Archived News : September-October 2013



A lot of hard work lies ahead in returning Perth Glory to the pinnacle of Australia football but the club’s new boss, Jason Brewer, is ready for the challenges which lie ahead. England-born Brewer, 43, was installed as chief executive three months ago and made it abundantly clear that Glory’s days as an also-ran are coming to an end. In the first part of an exclusive interview with’s Peter Simcox, Brewer opens up on the path being trod by the club, the value of homegrown talent and why Glory need to re-engage with the local football community…

In the final years of the National Soccer League Glory was the club by which all others measured themselves. In the space of five seasons Glory, under Bernd Stange and Mich d’Avray, finished top of the regular season on three occasions and won back-to-back Grand Finals in 2002/03 and 2003/04. Since the advent of the A-League in 2005 Glory has gone trophyless but if Brewer has his way that is about to change. “We are not in the A-League just to participate, we have to be going out there with the mindset to win and we have that now,” said Brewer.

The wheels of change were set in motion with Alistair Edwards’ appointment as first team coach in March. With the security of a three-year contract Edwards, one of the state’s favourite footballing sons, has been allowed to put the emphasis on bringing local talent back to Glory. “We now have a team that represents what is good about West Australian football – players like Josh Risdon, Matthew Davies, Dean Evans, Brandon O’Neill, Jack Clisby, Daniel De Silva, the list goes on,” commented Brewer. “It is good that we actually do have a long list of WA players, something we didn’t have a number of years ago.”

While pleased with the number of homegrown talents on Glory’s books, Brewer acknowledges there are more than three dozen West Australians currently plying their trade outside the state. “I can’t question the quality of young football players from WA, it is great to see so many of our players successful,” said Brewer, before expressing his desire to give the club an even greater local focus. “My issue is why are so many of them are playing either in the eastern states or overseas? It would be great to see the game here in the west benefit more from those successes.”

The A-League has certainly re-energised Australian football on the eastern seaboard, however, in the west it’s a slightly different story. In the eight summers since 2005 Glory have averaged crowds of just over 8,500, a far cry from the 12,000 plus they were attracting in the NSL. “There is a real need to re-engage with the local football community, which appears to have become slightly disillusioned with the previous direction of the club,” Brewer readily conceded. “The club is the fans – they want to see attractive football and we need them at each and every game.”



Club captain John Kearney scooped the pool at Bayswater City’s annual awards ceremony by taking home his clubs top two prizes. Kearney admits he was surprised when his name was read out as recipient of the Fairest and Best after early collecting the trophy as the Players’ Player of the Year. “I’m thrilled to win the Fairest and Best,” said Kearney, who guided Bayswater to a historic Grand Final, State Cup and Night Series treble. “There were two or three other players that had fantastic seasons and it could have being any one of the lads that won it.”

Kearney played down his role in Bayswater’s successes this year by turning the spotlight on new coach Chris Coyne. “There was a feeling that something special could happen as soon as Chris joined and brought in the players he did,” said Kearney. “But to go out and prove to everyone that we were the best team was a great sense of achievement. Within the group there is a winning mentality and with Chris and Stu (assistant coach Stewart Moses) in charge, hopefully, this season is just the start of Bayswater’s domination of the league.”

Trent Kay, who partnered Kearny in the centre of defence, was presented the Fairest and Best Runner-Up trophy while the Golden Boot went to Gustavo Giron-Marulanda for the third successive year. It was a night to remember for Emannule Mansaray with wins in the Fairest and Best as well as Golden Boot categories for the reserves. Justin Caratozollo was runner-up in the main award and goalkeeper Fraser Greenwood picked up the Players’ Player of the Year. Top honours for the under-18 team went to Ryan Treacey ahead of Josh Kuser, who scored the Players’ Player of the Year. The Golden Boot went to Kenan Ceric.



Socceroo-in-waiting Shane Lowry has no regrets about turning his back on Ireland to commit his international career to Australia. Lowry, 24, made eight appearances for the Republic of Ireland at youth level before opting to make himself available for Australia in 2009. Had he continued with Ireland there’s a good chance Lowry would have been capped at senior level by now, however, the Millwall defender has no doubt he chose correctly in committing to Australia. “I made the right decision,” he said. “I always felt I was Australian. People ask me what nationality I am and I say Australian – I don’t want to play for another country.”

A former ECU Joondalup junior, Lowry explained his previous connection with Ireland’s youth set-up. “My whole family’s Irish, both my parents were born in Dublin … I’ve got a big Irish connection,” said Lowry, who came to the attention of Ireland selectors while at Aston Villa. “Coaches and scouts were coming to watch me back when I was playing Under-17s and Under-18s. So it was a good opportunity for me (to play for Ireland). It’s more exposure and you’re playing against the best players in Europe at that age. But I still feel Australian, hence why I switched allegiance and hopefully one day I can represent Australia.”

Lowry, who made 45 appearances last season for Millwall, says he has had little contact from the Socceroos hierarchy. “I think (Under-20 coach) Aurelio (Vidmar) watched one of my games last year but other than that I haven’t had any sort of contact, which is a bit disappointing from my point of view,” he said. “I thought I might have had a chance for the game against Romania (in February) because I’d been playing regularly and I’d been playing well. I’m delighted to see some of the younger lads given a go recently and, hopefully, that can be me in the near future, if not, in the far future.”



State representative Conor Kavanagh has been crowned Cockburn City’s Fairest and Best. A Republic of Ireland youth international, Kavanagh’s attacking through the middle of the park was vital in ensuring Cockburn made a successful return to the top flight. “I’m honoured to be named Best and Fairest, it could have gone to any one of the squad,” said 23-year old Kavanagh, who joined Cockburn last year from Pike Rovers. “It was great finishing in fourth place after winning promotion from Division One last year.”

Defender Euan Grant took home the Fairest and Best Runner-up award with Eamon McNelis voted Players’ Player of the Year and the Top Goal Scorer presented to Harry O’Brien. David Araya collected the Fairest and Best in the reserves, where Jamie Smyth was runner-up and Players’ Player of the Year. The Top Goal Scorer trophy went to Liam Murray. The Under-18s Fairest and Best was won by Andrew Clay ahead of Ella Mastratonia, Hayden Stevens collected the Players’ Player of the Year and the Top Goal Scorer trophy went to Jonty Turner.



Teenage defender Matthew Davies is still coming to terms with his sudden ascension to Perth Glory’s starting eleven. Matthews had expected to spent much of this season on the fringe of first team selection but that changed last Friday when coach Alistair Edwards told him he was a ‘good chance’ of playing on Sunday against Melbourne Heart. Edwards was good to his word and come match day Davies stepped out as an A-League player for the first time in front of 13,856 hometown fans. “It was an unbelievable experience and an honour to make my debut in front of a home crowd,” Davies told

Such was 18-year old Davies’ contribution in Glory’s 1-0 vital win over Melbourne that Edwards was prompted to heap praise the Young Socceroo during his post-game press conference. “I’m particularly pleased for Matty Davies,” said the Glory coach. “I thought, if not our best player, he was close to being our best player so that’s great for us. He's been training with us all the time and he’s played a few games in the pre-season so it’s really good that people like Matty can come in and play like that in his first game in front of a home crowd.”

Davies, a junior with Perth SC, featured regularly last summer with Perth Glory Youth and says the step up to the A-League wasn’t as intense as he expected. “I didn't think there was a noticeable change in the pace of the game to what I was used to, but I think it’s probably just something you adjust to after training with the team for so long,” said Davies, who was also undaunted by the size of the crowd on Sunday. “It was definitely the biggest crowd I’ve ever played in front of so it was awesome but I was too busy concentrating on the game to get too caught up in it.”



Attack-focused Daniel Niederberger has been named Canning City’s Fairest and Best in his first season at the club. Niederberger, 30, spearheaded Canning’s quest for top honours in Division One with 19 goals but was nonetheless taken aback when his name was read as winner of his clubs top award. “It’s an amazing feeling to be awarded Fairest and Best this year,” he said. “Stevie Grant had a terrific season I thought he would have easily of won the award along with Mick Van Dongen, Rory Mouttet and Paul Van Dongen, who all had great years.”

Niederberger, a summer signing from Perth SC, says he could not have wished for more from his first year with Canning. “It’s been one of my most enjoyable seasons,” he stated. “We have a great bunch of guys with a good mixture of youth and experience. Mick, Paul and Dunc (Duncan Hind) have done a tremendous job and it’s a shame we didn’t finish the season on top. But I can assure you that next year we’ll be even more prepared and, hopefully, go one step closer in what I’m predicting will be an even more competitive Division One season.”

Steve Grant didn’t go home empty handed from Canning’s awards ceremony, the veteran goalkeeper voted Players’ Player of the Year with the Clubman Award going to Sam Carello. Callum Franey was recipient of the Fairest and Best in the reserves where Nathan Hubbard was revealed as Players’ Player of the Year and Gavin Tucker collected the Clubman Award. The Under-18s Fairest and Best player trophy went home with Hari Mohan, Mitchell Taveira scooped the Players’ Player of the Year and Adrian Coles picked up the Clubman Award.



Young gun Jamie Maclaren says there is room in Perth Glory’s attack for both himself and Shane Smeltz once the New Zealand international returns from injury. Smeltz will come into contention next month following hip surgery and, rather than cause coach Alistair Edwards a selection headache, Maclaren has proposed he partner the marquee man in the final third of the park. “I think me and Smeltzy can work well together,” Maclaren said. “He’s an established player in this league so there’s plenty of goals in him as well this season. Hopefully we can work together and do well for this club.”

Signed in the off-season from English club Blackburn Rovers, 20-year old Maclaren put away his first A-League goal on Sunday to get Glory their first win of the new campaign, 1-0 over Melbourne Heart. “The last few weeks I’ve been having chances but I was glad to score,” said the Young Socceroo. “I felt like a lot of weight was off my shoulders as soon as it went in. Hopefully it’s the first of many. I had chances in the last two games away and I felt like I needed this goal. To get it at home in front of our crowd was good.”



Central Coast Mariners defender Trent Sainsbury aims to impress new Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou. Sainsbury looked on the verge of his international debut earlier this year after gaining selection in the Australia squad for the East Asian Cup in South Korea. But the 21-year old was left disappointed when then coach Holger Osieck left him on the bench for each of Australia’s three games. Sainsbury, who has started all three of Central Coast’s game so far this season, is desperate to play for Australia and intends catching the eye of Postecoglou in time for next month’s friendly with Costa Rica in Sydney.

Sainsbury said he would love to think he was at least a possibility for Socceroos selection next month. “If I can get picked for that, then the sky’s the limit,” he said. “Obviously there’s a new coach, and everyone’s out to impress. I believe that I’m up to it, and that I can do a job if they want me. I’d like to challenge myself at that level, and you can only judge yourself after you’ve come off from playing at that level. Against a team like Costa Rica it would be a great learning curve (and) would only benefit me, if I got that chance.”

