Archived News : September-October 2011



English midfielder Ashley Young commemorated his first season in Australia by winning the Fairest and Best trophy at Division One champions Bunbury Force Force. Young, 21, arrived at Bunbury in time for the home and away series with a wealth of experience already under his belt. Spells as a youth with Burnley and Bury were followed by time with Falkirk (Scotland), Erie Admirals (Pennsylvania, USA) and Conference North outfit Hyde FC

Another of Bunbury’s off-season recruits, striker Jon Brooks, collected the Fairest and Best runner-up trophy. Home grown talent Ryan Risdon was voted the Players’ Player of the Year and another former Bunbury junior, Jayden Prosser, collected the Coaches Award. Michael Martin knack of sticking the ball in the back of the net produced 20 goals, earning the striker Bunbury’s Golden Boot.

Alex Brownlie dominated the Reserve team awards, winning the Fairest and Best, Coaches Award and Golden Boot. Luke Monks was runner-up in the main category and the Players Player of the Year went home with Michael Farmer. The Youth team Fairest and Best went to Callum Penman-Smyth with runner-up being Jordan Thomas, who also picked up the Players player of the Year. Jack Cutler was presented the Coaches Award, and Ash Pemberton the Golden Boot.



Perth Glory Youth overturned a two-goal deficit to defeat Central Coast Mariners 3-2 at Pluim Park in Lisarow. Brandon O’Neill, Tommy Amphlett and Steve McGarry found the back of the net inside twelve minutes of each other to secure victory for Glory Youth, who move to the table as the competitions only team with a perfect win record. Central Coast, who went two-nil up through Brad McDonald and Mitchell Duke created a rash of late chances to salvage a point but were unable to find the target.

Central Coast had the upper hand going into the break thanks to a well taken goal by McDonald in the 28th minute. And when Duke doubled their led by converting Mustafa Amini’s defence-splitting pass on 54 minutes it looked as though the hosts were on track to record their first win of the campaign. However, O’Neill breathed life into the visiting side by pulling a goal back on the hour with a powerful low shot that beat goalkeeper Dylan Mitchell.

Parity was restored eight minutes later with Amphlett on target, and then in the 71st minute Glory Youth edged in front when McGarry tapped in at the back post after Mitchell fumbled a cross. Central Coast finished strongly but Zachary Freeburn lifted just high of the crossbar before substitute Kwabena Appiah-Kubi had a goalbound effort cleared off the line by a defender. Trent Sainsbury twice went close to equalising in the final few minutes while Appiah-Kubi headed the rebound on to the post.



Ashfield’s top prize, the John Van Hoek Medal, has been shared by team captain Martin Sherwin and off-season recruit Brian Maybin. Sherwin, who also voted Players Player of the Year by his team mates, worked tirelessly in the heart of defence while Maybin was instrumental alongside him in the engine room. “It was a great honour to be voted by all the lads as Players Player, I felt at least five other lads would have been ahead of me,” said Sherwin. “And to also win Player of Year jointly with Brian just capped off a great night.”

Although disappointed with Ashfield’s mid-placing finish this year, Sherwin is confident the club will continue to build through coming seasons. “We let ourselves down in too many games which stopped us finishing in top four, but we are content enough as this season was about building towards challenging for the league in four or five years,” said Sherwin. “We showed we can match it with the ‘big guys’ and hopefully with the lads commitment to training hard and working together we can get more consistency next year.”

Attack-minded Karl O’Reilly was recognised with the first team Coaches Award. Adam Barbuzzza dominated the Reserve team awards with wins in the Player of the Year and Players Player of the Year categories with Chris Beech picking up the Coaches Award. The Youth team trophies went home with Jonathon Corness (Player of the Year), Ibrahim Kocer (Players Player of the Year) and Hayden Baker (Coaches Award). Harry Beecher was recipient of Ashfield’s Rising Star, while Phil Kelly collected Clubman of the Year honours.



Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson was left to rue missed opportunities as Central Coast Mariners claimed a 2-1 win at Bluetongue Stadium. Travis Dodd netted after 6 minutes to give the visitors a perfect start only for the Mariners to answer with goals from Matt Simon and Bernie Ibini in an action-packed opening half. "We shot ourselves in the foot today," Ferguson said. “I thought we controlled the game for at least 30 minutes in the first half. We had some great opportunities but we make a couple of mistakes and the Mariners punish us."

Poor marking gifted Glory an early goal as Scott Neville’s pass found Dodd whose diving header found the back of the net. Central Coast should have gone down to ten men soon after when Simon, who had earlier been booked, went unpunished by referee Ryan Shepheard after an intentional handball. The home team overcame a sluggish start to work their way back into the match. Their reward came in the form of a 27th minute equaliser when a perfectly-timed ball by Pedj Bojic was slotted in by Simon.

With this Central Coast lifted, Oliver Bozanic stinging the gloves of goalkeeper Danny Vukovic before creating another opening soon after. It wasn’t until the closing stages of the opening stanza that they broke through for a second time, Rostyn Griffiths slicing through the visiting defence to unleash a vicious shot that Vukovic brilliantly saved, however, the ball landed at the feet of Ibini who made no mistake sending the hosts into the break two-one up.

It was a revitalised home team that returned for the second half with Ibini continually asking questions is the Glory defence as he probed inside the 18-yard box. However, as the game wore on both teams lacked the creativity required to add to their goal tallies with the respective defences quick to snuff out any danger. Adam Hughes had the best chance to bring the visitors level with ten minutes remaining when he found himself one-on-one with ‘keeper Ryan only to place wide of the target.



A hat-trick from Matilda’s striker Michelle Heyman has seen Canberra United come from behind to beat Perth Glory 3-2 in this afternoon’s W-League clash at Mackellar Park. Glory made a promising start with new signing Emma Kete firing them into the lead, however, Heyman turned the game on its head with a couple of rapid fire goals in the second period before sealing the win with a third ten minutes from the end. Marianna Tabain grabbed a late consolation for Glory who managed just ten shots on goal to Canberra’s 44.

Glory fashioned the first opportunity with Elisa D’Ovidio forcing a good save from Lydia Williams. But after that the home team slowly gained the ascendancy, Heyman grazing the crossbar with a deflected cross while Glory custodian Mackenzie Arnold thwarted Ashleigh Sykes at close-range. Canberra paid the price for Caitlin Cooper’s defensive blunder on 22 minutes with Kete taking possession and luring Williams off her line before stroking into the corner of the net. The score stayed that way until half time, with Arnold standing out to keep Glory in front.

Canberra had all the momentum in the second half but lacked composure in front of goal. That changed on 64 minutes when a Carys Hawkins mistake allowed in Heyman who finished past Arnold. Two minutes later Sally Shipard’s quick free-kick released Taryn Hemmings whose low cross was tucked in by Heyman. The game was made safe on 80 minutes when Caitlin Munoz’s shot was blocked by Katie Holtham and Heyman made no mistake in netting the loose ball. Glory continued to plug away and nine minutes later Kete set up Tabain for a lovely first touch and half-volley from 12-metres to cut the deficit.



Aston Villa are considering utilising Chris Herd as their anchorman in midfield just a week after being sent off in his first major audition for the role. 22-year old Herd is likely to play a holding role in midfield in today’s clash with Sunderland after looking comfortable in the position prior to being incorrectly dismissed in last weekend’s loss to West Bromwich Albion. Manager Alex McLeish and his coaches feel Herd has the dynamism and positional discipline to protect the backline and give his attack-minded team-mates freedom to push forward.

Assistant manager Peter Grant says Herd has the energy and expertise to be the ball-winning anchor Villa have lacked at times this season. “We felt in certain games that there was an emptiness in the middle of the pitch,” Grant told “We needed a little bit of nous from somebody who wants to actually play there and stay back. We’ve watched him in the reserves and asked him to play a specific role and he did well. We were waiting for a chance to get him in the first team.”

“We asked him to play as a sitter, as an anchor, to see if he could handle that solidity of staying in a position,” added the assistant coach. “Sometimes in reserve games players think ‘I’m just going to get my fitness’ and run around anywhere but he kept his discipline and stayed in the position. The kid wins the ball and gives it simple to his own players. His appreciation of the role and his use of the ball allows the rest of the boys to go forward and express themselves.”

Grant believes Herd’s ability to play full-back and midfield will benefit him in the long run. “Chris has got a good knowledge of the game for one so young and he understands the positions,” said Grant. “Sometimes people say if you move players about too much they don’t master a position but the knowledge you get when you’re young stands you in good stead … Whatever position he plays he’s focused on it and he works hard with the fitness people to get stronger because he wants to be a Premier League player.”



The football family is in mourning following the passing of former State player John Montagu on Tuesday, 24 October, at the age of 79. Liverpool-born Montagu represented England Schoolboys against Italy and played reserve football for Liverpool and Everton before emigrating to Perth in 1961. Locally he played for Athena, winning the Carbonell Cup as the league’s 'Fairest and Best' of 1963, Azzurri and Windmills, gaining State selection on five occasions. Montagu’s achievements were recognised in 2004 with entry into the Football Hall of Fame, Western Australia, ‘A Century of Champions’.



The Sunday League Representative squad are primed for action on the eve of their week-long tour of Malaysia. Coach Rob Pagnoni has selected a strong 15-player squad for the three-game trip which commences this weekend and includes a meeting with Malaysian Premier League champions Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor. “We’re confident of doing well,” said Pagnoni. “We will be hoping to play our best football and come away with an unbeaten record. That’s a tough ask, but I’m sure the lads will be up to the challenge.”

Pagnoni, coach of Sunday League champions Southern Spirit, had a tough time selecting his squad. “It’s always difficult to limit a squad, and just as difficult is getting around to all the games to check out the players,” said Pagnoni. “I based the squad on last year’s team and added players that I thought would complement the existing group. We have the Goalkeeper of the Year and the top three goal scorers in the Premier League, that sort of strength would be useful in any team.”

The Sunday League Representative squad to tour Malaysia is Gary Andrews, Aaron Maplestone (Joondalup United), Kevan Towers (Kingsley), Jesse Higgins, Aaron Lickiss (Olympic Kingsway), Jordan Andrews, Joseph Brunetto (Spearwood Dalmatinac), Matthew Favazzo, Johnny Ferriera, Alen Karaselimovic, Felim Rugel, Glenn Sheldon (Southern Spirit), Kyle King, Stephen Purton and Bradley Skea (UWA). Aaron Cole (North Perth United) was also selected by declined the invitation.



Defender Daryl Platten is delighted at being voted Sorrento’s Best Player of 2011. Platten, a mainstay of the Gulls rear guard throughout their State League Cup winning season, picked up the clubs top prize on the weekend ahead of goalkeeper Curtis Aspden. “I’m delighted to have won the Best Player this season, especially after the season we had in winning the Cup and reaching the Grand Final,” commented Platten. “All the boys were exceptional this year, from front to back, so to be voted the best player in a team were so many players played so well is very humbling.”

Platten was delighted to play his part in a successful year for the northern suburbs club. “It really was a special season for us. Not many people gave us a chance and we didn’t start off too well but the boys stuck together and worked hard for each other and we became a very hard team to beat,” Platten said. “It was especially pleasing to finally win the Cup. There are so many people at Sorrento who work hard week in week out and that have been there for so long it was really good to see the smiles on their faces that night and how much it meant to them, especially (president) Tom Bartlett.”

David Foster was awarded Sorrento’s Golden Boot as their highest goal scorer, while Aspden’s save to a Marc Anthony shot at home to Cockburn City was rewarded with the Most Significant Goal or Save Of The Season. The Reserve team Best Player trophy went to Dejan Gurovski with defender Chris Tate runner-up. Striker Darcy Cosgrove won the Youth team Best Player ahead of left-sided midfielder Daniel Wright. State Schoolboys representative Blair Govan was recognised as the Most Improved Young Player, and the Club Person of the Year was presented to Chris Kelland.



Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson will be looking to break two records when his side face Central Coast in Gosford on Saturday evening. Glory are gunning for a club record fourth consecutive A-League win, while they're are also out to break their luckless run at Bluetongue Stadium from where they’ve failed to collected a single win since the competition started in 2005. Although the Mariners, last season's beaten grand finalist, haven't set the world on fire so far, having recorded a draw and two losses, Ferguson certainly isn't taking them lightly.

When the teams line up against each other on Saturday night it will almost be a year to the day since the Mariners destroyed Glory 5-0. "We did go there last year and we did get beat ridiculously," said Ferguson. "We'll try to make sure that doesn't happen again. I don't like dwelling too much on the past. But we've got to keep our feet grounded and we've got to bring these things up. If we don't learn anything from last year, then we shouldn't be here. These are painful reminders."

Glory heads to New South Wales for back-to-back games with the Mariners and Newcastle Jets boasting a perfect win record after three games. Ferguson was delighted with his team's opening round performance against Adelaide United but was far from satisfied with their more recent efforts against Melbourne Heart and Wellington Phoenix. "The system is good at the moment when we're defending, but going forward, we're not doing it with the fluency we did against Adelaide, so that's what we're trying to get to," he said.



In a major addition to Perth Glory Women’s attacking stocks, New Zealand international Emma Kete has signed on with the club for the remainder of the 2011/12 season. Kete, 24, is a welcome addition to the Glory Women squad given the season-long absence of strikers Sam Kerr and Kate Gill due to injury and is expected to make her W-League debut in Saturday’s away clash with Canberra United. Kete has played for the Silver Ferns on 42 occasions and arrives at Glory Women fresh from a spell in Finland with PK-35 Vantaa.

Glory Women coach Jamie Harnwell is looking forward to seeing Kete in action for the first time against Canberra. “We welcome New Zealand international striker Emma Kete into the squad who will help to provide that threat up front,” said the coach. “It will be another tough game against a confident Canberra team. They have a lot of experience but we will go in with confidence that we will be able to match it with them.” Tune into ABC1 from 12.00noon on Saturday to watch Glory take on Canberra live from McKellar Park.



Socceroo Nikita Rukavytsya came off the bench to score his first goal of the season as Hertha Berlin defeated Rot-Weiss Essen 3-0 in progress to the third round of the German Cup overnight. Rukavytsya, who played a key role in Hertha’s promotion from 2.Bundesliga last season but has struggled for opportunities this season, found the back of the net just five minutes after entering the game. With Hertha leading two-nil, Rukavytsya snuck in behind the defence to receive an Adrian Ramos pass which he poked past goalkeeper Dennis Lamczyk. The goal should be a boost for Rukavytsya’s first-team hopes having made only six substitute’s appearances this term.



Perth Glory teenager Jesse Makarounas may only be 17 but he has more stamps in his passport than most people three times his age, having travelled across the globe a few times with the Australian youth teams over the past twelve months. Part of the Joeys squads for the AFC Under-16 Championship in Uzbekistan and the Under-17 World Cup in Mexico, Makarounas also travelled to South Africa on Glory’s pre-season trip before heading to Japan with the Australian Under-20 side. And he might also drop into Malaysia in October having gained selection in Australia’s preliminary squad for the AFC Under-19 Championship qualifiers.

While Makarounas has had many eye-opening travel experiences for someone so young, one of the midfielder's greatest influences probably comes from the Catalunya area of northern Spain, where the world’s best side, Barcelona, ply their trade. Taken into the Australian Institute of Sport’s football program last year, Makarounas found himself being put through some rigorous technical training by Young Socceroos coach Jan Versleijen, who uses Barcelona’s high-tempo passing game and style of play as a model to train the youngsters in his care.

And, it's a model that seems to suit Makarounas - despite his favourite team being Real Madrid - after the midfielder played the Lionel Messi role for the AIS side in the National Youth League last season, scoring nine goals along the way. “I sort of play the same position as Messi,” Makarounas reluctantly admitted. “But there’s not really any comparison is there, he’s just a freak. We played a 4-3-3, so it’s the exact same formation as Barcelona, so it was good because then we could watch the games and analyse the way they position themselves and it gave us a real good base to work through.”

“We were lucky to have Arthur Papas (now Melbourne Heart’s NYL assistant coach), he was very good with the video analysis side of things,” Makarounas continued. “He was always cutting up parts of games and having video sessions and the head coach (Versleijen) was just pointing out things like positioning with the ball, without the ball, certain situations. So we were watching teams like Barcelona ... and I guess there’s nothing really better than watching the best players in the world, and you think to yourself, that’s where I’m going wrong, I should do things more like that.”

Versleijen singled out three key factors needed for a player to reach the highest level possible. “First is your technical ability; without any technical ability, technical skills, technical game skills, you’re not able to play at a higher level,” said the Young Socceroos coach. “The ball speed is the deciding factor in the way you play football, especially when you want to play combination football … the third thing is the technical awareness. You can develop this a little bit, but with Jesse, I think he has, especially in the attacking areas, he has some technical ability to get to that higher level.”

Makarounas has already had a taste of that higher level, being exposed to gifted youngsters from South America and all round the world at the Under-17 World Cup. Makarounas scored for Australia in the Joey's 2-1 group win over Cote d'Ivoire in Guadalajara, but an untimely hamstring injury during the final group fixture with Denmark meant he missed the Round of 16 clash with Uzbekistan where the Joeys were eliminated from the tournament with a 4-0 loss. Despite that disappointment, the young attacker is thrilled he can use this experience and his desire to develop his skills at club level.

Makarounas is eager to soak up as much as he can from Glory team mates such as Liam Miller and Steve McGarry. “Whenever you have a question to ask, you can ask any of the players,” Makarounas said. “It’s great to have players that I‘m sort of competing with for a spot, to have such nice people that give help to me, is good. And just by training with the first team, you can see that my positioning is so much better and technique. You think so much quicker than you do playing youth football, so it just makes your thought process so much quicker, so it’s definitely helped my football.”



English import Matt Barlow is Armadale’s Players Player of the Year. Barlow joined the Reds in May to become a first eleven constant across the winter, gaining State team selection for July’s friendly with Perth Glory. “It’s a great honour to win the Players Player as it’s your teammates that vote for you,” commented the 24-year old striker. “I missed most of the first half of the season as I was playing in England for Hyde FC so to win this award is a great achievement for me.”

Barlow says there is no doubt Armadale underachieved in 2011. “With the players we have we should have been challenging for a top five spot but we didn’t have our best team on the field enough,” he said. “Obviously the club had a tough time with money towards the end of the season and I think the character of the players to carry on playing and to get results like the wins against Perth SC and Inglewood United is to be admired.”

Attacking midfielder Tom Robinson came in runner-up Players Player of the Year with Marlon Ramirez recipient of the Clubman Award. Nathan Costello was Fairest and Best for the Youth team where the Max Snelson was voted Players Player of the Year, and the Most Improved trophy went home with Joshua Ferraro.



Western Knights is still struggling to find a new home after the Town of Mosman Park rejected its bid for improved facilities. Club secretary Jack Grego questioned the council‘s planned upgrade of a community pavilion when the football facilities at Nash Field are sub-standard. “They’re spending money on the (Alf Adams) pavilion, and I don’t know who uses it, when we’ve got over 250 people a week just training, and we can’t get anyone to spend any money on our facilities,” Grego said, who revealed recent talks for a ground share agreement in East Fremantle had stumbled.

The Mosman Park council rejected an application for the Knights to self-finance a $1.5 million upgrade of Nash Field to bring it up to standard for Premier League football next year. Amongst the reasons given by the council were football would dominate the field and adjacent Davis Oval, increased spectator noise and traffic, and a de-valuing of neighbouring homes. Grego was disappointed his club, who may be forced to play all of the 2012 season away, had not been offered a meeting to discuss a compromise.

Mosman Park mayor Ron Norris said he could not see how Nash Field could be used after Football West deemed it unsuitable for Premier League football in its current condition. Norris said it was “very obvious” the site was too small if club support grew after an upgrade, potentially causing the council to limit fans if the club sought a return on its $1.5 million investment. “A core part of that (the Knights’) strategy would be maximising the number of people attending games,” said Norris, who felt it was better for the club to look for another pitch capable of coping with its long-term needs.



The three three-game suspension handed out to Aston Villa defender Chris Herd after being red carded against West Bromwich Albion has been overturned. Herd, 22, was issued a straight red card in the first half of the derby for allegedly stamping on Jonas Olsson but Villa’s appeal for wrongful dismissal to the English Football Association has been upheld, much to the delight of the West Australian. “I’m very happy with the decision and I feel vindicated because I was convinced all along I had done nothing wrong,” Herd told “My foot was being held by a West Brom player and I was just trying to free it from his grasp. I’m grateful and glad that the appeal committee reached the right decision.”



The safe hands of Andy Banks have been rewarded with ECU Joondalup’s Players Player of the Year. Winning Joondalup’s top prize was the perfect way for 35-year old Banks to commemorate a stand-out season in which he was an ever-present for his club and gained State honours in the mid-year friendly with Perth Glory. “It was great to get the Players Player of the season after a difficult year, its always good to be nominated by your peers,” said Banks, who joined Joondalup last year after a lengthy career in England.

Joondalup were shaping up as potential title contenders early in the year only to drop away as the weeks rolled by, as Banks explained. “The season started off well with us getting to the final of the Night Series and taking that momentum into the start of the league,” he said. “But for some reason we tailed off half way through, suspensions to key players and players going on holiday didn’t help. In the end we were probably three wins short of the top five.”

Long-time Joondalup midfielder Jon Higgins collected the first team Coaches Player of the Year with the Top Scorer trophy going to John Thornley. John Brooks was voted the reserve team Players Player of the Year, goalkeeper Bryn Hindley took home the Coaches Player of the Year and the Top Scorer was Max Pope. The Youth team Players Player of the Year went to Danny Dixon, Henry Durr received the Coaches Player of the Year and Cameron Burgess the Top Scorer. Joondalup’s Clubman of the Year was Adrian Kenny.



Craig Deans has handed over Newcastle United’s coaching reins to former Socceroos defender Gary Van Egmond. Appointed interim coach earlier this month following the sacking of Branko Culina, Deans guided Newcastle to two wins and a loss during this short tenure in charge of the club. “The last three weeks have been some of the toughest and challenging in my career, but they have also been the most rewarding and enjoyable,” commented Deans. “I found pride in helping steer the team to victory in two of our first three matches and I am eager to see what the rest of the season holds for the club.”

Deans will assist Van Egmond with the senior side while resuming his role as coach of Newcastle’s youth team. “Taking what I have learnt from my time as interim coach and applying it to the great young talent that the club has, is indeed, something I am really looking forward to,” he said. “I will do my best to mentor the emerging talent that the Youth team holds, developing their individual talents and building our club from the inside, so hopefully they will soon go on to play in the A-League and wear the Jets colours.”



Defender Mark Walsh has commemorated his return to Morley Windmills by winning the clubs Player of the Year trophy. Although he played little over half the season, Walsh, 26, had a massive influence on his teams’ first campaign under coach Salv Todaro. “Walshie only played 14 games during the year due to work and injury but he was such a strong contributor that we only lost one game when he was in the side,” said Todaro. Morley captain Ian McKean came in runner-up behind Walsh with Andy O’Neill collecting the Coaches Award.

Jean-Michel D’Avray was named Player of the Year in the Reserves with veteran Damien Todorovic in second spot, while the Coaches Award went to Chris Bruin. The Youth team Player of the Year was Jay Potter, Daniel McCrystal was runner-up and Nick Davidson took home the Coaches Award. The retirements of Paul Dundo, Leo Harman and Damien Todorovic were honoured with medals of achievement, and club cook Alana McKevit was recognition for her continued support of Morley.



A newfound harmony within the Perth Glory squad has played a big part in the teams’ strong start to the new season according to defender Todd Howarth. Signed two years ago from Perth SC, Howarth has seen a big change in the attitudes of his team mates following coach Ian Ferguson’s overhaul of the squad. “Off field, the boys get along brilliantly and the intensity of training has lifted a lot compared to last year and, I think, that will to win,” 27-year old Howarth said. “There’s a new approach, a new group of players and there’s a lot of positivity around the club and all the lads get on well.”

Howarth has played much of his career – be it State League or A-League – as a creative left winger but this season he’s found a new home as a left back. His move into the back four came about after Dean Heffernan reversed his original decision to join Glory. “Obviously they’ve signed Andrezinho as well and he probably has a bit more pace and creativity, which is good for us,” Howarth said. “I suppose I’m still coming to terms with it (playing in defence) but I think I’m getting better with every game and I’m happy to make that spot my own if I possibly can.”



Young Socceroos coach Jan Versleijen has named his squad for the AFC Under-19 Championship qualifiers to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, later this month. Tom King and Ryan Edwards, who are plying their trade with English clubs Liverpool and Reading, are two of only four overseas based players to gain selection with Perth Glory pair Jesse Makarounas and Adam Taggart among the 19 Australia-based players.

Coach Jan Versleijen is excited about working with the next generation of Socceroos. “One of the big positives is that we have a number of players within our squad who already have valuable tournament experience after they competed at World Cups this year,” he said. “Part of our development philosophy is to expose these young players to as much international competitive football as possible. The more exposure they have the better they develop.”

The Young Socceroos assemble for a short training camp in Canberra this Wednesday before departing for Malaysia on Saturday. Their opening qualifier is against Singapore (2 November) followed by Macau (4 November), Indonesia (6 November) and China (8 November). The top two teams progress to the AFC Under-19 Championship in November 2012. Placing at the AFC Under-19 Championship will determine who will qualify for the 2013 Under-20 World Cup in Turkey.

Australia’s squad for the upcoming AFC Under-19 Championship qualifiers is Nick Munro, Allan Welsh, Liam Wooding (Adelaide United), Reece Caira (Aston Villa), Connor Chapman, Paul Izzo, Anthony Proia (Australian Institute of Sport), Jamie MacLaren (Blackburn Rovers), Corey Brown, James Donachie, Jason Geria (Brisbane Roar), Jake Barker-Daish, Josh Brilliante (Gold Coast United), Tom King (Liverpool), Curtis Good (Melbourne Heart), Nicholas Ansell, Paulo Retre (Melbourne Victory), Jack Duncan (Newcastle Jets), Jesse Makarounas, Adam Taggart (Perth Glory), Ryan Edwards (Reading), Terry Antonis and Daniel Petkovski (Sydney FC).



Sydney FC defender Jamie Coyne's overdue, pregnant wife had a simple message when he left her to play against Adelaide United - "You'd better win." Coyne went one better, scoring a goal as the Sky Blues posted their first win of the A-League season in Adelaide on Saturday night. Coyne's wife was due to give birth to their first child on Friday and the 30-year-old headed to South Australia hoping he wouldn't miss the birth. "To leave the wife at home, she said we'd better win," Coyne said.

Coyne's slick second half finish gave Sydney their first goal this season with Nicky Carle added another shortly before full-time to down Adelaide 2-1. The goals took pressure off the highly-touted Sydney outfit after being scoreless in their first two matches. But Coyne said their confidence was high despite criticism for their sluggish start. "We took a lot of confidence into the game from the two performances the weeks before," Coyne said. "Obviously we just haven't scored the goals, it was pretty plain and simple to see."

Coyne said it was always going to take time for Sydney's star recruit Brett Emerton to settle into the team. "Brett only got here a couple of weeks before the start of the season and Karol Kisel was injured about four or five weeks before the start of the season," he said. "They have been doing it in the previous games but they did it for 90 minutes (against Adelaide) and I think the amount of chances they created must have been about ten. If we keep creating that many chances, then the goals will keep coming."



Striker Shane Smeltz scored his third goal of the season to inspire Perth Glory to a 1-0 victory over Wellington Phoenix at Perth Oval. Smeltz latched on to the end of a beautiful set-piece play to notch the winner in the 33rd minute, lifting the unbeaten Glory to equal top of the table with fellow pacesetters Brisbane Road. “It wasn’t a great performance but I’ve seen us play better and come away with nothing, so you’ve got to be happy with that,” coach Ian Ferguson said. “We’re bitterly disappointed but we’re grateful and delighted with the three points … we know we’ve got to do better.”

Wellington’s deployment of a solid cordon of five men across midfield made it tough for Glory to break down a well-organised visiting unit. Only a handful of half-chances were fashioned in the early stages with Chris Greenacre and Dani Sanchez going closest for the visitors before Smeltz dragged wide Glory’s first meaningful opening. Glory got their noses in front just three minutes later, Jacob Burns chipping the ball to Bas Van Den Brink who steered his header across the face of goal where Smeltz got ahead of his marker to volley in.

Glory was thrown onto the back foot at the start of the second half as Wellington stepped up their search for an equalising goal. Ben Sigmund almost brought the sides level with a towering header which a full-stretch Danny Vukovic tipped onto the crossbar. With Sanchez and Leo Bertos pushing up to support Greenacre, the visitors began to look increasingly threatening. However, the next clear-cut opportunity came at the other end where Billy Mehmet and Andrezinho combined to release Smeltz who lifted high as ‘keeper Tony Warner advanced to narrow the angle.

Smeltz was then denied again on 75 minutes as a last-ditch block by Nick Ward prevented him from toe-poking the ball in after Liam Miller’s corner prompted an almighty scramble inside the 18-yard box. For all their attacking efforts, Wellington continued to be repelled by a rock-solid defence marshalled by Chris Coyne and Van Den Brink. A long-range Sanchez free-kick that flew harmlessly over Vukovic’s bar on 85 minutes was the closest they’d come to scoring, and just to rub salt into the wound Manny Muscat received his marching orders for a second yellow card deep in stoppage time.



Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish was fuming over the decision to send off West Australian midfielder Chris Herd in his club’s 2-1 home defeat to West Bromwich Albion. Herd impressed in his first Premier League start in two months before being red carded after 34 minutes by referee Phil Dowd for an off-the-ball tangle with Jonas Olsson. The linesman flagged Herd’s indiscretion although replays showed the 22-year old appeared to have done little to deserve such heavy punishment.

Herd, man of the match in his previous start for Villa, got in a bit of a tangle with Olsson and the West Brom man did not show the slightest sign of grievance following the contact. "I didn't see Olsson writhing around in agony or charging after young Herd indicating that he'd stamped on him," McLeish said. "It looked like to me as if he's tried to get his foot out of Olsson's grasp, trying to stop him making a quick break up the pitch when the ball was cleared."



Melbourne Victory have cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win over Perth Glory Women in their opening round fixture of the W-League on a wet and windy afternoon at the Veneto Club in Melbourne. The home side were made to work hard for the points with Caitlin Friend and Amy Jackson scoring inside ten minutes of each other either side of half-time.

The first chance of the afternoon came the way of the hosts with teenager Stephanie Catley blasting high after 13 minutes. Shannon May and Ella Mastrantonio were doing all they could in the Glory Women midfield against a Melbourne side that was continually pressing to open their account. The home side deservedly went ahead on 38 minutes when a corner went to feet and in the scramble that ensued Friend stab deflected off keeper Mackenzie Arnold. The margin was almost doubled by Jodie Taylor but the attacker didn’t have the composure to beat Arnold in a one-on-one situation.

Any hopes Glory Women held of a second half comeback were dealt a blow soon after the break when Jackson reacted quickest to a cross which she volleyed in for a two-nil lead. With Melbourne well on top, Taylor threatened to break through again but was foiled by Arnold after timing her run to perfection. For much of the second half Taylor looked a cut above the rest, working numerous chances only for some good keeping by Arnold to prevent further goals. Not even a 15-minute break brought on by a passing storm stemmed Melbourne’s dominance.



Perth Glory Youth opened their new season account with a convincing 3-0 win over the Australian Institute of Sport. Jesse Makarounas, Adam Taggart and Mile Sterjovski found the back of the net to secure the three points at Macedonia Park this afternoon. Sterjovski was instrumental, setting up Taggart to score early in the second half before netting himself from the penalty spot to seal the win. The AIS struggled to maintain possession against a strong Glory line-up that included seven senior squad players and if not for goalkeeper Paul Izzo the final margin would have been greater.

The hosts may have had the better of early possession but it was the AIS that created the first good chance after 10 minutes when Stefan Mauk’s beautiful cross found Anthony Proia whose free header from 5-metres was well saved. The AIS caught Glory Youth on the break several times and were nearly made to pay for their inability to finish those chances when Sterjovski played through to Taggart, but the youngster shot narrowly wide from a tight angle. The home teams’ reward came just before the break when Izzo spilled an Adam Hughes' shot which Makarounas tapped in from close-range.

Taggart widened the gap shortly after the restart by applying a calm finish after Sterjovski beat his defender and unselfishly centred to the young attacker. Izzo prevented Reece Vittiglia from sealing the game when he made a great block, the visiting 'keeper following up with a string of second half saves to thwart the Glory Youth attack. However, Sterjovski made the game safe on 70 minutes by converting a penalty awarded for a foul on Josh Risdon. Substitutes Benjamin Warland and Kwabena Boahene combined for the AIS's best chance of the period which the latter placed just wide when well placed.



Perth Glory captain Jacob Burns says injured goalkeeper Neil Young is in good spirits despite being ruled out of A-League action for at least six weeks. Young, who is the club’s reserve custodian behind Danny Vukovic, missed last weekend’s trip to Melbourne Heart after undergoing surgery for abdominal pain. Burns said he had spoken to Young, who almost died last year after a serious bowel infection caused by medication to treat a broken nose, and the 32-year-old had been upbeat. “He’s in good spirits,” said Burns. “He wants to be back amongst the lads and we wish him well.”

Young was a Newcastle Jets player when he was on the receiving end of an accidental boot in the face from then Gold Coast United striker Shane Smeltz in January of last year. The injury sparked a chain of events that almost cost the former Sorrento ‘keeper his life. Drugs used to help ease the pain of his broken nose caused a bowel infection and Young had six operations and a six-week spell in intensive care. When he was finally discharged from hospital he had lost 22kg but defied the odds to return to the Jets youth team before signing a two-year deal with Glory.



Floreat Athena coach Taki Nicolaidis is slowly coming to grips with the manner in which he was dumped from the club he’s devoted the best part of his life to. Nicolaidis, whose association with Floreat began at the age of 5, was left stunned by his clubs decision to drop him without so much as a phone call. “There was a severe lack of communication and, obviously, respect to my loyalty to the club,” said Nicolaidis. “I understand the board has to make tough decisions and I respect that, however, there are right ways to do things and wrong ways to do things and the way they handled this was terribly wrong.”

