are progressing. And I'd also like to say hello to Adrian Caceras at Southampton, he was and still remains a good friend even though we don't hear from each other as much any more. We grew up together at Perth Italia in the Under 14's, 15's and 18's and used to play some great football. Anyway, caio for now!



Perth's weather and sporting facilities could play a key role in whether or not English Premier League club Southampton extend their commitment to the Joondalup-based Saints' Academy beyond it's current three-year term. In town at the current time is academy director Huw Jennings who is looking over the set-up over a whirlwind seven-day visit. During the week Jennings was impressed with the level of competition that he witnessed in the Academy League matches between the Saints' Joondalup and Lynwood teams.

"My job is to do everything I can to get players in our first team," Jennings explained to Jonathan Cook of the "West Australian". "The excellence of facilities here is a major component which we don't have in the U.K. One third of our program in England was abandoned last year because of the weather. That's clearly not going to happen here." While Southampton's commitment to the local academy expires at the end of this year, Jennings said the club were considering staying involved but stressed they were in no hurry to make a final decision.



First Division play-off winners Ashfield held their annual presentation night last weekend with Steve Goff taking home the Fairest and Best award, beating off attacking midfielder Karl Atley. For the second year running goalkeeper Phil Jackson was voted "Wally of the Year" while Goff also collected the Leading Scorer trophy with 9 First Division goals. Oliver Cook was the recipient of the reserves top honour ahead of Damien Krebs. In the Under-18's State junior representative Alex Crookes won the Fairest and Best with Nermin Sindic and Edin Mehic tied for second and Wayne Culverwell a close third.



Former Perth resident Guillermo Kramer recently picked up a College grant in the United States to play for Florida Atlantic University in that state's First Division. Wearing the number 26 shirt, the teenage attacker was part of the Atlantic side that lost 4-2 to Binghamton University on the weekend. But, despite the loss, Kramer's team finished inside the top four and earned themselves a place at the NCAA National Championship Tournament in Georgia next week.

Although only 18, Kramer has already seen a lot of the world. Born in Africa, he spent his infant years in Argentina before immigrating with his family to South Australia where he first played competitively for Adelaide Azzuri. After a year with Club Athletico Uruguay in Argentina, Kramer arrived in Western Australia and spent 1995 and 1996 at Perth Italia where he was selected for the W.A. Under-13 side. His fathers work commitments took him to the U.S.A. the following year which was spent playing for the Under-14's and 16's at Boca Gunners.

Twelve months later the family came back to W.A. and 1998 saw Kramer join Kingsway Hammers under John Coyne who coached the side to the Under-16 Cup. From there it was back to the USA and another spell with Gunners whom he helped to the Under-16 Florida State Cup in 1999. Selected for the U.S. Youth Soccer Federation's Olympic Development Program, Kramer trialled with English club West Bromwich Albion in August 1999. He picked up yet another winners medal last year when Gunners Under-17 outfit were crowned State of Florida champions.

"I just want to say thank you to all the coaches in Australia that helped us out, particularly John Coyne, Frank Faroene and Atillio at Perth Italia, all who really know the game," said father Gari this week. "And a quick message to all my mates in Perth and my former teammates at Perth Andes. We are rooting for the Socceroo's to make it into the World Cup - we know they will!"



Teenage Perth attacker Andres Oliveira headed to England mid-week to take up a trial offer from Premier League Bolton Wanderers. The driving force behind Perth's treble winning season, the 19-year old has been keeping sharp since the Premier League season came to a close by training with Perth Glory.



Both Stan Lazaridis and Shaun Murphy played full games for Australia as they held world champions France to a creditable 1-1 draw in Melbourne on Sunday evening. Lazaridis had a hand in the Socceroos goal, his corner from the right being flicked on by Tony Vidmar before Craig Moore headed home past the French 'keeper. Handed a starting berth by coach Frank Farina, Murphy turned in an impressive performance at the back where he partnered Moore in the centre of defence.