Postecoglou is expected to field a youthful Socceroos line-up against Costa Rica and there’s a good chance Sainsbury will be one of the beneficiaries of such a selection. However, after his experiences in South Korea the defender isn’t taking anything for granted. “For me it’s one step at a time, not worrying about the international level – I worry about the Mariners, and everything else will flow from there,” said Sainsbury. “Everyone will step it up this year, with the World Cup around the corner and a new coach in place … in a sense it’s a clean slate for everyone.”



Irish midfielder Paul Concannon celebrated his first season with Shamrock Rovers by lifting their top prize as Fairest and Best player. Concannon, signed last summer from Floreat Athena Amateurs, settled quickly into life at Harold Rossiter Reserve where he was an integral part of their rise to fourth in Division One. “It’s an honour to be voted Shamrocks player of the year,” he said. “Awards like this don’t come around very often so it’s a great feeling winning a personal accolade such as this. But at the end of the day football is a team sport and I would swap this award for a league winners medal any day.”

Concannon, who represented the State at amateur level last year, says Shamrock evolved as the season progressed. “We had a slow enough start to the year, which was expected as it was a relatively new team that was put together,” he explained. “As the players got to know each other the team progressed and we had a very good run near the end of the year, if one or two results went our way we could have snuck the title. But fair play to Wanneroo City, they went on an unbelievable run to win it. We will learn a lot from this year and will be back stronger in 2014.”

Ciaran Byrne’s talent for sticking the ball in the back of the net was recognised by the Players’ Player of the Year award. Right back Adam Walsh added his name added to the reserves honour roll as recipient of the Fairest and Best, while midfielder Declan Byrne picked up the Players’ Player of the Year trophy. The youth team Fairest and Best was taken out by left back Reverian Bukuru and Ryan Sardi’s central influence was rewarded with the Players’ Player of the Year.



Alistair Edwards has praised the early progress of Perth Glory’s youth brigade but says there’s still some way to go before their full potential is realised. Glory notched their first win of the new season yesterday with a starting line-up that featured five players aged 23 or under, amongst them 18-year old debutant Matt Davies and 20-year old striker Jamie Maclaren, who netted the only goal of the game against Melbourne Heart. The bench was also dominated by young talent with Daniel De Silva (16), Cameron Edwards (18), Brandon O'Neill (19) and Chris Harold (21) all on the sidelines.

Since being appointed Glory coach, Edwards has placed an emphasis on giving the country’s best young talent ample opportunity to impress alongside some seasoned campaigners such as captain Jacob Burns, Steve McGarry and Danny Vukovic. “It’s great to have those experienced guys really helping the younger guys,” said Edwards. “We are pretty pleased with the progress we are making as a club but we’re nowhere near where we want to be. There’s a number of things we can work on with our movement and decision making. We are determined to make sure that happens so we can come here and be a lot more consistent in the way we play.”



Defender Bojan Radinovic has added himself to Dianella White Eagles’ honour roll by winning their top prize, the Best Player. Radinovic’s ability to nullify opposition attacks earned him the award ahead of midfielder Thomas Gooding, with Irish import Robbie Phelan taking home the Golden Boot. Retiring veteran Petar Mrdja claimed top honours in the Reserves ahead of Dule Varkasevic. Hamad Hamad was presented the Golden Boot. The Under-18s Fairest and Best was won by Milos Bajic, runner-up was Antonio Anatovski and Daniel Velevski scored the Golden Boot. p> 27.10.2013


Perth Glory collected their first win of the new season with a hard-earned 1-0 triumph over Melbourne Heart before a crowd of 13,856 at Perth Oval. Jamie MacLaren’s first A-League goal for Glory was all that separated the teams on an afternoon when the home side dominated possession and carved out the better chances on goal. “It’s a crucial win for us after two tough away games,” coach Alistair Edwards said. “It’s very competitive this year, it’s very hard for teams to win away from home and for us to get the home win and send the great fans home happy is an important first up game (in Perth).”

Melbourne had the woodwork to thank after 6 minutes when Sidnei’s shot on the turn ricocheted off the upright. Play was at the opposite end four minutes later when Patrick Kisnorbo’s glancing header whistled past the post. But it was Glory that looked the more likely to hit the back of the net with Sidnei’s darting runs and clever interplay proved difficult for the visitors. Scott Jamieson was unlucky not to open his season account with a curling strike from outside the box that looped onto the crossbar. Ryo Nagai squandered a golden opportunity by failing to connect with a Sidnei cross with only goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne to beat.

The second half could not have started any better for Glory, Maclaren showing great composure by tucking in at the second opportunity after Redmayne blocked his initial strike. It was only now that Melbourne began to make their way into the contest but Andrea Migliorini’s long-range attempt drifted narrowly the wrong side of the target. Maclaren was out to double his, and Glory’s tally but his left-footed shot from an acute angle flashed across the face of goal. Danny Vukovic ensured Glory would end the day with all the points on offer by diving full-length to turn away David Williams’ powerful strike deep in stoppage time.



Guernsey import Ben Coulter commemorated his first State League season by winning Western Knights’ Fairest and Best award. Coulter, one-time captain of Guernsey’s under-21 side, produced a series of energetic performances across the length of the home and away season but was none-the-less surprised to be voted the Knights best player. “It feels great to win the (Fairest and Best) award, it’s a great personal achievement,” said the 24-year old midfielder. “I was very surprised to hear my name called out as there were a few other players who had quality seasons.”

Coulter, recipient also of the Players’ Player of the Year, feels the Knights could have achieved a lot more as team this year. “Looking at the squad we have it was disappointing to finish fourth … our aim was to win the league,” said Coulter, who feels the experiences of this year will be put to good use by his club going forward. “We were disappointed but we had a fairly new squad and we did improve a hell of a lot throughout the season. We have to build on this year as we prepare and look forward to next season.”

Club captain David Annall took home the trophy as runner-up Fairest and Best with the Leading Goalscorer award presented to Brendan Craig. The reserve team Fairest and Best was won by Stuart Siddall who was ahead of Ethan Levitt at the close of counting, while Julian Teles collected the Leading Goalscorer prize. Tomislav Kezic State picked up the youth team’s Fairest and Best award with second spot occupied by Joseph Emanuelle, who also went home with the Coaches Award. Leslie Mari and Peleus Liascos shared Leading Goalscorer honours.



Perth Glory Youth started their new season with a 1-0 loss to Melbourne Heart this afternoon at Intiga Stadium. The early signs were encouraging for the home side with Adrian Zahra creating a couple of chances inside 10 minutes before forcing goalkeeper Marko Stevanja into a full-length save from a dead ball. Melbourne slowly worked their way back into the game to take a 33rd minute lead, Ersin Kaya finishing off a well-worked piece of play down the right side that started with a clever back heel from Hernan Espindola. Jonathon Bounas went close to doubling their lead on the stroke of half-time when he volleyed a bouncing ball just over the crossbar.

Melbourne picked up the second half where they’d left off. Kaya got in behind the home defence and past custodian Luke Radonich only to spray wide of an open target from an acute angle. Substitute Joseph Katebian then forced a good save from Radonich after a defensive mix-up presented him a shot from 14-metres. Glory’s best chance of the game arrived on 55 minutes when Ndumba Makeche got free of the defence only to have Stevanja rush out and made a sharp save. Aleks Jovic also squandered an attempt to equalise when he blasted high at close-range after meeting a Zahra cutback from the byline. Riley Woodcock created one last opening but his low centre passed across the face of goal without a purple shirt in sight.



A desire to spend more time with family provided the catalyst for Trevor Morgan to re-join Sorrento’s coaching team for a third time. Morgan, fresh from a successful three-year stint in India, was recently appointed joint coach of Sorrento for next season with club legend Jamie Harnwell. It will be the 57-year olds third spell with Sorrento, who he previously guided to State Championship, Premier Division and Night Series glory. “It feels like I have never been away,” said Morgan. “Sorrento has always been very understanding when opportunities for me to progress in my career have come along, so when the chance came again for me to be involved I was happy to return.”

Morgan experienced an unprecedented level of success in India, guiding East Bengal to a staggering eight trophies in three seasons. And although he was contracted to the I-League club for a fourth season, Morgan says the time was right for his return to Perth. “Living in India is not easy, and three years is a long time to be living away from your family,” he explained. “I had another year left on my contract at East Bengal but, in all honesty, as last season progressed I could not see myself returning to complete my contract. I wanted to spend more time with my family which I am now able to do.”

On Morgan’s watch East Bengal lifted the Federation Cup and Indian Super Cup twice each and placed in the top three of the I-League in each of his three seasons. “We became the most consistent team in India,” said Morgan, who rates the 2013 Asian Football Confederation Cup campaign as one of his most satisfying achievements. “We came through our group undefeated against teams from Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia then beat the Myanmar champions 5-1 in Calcutta. We had not managed a win in the previous two years competition so to make the quarter-finals showed how much we had progressed as a team.”

Morgan, who as a player made over 400 appearances for English clubs Bournemouth, Bristol City and Bolton Wanderers amongst others, is looking forward to working with Harnwell, one of the true greats of West Australian football. “Jamie had a great career at Perth Glory and has done a great job with the Glory Women’s team,” Morgan commented. “I hope that he brings the leadership qualities he showed as a player to the coaching team at Sorrento. Jamie, (assistant coach) Steve Neville and myself have known each other for a long time, what is important is that we and the other coaches all work together and bounce ideas off each other and help the club progress.”

As season 2014 slowly draws nearer Morgan says he has only one goal for Sorrento. “To win every game we play - if not, not to lose,” he stated. “There’s no point in being negative, we will take that attitude and self-belief every time the players step on the field. We will try to install that mentality throughout the club and help the players understand what is required of them to improve as individuals. All the coaches will meet soon to discuss our pre-season preparation which, hopefully will in early December for the first team as we want to be fully prepared when the Night Series kicks off on 24th January.”



Joe Knowles’ breakthrough season with ECU Joondalup has been rewarded with a spot in the Perth Glory Youth squad for their coming summer campaign. Knowles was a key figure in Joondalup’s late season revival, in which they went undefeated in seven-games, and the 17-year old striker is hoping his stellar rise can propel him into professional football. “It’s always been my dream to become professional footballer and being selected in the youth side has taken me another step closer to where I want to be – playing for the Glory first team,” said Knowles, who will feature in Glory Youth’s season opener against Melbourne Heart on Saturday.

Knowles only came into first team reckoning at Joondalup following the mid-year coaching appointment of Dale McCulloch. “At first it was a struggle to find my feet in the big boy’s league, but after getting a few first team games under my belt I grew in confidence and started playing my own game,” he commented. “I’ve scored a lot of goals for Joondalup over the nine years of playing there and the last minute equaliser against Sorrento in Round 20 is my favourite of the lot … I’ve never had such a buzz in my life because the point meant so much to the team and to Dale.”