Nicolaidis, who played eleven seasons with Floreat, had been the clubs’ assistant coach for the past eight years, initially under Michael Roki and for the past two campaigns with Ante Kovacevic. “After Ante decided to resign I had expected the club to at least invite me in to talk about the vacancy and the options moving forward,” commented one-time State midfielder. “But to my bitter disappointment that wasn’t the case. The club decided to appoint Chris Barbas as head coach for 2012 and he understandably decided to bring in his own coaching team for all three grades.”

Floreat collected several pieces of silverware in the past seven year but two wins in particular stand out for the likeable Nicolaidis. “The 2007 undefeated season is most definitely one - to be able to win the league undefeated with such a young squad was amazing and very rare,” he said. “It’s not until you look back at it years down the track that you realize how big an achievement it actually. I have been lucky enough to have experienced it as a coach and as a player, both at Athena and both with my close friend Michael Roki.”

Last summer’s player exodus away from Floreat set the scene for Nicolaidis’ other coaching highlight. “It was this year’s Night Series win,” he said of the pre-season finale win over ECU Joondalup. “With so many new faces and a lot of people writing us off at the start of the season, it was very pleasing to assemble a good group of players with Ante Kovacevic and share the joy of winning a trophy together. For a few of the guys it was actually their first major trophy win and seeing the joy it brought them was priceless.”

Nicolaidis takes great pride in the player development role he has played at Floreat. “I have been fortunate to have had a lot of good players come through the club and they have all played a part of rebuilding the club,” said Nicolaidis, who was a junior himself at Floreat. “It’s been pleasing to be able to give young players like Julian Madaschi, Adam Bachiller, Josip Magdic and Alex Dunn their first opportunity of first team football and seeing them develop into class State League players.”

With football having been a huge part of his life, Nicolaidis’ admits it will be strange sitting on the other side of the fence next year. “I’m not sure what my plans are at the moment,” he said. “Having first played at Athena as a 5-year old, football has been a massive part of my life and I will wait for the dust to settle before deciding whether to get back involved with another club or to take a back seat and have some ‘me’ time for once and take those holidays with the kids that you can’t do when you’re committed to coaching or playing.”



Balcatta striker Steven Burton admits he was taken totally by surprise when his name was read out as winner of the 2011 Gold Medal last weekend. Burton, 27, spearheaded Balcatta to the top of the Premier League for the first time in the clubs’ 34-year history and is h9noured to be considered the competitions best and fairest player. “I was stunned when it was announced that I had won,” said the Doncaster-born striker. “At the start of the night I didn’t think I was in the running, hence the reason I had a few to many beers and made a hash of the speeches.”

The closing stages of the Gold Medal count were tense with Burton vying for top honours with Western Knights attacker Johny Mirco. “Going into the final round of votes our table was buzzing. We all knew we played the Knights in the final game and that Johny and myself both scored two goals, so it was anyone’s really,” commented Burton, whose best on ground performance against the Knights took him level with Mirco but winner of the Gold Medal on a count back. “When they announced I had won the award I was delighted and little shell-shocked.”

It was a huge night for Balcatta with Michael Roki taking out the Coach of the Year, while Ashley Rosindale and Adam Tong also polled well in the main award. “Roki is a great guy and very much deserved his award, it’s a testament to the coaching staff that a bunch of us polled well in the votes,” said Burton. “Tongy had a great year in defence and it was no surprise to see him up there. The same goes for Ash; we formed a very good understanding and seemed to get the best out of each other … if he hadn’t missed games through work he might have won the medal.”

Burton has loved every moment of his first year in Perth which included a spot in the State team and a run with Perth Glory. “Moving to Australia was never based on playing football, I came to start a new life and be happy as wasn’t enjoying work or footy back in the UK,” explained Burton. “When I signed for Balcatta the management got the best out of me which showed on the park and with that the opportunities come about. Playing with Glory gave me a little taster of being a full time footballer again, which would be great, but it’s not something I’m driven by.”

Although Balcatta made an early exit from the finals series Burton says the team their season targets. “We had set a goal to win the league which we achieved so we were all thrilled with that. Our form in the finals let us down but this leaves room for improvement so hopefully next year we can do better,” said Burton, who has come to the attention of several clubs in Victoria. “I’m not sure what I’ll be doing yet, the dust hasn’t settled on this season. I have been approached to play in Melbourne but honestly I would find it hard to leave Balcatta, I have really enjoyed it here.”



Perth Glory Women coach is confident his players have what it takes to get a result from this weekend’s W-League season opener at Melbourne Victory. There are seven new faces in the Glory Women squad for 2011/12 with each and every player eager to make their mark from day one. “It has been a long process getting the players together and ready for the first game of the season but they are all excited that the first one is upon us,” said Harnwell. “With it being such a short season it is imperative that we get off to a good start against Melbourne. They will be a tough test, but I am confident we have assembled a squad that will do Perth Glory proud.” Glory Women meet Melbourne Victory at the at the Veneto Club in Melbourne on Saturday.



At last week’s inaugural WA Football Awards Mathew Cheeseman was rewarded for a stellar season in the All Flags Premier League by winning the Golden Whistle as the state’s top referee. The 26-year-old made it back-to-back awards and joined an elite group of referees to take the award out on more than one occasion. “I’m honoured to be presented with this award, especially for the second consecutive year. It certainly is a great reward for all the hard work and effort since I started blowing the whistle 11 years ago,” said Cheeseman.

“To be recognised as a multiple winner and join the likes of Eddie Lennie (x4), Andy Gorton (x2), Patrick McCaffrey (x2) and Angelo Nardi (x5) is certainly something to be proud of, especially when it was those officials who I have learnt from throughout my career.”

Cheeseman has also been working hard off the pitch, in his role as Referee Coordinator at Football West and with Eddie Lennie at the helm the referees stocks have been bolstered with some good young lads coming through the system. “We’ve had a changing of the guard over the last four or five years with some of the more experienced referees calling time on their career, and naturally the younger referees coming through have been given an opportunity to step up. It means there is more competition for places than ever before, and the “established” referees have to work harder to maintain their position in the panel,” said Cheeseman.

“We had 12 referees on the Premier League panel this year to control six matches each week, so when someone gets a chance they need to grab it with both hands. What I think it does highlight is that Football West have taken a more conscious effort over the last few years to improve the quality of referee coaching, and this is slowly filtering down to all levels of the game to ensure that a referee doing a Social match is enforcing the Laws of the Game in the same manner as a State Premier League fixture, as they receive the same coaching materials as the top referees in the state.”

The next step for local referees is to be added to the A-League list, and with the recent retirement of Steve Gregory, who was on the list, was a disappointment for WA referees, but another has taken his place on the panel this season. “David Costello has been added to the “C” Panel of referees for this season, which means that he will mainly be appointed as fourth official, but may be appointed as a referee if the opportunity arises,” explained Cheeseman.

“There are currently nine referees on the “A” Panel (including six FIFA Referees) and four referees on the “B” Panel. Add to that the six referees who have been included on the “C” Panel, and that is 19 referees for 5 games each week. David was recently appointed to a pre-season friendly between Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory (Harry Kewell’s first game), so we all hope that he gets given an opportunity in the league this season.”

The opportunity for referees to impress in tournaments around Australia has improved and Cheeseman believes the path way for the youngsters today is excellent. “For any aspiring official to get onto the A-League panel there is now a bit more of a defined career path than what there has been in the past. There are the National Youth Championships and the National Youth League where young officials can get identified as having the potential to make the step up to the elite level. Proving yourself in the top level of the state (i.e. Premier League) is obviously essential, and then it’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time when an opportunity arises.

“It certainly isn’t a closed shop, but to be given an opportunity you need to prove that you deserve it. Of course once you get there, it’s a matter of maintaining your performances to prove you deserve to stay there, as there is always someone else who wants your place.”

This season will be Cheeseman’s sixth year on the A-League Assistants Referee panel, and he’s enjoying the challenge. “The majority of my games have been at nib Stadium, but I’ve been fortunate enough to officiate on two matches outside of WA (in Sydney and Wellington), but these opportunities only arose as I was in those cities on holiday at the time. Generally the assistants are only appointed in their home state, due to the travel costs of flying officials all around the country,” said Cheeseman..

“My aim has always been to officiate at a World Cup, whether that be as a referee or an assistant referee. Naturally, there are twice as many opportunities for Assistants due to the numbers, so having spent six seasons on the A-League in that role; I have decided to focus my attention in attaining a FIFA badge as an Assistant Referee. From there, the next step would be to make it on the AFC Elite Panel and be appointed to matches in the Asian Champions League and international fixtures, and then hopefully international tournaments after that.

“Refereeing in Australia is not a full time job, and probably won’t ever be during my career. In fact, there are only a handful of countries around the world that have professional referees (England has the most with 20). Therefore, our FIFA Referees have their own employment issues to contend with when they are appointed to A-League matches or international matches where they are required to take time off work. It helps to have an understanding employer, so I guess I’m fortunate enough to be in a position which could assist in that regard. That doesn’t mean that I can come and go as I please, but it may give me some flexibility.”



Former Socceroo Mile Sterjovski will work his way back into the Perth Glory line-up after missing the opening two games of the new A-League season according to team captain Jacob Burns. Ian Ferguson’s off-season overhaul of the Glory side has left 32-year old Sterjovski cooling his heels on the sidelines but Burns has no doubts the Glory marquee man will be a key figure prominently in the clubs’ quest to be playing finals football. “He’s very much a big part of this squad and a big part of the manager’s plans,” Burns told “I’m sure he’ll be called upon sooner rather than later and he just has to be ready when that comes.”

It’s a major fall from grace for Sterjovski, who just two years ago was part of the Australian side that qualified for the 2010 World Cup. But with Ferguson’s new look side having won both their first two games this season against Adelaide and Melbourne Heart, he has slipped down the pecking order. New Brazilian attacker Andrezinho has starred on the left side of midfield, along with Shane Smeltz and Billy Mehmet playing as the strikers. Sterjovski joined Glory in June 2009 at the end of a successful European career that took in time at Lille (France), FC Basel (Switzerland), Hacettepe (Turkey) and Derby County (England).



Aston Villa defender Chris Herd has declared his allegiance to the Socceroos. Herd, 22, qualifies to play internationally for Australia as well as Scotland and although he’s yet to be called up by Socceroos boss Holger Osieck the former ECU Joondalup junior says it is his dream to wear the green and gold. “Obviously Australia is my country; it’s where I’ve grown up, it’s where I’m from. I want to play for Australia,” said Herd. “It’s every kid’s dream to play for their country and if I get the chance I’ll be honoured.”

Herd made headlines with a man-of-the-match performance against Wolverhampton Wanderers in his first start the new English season but has had to watch from the sidelines of late following the arrival of Scottish international Alan Hutton at Villa Park. “It is really nice to be involved with the first team, I’m just looking to improve and get some more game time,” said Herd. “When I came into the club I was only 15, and seeing the stars you get a bit star struck. I was a bit shy, but once you get into it you’re all mates so you just get on with it.”



Midfielder Nick Ward is glad to be back at Wellington Phoenix following a turbulent off-season in which his hopes of playing in Greece slowly unravelled before his eyes. Soon after completing Wellington’s 2010/11 campaign, Ward linked up with Iraklis Thessaloniki who were in the process of appealing a decision to kick them out of the Greek Super League. “They had all these court appeals to try and get back in the Super League (and) we got back in with a court appearance,” said Ward.

However, that was by no means the end of the drama. “There’s a lot of corruption and the FA said ‘no, that court doesn't have the authority’ so they got put back down (to the regional Delta Ethniki league),” explained Ward. “And they went to another court and it was just really frustrating for myself. I was waiting in a hotel trying to train and to not get paid and then my girlfriend was supposed to come over. It was just a pretty tough time.”

As things lurched from bad to worse for Iraklis, Ward made contact with Wellington coach Ricki Herbert to see if he’d have him back. “I was seeing in the papers what was going on with the new owners (of Wellington) and it looked like it was a lot better job security here,” said the midfielder. “And obviously it’s an easy move for me because I know all the players, I know the coaching staff and I know the town. So it was an easy decision.”

Because Ward had not signed an actual contract with Iraklis, it was easy for him to walk away from the club. “They owed me two months wages but you don’t get that in Greece,” he commented. Ward arrived back at Wellington only a few days out from the season opener with Gold Coast United and came off the bench just after half hour to replace Vince Lia, who suffered a knee injury. He came into the starting line-up for Sunday’s home clash with Newcastle Jets which Wellington won 2-0.



Jamie Harnwell has gone with a new-look squad as Perth Glory Women attempt to break into the W-League finals for the first time. The Glory Women coach has so far brought in seven players for the coming season, amongst them Doncaster Rovers Belles captain Katie Holtham and one-time Australia midfielder Ella Mastrantonio, who returns from a stint at Melbourne Victory. The club is still negotiating with two international players to complete their playing roster.

Joining Holtham and Mastrantonio in signing on for the new season are local products Sarah Carroll, Shawn Billam and Katrina Jukic along with Young Matildas goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold and Erika Elze. “We have introduced some new young faces and I am looking forward to seeing how they develop over the course of the season,” added Harnwell. Foundation player Tanya Oxtoby will captain Glory Women for the fourth successive season with Mastrantonio vice-captain.

Unfortunately, Glory Women will be without Matildas trio Collette McCallum, who has elected not to take part for personal reasons, Sam Kerr and Kate Gill plus imports Tine Cederkvist, Alex Singer and Alexandra Nilsson. “It will be difficult to cover the loss of three key Matildas players, but we are confident that we have a team that can compete in the W-League and hopefully finish in the finals for the first time,” commented Harnwell.

The Glory Women squad for the coming W-League season is Mackenzie Arnold, Shawn Billam, Sarah Carroll, Elisa D’Ovidio, Emily Dunn, Erika Elze, Lara Filocamo, Jaymee Gibbons, Carys Hawkins, Katie Holtham, Katrina Jukic, Sadie Lawrence, Shannon May, Ella Mastrantonio, Tanya Oxtoby and Marianna Tabain. The 2011/12 season commences for Glory Women with a trip to Melbourne Victory on 22 October.



Perth Glory has finalised its 2011/12 playing roster with the recruitment of Steve Pantelidis. The journeyman midfielder joins Glory fresh from a spell in Indonesia with Bintang Medan and having won two A-League championships with Melbourne Victory. “To be honest the set up here is very good, obviously Melbourne Victory is very professional and has great facilities but I think Glory is excellent,” Pantelidis commented on his move to Perth. “I think a lot of the players here have been given a great opportunity to perform week in and week out so I’m expecting a really good season this year.”

Ian Ferguson said he was delighted to sign Pantelidis, 28, who can play a variety of roles. “Pantelidis is a great signing because he can do three different positions, he can hold midfield, he can play centre-half and he can also play right full-back, so we’re lucky to have him,” the Glory coach said. “Pantelidis wears his heart on his sleeve, he’s an honest player. That’s what you want, you want competitiveness in there and that’s what he gives you. He’s done that throughout his career. I think people have unfairly judged him because of his bookings but he’s a far better player than people give him credit for.”

Pantelidis, who has played over 100 A-League games for Melbourne and Gold Coast United, also set the record straight on his disciplinary record. “As the Gaffa (Ian Ferguson) said he’s not going to tolerate stupid yellow and red cards, so I’m in the same boat as everyone else. I like to get in and get the ball but I’m not going to do anything silly,” he said. “I have a bit of experience, I’ve been in the A-League since its inception, so I’ve been here for seven years now and I have a lot of experience and hopefully can bring that to the team.”



Nigel Pearson has dropped the biggest hint yet that Richard Garcia will be rewarded with a new Hull City deal. Garcia has targeted an early December return to action following a lengthy period out with injury and Pearson wants to see a fresh contract coincide with the attacker's comeback. "Of course I would like to see him stay, absolutely," Pearson told the 'Hull Daily Mail'. "It will be nice to get him available again and we'll look at the contract situation when it's nearer that time. He's making very good progress and hopefully the target that was set for November or December will be met."

Garcia has been in contract limbo since suffering cruciate ligament damage in the Tigers 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace in April. A decision to bide his time on contract talks until the summer then backfired when the full extent of his injury was revealed, but Hull immediately put in place a short-term agreement to aid Garcia's recovery. "Garc has got a lot of self-discipline and he knows his body well and what he needs to do," added Pearson. Garcia hopes a return to training in two weeks will see him back on first-team duty by December.



Caretaker Newcastle Jets coach Craig Deans has urged the club to sort out its managerial future as soon as possible. Deans, who took over from Branko Culina a fortnight ago, has guided Newcastle to one win and one loss but says its’ in the clubs’ best interests to settle their coaching team quickly. “I would imagine the club will be getting closer to a decision on the person they want,” said Deans. “I think it would be a good thing for all of us to know which direction we're going in, in terms of which coach it is.” Gary van Egmond, who took Newcastle to the A-League Championship in 2007/08, is understood to be close to finalising his return to the club following time at the Australian Institute of Sport.



Melbourne Heart are contemplating rushing Socceroos defender Adrian Madaschi into the line-up for this weekend’s derby with Melbourne Victory. Madaschi, who has played much of his career in Italy’s second and third tier competitions, could find himself partnering Rodrigo Vargas in the centre of defence as replacement for injured Heart captain and defensive lynchpin Adrian Leijer. Madaschi, 29, has been training for the past five weeks with Victory but with no firm contract offer on the table the defender will be sorely tempted to head across town should Heart knock on his door.



Australia has missed out on the spot at next year’s Under-20 Women’s World Cup. Although results did not go the Young Matilda’s way – they collected a solitary win from five games – there were still plenty of positives to come out of the tournament for the national youth team. “The girls really showed they can play some decent football,” commented coach Jeff Hopkins. Flying the flag for West Australia at the tournament was Perth Glory Women attacker Marianna Tabain, who featured in three of Australia’s five games.

Young Matildas debutant Emily Gielnik grabbed a hat-trick to lead her team to a nail-biting 4-3 victory over Vietnam in their opening qualifier. Some neat combination play through midfield allowed Linda O’Neill to slot past goalkeeper Tran Thi Kim in only the 3rd minute. However, Vietnam were quick to strike with two goals to enter the break with the lead. Several changes at half-time allowed Australia to dictate the second half as Gielnik scored three times in fourteen minutes to turn the game. Tabain was an unused substitute.

North Korea took a narrow 1-0 win from Australia’s second match played on a surface made slippery by a torrential downpour. Australia were beginning to gain some momentum when Kwon Song Hwa unleashed a powerful strike from just outside the 18-yard-box to put North Korea in front after 22 minutes. Tara Andrews and Caitlin Foord both crashed shots into the frame of the goal as Australia attempted to level the game, while a late Andrews’ header brushed past the near post. Tabain came off the bench in the 70th minute.

Australia suffered a second loss in three days when edged out 1-0 by Japan. A high intensity first half saw possession evenly shared and both teams creating good chances on goal. A defensive lapse by Australia just before the break was punished by Mai Kyokawa, who brilliantly got down the left before sneaking the ball between goalkeeper Casey Dumont and her near post. The pattern of the second half was similar to that of the first with both defences working overtime to nullify their opponents’ attacks. Tabain was replaced at half-time.

The Young Matilda’s hopes of making the Under-20 Women’s World Cup were ended by Thursday 3-1 loss to China. The only goal of a physical first half came on 33 minutes when Australia’s failure to clear a lofted ball into the 18-yard box was punished by Wang Tingting. Australia controlled the early part of the second period only to go another goal down through Yao Shuangyan. Emily Van Egmond pulled a goal back with ten minutes to go, however, Ni Mengjie answered back two minutes. Tabain was an unused substitute.

A depleted but courageous Young Matilda’s completed their campaign with a 4-2 loss to a disciplined South Korea. The only goal of an exciting first half was an opportunistic finish by Choi Yoo-Jung in the 27th minute. The second half was four minutes old when Ash Brown played through for Andrews to equalise, however, the Koreans regained control with goals from substitute Lee Geum-Min and Seo Hyun-Sook. Tabain, who came on after 76 minutes, provided the ammunition for Brown to volley in Australia’s second but it would be Lee Geum-min who had the final say.



Shane Smeltz scored once in each half to lead Perth Glory to a 2-1 victory over Melbourne Heart this afternoon at AAMI Park. The match-winning double took Smeltz’s A-League tally to 51 goals in just 79 appearances to ensure Glory collect their second win from as many games. “It wasn’t a great game, chances were few and far between, but Smeltz can make that difference. He had two chances today, scored the two of them,” Glory coach Ian Ferguson said. “It’s great (for the Glory) to get two wins out of two.”

The home team enjoyed the better of a scrappy first half and Wayne Srhoj would have headed them into the lead if not for Todd Howarth’s goal line clearance. Glory began to spark midway through and with 34 minutes gone Scott Neville released Liam Miller whose lofted ball to the far post was glanced in by Smeltz. Melbourne were deal a further blow minutes later with influential midfielder forced off with a hamstring injury. Despite this set back, the Melbourne hauled themselves level on the stroke of half-time when David Williams tucked into the corner of the net from the penalty spot following Chris Coyne’s foul on Maycon.

The second half started tamely with the only shot on goal coming being a Nick Kalmar attempt which Danny Vukovic dealt with comfortably. Smeltz put Glory back in front after 67 minute, the striker pouncing on a sloppy back pass by Matt Thompson and turned Curtis Good inside out before curling powerfully past Nikola Roganovic from just outside the 18-yard box. Nick Kalmar wasted a chance for Melbourne to salvage a point by blazing high in the 76th minute. Goalkeeper Roganovic denied Glory a third goal by blocking Miller’s effort after he used all his trickery to jinx past two defenders and drive inside the box.



Doncaster-born Steve Burton wrote himself into West Australian football history last night by taking out the 2011 Gold Medal. Burton’s knack of converting as well as creating chances for those around him earned the Balcatta striker the prestigious award as the best and fairest player in this years’ Premier League. When counting finished Burton was on level votes with Johny Mirco but edged the Western Knights attacker out on account of more best on ground performances.

There was a full house at Grand Ballroom of the Burswood Entertainment Complex to celebrate the achievements of the recent State League season. At the season’s mid-point Burton had already claimed the Gold Medal lead with 16 votes but hot on his trail was team mate Ashley Rosindale on 14 votes which was one more than Ndumba Makeche (Inglewood United) and two clear of Jon Higgins (ECU Joondalup). Mirco, who had only recently left Cockburn City, was joined on 10 votes by Stuart Montgomery (Knights).

With four games to go Burton remained top of the pile on 22 votes but just ahead Mirco with 20 votes and Gustavo Giron-Marulanda, who picked up maximum votes four times in five weeks for Bayswater City to move to 19 votes. A final day meeting of Balcatta and the Knights saw Burton pick up three votes and Mirco two to put the pair level, however, Burton was awarded the Gold Medal on count back having received eight best on grounds to Mirco’s four.

The final leader board had Burton and Mirco locked together with 25 votes, just three clear of Giron-Marulanda. Rosindale took fourth with 20 votes, while joint together two behind were Higgins, Makeche and Montgomery. Andy Brown (Stirling Lions) was next with 15 votes followed by Balcatta defender Adam Tong on 14 and attack-minded trio Matt Barlow (Armadale), Liam Boland (Floreat Athena) and Ludovic Boi (Stirling) who tallied up 13 votes each. View all the 2011 Gold Medal votes (pdf, 128kb).

The Goalkeeper of the Year was a three way tie between Curtis Aspden (Sorrento), Oliver Taseski (Inglewood) and Fraser Siddall (Knights), while Giron-Marulanda’s 18 regular season goals rewarded with the Golden Boot. Guiding Balcatta to their first Premier League title earned Michael Roki the top flight Coach of the Year. Very few people were surprised when Grand Final referee Mat Cheeseman won the Referee of the Year for the second year running. The Assistant Referee of the Year was shared by Cheeseman and Josh Mihevc.

Forrestfield United’s Andy Harold was the runaway winner of the Division One Player of the Year. Harold, who has played his entire career at Forrestfield, tallied up 27 votes to finish well clear of Swan United team mates Anthony McStea and John Monterosso, on 19 and 18 votes respectively. Monterosso’s 21-goal season saw him claim the Golden Boot, while Nigel Wilcox was rewarded with the Coach of the Year after navigating Bunbury through the 22-game home and away season and into next seasons’ top flight.

Stuart Connell of Spearwood Dalmatinac won the Sunday League Gold Medal with 21 votes, pipping runner-up Stuart Hartman (Whitford City) by a single vote. 29-goals landed Felim Rugel (Southern Spirit) the Golden Boot, while Goalkeeper of the Year honours were shared by Glenn Sheldon (Southern Spirit) and Jamie Serra (Whitford). The Coach of the Year was presented to Rob Pagnoni (Southern Spirit) and Jeremy Oliphant was named Referee of the Year.

The Women’s Premier League Gold Medal was taken out by Queens Park defender Stacey Learmont with 21 votes, on more than team mate Jesse Lindquist. Beckenham Angels fared well in the Golden Boot and Goalkeeper of the Year categories, Andrea Preiato winning the former and Kristy Teschinsky the latter. After steering Northern Redbacks to the league and cup double it was inevitable Tim Hodgson would be named Coach of the Year.



Perth Glory goalkeeper Neil Young was forced to undergo abdominal surgery last night after experiencing pain. Young, who started out with Sorrento and played the last two seasons with Newcastle Jets, has been replaced on the bench for today’s game against Melbourne Heart by youth team custodian Lewis Italiano. Glory’s medical staff will consult with Young’s surgeon in the coming days to plan the 32-year old's rehabilitation. Young almost died last year after a bowel infection led to six operations and a six-week stint in intensive care.



Veteran defender Chris Coyne is poised to wear Perth Glory colours for the first time in 20 months when they travel to Melbourne Heart tomorrow. Coyne, who has not been in the starting eleven since Glory’s finals loss to Wellington Phoenix in February last year, is set to partner Bas Van Den Brink in the centre of defence after an ankle injury ruled out Josh Mitchell. “I was ready to go last week but you’ve got to wait for your chance and respect the fact that I didn’t play a lot of games in pre-season,” Coyne told the ‘West Australian. “I’m ready and raring to go … if I’m selected it will be up to me to go in and do well and carry on the good start we’ve had.”

Coyne’s return to the starting line-up has been months in the making. In an ultimately fruitless attempt to keep himself in contention for a place in Australia’s World Cup squad, the former Socceroos defender joined Chinese club Liaoning Hongyun following the completion of the 2009/10 season. On his return to Perth in October transfer regulations prevented Coyne from making an immediate return before an Achilles injury ended his season. But the former Luton Town captain battled his way back to fitness, while Ferguson rebuilt his squad with a dozen new signings.



The 2011 State League season officially comes to a close tomorrow evening with the inaugural West Australia Football Awards. The event will bring the stars of State League, Sunday Premier League and Women’s Premier League football together in the Grand Ballroom of the Burswood Entertainment Complex. The evenings’ centrepiece will be the awarding of WA football’s highest individual honour – the Gold Medal – to the State League’s best and fairest player.

Golden Boot winner Gustavo Giron-Marulanda of Bayswater City is the red hot favourite to take out the coveted award, however, he faces some pretty stiff competition from the likes of Andy Brown (Stirling Lions), Balcatta team mates Steve Burton and Adam Tong and Antonio Naglieri of Perth SC. Also expected to poll strongly are Western Knights pair Johny Mirco and Stuart Montgomery along with ECU Joondalup midfielder Jon Higgins.

The Coach of the Year appears to be a two horse race between Michael Roki, whose Balcatta team ended the regular season on top of the Premier League table, and Paul Price, who steered Sorrento to their first State League Cup and to the Grand Final. Frazer Siddall (Knights) and Curtis Aspden (Sorrento) are the frontrunners for Goalkeeper of the Year honours with Inglewood’s Oliver Taseski the field’s dark horse.

There’ll be little separating the leaders when the final rounds of votes are counted in the Division One Player of the Year. Bunbury Forum Force pair Oliver McGee and Ashley Young will surely finish high on the tally board along with Anthony McStea (Swan United) and Ian Stack (Shamrock Rovers). Wanneroo City midfielder Guy McDonald will be another who is there or thereabouts, likewise Andy Harold and Anthony Lyons of Forrestfield United.

Steering Bunbury Forum Force to the Division One championship is expected to reward Nigel Wilcox the Coach of the Year, however, breathing down his neck are John O’Reilly (Swan) and Paul McCue (Shamrock). Mathew Cheeseman, Joe Fusari and David Costello are in the running for the top referee prize, the Golden Whistle. Cheeseman also features in the field for the Assistant Referee of the Year where Josh Mihevc and Ross Sardi have also been nominated.

The field for the Sunday Premier League Gold Medal is headed by Steven Purton (UWA-Nedlands), Lee Jones (Joondalup United) and Stuart Connell (Spearwood Dalmatinac). Stuart Banks (Olympic Kingsway), Felim Rugel (Southern Spirit), Stuart Hartman (Whitford City) and Andrew Horrill (Belmont Villa) will also be close to the top at the end of counting. Rob Pagnoni (Southern Spirit) is tipped to take the Coach of the Year ahead of John Evans (Joondalup United) and Brian Andrews (Spearwood Dalmatinac).

Amongst those in contention for the Women’s Premier League Gold Medal are Carol Howes (Northern Redbacks), Queens Park team mates Stacy Learmont and Jessica Lindquist, Kirby Larsen (Beckenham Angels), Chelsea Evans (Balcatta), Tia Stonehill (National Training Centre). Tim Hodgson, who guided Northern Redbacks to the league and cup double, is expected to be named Coach of the Year ahead of Jason Washington-King (Beckenham) and Steve Woodfin (Queens Park).



Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert is enthusiastic and apprehensive in equal measures about Nick Ward’s return to the teams’ midfield. Ward looks set to replace injured Vince Lia for Sunday’s game against Newcastle Jets with Herbert saying the midfielder adds a certain unpredictability to his teams’ attack. “Nick’s a different type of player to Vinnie,” Herbert said. “He’s probably a little more attacking, and we’ve kind of got to just curb that a little bit. Sometimes he’ll wander where I don’t want him to wander but he’s a good player and that’s why he’s back at the club.” Ward, who made 24 appearances for Wellington last season, left the club to look at playing in Europe but has returned after opportunities in Greece fell through.



ECU Joondalup have appointed club legend Paul Simmons as senior coach for next season. Simmons, who has presided over every trophy Joondalup has won, was confirmed for a third spell in charge of the northern suburbs club on Monday. “The season can’t come quick enough, and after three years out of coaching I am extremely excited about the job ahead,” said Simmons. “I have a special relationship with the club and am delighted to be back in the mix. With new clubrooms opening in February and the club set to celebrate its 20 year anniversary in 2012, there are going to be some big Saturday afternoons at the campus.”

Simmons was a regular at State League games during the winter and saw enough of Joondalup to recognise the potential is there to finish much higher than the seventh spot they claimed in 2011. “I saw the boys quite a lot last year and they are a young side that plays good football,” said Simmons, who has already identified a few areas he’d like to see improvement. “We could probably do with a good wide man and be focused on getting wide, round the back and then delivering the ball into the mixer.”

Simmons initial stint as Joondalup coach was in the late 1990’s when they rose from Division Two to Premier League champions in the space of three remarkable seasons. “I will never forget the meteoric rise the club made from obscurity to Premier League champions in no time. It was a roller coaster ride for everyone at the club,” said Simmons. “Those days are now history and I can’t see another club ever surpassing that achievement. However, I would love to rewrite history again with the club … I have had three seasons off and am chomping at the bit.”



New Zealand international Shane Smeltz says visiting teams should fear playing at Perth Oval just as they did in the days of the National Soccer League. Smeltz, who played for Brisbane Strikers and Adelaide in the old national league, was impressed with the response of Glory’s supporters to last weekend's win over Adelaide United. "The crowd was really good and you can see the potential with a few more wins or some good performances," he said. "With more of a crowd in there, it will be a hell of a fortress. I remember back in the day when it was heaving and it was an intimidating place. There's no reason why we can't get that back."

The weekend result against Adelaide was the first time Glory has taken maximum points from an opening round A-League fixture. Away wins have been hard just as hard to come by for the club, however, Smeltz feels Sunday’s trip to Melbourne Heart provides the perfect opportunity to change that. "I think it's a game we should all look forward," Smeltz said of the upcoming game. "We've built a bit of confidence now and we can start our first away game on a good note as well. I think part of the travel is a mental thing and we need to get over there and get some good performances in."



The sudden departure of championship winning coach Paul McCue has caught Division One club Shamrock Rovers off-guard. McCue tendered his resignation on Monday, just three weeks after steering Shamrock to third spot in their State League debut and only twelve months after winning the Sunday Premier League title. “Having been involved with Rovers for over fifteen years it was a very hard decision to leave but it was the right one for me,” commented McCue. “I do wish the club all the very best for the future and I’m sure they will be very strong again next season.”

McCue is understandably proud of what he achieved during his two seasons as coach of the East Victoria Park club. “The club are in a stronger position today than when I was appointed,” he said. “There have been many highlights over the last two years, winning the Sunday League last year being one. Some of the football the boys played this year was a credit to them, the fact that in our first State League season we were in the mix to win the champions right up until the last four games was an incredible achievement.”



English import Anthony Lyons is Forrestfield United’s Fairest and Best player for 2011. Lyons was a key figure in Forrestfield’s revival during the second half of the Division One season, the 22-year old striker putting away eighteen goals in eleven consecutive game to move to his club into fifth on the final table. “I’m very proud to be voted Forrestfield’s best player in my first season. I’ve enjoyed every second of it and must thank everyone who voted for me and everyone who treated me so nicely,” said Lyons.

Lyons readily concedes his teams’ poor start to the season put an early end to their hopes of challenging for promotion. “Forrestfield's season was hot and cold. The first half was pretty negative and the quick transition period from when Phil (Butler) took over turned it around,” the striker commented. “Additionally, players returning from injury – including myself – provided a spark and we then proceeded to get some good results against top four teams. Hopefully, Forrestfield can go one better next year and make the top four, its well within our capability to challenge for the title.”

Mat Harold was runner-up Fairest and Best with the Players Player of the Year trophy going to his brother Andy Harold. The reserve team Fairest and Best was won by Sean Treacey who finished ahead of Josh Barnes in counting, while Rob Perrot collected the Players Player of the Year. State Schoolboys goalkeeper Jake Luik picked up the youth team’s Fairest and Best award with Tait Comley second. Jett Shaw was voted the Players Player of the Year, Rhys Hay was presented the Coaches Award with the Most Improved trophy going home with Sam Burridge.