Richard Garcia has been enjoying the season playing for West Ham United's reserves. The 20-year old attacker, who spent the early stages of the 2000/01 campaign on loan to Leyton Orient before a knee injury cut short his season, has been a key feature of the Hammers starting line-up this term and is looking forward to a successful season. "Hopefully I can keep going," he said via the official West Ham website this week.

"I just want to get as many reserve games as I can. The players playing in the reserves are all enthusiastic about doing so and hopefully we will have a good season. We have got players coming down from the first team when they have been injured and, mixed with the good young players we have got, it is a good combination. There are a lot of good young players keen to impress so we have to play well, but it just depends on what the manager sees and how the boys keep playing. I am just trying to play the best I can - that's all I can do."



Fremantle City have decided not to renew the contract of senior coach Stuart Kamasz, the State's most successful coach of the past decade. With several high profile applicants for the position, the club have gone with Under-18's coach Greg Kazmer to replace Kamasz. A former professional player in South Africa, Kazmer lead City's juniors to Boral Cup success in 2001 as well as taking the side to the runners-up spot in the Champion of Champions play-off series.

Club president John Da Luz stressed that Kamasz had not been sacked. "His contract was up for renewal and, although we were happy with what Stuart achieved in his spell with us, we decided that after five years it was time for a change." Da Luz hoped Kamasz, who lead City to their first Premier League championship last season after twice finishing second and once third, would stay on at the club in a different capacity. Having already been offered a coaching position with another club, Kamasz said he was considering taking a break. "Maybe it's a good time to reassess thing," he told "West Australian" reporter Mel Moffat. "I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to talk to the players and thank them but I think I'm leaving the club in a strong position."



A regular in Cockburn City's Under-18 side over the winter months, State representative Jeff Bright is currently in England where he's spending two weeks trialling with Premier League club Leicester City, who funded the trip. The left-back was spotted by the club's scouts at last months National Talent Identification Championships and took up the Fox's offer after trying out for a scholarship spot with the Australian Institute of Sport. Bright was part of the West Australian Under-15 side that took part in the 2000 Nationals, and in June of this year was one of 16 youngsters that represented the State in Singapore's Lion City Cup tournament.


LAZARIDIS TIPS SOCCEROOS SUCCESS (Reproduced with permission from Soccer Australia)

If there is one player in the Socceroos squad that will do everything within his powers to see Australia through to the 2002 World Cup finals, it will be Stan Lazaridis. Few players felt the heartbreak of losing to Iran four years ago more than Lazaridis, who lay on the M.C.G. pitch for what seemed an eternity following the final whistle. He, along with his teammates, had been just 15 minutes away from a berth at France 98 when inexplicably Iran scored two quick goals and the rest is history.

"Yeah, that game in particular has played heavily on a few of us, especially me," said a relaxed Lazaridis in Melbourne this week. "I think about that game a lot but it only makes me more determined to get through this time. Hopefully we can use that disappointment as a springboard to beat Uruguay or Colombia," he added. The midfielder didn't seem too concerned that they did not know our opponent, reinforcing the confidence amongst the Australian playing ranks. "Although we don't know our opponent, this is the best squad of players we have ever had and the team is going into these games with a lot of confidence. I can't remember the last time we had our strongest squad of players and with most playing regularly in the top leagues in the world, there is a good feeling that we can do it (qualify) this time."

Lazaridis feels he is in good form coming into the play-offs and will give it his best if given the opportunity. "I have played the last half dozen games for Birmingham and I feel fine. It is a football world over there and you are playing continuously but whenever I play for Australia, I have felt I am always playing at my best. I will always give my best for my country and that is very important to me."

The flying left-sided defender or midfielder also believes that supporters should not get to obsessed with getting a result against France. "Frank (Farina) will obviously use the France match as to how he wants us to play in the World Cup qualifiers, especially the first leg, The result is not of great importance, it is how we play that is important, although it would be nice to get one. I would gladly take a loss against France, if we get a result in the next two games."

So what are the differences between this world cup play-off compared to the two Iran games?