McCulloch rates Knowles a player of tremendous potential. “I’ve coached Joe as an under-14 player and now as a first team player, and this kid has developed into a really good footballer,” said the Joondalup coach. “He has the X-factor which can’t be taught, he can turn a game on its head with a bit of brilliance. Last season he never looked out of place in the first team, he works very hard and just loves playing the game. Joe knows this is just a start and I’m hoping through Glory and hard work that he can progress to become a professional footballer.”



Armadale midfielder Llewellyn Bake says the foundations of his Player of the Year win were laid on the training track. Bake, 31, was honoured with the Reds top award at last weekend’s presentation. “Receiving the Player of the Year is a great honour. It’s always satisfying being recognised by your peers for the hard work throughout the season,” said the 31-year old. “I feel my performances started at a very good level and I set myself goals to improve each week, starting on the training ground, and working hard to let that filter onto the pitch on a Saturday afternoon.”

While happy with his own contribution to Armadale’s season, Bake admits to having mixed feelings about what the Reds achieved in 2013. “This past season was very indifferent for the Armadale,” commented Bake, whose team finished bottom of the table after collecting a single win from their final 13 games. “I always thought our squad was a bit short of depth and it showed. After a great start we lost some key players to injury and relocation around the halfway mark and never really recovered. We are looking to correct that in 2014 and have a better showing in the competition.”

Nathan Costello’s defensive efforts were recognised with the Players’ Player of the Year with New Zealand import Jack Salter recipient of the Golden Boot. Chan Woo Park took home the Player of the Year for the reserves where Brad Haywood was named Players’ Player of the Year and Trevor Laure scored the Golden Boot. The Under-18s Fairest and Best trophy was collected by Tony Chandler, Brandon Rahim was voted Players’ Player of the Year and the Golden Boot was won by Sam Finch.



Coach Jamie Harnwell says Perth Glory Women will be driven to success this summer after a history-making 2012/13 campaign which culminated in the team's first ever finals appearance. In revealing his squad for the coming season Harnwell said he is confident he has the right mix for Glory Women to again qualify for the play-offs. "Last year was a breakout year for us and now the pressure is on us to maintain that level," said Harnwell, whose team was controversially beaten in last season's semi-finals by Melbourne Victory. "We have built a good culture in the club now, with a group of girls driven to succeed."

Matildas captain Kate Gill and star midfielder Collette McCallum, who will skipper Glory Women for the second successive season, headline a squad which features thirteen locally developed players. Canadians Sasha Andrews and Christina Julien were confirmed to be on board last week along with Denmark defender Cecilie Sandvej, while United States of America youth international Chantel Jones has also signed up. "Chantel Jones has come highly recommended from (USA coach) Tommy Sermanni and will provide a great presence behind our back four after her recent season with Washington Spirit," commented Harnwell.

Pre-season signs have been positive for Glory Women, who last week thumped the Women's State team 8-0. "Already the new players have gelled well with the existing squad and I have been encouraged by some strong performances," he said. "With the mix of youth and experience we possess, we are really looking to make the finals, and then, as we know, anything can happen." Last season's Most Glorious Player Aivi Luik has been included in the 21-player roster but the timeframe on her return to playing is still to be determined due to a lingering hamstring injury.

The Perth Glory Women squad for season 2013/14 is Sasha Andrews, Shawn Billam, Sarah Carroll, Elisa D'Ovidio, Jess Dillon, Thia Eastman, Kate Gill, Chantel Jones, Christina Julien, Amy Knights, Aivi Luik, Collette McCallum, Ella Mastrantonio, Shannon May, Cecilie Sandvej, Bronwyn Studman, Rosie Sutton, Marianna Tabain and Kathleen Waycott. Their season commences with an away game against Newcastle Jets (9 November) before returning to the west for an outing with Brisbane Roar at Intiga Stadium, Inglewood, on 16 November.



French defender William Gallas will join Perth Glory as an international marquee player for the remainder of the season. A veteran of 84 games for France amid spells with London club Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, Gallas is looking forward to joining Glory’s quest for A-League honours. “I hope to help my new team mates and club achieve success this season, and hope to help deliver to the fans of Perth the championship they are looking for,” said 36-year old Gallas, who has played at two World Cups. “I look forward to this new challenge and hope to excite the fans.”

Glory coach Alistair Edwards was understandably delighted to have a player of Gallas’ calibre on board. “What better player in world football to bring to Western Australia than someone with 84 caps for one of the best footballing nations in the world?” Edwards said. “He has played alongside some of the best players in world football and worked under some of the most decorated managers and coaches of all time, including Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho, people whom I have the utmost respect for … Gallas fits into our vision of providing the best environment for our youth to flourish.”

Gallas’ recruitment is another big win for the A-League, which has enjoyed a dramatic rise in popularity since last year’s arrival of international stars Alessandro Del Piero, Emile Heskey and Shinji Ono. The big centre back began his senior career with French clubs Caen and Marsaille before being switching to Chelsea where he collected English Premier League championships medals in 2004/05 and 2005/06. He captained Arsenal during two of his four seasons at Highbury and played the last three campaigns with Tottenham. Along the way Gallas chalked up in excess of 450 senior appearances at club level.



Stirling Lions midfielder Dean Evans has reaped the rewards of a strong year by taking out his clubs’ Fairest and Best award. Evans, who recently signed a short-term deal with Perth Glory, says it is an honour to be voted best player of the club at which he grew up. “I’ve worked fairly hard this year and it’s a great honour to be given this award,” said 23-year old Evans. “The boys have been brilliant in helping me with my game so credit has to go to the rest of the squad.”

Evans feels Stirling’s top honour could have gone to one of several team mates. “There were many stand outs this year, I could name half the team who deserved this award,” said Evans, who has mixed feelings as to how 2013 panned out for Stirling. “We had a great year in winning the league and that’s never an easy task, so everyone involved at the club has to be congratulated. But, ultimately, the top five is the top prize in Australia and we just fell short of that. Hopefully, next season we can go one step further and win it.”

When counting finished in the Fairest and Best it was Evans who topped the leader board ahead of Andy Brown. Gareth McGlynn was voted Players’ Player of the Year, the Coaches Award was presented to Dennis Galan and Rory Grant scored the Golden Boot. The reserve team trophies were won by Robert Petkov (Fairest and Best), Dennis Galan and Boas Mwtale (joint runners-up), Jason Kessel (Coaches Award), Alen Patarov (Most Improved) and Ben Meredith (Golden Boot). The youth team awards were won by Liam Kessel (Fairest and Best), Ryan Dhue (Runner-up Fairest and Best) and Aaron Krige (Golden Boot) with Adam Di Pietro recipient of the George Mitsopoulis Youth Player of the Year.



State Amateur team coach Steve Dimitrovich says his players are prepared for any challenges which come their way during next week’s three-game tour of Malaysia. The State squad, which features Sunday League Gold Medal winner Lee Jones and Goalkeeper of the Year Jamie Serra, leave Perth on Saturday for games against Putrajaya SPA, KL POS Malaysia and the Malaysian University of Technology. “I hope we’ll go up there and win three games but we’re going into the unknown,” Dimitrovich said. “You can ring up people and find out how teams have been going but until you play them you don’t really know what you’re up against.”

Dimitrovich was confident the squad, which was assembled after an extensive trial period, would perform well in Malaysia. “I know we’ve got a good squad and I’m confident in the style of football we’ll play and what we can achieve,” he said. “It was hard to leave people out because of the quality of players we had but decisions had to be made. I think whenever someone represents the State you don’t have to use too many words to get them up for it. And this will be the first time in the State team for a lot of these guys, so it makes it even more interesting to see how we go.”

The 2013 State Amateur squad for the three-game tour of Malaysia is Mohamed Komadaric, Ago Mujic (BB United), Asa Nicholson (Hamersley Rovers), Adam Rogers, Lee Jones, Stuart Hartmann (Joondalup United), Kevan Towers, Lee Shepherd (Kingsley), Alex Brain, Steven Henry, Eamonn Kelly (North Perth United), Chris Wylie, Jason Winter, John Cafferkey, Darren Coleman (Perth Royals) and Jamie Serra (Whitfords City). Southern Spirit’s Felim Rugel also gained selection but withdrew due to injury. Travelling with the squad are Steve Dimitrovich (coach), Matt Ball (assistant coach) and Graeme Marinkovich (manager).



A knee injury is likely to keep Perth Glory defender Josh Risdon out of action for the next two months. Risdon was injured in the opening minutes of last weekend’s draw at Newcastle Jets and, although initial scans cleared him of anterior cruciate ligament damage, the full extent of the injury is yet to be revealed. “We’ll see how things pan out during the week but it’s just bad timing because he was going from strength to strength,” said coach Alistair Edwards. “The surgeons nowadays are magicians and we’ve got a really good physio department, so he’ll be back. The positive is that it wasn’t an ACL, which would’ve been the season.”



Division Two club Kingsway Olympic have acknowledged Joe Armitage’s defensive contributions with the 2013 Fairest and Best award. Armitage, who missed Kingsway’s presentation night on the weekend due to holidaying in South Africa, admits to being caught off-guard by his trophy win. “It was a surprise as I don’t feel this was my best season,” said 26-year old Armitage. “It’s always an honour to get recognised for your efforts throughout a season but it was a disappointing year for the club, so that takes some of the gloss off it.”

Wayne Culverwell was presented with the Players Choice awards, eight regular season finishes earned Josh Rolls the Golden Boot and Michael Brand picked up the Best First Year Player. The reserve team Fairest and Best was won by Amir Ahmd with attack-focused Ben Kinsella recipient of both the Players Choice and Golden Boot. Dylan Rooney finished top of Fairest and Best counting in the Under-18s where Jarrod Wilson went home with the Players Choice and Nathan Hibbert the Top Goal Scorer.



Young Socceroo Ryan Edwards has not given up hope of being recalled by English club Reading next year. Edwards joined Perth Glory in July on a season-long loan from the Championship side with the aim of gaining sufficient first team experience to catapult him into Reading’s senior set-up. “I’ve got two years left on my contract so after this year I’ll go back to Reading, that’s the plan at the moment,” the 19-year old said. “Hopefully this season I’ll do well and, hopefully, the Reading staff see that and I can push myself into the first team next season.”

Edwards has so far achieved what he set out, starting Glory’s opening two games of the season. “I’ve been in the England system now, adapted well, I’ve been there for two years and I’ve just reached a stalemate,” he said. “Just 21s, reserves, but not really getting an opportunity. It was a bit hard to find first team football over there. I suppose it’s a bit hard to go to League One and League Two with their style of football. I think it’s the best situation for me to come back and play first team football here.”

Comfortable playing on the right or centre of midfield, Edwards has no regrets about his time in England. “Everyone wants to play in Europe and that’s where the best football is,” he said. “I loved it. The football was hard to adapt to at the start but I got used to it, started enjoying it, playing well. Reading have a great academy. They’re in the category one so they were playing all the Premier League clubs so the standard was very high. Most of the teams in the competition try and play a good style of football, so it was very enjoyable.”