AMPHLETT KNOWS HIS TIME HAS COME (courtesy the ‘West Australian’)

Tommy Amphlett is determined to seize his opportunities to impress Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson and prove he belongs in the A-League. At the start of the final year of his Glory contract, Amphlett has set down an early marker with the cross that Billy Mehmet put away to seal victory against Adelaide United on the weekend. "This year is a big year for me," he told the 'West Australian' newspaper. "I've got one year to prove I can play in this league and whatever opportunity I get I've got to take it. My aim now is to try and push into the starting line-up."

The 23-year-old made his Glory debut in a win over Sydney in 2009 but he was restricted to just five substitute appearances in his first campaign. Last year, injury spoiled his pre-season but he eventually broke into the team and featured 15 times, proving he was capable of making the adjustment from the State league, where he played for ECU Joondalup, to Australia's elite competition. "When I first came here I was a bit raw in terms of positioning but I've worked on that a lot," said the carpenter by trade. "And I'm more confident now. Having a full pre-season has been really helpful."

The flood of new faces at Glory might have unsettled some of the incumbents but Amphlett sees only positives in competition for places. "Last year wasn't the best so the gaffer was right to change the squad," he said. "He's brought some quality players in and it's a big challenge for a spot in the side. Training every day is really tough and it's very intense compared to last year. Even the players who were here last season have lifted their game. There are that many quality players in the squad and the gaffer can only pick eleven and three (outfield) players on the bench, so you've just got to try and train your way into the side."



The Socceroos took another step towards qualifying for the 2014 World Cup with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Oman this evening in Sydney. Goals to Brett Holman, Josh Kennedy and Mile Jedinak ensured Australia claimed maximum points for the third time having previously seen off Thailand and Saudi Arabia. The result leaves the Socceroos needing just one point from their last three group games to progress to the final phase of qualifying, which starts in June next year. “We want to top the group, that’s our goal, and we want to do that undefeated,” stated captain Lucas Neill.

The crowd of 24,372 at the Olympic Stadium were made to wait just 8 minutes before Holman put the Socceroos ahead, the striker slamming low into the net at close-range after meeting a Matt McKay centre. It marked the start of Australia’s near-total domination of the first half where they cruised in possession, confidently knocking the ball around the park but failing to convert that into goals. Holman blasted well over the crossbar after a tidy lead-up involving Rhys Williams and McKay, who squandered a chance of his own later by volleying high.

Oman came out for the second half with more conviction as they looked to equalise. But those hopes were dashed after 65 minutes when Kennedy hit the back of the net after a Wilkshire shot was blocked by goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi. Australian custodian Adam Federici was called into action for the only time soon after, making an excellent one-handed save to keep out Ahmed Al Mahaijiri’s free-kick. The game was made safe five minutes from the end by Jedinak, who got enough of a touch on a perfectly flighted Wilkshire free-kick to beat the ‘keeper.



Wales youth international Mark Pritchard has capped a superb debut season at Floreat Athena by winning the clubs’ Fairest and Best award. Pritchard, fresh from a stint at English club Oxford City, joined Floreat in March and in next to no time had cemented his place in Ante Kovacevic’s starting eleven. His distribution and drive out of midfield was vital in the teams’ push towards the top five, and was rewarded in July with State selection for the friendly with Perth Glory.

Club captain Julian Madaschi was presented the runner-up Fairest and Best trophy with Paul Van Dongen taking home the Coaches Award. Liam Boland collected the Golden Boot as well as Troy Bernard Memorial Award (Rising Star). Andrew Xydas won the reserve team Fairest and Best with Roshann Frederic and Michael Salsano joint runners-up. The Golden Boot went to Alex Novatsis and the Coaches Award to Jordyn Nayna. The youth team awards went home with Daniel Razo (Fairest and Best), Nathan Scully (runner-up and Golden Boot) and Jonston Walker (Coaches Award).



Jacob Burns has played down Perth Glory’s promising start to the new A-League season. A solid all round performance by Glory against Adelaide United yesterday was rewarded by a 1-0 win but Burns says that success is no guarantee of a successful campaign. “There’s a fresh vibe amongst us, we want to get the fans back here because it’s a very difficult place to come when we’re doing well,” said the Glory captain. “It’s a great confidence builder … but we’re not getting carried away. It’s a long season and we just have to be focused on each and every game as it comes.”

Glory dominated the game at Perth Oval and could have won by a sizeable margin had they made more of their numerous goal scoring chances. “When you’ve created so many, you think it might come back and bite you because you haven’t finished it, but you’ve got to have the belief,” Burns said. “(In) a lot of games these days, goals are scored in injury time or in the last minute so it just shows you, from the first minute to the last minute whenever that will be, you have to remain focused, no matter how much you’re dominating the game.”

The game was decided by ne signing Billy Mehmet, who glanced in a 77th minute cross by Tommy Amphlett. Burns, however, admits he thought it wasn’t going to be Glory’s day when Bruce Djite streamed towards goal on the hour before being thwarted by Todd Howarth’s goal line intervention. “Seeing Toddy Howarth clear that ball off the line … that turned the game down the other end for us. We created that many chances up front, but if you haven’t got someone doing that on the line for you or someone making the tackles, then you cop one.”



The starring roles Joel Rollinson and Jordan Pokler played for West Australia at last week’s National Youth Championships was recognised with selection in the tournament All-Stars. The State Under-13s finished the week-long even in fifth place, with the Under-14s claiming third place. “Both Joel and Jordan were well worthy of their call up into the All-Stars squad having performed consistently all week,” said Warren Grieve, whose coaching efforts with the Under-13 side led to his naming as assistant coach of the All-Stars.

The Under-13s campaign opened with a 3-2 loss to Victoria Metro against who Jamal Reiners and Ross Kirby found the net. A busy second day started with a 2-2 draw against Northern New South Wales Metro, Reiners again netting along with Ryan Riley, before suffering a 5-1 loss to South Australia with Kirby getting the West Australia’s solitary goal. Back-to-back losses to New South Wales Metro (9-1) and Queensland Metro (4-0) preceded a final day 3-1 win over New South Wales with Imran Erciyas scoring twice and Kirby once.

Alex Tanevski and Sheldon Nunes ensured the Under-14s a dream start by scoring in a 2-0 defeat of Victoria Metro. A 1-0 win over South Australia came courtesy of Jacob Flores, and a Ross Millard goal wasn’t enough to prevent a 3-1 loss to Northern New South Wales at the end of day two of competition. The bitter memory of losses to New South Wales Metro (2-0) and Queensland Metro (3-1), Damien Simic netting against the latter, were erased by a 6-1 thrashing of New South Wales Country with Brandon Wilson (4), Scott Robertson and Nunes the scorers.

The State Under-13 squad for the 2011 National Youth Championships was Michael McDougall, Ryan Riley, Riley Stephenson (Balcatta), Samuel Guthridge, Ross Kirby (Bunbury), Sven Begecivic, Brody Kennedy, Joel Rollinson (ECU Joondalup), Daniel Marshall, Jamal Reiners (Mandurah City), Eric Birighitti, Imran Erciyas, James Hyland, Joseph Marino (Perth SC), Alex Jackson (Sorrento) and Callum Dobbs (Stirling Lions). Travelling with the squad were Warren Grieve (coach), Brad Hassell (assistant coach), Gary Church (manager) and Nafyn Pattiaratchi (physiotherapist).

The State Under-14 squad at the 2011 National Youth Championships featured Ben Johns, Ross Millard, Sheldon Nunes, Scott Robertson, Ciaran Salinger, Damien Simic, Callum Simmonds, Brandon Wilson (ECU Joondalup), Joel Driscoll, Jacob Flores, David Molinari, Luke Vittiglia (Perth SC), Paul David (Quinns FC), Connor MacKenzie (Sorrento), Jordan Pokler and Alex Tanevski (Stirling Lions). The team officials were Darren Young (coach), John McGlynn (assistant coach), Dave Whalley (manager) and Nafyn Pattiaratchi (physiotherapist)


JOONDALUP COME BACK TO WIN CUP (with Jordan McArdle, Football West)

Joondalup United staged an incredible fight-back to defeat Spearwood Dalmatinac 5-3 in the Sunday League Cup final at Dorrien Gardens. It looked as though the trophy would be heading south at the break with Spearwood holding a two-goal advantage, however, the game was turned on its head just after the hour when Joondalup put away four goals in a blistering seven minute spell. Lee Jones capped a best on ground performance with a match-deciding hat-trick amongst goals from Aaron Maplestone and Shane McEntaggart.

An all-action start to the game saw the ball moved swiftly from one end of the park to the other but with little in the way of genuine goal scoring opportunities created. Veteran attacker Michael Mirco changed that in the 19th minute when he weaved past a couple of defenders before coolly slotting the past goalkeeper Luke Kane to put Spearwood one-nil up. That margin was increased three minutes from the break when David Pallin stepped up to swing a brilliant free-kick into the net from 18-metres.

Joondalup came out for the second with greater focus and in the 61st minute Jones pulled a goal back after a scramble inside the 6-yard box. The teams were back on level terms only three minutes later via Maplestone’s superb left-foot strike which flashed past Justin Van Hoek. The Spearwood custodian was beaten again on 67 minutes when Shane McEntaggart’s glancing header hit the back of the net. A minutes later Jones scored his second to put Joondalup in the box seat at four-two.

Although stunned, Spearwood probed for a way back into the game only to suffered a knock-out blow on 86 minutes when Byron Andrews received his marching order from referee Jeremy Oliphant for a second bookable offence. Jones completed his hat-trick – and secured Joondalup the trophy– in the final minute of regulation time with a crisp volley. Spearwood’s never-say-die push attitude was rewarded with a consolation goal scored by Pallin three minutes into stoppage time.



Billy Mehmet scored on his A-League debut to steer Perth Glory to a 1-0 victory over Adelaide United in front of 9,452 fans at Perth Oval. Glory created a hatful of chances throughout the afternoon and could have easily finished with a substantial winning margin but had to settle for a single-goal courtesy of Mehmet’s close-range header in the 77th minute. “If you analyse the game, we could have easily have scored six or seven goals today,” coach Ian Ferguson said. “The game could have been finished a long time ago. It was important we got the three points, especially at home.”

Glory threatened for the first time after just 10 minutes when Travis Dodd shot wide on the turn after meeting a Liam Miller free-kick. Eight minutes later Brazilian attacker Andrezinho created the hosts best chance of the half by delivering a low cross which Shane Smeltz scuffed wide from all of a metre. Glory continued to apply the pressure with Andrezinho heading just high before Miller curled a free-kick wide. Andrezinho was causing no end of problems down the left and in the closing stages teed up Smeltz and Miller with both placing wide from good positions.

The second half opened with Adelaide finally on the attack, Sergio Van Dijk firing wide while Bruce Djite was thwarted by Todd Howarth’s goal line clearance. Glory had a legitimate penalty appeal turned down on 73 minutes when John McKain handled a header from Smeltz. The was fotgotten four minutes later, Scott Neville playing down the right for substitute Tommy Amphlett whose quality cross was expertly glanced in at the near post by Mehmet. Smeltz and Mehmet wasted chances to make the game safe but in the end it matter little with Glory taking out the points.



Defender Michael Pugliese wrote himself into Stirling Lions’ history by winning his second Fairest and Best award in four years. 23-year old Pugliese was caught off-guard when his name was read as out as Stirling’s best player over the recently completed season. “I was quite surprised I won the award,” said Pugliese, who won his first Fairest and Best at Stirling in 2008. “I didn't think I had the best of seasons, having missed a few games with suspensions and injuries, but I was delighted to receive the award for the second time.”

Stirling entered this year full of optimism but things didn’t quite go according to plan as Pugliese explained. “I think it’s safe to say we under-achieved this season,” said Pugliese, whose team finished in sixth place and trophyless. “The club had high hopes of the team doing well but a lack of consistency was our main problem. We finish top in the home games table, however, our away record let us down. If Stirling can fix this it will be a different story come the end of next season.”

Jamie Watt went home with trophies as Fairest and Best Runner-Up and Golden Boot while Phil O’Callaghan was voted Players Player of the Year. Tim Hill collected Fairest and Best, Players Player of the year and Golden Boot awards in the Reserves where Luke Woodward was runner-up in the main category. The Youth team trophies were taken out by Dylan Filocamo and Edward Pop (joint Fairest and Best), Daragh Kavanagh (Fairest and Best Runner-Up), Michael Gama (Most Improved), Geordie Papathanassiou (Golden Boot) and Robert Clarke (George Mitsopoulis Youth Trophy).



Australia romped to a comprehensive 5-0 win over Malaysia in last night’s friendly at Canberra Stadium. The Socceroos were never worried after Luke Wilkshire opened the scoring early before Josh Kennedy and Alex Brosque helped themselves to doubles. "It was a very good performance tonight," Australian captain Lucas Neill said. "We knew if we could score an early goal the game would open up and that's exactly the way it played out. The boys played very well tonight." It was exactly the result coach Holger Osieck was after with Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Oman on the horizon.

Australia took a 3rd minute lead with Wilkshire tapping in at close-range from Rhys Williams' cutback. The Socceroos had to wait until the 33rd minute before adding a second goal, Kennedy sweeping past the goalkeeper after getting on the end of a Neil Kilkenny through ball. Kennedy turned provider six minutes later with Brosque lashing in with the Malaysian defence in disarray. It became four-nil on the strike of half-time, Kennedy volleying in an inviting Williams cross. The scoring was completed in the 69th minute by Brosque's fine individual strike. Perth-born defender Williams played a full game.



Coach Ian Ferguson will have a full squad to select from for Perth Glory’s opening round blockbuster with Adelaide United at Perth Oval on Sunday (4.30pm). After five months of preparation, Ferguson is champing at the bit to see how his new-look side performs in the heat of competitive football. “It’s been a long road, but that’s been the same for every club and now it’s great to have the first game just three days away,” said Ferguson, who won’t settle his match day line-up until after a behind-closed-doors training session on Saturday.

For new Glory boy Travis Dodd it will be the first time his comes up against the club he captained for the last four seasons. “You can’t get caught up in all the hype around the game because it detracts from my own personal game.” Dodd said. “It was a tough decision (to leave Adelaide), I’m not going to lie. But now that I’ve been here for five or six months, my family is settled and I’m here at a great club with a great bunch of players, I couldn’t be happier. Hopefully that reflects in my game.”



Nick Ward is ready to move on from a difficult few months in Greece and focus on the coming A-League summer with Wellington Phoenix. The attacking midfielder began training with Wellington this week after signing a one-year deal with the New Zealand club, who he left at the end of last season to join Iraklis Thessaloniki. “I am really grateful to the Phoenix for the opportunity to come back because the last couple of months have been a nightmare,” said the midfielder. “I’m looking forward to the season starting and being a part of it.”

Ward, 26, could not be happier to be back at Wellington. “I am delighted (coach) Ricki (Herbert) wanted me back and everything has fallen into place. (Girlfriend) Siobhan and I found an apartment in Wellington before we arrived back so we were able to move straight in,” he said. “It is also going to be easy to settle in at the club with me knowing the lads from last season. The only downside is that I’ve come from 30 degrees to torrential rain today! I’ve still got my tan though and summer is coming.”

Things were initially rosy in Greece for Ward, however, everything changed when Iraklis’ president was accused of forging transfer documents. The Greek Football Association relegated the club from the country’s Super League, though after a court case the club was reinstated. “Then the Greek FA ruled that court had no jurisdiction and we were relegated to what was basically the fourth division,” Ward said. “It was quite eventful and while the training was good everything got very messy and I decided the best thing was to get out.”



Celebrations went well into the Sunday night after Perth SC clinched a hat-trick of State Championships by thrashing Sorrento 7-0 in Sunday’s Grand Final. “Perth are a very proud and passionate club with plenty of history so to win the Grand Final for the third year in a row was very pleasing to say the least,” said defender Trent Kay. “All the players and coaches went back to the club to a very warm welcome from family and friends. A few drinks were consumed, from what I can remember…”

Perth drew on the past for pre-game inspiration with two of the clubs all-time greats, brothers Tony and Aldo Trinca, both former State players, addressing the player group. “Tony and Aldo made some very inspirational speeches,’ commented Kay. “They brought us up to date with some of their own, and the clubs history and how Perth SC hasn’t changed its winning ways. All the boys were extremely pumped up for the game after this.”

First half strikes from David Onoforo and Andreas Oliviera gave Perth a handy two-goal buffer at the interval. “Both teams their chances to score but we were more clinical with our finishing. Had Sorrento finished a couple of their chances it could have been a lot closer,” commented Kay. “We had the upper hand – it was 2-0 in a final – and we knew if we defended well we would win it. All we had to do was keep the ball, keep moving off the ball and create space.”

Sorrento’s hopes of a second half revival were washed away when Oliviera and Robbie Sciascia took the gap to four goals inside the hour. “After Andreas scored that third goal a few of Sorrento heads went down and they knew that score line would be hard to come back from. Sorrento are a very strong team and deserved to be in the final so to beat them 7-0 was a surprise as the games we’ve had in the past have always been quite close.”

While it was Perth’s strikers that grabbed the Grand Final headlines, the teams’ defensive line-up of Matt Danskin, Craig Simpson, Shaun Kilkelly and Kay were equally as important in their success. “I think as a unit we were all quality, it was probably the best game we have played all year. All four of us had a job to do and we all performed fantastically,” said Kay. “The four of us have played together for a couple of years now and I think that showed on the weekend.”

Although he’s looking forward to the break which comes with the off-season, Kay is already planning for season 2012 and helping Perth to a fourth successive championship. “A well-deserved break is definitely on the cards for everyone at the club,” said the defender. “But give it a couple of months and we’ll be back to the start of hopefully another successful season. If we keep the same squad then I believe we can make history and win four successive State Championships.”



Matt Battigelli’s efforts between the posts have been recognised with the Fairest and Best award at Dianella White Eagles. The 24-year old team captain was a near-ever present between the spots in what was a difficult season for Dianella. “I'm honoured to win the clubs top individual award. It’s not easy to get recognition being a ‘keeper, especially one that’s scrapping 5’ 10” in height,” joked Battigelli. “Special thanks to coaches Mario Theodosiades and Jamie Goodman for their efforts and to Dianella as a whole, the club has always done the right thing by me and has always shown me great respect.”

While pleased with the award, Battigelli says he would much rather be helping his club win silverware. “I’ve won individual awards with a number of clubs but I’m desperate to win things with my team,” said Battigelli, who previously collected the Players Player of the Year trophy at Dianella (2008) and Ashfield (2010). “The disappointment of a poor season which promised so much for Dianella has overshadowed winning the Best and Fairest to a degree. But our young team has learnt some important lessons which have helped us mature and grow, setting up a strong foundation for the years ahead.”

The first team Most Improved award went home with Ognjen Katur while exciting youngster Sotiris Theodosiades collected the Golden Boot. Michael Amoah had a smile on his face after being named the Fairest and Best player for the Reserves. Goalkeeper Nas Farsalas was the teams’ Most Improved while nine regular season finishes earned Nemanja Celebicanin the Golden Boot.



Ian Ferguson had no choice but to clear out the Perth Glory squad according to assistant coach Ian Munro. Over half of last seasons’ players were released following a woeful 2010/11 campaign and Munro believes the new faces can deliver the results Glory’s fans desire. “When you look at the last month of last season, we were so far away from where you see any A-League team being, the only answer was to bring in almost eleven new players,” Munro told Jonathan Cook of the ‘West Australian’.

In revitalising Glory the coaching staff have brought in a host of seasoned campaigners, amongst them Liam Miller and Shane Smeltz, capped by the Republic of Ireland and New Zealand respectively, Billy Mehmet, Bas Van Den Brink, Travis Dodd, Adam Hughes and goalkeeper Danny Vukovic. The full extent of the overhaul will be revealed at Perth Oval on Sunday when Glory hosts Adelaide United. “I don’t know what the starting eleven is going to be but potentially there could be only two, maybe three players from last year,” Munro commented.

Munro feels the changes have positioned Glory well to push away from the bottom of the table and make the finals for just the second time in six A-League seasons. “It’s going to have to be this season that we show massive improvements and make these finals,” he said. “I think we’re in a position now where we can be far more determined and push for a finals berth this year with the squad that we’ve got … We know that if we do get one or two injuries or suspensions that we’ve got quality players to replace them.”



ECU Joondalup’s Under-12s will compete with some of the best young players in the world after taking out the inaugural Junior Masters Australia in Sydney. The Joondalup juniors completed last weekend’s two-day tournament with a perfect win record – amassing 23 goals while conceding just twice – to lift the trophy and book their place as Australia’s representative at the Junior World Masters in Warsaw, Poland, next May.

Playing in Group D, Joondalup got their campaign off to the flying start with big back-to-back wins over Flemington Eagles (5-0) and Loganholme (7-0) before seeing off a determined Leichhardt Saints (2-0). Top spot in Group D was secured with late Saturday afternoon’s 1-0 defeat of South Australian side Raiders. A comfortable victory over Shellharbour (5-1) put the team into the last four where they got the better of Brunswick City (2-0).

ECU Joondalup’s Under-12 squad – and the Junior Masters Australia winners – features Mateo Bresciani, Bayley Brown-Montgomery, Ayden Dragun, Sam Fitzsimmons, Neil Gillies, Declan Hughes, Ashwin Jayakumar, Michael Kirkby, Nic Koefler, Ashley Maynard-Brewer, Joe Middleton, James Owen, Sam Pollard, Brent Quick, Luke Rhodes and Stefan Vranesevic.



Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Tando Velaphi will be sidelined for up to three months after being diagnosed with a stress fracture of the tibia. Velaphi, 24, joined Melbourne over the off-season and was set to be the clubs first choice ‘keeper before being struck down by injury. “Tando has come on in leaps and bounds since he arrived in Melbourne and it’s a terrible blow for him, but we’re hopeful he’ll be back sooner rather than later,” said the clubs football director, Francis Awaritefe. Melbourne has moved swiftly to bolster their ‘keeper stocks ahead of the new season by signing Ante Covic on a one-year deal from Swedish club IF Elfsborg.



Newcastle Jets have appointed Craig Deans as interim coach just days out from the new A-League season. Yesterday’s surprise sacking of Branko Culina opened the door for Deans, who has been coached Newcastle’s youth teams for the past three seasons, to step up to the senior role. “I wasn’t expecting it all, it is not something I have had a great deal of time to think about.” Deans said. “Hopefully after the session today I can go away and have a good clear think about it and all the other stuff. We have a game on Saturday and the weeks after that as well.”

Deans will prepare the team for this weekend’s game and do what is required while the clubs works through the process to find a replacement. “I am happy to fill in until we find the right coach,” Deans said. “We have done all the work in the pre-season and the boys understand the game plan and understand their individual roles and their roles as groups, defenders, midfielders and attackers so we just need to make sure they stay focused and keep pushing themselves and each other … the focus for the next four days is to be ready for Melbourne Heart and win that game on Saturday.”



Attacking midfielder Craig Bowman scooped the pool at Wanneroo City’s annual awards night. Bowman, who has played the majority of his career with Wanneroo, capped his best season to date by picking up the Players Player of the Year and Coaches Player of the Year trophies. “We’ve got a good bunch of players at Wanneroo with the core of the team being there for a number of years, and for them and the coach to vote you the player of the year shows they have a great deal of respect for you,” said Bowman.

Bowman, 28, tipped his hat to out-going Wanneroo coach Gerry McEwan who has stepped aside after a successful four-year spell at the club. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Gerry for the four years he has spent at Wanneroo,” said the attacking midfielder. “He’s had us up there in the top four every year, it’s a shame we haven’t been able to go that next step. I’m sure I speak on behalf of all the lads in thanking him and wishing him all the best for the future.”

Goalkeeper Clint Davies was the Players Player of the Year Runner-Up with the Coaches Player of the Year Runner-Up going to Nick Timmings. The Reserves Players Player of the Year was presented to Dave Whillians, while Logan Trouchet went home with the Coaches Player of the Year prize. Mamadou Ndiaye was presented the Golden Boot as well as being runner-up in the Players Player of the Year. Brandon Del Fabbro received the Players Player of the Year at youth level where Andrew Graham (Coaches Player of the Year) and Tashriq Khan (Most Improved) were also recognised.



Ian Ferguson will come down hard on players who fail to keep their discipline as Perth Glory attempt erase the bitter memory of last summer’s woeful campaign. Glory will kick off the new season against Adelaide United at Perth Oval on Sunday in an optimistic mood after a long pre-season of mainly positive results. Ferguson says he is now in a position to demand improved discipline as well as performances from this player after a major off-season shake-up which has increased competition for places, allowing the coach leave out players who are guilty of picking up “silly” bookings.

Glory players collected ten red cards last season as bookings came thick and fast in their worst ever campaign. “We’re very conscious of the red cards and yellow cards and suspensions last season,” Ferguson said. “If we get silly bookings for kicking the ball away or talking back to the referee and things like that, I’ll deal with it. I’ll punish the players in the manner that I think is right. That’s the beauty of having a strong squad; last year we didn’t have the depth. I think players have got to understand this is their bread and butter and they’ve got to make sure they’ve learnt something from last season.”



Frequent flyer Rhys Williams aims to keep on clocking up the air miles as he bids to book his seat for the next World Cup. With an international break next weekend, the bulk of Middlesbrough’s squad will be looking forward to a well-earned break from a hectic September in which they’ve not leaked a league goal and jumped into joint top spot in the Championship. But while his team-mates are relaxing, Williams will journey half way around the globe to Sydney to join the Socceroos.

Australia have a friendly with Malaysia scheduled for Friday before they meet Oman in a World Cup qualifier next Tuesday. “It’s always nice to be called up for your country and I’m really look forward to joining the squad and hopefully I’ll get the chance of some match time,” he told the ‘Evening Gazette’. “Yes, the travelling is awkward but it is part and parcel of the game. I love playing for my country. It’s a great honour and I’m proud every time I get called up. I love going.”

Having had his hopes to playing at the 2010 World Cup dashed by injury, Williams is keen to establish his credentials leading into the 2014 tournament in Brazil. “I missed a year out of my international career with the injury so I’ve got a lot of time to make up,” Williams commented. “That’s why I want to be in every squad possible so I can make that spot my own. I know there’s still three years to go until the next World Cup but I want to get in, play well and establish myself to make sure I get there this time.”



Rockingham City has installed Craig Olejnik as their Fairest and Best player of season 2011. Olejnik was worthy recipient of his clubs highest individual award following another solid season between the posts. David Clark was recognised with the Fairest and Best Runner-Up trophy. The Players Player of the Year went to Craig Tone with Darren Lawler in second place, while Josh Cartman won the Coaches Award. The Golden Boot went to teenager Thabiso Ncube, Oscar Thompson was named Most Promising Player of the Year and Steven Drew received the Special Achievement Award.

Brendan Birney collected the Fairest and Best trophy for the Reserves, where Jake Murray was runner-up. Phil Herschell was voted the Players Player of the Year ahead of Craig Thomson, with the Coaches Award presented to Leith Hinds. Top honours at Youth level were taken out by Alex Kukic who had Blade Atkinson hot on his heels. Thabiso Ncube won the Players Player of the Year, Ryan Kennedy and Sean Troup were joint runners-up with the Coaches Award going to Jackson Lumley.



Newcastle Jets have completed the signing of Lisa De Vanna, one of Australia’s most lethal finishers. The 26-year old striker has been playing in America for Florida-based club magicJack and will spend time at home in Perth before heading to Newcastle for the coming W-League campaign. De Vanna, whose recent career has taken in spells with Doncaster Rovers Belles (England), AIK (Sweden), Perth Glory and Brisbane Roar, become the second Matildas to sign for Newcastle in a week, joining national team captain Melissa Barbieri.

Newcastle assistant coach Joanne Peters, who played alongside De Vanna in the Matilda’s, said the striker would set a great example for the her clubs’ young talents. “She’s exciting to watch, she’s so dynamic with the ball at her feet,” Peters said. “She’s a fabulous talent athletically and technically, but people don’t realise she’s worked her butt off to get there as well. She’s a great example of making the most of your talent. She’s been travelling the world with her career, and she’s a true professional. It will be a gift to Newcastle football that she’s going to be here for the whole summer.”



Attacking midfielder Nick Ward is heading back to Wellington Phoenix after a brief spell with Greek club in crisis Iraklis. Wellington coach Rikki Herbert is delighted Ward, 26, will be adding to the 24 appearances he made for the club last season. “He’s a player I know, he’s worked with the club, he knows the culture, he knows the team, he played a lot for us last year,” Herbert said. “I would have loved to have kept him but we knew he wanted to explore Asian or European opportunities again. But it’s panned out that we can get him back, which is good.”

Its unlikely Ward will be rushed into the Wellington side for their A-League opener against Gold Coast United on Sunday. “We know his character, we know what his strengths and weaknesses are so we’ll just bed him in slowly through the week and see where he’s at," said Herbert, who is hopeful Ward will join the team in Wellington today. “Physically, he might need a little bit of work but he’s a good player.” The recruitment of Ward leaves Wellington needing to sign one more player to reach the minimum number of 20 required for the A-League.



Perth SC completed a hat-trick of State Championships by thrashing Sorrento 7-0 in this afternoon’s State League Grand Final at Frank Drago Reserve. David Onoforo and Andreas Oliveira put the blues into a comfortable half-time lead then struck again after the interval along with Robbie Sciascia, Josh Wilkins and Adam Bachiller to seal a historic win. “I can’t say enough about the players who played today and all that have given everything all season for our football club,” said captain Onoforo. “We were great today and to win the Grand Final for a third time is very special, and we’re going to enjoy it tonight.”

The first opening of the afternoon came on 3 minutes when Greg Sharland picked out Onoforo whose shot on the turn was deflected just wide. Sorrento failed to heed the warning and nine minutes later they went a goal down, Onoforo firing low past Curtis Aspden at close-range after receiving Sharland’s quick free-kick. Two minutes Shaun Timmins took the Gulls forward, crossing from the left to Joe Allanson whose header flashed just high of the crossbar. Sorrento’s search for an equaliser continued with Ryan Pearson’s long ball released Todd Harnwell but he was denied by a smart save from Jason Saldaris.

Perth couldn’t believe their luck in the 23rd minute when poor marking gifted them a second goal, a totally unmarked Oliveira lashing into the net from 7-metres after meeting Trent Kay’s low centre from the left. A spiteful clash between Matt Danskin and Timmins sparked an ugly melee involving both sets of players, referee Mathew Cheeseman eventually restoring calm to issue his first booking. Sorrento were unlucky not to reduce the deficit on 39 minutes, Pearson’s shot deflecting off the crossbar and retrieved by Timmins whose cross was met by Todd Harnwell but his header landed on the top netting.

The second half began positively enough for Sorrento but Timmins’ shot was blocked by Shaun Kilkelly and a few minutes later Todd Harnwell threaded through a crowded 18-yard box only for Saldaris to make the save. The floodgates were pushed fully open in the 56th minute, Sharland getting clear down the left to deliver a pinpoint cross which an unmarked Sciascia converted from 7-metres. Sharland was again provider two minutes later, this time picking out Oliveira who made no mistake at the back post. Sorrento were exposed for a fifth time on 70 minutes, an unmarked Wilkins converting from an Onoforo cross.

Perth clearly had no intention of ending things there, Wilkins shot was blocked by Aspden with Onoforo’s follow-up cleared off the line by Jared Love. Goal number six arrived in the 82nd minute, Bachiller applying a clinical finish from the left of the penalty area after being found by Onoforo. The icing was put on the cake seven minutes later when Onoforo placed into an empty net after Oliviera’s attempt at a hat-trick was thwarted by Aspden. Post-game, Perth attacker Greg Sharland was awarded the ‘Gary Marocchi Medal’ as the best on ground.

The 7-0 trouncing was equal to the largest Grand Final winning margin, recorded in 1972 when Perth, or Azzurri as they were then known, battered Bayswater United. “Any final I don’t think should finish 7-0 and obviously everything went right for us and something went wrong for them,” said Perth boss Gianfranco Circati. “We were a little bit worried after the final of the Cup and we didn’t want to lose this game … we had a little bit of luck but we played very well. I don’t think it was the best Sorrento today but it was definitely the best Perth of the season.”

Perth SC: Jason Saldaris, Trent Kay, Craig Simpson, Shaun Kilkelly, Matt Danskin, Greg Sharland (Adam Bachiller 72), Josh Pereira (Dom De Felice 62), Antonio Naglieri, Robbie Sciascia (Josh Wilkins 70), David Onoforo, Andreas Oliveira
Sorrento: Curtis Aspden, Danny Cain, Darryl Platten, Jamie Harnwell, Ryan Pearson, Shaun Timmins (Jared Love 62) David Price (Jason Mirco 85), Brodie Martin, Adam Luca, Todd Harnwell, Joe Allanson (Dejan Gurovski 57)
Bookings: Danskin (30), Simpson (45), Kilkelly (54), Pereira (57), J.Harnwell (78)
Dismissals: Nil
Referee: Mathew Cheeseman


DOUBLE THE GLORY FOR REDBACKS (with Val McQuillan, Football West)

Northern Redbacks won their fourth successive Women’s Cup by defeating Beckenham Angels 3-2 at Frank Drago Reserve. Jackie Nellany scored twice and Tui Wineti once to complete another historic league and cup double for the Redbacks. “It’s been a fantastic season but we digged deep for players this year after losing seven to the NTC and three to the senior NTC team,” coach Tim Hodgson said. “We had to keep the changes going during the match to keep on top as we have had a few injuries. Beckenham played well and congratulations to them for a great game.”

It was Beckenham who gained an early upper hand through Preiato, who made no mistake volleying in when found unmarked in the 7th minute. The Redbacks piled on pressure in their search for an equaliser but Carol Howes was shut down before getting off a shot, then goalkeeper Kristy Teschinsky saved courageously at the feet of Nellany. Play was by no means one-way with Preiato placing wide before Kirby Larsen’s spectacular shot was kept out by Kathleen Waycott at full-stretch. The teams were brought level four minutes from the break when Nellany skilfully shot across the ‘keeper.