"Iran was a mixed bunch of players with a lot of young players and old players but this time the youth are very experienced and playing in the top leagues. Everyone is playing regularly and players like Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka are now being compared to the likes of Batistuta etc. The spirit amongst the players is also terrific and that was in evidence at the Confederations Cup. We beat France, Brazil and Mexico all top ranked nations and I think our camaraderie and spirit will be a tremendous boost for us."

Lazaridis also has no doubt that the Australian crowd will play a major part in the game and will lift the team. "I have no doubt we will get tremendous support and the atmosphere will be amazing just like it was four years ago. Important to get off to a good start and I'm sure the crowd will play its part in helping that to happen - we are all ready to go."



ECU Joondalup teenager Tom Jones will return to Perth next week after trialling unsuccessfully in England with Bolton Wanderers and Notts County. A natural forward, Jones spent several weeks with Wanderers and made a number of appearances for their Under-17 team on the left wing. "It went right down to the wire at Bolton," the 15-year said this week. "I enjoyed my time at the club but they decided after five weeks that I was as good as what they had but not better. So I went to Notts County but it didn't go all down to plan there either - I just felt that I didn't want it enough, and you need to really want it to live in England at a young age. I figure that I can always come back to England when I'm older. I think if I can play at a higher level in Australia and get some experience behind me it would be for the better in the long term."



West Ham United and Socceroo defender Hayden Foxe has been singing the praises of teammate Richard Garcia, who just so happens to also be a member of the Hammers squad. "If he keeps his head he will go a long way, he is quick, skilful and he can play in the midfield or up front," Foxe told Tribalfootball's Jeremy Lowe recently. "I was surprised that he wasn't part of the Under-20's, I was trying to tell everyone back home about him but in the end he got a bad knee injury so that ruled him out."

During the week Garcia turned out for the Hammers reserves which defeated Watford 3-1. While he didn't get his name on the scoresheet, the young attacker provided the cross for Svetoslav Todorov to nod in their teams second goal. Foxe and Garcia are part of a large contingent of Australians with the London club that can also count midfielder Michael Ferrante, Steve Laurie and Trent McClenahan amongst its ranks.



Western Australia will be well represented in the this seasons' Women's National Soccer League which got underway over the weekend. A member of the national Under-18 squad, Lisa De Vanna answered a late call-up to join the ranks of Adelaide Sensation. The teenager made her debut in the 0-1 loss to Canberra Eclipse, coming on in the second half and making "an instant impression" according to the Matilda's website ( Playing a full game for Canberra was 19-year old midfielder Tal Karp, who started out in Perth several years ago. Collette McCallum, aged just 15 but already a feature of the Australian Under-18 team, moved from Perth to Sydney two years ago and will spend another season with New South Wales Sapphires. McCallum took no part in the 5-1 home win over Northern New South Wales Pride.



The future of Western Australian soccer is in good hands thanks to three former English Premiership players. Mike Lyons, Peter Butler and Brian Adams will pass on their expertise to juniors with potential in a summer league which kicks off tomorrow. The league is for players aged 11 to 15 from six Perth academies.

Former England and Everton defender Lyons, who has coached Grimsby Town and the Brunei national team, is in charge of the Saints academy. Butler, who now plays locally for Sorrento following spells in England with West Ham United and West Bromich Albion amongst others, has recently taken over the new academy of State League champion Sorrento. And Adams, who played for London clubs Chelsea and Millwall, is the director of coaching at the Perth academy. The other academies taking part are Fremantle, Inglewood and Lynwood Saints.

The Harvey Fresh sponsored Academies League is backed by the Soccer Administration of W.A. and Soccer West Coast. The first phase of competition kicked-off over the weekend with the first half of the season being played before breaking for Christmas. Fixtures re-commenced on 9th February with five more rounds before the end of the summer season.



Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock has revealed that defender Shaun Murphy is in need of an operation and came close to missing the Blade's 1-0 victory over Crewe Alexandra last weekend. The big West Australian, who was his club's only ever-present last season and has not missed a game yet in this campaign, has tendonitis in his knee and has required pain killers to get through recent games. "Shaun's knee is dodgy at the moment," Warnock said via the club's official website during the week.