Edwards grew up playing for Cockburn City before progressing to Glory’s youth team and the Australian Institute of Sport, from where, in 2011, he joined Reading. A Glory fan from the start, Edwards is relishing the opportunity to now don the same purple shirt his father, and now Glory coach, wore 93 times. “Obviously my Dad (Alistair Edwards) played for Glory, I grew up watching the games,” he said. “It’s my hometown club. Every kid’s dream is to play for their home club and I’m lucky enough to do it early in my career so I’m pretty happy with that.”



Attacker Greg Sharland added some gloss to his season by taking out the Player of the Year award at Inglewood United. Sharland’s on the ball strength and non-stop work ethic were rewarded with Inglewood’s top prize while his talent for sticking the ball in the back of the net gained the 30-year the Golden Boot. Goalkeeper Luke Martino collected the Player of the Year Runner-up as well as Players’ Player of the Year trophies, while the Rising Star Award was presented to Shane Pickering. The Under-23s Player of the Year was won by Joseph Pullella ahead of Anthony Papalia, and the Under-18s top award went to Hayden Dodgson with the runner-up spot shared by Jayden Ewen and James Atkins.



The Young Matildas have missed out on qualification for next year’s Women’s Under-20 World Cup after placing fifth at the Asian Football Confederation Under-19 Women’s Championships. The Australian youth team failed to ignite at the round robin tournament in Nanjing, China, winning just once from five starts. That victory, 2-0 over Myanmar, came amid losses to DPR Korea (2-6), Japan (0-2), China (1-2) and tournament winners Korea Republic (1-2). Perth Glory Women midfielder Sarah Carroll was Western Australia’s sole representative in coach Spencer Prior’s squad.



Goalkeeper Mark Birighitti put a potential move abroad on hold to remain a Newcastle Jets player. The 22-year old signed a two-year contract extension with Newcastle at the beginning of the month, a deal which will keep him at the club until the end of the 2015/16 season. European scouts were in attendance when Birighitti kept a clean sheet against Brisbane Roar in February and, although he still desires to play overseas, the Newcastle glovesman is in no hurry to make the move. “I did have ambitions to go overseas towards the back end of last season,” he told “That is still there but it is in the back of my mind … There is no need to rush.”

During the off-season Birighitti, who played his junior days with Perth SC, found himself being courted by two-time A-League champions Sydney FC. “There was some interest from Sydney,” Birighitti admitted. “I didn’t want to move to another A-League club. Newcastle gave me an opportunity to show myself. I was lucky enough to have a good year. Unless I do make a move overseas, I wouldn’t want to play anywhere else. If we can keep the core of the side together, we will be a real title contender.” Birighitti has made 24 appearances for Newcastle since joining the club in January 2012 from Adelaide United, where he played 13 times over four seasons.



The Matildas have suffered a 4-0 loss to world number one the United States of America in this evening’s friendly at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Australia was on the back foot early to goals inside the quarter hour by Lauren Holiday and Carli Lloyd with Abby Wambach and Christen Press adding to the hosts tally following the turnaround. “Giving up four goals is a bit too much,” commented Australia coach Hesterine De Reus. “We were a capable of creating dangerous opportunities ... but we struggled a lot on defence and couldn’t get control of the game.”

Holiday got the show on the road by netting after only 6 minutes with a fine volley which gave goalkeeper Lydia Williams little chance. Lloyd doubled the margin shortly by smacking a bouncing ball beyond the Williams’ reach from the top of the 18-yard box. The speed is Lisa De Vanna was causing the home defence problems and on three occasions she got within range of goal but was thwarted each time by ‘keeper Hope Solo. Wambach snared her 162nd international goal early in the second period by delicately flicking Lloyd’s long ball under a Williams. Substitute Press completed the route by prodding in Heather O’Reilly’s cut back in stoppage time.



Perth Glory and Newcastle Jets scored the first point of the new season from an uninspiring 0-0 draw on a blustery afternoon at Hunter Stadium. The home side controlled proceedings and created the better opening without being able to convert against a Glory side content to absorb the pressure and attack on the counter. “We weren’t particularly happy with our first half, we didn’t hold onto the ball as well as we wanted to,” said Glory coach Alistair Edwards. “We had some discussions at halftime and made some adjustments … the front four guys caused a bit of havoc in the last half an hour and with some better finishing we should have got on the scoresheet.”

Edwards was forced into an early change with Jack Clisby entering the action after 10 minutes for Josh Risdon due to an apparent knee tendon injury. The first opening of the game came midway through the half when Danny Vukovic’s clearance struck Ruben Zadkovich and ricocheted past the near post. Glory’s only chance of the period came shortly after, Jamie Maclaren slicing through the home defence only to place too close to Mark Birighitti. Header by Scott Neville and Kew Jaliens, both from Zadkovich’s delivery, flashed narrowly past of the target before Craig Goodwin’s shot brought a diving save from Vukovic on the stroke of half-time.

Glory was on the attack straight after the re-start but Sidnei’s back post header was straight at Birighitti. The home side hit back through Sam Gallaway whose wind-assisted cross hit the crossbar with Adam Taggart blazing high with the follow-up. Another attack down the right ended with Neville unleashing a low drive that was parried away by Vukovic. Glory should have gone ahead midway through the period but MacLaren put his one-on-one opportunity into an advancing Birighitti, who was at full-stretch moments later to push Sidnei’s vicious long-range effort around the far post. Newcastle thought themselves unlucky not to be awarded an 87th minute penalty after Nathan Burns went down under the challenge of Clisby.



English midfielder Clark Keltie commemorated his first State League season by winning one of the local scene’s most sought after prizes, Perth SC’s Fairest and Best. Keltie, who counts Rochdale AFC, Lincoln City and Darlington Town among his former clubs, was a stabilising figure throughout a season of near-constant change for Perth. “It’s always nice to receive an award at the end of a season,” commented Keltie, who arrived at Dorrien Gardens in pre-season. “It recognises the work that has been put in, not only on match days but also during the week in training.”

Although 2013 will go down as Perth’s worst season in three decades, Keltie says the history books will not necessarily show the full picture. “Taking into account the change of coach and president, along with a big number of players, then you do have to look at the bigger picture,” said Keltie, whose team used 30 players in their opening 13 league games alone. “In terms of how it all panned out for Perth, I’m very disappointed. I came here to be successful so there is a lot of improvement needed for 2014.”

When counting finished in Perth’s Fairest and Best it was Keltie who sat top of the pile ahead of young defender James Marocchi, who was also awarded the Robert Giorgi Memorial Trophy as the club’s most outstanding young player. A string of lively performances down the left flank earned Frank Furfaro the Youth Development Player along with the Under-23s Fairest and Best, Josh Metzger runner-up in the latter. The Under-18s Fairest and Best was collected by Jordan De Leo with Adrian Pizzata in second spot.



Perth Glory coach Alistair Edwards has again hosed down suggestions gifted teenager Daniel De Silva is on the verge of a European move. Italian Serie A club Catania reportedly tabled an offer in the vicinity of $1 million for the highly rated midfielder last week. And although Glory owner Tony Sage was keen to accept, De Silva’s family were not with his father saying he’d prefer his 16-year old to end up in Spain. De Silva, who has captured the attention of Inter Milan, Manchester United and Everton amongst a host of other clubs, is prevented from transferring overseas by FIFA regulations until he turns 18 – in March 2015 – unless his family relocates with him.

Edwards yesterday shut down talk of an overseas move before De Silva’s Glory contract is up in 2015. “In the A-League there are a lot of great young players and they’re always going to be attracting interest from top overseas clubs,” Edwards said. “But the fact is with Danny, he’s 16 years old and he can’t go overseas until he’s 18. The family are very, very happy in Perth and there’s a lot that goes into going overseas. It’s got to be the right move. They’ve got a pretty good environment (here). They’re trusting of what’s happening at the club and with FIFA regulations he won’t be able to travel anyway.”

De Silva, a former Stirling Lions junior, is likely to make his sixth appearance off the bench for Glory when they take on Newcastle Jets tomorrow. Glory will be minus Shane Smeltz (hip), Michael Thwaite (hamstring), Travis Dodd (knee) and Ryo Nagai (adductor) but Edwards says De Silva has plenty of work to do before he breaks into the starting eleven. “He’s got a lot to do in terms of starting in the A-League and performing regularly, and he knows that,” said Edwards. “I have no doubt there will be more and more offers coming in for the likes of Danny and a lot of younger players in the competition and I think that’s a great sign.”



Bunbury Forum Force has installed Welsh import Liam Hutchsinson as their Best and Fairest player for season 2013. Hutchinson, fresh from a season with Cambrian and Clydach, joined Bunbury early in the home and away series and through a series of commanding displays in the centre of defence cemented his place in the first eleven. Fellow defender Oliver McGee was recognised with the Best and Fairest Runner-Up trophy, while Ryan Francis received the Players’ Player of the Year.

Long-time Bunbury custodian Ryan Montgomery picked up the Most Consistent award. Club veteran David Murphy polled strongly to win the reserve team Best and Fairest where Lee Stewart finished in the runner-up spot. The Most Consistent trophy went home with goalkeeper Jamie Oakey. The Under-18s Best and Fairest trophy was taken out by Josh Yates, who had Jason Murray hot on his heels. Cam Marra’s efforts were recognised with the Players’ Player of the Year while Sam Gutheridge picked up the Coaches Award.



There may have been a changing of the guard at Ashfield but Paul Dundo plans to build upon the very solid foundations laid at the Division One club over the past few years. Dundo recently stepped up from assistant coach to head coach of the Ashfield and the former State League defender could not be happier. “I feel privileged to be given the task of continuing all the hard work Matt Carruthers and the Ashfield committee have done over the last three years,” commented Dundo. “I’m looking forward to the challenges and the hard work which lies ahead in my first senior head coach appointment.”

The continuity provided by Dundo’s appointment puts Ashfield in good stead for season 2014. “I know what the current squad is all about and they have already worked with me for one year, so this should provide a seamless move into the coming season,” said Dundo, who will be assisted by Grant Learmont. “Grant assisted Matt in 2012 so he is also familiar with the playing group and knows the clubs methodology. Our appointment coincides with outgoing coaches Matt Carruthers and Nigel Comito moving into the newly formed Football Operations Group at Ashfield.”

Dundo describes Ashfield’s most recent campaign, in which they qualified for the State Cup Final but finished the home and away series in sixth position, as a “mixed bag”. “In my view we under achieved with the squad we assembled,” he said. “We played some very attractive free-flowing football at times and put together an amazing Cup run, however, there is much room for improvement. We need to learn how to play a 22-game season and treat every game as a Cup final. We need to get the entire side playing with that ‘hard work wins games’ mentality and must learn to play for the full 90 minutes each week.”

If Ashfield can meet Dundo’s expectations then the sky is the limit for the club. “Being a very competitive type of person, I’m hoping we can achieve the highest possible results in my first year as Ashfield coach,” Dundo said. “I’m confident with the current playing squad, plus some additions to strengthen certain positions, we have the ability to achieve our goals for 2014. The club has made some great progress over the last three seasons and I’m looking forward to building further on that when the 2014 First Division season begins.”