The Redbacks went into front six minutes into the second half when Wineti fired into the net after receiving a long ball from Ebony Drane. Nellany effectively sealed the win on 64 minutes by sending the ball past Teschinsky at close-range after her initial attempt was blocked. Beckenham were given a glimmer of hope four minutes later with captain Danielle Jeans successfully converting a penalty awarded for handball. The closing stages presented chances for both teams to score but Kirby Larsen was denied an equaliser by Katie Moth, and Shawn Billam’s late attempt was smothered by Teschinsky.

Beckenham Angels: Kristy Teschinsky, Danielle Jeans, Kirby Larsen, Elizabeth Courtley, Kayla Coppens, Daniella Simonetti, Steph Figueira, Jamie-Lee Gale, Nicola Diamond, Kristina Ikac, Fiona Barnard, Danielle Calautti, Penny TannerHoath, Andrea Preiato, Jessica Ferguson
Northern Redbacks: Kathleen Waycott, Shawn Billam, Emily Dunn, Aleisha Dyer, Lyndsey Valentine, Carla Bennett, Rebecca Davies, Carol Howes, Jacqueline Nellany, Tui Wineti, Katie Moth, Ashlee Bager, Rebecca Dudek, Ebony Drane, Steph Grant, Leigh Kelly



Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert is a step nearer to completing his playing roster after signing former Perth Glory defender Brent Griffiths on a one-year deal. The addition of 21-year old Griffiths means Herbert has just two spots to fill ahead of their A-League opener against Gold Coast United next weekend. Released by Glory in February, Griffiths played locally with Stirling Lions before dropping in on Adelaide United and Central Coast Mariners en route to Wellington.

Landing a deal with the New Zealand club brings to an end a difficult period for Griffiths. “It was a fantastic relief when Ricki Herbert said he wanted me to join the club because it has been a really tough time,” he commented. “I went to Adelaide on a two-week trial and when that didn’t work out the Mariners said I could train with them. I was there ten weeks and that training stood me in good stead when my agent Nik Mandic arranged for me to trial with the Phoenix.”

Griffiths revealed things got so difficult he considered giving the game up. “Six months without pay is hard, especially when I have a mortgage on an apartment back in Perth to keep up with,” he said. “I had to put off some payments and there was a time when I began to think it might be time to look for a job outside football. Whenever I thought that way I told myself I was good enough to get back into the A-League, and in the end that self-belief has paid off.”



Australia goalkeeper Lydia Williams has signed on for a fourth straight season with Canberra United. Katanning-born Williams is one of a dozen players confirmed by Canberra for the coming W-League campaign, which commences later this month. Joining Williams in a star-studded squad are fellow Matildas Sally Shipard, Michelle Heyman and Ellyse Perry, all of whom played a pivotal role in their teams’ qualification for a third successive finals series last season.

Canberra has finished one game shy of the Grand Final for the past two years and Williams has no doubt here team will be there or thereabouts again in 20011/12. “We have the majority of the players from the past three seasons so it’s definitely a plus to have the same basis of the squad going into the new season,” Williams told the ‘Canberra Times’. “We put expectations on ourselves [but] obviously you can’t judge anything until you play the first match, so it’s more just about getting cohesive as a team.”

One of Canberra’s strengths has been a stable playing roster with co-captains Williams and Ellie Brush playing every one of the club’s 34 games. Twins Nicole and Ashleigh Sykes have made 22 and 20 appearances respectively, while Perry, Shipard and striker Caitlin Munoz have been at the club at least two years. Caitlin Cooper, Leah Blayney and Kahlia Hogg have also been re-signed with New Zealand goalkeeper Aroon Clansey the only new addition to date.

Williams is hopeful the central defensive pairing of Cooper and Brush will help build on her 11 W-League clean sheets. “Caitlin and Ellie work really well together, it’s definitely a plus to have two strong central defenders,” Williams said. “The way that they gel together, they have a pretty good understanding of how the other plays.” Canberra’s 10-game W-League season opens with an away game against Adelaide United on 22 October.



Defender Scott Neville is hopeful of securing a move overseas in the not-too-distant future, but his immediate focus remains on helping Perth Glory achieve A-League success this season. Neville spent four weeks trialling with English club Portsmouth earlier this year and although he enjoyed the experience the 22-year old won’t be rushed into moving abroad. “Everything’s cut-throat over there - even training games are like a World Cup final," Neville said of his time at Pompey. “I’d love to move overseas at one point when the timing’s right. At the moment (I'm) just purely focusing on doing well for Glory.”



The 2011 season comes to a close on Sunday afternoon with Perth SC and Sorrento going head-to-head in the State League Grand Final at Frank Drago Reserve (3.00pm). The game is a replay of last month’s State League Cup Final in which Sorrento ran out 1-0 winners courtesy of a goal deep in extra-time. For the Gulls to secure a historic double they’ll need to get the better of a Perth outfit that has in their sights a hat-trick of State Champions crowns.

Basil Lenzo, assistant coach at Perth, says the game will be far more entertaining that the drab Cup encounter. “Let’s face it, the Cup Final wasn’t a spectacle and we were extremely disappointed with the way we played,” he said. “Having Antonio Naglieri back is a huge bonus for us and an fit and injury-free Andreas Oliviera will be important, as well as his partnership with David Onoforo. All in all we hope the day is well supported and I know both teams will give it their all.”

The Perth line-up reads like a who’s who of West Australian football. Shaun Kilkelly, Trent Kay and Craig Simpson stand in front of Jason Saldaris, who has excelled since stepping between the posts late in the season. Antonio Naglieri is their key figure in midfield alongside Dom De Felice, with wide support provided by Greg Sharland and Robbie Sciascia. Operating in the final third are two of the scenes most accomplished finishers, David Onoforo and Andreas Oliviera.

One-time Wales international Paul Price is delighted with the success he has experienced in his first season with Sorrento. ““A lot of people didn’t give us much chance of success but we have shown what the team spirit is like at Sorrento,” said the Gulls coach. “Our players will give their all in the last game of a long season, and all are available and raring to go. Perth are a good side and we’re playing well at the moment so it should be a great game.”

One of Sorrento’s greatest assets is an experienced defensive unit that has Perth Glory legend Jamie Harnwell, State player Danny Cain and former Hull City goalkeeper Curtis Aspden at its axis. Across the middle Jason Mirco and Shaun Timmins link well with David Price, Adam Luca and Brodie Martin to drive the side into attack at every opportunity. The task of putting away those chances fall on the shoulders of team captain Todd Harnwell livewire Joe Allanson.



Premier League champions Northern Redbacks will be shooting for a historic double when they face Beckenham Angels in the Women’s Cup Final at Frank Drago Reserve on Sunday (12.00noon). The Redbacks can make it a remarkable four titles in a row, however, you can be assured the Angels will be giving it their all to spoil the party. “With this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup fresh in our mind, it will be a great chance to see the many wonderful female players that play our game in this State,” said Football West chief executive Peter Hugg.



Perth Glory winger Marianna Tabain can’t wait for the AFC Under-19 Women’s Championship to kick into life next week. Tabain, 18, has been in camp with the Young Matilda’s this week in Brisbane and is looking forward to boarding the flight for Vietnam tomorrow. “The tournament is so close now, we’re all itching to go away and start our first game,” said Tabain, who admits to a little nervousness. “Asian countries are always good but if we stay positive and play our game we should do well and put ourselves in a good position to qualify (for next year’s Under-20 World Cup).”

Australia's squad for the AFC Under-19 Championships is Katrina Gorry (Adelaide United), Casey Dumont, Erika Elze, Emily Gielnik, Michaela Hatzirodos, Vedrana Popovic, Rebekah Stott (Brisbane Roar), Kahlia Hogg, Emily Van Egmond (Canberra United), MacKenzie Arnold (Gold Coast), Ashley Brown, Stephanie Catley, Brianna Davey (Melbourne Victory), Tara Andrews, Hannah Brewer, Alexandra Huynh (Newcastle Jets), Marianna Tabain (Perth Glory), Teigen Allen, Nicola Bolger, Caitlin Foord, Alanna Kennedy, Linda O’Neill and Brittany Whitfield (Sydney FC). The top three teams from the tournament qualify for next year’s Under-20 Women’s World Cup.



Perth SC will write themselves into the history books this weekend by being crowned State Champions for the third successive year according to Greg Sharland. The former national league attacker played his part in Perth winning last seasons’ trophy and expects his team to come out on top of Sunday’s Grand Final with Sorrento at Frank Drago Reserve. “We’re very happy to be in our third straight Grand Final,” said Sharland. “The team has peaked at the right stage, we can’t wait to get out there on Sunday.”

Perth qualified for the season finale by defeating Balcatta 2-1 in the semi-finals. “It was a very pleasing performance from the boys against the Premier League winners,” commented Sharland. “We all knew getting a week off ahead of the Grand Final would be very beneficial to the team and we put in a very confident display. A few injuries to Balcatta helped our cause, however, we had the same issue and this really showed the great depth we have in our squad.”

The return of Antonio Naglieri provided Perth a huge boost leading into the finals series. “Naggers has come back from a massive holiday and slotted into the team like he was never away,” commented Sharland. “Everyone knows his quality and I am sure Inglewood and Balcatta weren’t too pleased to see him when we played them. He is a huge player for us, I think his value to Perth was highlighted in those weeks when he was overseas and unable to play.”

Sharland is well aware his team will need to be on top of their game to get the better of Sorrento on Sunday. “Sorrento has had a great year but after the disappointment losing the Cup Final to them we are ready to return the favour,” said Sharland. “We have always worried about our own team and never singled any players out to watch from the opposition. The best form of attack is defence and we will be looking at getting the better of them from the first whistle.”



Danny Cain has no complaints about the circuitous route Sorrento have taken to reach this weekend’s State League Grand Final. The Gulls ended the regular season in fourth spot and have seen off Balcatta, Inglewood United and Western Knights to earn the right to meet Perth SC on Sunday. “It’s been a tough road but it’s given us the chance to play every week and keep winning matches,” said Cain. “Two of those games did go to extra-time and that takes its toll on the body, however, we know if we play our best we can come away with the result.”

Cain, 25, has no doubt new coach Paul Price and his assistant Steve Neville have assembled a quality squad capable of doing the job this weekend. “Paul has been good for the side, he brought some fresh faces in and we’ve gelled well together. We have got a good balance of youth and senior players and that is why we have performed well, even at times when our squad was very thin,” said Cain. “We had six or seven players leave from last year so to perform how we have is a credit to the players and coaching staff.”

Cain was a near-ever present in his teams’ defence this year despite having an interrupted pre-season. “It’s been a great season for the club and I’ve been happy to play my part,” said Cain, who came off the worse for wear following a clash of heads against Wanneroo City. “I missed four weeks with a fractured eye socket early in the season, I required surgery and had a metal plate inserted. That put me on the back foot but luckily three of the game I missed were in the Night Series so I only missed one regular season game.”

Sorrento needed extra-time to see off Perth in last months’ State League Cup Final and cain expects this weekend’s game to be just as tight. “Perth is a quality side and we need to be on our toes for the whole game. David Onoforo and Greg Sharland have scored some cracking goals over the years and can change the game instantly,” said Cain. “Every single Sorrento player needs to be at the top of their game if we are to get over the line and make it a historic double for the club.”



This season formally comes to a close with Sunday’s Grand Final between defending State Champions Perth SC and State League Cup holders Sorrento. It seems that every man and his dog has an opinion as to how the game will pan out so during the week caught up with several of the Premier League's star attractions to get their thoughts on what the finalists strengths are before predicting where the trophy will end up...

Bayswater City striker Gavin Knight is tipping a close game which will go beyond 90 minutes. “Perth’s central midfielders and strikers work well together, the club had bad patch near the end of the season then got a good result against Balcatta,” commented Knight. “Sorrento’s wingers and strikers are dangerous but their defence can be bit dodgy. I think it’ll be 3-2 to Perth after extra-time, but I would like Sorrento to win cause I’m English!”

Sorrento will be crowned State Champions according to Armadale goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock. “With Antonio Naglieri, Greg Sharland and David Onoforo playing well Perth are the best team in the league. It has been a mixed season for them so maybe they have something to prove in the final,” he said. “Jamie Harnwell has added the experience Sorrento were previously lacking and they have shown they can beat any team in the league. Sorrento have been the quite achievers and this will continue into the final.”

Glen Thomas expects to see his former team mates at Sorrento lifting the trophy come Sunday afternoon. “Sorrento really did peak at the right time this season and will go into the game with a lot of confidence after beating Perth in the Cup Final and on the back of three straight finals wins,” commented the Western Knights midfielder. “I’m tipping my mates at ‘Windy Hill’ to complete the double with a narrow 1-0 victory.”

Perth will come on top according to Stirling Lions goalkeeper Cory Hugo. “In Greg Sharland, David Onoforo and Antonio Naglieri they have players that can change the game, their experience will be vital if they are to win,” said Hugo. “Sorrento are a very tight knit team and their experienced players will help them settle on the day. They are difficult to break down and are very good on the counter … I’m predicting a tight game with Perth winning 2-1.”

Mandurah City defender Ivan Zuvela is looking forward to a great tussle. “Perth are the best team in the league going forward with Andreas Oliviera and David Onoforo up-front with great support from Antonio Naglieri,” said Zuvela. “But Sorrento are very strong defensively, Jamie Harnwell has made a big difference and Danny Cain has been outstanding. I think Sorrento’s midfield will be able to overcome Perth’s attack and I’m tipping 1-0 to Sorrento with David Price man-of-the-match.”



Michael Roki feels Balcatta would be lining up in this weekend’s Grand Final had they been able to make more of their chances in front of goal. Balcatta stormed their way to the regular season title but made an early exit from the play-offs after back-to-back losses to Perth SC and Sorrento. “Neither team outplayed us in the past two weeks, rather we failed to turn our limited opportunities into goals whereas our opposition did,” commented the Balcatta coach. “I think everyone knows how unforgiving tournament football can be, there’s not much to learn other than to have experienced the pain.”

Balcatta slipped out of this season’s finals last weekend when beaten by Sorrento 3-0, a scoreline Roki says isn’t indicative of the game itself. “I thought we had as much of the game as Sorrento, but they defended resiliently and showed great efficiency in front of goal on a day when things also didn’t seem to go right for us,” said the coach. “Naturally the whole team was gutted that we never got another crack at Perth again in the final, but we were also very disappointed that our football was below par on the day.”

Although the title of State Champions eluded Balcatta for the time being, all involved with the club will look back on this season as one of remarkable achievement and the beginning of a new chapter in their history. “Not many people anticipated we would even be a top five contender in 2011 so hopefully we showed some signs of what’s to come in future years,” said Roki. “The important factors going forward are that we produce an entertaining brand of football and just as importantly are amongst the frontrunners in the battle for silverware.”

Never one to let the grass grow behind his feet, Roki has already turned his attention towards next season. “Taking 17 wins from the season and finishing four clear games ahead was a great effort from the players and will be a difficult achievement to surpass,” he commented. “I’m really pleased with the way we’ve gelled as a new playing group this year and it gives us a great platform to build upon for next year … you’ll see a few (non-mercenary minded) additions in 2012 that will continue to raise the bar and put pressure on the existing squad to perform.”

Having met both this weekend’s Grand Finalists in the past fortnight, Roki is well-placed to comment on the prospects of Perth and Sorrento being crowned State Champions. “Sorrento are a well organised team with a compact defence – and Jamie Harnwell is a bonus for them at set pieces,” commented Roki. “Perth obviously has the finals experience but perhaps more importantly they have a number of individuals who can all win the game off their own foot … both teams have genuine claims on the State Champions title and I can’t make the call between the two.”



Rhys Williams is delighted he and his Middlesbrough team-mates have given manager Tony Mowbray a selection headache. An eight-game unbeaten start to the English Championship has propelled Boro into third place, and by this time tomorrow they could be sitting on top dependant on the outcome of this evening’s home clash with Leicester City. “We are in a good position and we need that to continue,” commented Williams. “We all knew we had it in us. We believe in each other. We work hard for each other and we are all fighting for a place in the team. It’s a bit of a headache for the manager with all the players fit now, but it’s a good headache for the manager to have.”



Newcastle Jets are hot on the trail of Australia striker Lisa De Vanna. Under contract to American club magicJack, De Vanna has been sidelined by a medial ligament strain but Newcastle coach Clayton Zane is hoping to convince the 26-year old a spell in Australia will benefit her recovery. “With her it’s more about whether she plays in the W-League, because she’s come off such a long stint,” Zane said. “She’s been playing in America and she’s had the Asian Cup so she might want to bypass the W-League.” Zane expects to hear whether De Vanna will play the coming season with Newcastle in the next few days.



This season formally comes to a close with Sunday’s Grand Final between defending State Champions Perth SC and State League Cup holders Sorrento. It seems that every man and his dog has an opinion as to how the game will pan out so during the week caught up with several of the Premier League's star attractions to get their thoughts on what the finalists strengths are before predicting where the trophy will end up...

Balcatta’s Steve Burton expects the trophy to head north on Sunday night. “I’d like to congratulate Perth and Sorrento teams – they beat us to get to the final and I wish them all the luck,” Burton commented. “If Perth can get their passing game on they will be hard to beat, they are very good at quick one-touch play with good movement. But if Sorrento get in there faces and disrupt Perth’s flow and tempo it will suit them and they will win the battle – 2-1 to Sorrento.”

Ian McMurray scored in Perth’s Grand Final victories of 2009 and 2010 and is backing his former club to win again. “Sorrento are a well-organised, disciplined unit. They defend very well and are dangerous at set plays,” said the Cockburn City striker. “Perth have match winners all over the park. They are very dangerous going forward and with Nagg’s settled back in the killer pass is always possible … Perth to win 3-1.”

There are key players all over the park for ECU Joondalup’s Jon Higgins. “Perth obviously have some top quality players, Greg Sharland, Antonio Naglieri, Andreas Oliviera and David Onforo all can change a game in a heartbeat,” he said. “Sorrento goalkeeper Curtis Aspden is top class, having a centre half like Jamie Harnwell is a huge bonus and David Price has a huge engine in midfield … it may go to extra-time and if I had to pick a winner it’d be Sorrento.”



A four-goal final round haul has sealed Swan United striker John Monterosso the prize as Division One’s Top Goal Scorer for season 2011. Monterosso, 25, finished the season with 21 goals to join R.Meier (1993), Peter Murphy (1995) and David Foster (2004) as the only Swan players to outcome their State League counterparts. Michael Marten, who grabbed a last day hat-trick for Bunbury Forum Force came in second with 20 goals followed by Forrestfield United’s Anthony Lyons, who netted 19 times despite starting just eleven games. Sitting jointly in fourth spot with 14 goals each were Jon Brooks (Bunbury), Jamie Burns (Gosnells City/Forrestfield) and Nick Carroll (Shamrock Rovers).



Perth Glory recruit Travis Dodd is eagerly awaiting the start of the new A-League season. After a length pre-season, Dodd is champing at the bit to take on his former club, Adelaide United, in Glory’s opening round tie on 9 October at Perth Oval. Dodd, 31, joined Glory in March after negotiations to re-sign with Adelaide, who he had played for since 2005, came to an abrupt end. “It’s great to be playing Adelaide in the first game,” he said. “There’s obviously going to be a bit of extra emotion in the game and I’ll certainly be giving everything I can to make sure we get off to a winning start in front of our home fans.”

Glory needs more than a successful start if they are to shake off the tag as one of the competition’s easy-beats. Coach Ian Ferguson has made some sweeping changes to his squad, bringing in Shane Smeltz, Liam Miller, Danny Vukovic, Adam Hughes, Bas Van Den Brink, Andrezinho and Dodd amongst others in an effort to lead Glory away from the foot of the table. Dodd, who played in two Grand Finals with Adelaide, said he had not considered Glory’s poor A-League record before moving west. “In talking to Fergie about the players he wanted to recruit it really wasn’t an issue for me,” Dodd said. “I knew he was going to build a really good squad.”



There are very few surprises in Holger Osieck’s Australia squad for their upcoming games against Malaysia and Oman. All 19-players selected by coach Osieck were part of the Socceroos squad that recently defeated Thailand and Saudi Arabia in their opening two World Cup qualifiers. Mainstay Lucas Neill, Mark Schwarzer, Brett Holman and Tim Cahill gained selection with the only notable absences being Brett Emerton and Harry Kewell, who have been freed to play in the opening round of the A-League. Australia meets Malaysia (7 October) in Canberra ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Oman (11 October) in Sydney.

The Australia squad to play Malaysia (7 October) and Oman (11 October) is Lucas Neill (Al-Jazira), Brett Holman (AZ Alkmaar), Neil Kilkenny (Bristol City), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow), Tim Cahill (Everton), Robbie Kruse (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Mark Schwarzer (Fulham), James Troisi (Kayserispor Kulubu), Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough), Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus), Matthew McKay (Rangers), Adam Federici (Reading), Carl Valeri (Sassuolo Calcio), Sasa Ognenovski (Seongham Ilwha Chunma), Alex Brosque (Shimizu S-Pulse), Matthew Spiranovic (Urawa Red Diamonds), Adam Sarota and Michael Zullo (FC Utrecht).



Hull City winger Richard Garcia could be back in first team contention by the end of November. Chris Burton, the Tigers head of medical services, says Garcia has made good progress from a crucial ligament injury which has kept him off the park since April. “Richard is doing brilliantly and (Hull physio) Liam McGarry did some excellent work with him during the summer,” said Burton. “He is working towards being in the best shape he has ever been in and if we say the end of November, that is probably going to be a realistic goal for him. If we get anywhere before that it would be a big boost.”



Some of Western Australia’s most gifted young footballers are about to embark on the trip of a lifetime. Coaching directors Mark Lee and Barry Wood take the Pro Football Training under-12 and under-13 squads to England and Scotland later this week for a unique educational, cultural and playing experience. “With an itinerary to some of the most respected clubs in England and Scotland, this tour will be very special for each and every one of the thirty-two,” commented Lee. “They will be exposed to some of Europe's finest same-aged players and will no doubt be challenged and inspired to develop further.”

The tour commences this Friday, 30 September, when the squad flies to England. “We are very excited about experiencing playing and training with some of the best clubs in the world,” commented Lee. “It’s going to be a once in a lifetime experience for our players to play against Liverpool, Newcastle United and Rangers, amongst others, and to be coached by academy coaches from Everton, Manchester City, Sunderland and Celtic. We’ll also tour Old Trafford, St James Park and Hampden Park and watch two English Premier League Matches as players live the day-to-day life of a professional footballer.”

The tour comes hot on the heels of June’s record breaking school holidays clinic. “Over 140 children attended, it was the biggest clinic we have been involved in here in Perth. We were delighted with the response as players from all over WA attended,” said Lee. “Our clinics focus on engaging the players and creating an environment where they do not feel any pressure and are encouraged to express themselves without the fear of failure. Our role is to develop the game and encourage players to play with a smile on their face and make football a positive part of their lives.”

The Pro Football Training squad to tour the United Kingdom is Andreas Fazzari, Jordan Fazzari, BJ Grant, Mateen Ismail, Eric Litteri, Kosta Sparta (Balcatta), Angelo Calasse, Devan Conry, Oliver Dahlskog, James Drewett (Cockburn City), Cameron DeLuca, Graeme Stewart, Sam Wright (East Fremantle), Zane Casella, Jordan Fresher, Tom Jebb, Brodie Langan, Tom Pope, Reece Taffurelli, Garikai Tutisai (Forrestfield United), Ewan Crawley (ECU Joondalup), Jacob Young (Mandurah), Valen Bullivant (Melville City), Reece Abrams, Jackson Eldridge, Khaynan MacCarthy, Jnana Purcell, Anthony Topini, Michael Zimarino (Perth SC), Sam Banks-Smith, Jack Leech (Sorrento) and Raymond Nguyen (Stirling Lions).



Bayswater City striker Gustavo Giron-Marulanda has comfortably been voted the 2011 Premier League Player of the Year. Giron-Marulanda, who twelve months ago collected our First Division award, charged to the top of the leader board early and maintained a healthy lead throughout the four-week polling period. When counting finished Giron-Marulanda was well ahead of goalkeeper Lewis Italiano and his Balcatta team mate Steve Burton.

Giron-Marulanda was amongst the leading group from day one of voting and ended on top of the pile with 68 votes. Italiano’s efforts between the posts at Balcatta earned him the runner-up spot with 53 votes, and nipping at his heels was Burton who tallied up with 48 votes. Attacking midfielder Ryan Clarke (Inglewood United) was next on 34 votes, three ahead of Mark Pritchard of Floreat Athena and Perth SC attacker Greg Sharland.

Adam Tong collected 28 votes in his second season with Balcatta to finish alongside Stuart Montgomery (Western Knights). Curtis Aspden (Sorrento) received 23 votes, two more than Matt Barlow (Armadale) and Balcatta pair Mo Atak and Spencer Harris. The Premier League Player of the Year, the longest running award of its kind, is voted for by the players, club representatives and supporters of the local game.

Branimir Mikulic has been voted Premier League Player of the Year twice – in 2001 as a Cockburn City player and a decade later with Floreat Athena – while other recipients are David Micevski (Western Knights), Andy Brown (Mandurah City), Andy Brown (Mandurah City), Boima Karpeh (Floreat), Simon Harland (Sorrento), Antonio Naglieri (Perth), Nick Ward (Stirling Lions), Shane Crampton (Perth) and Jamie Coyne (Perth SC). The team thanks everyone who voted in our annual award.



Swan United marksman John Monterosso is the 2011 Division One Player of the Year. Monterosso was among the leaders early in counting, fending off Morley Windmills midfielder Simon Wilson and Oliver McGee of Bunbury Forum Force to claim the award. The Player of the Year is voted for by the players, club representatives and supporters of the local game, and is the only award of its kind in West Australian football.

Monterosso, who guided Swan to second on their return to the second tier, ended the four-week polling period with 41 votes to take out the Division One Player of the Year. Bunbury Forum Force teammates Oliver McGee and Jon Brooks shared the runners-up spot with Simon Wilson (Morley Windmills) on 31 votes. Nick Carroll’s efforts in the final third during Shamrock Rovers inaugural State League campaign earned him 28 votes and third place.

Ashfield’s Ibnen Charming tallied up 27 votes to pip Aaron Colli of Swan by one. Locked together with 23 were three players – defender Mark Walsh (Morley) and midfielders Ian Stack (Shamrock) and Andy Harold (Forrestfield United). In seventh place with 22 votes was Dianella White Eagles goalkeeper Matt Battigelli, while Forrestfield striker Anthony Lyons and Adrian McBride (Gosnells City) locked together on 21 votes.

Monterosso becomes the ninth Division One Player of the Year. Last years’ award was taken out by Bayswater City striker Gustavo Marulanda with other previous winners being Ashley Rosindale (Balcatta), Paul Harvey (Canning City), Andy Brown (Mandurah City), David Rodgers (South West Phoenix), Adam Raines (Balcatta), Scott Bulloch (Wanneroo City) and Boima Karpeh (Bayswater). The team would like to thank everyone who took the time to cast a vote in our annual award.



Balga have been left reeling by the rejection of their application to join the State League. One of a dozen clubs who applied to Football West to enter the new third tier of Saturday football next year, Balga were given the impression last month their application would be successful, however, they were knocked for six on Friday when informed that was not to be the case. “This decision is, as late as it is, unbelievable,” said Balga president Ken Shorto. “We have been informed by Football West there is no avenue of appeal. We of course will to try to change this view.”

Shorto is amazed with the reasons given by Football West to knock back Balga’s move into the State League. “The reasons for declining our acceptance are very vague to say the least,” commented Shorto. “Football West based their decision on administration and sustainability. We are 40 years old as a club and I personally have held executive positions with two State League clubs for over 35 years as well as being treasurer for the old Sunday league association. That is without the many other people in our club who have also been involved at the top level for decades.”

Having been told their application would be recommended for approval to Football West’s board, Balga stepped up planning towards State League entry and early last week put in place a new coaching team. “We interviewed several top class coaches and have appointed a very good person to take on the senior role, plus an assistant coach and an 18’s coach are also in place,” commented Shorto. “We have had several players commit to returning to Balga for Saturday football plus many players the coach has spoken to who are new to the club. We will have a very competitive squad if we play on Saturdays next year.”



Sorrento booked their place in the season finale by toppling regular season winners Balcatta 3-0 in this afternoon’s Preliminary Final at Dorrien Gardens. Brodie Martin and Todd Harnwell struck in the first half to put the Gulls in the driving seat with Dejan Gurovski coming off the bench to seal victory mid-way through the second period. “We’re delighted with today’s performance,” said winning coach Paul Price. “We had a great start and scored early and that obviously settles all the nerves and from then we played very well.”

The picturesque conditions were matched by a bright start by Sorrento, who had the ball in the net after 4 minutes via Joe Allanson but his header was ruled out offside. Unperterbed, the Gulls continued to assert their authority and four minutes later that was rewarded with the lead, Danny Cain’s long throw-in was flicked by Adam Luca to the back post where an unmarked Martin fired into the net. Balcatta wanted a quick response but David Micevski’s low strike from 15-metres flashed just wide.

This sparked the regular season champions into life and on 17 minutes Steve Burton’s deflected shot beat goalkeeper Curtis Aspden but struck the post and rebounded away from goal. Moments later David Micevski’s long-range attempt whistled narrowly the wrong side of the target as the pressure began to mount. Sorrento almost doubled their lead on the half hour, Martin’s dangerous cross was only partially cleared and David Price’s low shot was saved by ‘keeper Lewis Italiano.

The game tipped in Sorrento’s favour on 36 minutes, Martin playing the ball out to the right where Todd Harnwell zeroed in on goal and finished clinically past Italiano from 9-metres to make it two-nil. Although shell-shocked, Balcatta created a great chance to reduce the deficit when John Migas surged down the left and went past Ryan Pearson before crossing to Ashley Rosindale, he laid the ball off to an unmarked Burton who amazingly blazed high from 5-metres.

A quiet start to the second half was punctuated on 65 minutes when David Micevski released Rosindale whose shot on the run beat Aspden but hit the post. That miss was punished three minutes later when Price’s cross from the left picked out Gurovski who brilliantly headed in from 9-metres to seal the outcome. Balcatta, however, refused to give up hope and with eight minutes to go David Micevski’s long-range attempt was blocked low by Aspden, who recovered in time to batter away Burton’s close-range follow-up.

Sorrento coach Paul Price was over the moon after the final whistle but did sympathise with Balcatta. “They are a good side but I feel sorry for them. They won the league well with a number of games to go and have probably gone off the boil in recent weeks, which happens,” Price commented. “But we did the job today and now we’re looking forward to taking on Perth SC in the Grand Final next week, in a replay of the State League Cup Final.”



Division One champions Bunbury Forum Force recovered from conceding two early goals to run out 6-3 winners away at Dianella White Eagles. The game was just a minute old when Dianella took a shock lead, Blaz Radonavic driving into the roof of the net after meeting a square pass from Sotiris Theodosiades. The margin was doubled in the 13th minute when Frank Madafferi stole possession from a defender and slotted past the goalkeeper one-on-one. It wasn’t until a couple of minutes from the break that Bunbury hit the target, McGee the scorer courtesy of a Jamie Tandy cross.

Bunbury changed the game with a trio of quick second half goals which started on the hour, Jon Brooks the provider for Paul Harvey to head in. Marten grabbed his first goal of the afternoon by meeting a cross by Harvey who, on 65 minutes, saw another of his crosses turned into the net by a defender. Dianella pulled a goal back five minutes later with Ozren Kotur nodding in a free-kick played to the back post by Jimmy Tanevski. However, Marten had the final say with two late goals to secure the win.



A stunning four-goal performance by John Monterosso was behind Swan United’s 5-0 thrashing of Gosnells City at the Swan Italian Club. Monterosso’s haul sealed the Division One Top Goal Scorer award for the striker and ensured Swan finished the season as runner-up to champions Bunbury Forum Force. The game started predictably enough with Swan pushing for an early lead and Gosnells attacking chiefly on the counter. An opportunistic finish by John Monterosso broke the deadlock on 44 minutes, the striker netting after Gosnells’ goalkeeper spilled a Rob Monterosso free-kick.

Swan came out after the break determined to finish the job and on 57 minutes Brendan Knox doubled their lead by heading in from an Anthony McStea corner. Goal number arrived elven minutes later, Chris Atkinson’s through ball releasing John Monterosso who ran on to fire into the bottom corner. It was only in the final stages that the margin really blew out, John Monterosso playing a tidy one-two with Knox before again finishing low in the 83rd minute. Good work by Trent Wood down the right saw him deliver an inviting cross soon after which John Monterosso headed back past the ‘keeper.



Ashfield and Shamrock Rovers each had two players send off during a pulsating 3-3 draw at Harold Rossiter Reserve. First half goals from Jason Feather and Ian Griffiths put the visiting in the box seat before Ian Stack pulled one back on the stroke of half time. A thrilling start to the second period saw Griffiths extend Ashfield’s lead only for Ross Cosgrove and Barry Mulligan to level them game before the hour. The shared points means Shamrock end their inaugural State league season in fourth spot with Ashfield placing two below.

The visiting team hit the ground running to take an 11th minute lead, Feather heading in a pinpoint cross from Karl O’Reilly. This set the tone for the remainder of the half and on 21 minutes Ashfield’s dominance was rewarded with a second goal, O’Reilly again involved by releasing veteran Griffiths who struck into the top corner from 23-meters. This seemed to wake Shamrock up but it took until the minute of the half before they broke through with Stack converting a dubious penalty.

The second half was an absolute thriller with three goals scored in ten minutes and a player from each team gaining an early shower. Ashfield were first to strike on 51 minutes with Griffiths heading in from a corner. However, those goal celebrations were cut short a minute later after Cosgrove found the target with a quickly taken 25-metre free-kick. The game had barely restarted when the drama continued, O’Reilly and Will Pender scuffling off the ball with the end result being a red card for both.

The teams were brought level after 55 minutes when Mulligan forced the ball into the net after the visiting defence failed to clear from deep inside their 18-yard box. Ashfield were delivered a further blow a few minutes later with midfielder Gareth Lloyd sent off for a two-footed challenge. The final twenty minutes were a tense affair with both teams creating good chances to grab the win. With emotions running high it was not surprise a fourth player saw red, Cosgrove sent off for an off the ball incident spotted by an assistant referee.