"He doesn't train and the only thing he does do is play. He saw a specialist on Thursday and needed pain killers on Friday and today to play " the Blades manager said after Saturday's win. "He wants to be part of the Australian set-up, and I'd love to see Murph in the World Cup, [but] he needs an operation in the next few weeks and when he does it means he will miss five weeks. We will have to see what happens."

But Socceroo coach Frank Farina scoffed at the report and said that he expects Murphy to be fit for this month's international program. "Shaun has had the knee injury all year and played in every game for his club. He has assured me he's all right and I'm expecting him to come through with no problems," Farina said. Australia play world champions France in a friendly in little over a week before playing off over two legs with an as-yet-unknown South American opponent for the right to compete at the 2002 World Cup Finals.


KILKELLY RETURNS HOME (reproduced with permission from

Sheffield Wednesday's young Australian trialist Shaun Kilkelly has headed back down under, but says he loved the time he spent at Hillsborough. Kilkelly, signed three months ago, is not part of the current plans of the academy run by Jimmy Shoulder, but he is hoping to get another crack at an English club after a few years back home. He said: "I'm heading back to Australia to see if I can pick up a contract back there, then I might come back to England in two or three years to try my luck again."

Speaking exclusively to TEAMtalk, he added: "My time at Sheffield Wednesday was excellent, the people looked after me well and the lads were great. Hopefully the club can get themselves out of money problems and get back in the Premier League where they belong." Defensive midfielder Kilkelly was the skipper of the Under-16 Western Australian team and spent a 14-week spell on trial at various clubs in England including Walsall and Barnsley before his spell in Sheffield.



Shy English singer Robbie Williams, in town during the week to perform at the Entertainment Centre, could return to Perth next year to make a guest appearance or two for northern suburbs club ECU Joondalup. Williams and his entourage took part in several six-a-side matches against a Joondalup select line-up while they were in town, the singer turning in some impressive performances that lead to the invitation. A dedicated Port Vale follower, Williams admitted to having a soft spot for Manchester United who are the "the best team in the land", as he put it.

The first match ended 7-6 in favour of the Williams entourage, while Tuesday's return match saw Joondalup come out trumps 9-6. The following evening saw the deciding leg with a Joondalup side which included Dale McCulloch, Jamie Kuzmanovich, Greg Simmons and coach Paul Simmons victorious by a substantial margin, this time 9-5 with Simmons bagging four goals. Although gutted at having lost the three-match series, Williams hung around after the game to sign autographs and pose for photographs, not to mention hand out a wad of tickets to Thursday night's concert.



The recent signing of Inglewood United attacker Greg Sharland by National Soccer League side Wollongong Wolves stresses the importance of a Perth Glory Under-19 team in the local competition according to coach Mich d'Avray. "We want to keep the best players here in Western Australia, not lose them to Eastern States outfits, but without an Under-19 team and somewhere for that team to play it is hard to do."

"Fifteen out of 22 players in the Perth Glory senior squad are products of Western Australian soccer, and an Under-19 team with access to a good class of competition in the State League would mean we could keep even more players here," the Glory coach says. "This would be good for the game in W.A, good for the young players who would be able to show off their talents in their home state and good for local clubs as I am sure people would want to see the best in the West playing soccer."

While happy with Glory's winning start to the 2001/02 NSL season, d'Avray says a long-term view of the game is needed for the sport to flourish locally. "I am delighted the team has started so well, but for the good of the club we have to encourage the future stars to stay here in W.A. Talented young players want to play the highest standard and they aspire to the NSL Currently if they are not ready for the first team squad then we can offer them nothing. An Under-19 squad would change that and I am all for it."



It is believed that a committee from Soccer Australia, lead by deputy chairman Greg Woods, will soon be headed west to meet with local government members and stakeholders in the local game to discuss the structure and future of soccer in Western Australia. Woods has previously made it clear that one of his primary objectives will be the implementation of the Fielding Report findings.

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This page was last updated on the 31st December, 2001