Young right-back Storm Roux has been rushed into New Zealand’s squad for next month’s World Cup qualifying series with Mexico. New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert brought Roux into the national team frame following the 20-year old’s impressive performance on debut for Central Coact Mariners last weekend. “I’ve been called up into the next qualifying game for New Zealand, so hopefully if I do well in the training then I can make my debut for them,” Roux explained to “It will be a massive crowd because it’s such an important game. Playing against word class opposition is only good for you and the chance of maybe playing in that game is exciting.”

Although born in South Africa, Roux qualifies for New Zealand having spent eleven years of his childhood growing up in the island nation. He also holds Australian citizenship because his family relocated to Perth when he was 14. “I didn’t hear anything from South Africa and there was a bit of interest from Australia, but at that time when I had interest from Australia I didn’t have my citizenship yet,” said Roux, who played locally for Sorrento. “I got the opportunity to go with New Zealand and be part of the Under-20 squad and I took that opportunity and that’s how I ended up playing for New Zealand.”

Roux, who featured once for Perth Glory last season prior to signing a two-year deal with Central Coast, is delighted to now be honing his game under coach Graham Arnold. “He’s an amazing coach and an amazing manager,” Roux said of Arnold. “In my view he’s one of the best coaches in Australia and I’m obviously excited to have him as my coach. You can tell from the players that have gone over to Europe and China, they’ve all come through the Mariners and really improved as players. That’s another exciting thing for me, being a young boy and having a coach like Graham Arnold who does that for the young players.”



President Mal Brown has no doubt Queens Park will be a force to be reckoned with should they be successful in be returned to the State League. Queens Park, one of Western Australia’s oldest football clubs, finished second in Division One of the Sunday League this year and are amongst seven clubs in the mix to move to Saturday football next year. ”We have applied for State League next season and I do believe we would do very well in that league,” Brown asserted. “We have a very strong first and reserve squads and we are always looking to strengthen.”

The past few years have been a period of regeneration at Queens Park, who lost a staggering 52 players when relegated to the Sunday League at the end of 2010. “Our real turning point was last season when we brought in Kenny Jarvis as first team coach, and him enticing Paul Daley and Lawrence Kaye to run the reserves,” Brown explained. “Kenny was able to attract a few players and we have picked up a couple ourselves. The turnaround has happened due to his professional approach and attitude to the club and the players which has flowed on throughout the club.”

The Queens Park women’s team are firmly established as a leader in their field and Brown sees no reason why that same high level of success cannot flow all the way through his club. “The bond is very strong with the men’s and ladies teams, we have a good atmosphere which we see as only getting better,” said Brown. “This year’s men’s Sunday League sides only lost two games out of 44 and were not far away from scoring 200 goals, so we hope to continue the rise next season.” Football West are expected to announce the four clubs who’ll be added to next year’s State League at the end of this month.



State goalkeeper Curtis Aspden added some further gloss to his season by taking out the Best Player prize at Sorrento. Aspden was delighted to finally get his hands on the Gulls top individual award, pipping striker Gavin Knight by the narrowest of margins, after finishing runner-up in each of the past two seasons. “I’m stoked to finally get over the line,” said 27-year old Aspden, whose late season heroics against Bayswater City pushed him one point ahead of Knight on the final tally board. “All the lads kept saying it was either me or Gavin, he had a great season but I had a worldy against Bayswater which got me the extra votes that were needed.”

Aspden, who also won the Most Influential Goal/Save for his stand-out performance against Bayswater, admits 2013 was a difficult year for Sorrento. “We got the best out of what we had but it just happened that Bayswater and Stirling Lions were better than us,” said Aspden. “A lot went on this year with Jamie Harnwell retiring, lads going back to England and people working away all of which meant we never had a settled team. There were some positives to this though with Wesley Padley and Razak Geloo stepping up from the reserves and playing well all season, which is great for them and the club.”

Sorrento’s awards ceremony was certainly one to remember for the goalkeepers with reserves custodian James Morgan voted Best Player ahead of Brad Burgess. The youth team Best Player trophy was collected by Ryan McLaughlin with shot-stopper Jesse Wagener in the runner-up spot. 23-goals across all competitions earned Gavin Knight Golden Boot honours, with teenager Razack Geloo recipient of the Most Improved Young Player trophy for the second year running. Committee member Janette Tavelli picked up the Club Person of the Year, and the much-coveted Brush of the Year was presented to Alan Gray.



The accolades continue to roll in for the ‘No Apologies’ documentary with producer/editor Ashley Morrison and editor Troy Lemmey winning awards at the Southampton International Film Festival. ‘No Apologies’ tells the story of two Aboriginal girls, West Australian born Lydia Williams and Kyah Simon from New South Wales, and their journey to the 2011 Women’s World Cup Finals. Morrison travelled to England earlier this month to collect the Best Documentary award as well as that for Best Editing in Lemmey’s absence.

‘No Apologies’ had previously been recognised at the International Film Festival for Peace Inspiration and Equality where it won an Honourable Mention for Best Documentary Short and an Honourable Mention in the award for Equality. Morrison received an Award of Excellence in the Best Newcomer category, an award which led to ‘No Apologies’ selection as a finalist for the Best Film Made by a Newcomer. In August ‘No Apologies’ screened at the Tiger Paw Sports Film Festival in New Delhi where it was a finalist in the Feature Documentary category.



Rhys Williams doesn’t expect the foot injury sustained in the Socceroo’s friendly win over Canada this week will keep him out of action for long. The Middlesbrough captain starred at right back for Australia in London until being forced off by injury midway through the second half. And although he was wearing a protection boot following the game, Williams doesn’t believe the injury will reveal itself as being anything major. “We’ll see what happens,” he said. “Hopefully it’s just a bit of bone bruising and nothing too serious.” A succession of injuries have curtailed Williams international career, the defender missing the 2010 World Cup due to a pelvic problem while ankle ligament damage ruled him out of action last year.



Newcastle Jets have re-signed midfielder Mitch Oxborrow until the end of the 2014/15 season. Oxborrow’s one-year contract extension comes hot on the heels of a string of Young Socceroos appearances in the Asian Football Confederation Under-19 Championship qualifying tournament. “Newcastle’s a really nice place to be and I’m enjoying my football here at the moment,” the 18-year old said. “My focus now is to push for more game time in the A-League this season and hopefully with more hard work I can take my chance when it comes.”

Oxborrow joins Josh Brillante, Andrew Hoole, Taylor Regan, Mark Birighitti and Zenon Caravella in committing to Newcastle for next season. “You want to try and keep the same squad together, because if you have a lot of new faces coming in, it changes the culture in the team,” Oxborrow explained. “At the moment we’ve got a really close squad and if we keep most of the boys here for another season or two, it’s just going to make us a better team and a stronger unit.”

Oxborrow said the Young Socceroos learned some valuable lessons the hard way at the Under-19 Championship qualifiers. “It was excellent and it’s always good to play for your country whether it’s qualifiers, friendlies or an overseas tour. It’s great to get away and represent Australia,” Oxborrow said. “It showed me to expect the unexpected. We went into the game against Vietnam a bit overconfident and they beat us 5-1. It shows you can’t take anything for granted in football and that any team can beat anyone on their day.”



Young midfielder Jon Stynes celebrated his return to the State League by taking out ECU Joondalup’s Player of the Year award. Stynes, 20, linked with Joondalup early in the winter to play an anchoring role in the middle of the park following successive seasons with Kilmarnock (Scotland) and Cambridge City (England). “It was a great feeling,” said Stynes of his trophy win. “I missed the first six games of the season so I wasn’t expecting to win the award at all. It’s was my first year back since returning from the United Kingdom so it was a great way to get back to playing in the State League.”

Stynes finished top of counting in the Player of the Year ahead of runner-up Tommy Amphlett and third-place getter Joe Smith. Veteran goalkeeper Andy Banks was voted Players’ Player of the Year, with Amphlett awarded the Top Scorer trophy. The reserves Player of the Year went home with Lachlan Bechtold, Gareth Crawley collected the Players’ Player of the Year and Kallum Omellia gained the Top Scorer. Jack McMaster received the Player of the Year for the under-18s with Jack Kearns (Players’ Player of the Year) and Damien Simic (Top Scorer) taking out the other awards.



Matilda’s striker Lisa De Vanna will spearhead Melbourne Victory’s quest for the W-League title when the new season commences next month. De Vanna, a regular fixture of the Sky Blue FC line-up in recent months, is looking forward to the challenges of a new role offered by Melbourne. “We are a very young and talented team (and) have an excellent chance of winning the W-League,” De Vanna wrote on “I am usually a lone ranger on the field but this season I’m going to be much more of a team player. When you have the experience you need to share it amongst those less experienced players.”

In choosing to wear the navy blue of Melbourne this summer De Vanna turned down an offer to re-join Perth Glory Women, who the striker has played for on 22 occasions and scored ten goals in two previous spells. “It was not an easy decision,” she explained. “I needed time to think about family and friends and where was best to play. I have nothing but total respect for Perth Glory. It is extremely sad to leave behind Jamie (Harnwell), who is a brilliant head coach, and of course my best friend Katie Gill. Katie and I have a connection that you don’t come across every day.”

De Vanna is expected to make her 81st appearance for Australia on Monday when the national team takes on the United States of America in a one-off friendly. “It will be strange to be playing against Matilda’s ex-manager Tommy Sermanni, he’s picked a strong 25 (and) playing the number one ranked team in the world is never easy,” De Vanna commented. “But we are up for the challenge. We have a number of senior players returning, so this will be a really good chance to test ourselves against the USA. It is going to be a tough game, but were all raring to go.”



Wanneroo City stalwart Guy McDonald was taken by surprise when his name was read as winner of the club’s top honour, the Players’ Player of the Year. MacDonald was a stabilising influence in the centre of the park throughout his eighth season with Wanneroo. “It’s a great honour to be voted Players’ Player, especially after winning the league,” said McDonald. “To be honest, I was very surprised to win. I did feel as though I had a good season but there were definitely a few other players that had decent seasons as well and that could have won it.”

McDonald, who shared the Top Goal Scorer prize with veteran attacker Stuart Montgomery, says the recent season could not have panned out any better for his club. “To go unbeaten for 18 games a win the league is a remarkable achievement and the best thing I’ve ever been involved in in football,” he commented. “It’s just a shame that there’s no promotion because our team could definitely compete at the top level.” Defender Chris Pugh was recognised with the Coaches Award. The reserve team trophies went home with Joshua Reid (Players’ Player of the Year), Ryan West (Top Goal Scorer), Jordan Dodd (Coaches Award) and Mark Tenney (Most Improved).