A goal midway through the second half from Andy O’Neill earned Morley Windmills a 1-1 draw at Canning City. In a lacklustre game befitting a final round encounter that had nothing riding on the outcome, Marc Trevisiol put Canning into an early lead only for O’Neill to salvage the visitors a share of the points after the interval. The game was in its 10th minute when Trevisiol got the slightest of touches on a corner to send the ball into Steve Grant’s net. Morley responded with a barrage of attacks but the closest they came to equalising was an explosive Andy O’Neill effort which smashed into the crossbar.

Morley looked to have drawn level soon after the turnaround when Luke O’Neill netted after latching onto a pass out of midfield but his effort was controversially ruled out for offside. The visitors got the goal they sought in the 67th minute, Andy O’Neill heading in at close-range after Ryan Frisina’s far post corner was nodded into the goalmouth by Nick Davies. Both teams had their chances to add a second to their tally but wayward finishing and some solid defensive work ensure the game would end at one apiece. Morley’s day ended on a low note with David Houston issued his marching orders in the final few minutes.



A final day hat-trick by Anthony Lyons has guided Forrestfield United to a 4-3 victory away at Fremantle Spirit. Lyons tally completed a remarkable season for the striker who finished the winter with 19 goals from just eleven starts. Forrestfield opened their account in the 22nd minute when Andy Harold’s lovely through ball was calmly sent into the net by Lyons. However, it took the port side just two minutes to draw level, Jason Pottier beating two opponents before laying off for Caleb Aquino to finish into the bottom corner from 17-metres.

Forrestfield seized control just after the half hour with two goals in the space of as many minutes. Martin Barnes’ lovely cross from out wide picked out Jordan Hart, who found the back of the net with a well-placed header. The visitors quickly turned the ball over from the re-start and Julian Kesacoff played in Lyons to thread under advancing goalkeeper Lachlan McAlindon. Fremantle worked hard to reduce the deficit before the break but went in trailing by two goals.

Fremantle were back in the game after 76 minutes when Pottier’s shot struck ‘keeper Luke Woodfin whose attempted clearance ricocheted into the net off a defender. The visitors jumped back into action and in the 89th minute Barnes rolled a free-kick to Lyons whose explosive 30-metre drive soared into top corner. Fremantle replied immediately, Pottier weaving his way around several defenders as well as the ‘keeper before centring for Darren Monaghan to head the last of seven goals for the game into the top corner.



Perth Glory’s preparation for the coming A-League season continued with a 2-2 draw against Sydney FC at WIN Jubilee Oval in Kogarah, Sydney. In wet and miserable conditions Glory twice recovered from falling a goal behind with a performance that pleased coach Ian Ferguson. “The first 20 minutes we conceded a goal and were under pressure but after that we responded and controlled the play for long spells,” he said. “We moved the ball around well which was pleasing because we have worked on that in the last few weeks.”

Nick Carle opened the scoring for Sydney after 19 minutes at close-range after Danny Vukovic blocked a Brett Emerton shot. Glory drew level in the 35th minute, Andrezinho turning on the style down the right before squaring to Billy Mehmet who applied a clinical finish. The host club again took the lead early in the second half when Emerton converted a penalty awarded for a foul on Mark Bridge, however, Todd Howarth equalised two minutes later after Sebastian Ryall fluffed his clearance deep inside the 18-yard box.



Football West have accepted seven clubs into the State League for season 2012. Fremantle United, Joondalup City, Melville City, Olympic Kingsway, Quinns FC, Subiaco AFC and UWA-Nedlands were granted a place in the new Division Two following an extensive review of applications received by the association. "Whilst a seven team division may be considered not ideal, 2012 will be a transitional year and the following season will see an evening up of the divisions both through the promotion and relegation system as well as the possibility of new applicant clubs coming in," said Football West chief executive Peter Hugg.

Five clubs – Balga, Ballajura, Bassendean Caledonian, Maddington Eagles and Queens Park – were unsuccessful in gaining entry to Saturday football. "Whilst keen to see the State League grow, it is important for us to maintain a certain standard across all components, including the quality of their home ground, success on the park and financial sustainability, as well as ensuring players in growth areas of Perth are catered for at our highest level of the game in WA," commented Hugg. Football Wests’ Board also reaffirmed that Mandurah City and Cockburn City will be relegated to Division One with that competition’s champions, Bunbury Forum Force, promoted.



There will be no second chances for Balcatta or Sorrento should they fail to come out on top of Saturday’s Preliminary Final at Dorrien Gardens (4.00pm). The victors reward will be a Grand Final date with Perth SC, however, for the vanquished it’ll be time to start planning in earnest for 2012. Balcatta, winners of the regular season, are ready to bounce back from last weekend’s loss to Perth but will have a tough time containing the never-say-die approach which landed Sorrento the State League Cup.

The teams have met sides three times already this year with the scales tilted slightly in Sorrento’s favour. An initial Night Series encounter produced a scoreless draw, then in May the Gulls came out on top 2-1 courtesy of goals from Todd Harnwell and Daryl Platten. Just over a month ago the side locked horns again for a thrilling 2-2 draw, Balcatta opening up a two-goal lead via Ashley Rosindale and Steve Burton only for second half goals from Adam Luca and Jason Mirco to even the ledger.

There are a number of key battles to be won the on the day with perhaps the most important being that across the middle of the park. Adam Luca is arguably the top flights’ most inventive and dynamic young midfielder and his linking with wide players Jason Mirco and Shaun Timmins is sure to provide Sorrento many an avenue to goal. Much of Balcatta’s attacking drive comes from Mo Atak and Daniel Micevski with Spencer Harris the big danger coming out of the centre.

Just as important will be who stands up to be counted in the last third. Steve Burton and Ashley Rosindale have put away in excess of 30 goals between them this year, so Jamie Harnwell and Daryl Platten know they’ll be in for a busy afternoon. There’ll be no rest for Adam Tong and Jovo Pavlovic who have the difficult task of keeping quiet Sorrento livewire Joe Allanson and captain Todd Harnwell. All in all, this will be one of the games of the season!



The pick of the final round action has Swan United on home turf to an in-form Gosnells City. Swan are in the hunt for a top two finish and know anything less than victory could see them slip down to fourth spot. The competition’s form side are without a doubt Gosnells, who have knocked over Shamrock Rovers and Ashfield in stringing together six wins in a row. Trent Wood and Anthony McStea will be doing their best to tee-up John Monterosso for a goal or two, while Gosnells attack is spearheaded by Jamie Burns with support from Ian Maguire and Andy Pomfret.

Division One champions Bunbury Forum Force complete their history making year with a trip to Dianella White Eagles. A home win against Ashfield would be the perfect way for Shamrock Rovers to end what has been a remarkable State League debut. Fremantle Spirit are home to Forrestfield United, and Canning City welcome Morley Windmills to Burrendah Reserve. The five afternoon games kick off on Saturday at 3.00pm. The season concludes with a night game at Lark Hill Sportsplex where Rockingham City will be out to end their winless month against Wanneroo City (7.00pm).



Attacking midfielder Ivan Ergic is prepared to turn down offers to continue his career overseas and return to the club where he started, Perth Glory. Ergic, who starred in Glory’s sensational 1999/2000 National Soccer League campaign, is a free agent and has been approached by clubs in Germany, Turkey, Japan and China. However, his father, Mitch, told the ‘West Australian’ newspaper that his son’s heart was set on a return to Australia. “His first plan is to come back to Australia,” Mitch Ergic told Jonathon Cook. “His first step in professional football was in Australia with Perth Glory and he feels like it’s his duty to come back.”

Ergic, 30, shot to prominence by helping Glory take out the 1999/2000 NSL regular season crown and qualify for their first ever Grand Final, which was lost to Wollongong Wolves by a penalty shoot-out. He left Glory in the off-season that followed to join Italian giants Juventus and was immediately loaned to FC Basel, where he’d play 282 games and scored 49 goals across nine seasons. Along the way he collected four Swiss Super League and four Cup winner’s medals, featured in two UEFA Champions League campaigns and represented Serbia and Montenegro at the 2008 World Cup finals. Ergic played the past two seasons with Turkish club Bursaspor.

Glory have little room in their salary cap following a squad overhaul by coach Ian Ferguson, who can make only one more signing to complete his quota. But Ergic, who helped Bursaspor win their first league title in 2009/10, could be accommodated in the January transfer window. By then a number of players will be just months away from the end of their contracts and Glory will be planning towards the 2012/13 season. Any financial deal to lure Ergic to Perth for the remainder of the current campaign could be made more attractive with the offer of a significant financial increase for the following season.

Mitch Ergic says his sons’ motivation to return to Perth was not financially driven. “From his soul, he always misses Perth. His reason to come back to play in Perth is not for money,” he commented. Ergic, who is living in Belgrade, has investment properties in Perth and still has a close affection for the country he first called home when he moved from post-war Yugoslavia with his family in 1996. The midfielder always intended to play for Australia, who he represented at under-19 level in 1999, but opted for Serbia and Montenegro after being given the cold shoulder following his move to Europe.



Australia are through to the AFC Under-16 Championship after defeating Indonesia 5-2 at the Rajamangala Stadium last night. Taylor Tombides scored twice and Aaron Calver, Reece Papadimitrios and Hyuga Tanner grabbed one apiece to secure the Joeys second spot in Group G. "Tonight's result was very satisfying," said coach Jan Versleijen. "Not just because we achieved our goal of qualifying for the Asian Championship, but more so because of the progress that the team has made over the past two weeks … We have also learned during this tournament is that there are no easy games in Asia anymore and we need to work hard for every result."

Tombides got the Joeys off to a flying start by netting after only 3 minutes, however, parity was restored soon after by Muhammad Hargianto. Australia retook the lead through Calver and short before half-time Reece Papadimitrios extended their advantage by converting from the penalty spot. Tanner added a fourth goal in the 63rd minute following a neat piece of combination play in the build-up. Indonesia pegged one back three minutes later via Ichsan Hari Kurniawan but the match was sealed in the 78th minute when Tombides bagged his ninth goal of the tournament. Tombides and Daniel De Silva each played a full game, with Ross Millard an unused substitute.



Spencer Harris says Balcatta will be out to point to prove when they face Sorrento in Saturday’s make-or-break Preliminary Final. Balcatta finished the regular season on top of the Premier League table but a semi-final loss to Perth SC has left them smarting. “We are determined to win (on Saturday) and reach the Grand Final, and then we plan to win that and prove that we are the best team this season,” said Harris.

Perth seized control of last weekend’s game midway through the second period when Antonio Naglieri and David Onoforo netted in quick succession. “It was a disappointing result against Perth because we didn’t feel like we were out-played on the day,” commented Harris. “Our ‘keeper, Lewis Italiano, didn’t have a save to make, which makes the defeat a little more bitter.” Balcatta’s never-say-die attitude was finally rewarded in stoppage time when Daniel Micevski pulled a goal back.

Harris, 20, has thoroughly enjoyed his first season in the State League following his move from English side Osset Town over the summer. “I’ve really enjoyed my time in Perth and that’s got a great deal to do with how welcoming the lads and coach staff have been at Balcatta. The ambition of the club has matched mine,” said Harris, who was on a professional contract at League One side Huddersfield Town last year.

Playing football full-time is, ultimately, where Harris wants to be and the talented midfielder is hopeful of catching the eye of Perth Glory, who’ve already run the rule over team mates Steve Burton and Lewis Italiano. “I would love to play full time football again, and if the opportunity arose I’d jump at the chance,” Burton commented. “It’s down to me to show the coaches out there that I’m good enough to play at that level again.”



Sorrento will need to be at the top of their game if they’re to get the better of Balcatta in this weekend’s sudden-death Preliminary Final. And although confident his team can topple the regular season champions and progress to the season finale, defender Jamie Harnwell isn’t about to under-estimate Saturday’s opposition. “You don’t win the league as easily as Balcatta did without being a very good team, they have got quality in all areas,” said Harnwell. “We are confident, as the cliché goes, every game is a Cup Final for us at the moment.”

The Gulls were pushed all the way in the Elimination Final before seeing off Inglewood United 3-1 in extra-time through Brodie Martin’s second goal of the afternoon and a stunning long-range sealer by substitute Dejan Gurovski. “It was a strange game, I don’t think either Inglewood or ourselves were at our best but we capitalised on our chances when they came,” said Harnwell. “When it went to extra-time the players knew we had the fitness and confidence to go and win the game, and it was a great goal by Dejan that capped it off for us.”

It’s been a busy few days for Harnwell who on Tuesday was announced coach of Perth Glory Women for the 2011/12 season. “I am really excited about my appointment and the upcoming season. To be in charge of a national league team is a huge responsibility and a great test for me,” said Harnwell. “I have really enjoyed working with the Senior Women’s National Training Centre team over the past few months and will be doing everything I can to ensure that the Glory are a successful side and we are challenging for honours at the season’s end.”

Although the veteran defender is preparing for his first foray into the coaching arena, he’s not yet ready to entertain thoughts of retiring as a player. “I would like to think I will continue on playing next season, although I haven’t discussed that with the coaching staff yet,” commented Harnwell. “Seriously though, I have enjoyed my time back in the State League this year and physically feel fine. I am looking forward to a break at the end of the season after eighteen months of non-stop football so hopefully I will not be hanging up the boots, not quite yet.”



James Isaia's State League commitments may have only has just finished but that’s not to say he’s taking things easy. The Floreat Athena midfielder is hard at work convincing Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson he is worthy of an A-League contract. “It’s been unreal, training and now playing with quality players that have played at the highest level has taught me a lot about the game,” said Isaia, who featured in Glory’s weekend friendly with Central Coast Mariners in Sydney. “I was happy with the way I played and felt that I held my own and competed very well.”

Isaia, 26, got his first taste of what life is all about in the A-League last summer. “At the end of last season Glory had plenty of injuries so I was invited to train for a couple of weeks to increase the size of the training squad,” he explained. “I did quite well then and was invited back during this pre-season and have just been taking each session as it comes. I’m enjoying every minute of it and treating every session as my last, because it just may be.”

The 2011 State League season was one of mixed emotions for Isaia, Floreat winning the pre-season Night Series but unable to carry that momentum into the league campaign. “It was a real inconsistent year for us,” commented Isaia, whose team stumbled to eighth in their 60th anniversary year. “It started so brightly and was probably a bit of a curse. The undefeated run in the middle of the season was promising but the poor run towards the finals summed up the year for us.”

Should the chance come along for Isaia to play at the next level it is certain one he would jump at. “My time to grab a professional contract is quickly running out so this is probably my last chance … I’m giving it a good crack,” said Isaia, who is hoping to feature in this weekend’s friendly with Sydney FC. “The coaches at Glory have been happy with my performances in training and the games I’ve been a part of. I’m sure they will make a decision very shortly with their plans for me.”



Australian have stumbled at the first hurdle on the road to the 2012 Olympic Games when held to a scoreless draw by the United Arab Emirates this evening at Hindmarsh Stadium. It was a disappointing result for Olyroos coach Aurelio Vidmar who felt his team failed to find their rhythm and play below to their potential. “In no way did we ever get our rhythm. It was quite obvious,” he said. “For the half a dozen games that we have played over the past twelve months this is certainly a performance that was not up to scratch.”

The visitors dominated the opening half with a series of attacking forays. Ahmed Kalil blasted just wide from 25-metres just after the half hour, and soon found the net at close-range only to be ruled offside. A poor back pass gifted Ali Ahmed a free run at goal but he was denied a shot by Oliver Bozanic, who atoned for his error. Australia improved for the second half but Mitch Nichols was unable to capitalise on a couple of headers, while going the other way a low shot by Khalil was brilliantly kept out by Andrew Redmayne. Scott Neville and Mark Birighitti were both unused substitutes.



Bunbury Forum Force will take their place in the top flight for the first time next season after clinching the Division One title with last weekend’s home win over by Rockingham City. Team captain Jordan Rispin was understandably elated when the final whistle sounded at Hay Park to signal not only victory but also the first major trophy in the clubs eleven-year history. “It’s fantastic to win the league and we celebrated in style, having a drink or three,” said Rispin. “All the lads were together and it was good to let off a bit of steam after the pressure of the season we have just had.”

Finishing top of Division One is the culmination of a decade-long dream for Bunbury. “There has been a lot of hard work put in by the people of this club, not just this season but over the past last ten years,” commented Rispin. “The club now needs to let the dust settle and make a productive plan of how to improve again and compete in the Premier League. That will form a starting point from which young players from the south west can strive for and play in the highest league in WA and not have to leave home to do it.”

Rispon says his teams’ perfect home record ultimately made the difference between Bunbury finishing ahead of Shamrock Rovers, Swan United and Wanneroo City. “At the start of the year we knew that if we were to win promotion then our home form would be vital. To win eleven out of eleven home games was brilliant and it more than made up for our form on the road, which wasn’t great,” said Rispin. “On top of that we have had good strength in depth, something we lacked last season, and have the best goals for record … when you analyse the season the best team won the league.”

However, it wasn’t all clear sailing for Bunbury who early month surrendered top spot to Shamrock after suffering back-to-back losses to Swan and Wanneroo. “That period was very tough for the players,” commented Rispin. “We took a lot of flack from our own press, fans and forums and it really did test the character of all the lads as well as Nigel (Wilcox), our coach. But the lads all pulled together and those results actually made us stronger. We stood up as a group of individuals and when the chips were down no one went missing and it was this mental toughness that maybe gave us the edge.”

When reflecting on the past six months Rispin says there were several season-defining moments. “One that stands out in particular was away at Forrestfield United, a game we drew last season and which signalled the beginning of the end for us in 2010,” said the Bunbury captain. “We were trailling 2-1 away and with ten minutes to go Rory Binnie took the game by the scruff of the neck, equalising before getting the winner in injury time. Even though it was early in the season, when that second goal went in I thought ‘this could be our year’.”

One of the star performers when Bunbury finished second to Bayswater City last season, Rispon spurned the advances of several Premier League clubs to stay on at Hay Park. “I came back to Bunbury to finish off the job started with Oliver McGee and Neil Chappell – I wanted to win the league,” he said. “Obviously it’s enjoyable playing in a team that’s winning every week but with that comes pressure. It’s been a tough season but the end result is there and that’s the most enjoyable thing. As I’m getting older I want to be able to look back and say, ‘yeah, I have won a league championship’.”

Rispin is undecided where – or if – he’ll play next season but feels the foundations of a very strong future have been laid for Bunbury. “I’m not sure about my future, I have a few injuries this season and part of me thinks I’d be good to finish playing on a high and concentrate on coaching,” he said. “I’ve no doubt Bunbury can compete in the Premier League and if they all keep pulling in the same direction then there’s no reason the club can’t go from strength to strength. The nucleus of the team is certainly there for Bunbury to continue to be a success.”



Phil Butler considers 2011 a season of lost opportunity for Forrestfield United. The eastern corridor club entered the season amongst the favourites to take out the Division One title, however, a poor start to the home and away series ruined that hopes. “I do believe the squad I currently have could have and should have been pushing the leaders harder,” said Butler, whose team have climbed into fifth position. “We have shown in the second half of the season, we can beat any team. Unfortunately, it’s now a case of what could have been.”

Forrestfield gave a good indication of where they could have been by demolishing second from top Shamrock Rovers 6-1 last weekend. “After a disappointing performance against Ashfield we were all determined to get back to winning ways and we played some superb attacking football, which Shamrock were not able to match,” commented Butler. “My team plays a good brand of high tempo attacking football and the players really work hard for each other, and that has resulted in some superb performances.”

Butler took over at Forrestfield in mid-June, replacing the clubs’ long-time coach John Hunter. “I have a lot of respect for John Hunter and learnt heaps from him in the three years I worked with him,” Butler commented. “The whole team could have imploded after John left and I’m very pleased that this didn’t happen and the players stayed loyal. I was not looking to coach the first team but the challenge was too tempting and with Mark Woods we have enjoyed the ride.”

It didn’t take a great deal to turn around Forrestfield’s season. “We started by trying to get the players to start enjoying themselves again,” he said. “The balance of the team was not right so I introduced a few of the reserve squad and also welcomed back the likes of Luke Woodfin, Anthony Lyons, Alan Nanini and Craig Anderson. The most pleasing part has been the way we have won – we have scored 36 goals in ten games and completely over run teams.”

Butler, who has accepted the first team post at Forrestfield next season, has every confidence his team will be challenging for top honours in the not too distant future. “If the squad are prepared to stay together and if we add the couple of players – who I am currently talking to – then we have an excellent chance of winning the league,” he said. “The current squad is very young and remind me of the young Canning team that blitzed Division One a couple of years ago.”

Forrestfield’s final game of 2011 has them on the road to second from bottom Fremantle Spirit this Saturday. “We have trouble beating teams when we are the favourites and I hope we finish in style as the beer always tastes nicer after a good win,” said Butler. “Fremantle will be fighting for their lives and this will not be an easy game. I’m hoping we will win well and help Anthony Lyons gets the goals he needs to win the Golden Boot award, which he will richly deserve.”



547 goals have been scored in 30-plus hours of Division One football so far this year but the leading goal scorer won’t be decided until the final whistle has been blown on the season. A single strike is all that separates Michael Marten (Bunbury Forum Force), John Monterosso (Swan United) and Anthony Lyons (Forrestfield United) heading into the last 90 minutes of the winter. Marten and Monterosso share the leadership having each netted 17 times but breathing down their necks is Lyons, who has tallied up 16 goals from just ten starts. With Bunbury facing Dianella White Eagles, Swan at home to Gosnells and Forrestfield up against Fremantle this Saturday it’s anyone’s guess who’ll finish top of the pile.



Defender Ryan Townsend has added some gloss to his season by taking out Mandurah City’s top individual prize, the Club Champion. It was deserved recognition for 26-year old Townsend whose strong work ethic and on-field talents also landed him the Coaches Award. “The guy is a born leader without the arrogance,” said Mandurah coach Mike Brazil. “The playing group at Mandurah really look up to Ryan, no job is too difficult for him and he is only too happy to help out with training or advise one of the youth players. He’s a fantastic player and person to have around the club.”

Exciting young midfielder Seb Bell celebrated an outstanding season by taking out the Under-21 Player of the Year, while Zac Newton picked up the Encouragement Award. Matt Stares went home with trophies as the Fairest and Best as well as Players’ Player of the Year. The Reserve team Player of the Year went to Liam Hurst with Saxon Heighton (Coaches Award) and David Dawson (Players’ Player of the Year) also honoured. Joe Richardson was Player of the Year with the Youth team, Daniel Fenton collected the Coaches Award and Struan Herd the Players’ Player of the Year.



Former national league defender Ante Kovacevic has stepped down as first team coach of Floreat Athena after two seasons. Kovacevic, a veteran of 279 national league games, formally told the Floreat players of his decision at a team meeting tonight. “After 20 years of involvement in senior football, as a player and coach, I feel I need a break from the commitment that is required at this level,” said Kovacevic who, by day, is Glory’s team manager. “My commitments with Glory are quite demanding so my involvement in the sport doesn’t stop.”

Kovacevic, who took over from Michael Roki early last year, is satisfied with what he achieved over two seasons in charge of Floreat. “This season was especially testing. With many departures from the last year’s squad and a club policy of not throwing money away on mercenaries, assembling a new group of players and ensuring we were competitive was a major challenge for myself and Taki Nicolaides,” he said. “Ultimately, I’m happy to have delivered the club a Night Series trophy and a rebuilt squad that has a lot of upside to it. Now it’s up to the club to build on that further.

That Night Series win signalled Floreat would be a competitive force this season, however, a flat start stifled hopes of top five placing. “Winning the Night Series was a reward for the hard work and application put in by the boys in the pre-season,” commented Kovacevic. “But our league season was inconsistent, with a poor start that put us in last spot after six games. A mid-season form reversal sent us into finals contention, unfortunately we finished the season the way we started and our finals hopes were dashed.”

Having stepped down from coaching Kovacevic, 37, is still mulling over whether his playing days are also at an end. “I am yet to decide whether I’ll continue to play or not, at my age those decisions are not made quickly,” commented Kovacevic. “I will wait until the summer months to see if I can be bothered undertaking another pre-season. Once that decision is made, then I’ll work out whether I’ll attempt to battle out another year in the Premier League or maybe just have a casual kick about in the Sunday football leagues.”



One of England’s biggest clubs, Tottenham Hotspur, will consider establishing a permanent base in Perth following a week-long juniors clinic during upcoming school holidays. Mark Jones, head of development at the North London club, will be one of three coaches who’ll put local youngsters through their paces at Litis Stadium during the October school holidays. “The program is for boys and girls of all abilities from the age of six to 16,” Lee Bramley, Tottenham’s Australian Football Development officer, said. “And, depending on the response we have, Tottenham Hotspur may set up a permanent base in Perth.” Contact Bramley on 0433 284 490 or for further information.



Taylor Tombides struck five times to orchestrate Australia’s 10-0 thrashing of Guam at the AFC Under-16 Championship qualifying series in Bangkok. Lukas Stergiou, Kevin Ly and Josh MacDonald (3) also found the net to jump the Joeys into joint second spot in Group G alongside Indonesia, who they meet on Thursday. “We have improved as a team throughout the tournament and I am confident that we should be able to get the result against Indonesia to achieve our goal of qualifying for next year’s championship,” said coach Jan Versleijen. Tombides came on at half-time with Daniel De Silva and Ross Millard watching the game from the bench.



A busy pre-season will pay dividends for Perth Glory when the A-League campaign commences next month according to new goalkeeper Danny Vukovic. Glory had their first session in preparation for the summer of 2011/12 over four months ago during which time they’ve hosted Scottish giants Celtic, Al Ahli of the United Arab Emirates as well as that nations’ Olympic team plus a trip to South Africa for outings with Platinum Stars and AmaZulu. This week Glory are in New South Wales for a training camp that takes in friendlies with Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC.

Vukovic, signed in the off-season from Wellington Phoenix, says such a hectic schedule is just what the doctor ordered for a Glory line-up that boasts a dozen new faces, amongst them New Zealand striker Shane Smeltz, Republic of Ireland midfielder Liam Miller and former Socceroos defender Travis Dodd. “The more time you spend together the more you gel,” Vukovic, 26, told Aidan Ormond of “That’s what it’s about leading up to the season. We want to know each other as much as possible and I think we will after these two big trips (to South Africa and New South Wales).”

There is no doubt Glory look the goods on paper and Vukovic, who won the A-League Premiership in 2007/08 with the Mariners, believes they are now placed well to match the club’s National Soccer League successes. “I’m extremely confident we can do well,” said Vukovic. “In every game we’ve gotten better and it’s getting to a point now. It’s exciting, it’s pretty much a new team, with more than half of the players new to the club. I’d like to think we’ll be playing finals football this year … everyone’s ready to prove people wrong.”

After a couple of turbulent years – Vukovic left the Mariners in 2010 and endured a short-lived stint in Turkey before reviving his career with Phoenix last season – the ‘keeper knows regular game time at Glory is key to coming back into Socceroos reckoning over the next few years. “I’m looking forward to this season and trying to get back to where I was in Australian football and back amongst the Socceroos,” he said. “There was a point there where I was very close to playing and I still think I’ve got my best football in front me.”



Perth SC qualified for their third consecutive Grand Final after seeing off regular season winners Balcatta 2-1 on a blustery afternoon at 6PR Stadium. Second half strikes by Antonio Naglieri and David Onoforo put the Blues in control, and although Daniel Micevski’s closed the gap on it too little too late for Balcatta. “We came into today’s game with a great deal of believe and we thought Balcatta were a little under done after a two week layoff,” said Basil Lenzo, who took the reins of Perth with coach Gianfranco Circati overseas. “The boys worked really hard, they gave me everything and we got the right result.”

Although playing into a howling wind Balcatta fashioned the first chance of the afternoon on 3 minutes when Paul Vatistas played in Steven Burton whose shot from 10-metres was saved by Jason Saldaris. Unfortunately, that was to be the last action for Burton who limped out of the game with a groin injury soon after. The loss of their star striker didn’t have a noticeable effect on Balcatta with Ashley Rosindale and John MIgas forcing saves from Saldaris as they pushed for the breakthrough.

Perth didn’t seriously threaten until five minutes from the break, Greg Sharland cutting in from the right to unleash a fierce shot that whistled narrowly wide. With this the Blues finally sparked into life and two minutes later Sharland supplied a low cross which was just out of Dom De Felice’s reach at the far post. There were also some nervous moments at the other end of the park where Saldaris blocked Mo Atak’s powerful shot and Shaun Kilkelly intervened to halt Rosindale at the follow-up.

Balcatta had the wind at their backs for the second period which was only a few minutes old when Micevski’s quickly taken free-kick drifted just wide of the target. Moments later Spencer Harris chanced his luck from distance, the midfielder’s shot clearing the crossbar by the narrowest of margins. The all-important first goal arrived on 62 minutes when Sharland played a corner short to Naglieri, whose shot from the edge of the 18-yard box came to rest in the bottom corner of the net.

Eight minutes later Perth doubled their lead, Josh Pereira’s well-weighted pass sent clear Onoforo who held his nerve to beat goalkeeper Lewis Italiano. In a bid to get back in the game Balcatta pushed Tong forward into attack and on 86 minutes the big defender nodded the ball back for Rosindale who volleyed straight at the ‘keeper from 8-metres. Balcatta’s consolation arrived in deep stoppage time when Micevski finally got the ball past Saldaris after playing a one-two with Tong.



One-time Australian youth international Nick Ward has joined Greece's oldest professional club, Iraklis Thessaloniki. Ward, 26, is expected to be a key figure in Iraklis’ campaign to regain their Super League status after being relegated to the second tier in May for unpaid debts. He was a regular fixture of the Wellington Phoenix midfield last summer only to be released at the end of his contract. In a stop-start career Ward has made 124 senior appearances through spells at Perth Glory, Queens Park Rangers, Bright and Hove Albion, Melbourne Victory and Wellington.



Hertha Berlin striker Nikita Rukavytsya is surprised he’s been overlooked by Socceroos coach Holger Osieck, despite earning game time in the German Bundesliga. Rukavytsya has made just a single Socceroos appearance since Osieck took charge twelve months ago, with his last involvement being six months ago in the lead-up to a friendly with Germany. “I am a bit disappointed and surprised that I haven’t got a call up lately for Australia,” he said. “It’s always a massive honour to play for your country and I’m hoping that things turnaround.”

Rukavytsya has been capped by Australia seven times, a tally which includes two appearances at last year’s World Cup. “Having played in South Africa off the bench against Germany and Ghana, you get a taste for international football and I’d love nothing more than to be involved in the campaign to qualify for Brazil,” said the striker. “I was young and it was my dream to play at a World Cup. Hopefully, if I keep doing what I’m doing it will all be okay and I will play in the qualifying games coming up.”

Australia’s next outing is a friendly with Malaysia early next month ahead of a World Cup qualifier against Oman four days later. “I haven’t heard from Holger Osieck but from time to time some of the Socceroos physios check to see if I’m injury free and things like that,” said Rukavytsya, who started out at Perth Glory before spells with FC Twente (the Netherlands) and Roeselare (Belgium). “Physically I’m probably fitter than I’ve ever been. “Mentally and also technically, I think I have also improved. You have to improve to survive at this level.”

Rukavytsya has made four Bundesliga appearances this season for Hertha and is desperate for more game time. “I know I need to be playing more and I’m working hard on that,’ he commented. “I think it’s a tactical thing but I just have to wait and see what happens. The competition is intense here. Every game is hard, training is hard. It’s even a big step up from the second division where it’s more based on kick and run football. The Bundesliga is more tactical and a lot more skilful, but just as tough physically.”



Australia have defeated Hong Kong 1-0 in their AFC Under-16 Championship qualifier at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok. The only goal of the evening came just after the half hour mark when Reece Papadimitrios delivered a corner to the far post where Joeys captain Ben Warland volleyed in from 10-metres. Australia dominated for the entire 90 minutes but some dogged defending by Hong Kong in very hot and humid conditions prevented the final score from being any greater. Daniel De Silva played a full game, Taylor Tombides was replaced in the 90th minute and Ross Millard an unused substitute.



A powerful finish by Adriano Pellegrino was enough for the Central Coast Mariners to secure a 1-0 victory against Perth Glory at Knox Grammar School in Wahroonga on Sydney’s North Shore. Pellegrino, a former Glory player, fired in from close-range just before half-time after Matt Simon’s free-kick deflected off the defensive wall and into the midfielder’s path. The final margin would have been far greater had it not been for Glory shot stopper Danny Vukovic, whose reflexes thwarted Michael Baird and Simon while Mariners substitute Brad Porter fired high when well placed.



Sorrento progressed to the last three of the All Flags Finals Series with a 3-1 extra-time win over Inglewood United on a sunny afternoon at 6PR Stadium. A couple of goals from Adam Luca, both with eh aid of deflections, and a stunning sealer from substitute Dejan Gurovski booked the Gulls a Preliminary Final date with the loser of tomorrow’s Balcatta-Perth SC game. It was a disappointing outcome for Inglewood who matched their opponents but could only find the net once, through Ndumba Makeche early in the second half.

The day started positively enough for Inglewood, Makeche combining with Rory Grant who should have done better than place high in the 3rd minute. Sorrento’s first opening came courtesy of a defensive error, Joe Allanson shooting from 16-metres but the attempt was deflected wide by Ross Harvey. The better of possession was being held by Inglewood and on 22 minutes James Sammut’s fierce first time strike was straight at goalkeeper Curtis Aspden.

Luck smiled on Sorrento in the 28th minute when Allanson touched the ball back to Luca whose shot from the edge of the 18-yard box deflected off a defender and into the corner of Oliver Taseski’s net. A Danny Cain corner three minutes later was redirected goalward by Jason Mirco only for Taseski to spectacularly tipped away the header. The hosts responded with Richman getting down the left and crossing for Grant, whose downward header was agonisingly wide of the target.

Inglewood had no intention of entering the break a goal down and on 36 minutes Makeche nipped in to beat Aspden to an under-hit back but the striker’s effort from a narrowing angle was headed off the line by Shaun Timmins. David Price then squandered a golden opportunity to double Sorrento’s lead, the midfielder somehow lifted high of an open net after meeting Todd Harnwell low ball in from the left. The final play of the half had Jason Colli nod down to Daniel Stoitis but his drive was too close to Aspden.

The home side pushed straight into attack with the start of the second half but Grant and Makeche were unsuccessful in finding the target. Sorrento returned fire through a speculative long-range attempt by Timmins that a back-tracking Taseski wisely paddled over the top. The teams were back on level terms after 55 minutes when Sammut’s pass was flicked by Grant into the path of Makeche, who expertly swept the ball low across the ‘keeper and inside the upright.

The momentum was now very much with Inglewood but it took until the closing stages for them to again open up the Gulls defences. Richman’s low strike was comfortably taken by Aspden in the 81st minute, a shot on the turn by Ryan Clarke was headed away from the net by Todd Harnwell then substitute David Perich nodded over after Colli and Grant combined in the lead-up. The drama continued until the final second in which Cain drilled wide after Inglewood failed to deal with a dangerous free-kick by Luca.

In the opening minute of extra-time Makeche got free of Jared Love only to blaze high from a tight angle. That miss was punished in the 98th minute when Luca’s shot from the top of the box deflected off Harvey and flashed into the back of the net. Four minutes later Gurovski trapped the ball wide on the left and exquisitely curled over Taseski from 22-metres to seal victory for Sorrento. Inglewood did all they could to keep their season alive but there was no way Sorrento were about to let them back in.



Bunbury Forum Force finally got their hands on the Division One championship after routing Rockingham City 5-0 at Hay Park. Michael Marten, Oliver McGee, Jon Brooks, Paul Harvey and Evan Chate shared the goals to send Bunbury into the top flight for the first time in their eleven year history. “The lads have been fantastic this year and the team spirit is second to none,” said Bunbury captain Jordan Rispin. “We knew at the start anything less than top spot would be seen as a massive failure and now, with the season finished, it’s safe to say that the best team has won promotion.”

The early exchanges were relatively even with both sides creating chances to go ahead. However, Bunbury seized control on 23 minutes when Brooks sprung the offside trap with a delightful pass that released Marten, who round the goalkeeper before slotting in. Four minutes later McGee poked goal number two into the roof of the net after a corner went to feet inside the 6-yard box. Brooks settled the outcome in the 32nd minute with a shot from edge of the 18-yard box which beat the ‘keeper with the aid of a slight deflection.

The second half followed much the same pattern, Bunbury always threatening to extend their lead even further as Rockingham focused on defensive duties while hoping to sneak a goal on the counter attack. The home crowd were given more reason to cheer with eleven minutes left when Ashley Young’s free-kick found Paul Harvey, who guided into the net for the first time as a Bunbury player. The icing was put on the cake in stoppage, Rispin’s long ball picking out Bryce Young who sped away down the right and crossed for Evan Chate to finish past the ‘keeper.



Forrestfield United’s late season revival continued with a 6-1 demolition of second from top Shamrock Rovers at Hartfield Park. Two goals from Anthony Lyons and singles to Jordan Hart and Chris Holland sent the home team down the road to victory before Andy Harold bagged a late double to consolidate fifth place for Forrestfield. The ball had been in motion just 10 minutes when Hart made it one-nil by firing neatly into the bottom corner from a corner delivered by Holland.

On the quarter hour Andy Harold threaded a delightful pass into the path of Lyons, who took one touch before slotting across the goalkeeper and inside the far post. The margin blew out to three goals in the 35th minute, Holland’s scorching shot from distance finding the top corner of the net. Shamrock refused to give up hope and in the shadows of half-time Will Pender pulled a goal back to give the visitors hope of a second half comeback.

A tense start to the second period had both teams applying pressure while making sure they had numbers at the back when needed. The all-important next goal arrived on 68 minutes when Lyons tamed the ball with his chest then lashed inside the upright to make it four-one. Andy Harold capped a solid performance with two goals of his own in the final seven minutes, the pick of which was a stunning drive from 25-metres that gave the ‘keeper no chance.



Swan United remain in the hunt for a top two finish after coming from behind to draw 1-1 with Ashfield under lights at Ashfield Reserve. An early goal by Ian Griffiths highlighted the hosts’ first half dominance but after the break it was Swan that controlled with John Monterosso grabbing a deserved equaliser. Ashfield hit the ground running and in just the 3rd minute veteran Griffiths guided a perfectly delivered Matthew Wardle corner into the net. The team in red continued to pile on the pressure and would have entered the break a few goals up if not for their inability to put away numerous chances.

Swan returned to the park for the second half intent on finding the back of the net, however, they were held in check by a well-organised defensive line that had Martin Sherwin and Matthew Wardle at its heart. It was only while Ashfield went temporarily down to ten men - Mladen Kovacevic was receiving treatment for injury – that finally Swan broke through via John Monterosso’s angled strike that went in off the far post. An action packed final twenty minutes ensued in which Ashfield’s 16-year old goalkeeper Matthew Weyell starred to earn his side a share of the points.



Wanneroo City will finish fourth for a fourth consecutive year after defeating Fremantle Spirit 5-3 at Wauhop Park. Josh Booysen capped a man-of-the-match performance with a hat-trick as David Herety also helped himself to a brace. The visiting side waited just 7 minutes before opening their account, Chris Pugh opening up the Fremantle defence with a through ball which Booysen confidently netted. One soon became two with Booysen converting from the penalty spot after being felled on his way inside the 18-yard box.

Fremantle hit back straight from the re-start, Darren Monaghan threading a pass to Jason Pottier who beat one defender before placing into the top corner from 22-metres. Herety restored Wanneroo’s two-goal buffer in the 21st minute, tucking past the goalkeeper after Booysen squared from a Nick Timmings cross. Five minutes later Jacob Aquino floated a free-kick into the 18-yard box where the ball went to feet and Tyrone Fenwick tapped past stand-in ‘keeper Michael Clarke at close-range.

The game’s sixth goal arrived with just half an hour gone, Booysen brilliantly beating three defenders before sliding the ball past the ‘keeper to complete his hat-trick. A trip on Booysen in the shadows of half-time was punished when Herety netted from the penalty spot. The flow of goals dried up after the break with only Pottier registering, the attacking midfielder hitting a first time shot under the ‘keeper after getting on the end of a cross by Monaghan.



Gosnells extended their winning streak to six games by seeing off Division One cellar dweller Canning City 4-2 at Walter Padbury Reserve. The eastern corridor club moved into the top half of the table for the first time this year courtesy of Jamie Burns’ double and singles from Ian Maguire and Graham Tough. Canning got their afternoon to a positive start with Dane Navarro pushing into the net after the home defence failed on several occasions to clear the danger in the 10th minute. Burns brought the teams level nine minutes from the interval by betting at close-range an Adrian McBride cross after Aaron Coslani’s strike was parried by the goalkeeper.

Navarro finished neatly for his second goal of the game six minutes after the turnaround, however, Maguire’s chip over the ‘keeper from 18-metres restored parity immediately after the re-start. Gosnells claimed the lead for the first time on 66 minutes, Andy Pomfret’s corner finding Tough whose powerful back post header deflected in via the crossbar. Burns made the points safe seven minutes later by tapping in the loose ball after the ‘keeper spilled a cross from Tough. The game was in stoppage time when Josh Findlater sent Alan Dunlop the wrong way from the penalty spot to give Canning a late consolation.



Dianella White Eagles came out on top of the local derby by 3-1 against Morley Windmills at Wotton Reserve. The visitors went ahead just before the half hour through Simon Barber whose penalty conversion was cancelled out by Andy O’Neill on the stroke of half-time. Dianella sealed the points with goals in quick succession after the break by Blaz Radonovic and Dhamon Kalmaras. “We have shown vast improvement in the last five or six weeks, the boys are starting to believe in themselves and are being rewarded for the hard work they have put in,” said winning coach Jamie Goodman.

Morley started with intent and would have been a couple of goals the good had Andy O’Neill or Lucas Whitehouse been able to make more of their opportunities. Having soaked up some early pressure, Dianella took the lead on 29 minutes when Sotiris Theodosiades released Kalamaras whose heels were clipped by a defender, leading the referee to award a penalty which Barber sent in Steve Grant’s net. The home side responded with a series of raids which were rewarded in the 42nd minute when an unmarked Andy O’Neill volleyed into the top corner from 15 metres.

Dianella began the second half strongly and on 51 minutes regained the upper hand, some nice interplay putting the ball with Blaz Radonovic who unleashed a powerful drive from the top of the 18-yard box which flashed into the net. Seven minutes later Jimmy Taneski’s played down the left to Kalamaras, who left the defence in his wake before firing past the advancing ‘keeper. Morley coach Salv Todaro looked to his bench for a way back in and although the fresh legs of Lee Thomas and Daniel Yelland added a bit more pace to the home side they were unable to get the goals they desired.



Inglewood United take on Sorrento in tomorrow’s Minor Semi-Final at 6PR Stadium (2.00pm). The winner of this make-or-break contest will progress to the Preliminary Final and keep alive their hopes of being crowned State Champions, however, the vanquished will bow out of the play-offs and begin focusing on 2011. Regular season meetings between the teams have favoured Inglewood, however, Sorrento are still riding high following last month’s State League Cup win.

Inglewood will need to be switched on from the opening minute according to coach Shane Pryce. “If we don’t turn up and play the game of our lives on Saturday, Sorrento will roll us. They have been consistent and well organized all year and they play until the final whistle. Past results mean nothing, it’s up to Inglewood players to show what they are made of, you certainly learn a lot about a player’s character in pressure situations.”

Sorrento boss Paul Price believes the game to go down to the wire. “The Sorrento players go into the game with a lot of confidence on the back of our Cup win and recent form,” he commented. “Inglewood has a strong team and have fire power up-front with Ndumba Makeche and Rory Grant, the guile of Adrian Caceres (if fit) and a flying machine down the right in Ryan Clarke … all in all it should be a good contest and may the best team win.”



The State Champions crown will become a step closer for the winner of the Major Semi-Final between regular season winners Balcatta and powerhouse club Perth SC at 6PR Stadium on Sunday (3.00pm). Balcatta made use of their week off by playing Perth Glory in a friendly whereas Perth re-established their title credentials with a 4-2 demolition of Inglewood United. The regular season ledger is evenly poised with each claiming victory on the others’ turf, and with nine goals scored across those two games another blockbuster appears in the offering.

Balcatta are out to make up for the humiliating four-goal loss sustained at the hands of Perth a month ago according to coach Michael Roki. “That loss was the only real blemish on our season and I think the boys are keen to set the record straight … the wait to get to this game has been long one for us,” Roki commented. “Perth are definitely the finals specialists and in fine form, but I do feel we have sufficient experience in our squad to push them to the line.”

Perth enter the afternoon full of confidence following back-to-back wins over fellow finalists Sorrento and Inglewood United. “Although we go into game as underdogs, we have two very good wins behind us against quality opposition so we definitely fancy chances,” said assistant coach Basil Lenzo. “Balcatta won the league with a decent brand of football and, to be honest, they are impressive from 1 to 11. Finals football has a higher level of intensity so the winner of the one-on-one battles will be pivotal to the final result.”



The pick of tomorrow’s Division One action has fifth-placed Forrestfield United on home soil to second-from-top Shamrock Rovers. Australian Schoolboys international Scott Witschge is unavailable for Forrestfield’s last home game of the year but coach Phil Butler has Chris Holland, Simon El Chami, Wade Farmer, Graham Herd, Chris Perrot and Craig Anderson knocking on the selection door. Influential Shamrock pair Nick Carroll (suspension) and Alan O’Mahoney (overseas) will miss the game, however, their absence is likely to see Will Pender return to the eleven.

Bunbury Forum Force can secure the Division One championship by taking the points over Rockingham City. Home coach Nigel Wilcox has a full squad to choose from and will think long and hard about where midfielder Ashley Young fits in on his return from suspension. It’s a totally different situation in the Rockingham camp Steve Robinson’s injury list includes Steve Drew, Richard Lacey and Jamie Kidd, while Jay Bonser, Stuart Carlisle and Tommy Downes will undergo late fitness tests.

Morley Windmills will attempt to stretch their unbeaten run to six games when they host Dianella White Eagles. Salv Todaro will be tempted to hand teenager Daniel Yelland his first start with David Houston, Ryan Frisina, Fraser Maguire and Adriano D’Adamo all unavailable. The visitors ranks are similarly depleted with Jimmy Nelson, Spiro Nenadic and Ognjen Kotur out, however, Blaz Radonovic comes back into contention just in time to face his former club.

Fremantle Spirit will fancy their chances against an under strength Wanneroo City at Wauhop Park. The port side are bolstered by the return of Angelo Canzurlo and Corey Muirhead whereas Wanneroo have Sahar Konomanyi, Brad McDonald, Jay McDonald and goalkeeper Clint Davies unavailable. Gosnells City are tipped for a sixth straight win when cellar dwellers Canning City visit Walter Padbury Reserve. The five Division One afternoon games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.

The second to last round of Division One concludes with a night game between Ashfield and Swan United at Ashfield Reserve (7.00pm). Ashfield ended a lengthy winless run last weekend by upsetting Forrestfield United and coach Matt Carruthers will no doubt be pleased Brian Maybin and Alex Stamatiadis have put their hands up after time out with injury. Swan have had a tough time of late but have enough talent on board to take the points, even with Tom Shepheard and Aaron Colli suspended.



Golden Boot winner Gustavo Giron-Marulanda feels he could have played a bigger part in Bayswater City’s return season in the Premier League. The Colombian born striker was without a shadow of a doubt one of the competition’s star performers, his silky skills and superb control leaving many an opponent chasing shadows has be zeroed in on goal. And although happy with his contribution of 18-goals, Giron-Marulanda knows that tally could have been greater. “It’s been a good season for me personally, scoring as many goals as I did, but I’m never satisfied and I know I could have score more,” he commented.

Bayswater were quickly written off by many at the beginning of the year so to finish the winter in seventh place, only a handful of points outside the play-off spots, was especially pleasing for all at the club. “Bayswater had a very good season, no one expected us to be as dangerous as we were,” commented Giron-Marulanda, who suggests his team under-performed to a degree. “We really could have done better but football is about small details and that was the main reason why we dropped so many points.”

Giron-Marulanda left his hometown of La Union Valle at the age of 16 to pursue a career in football. “I played under-17’s for Once Caldas and first team in the third division for Academia Pereirana,” he explained. “I then had a year with Deportivo Pereira and was called up for the State team of Risaralda. I stopped playing for nearly six months before trialling with Cortulua, but when the coach couldn’t decide if he wanted to sign me after three months I decided to look for other opportunities.”

The option Giron-Marulanda went with was a move to Perth in June 2009. “A friend of mine invited me to train with Bayswater City and that was how I got in to the club,” commented the striker, who has been inspirational across his two and half seasons at Frank Drago Reserve. A match-winning hat-trick in the 2010 Division One Night Series final landed Bayswater their first trophy in seven years, and during the six months that followed Giron-Marulanda drove the club to the Championship and a Premier League return.

It was in the top flight that Giron-Maralunda’s creative talents were fully revealed. Absent for the pre-season due to injury, he played the first month of the regular season off the bench but honoured his first start with a brace against ECU Joondalup. Although he netted with regularity it was into the second part of the season that Giron-Marulanda really hit his straps, scoring 13 times in 11 games with doubles coming against Cockburn City, Balcatta, Joondalup and Floreat Athena to win the Golden Boot.

That achievement didn’t go unnoticed by Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson, who recently invited the Bayswater player the chance to try out for the A-League club. “It was a good challenge,” said Giron-Marulanda, who played the second half of Glory’s friendly with Dubai-based Al-Ahli after standing out a few days earlier in a Glory XI game against the same opponent. “I think I did really well, I played two games and scored one goal. The coaching staff said they were really impressed with my performance.”

Like every player, Giron-Marulanda aspires to play at the highest possible level and, although he’d be happy for another year at Bayswater, the Colombian is hoping to break into full-time football. “I’m working hard to improve me fitness, even after winning the Golden Boot and having good season I have to work harder every day to get my levels up,” he said. “I’d like to play professionally and be part of an A-League team, but if something comes up in Asia or elsewhere which means I can play football full-time then I’ll take it.”



Defender Danny Cain has made it his goal to make 2011 the most successful in Sorrento’s 40-year history. The Gulls collected their first State League Cup last month by defeating Perth SC in the final and now the club have set their sights on adding the All Flags Final Series trophy to the cabinet. “Winning the Cup was a fantastic achievement for the club and a personal highlight for my football career so far,” said Cain. “We’ll be doing everything we can to win this final series and complete the double.”

Sorrento were pushed all the way in last weekend’s opening round of the play-offs before seeing off Western Knights over 120 minutes. “It’s always a tough game against the Knights and last week was no different,” said Cain. “I thought we had the better of the play and clearer cut chances in the first half but we were under pressure for large periods in the second. It was a very demanding game physically but again the lads have shown great character to come away with the win in extra-time.”

Cain has been an integral part his clubs defences for several years now and has relished playing alongside Perth Glory legend Jamie Harnwell this season. “Jamie’s always talking and organising from the back. His pace may be going – or gone – but his ability to read the game more than makes up for it,” said Cain. “Our defenders have had a great season along with big Curtis Aspden, our ‘keeper, but if I had to pick one player it would be Daryl Platten, he’s been outstanding all year at centre half.”

The Gulls quest for silverware continues on Saturday with a visit to Inglewood United, where the season will come to an end for one team. “Confidence is high at the club especially amongst the players, and we’re all looking forward to Saturday’s game,” commented Cain. “Inglewood has played well against us in both games this season and I’m sure this week will be another competitive match. We need to go out and perform well on the day and if everyone is on their game I’m sure we can win.”



Guy McDonald isn’t happy with how Wanneroo City’s season has panned out, despite being on course for a top four finish. The Roos entered the year full of confidence and focused on being in the Division One title mix, however, 23-year old McDonald feels his team’s under-performance has robbed them of a better final placing. “To be honest, I’m not really happy with the way we have performed this year,” said the midfielder. “We have played well in certain games but I don’t feel we have played to our full potential.”

It was only last month than Wanneroo’s season came off the rails when, after beating top of the table Bunbury Force Force, they suffered successive losses to Swan United and Forrestfield United. “We really prepared ourselves well for the Bunbury match and put everything we had into it,” commented McDonald. “Unfortunately, we came out of the game with four or five injuries, then after playing Swan our goalkeeper (Clint Davies) went on holiday and my brother, Brad, who really pulls the team together when we need a lift, also went away.”

Although Wanneroo bounced back by defeating Ashfield, the Roos slipped further off the pace with last weekend’s loss to Shamrock Rovers. McDonald struggled to hide his disappointment with the way that game was thrown away in the closing stages. “It was a really even match for 60 minutes, then we kind of lost the plot and in five minutes conceded two poor goals,” he said. “The result was devastating because it has put us down to fourth spot, but at the end of the day we haven’t been good enough at crucial parts of the season.”

McDonald has experienced many highs and lows with Wanneroo and has stayed loyal to the club through six seasons because of the strong bonds that exist amongst the playing and coaching staff. “We are one of the smallest clubs in the state, which keeps us a really tight group. I have a lot of close mates here and also have a good relationship with all the coaches,” he said. “When we have a big win the atmosphere in the change rooms is amazing, we have about six songs, I swear we could make a Wanneroo album!”

Wanneroo’s second to last game of 2011 has them away to a struggling Fremantle Spirit outfit on Saturday. “You never want to lose any game and we won’t treat this one any different to the rest we have played this season. At the end of the day its three points and we want as many as we can get,” commented McDonald. “Although we are not in the promotion mix, we are happy to be in the top four for the fourth year in a row. And if we can be more consistent next year then I’ve no doubt we will be up there again in 2012.”



Perth Glory will take on A-League rivals Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC in their final warm-up games before the new season commences next month. The games, part of an upcoming training camp in New South Wales, will give coach Ian Ferguson the clearest indication yet of his side's ability to challenge for a finals place in 2011/12. "If you get wins it brings confidence galore We're trying to get that winning mentality back and that belief," said Ferguson. "These two games are big games for us in making sure we're ready to hit our straps when the A-League starts."

Ferguson is looking to finalise his preferred starting eleven during next week's camp in New South Wales. "They are going to be important games for us to see how far we've come," Ferguson said. "In my opinion, the pre-season has been spot on. We've played Celtic, we've played South Africans, State League teams and teams from Dubai and now we've got A-League teams. There's always a nervousness considering where we finished last year. But I'm happier where we are with the players we've brought in and I've got belief in these players that they can carry us through this season."



West Australian pair Daniel De Silva and Taylor Tombides have starred in Australia’s 4-0 thrashing of Myanmar in this evenings the AFC Under-16 Championship qualifier in Bangkok. Joeys captain Ben Warland opened the scoring in the first half before De Silva scored twice and Tombides once to seal the win. “In the second half they (Myanmar) gave us more time and space on the ball which resulted in some good second half goals,” said coach Jan Versleijen. “We still have a lot of room for improvement and we will look to do this in the match v Hong Kong (on Saturday).”

The Joeys went ahead after 20 minutes when Stephen O’Neill’s cross was headed in from 5-metres by Warland. It took until the 76th minute for the second goal to arrive, Warland playing a long ball in behind the defence for De Silva to volley into the bottom corner. Three minutes later Hyuga Tanner played a through ball for Tombides, who beat the advancing goalkeeper to the ball and tapped into the net. The scoring was completed in the 87th minute when De Silva drove in first time after meeting another Tanner pass. De Silva and Tombides each played a full game with Ross MILLARD an unused substitute.



Perth SC’s quest for a third consecutive State Champions crowns brings them up against Balcatta in Sunday’s Major Semi-Final. Jason Saldaris has been in fine form since stepping between the posts late in the season and, after seeing off Inglewood United last time out, he’s focused on toppling the regular season winners this weekend. “My confidence is high with my past performances and I’m ready for this week’s challenge,” said the shot-stopper. “We have a fully fit squad and are ready to take it to Balcatta and earn our spot in the Grand Final.”

Saldaris, who came into the eleven after injury to Devon Spence, marked his first start of the year with a best on ground effort at Sorrento on the final day of the regular season. He carried that form into last weekend’s 4-2 win over Inglewood. “It was a great win for us, we showed confidence going forward and in defence, which we have been lacking throughout the season,” said Saldaris. “We dominated about 75% of the game, it’s just that last 25% that let us down and let them back into the game with those two goals.”

Saldaris was loaned out to Balcatta earlier in the season but the friendships he established during that time will take a back seat on Sunday. “We know this game will be a huge task, Balcatta are a well-organised and structured team,” said the Perth ‘keeper. “This fixture is one we have been aiming for and looking forward to. Having players like Adam Bachiller and Dom De Felice on the bench in the previous game shows how much depth we have coming into the derby this Sunday.” Perth and Balcatta go into battle from 3.00pm on Sunday at 6PR Stadium.



Attacking midfielder Ryan Clarke says Inglewood United have it in them to beat State League Cup holders Sorrento in this weekend’s All Flags Final Series showdown at 6PR Stadium. Inglewood have not been beaten by the Gulls this year – they won 3-1 at Percy Doyle Reserve and played out a scoreless draw in June’s return fixture – and Clarke is confident of things staying that way. “Sorrento are definitely the form team coming into the finals but, as everyone says, finals are a different story. If we play our usual style of football we will come out on top,” he commented.

Everyone at Inglewood was disappointed with last weeks’ performance against Perth SC, who took out the Qualifying Final 4-2. “We went into the game full of confidence, so to lose like we did was very disappointing,” said Clarke. “You can’t give a team like Perth a four-goal head start and expect to come back. But we didn’t give up until the final whistle, another goal would have made things very interesting and put a few hearts in mouths but it wasn’t to be we now have to focus on Sorrento.”

Clarke has nothing but praise for coach Shane Pryce who in the space of twelve months has taken Inglewood from a relegation scrap to contender for the State Champions crown. “He’s done a brilliant job turning the club around from being one of the easy beats to being a top four side,” commented Clarke. “For someone that is so relatively new to the coaching side of the game I give him a lot of credit, and the style of football we are playing is a down to his coaching.”

Clarke’s tenacity and drive going forward have been a key component of Inglewood’s game plan this season but the midfielder is quick to highlight the contributions of team mates. “Rory Grant is vital to our team going further in the finals with his experience, holding the ball up and his goal scoring touch,” Clarke said. “Ndumba Makeche is one of the most dangerous players in the competition, and David McNally and Ross Harvey have both been very impressive in the heart of our defence.”

Another player that has given Inglewood inspiration is defender James Duncan, who has not played since July after breaking his leg at Stirling Lions. “James is a huge loss to the club, not only on the pitch but off it,” commented Clarke. “I have a lot of respect for the way James is handling the terrible injury and keeping his and our spirits high. In a weird way his injury has galvanized us and it would be nice to win it (the Grand Final) for him.”

Inglewood could not be better positioned leading into Saturday’s game against Sorrento. The coach has available a full compliment of players who’ve each upped the intensity at training during the past few days. “We’ve trained well this week, a few players pulled up sore after the Perth game, but they will be okay,” said Clarke. “We’re all rearing to go and put the disappointment of that game behind us and earn a spot in the Preliminary Final.” Inglewood have home ground advantage in Saturday’s Minor Semi-Final against Sorrento, which kicks off at 2.00pm.



Balcatta may have finished the regular season at the top of the Premier League but for Ashley Rosindale the job is only half done. The Balcatta captain says his team are out to prove themselves State Champions and what better way to start that than with victory over the current title holders, Perth SC, on Sunday. “We are confident ahead of the game, but we are also aware that it will be a tough game,” said Rosindale ahead of his teams’ first ever finals outing. “Perth has proved over the last few years they get it right at finals time – and we are looking forward to changing that.”

The player group at Grindleford Reserve are a close knit bunch and Rosindale feels those relationships played a big part in Balcatta winning the Premier League. “It was great to win the league playing an attractive brand of football, which is has been the philosophy this season and will continue to be in the future,” he said. “It is really important that if you are going to be a successful club the playing group must stick together on and off the field, which has really happened at Balcatta this year. The lads have a good understanding on the field and have built strong friendships off it.”

In acknowledging the league win as a true team effort, Rosindale feels the contributions of two young players deserve recognition. “Goalkeeper Lewis Italiano has been superb in his first full season in the State League and deservedly got his call up to Perth Glory,” said the Balcatta captain. “Another player who has stood out for me is Spencer Harris, he is one of the unsung heroes in the team and has been very influential for us in centre midfield this year.” Balcatta comes face-to-face with traditional rival Perth SC in the Major Semi-Final from 3.00pm Sunday at 6PR Stadium.



A spectacular bicycle kick by Travis Dodd sealed Perth Glory to a 2-1 win over the United Arab Emirates Under-23 side from this evenings’ friendly at AK Reserve. In Glory’s last hit-out before heading to Sydney, Dodd added to Adam Taggart first half opener for a deserved win. “I have to say (the goal) was inspired by Danny Vukovic,” Dodd joked after the game. “He practises them at training and as soon as I saw the ball sitting up, I thought I have to have a crack at it.”

Glory seized the initiative on 8 minutes when Tommy Amphlett’s cross-field pass caught out the opposition, Andrezinho heading back across goal for Taggart to nod in at close-range. An incredible double save on the line by Chris Coyne and Josh Risdon prevented the UAE from equalising in the 31st minute, but soon after Ali Mabkhot rifled in from 20-metres. In a lively start to the second half, Glory continued to press with Taggart and Amphlett combining well down the right. The pressure eventually paid off on 63 minutes and when Dodd put away the deciding goal after being picked out by Amphlett.



Australia have been beaten 3-2 by host nation Thailand in their opening AFC Under-16 Championship qualifier at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok. Taylor Tombides gave the Joeys an early lead only for Thailand to strike three times either side of half-time before Conor O’Neill pegged a goal back, and although Australia worked hard they were unable to find an equaliser. “Without having played much together before the tournament, it took us some time to get the cohesion that we needed to play well,” said coach Jan Versleijen. “Although the conditions were very difficult for the players, we created enough chances to win the game but were unable to convert.”

The Joeys got off to a flying start with Tombides drilling in a free-kick from 9-metres after Thai goalkeeper Apirak Worawong picked up an 11th minute back pass. Thailand equalised just before half-time when Jutitep Tonglim cut in from the right to shoot across ‘keeper Jordan Thurtell and inside the far post. Amnart Pamornprasert converted a penalty awarded for a foul by Aaron Calver early in the second period, and on 53 minutes a defensive error allowed Saran Puangbut to make it three-one. The Joeys reduced the deficit six minutes later with O’Neill beating two defenders and calmly slotted past the ‘keeper in a one-on-one. Tombides and Daniel De Silva played full games with Ross Millard an unused substitute.



Marc Anthony’s influence in the middle of the park has been recognised with Cockburn City’s Fairest and Best trophy. So important were Anthony’s contributions this year that he finished top of counting despite missing six of his clubs’ twenty-two league games. “Obviously I’m happy with the award although I would much rather have helped the club stay in the Premier Division,” said Anthony. “It’s been a very difficult season for the club, although when Mick Lyons and John Brown came in our performances were better but we couldn’t get the results we needed.”

Cockburn stalwart Paul Natale was runner-up Fairest and Best with mid-season arrival Ian McMurray named the Players’ Player of the Year. Rory Feely collected the Top Goal Scorer prize, and the Coaches Award went home with youngster Declan Boyham. The Reserve team Fairest and Best was taken out by Chris Blackledge ahead of Anthony Harris. Andrew Ambrogio was voted the Players’ Player of the Year with Gerardo Soto the Top Goal Scorer. The Youth team awards went to Ali Gholami (Fairest and Best, Players Player of the Year), Sam Wheatley (runner-up Fairest and Best, Top Goal Scorer) and Adam Evans (Coaches Award).



Richard Garcia may not have kicked a ball in four months but his passion for the game burns as bright as ever. A crucial ligament injury forced the Hull City attacker onto the sidelines in May and, following surgery, he can’t wait to re-join the Tigers’ push for the Championship. “I still love playing … the older I get, the more I love it,” said Garcia before admitting to some tough times when he was starting out. “When I was in my teens it sometimes felt like a job, and that was hard to deal with because you can lose your passion for it and that reflects in your performance.”

Garcia has been taking small steps towards his return to action for Hull, hopefully early in the New Year. “It’s hard watching football and watching training, but I’ve been through it before,” he said. “I know I can use this time to my advantage and work on the things that you might not normally get time to during the regular season. It’s just about staying positive and setting small goals for yourself so that you have something to focus on, rather than the fact you’re not playing.”

A Kingsway Olympic junior, Garcia joined West Ham United at the age of 15 and was a key member of the side which won the FA Youth Cup and FA Premier Youth League double in 1998/99. His senior debut arrived while on loan to Leyton Orient in mid-2000, and through spells with Colchester United and Hull has chalked up over 250 first team appearances in England. Garcia gained his first cap for Australia in 2008 and two years later became the first West Australia to play at a World Cup Finals tournament.

Although he’s packed a lot into his career, Garcia flagged a few more things he’d like to achieve before hanging up the boots, including a stint in the A-League. “I would love to go home and play at some stage, playing in Australia in front of friends and family would be fantastic,” said the attacker. “I definitely want to play in the next World Cup and the Asian Championships. Eventually when I retire from playing I would love the opportunity to coach, I feel like it would be something I would really enjoy.”



Perth Glory has missed out on hosting LA Galaxy in a high-profile friendly towards the end of the year. Galaxy, whose squad includes David Beckham and Robbie Keane, had intended to play two games during a visit to Australia in December but a change of plans means they’ll now face only Melbourne Victory. “Naturally we are disappointed to miss out on the chance to bring the Galaxy and David Beckham to Perth,” said Glory chief executive Paul Kelly. “The reaction from the fans and the public was extremely positive and we will continue to try and bring the best football clubs to Perth.”



The Matildas came from behind to defeat South Korea 2-1 in their final Olympic Games qualifier at the Jinan Olympic Sports Centre in China. Lisa De Vanna and Tameka Butt struck midway through the second half to seal Australia victory, however, it wasn’t enough to book a spot at next year’s tournament in London with North Korea and Japan taking those. “I was very proud of the effort and the character our players showed to come back in the second half to win the game,” said coach Tom Sermanni.

The only goal of a highly competitive first half came via Kwon Hah Nul in the 27th minute. It took Australia until the 63rd minute to hit back, Servet Uzunlar’s long-range shot was parried by the goalkeeper and second half substitute De Vanna followed up to net the equaliser. The Matildas speedy attack yielded a second goal thirteen minutes later, Butt converting a Heather Garriock cross to edge Australia in front. Goalkeeper Lydia Williams played the full 90 minutes, Lisa De Vanna came on at half-time while Collette McCallum was an unused substitute.



A controversial goal in extra-time by David Foster gave Sorrento a 3-2 win over Western Knights from this afternoon’s Elimination Final at Percy Doyle Reserve. Foster came off the bench to conjure the deciding goal after almost two hours of football, however, there was much debate as to whether his header had crossed the line. Regardless, coach Steve Neville was taking the win and following the final whistle heaped praise on his players efforts. “To have gotten through to the next qualifying round for the top five is great,” Neville said. “It was extra-time and we did it the hard way … It shows the great character that the boys have in that dressing room.”

The first half was dour to say the least with chances few and far between at either end of the park. Sorrento had the first real effort of note after 11 minutes but Knights goalkeeper Fraser Siddall got down well at the near post to block Dejan Gurovski’s strike. With territorial advantage very much in the Gulls favour, Todd Harnwell poked wide after stealing a back pass intended for Siddall while Danny Cain’s goalbound header was blocked. Either team would have taken a lead into half-time but neither Gurovski nor Johny Mirco was able to capitalise on chances shortly before the interval.

The game finally burst into life with the start of the second half. On the hour Jason Mirco picked the ball up on the right and cut inside before curling superbly into the top corner to put Sorrento one-nil up. That lead lasted all of two minutes before Stuart Montgomery fed Ryan Shackleton whose drive from 22-metres was too good for Curtis Aspden. Play streamed from one end to the other with both sides fashioning chances to post a second. Sorrento substitute Joe Allanson placed agonisingly wide in a one-on-one with Siddall, while Paul Cooke should have done better than blaze over from 10-metres.