Australia bounced back from successive 6-0 losses with an encouraging 3-0 defeat of Canada at Craven Cottage in London. Josh Kennedy, Dario Vidosic and Mathew Leckie were each on the scoresheet while defender Lucas Neill equalled the record for most appearances as Socceroos captain. Neill came into the match amid heavy criticism by former players after questioning the pride and drive of Australia’s younger players in a pre-match press conference. “I’m not going to regret asking the team to show passion, to show spirit,” said Neill. “That’s the way (caretaker coach Aurelio Vidmar) has been talking to get a reaction and that’s what we showed tonight. We were deliberate in what we said. We needed to see some spirit and we got it tonight.”

Australia’s call for an early strike was answered after just 26 seconds when Mark Bresciano’s clipped centre was powerfully headed in by Kennedy. Canada responded with some sustained pressure but Simeon Jackson hit the upright and Tosaint Ricketts was brilliantly denied by Mitch Langerak. The Socceroos regained control after the break and on 52 minutes Vidosic glanced in at close-range after Rhys Williams returned a partially cleared corner back into the 18-yard box. Substitute Leckie put the result beyond doubt by heading in a David Carney cross with little over ten minutes remaining. Williams was rated one of Australia’s best on the night before being forced out by injury on 67 minutes, and four minutes later fellow West Australian Nikita Rukavytsya came off the bench.



Attacker Aaron Bahadori entered Melville City’s history books as inaugural winner of the Kendall Medal, the clubs top individual honour. Bahadori, captain of the Division Two club, was voted player of the year by his team mates and also went home with the Best and Fairest as well as Golden Boot trophies. “It’s great to see someone work hard and get the rewards,” said coach Danny Evans. “Aaron demonstrated great leadership and dedication to our young squad. Although he missed a few games due to injury his form was great in a challenging year for us and his strong influence was a consistent positive within the group.”

Defender Ryan Russell commemorated a breakthrough season with the senior team by collecting the Best and Fairest runner-up trophy. The safe hands of Paul Gales went home with the reserve team Best and Fairest ahead of winger Christian Long, while 9 regular season strikes earned Lucas Pickering the Golden Boot. The under-18s Best and Fairest award was presented to central midfielder Elliot Ireland with Cameron McLaren runner-up. Will Waters won the Most Improved trophy, the Coaches Award was presented to defender Dillon Radford and the Golden Boot to Tarquin Myburg.



Alistair Edwards rates defender Michael Thwaite a 50-50 chance to return from injury in time for Perth Glory’s trip to Newcastle Jets this weekend. Thwaite was sorely missed in the team’s opening round loss to Adelaide United following his late withdrawal from the squad with a hamstring problem. The Glory defence looked out of sorts in his absence and , if fit, the fringe Socceroo would be a welcome addition to the line-up in place of either fellow senior defender Steve Pantelidis or youngster Brandon O’Neill. Thwaite’s contributors last season were rewarded with a place in Australia’s squad for the mid-year Asian Cup.

Edwards says he will assess Thwaite during the week but will take no risks with his star defender. “It’s one of those things and I spoke to the physio and that kind of stuff usually takes a few days to settle down. Hopefully that’s the case … it’s up to the physios to decide,” said Edwards, whose focus this week will be on eliminating the sloppy errors that contributed to the Adelaide result. “There were errors that we don’t normally make, put it that way,” Edwards said. “The positive out of that is that we can easily rectify that and move forward.”



Nuggetty midfielder Ben Howe commemorated his return to State League football by taking out the top prize at Gosnells City. 25-year old Howe, a former Australian Schoolboys representative, went home from his clubs awards ceremony with the Fairest and Best trophy. Allan Carroll was recognised with the Players’ Player of the Year and Ali Paredes collected the Coaches Choice. Trent Blewett made a clean sweep in the reserves, taking home trophies as Fairest and Best along with Players’ Player of the Year, while the youth team awards went to Hayden Collett (Fairest and Best) and Tony Ton (Players’ Player of the Year).



Midfielder Danny Allen is honoured to be named Joondalup City’s best player for season 2013. Allen’s contributions across the winter months didn’t go unnoticed by his team mates, who bestowed the Players’ Player of the Year award on their captain. “I’m delighted to get the Players’ Player award,” commented Allen after leading Joondalup to the Division Two championship. “It’s the best award to receive as the lads who have played with you all season have chosen me as their best player, and that it means a lot.”

Allen praised the way Joondalup stood up to the challenge over the closing stages of the season to finish top of the table. “We were absolutely first class the last ten games or so,” he said. “The whole squad showed great desire and courage to win the league. There are a lot of great people involved in the club who work there socks of behind the scenes and this championship is for them. After winning the league it will be shocking if we don’t get promoted as the club has the facilities, finances and ambition to go into the First Division, which surely we deserve.”

Danny Beattie’s efforts at the back were recognised with the Coaches Player of the Year. The reserve team Players’ Player of the Year was taken out by Ian McDowell, who also shared the Coaches Player of the Year with Bryan Neal. Liam Kavanagh made a clean sweep of the under-18 awards by collecting both the Players’ Player and Coaches Player of the Year.



Defender Scott Neville is looking forward to stepping out in front of Newcastle Jet’s home fans for the first time this season when they host Perth Glory on Sunday. Newcastle went down to Sydney FC in their opening round game on the weekend and Neville says his team are looking to make amends for that loss against his former club. “We’ve got to pick ourselves up and get ready for the Perth game,” said Neville. “It’ll be great to be playing in front of all our members and supporters again and hopefully there will be a big crowd there to get behind us.”

After all the excitement and anticipation in the lead up to last Friday’s clash with Sydney, Neville said it came as a big disappointment for his team to come away from the game empty handed. “Everyone was pretty disappointed after Friday,” Neville said. “After a six month pre-season, we were really looking forward to the first game and it obviously wasn’t the result we were after. It’s done and dusted now, there’s nothing we can do (to change it). We’ve just got to look forward to the rest of the season, get some confidence within the team and build from there.”

Neville, whose career began at Sorrento, says not too much should be read into the opening round results for the 2013/14 A-League season. “It’s only Round One and if you look across the A-League games from the weekend no team has really hit their straps, apart from maybe Adelaide. So I think you’ll see a big improvement in most teams as the weeks go on,” Neville said. “We lost our first game last season then won the next three, so you can’t get a true indication of the way teams play until maybe Round Three or Round Four or even a bit further along.”

Neville suggested there were a few areas in particular that Newcastle will need to improve on if they are to get the better of Glory. “I thought against we were pretty solid defensively, obviously aside from the two mistakes for the goals,” Neville explained. “Bridgey (Mark Bridge) might be back this week and Emile (Heskey) is only a few weeks away, so a few of the boys in the front third will be looking to put their hand up, take their chances and show what they can do. As a team collectively, we’ve just got to get better and I think we’ll come out with all guns blazing against Perth this weekend.”



Winning Ashfield’s top award is the icing on the cake of a superb season for Portguese import Ruben Tristao. The hard-working midfielder was presented the John Van Hoek Medal at Ashfield’s annual presentation ceremony. Irish goalkeeper John Perkins picked up the Players’ Player of the Year with the Coaches Award going home with Ryan Frisina. Hitting the back of the net 8 times during the home and away series earned Karl O’Reilly the Golden Boot trophy.

Nathan Thorpe capped a stellar season by collecting the Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year trophies in the reserves. Matt Weyell won the Coaches Award and Mark McAlistar was presented the Golden Boot. Lemoe Wordu picked up the Player of the Year and Golden Boot for the under-18s with Emmanuel Lemeo recipient of the Players’ Player of the Year and Coaches Award. The Rising Star trophy went home with James Kimber, who was named as one of four apprentices alongside Zac Nichollos, Lemoe Wordu and Tre Peters.



A first half Jeronimo Neumann brace helped consign Perth Glory to 3-1 an opening day defeat in what proved to be a dramatic and ill-tempered clash with Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium. The home team were finished with nine men but by the time that happened Neumann and Fabio Ferreira had already found the back of the net. “We’re disappointed to lose the game and it’s disappointing the way we conceded the goals, a bit too easy for our liking,” Glory coach Alistair Edwards said. “But apart from that, we had some good signs, some of the young boys did well and if we took our chances, it would have been a lot closer.”

An attacking approach reaped both team’s early rewards. Adelaide were first on the scoreboard after 10 minutes, Neumann opportunistically tucking away when Daniel Bowles scuffed cross landed at his feet. A quickly-taken free-kick two minutes later caught the hosts napping as Brazilian import Sidnei’s cross landed on the head of an unmarked Ryo Nagai whose finish was too good for Eugene Galekovic. With 25 minutes on the clock Adelaide went back in front with Neumann tapping in at close-range after Danny Vukovic parried Fabio Ferreira’s header into his path. The game started to get a little fractious as half time approached with Josh Risdon, Ferreira, Jacob Burns and Isaias Sanchez all having their names taken by referee Ben Williams.

The tide turned early in the second half with Jamie Maclaren narrowly placing wide from 15-metres, and two minutes later crashing a close-range header against the crossbar. Adelaide punished those misses when Ferreira nipped in to side-foot Michael Zullo’s angled cross past Vukovic in the 64th minute. Goal celebrations had barely subsided when Sanchez received his marching orders for a second yellow card. Daniel De Silva and Adrian Zahra came off the bench almost immediately for Glory but the closest they’d come to scoring again was a late Nagai effort which flashed wide of the target. Adelaide played the final eleven minutes with nine men after Nigel Boogaard collected his second booking for a foul on De Silva.



Teenage winger Ryan Williams has revealed he is open to extending his loan stay with Fulham beyond January. 19-year old Williams has started three of Fulham’s last four games and sees no reason not to prolong his time at Kassam Stadium as opposed to returning to Oxford United’s under-21 side. “At the start it was a bit frustrating because I wasn’t playing as much as I would have liked, but now I’m starting to play and show what I can do,” said Williams, a former ECU Joondalup junior. “I have another three months left so, hopefully, I can play as many games as possible in that time. If it goes well then we can extend it, if it goes sour then I’ve had fun here.”



Defender David McNally celebrated an outstanding debut season with Morley Windmills by winning the club’s top honour. McNally’s efforts in anchoring a young defence were recognised with Morley’s Best and Fairest trophy, the second the 25-year old has won after taking out the same award at Swan United three years ago. “It’s a great honour to be voted Morley’s best player,” commented McNally. “I think players tend to play their best football when they are enjoying themselves and I can honestly say that I have never enjoyed my football as much as I did this past year.”

Jean-Marc D’Avray, who partnered McNally in the centre of defence, picked up the Best and Fairest runner-up prize with goalkeeper Daniel Agudelo receiving the Coaches Award. The reserves Best and Fairest went home with Paul Curran ahead of David Panaia, while Michael D’Silva was presented the Coaches Award. Matthew Dudek was voted Best and Fairest in the under-18’s where Ian White (Best and Fairest runner-up) and Natnael Damena (Coaches Award) also collected silverware.



Sorrento striker Gavin Knight wrote himself into West Australian football history this evening by taking out the 2013 McInerney Ford Gold Medal. In excess of 850 players, coaches, officials, administrators and guests watched as Knight came from behind to claim the State League’s most prestigious individual award – and a brand new Ford Fiesta – with 22 votes, pipping Bunbury Forum Force midfielder Chris Blackburn by one vote. “It’s a dream come true,” said Knight. “I’m 33-years old and was stoked to be in the top five in the early rounds. I started to sweat a little when I moved up the leader board and to win it is unbelievable.”

There was a full house at Grand Ballroom of the Crown Perth to celebrate the on-field achievements of 2013. A trio of best on ground performances had Floreat Athena’s Ludovic Boi out in front at the season mid-point with ten votes, one more than Todd Howarth (Bayswater City) and Stirling Lions team mates Dean Evans and Scott Bulloch. As the season came to a close the Gold Medal race was down to two with, Blackburn (21 votes) leading the way from Knight (19). Sitting jointly in a distant third spot with 12 votes each were Howarth, Boi, Greg Sharland (Inglewood United) and Moses Kalau (Stirling).

The final tally board had Knight on 22 votes and Blackburn, who missed the final two games of the season, second with 21 votes. A late run moved Howarth to 16 votes and third place. Cockburn City young gun Harry O’Brien was next with 15 votes, which was one more than Stirling midfielder Evans. Floreat’s Boi and Adam Tong (Balcatta) ended with 13 votes followed by Sharland (Inglewood United) and Kalau (Stirling) with 12 each. Rounding out the top ten, a further vote behind, were Bulloch, Jason Gavin (Stirling) and Benny Kovadio (Floreat). View all the 2013 Gold Medal votes (xls, 217kb).

Gustavo Giron-Marulanda’s (Bayswater) reward for 18 regular season strikes was a third successive Golden Boot trophy. The safe hands of Stirling’s Aleks Vrteski were presented the Goalkeeper of the Year. Guiding Bayswater to the State Championship, State Cup and Night Series treble earned Coach of the Year honours for Chris Coyne. Adam Fielding picked up the Golden Whistle as referee of the year, Joe Fusari took home the Assistant Referee of the Year and the Referee Encouragement Award was presented to Nico Hoyle.

The Division One Player of the Year finished in a five-way tie between Western Knights captain David Annall, Andreas Theodosiadis (Dianella White Eagles), Daniel Niederberger (Canning City), Ross Edwards (Wanneroo City) and Shamrock Rovers’ Paul Concannon, who each polled 17 votes. Knights team mates Johny Mirco and Steve Purton shared second spot with just one votes less than the winners, followed by Canning City’s Paul Van Dongen (15) and Ashfield’s Reuben Tristao (14). Ciaran Byrne’s 27-goal winter saw him claim the Golden Boot, while David Tough was rewarded with the Coach of the Year for steering Wanneroo City to the championship.

It was also a night to remember for Melville City captain Aaron Bahadori who took home the Division Two Player of the Year and Golden Boot trophies. Best on ground performances in the final two games of the season took Bahadori to top spot with 20 votes, four more than second placed Sean Treacey (Maddington White City). Aaron Maplestone (Quinns) and Daniel Beattie (Joondalup City) each picked up 14 votes to shared third with Gareth Hamilton (Quinns) and Danny Allan (Joondalup) level with 13 votes. 12-goals were enough for Bahadori to take out the Golden Boot, with the Coach of the Year awarded to Joondalup’s Gary Kalaher.

A final round best-on-ground took Joondalup United’s Lee Jones to the top in counting of the Sunday League Gold Medal. Jones, who set the pace early, finished with 19 votes to be one clear of joint runners-up Ago Mujic (BB United) and Jason Winter (Perth Royals). Third was shared by Keith Donegan (North Perth United) and M.Gardner (Kingsley) with 17 votes followed by Ricky Andrews (Hamersley Rovers), Joe Liguan (Fremantle Croatia) and Stephen Henry (North Perth) on 15 votes. Jones also picked up the Golden Boot, the Goalkeeper of the Year went to Jamie Serra (Whitford City) and Alex Carter (North Perth United) picked up the Coach of the Year.

Queens Park defender Stacey Learmont was the runaway winner of the Women’s Premier League Gold Medal. Learmont scored 35 votes to be well clear of runner-up Elisa D’Ovidio (Balcatta) on 28 votes. Northern Redbacks’ Charlotte Farrell (26), UWA-Nedlands Ashling Jennings (24) and Redbacks striker Renee Leota (21) completed the top five. Leota was presented the Golden Boot for her 27-goal season, the Goalkeeper of the Year award went home with Maya Diederichsen (Queens Park) and Neil Bennett (Redbacks) won Coach of the Year. Kerry Slater of Sorrento received the David Schrandt Administrator of the Year with the Volunteer of the Year presented to Heidi Lazzaro (Cockburn).



Perth Glory coach Alistair Edwards has again shown his commitment to youth by promoting Brandon O’Neill to the starting eleven. Edwards has decided to take no risks with Michael Thwaite, who is suffering a hamstring injury, and will instead throw 19-year old O’Neill in to the deep end for tomorrow’s A-League season opener with Adelaide United. “Brandon has done extremely well in the pre-season, playing nine of the fifteen games, so it’s a big opportunity for him to get cracking with the A-League,” Edwards said. Daniel De Silva, 16, will start on the bench after returning from Young Socceroos duty while Jamie Maclaren and Ryan Edwards, both 19, will spearhead the attack.

Edwards dismissed any suggestion O’Neill, Maclaren, Edwards or De Silva are not ready for the rigours of senior football. “A lot of them have played over in England and the various national teams … they’re good players,” he said. “It just goes in line with our philosophy as a club to give young players an opportunity. People are all talking about the overseas players in the league and it’s great, all the Del Pieros and the like are doing great stuff. But the important thing for Perth Glory and everyone here is the exciting young Australian talent coming in and that is the point of difference for us this year.”



Australia coach Holger Osieck has been sacked following a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of France overnight at the Parc Des Princes in Paris. The Socceroos second six-goal loss in a month was the final straw for Football Federation Australia who, despite Osieck achieving his primary objective of guiding Australia to next year’s World Cup, felt the German could not get the job done at in Brazil and the 2015 Asian Cup being hosted by Australia. The decision came hot on the heels of last month’s 6-0 defeat to Brazil and a spluttering, if ultimately successful, World Cup qualification campaign. Assistant coach Aurelio Vidmar will act as caretaker coach for next week’s friendly against Canada in London.

It took France only 8 minutes to open their account with Franck Ribery converting a penalty awarded for handball against David Carney. The margin was doubled soon enough, Ribery pulling back for Olivier Giroud to brilliantly lift over Mitch Langerak. On 27 minutes Giroud tapped in on the end of a move between Ribery and Samir Nasri and two minutes later Yohan Cabaye add another by lashing in from the edge of the area. Mathieu Debuchy punished some poor 47th minute defending with a brilliant volley with substitute Karim Benzema completing the route by turning in Ribery’s cross from the left. Rhys Williams played a full game while Nikita Rukavytsya came off the bench at half-time.



The 2013 State League season officially comes to a close tomorrow night with the West Australian Football Awards. The event will bring the stars of State League, Sunday League and Women’s League football together in the Grand Ballroom of the Crown Perth. 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.

For many the coveted prize is a two-horse race between Dean Evans and Todd Howarth, whose influence in the Stirling Lions and Bayswater City engine rooms were vital to their team’s success. However, the pair faces some pretty stiff competition from Gavin Knight (Sorrento) and Paul Lloyd (Cockburn City) while Benny Kovadio (Floreat Athena), Tommy Amphlett (ECU Joondalup) and Andy Brown (Stirling) are also expected to finish high on the leader board.

Guiding Bayswater to victory in the Night Series, State Cup and Grand Final will give Chris Coyne the Coach of the Year with his only rival for the award being Doug Hesketh, who took Stirling to the top of the Premier Division. Curtis Aspden (Sorrento) and Aleks Vrteski (Stirling) are the frontrunners for Goalkeeper of the Year honours with Inglewood United’s Luke Martino the dark horse of the field.

There’ll be little separating the leaders in the Division One Player of the Year. Midfield pair Paul Concannon (Shamrock Rovers) and Andreas Theodosiades (Dianella White Eagles) are tipped to be there or thereabouts along with Ross Edwards (Wanneroo City), Daniel Neiderberger (Canning City) and Western Knights stalwart David Annall. David Tough is expected to be named Coach of the Year after steering Wanneroo City to the championship.

The field is wide open in the Division Two Player of the Year where Ty Fenwick (Maddington White City), Aaron Bahadori (Melville City), Danny Allen (Joondalup City) along with Quinns team mates Arran Maplestone and Brian Cairney are expected to be close to the top come the end of counting. Gary Kalaher is red-hot favourite to take home the Coach of the Year trophy after taking Joondalup to the top of the table.

The match officials won’t be forgotten with the Golden Whistle, Assistant Referee of the Year and Referee Encouragement Award up for grabs. The standout performers in the Sunday and Women’s Premier Leagues will be honoured with Gold Medal, Goalkeeper of the Year, Coach of the Year and Golden Boot honours. Rounding out the individual awards are the Administrator of the Year and Volunteer of the Year. hopes to carry a thorough roundup of who goes home with what on Sunday.



Swiss club Grasshoppers Zurich are the latest European club to join the chase for Perth Glory starlet Daniel De Sliva. Having courted interest from English clubs Everton and Manchester United, 16-year old De Silva signed a two-year deal with Glory during the winter but nonetheless continues to field offers from Europe. Grasshoppers, who are hoping to sign De Silva on a co-ownership deal with an unnamed Italian Serie A club, are understood to be willing to loan the midfielder to Glory for the coming season. Glory boss Alistair Edwards has made no secret that he feels De Silva would be best served by remaining in the A-League until he is 18.



Football West are making steady progress towards the expansion of the State League for season 2014. In early September the association sought expressions of interest from existing Sunday League clubs to join next years’ State League Division Two with seven clubs – Balga, Curtin University, Ellenbrook United, Joondalup United, Kalamunda United, Kelmscott Roos and Queens Park – putting their hands up. Football West will assess and choose up to four clubs with the aim of making Division Two to a twelve-team league in 2014.

The assessment of application is well underway, as Football West competition’s managers Keith Wood explained. “We are currently reviewing the applications and, once that’s done, if necessary, we’ll contact clubs to clarify any issues and also, if necessary, organise a visit to the club’s proposed venue,” Wood said. ”Once we are satisfied that we have all relevant information, we’ll make a recommendation to the Football West Board.” The process is expected to be finalised by the end of October in order to provide Division Two’s newcomers as long as possible to prepare for their entry into the State League.



Attacker Richard Garcia insists Sydney FC will not use injury as an excuse should the Sky Blues not make a flying start to the new A-League season. Sydney coach Frank Farina has been digging deep in search of options after the club were dealt a string of injuries in the past fortnight which has left them without Brett Emerton, Terry McGlynn and Yairo Yau amongst others for tomorrow’s opening round clash with Newcastle Jets. “It’s been a bit tough but that’s why we’ve got a good squad depth,” Garcia told “It’s a fantastic thing to have at a club, especially when you do get a few injuries.”