Sorrento edged back into the lead two minutes into extra-time through Jared Love’s penalty conversion after David Annall inadvertently handled the ball after tackling Allanson. Parity was restored in the 111th minute when Daniel Trim’s bullet-like header flashed past a motionless ‘keeper. Straight back into attack went Sorrento with Todd Harnwell’s cross from the right eluding Siddall but not Foster whose powerful header clattered against the goal frame and bounced down with referee Paul Anderson awarding a goal after consulting with his assistant. The Knights pressed throughout the second period but Sorrento did what was needed to claim a hard fought win.



Perth SC striker Andreas Oliviera played the starring role by scoring all four goals in his teams’ 4-2 Qualifying Final defeat of Inglewood United at Dorrien Gardens. Oliviera played like a man possessed, fired Perth to a four-nil lead before Ryan Clarke and Jake Geddes pulled back goals late in the second half. “I was there on the end of some good moves from the lads tonight, it was a good team performance,” said Oliviera. “Inglewood came back at us in the end, they are a good side but I thought we deserved the win. It was nice to get Nags (Antonio Naglieri) back in the middle of the park, his experience will be vital in the final series.”

It took Oliviera only 7 minutes to make his mark, the striker slotting low past Oliver Taseski from 9-metres after being played in down the right by Naglieri. Inglewood’s response was to pile pressure on the home defence and on the quarter hour Ryan Clarke’s powerful shot from 17-metres was superbly saved by Jason Saldaris at full stretch. Taseski kept Inglewood in the game by coming off his line to block David Onoforo after he’d seized on a poor back pass by Daniel Stoitis. Perth did break through for a second time in the 37th minute, Matt Danskin getting down the right and crossing to Oliviera whose venomous was too good for Taseski.

The second half was two minutes old when Josh Pereira clipped the ball over a flat Inglewood backline, Oliviera racing away from Stoitis to lob the on-coming ‘keeper to complete a memorable hat-trick. But Oliviera wasn’t yet finished as eight minutes later he motored onto Matt Danskin’s exquisite through ball and outpaced Ross Harvey before finishing with aplomb. Four-nil down and with over half an hour still to play, Inglewood coach Shane Pryce threw caution to the wind by deploying a three-man attack consisting of Ndumba Makeche, Rory Grant and Jake Geddes.

The tactical switch paid dividends in the 65th minute when substitute Rikki Smith played the ball over the top of Trent Kay for Clarke, who burst inside the area and finished well past Saldaris. Inglewood crafted themselves a second goal only five minutes later with Clarke turning provider for Geddes to fire in from 7-metres. The momentum was now with the team in yellow and had it not been for Kay’s timely intervention then Grant would have further cut the deficit. The closing stages saw opening at both ends of the park but with neither team able to hit the target Perth emerged deserved victors.



Perth Glory will take on the United Arab Emirates’ Olympic team in a friendly next week as preparations for the coming season ramp up. The UAE will use Perth as a base camp in the build-up to their Olympic Games qualifier with Australia, and Glory boss Ian Ferguson has leapt at the opportunity to give his players another test. “The more games we have the better for us because we've got such a big squad now,” Ferguson told Jonathon Cook of the ‘West Australian’ newspaper. “We need to give everyone games because every player needs to know their roles and responsibilities.”

With the A-League season less than a month away, Glory come up against the UAE Olympic team at Inglewood United’s 6PR Stadium on Tuesday, 13 September, from 5.00pm. Their attention then switches to a couple of games against A-League opposition, starting with a trip to Central Coast Mariners on 18 September. Ferguson’s side will have their last major pre-season match against a Sydney FC side set to feature Brett Emerton for the first time on 24 September. Glory kick-off their A-League campaign at home to Adelaide United on 9 October.



Division One champions elect Bunbury Forum Force were rarely put to the test as they glided past Fremantle Spirit 7-0 at Wauhop Park. Michael Marten scored four times and Jon Brooks three to leave the south west club needing just a single point from their final two games to secure promotion to the Premier League. Fremantle found themselves under pressure from the opening exchanges as Brooks, Oliver McGee and Jordan Rispin all went close to breaking through.

Bunbury’s persistence was rewarded when Marten lashed into the net after meeting a 16th minute cross by Oliver McGee. A booming clearance by Ryan Montgomery paved the way for the hosts to add a second to their tally in the 32ndh minute, the goalkeeper’s kick bouncing over the defence with Marten applying a tidy finish. It took just five more minutes for Brooks to get on the scoresheet by tucking in the rebound from a Rory Binnie strike.

Marten completed his hat-trick eleven minutes into the second half with a delicate touch. Jayden Prosser turned provider in the 63rd minute by crossing for Marten to slam in his fourth of the afternoon. Three minutes later Brooks unleashed a vicious free-kick which flew into the bottom corner of the ‘keeper’s net. Bunbury’s seventh and final goal arrived in the 77th minute when Brooks jinxed his way into attack and beat the ‘keeper for a third time after his initial shot was parried.



Shamrock Rovers superb season continued with a 5-1 demolition of top-four rivals Wanneroo City at Harold Rossiter Park. Ross Cosgrove helped himself to a hat-trick with Alan O’Mahoney and an own goal rounding negating Billy Quinncroft’s finish just after the break. The opening period was tight with Shamrock taking the lead after 28 minutes through Cosgrove’s low drive into the bottom corner of Alan Young’s net.

Wanneroo streamed into attack straight after half-time with Quinncroft putting the equaliser past Wayne Brooks. Shamrock recovered and just after the hour O'Mahoney got his head on a corner to put the home side back in front. The outcome was settled during a five minute spell in which Cosgrove twice found the net to complete his hat-trick before an 80th minute own goal rubbed salt into Wanneroo wounds.



Swan United returned to winners circle with a 6-0 mauling of Canning City at the Swan Italian Club. The black and whites struggled to break down a stubborn Canning defence in the first half with goalkeeper Tom Barrett pulling off several important saves. However, there wasn’t a lot be could do six minutes from half-time when an attempted clearance from inside the 18-yard box ricocheted into the net off Aaron Colli. The margin was doubled soon after with Damien Scali steered in a John Monterosso cross to the far post.

The result was put beyond doubt early in the second half as Swan helped themselves to three quick goals. John Monterosso beat two defenders before sliding a lovely pass into the path of Scali, who finished well from a tight angle. An Anthony McStea corner was cleared as far as Robert Monterosso whose powerful long-range effort flashed into the bottom corner of Barrett’s net. Swan’s fifth arrived on 58 minutes via Nattapong Narongphunt following a McStea corner to the back post. A Canning defender had the misfortune of deflecting in another McStea corner in the 74th minute for the games’ final goal.


ASHFIELD GET BACK ON TRACK (couretesy Ashfield)

Ashfield put a disappointing month behind them by upsetting Forrestfield United 2-1 at Ashfield Reserve. An opportunistic finish by Ibnen Charming and an own goal secured Ashfield their first win in over a month, lifting them into sixth on the Division One table. It was clear from the opening whistle that the home side meant business, Gareth Lloyd and Karl O’Reilly toying with the defence out wide and Jason Feathers menacing through the middle. Luke Woodfin was a man under pressure, the Forrestfield goalkeeper doing all he could to prevent the home side from breaking through as shots rained down from O’Reilly, Mladen Kovacevic and Feathers.

The deadlock was broken after 17 minutes when a raid led by Feathers wasn’t properly dealt with, the ball dropping into the path of Ibnen Charming who sent it past an advancing ‘keeper. Ashfield were not content with a one-goal lead and continued to apply pressure on the visitors. They were rewarded with a second goal in the 23rd minute when O’Reilly fired in a dangerous low cross which was deflected into the net by a Forrestfield defender. The remainder of the half followed much the same pattern and it was only through a combination of poor finishing and good defensive work by the visitors that the margin wasn’t greater at the break.

With coach Phil Butler’s words still ringing in their ears, Forrestfield emerged for the second period a much different proposition. The visitors took the game by the scruff of the neck with Julian Kesacoff and Matt Harold continually driving them forward and bottling the ball up in Ashfield’s defensive zone. Brad Eiffe kept the hosts two-buffer intact with a fine display of ‘keeping with save from Andy Harold and Lyons. Forrestfield got the goal they sought in the 87th minute, a diagonal ball played through the defence found Lyons who finished clinically past the ‘keeper.


WHITEHOUSE SETS UP MORLEY WIN (courtesy Morley Windmills)

Lucas Whitehouse bagged his second hat-trick in eight days to guide Morley Windmills to an impressive 6-2 defeat of Rockingham City at Wotton Reserve. Whitehouse’s haul arrived in the first half after which Nick Davies, Leo Harman and Mitch Castrilli netted in Morley’s push for a top six finish. The game had barely started when a foul on David Houston presented the home team with a penalty kick, but Brad Cruickshank ensured the sides stayed level with an acrobatic save to thwart Simon Wilson.

Morley did get the goal they were after on 8 minutes when Whitehouse stole the ball off a defender and made his way to the top of the 18-yard box before drilling past the goalkeeper. Seven minutes later Luke O’Neill drove out of the middle of the park and delivered a superb cross to the far post where Whitehouse head in goal number two. Whitehouse further widened the gap two minutes out from the break, the big striker heading in powerfully after meeting a corner from Wilson.

Davies got himself on the scoresheet four minutes after the break when gifted an unmarked header. Rockingham were starting to see more of the ball and on 57 minutes Craig Tone nodded across Grant from Stuart Carlisle’s left wing cross. A tidy move between Lee Thomas, Ian McKean and Wilson laid the foundations for Harman to make it five-one after 69 minutes. Morley suffered a setback soon after with Houston sent from the field after collecting a soft second yellow card.

Rockingham saw a glimmer of hope when teenage substitute Tebz Ncube edged in front of to his man to flick Sean Troup’s low ball into the net with twelve minutes remaining. However, Morley were by no means finished as substitute Daniel Yelland went close to scoring his first senior goal. With seven minutes left Mitch Castrilli, who had come on at half-time, ran the ball out of midfield and unleashed a thunderbolt from 16-metres that Cruickshank was unable to prevent from entering the net.



Gosnells City claimed maximum points for the fifth successive game by seeing off Dianella White Eagles 3-2 at Walter Padbury Reserve. The home side hit the ground running and deservedly went in front after 9 minutes with Graham Tough beating goalkeeper Matt Battigelli. The margin was increased by Jamie Burns in the 36th minute as Gosnells threatened to run away with the game. In the shadows of half-time Spiro Nenadic headed in a well flighted free-kick by Sotiris Theodosiades to keep Dianella in the hunt.

Dianella emerged from the break determined to get back on level terms and although they dominated possession there were few ways past a well-organised defence. It was a similar story going in the other direction with Gosnells attacking forays also constantly nullified. That changed on 73 minutes when Andy Pomfret posted the hosts third goal, at which point it looked to be game over. However, Dianella showed their resilience four minutes later with Bjoan Radinovic calmly converting after meeting a Sotiris Theodosiades.



Perth Glory enjoyed a comfortable run-out in their latest pre-season game, brushing aside Balcatta 6-1 at McGillivray Oval. Former Republic of Ireland international Liam Miller played the starring role as Billy Mehmet (2), Tommy Amphlett, Mile Sterjovski, Adam Hughes and Adam Taggart found the target. “(Liam) was outstanding and showed his versatility. He can play number 10, holding midfielder or as an attacking midfielder,” Glory coach Ian Ferguson said. “All the players did their job and the players who came off the bench also made an impact and that’s what you want - healthy competition.”

A brilliant pass from Miller after 13 minutes was neatly finished into the net by Amphlett, who, seven minutes later, played a superb cross-field pass which Sterjovski put away from 10-metres. It soon became three-nil, Mehmet tapping in Amphlett’s goal-bound lob for his first goal in Glory colours. An own goal by teenage trialist Ryan Lowry put Balcatta back in the game, however, Hughes netted Glory’s fourth following a neat one-two with Mehmet. The second half was two minutes old when Mehmet got his second, and five minutes from the end Taggart completed the scoring.



Teenage trio Taylor Tombides, Daniel De Silva and Ross Millard will represent Australia at the AFC Under-16 Championship qualifying series in Thailand. Coach Jan Versleijen included the West Australian trio in his 23-player squad for the tournament in which the Joeys take on Thailand (12 September), Myanmar (14 September), Hong Kong (17 September), Guam (19 September) and Indonesia (22 September). Tombides, like his older brother Dylan, is part of the West Ham United academy while De Silva and Millard are playing locally with the National Training Centre and ECU Joondalup respectively.

Versleijen is looking forward to seeing how the latest batch of Joeys fair. “This will be the first time for this group of players to represent Australia at a significant international competition,” said Versleijen. “(Assistant coach) Gary Van Egmond has already worked with a number of these players at the Toyota Cup in Japan last month so he knows how the majority can play. This competition is not only important as it is the first step towards qualifying for the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup, but also the first step in their international representative careers.”

Australia's squad for the AFC Under-16 Championship qualifiers are Jordan Thurtell, Benjamin Warland (Australian Institute of Sport), Hyuga Tanner (Blackburn Rovers), Jordan Brown (Football Federation Victoria), Brendan Gonano, Andre Jannese, Todd Norris, Stephen O'Neill, Conor O'Neill (Football Queensland), Daniel De Silva, Ross Millard (Football West), Thomas Manos (Manly United), Aaron Calver, Kevin Ly, Darcy Madden, Reece Papadimitrios (New South Wales Institute of Sport), Mark Ochieng (South Australian Sports Institute), James Baldacchino (South Coast Wolves), Billy Hatzinikolis, Joshua MacDonald, Zackary Nicolis, Lukas Stergiou (Sutherland Sharks) and Taylor Tombides (West Ham United).



The thrill and excitement of finals football begins this weekend with the opening two games of the All Flags Finals Series. The top five play-off commences on Sunday with Sorrento and Western Knights going at each other in the Elimination Final at Percy Doyle Reserve (2.00pm). Neither team covered themself in glory leading into the finals – both won just one of their last four league outings – but with the season over for the vanquished this promises to be a no-holds barred, winner-take-all blockbuster.

Midfielder James Morgan is looking forward to his first visit back to Sorrento since his transfer to the Knights earlier in the year. “I didn’t get the chance to play at Sorrento at the beginning of the season because I was away. I’m still good mates with a lot of the boys so am really looking forward to the game on Sunday,” said Morgan. “Sorrento have had a decent run of late and are a hard team to break down defensively. But we are strong going forward so it will be interesting … I know neither team wants their season to end on Sunday.”

Jared Love, a former team mate of Morgan, also expects it to be a hard-fought contest with very little between the teams. “It’s always a hard game when you come up against the Knights, usually a very physical game, and I think it will be the same this weekend,” said the Sorrento defender. “Having former team mates James Morgan and Glen Thomas, both of whom were at Sorrento for a very long time, playing with the Knights just adds to the excitement of the game. Hopefully, we can get one over them and progress to the next round.”

Sorrento boss Paul Price has a full squad at his disposal with veteran defender Jamie Harnwell returning to strengthen their defensive line as Brodie Martin knocks on the selection door after time out with a minor complaint. The Knights, on the other hand, have a couple of significant absences with Callum Roberts struggling with an ankle ligament injury and Daniel Trim battling to shake off a hip flexor problem while the season is over for Duncan Hind, who’ll go under the surgeon’s knife next week for a badly fractured ankle.



Sunday’s second fixture is the Qualifying Final between Perth SC and Inglewood United in a twilight game at Dorrien Gardens (5.00pm). Perth, who are shooting for a third successive State Champions crown, have arguably the strongest squad on paper with Shaun Kilkelly, Dom De Felice and Greg Sharland the standouts. A four-game unbeaten run has Inglewood as the finals’ form side with Oliver Taseski, import Ryan Clarke and Rory Grant all vital to the cause. The teams have already meet three times this year with Perth twice claiming victory, however, the most recent encounter saw Inglewood triumph on Perth’s turf.

The Blues are at full-strength for the game but that doesn’t mean they’ll be under-estimating their opponent. “Inglewood has proven to be a very strong side this season and no doubt are hungry to secure their spot in the Grand Final, but now it comes down to whom wants it more and we bloody want it!,” said attacking midfielder Robert Sciascia. “I’ve been out injured most of the season but I’m fit and raring to go, and Naggers (Antonio Naglieri) is also back. I think we can play a more proactive game rather than reactive.”

Rory Grant knows how difficult it’s going to be getting the better of Perth. “They usually come good this time of the year so it’s going to be very tough, they have quality, experienced players all over the park,” said the striker. “We have had no problem scoring goals this year so I think it will come down to how we defend as a unit and hope that we can score ourselves, like we did the last time we played them … we are not just playing finals to make up the numbers, we respect our opponent but we are playing to win.”

Perth welcome back to the fold creative midfielder Naglieri from his European jaunt and he’ll be pushing for first eleven selection along with Andreas Oliviera and Sharland, who sat out last week. Jason Saldaris is likely to retain the gloves with regular goalkeeper Devon Spence struggling to overcome a hand injury. Inglewood midfielder Adrian Caceres has shrugged off his injury concerns so coach Shane Pryce will have a full complement to select from. Also coming into the line-up are Clarke, James Sammut, and Ndumba Makeche, who were each rested last week.



Harold Rossiter Park is the place to be tomorrow when Shamrock Rovers and Wanneroo City face-off in the Division One match of the day. After five months of competition the teams have near-identical records and whoever wins here will most likely end the season in second spot. “We want to finish as high up the league as possible so we have to beat Shamrock,” said Wanneroo’s Guy McDonald. “They are a class outfit and play some decent football so we no we’re not in for an easy match. We got stuck in a rut two weeks ago but are now back to winning ways and are confident of getting the three points.”

There’s also an intriguing game at the other end of the table with Gosnells City at home to Dianella White Eagles. “We beat Gosnells with a very late goal in the first round and I expect that they will be even more difficult this time around as they’ve won four successive games,” said Dianella’s Andreas Theodosiades. “We want to prove to the rest of the league that Dianella is one of the best teams. We have a full team, everyone has been working hard at training and our desire to win, which has been lacking for most of the season, is back.”

Bunbury Forum Force should wrap up the Division One title and secure promotion to the top flight with a comfortable win at Fremantle Spirit. There have been some promising signs of late for bottom-of-the-table Canning City but they’ll find the going tough away fourth-placed Swan United. It’s difficult seeing Ashfield taking anything from their home game with a Forrestfield United, who have taken points from seven of their last eight outings. A four-game unbeaten run has boosted Morley Windmills’ hopes of a top six finish but to do that they’ll need to unsettle Rockingham City. All six Division One games kick off on Saturday at 3.00pm.



Gustavo Giron-Marulanda has become only the second Bayswater City player to win the State League Golden Boot. The silky skilled 25-year old returned 18-goals in his first Premier League campaign to take out the leading goal scorer award, joining club mate Rob Peruzza, winner in 1996, on the honour role. Giron-Marulanda started the year slowly but remarkably hitting 13 goals in 11 outings – including doubles against Cockburn City, Balcatta, ECU Joondalup and Floreat Athena – over the second part of the season.

Giron-Marulanda's 18-goal haul put him on top of the pile by four goals ahead of Rory Grant, whose final day hat-trick for Inglewood United jumped him into second. Gathered together with 13 goals were dual Golden Boot recipient Phil O’Callaghan, his Stirling Lions team mate Jamie Watt and Balcatta’s Steve Burton. Western Knights pair Stuart Montgomery and Johny Mirco were level with Ashley Rosindale (Balcatta) on 12 goals, one more than Ndumba Makeche (Inglewood).



The Matildas kept their slender Olympic Games dream alive by defeating host nation China 1-0 in the fourth of five qualifiers at the Jinan Olympic Sports Centre. Emily Van Egmond secured victory with a strike midway through the second half to put Australia third behind Japan and North Korea. For the Matildas to line up in London next year they must beat South Korea on Sunday and hope North Korea goes down to an as yet pointless Thailand. "We always knew it was going to be tough," said coach Tom Sermanni. "We've had two narrow losses. If we've got nine points and finished third, it's a good finish to the tournament."

China dominated the opening quarter hour, launching wave after wave of attack but were unable to get the better of goalkeeper Lydia Williams. Kyah Simon had the Matildas' best chances of the half but her shots either veered wide or were tipped over by the 'keeper, who was also tested by Van Egmond. The deciding goal arrived in the 62nd minute when a Laura Alleway shot bounced off a defender to Van Egmond, who successfully threaded the ball through a crowded goalmouth. Williams played a full game, Lisa De Vanna came off the bench after 65 minutes while Collette McCallum was an unused substitute.



Perth Glory defender Scott Neville and Adelaide United goalkeeper Mark Birighitti have gained selection for Australia's upcoming Olympic Games qualifier with the United Arab Emirates. Coach Aurelio Vidmar has gone with an entirely locally based 18-player squad for the qualifier at Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide, on 21 September. "We will have a good ten days preparation in the lead up to the match which will include a training match against a South Australian select team," said Vidmar. "With all the squad currently in pre-season with their clubs, we are going to have to work hard to ensure that we are match fit by game time."

The Australia Under-23 squad for this month's Olympic Games qualifier against the United Arab Emirates is Mark Birighitti, Daniel Mullen (Adelaide United), Kofi Danning, Matthew Jurman, Mitch Nichols, Andrew Redmayne (Brisbane Roar), Oliver Bozanic (Central Coast Mariners), James Brown (Gold Coast United), Aziz Behich, Mate Dugandzic, Jason Hoffman (Melbourne Heart), Diogo Ferreira, Matthew Foschini (Melbourne Victory), Marko Jesic, Benjamin Kantarovski (Newcastle Jets), Scott Neville (Perth Glory), Rhyan Grant and Sebastian Ryall (Sydney FC).



A second half brace from striker Shane Smeltz has secured Perth Glory a 2-0 win over Stirling Lions from their evening’s friendly at Macedonia Park. Smeltz, who came on at half-time, showed why he’s one of the best players in the A-League with two goals in quick succession. The first arrived on 56 minutes after Liam Miller surged out of midfield, going past four opponents before threading a pass to Smeltz who expertly finished from 10-metres. Eleven minutes later when Smeltz was allowed time to line-up the target from 30-metres for his fourth goal in two games.



West Australian midfielder Chris Herd wants to play for the Socceroos and is unlikely to switch his allegiance to Scotland according to his father. Willie Herd, who played professionally in Scotland for twelve seasons, said his son has no intention of playing for Craig Levein, who is understood to be tracking the 22-year old. “He wants to play for Australia - 100 per cent,” Herd told “When he was a kid we spoke about what would happen if he ever made it. I used to kid him on saying, ‘you’re playing for Scotland - you’re not playing for Australia'. But he always said, ‘Australia is my home and I’m playing for them if I’m ever good enough'.”

Herd was made aware of Levein’s interest in his son for more than a year ago by player agent Darren Jackson. “I know his feelings, definitely,” Willie said of his son. "If Scotland called him in, I don’t think he would go. It would put pressure on him but I don’t think he would go. It would be nice (to be called up to the Socceroos) but at the same time I’d like to see him get more of a run with Villa before Australia came in. He’s still thriving to become a Villa player and it would be the icing on the cake if he became a national player. But sometimes players get it too quickly and they don’t say there long.”



One-time Republic of Ireland youth international Billy Mehmet will fill the final import spot on Perth Glory’s roster for 2011/12 after inking a one-year deal with the club. Mehmet, 27, was a West Ham United trainee before forging a career in Scotland with Dunfermline and St Mirren where he played just under 250 first team games between 2003 and 2010. A spell in Turkey saw him partner Glory’s Shane Smeltz in the Genclerbirligi attack followed by time with Samsunspor.

Mehmet, who set-up Smeltz for two goals in Saturday’s 3-0 friendly against Bayswater City, has already set his sights on staying in Perth beyond the terms of his initial agreement. “I’m here for a year and hopefully I can do well enough to stay longer,” the London-born striker said. “The A-League is an up and coming league with players like Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton coming back, so it’s a good league to be part of.”

Glory coach Ian Ferguson said Mehmet’s arrival would allow for the possibility of playing a two-pronged attack, as was the case against Bayswater. “He links up well, he’s got a great touch for a big man and he’s strong and powerful,” Ferguson said. “We’ve been looking to play a certain system and now we’ve got a stronger squad and we can try something else. You’ve always got to have plan A and plan B. If plan A is not working I want every player to know his role when we do jump to plan B.”



Towering striker Josh Kennedy scored twice and won a penalty as Australia took control of their World Cup qualifying group with a 3-1 away win over Saudi Arabia. Kennedy, who also scored in Australia’s stuttering win over Thailand on Friday, netted in each half before Luke Wilkshire converted from the spot in sweltering conditions at the Prince Mohamed bin Fahd Stadium in Dammam. “It was a fantastic result and a fantastic performance. If you had asked us how we wanted to play and the result, other than conceding a goal, we got what we wanted,” said goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.

The Saudis made the early running but Schwarzer’s toughest first half save came from the boot of teammate Carl Valeri, who inadvertently diverted the ball goalward with the ‘keeper’s reflexes saving the day. Nawaf Al Abid shot wide in the 17th minute and Ahmed Ateef fired a firm shot straight at Schwarzer twelve minutes later. Australia created some chances in the closing stages of the half with Matt McKay and Holman each shooting wide from the edge of the 18-yard box. Kennedy gave the visitors a 40th minute lead by climbing above the defence to nod in a right wing cross from Wilkshire.

Valeri had a fierce drive tipped over the crossbar at the start of the second half before Naif Hazazi’s close-range header was kept out by Schwarzer. In the 56th minute Holman picked off an attempted pass from ‘keeper Hasan Al Otaibi and fed Kennedy, who clinically shot past the home custodian. The Saudis pulled a goal back eight minutes later with Nasser Shamrani netting at the second opportunity after Schwarzer blocked an initial penalty kick awarded for Michael Zullo’s foul on Hazazi. The win was sealed by Wilkshire in the 77th minute, the midfielder converting from the spot after Kennedy had his shirt tugged by Hamed Al Montashari.



Frank Drago Reserve, home of Premier League club Bayswater City, has been announced as host venue for the 2011 Grand Final. Bayswater successfully hosted last year’s State League Cup Final and was a prime candidate to take on the biggest day on the West Australian football calendar. “Clubs that develop their facilities and provide a great footballing experience for everyone will be rewarded with our major matches and we look forward to awarding these types of events to other clubs in the future,” said Football West chief executive Peter Hugg. The Grand Final will be played on the afternoon of Sunday 2 October and is to be preceded by the Women’s Cup Final between Northern Redbacks and Balcatta.



Australia could miss out on Aston Villa's Perth-born defender Chris Herd, who recently made his English Premier League debut. 22-year old Herd is yet to be capped by Australia and may be tempted to commit to Scotland, the country of his parents, according to the players agent. "Like any Australian player, Chris wants to play for his country," Phil Williams told the UK's Press Association. "It's where he was born and bred. But the reality is that if they don't call him up, somebody else will."

Herd, a former Bayswater City junior, was a member of the Young Socceroos squad at the 2009 Under-20 World Cup but whether he goes on to play for Australia at senior level rests with coach Holger Osieck. "The ball is really in Australia's court but Scotland are definitely interested. They have been watching him closely," added Williams. "It would be great to see him represent Australia. That said, it honestly wouldn't surprise me if Scotland didn't try and call him up sooner rather than later."



The Matildas face an uphill battle to qualify for next years' Olympic Games after suffering a 1-0 loss World Cup holders Japan at the Jinan Olympic Sports Centre in China. Australia struggled to retain possession in the face of a Japan onslaught which was rewarded midway through the second half by Nahomi Kawasumi's goal. "We were completely outplayed by the Japanese," conceded coach Tom Sermanni. "The key thing now that is a test of our abilities and of our character is that we still have two games left in this competition. There is still the possibility of qualifying for the Olympics. While that’s still alive, we need to go out and perform."

Had it not been for a string of saves by Lydia Williams then Australia would have entered the half-time break at least a goal down. A succession of strong build-up's by Japan paid dividends in the 62nd minute when Kawasumi put away the deciding goal. Australia applied more pressure following a flurry of substitutions but were unable to find an equaliser. Williams and Lisa De Vanna each played a full game with team captain Collette McCallum replaced in the 71st minute. Japan top the group with nine points followed by North Korea (7 points), Australia (3), China (2), South Korea (1) and Thailand (0).


INDONESIA BOOMING FOR EX-GLORY PLAYERS (by Jonathon Cook, ‘the West Australian’)

More opportunities to play for bigger crowds, better pay and being just a short flight from home are some of the reasons former Perth Glory goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski is enjoying life in Indonesia. And he is not the only West Australian enjoying the fruits of that country's efforts to improve the game adored by the majority of around 250 million inhabitants. Vrteski, who was released by Glory in December last year, flew back to Jakarta yesterday to accommodation he will share with seven other Australian players, including former Glory midfielders David Micevski and Andrija Jukic as well as ex-Glory Youth captain Steve Hesketh.

Robbie Gaspar, who has been a pioneer for WA players heading to the region and was recently appointed to the executive committee of the Indonesian players' union, will join them soon. "Robbie's been up there for a while and he knows how it all works, so he's been a big help for us," said Vrteski, whose form for Solo earned him a call-up to an end-of-season all-star game. That match, which pitted some of the best local players against a foreign contingent, attracted around 15,000 fans but was also watched by millions on TV. "Even walking out to warm-up you get that buzz," Vrteski said.

For the coming season, which kicks off next month, the break-away Indonesian Premier League has merged with the Indonesian Super League to form a 16-team competition of two conferences. "I think the league will keep getting better because of the direction the people involved in the game want to take it and the massive amount of interest in the game," Vrteski said. "It's a cheap lifestyle, it's close to home and the wages are good. I've had a good season there and I've been offered a new two-year contract. I can see myself playing there for quite a while."

Vrteski would have been prepared to stay in the A-League had he not been stifled by a lack of opportunities at Glory last season. "I wasn't getting any game time at Glory and it's hard for a player when the team is losing just about every week and you still don't get a chance," said Vrteski, who played just twice in his final season with Glory. "I didn't play enough games to get into a rhythm and it was disappointing. But I don't have a grudge against anyone at Glory. I've moved on, I'm playing every week and there's no better feeling."



It’s been over twelve months since Peter Hugg took his place in the chief executive seat at Football West headquarters in Maylands. Peter Simcox recently caught up with Hugg, a self-confessed Queens Park Rangers tragic, to discuss the year that was, where football fits into the sporting landscape in Western Australia, the challenges which lay ahead for the code and the chief executive’s plans and hopes for the next few years. Tonight presents the final instalment of a three-part interview with Hugg…

What are the things that have been achieved during your time with Football West that you are most proud of?

I think they are many and varied and are probably the ones that get the least attention. We are doing some wonderful things in girls and women’s football. Often what goes unnoticed is the work we are doing for players with disabilities or in the area of newly arrived migrants. And there are small things like providing footballs to remote indigenous communities or even migrant detention centres.

Of course there are initiatives like Beyond 90, which has exceeded all expectations as has our recently created iphone/ipad application. Attracting a blue chip sponsor like Bankwest and doubling the funding that we receive from the state government also brings a certain sense of achievement … but as I said, we still have a long way to go before we have made ‘the world game the local game’.

What are do you feel are the major obstacles holding the local game back?
I don’t want to over-exaggerate the point, but it is important for us all to be united and concerted in our efforts to improve the game. In this world of the internet, websites, blogs and so on there are few places to hide. This hit home a few weeks ago when a potential sponsor who I had been trying to engage googled my name and Football West, and essentially came across a whole of negative and – dare I say – defamatory comments that essentially turned him off and made him question why he/they should support our sport.

This is a great shame and I really do question the motives of those people within the sport (who call themselves supporters) and wonder what they are trying to achieve, particularly when much of the information was blatantly wrong, misinformed and so off the mark … I wondered if I was working for the same organisation.

In saying that, I am the first to put up my hand and admit that we aren’t doing everything right and there is massive room for improvement. But I will defend much of what we are doing and I am proud of some of our initiatives, programs and activities that are being recognised and rewarded by external and more objective analysts.

On a more general note, facilities (lack of and their overall quality) continues to be factor that will increasingly hold back the sport, and the total amount of money that is in the sport is never enough. We could always do with more, and there are many activities that don’t come to fruition because of limited funds … but we keep chipping away.

Looking into your crystal ball, what are your expectations for the game in WA over the next four years?
I think I share everyone’s hope for a more competitive and better supported Perth Glory team that fills nib Stadium and makes the finals series each season. It is up to all of us to play a role in supporting the team and help Tony Sage, Paul Kelly and Ian Ferguson lead the players to this challenge.

There is clearly the need to strengthen our State League and to establish a format that is best and once found, we stick to it so as to allow fans to become more engaged in it, support their local team and get the league back to where it was many years ago.

Finally, and something that I have spent much time lobbying Football Federation Australia on, is that we need to remind those on the eastern seaboard that we exist, we love the game, and we are deserved of some national team matches. So I hope to see the Socceroos here in Perth soon. Oh, and we have a wonderful and cutting edge home of football that we are all pleased to call the headquarters of the game here in WA.



Socceroo Rhys Williams will play the rest of his career with the fear the pelvic injury that ruled him out of the 2010 World Cup could come back. Williams, 23, spent a year out of the game after succumbing to injury in June last year and although the Middlesbrough player has made a full recovery he says he can not afford to become complacent. “I’ve still got to work on my injury every day for the rest of my career,” Williams told ‘the World Game’ website. “There is always the chance it can come back if I’m lazy or doing too much.”

Williams admits it is going to be some time before he feels totally free of the injury. ”I’m not quite over it yet and I don’t think I will be for a good while,” he said. “Playing wise and training wise it’s feeling good. But mentally, every little pain I get around the area I go ‘oh shit, what’s going to happen now, am I going to be out for another year?’ So it’s all about working hard every day and doing little bits and pieces to try to make sure it does not come back again.”

Williams, who has six caps to his name since debuting against Japan in June 2009, vowed not to his concerns get the better of him. ”I’ve played six games in the last three weeks and I got through them with flying colours so, touch wood, I’m not far off from saying to myself ‘I’m feeling good and fresh’,” he said. “I know I will have to work on this injury for the rest of my football career (but) it’s not something that’s going to stop me - if anything it will make me stronger.”



The Matildas boosted their chances of lining up at the 2012 Olympic Games by thrashing Thailand 5-1 in today’s qualifier at the Jinan Olympic Sports Centre in China. First half goals by Michelle Heyman (2), Kyah Simon and Tameka Butt gave Australia an unassailable lead before heading into the tunnel with Emily van Egmond adding their fifth before the hour. “I’m pleased that we scored five goals,” said coach Tom Sermanni. “Goals could be critical in this tournament. It’s not easy to score goals against any Asian team these days.”

The writing was on the wall early for Thailand with a Heather Garriock free-kick just ricocheting wide off the upright. Simon posted the opening goal on 14 minutes following a spell of sustained pressure and a couple of minutes later provided the ammunition for Heyman he head in her first goal. Heyman added another in the 34th with a simple tap-in after Garriock and Simon lured the defence out of position. Half-time was moments away when Heyman laid the ball into the path of Butt, who made no mistake hitting the net.

With the game as good as over, Australia eased off after the break. With one eye on the upcoming qualifier against Japan, Sermanni brought Elise Kellond-Knight, Garriock and Simon off for an early rest. In the 58th minute Van Egmond made the most of a dead ball some 27-metres from goal to take the difference to five goals. However, that was cut soon after following a defensive error which presented Thailand with a consolation goal. West Australian trio Lydia Williams, Collette McCallum and Lisa De Vanna were all unused substitutes.


BALCATTA PIP KNIGHTS IN THRILLER (with Elle Mitaros, Football West)

Balcatta brushed up for the top five series by accounting for Western Knights 3-2 at Nash Field. Steve Burton scored twice and Ashley Rosindale once for the visitors with Johny Mirco bagging both the Knights goals. “Going into the finals we’ve built up the momentum at training and it’s really paid off,” said Balcatta coach Michael Roki. “It’s a great win today; in my eight years of coaching I’ve never won a match at Nash Field … all credit to the Western Knights, they definitely had it over us in the second half.”

The match began with neither side able to assert themselves and possession turned over regularly. The first attempt on goal came after 15 minutes, Mirco crossing to Stuart Ferguson whose powerful attempt was blocked by goalkeeper Lewis Italiano. who also kept out the follow-up from Stuart Montgomery. Rosindale headed the visitors in front nine minutes later by rising highest to meet Christopher Thackray’s delivery. The gap was increased seven minutes out from the break when Burton tamed a high ball and from the top of the 18-yard box lashed past Fraser Siddall.

The Knights came out firing for the second half, Mirco skimming the post after robbing Simon Elton-Bott of possession. Mirco continued to make a nuisance of himself and on 54 minutes received possession from Paul Cooke and drove into the top corner for the hosts first goal. Ferguson could have brought the teams level not long after but his header from a Montgomery free-kick lacked the power to beat Italiano. The Knights vocal supporters vented their feelings towards referee Joe Fusari in the 68th minute when Mirco was taken down inside the area but no penalty was given.

Nothing came of another promising opportunity for the home side, Montgomery’s free-kick deflecting off of a defender to produce a frantic scuffle deep inside the box with Italiano eventually clearing the ball to safety. Burton looked to have put the result beyond doubt on 74 minutes when he headed in from David Micevski’s inch-perfect delivery. A minute later Mirco made his way down the left, going past a couple of opponents before slotted into the bottom corner to set up a tense finish. Both teams had their chances in the remaining minutes but with neither able to convert it was Balcatta who claimed the victory..


PERTH TAKE SECOND (with Tommy Doleman, Football West)

Perth SC secured second place on the Premier League table by defeating Sorrento 1-0 in tough conditions at Percy Doyle Reserve. The solitary goal of a tight game played in driving rain came shortly before half-time via defender Craig Simpson. It was a gritty performance by Perth against a home side that entered the day unbeaten in five games and which only a fortnight earlier had won the State League Cup final by defeating Gianfranco Circati’s team.

There were very few genuine chances on goal created across the opening twenty minutes as the teams’ negated each other’s attacking desires. Perth eventually started to gain the upper hand with David Onoforo a pivotal figure in the final third, the team captain teeing up Adam Bachiller whose shot was wide of the target. Josh Perreira went close from distance with an awkward shot that tested home goalkeeper Curtis Aspden.

Perth custodian Jason Saldaris was called into action for the first time when he battered the ball away from his net in a goalmouth scramble. The Gulls were now finding their rhythm and Adam Luca should have done than send his shot from the edge of the 18-yard box straight at Saldaris. The deadlock was broken five minutes from the break, Simpson nodding past a stranded ‘keeper on the end of a very effective counter attack.

Sorrento should have drawn level soon after the break but Todd Harnwell clipped the top of the crossbar with a header from Jason Mirco’s delivery. Moments later Onoforo broke the offside trap and fired into the side netting as Perth looked to put the game to bed. Josh Wilkins squandered a guilt-edged chance to do just that by spraying wide from 5-metres after Onoforo had done well to hold the ball up before squaring to the teenager.

The game was very much in the balance with both teams carving out good chances to score. Wilkins latched onto a long ball and after working his way into a shooting position scuffed disappointingly wide. Perth’s wastefulness was almost punished in the closing stages when substitute Brodie Martin flashed just wide of Saldaris’ right upright. However, Perth held firm across the remaining minutes to claim a crucial win and avenge their Cup final loss of a fortnight earlier.


GRANT STEERS INGLEWOOD TO VICTORY (report by Andrew Ellis, Football West)

Inglewood United warmed up for the top five play-offs with a 3-0 win over Floreat Athena at Litis Stadium. Striker Rory Grant played the starring role with all three goals for the visiting team whose coach, Shane Pryce, experimented with his line-up by making six changes. “I mentioned to them that they’re playing for a first eleven spot in the finals, so that was their motivation,” said Pryce. “Rory put his hand up, he makes a big difference to our structure and the way we play.”

Pryce was given plenty to think about as his players started the game at full pace. Jake Geddes headed over from 4-metres after getting on the end of a Jason Colli cross, and a couple of minutes later David McNally’s explosive header was tipped over by goalkeeper Simon Madaschi. Inglewood continued to pile on the pressure and on the quarter hour Paul Dugdale’s cross in just eluded Colli, he returned the ball into the 18-yard box where a desperate clearance landed at the feet of Daniel Stoitis whose shot was saved by Madaschi.

Inglewood should have taken a 28th minute when another scrambled clearance came to McNally whose shot looped up invitingly for Dannie Richman but he somehow headed high from a few metres. Floreat broke immediately on the counter attack with Paul Van Dongen going one-on-one with Oliver Taseski, who stood tall to deny his opponent. The visitors got the goal they sought five minutes from the break, Dugdale playing through to Stoitis, who rolled the ball to Rory Grant for an easy tap-in and a half-time lead.

Floreat emerged from the interval looking to find a way back into the game. In the 52nd minute Taseski was quick off his line to thwart Damien Catalano after he’d been played in by Paul Van Dongen’s clever pass. Miki Vujacic then stung the gloves of Taseski after exchanging passes with Catalano. However, that was to be last action of note for an extended period as both teams pinged speculative balls into their final third in the hope the strikers might force an opening.

The game didn’t came back to life until the 90th minute when Grant blasted into the net from the penalty spot after referee Tim Mihevc punished Julian Madaschi’s challenge on Dugdale. A minute later Grant was again on-target, picking up possession just outside the penalty area and after a quick look at goal the striker unleashed an unstoppable shot to complete his hat-trick. The result means Floreat finish their 60th anniversary season in eight place, their lowest final ranking in eight years.



Stirling Lions rounded out their disappointing year with a 2-0 win against relegated Mandurah City on a blustery afternoon at the Hyundai Stadium. Second half goals by Phil O’Callaghan and Jamie Watt sealed the points for Stirling, who completed the season in sixth spot. “I’m proud of the players,” said coach Doug Hesketh. “Gary (Williams) and I spoke to them after the game and thanked them for their support since we took over. We’ve scored in every game since we’ve had them, and we’ve kept a clean sheet which was pleasing today.”

Playing with the aid of the wind, Mandurah fashioned the games’ first chance after 7 minutes when Darren Broxton found Michael Grigo in space but his long-range effort was wide. Those same players combined again on the quarter hour with Grigo flashing a volley just past the target from a Broxton corner. Stirling’s first opening came three minutes later, O’Callaghan playing through Ludovic Boi whose shot was blocked by Phil Straker and at the rebound Watt blazed high.

A poor clearance by home captain Ryan Townsend present Boi with a chance to atone in 22 minutes but the livewire attacker placed wide from 18-metres. The best chance of the period came the way of the visitors in the 35th minute, Tom Straker and Trevor Laure combining to played into Grigo whose first time effort was superbly taken by Cory Hugo. O’Callaghan could have sent Stirling into the break in front but hso shot was deflected wide after Andy Brown flicked on a Bobby Wilson cross.

Mandurah started the second half positively, Laure stretching the visiting defence only to have his low strike saved by Hugo. Moments later Aaron Dos Santos’ attempt from the edge of the 18-yard box flashed over the crossbar. Stirling then slowly proceeded to take over and on 52 minutes O’Callaghan’s snapped high after Wilson’s long throw was helped on by Brown. The introduction of debutant Alex Castiello almost had an immediate impact, the 17-year old finding Boi whose precision pass out of midfield was lobbed narrowly wide by Watt.

Stirling’s dominance was rewarded with the opening goal on 78 minutes when Castiello’s shot on the run from 22-metres deflected off O’Callaghan, looping over a wrong-footed Phil Straker who could do nothing to prevent the ball from entering his net. The visitors almost added another through Wilson’s speculative effort which was pushed away from the corner of the net by Phil Straker. The game was made safe in the final minute when Watt finished past the ‘keeper after latching onto Wilson’s long ball as Mandurah stood appealing for offside.


COCKBURN GO DOWN FIGHTING (with James Wragg, Football West)

Cockburn City bowed out three and a half decades of top flight football with a 1-1 draw against Armadale at Dalmatinac Park. The game was given a crackerjack start with Ross Diamond putting the visitors into a 12th minute lead only to have Euan Grant equalise five minutes later. Both teams had their chances to post further goals in a physical contest but neither was able to capitalise when it mattered most.

The home side started brightly with Ian McMurray forcing a good save from Cyril Sharrock. However, it was Armadale that got the breakthrough on 12 minutes when Matt Barlow’s pinpoint cross to the back post fell to Tom Robinson whose tap across the face of goal was side-footed in by Diamond. Cockburn replied five minutes later, Marc Anthony tapped a free-kick to Grant whose stunning 18-metre drive beat the defensive wall then Sharrock.

Armadale should have reclaimed the lead but Barlow headed straight at Michael Petkovic from an Ali Paredes cross. Tempers became frayed midway through the half after a heated confrontation between Sharrock and Scott McCulloch sparked an all-in melee and, amazingly, referee Trent Fleskens re-started the game without taking any names. The final chance of the half came the way of David Araya but instead of taking the shot the midfielder tried to find Anthony and over-hit the pass.

Grant came to Cockburn’s rescue just after the restart, denying Matt Barlow a shot on goal after he was played past the defence. A few minutes more has passed when Grant posed a threat at the other end, glancing high from an Anthony free-kick. Clear cut chances were few and far between as the teams struggled at the end of what has been a long season for both. Araya looked to open up the visiting side by delivering an inviting cross to McMurray which the towering striker nodded over.

With ten minutes remaining Petkovic came off his line to dive at the feet of Barlow, who was sent tumbling to the turf. Fleskens pointed to the spot but after hearing the protests of Petkovic, who clearly got the ball with his hand, then his assistant the referee reversed his with a drop ball. Armadale tried in vain to find a late winner with Steven McDonald and Paul Lloyd going close before the whistle was blown for the final time.


NTC STROLL TO VICTORY (with Neil Sherwin, Football West)

The National Training Centre completed their inaugural Premier league campaign with a resounding 4-0 victory over ECU Joondalup on a wet afternoon at the Edith Cowan University campus. Aleksandar Jovic scored twice with Sebit Oyet and Brandon O’Neill getting one apiece to cap what has been a season full of promise for coach Kenny Lowe. “I think that really epitomised everything for the year,” he said. “Everybody’s grown a little bit. Lads who have been playing under 15s last year are now playing in our first team and I think that shows how we’ve evolved. I think if the program keeps going then we’ll keep producing players.”

The NTC started brightly, knocking the ball around with great confidence and almost taking the lead on several occasions through Jovic, Sahr Musa and James Marocchi. It wasn’t until the 25th minute that Joondalup registered a shot on target but Jordan Lydon’s long-range effort was straight at Francis Soale. The deadlock was broken just a minute later when a ball over the top found Oyet who raced through and calmly dinked over advancing goalkeeper Andy Banks. Chances came and went at both ends before Jovic’s scrambled shot at close-range deflected in off Ryan McDarby.

Byron Hudson fired narrowly wide of the top corner from Blamo QuaQua's pull back as the NTC asserted themselves from the outset of the second period. Scott Blackmore wasted a golden opportunity to bring the hosts back into the game when he missed the target completely after getting on the end of a Liam McGuirk cross. The gap was increased to three goals when O’Neill’s shot deceive Banks in the 63rd minute. The icing was put on the cake by Jovic, who cut past two defenders before slotting low past the ‘keeper.



Bunbury Forum Force will almost certainly take their place in next year’s top flight after defeating Shamrock Rovers 2-0 in this afternoon’s top of Division One clash at Hay Park. Second half goals by Oliver McGee and substitute Evan Chate leaves Bunbury needing one win from their last three games to secure promotion. “It was our best performance of the year, our defence were superb, backed up by the midfield and we were good going forward,” said McGee. “We are nearly there - we set out to win the league from day one and we are in the position we wanted to be in at this stage.”

While first half possession was relatively evenly shared it was the visitors that fashioned the better strikes on goal. Nick Carroll and Ross Cosgrove each found himself in good positions to break the deadlock but neither was able to beat goalkeeper Ryan Montgomery. Bunbury’s best opening of the period came the way of Michael Marten who place wide of the far post just after the half hour. As half-time approached both sets of players turned their attention to locking down their defences in ensure the teams entered the break as they started.

Bunbury tightened their grip on the Division One trophy in the 63rd minute when McGee rose well to head Ashley Young’s corner into the back of the net. A goal line clearance denied McGee a second goal as Bunbury went in search of a second goal which should have arrived through Paul Harvey but his tame spot kick didn’t trouble John Parker. McGee blazed high another golden opportunity to seal the win. It was left to Chate to put the result beyond doubt with a deft chip over the ‘keeper on 89 minutes to send the home team and their supporters into seventh heaven.



Forrestfield United continued to close in on the top four by defeating promotion chasing Swan United 5-3 at the Swan Italian Club. Jordan Hart scored twice with John Hunter, Matt Harold and Anthony Lyons also hitting the target to keep Forrestfield in fifth spot, five points behind Swan. The game started positively enough for the black and whites with John Monterosso converting a 2nd minute penalty awarded for a foul on Mark Miraudo.

Forrestfield soaked up the early pressure and on 10 minutes Hunter found space to power past goalkeeper Daniel Agudelo at close-range. The real turning point arrived in 39 minutes when referee John Taran red carded Tom Shepheard after the Swan striker praise an elbow on his marker. It took Forrestfield only three minutes to capitalise with Matt Harold driving out of midfield to shoot across the ‘keeper. Sixty seconds later Hart increased the visitors lead by converting a cross from Julian Kesacott.

Substitute Damien Scali reduced the margin on 54 minutes as a result of some good work on the right by John Monterosso. Swan continued to press and on 67 minutes were rewarded with an equaliser, Scali lobbing over Luke Woodfin from 25-metres. As the clock ticked down it was Forrestfield who looked the more likely to score and that they did with ten minutes left, Lyons calmly slotting in after being released by Andy Harold. The result was put beyond doubt three minutes later when Lyons and Matt Harold combined with the latter’s delivery converted by Hart.


GOSNELLS KEEP ON RUNNING (courtesy Gosnells City)

Gosnells City extended their winning run to four games with a 1-0 defeat of Rockingham City at Walter Padbury Reserve. Ravi Kuppasamy had the honour of scoring the games’ only goal shortly before the break, keeping alive Gosnells’ hopes of finishing the league season in the top half of the table. Unfortunately, the game was overshadowed by a shocking injury to Jamie Kidd which left the Rockingham striker in hospital with a dislocated ankle and a broken leg.

The ball had been ion motion only 15 minutes when Kidd was carried from the field after being slid into by goalkeeper David Keenan, who was issued a red card. The home side slowly started to find their rhythm and would have taken the lead had either Kuppsamy or Jamie Burns made more of close-range chances. Play was by no means one-way with Craig Tone hitting the post and John Cartman bringing a good save from replacement goalkeeper Massimo D’Alo. Gosnells snuck in front after 40 minutes when Ian Maguired found Andy Pomfret whose well weighted cross from the right was trucked in by Kuppasamy.

Rockingham came out from the break fired up but unable to find a way past D’Alo, who was keeping goal for the third time today. D’Alo did well to keep out Tone’s goalbound effort, and as the half proceeded he also denied Stuart Carlisle and Tom Mills. Pomfret had three separate one-on-one opportunities to secure Gosnells the win but all each occasion was unable to put the ball in Brad Cruickshanks’ net. Jay Bonser was within inches of grabbing Rockingham a stoppage time equaliser when his header was cleared off the line.


FREMANTLE BATTERED AT MORLEY (courtesy Morley Windmills)

Morley Windmills piled on seven unanswered second half goals to thrash Fremantle Spirit 7-1 at Wotton Reserve. Jason Pottier sent the visiting team into the break with the lead before the game was turned on its head by Lucas Whitehouse’s hat-trick and other goals by Mark Walsh, Ian McKean, David Houston and Simon Wilson. “I am extremely pleased with the response in the second half,” said Morley coach Salv Todaro. “It was a great man of the match performance by our skipper, Ian McKean.”

The home team made a brighter start with Fraser McGuire, Andy O’Neill and David Houston featuring prominently across the early passages. Fremantle slowly settled and on the quarter hour Jason Pottier beat the offside trap and deftly chipped goalkeeper Stewart Delgarno from distance for a surprise lead. The response from Morley was a series of raid lead by Houston who, in the 29th minute, beat two opponents but angled wide of the target. Leo Harman was through on goal not long after only to be thwarted by Elhoussaine Atekhis.

Whatever Todaro said at the break clearly worked as within two minutes of the restart Whitehouse fired in after meeting an Andy O’Neill cross. Whitehouse got his second two minutes later following a tidy lead-up that involved McGuire, McKean and Houston. The flood continued with an unmarked Walsh heading in a far post cross by McKean who, on 62 minutes, embarked on a driving run that took him past a couple of opponents before putting away goal number four from just outside the 18-yard box.

Walsh turned the ball over in the 78th minute and after a quick exchange between Houston and Wilson an unmarked Whitehouse completed his hat-trick by shooting into the bottom corner. Teenager Daniel Yelland same off the bench to terrific effect, playing into the path of Houston who lashed in from 18-metres. The scoring was rounded out in the 90th minute when Fremantle failed to deal with an Andy O’Neill corner which made its way to Wilson who made no mistake for Morley’s final goal.



Dianella White Eagles collected just their fourth win of the winter with a commanding 3-0 defeat of Canning City Burrendah Reserve. Andreas Theodosiades got the ball rolling early for the visiting team but it wasn’t until the closing stages that the points were sealed by a brace from Dhamon Kalamaras. “It was a great team performance,” said wining coach Jamie Goodman. “We controlled the game for the majority against a hardworking Canning side that is fighting to get off the bottom of the league. We had enough chances to kill the game off sooner but I felt we were always going to win.”

There were some good passages early on in both directions with goalkeepers Tom Barrett and Matt Battigelli getting their hands on the ball. Dianella came up with the goods in the 13th minute, Sotiris Theodosiades playing into the path of Andreas Theodosiades who beat two defenders before angling a low shot across the ‘keeper and inside the far post. This had a galvanising effect on Canning who worked hard to get back on level terms before the break without success. The hosts were unlucky not to find the target through a Blake Readwin free-kick while Josh Findlater’s effort passed just wide of the target.

Fired up by coach Jamie Goodman, Dianella returned for the second half determined to add to their tally. Kalamaras crashed into the crossbar from 17-metres and Ognjen Kotur twice placed narrowly wide from good positions. Their persistence paid off in the 79th minute when Sotiris Theodosiades’ free-kick was headed into the top corner by Kalamaras. Five minutes later Simon Barber played down the left for Frank Modaferri, who beat one opponent and centred for Kalamaras to convert at close-range. Kalamaras was within inches of ending with a hat-trick after his late strike hit the bar and bouncing on the line before being scrambled away by the defence.



Striker Shane Smeltz scored twice as Perth Glory continued their pre-season preparations with a 3-0 win over Bayswater City at Frank Drago Reserve. The host club held their own in the first half but it took substitute Tommy Amphlett just 12 seconds to find the target after coming on at the start of the second period. Smeltz was indebted to trialist Billy Mehmet, whose 63rd minute header set-up the New Zealand international to double the margin. Ten minutes later Mehmet again nodded the ball down for Smeltz to complete the scoring.



Alex Brosque’s first international goal has saved Australia from a red-faced start to their World Cup qualifying campaign. Brosque, who was called into the squad as a late injury replacement for Scott McDonald, struck in the 86th minute to earn the Socceroos a 2-1 win over Thailand last night at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium. “It was disappointing. It shows what can happen if you don’t approach the game in the right manner and apply yourself against any team,” said captain Lucas Neill of Australia’s sub-standard performance. “It was good to grind the result out, but we need to improve, we can’t kid ourselves.”

Visiting goalkeeper Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool was in the thick of the early action but remained largely untroubled despite Australia’s increased possession. An error in the middle of the park by Neil Kilkelly on the quarter hour led to the games’ opening goal, Jakkaphan Kewprom getting away down the right before crossing for Teerasil Dangda to volley into the net. The Socceroos had plenty of chances to equalise before the break but wayward finishing meant they’d go in one-down. Brett Holman had their best chance on 23 minutes but after finding space his shot lacked the power to beat the diving ‘keeper.

It took until the 58th minute for Australia to draw level, Kilkenny playing in Matt McKay whose shot from 15-metres wasn’t taken cleanly by Hathairattanakool and Kennedy was on hand to tap in the rebound. Tim Cahill looked to have given the 24,540-strong crowd further reason to cheer when he headed in not long, however, a foul on the Thai ‘keeper in the lead-up meant it counted for nothing. Brosque had been on the park only seven minutes when he slotted in the deciding goal after McKay’s cross appeared to accidentally strike Kennedy’s arm.



The battle for second spot between Sorrento and Perth SC at Percy Doyle Reserve is the pick of the final round of Premier League fixtures for 2011. Sorrento edged past Perth by a single goal to lift the State League Cup only a fortnight ago and tomorrow’s meeting is likely to be just as close. “I expect Perth to come out firing, they aren’t in the best form but they are a proud team and we are expecting another tough battle,” said the Gulls’ Brodie Martin.

Perth occupy second place at the moment and intend for things to remain that way. “We missed the chance to secure second spot last week, which was disappointing,” said midfielder Josh Pereira. “The players and coaches know that it is a big game for us and we are only concerned with wrapping up second spot. Although I suppose being able to do it against Sorrento would make it just a little bit sweeter after our Cup Final loss.”

Western Knights will be out to take the points at home over Balcatta in what could be their last outing at Nash Field for some time. These two teams have an abundance of attacking options and, if given the chance, Callum Roberts and Steve Burton will add to their season tallies ahead of the finals series . Also focused on getting a win are Floreat Athena whose final game of their 60th anniversary year is at home to Inglewood United.

Cockburn City and Mandurah City bid farewell to the Premier League tomorrow. The Cockerels have been a mainstay of the top flight since 1975 and will no doubt give their all to bow out on a high away at Armadale. There’ll be heavy hearts also at Mandurah, who stepped into the Premier League four years ago, when they welcome Stirling Lions to Hyundai Stadium. All five Premier League games start at 3.00pm on Saturday.



The outcome of tomorrow’s top of the table clash between Division One leaders Bunbury Forum Force and second-placed Shamrock Rovers at Hay Park will have a big bearing on who moves up to the top flight next year. A Bunbury win will make it difficult for the chasing pack to catch them in the final three rounds, whereas should Shamrock triumph they’ll go top courtesy of superior goal difference. Michael Marten looms as a potential match winner for the hosts with the visitors hopes resting heavily on hard-working midfielder Ian Stack.

A win for Swan United over visiting Forrestfield United is an absolute must for them to stand any chance of breaching the four-point gap on top spot. “Forrestfield is probably the toughest team we’ve got to play in the last four games,” said Swan captain Rob Monterosso. “They have had some convincing wins of late so nothing but our best will do. Since we last met (a 6-2 win for Swan) we’ve strengthened our squad and improved our style of play so I’m confident we’ll come away with the points.”

Wanneroo City or Ashfield will end their two-game losing streak when they clash at Kingsway Sporting Complex. “I’m positive we will leave with the three points, and I plan on getting on the score sheet” said Ashfield’s Karl O’Reilly. “It will be tough, they’ve got a typical English set-up – big and strong at the back, a bit of class in the middle and sharp up-front – but I know we’ve got more ability in our squad and can show them how to play the game.”

Morley Windmills are expected to collect their first win in almost two months when Fremantle Spirit drops in at Wotton Reserve. Three wins in a row should become four for Gosnells City who have home ground advantage over a Rockingham City side that has run a little hot and cold of late. Canning City can move out of last place for the first time this year by taking the points at home over Dianella White Eagles. All six Division One games start at 3.00pm on Saturday.



The Women's Standing Committee is seeking your input on a proposed new structure to the leagues run by Football West. Ongoing dialogue over a number of years between the Committee and the clubs it represents has highlighted the need to revisit the structure of women's football with the introduction of two 'streams' - competitive leagues for players wanting to play at the highest possible level, and social competitions for those playing for fun and fitness. The Proposed Women's League Structure for 2012 provides further details of the proposal. The Committee would like to hear your suggestions and comments on this document for before making their final presentation to Football West. Feedback can be submitted to before Tuesday 6 September.



The Matildas have been beaten 1-0 by North Korea in the opening match of their 2012 Olympic qualification campaign. Although the result wasn’t what coach Tom Sermanni was after, he remains confident Australia will book their place at the London Olympics. “You have to take key chances to win games and I don’t think we took them. That was probably the difference between the two teams,” said Sermanni. “We need to not get too disappointed or distracted by today’s loss and instead refocus for the next four games.”

The only goal of an entertaining game at Jinan Olympics Sports Centre in China came after 10 minutes when Kim Su Gyong confidently put away a cross. The Matildas worked hard to get back on level terms but Elise Kellond-Knight skimmed the crossbar with a fine strike from distance. Sarah Walsh had a great chance on 75 minutes when she beat her defender only to chip wide over the advancing goalkeeper. Substitute Kyah Simon also had a late chance to but her shot was straight at the ‘keeper. Lydia Williams and Collette McCallum played full games while Lisa De Vanna was replaced after 65 minutes.



Inglewood United has no intention of making an early exit from their first finals campaign since 2008. The inner city club secured their place in the top five with last weekend’s home win over Bayswater City and captain Daniel Stoitis says it’s about time Inglewood are back where they belong. “It’s great Inglewood are back in finals football, the players have worked really hard this season so it’s a nice reward for our efforts,” said Stoitis. “We have a good blend of youth and experience and with a bit of luck hope to have a good run in the finals series.”

Inglewood and Bayswater both headed into last weekend’s encounter knowing victory was vital for them to qualify for the play-offs. Although Adrian Caceres, substitute Jake Geddes and David Perich got the goals in a 3-1 win, Stoitis says it was a solid team effort that ultimately sent them through. “It was a good overall performance. We tweaked it a little bit with some players given specific roles which they carried it out really well,” commented Stoitis. “Shane (Pryce) is trying to make us a bit harder to break down and set-up our structure’s to suit, it worked well on Saturday and got us the required result.”

It's a far cry from the perilous position Inglewood found themselves in twelve months ago when a final day win at Sorrento staved off relegation. What that experience highlighted to coach Pryce was that his players simply did not have the fitness levels required to be a force in the top flight. “Shane got us in late in November to build our base fitness up,” commented Stoitis. “Last year we could not finish games off whereas this year we have been able to compete and that’s shown by the number of goals we have scored late in games.”

Stoitis says any one of Inglewood’s finals opponents – Balcatta, Perth SC, Sorrento and Western Knights – have the talent to go on and claim victory on Grand Final day. “Balcatta are the best team in the competition, their league dominance proves that. From Lewis Italiano in goal through to Steve Burton and Ashley Rosendale they are solid,” said Stoitis. “When you talk finals you cannot look past Perth, they have players who are match winners with proven big game experience. Their league form has been interesting but they are quality and can put you too the sword very quickly.”

“The Knights are back-to-back league winners and another team full of finals experienced players such as Stuart Montgomery and captain David Annall. They will be another team backing themselves in to go all the way, regardless where the finish in the top five,” continued Stoitis. “Sorrento have had a great season, their work rate is first class and they play some good football. Todd Harnwell seems to get better every year and Jamie Harnwell’s experience has really shown. Jason Mirco is there X-factor, when he’s up and running they are very difficult to stop.”

Inglewood, too, are not without their State Champions credentials. “We are a young and exciting team and I really look forward to seeing how this group of players respond to finals,” commented Stoitis. “Oliver Taseski has been outstanding for us between the posts and will be important if we are to continue deep in the finals series. Excitement machine Ndumba Makeche will be the one to watch, he has regained his fitness and confidence after eight weeks out with ankle ligament damage, he is unpredictable and will cause our opponents a lot of problems.”

For their final home and away outing of the year Inglewood journey to Litis Stadium where home team Floreat Athena. Inglewood can mathematically finish as high as second on the table and Stoitis says his coach has more than a few things to take into account when selecting the line-up for Saturday. “We have a few players sitting on three yellow cards so Shane may decide to rest them in preparation for the finals,” he said. “On the flip side, we are coming off two wins in a row and starting to gain a bit of momentum so do you flirt with form?”

Regardless of who steps out on the park, Stoitis says every Inglewood single player will give his all against a Floreat side wanting to finish their 60th anniversary year on a high. “Floreat are a side filled with quality all over the park and we will not be taking them lightly,” said Stoitis. “They’re a proud club and will be doing everything to ensuring their last game for 2011 ends in a win for the supporters and members so we have to be ready and up for a big challenge.”



It’s been over twelve months since Peter Hugg took his place in the chief executive seat at Football West headquarters in Maylands. Last week Peter Simcox caught up with Hugg, a self-confessed Queens Park Rangers tragic, to discuss the year that was, where football fits into the sporting landscape in Western Australia, the challenges which lay ahead for the code and the chief executive’s plans and hopes for the next few years. Here presents the second instalment of our three-part exclusive interview with Hugg…

What is your background in football?
I grew up in rugby league territory on the east coast and played that sport until I was in secondary school. I then switched to football and found a certain fit and level of enjoyment. Together with two mates, and in my first foray into sports administration at the ripe old age of 13, we lobbied for my all boys private rugby school to start a soccer (as it was called back then) team, which they reluctantly agreed.

Today I am pleased to say, football is the dominant sport there and football players outnumber rugby players by two or three to one. I am very proud to say that 34 years or so on, my son plays football in the same school and benefits from some of the early initiatives that we instigated way back in the mid 70’s.

I continued to play at varying levels through to a couple of years ago, and whilst I would dearly love to play today and I still have my boots polished and plenty of kit ready, my work and travelling schedule doesn’t afford me the opportunity to commit to any firm degree to a club.

I have served my apprenticeship so to speak, and worked my way through various positions within a federation and have taken state representative teams away to national championships, had the highest level of coaching accreditation that was available, was a State Director of Coaching and Development Officer.

Then things got a little bit more serious and I progressed to some national organisations. I was Chief Executive of the Australian Women’s Soccer Association, High Performance Manager for Soccer Australia, Tournament Director for the Olympic Football Tournaments in Sydney 2000, various roles with FIFA over several World Cups and World Youth Championships and most recently some consultative work in Brazil for both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.

Where do you see football fitting into the WA sporting landscape?
Football remains the most popular participant sport in Australia and in Western Australian. According to independent government statistics, our participation numbers range anything from 107,000 to 140,000 – a significant number any way you slice it.

What is not satisfactory, and therefore remains a massive challenge, is the level of corporate and local government support, attention from the media and even general community recognition of the role of football in our society. One of my earliest observations of Perth was the depth of support for Australian Rules – it clearly holds number 1, 2 and 3 spots here in the hearts and minds of locals, and there is very much daylight between us and them in terms of media space, corporate recognition and general community support.

Notwithstanding this, there are three things that distinguish football from that other sport which are real points of difference and benefits for us. Firstly, is the fact that football is an ideal sport for all – young, old, short, tall, male, female and so on. Any person no matter how good or bad, or whatever shape can find a team and level to play in. We already know, that it is the fastest growing sport amongst females and this will continue to be a massive growth area.

Secondly, and something that has been the backbone of the sport for many a year, is the multicultural aspect of the game. Being the true ‘world game’ it is football that brings us all together every four years come the time of the World Cup, and it is football that attracts all members of the community across various ethnicities in WA. Lately with the increasing number of immigrants coming from some of the African nations, this is also a growing area of the work which we are funded to do through the Department of Sport and Recreation and our CALD programs.

Finally – and we certainly hold this up as one of the real inspirational differences – the fact that young players can one day go on and represent their country and become a Socceroo or Matilda. This international representation on the world stage is something that Australian Rules can not, and never will be able to offer.

What have been the main difficulties you have faced during the past 12 months?
Clearly two challenges that stand out are the many discussions and debates surrounding the inclusion of the National Training Centre in the Premier Division and the implementation of the State League Facilities Review. Both have occupied much time and energy over the past 12 months and I am very committed to the concepts behind both initiatives and the key philosophy of improving the game here in WA – whether it be in terms of youth development or the facilities in which our top league (and therefore players) is played.

In broad terms, the other difficulty that I continue to work on – and it relates to the above question concerning where football fits in the WA landscape – is improving the credibility of the organisation, our competitions and league and indeed the whole sport. We all have a role to play in ensuring a sense of unity and solidarity to ensure that we get our due rewards in terms of government and corporate support, media attention and so on.

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This page was last updated on the 24th October, 2011