Garcia, who joined Sydney over the winter following last season’s stellar A-League debut with Melbourne heart, said the need to make a strong start and also improve their home record is been the topic of much discussion within the squad. “You want to start the season off with a bang and I don’t think anyone goes out in round one looking to lose,” he said. “We want to win every game, especially at home; we want to be more consistent and that’s something we lacked last season. This season has been a big thing in our minds to make sure our home form is very good.”



Former Perth Glory defender Chris Coyne has urged his old club to take a punt on prolific Bayswater City striker Gustavo Giron-Marulanda. The gifted Colombian has been the Premier Division’s top goal scorer for the past three seasons and was on-target again on the weekend when Bayswater defeated Stirling Lions in the Grand Final. Giron-Marulanda, 27, has been training with Glory since last month and is under consideration for a short-term deal as an injury replacement for New Zealand international Shane Smeltz, who recovering from hip surgery.

Coyne, a former Socceroo, believes Giron-Marulanda has what it takes to make an impact in the A-League. “The boy needs an opportunity to try and ply his trade at the next level,” Coyne told the ‘West Australian’ newspaper. “He’s got the potential (but) whether he’s capable mentally with all the rigours that come with professional football (is yet to be seen), but the boy’s been exceptional for me. He’s super quick, super sharp and he’s also got that ‘X’ factor. He’s got that wow factor where he’ll just do something completely off the cuff and create something out of nothing.”

Giron-Marulanda, who netted with a sublime free-kick during a friendly outing with Glory against the State amateur team last month, said he would jump at the chance to play in the A-League. “That’s the top of whatever you want to achieve and that’s what I work hard for,” he said. “I never give up, I just keep working. I train hard and do my best. I always wanted this opportunity to happen so if it’s going to happen I’ll be the happiest man ever.” Glory coach Alistair Edwards has vowed to give Giron-Marulanda every opportunity to press his claim to a spot in the squad.



Middlesbrough captain Rhys Williams is aiming to help the Socceroos bounce back from their six-goal thrashing at the hands of Brazil. Australia are still smarting from last month’s loss in Brasilia and Wiliams, who watch the game from the bench, says the Socceroos plan to atone when they face France in a friendly tomorrow night in Paris. “The motto for Australia is we never give up,” said Williams, who feels Australia lost their way against Brazil. “There were a few discussions after the game where we said ‘yes, we let them take over a little bit’ which isn’t like us. But the boss has picked a good opposition in France, it’s a great opportunity to put things right.”



Jacob Burns is excited about the path down which coach Alistair Edwards is leading Perth Glory. Edwards came into the job late last season and immediately set about building for the long-term by ushering young guns including Daniel De Silva (16), Jamie Maclaren (20) and Ryan Edwards (21) into the squad. “There’s some real excitement I think, real excitement around the direction the club’s heading,” Burns told AAP. “For the first time I think in a long while there’s some very good young talent and you can see where the future’s heading.”

The addition of De Silva, Maclaren and Edwards could not have been better timed with veteran attacker Travis Dodd out with a long-term knee injury and New Zealand international Shane Smeltz unavailable for the first month of the season with a hip problem. “It gives an opportunity for some young guys to shine and stamp their name on the game,” Burns said. “We’ve created a culture at the club where they’re confident in the right manner and they’re going out there to express themselves playing within our team structure.”



Perth Glory Women have signalled their desire to improve on last season’s maiden finals appearance with a trio of international signings for the upcoming W-League summer. Canadian defender Sasha Andrews has agreed to spend a second season wearing Glory Women’s purple and will be joined by international team mate Christina Julien plus Denmark defender Cecilie Sandvej. Coach Jamie Harnwell is understandably delighted to have Andrews, Julien and Sandvej, who share in excess of 100 appearances for their respective countries, on board for the new season.

Andrews, 30, is no stranger to Glory Women supporters having featuring regularly last season in an anchoring in the centre of defence. “Sasha was a huge influence on the playing group on and off the park and was a great leader in our back four,” said Harnwell, who began making moves to re-sign Andrews following last season’s controversial semi-final loss. “She really enjoyed her time here last year and it will be great to see her back in the Glory colours for another season.”

Glory Women will be lead into attack for their first seven games by 25-year old Julien. “In putting together the squad, I wanted to add something different to our front third and Christina jumped at the chance to be a guest player,” Harnwell said. “She’s a great signing for us for the first part of the season. She has her sights set on consolidating her place in the Canadian national team, and her enthusiasm and energy have already been apparent. I can’t wait to see what she will bring to our attacking play.”

Sandvej joins Glory Women fresh from helping Brondby IF win the league and cup double in Denmark. “Cecilie was brought to my attention through (Glory Women midfielder) Aivi Luik, who played with her in Denmark,” said Harnwell of the 23-year old left-back. “She is a versatile player, who has already had European experience in the Champions League and Euro 2013. She has shown a huge amount of desire to come to Perth, putting her European career on hold to play for Perth Glory.”



Perth Glory coach Alistair Edwards sees no need to recruit another centre back in the wake of Ljubo Milicevic’s shock decision to walk out on the club. Milicevic was only two months into a three-year deal with Glory before making a dramatic about-face last week. And while Edwards would have preferred to retain the experienced defender, he has full confidence in his current squad to cover for the loss of the 32-year old. “We’re very happy with the squad that we’ve got,” said Edwards when asked if he was seeking to replace Milicevic. “We’ve got Michael Thwaite, who is a Socceroo in waiting, Steve Pantelidis, who is probably the most underrated defender in the whole competition (plus) we’ve got Jack Clisby and Brandon O’Neill as young understudies, which fits into our philosophy.”



Bayswater City goalkeeper Devon Spence has signed his first professional contract by joining Perth Glory on a short-term deal. Fresh from starring in Bayswater’s Grand Final defeat of Stirling Lions, Spence has taken up a six-week contract with Glory as an injury replacement for Australian youth international Jack Duncan. “It’s been massive … it’s been a good weekend to say the least,” Spence said, reflecting on an eventful 48 hours. “We wrapped up the championship with Bayswater and now I’ve signed an injury replacement contract ... so I can’t really complain.”

Spence has been part of the Glory youth team since 2008. While the six-week contract is a step in the right direction, the 22-year old plans to make the most of his opportunity and prove to the Glory coaching staff that he has what it takes to play A-League. “The next step for me is a full-time contract,” said Spence, who played locally for Canning City, Perth SC, Inglewood United and Bayswater. “I’ll take six weeks over nothing but now it’s up to me now to show them I’m ready. I have to keep improving and asking the coaches for feedback so as to prove to them I'm ready to go.”

With only four days to go until the new A-League season kicks off, Spence believes Glory are in a healthy position following an influx of youth over the winter months. “The boys have had fourteen pre-season games – they’ve been together a long time and I think they’ve really enjoyed it,” he said. “It’s quite different to last season’s team but the young boys who have come in have been absolutely fantastic. I think the team balance is good, the culture is good ... so fingers crossed we can have a good season.”



The sky is the limit for former Socceroos defender Chris Coyne after guiding Bayswater City to a historic treble in his rookie coaching season. Bayswater added the State Championship to the pre-season Night Series and State Cup trophies on Saturday afternoon by defeating Stirling Lions 2-1 in the State League Grand Final. “I’m still learning my trade,” 34-year old Coyne said. “Everyone’s dream is to play for their country and I’d love to coach my country. I want to be the best I can and see how far it takes me. I’ll keep learning, keep doing my studies and keep educating myself to get my licences. If it does get me to a higher level, it will be a dream. If it doesn’t, it won’t stop me from pushing.”

A Todd Howarth goal with just minutes to spare secured Bayswater their first State Champions crown on Saturday, adding to Gustavo Giron-Marulanda’s second half equaliser after Garth McGlynn put Stirling in front. “I thought we were absolutely fantastic in the second half and I’m delighted for the players who have all worked hard all season,” Coyne said of his teams’ performance. “We tweaked it a little at the break and it worked for us, they didn’t have the answers. It was testament to the quality of players we have at our club, we changed the game plan and they were able to go out and do it, and they got the rewards on the day.”



Australia’s hopes of featuring at next year’s Asian Football Confederation Under-19 Championship is up in the air after finishing second to Vietnam in this week’s qualifying tournament. The Young Socceroos claimed sizeable victories over Hong Kong (7-0) and Chinese Taipei (3-0) before being humbled 1-5 by Vietnam, who became the first team to book their place at next year’s tournament. Australia are positioned well to also qualify as one of six second best-placed sides, however, their fingers are crossed that results in the other eight qualifying groups go in their favour.

The Young Socceroos kicked off their qualifying path with an emphatic 7-0 victory over Hong Kong courtesy of goals from Peter Skapetis (4), Chris Cristaldo (2), and Mitch Oxborrow. The Chinese Taipei offered a little more resistance but goals by Christopher Ikonomidis (2) and Nicholas Olsen gave Australia a second straight win. A first half onslaught paved the way for Vietnam to cruise to 5-1 win today, Petros Skapetis getting the Young Socceroos solitary goal. Western Australia was well represented throughout the qualifiers with Daniel De Silva, Scott Galloway, Jordan Lyden, Mitch Oxborrow and goalkeeper Luke Radonich part of the squad.



Australian international Mark Birighitti will be a Newcastle Jets player for the next three-years after signing a contract extension with the A-League club. Birighitti, 22, had the gloves for the majority of his first season with Newcastle, winning his club’s Player of the Year award and going on to make his Socceroos debut at the recent 2013 East Asian Cup. “It was a long process but I came to the conclusion that Newcastle was the place to be for me at this point of my career,” Birighitti said. “I’m really happy to sign with the club for another two seasons.”

Birighitti is adamant an exciting future awaits Newcastle and he intends playing a big role in it. “It’s a great club and I definitely see us being up there this year and in years to come,” said Birighitti, a former Perth SC junior. “The potential we have at the club was one of the main reasons why I wanted to stay with Newcastle. During the off-season, a few of the boys have represented their country with the Socceroos and Young Socceroos. Coming into another season in the A-League I know their confidence will be sky high and we’re all looking forward to a big year.”



A late Todd Howarth strike proved the difference as Bayswater City beat Stirling Lions 2-1 in this afternoon’s State League Grand Final at Litis Stadium. Irish midfielder Gareth McGlynn had given Stirling a first half lead before Gustavo Giron-Marulanda equalised and Howarth struck in the dying minutes to give Bayswater their first ever State Championship. “It was a fantastic finish to a successful season for us,” said Howarth. “Credit to Stirling, they made us work extremely hard. They probably had the better of the first half but I feel we over ran them in the end with a bit of extra desire.”

There was a big crowd on hand at kick-off and it was Bayswater that opened the brighter. With only 5 minutes gone Giron-Marulanda put a free-kick just past the post following a handball decision against Stirling custodian Aleks Vrteski outside of his 18-yard box. Bayswater were well on top and on the quarter hour Adrian Caceres picked out Brian Farrell, who cut past James Cogley only for Vrteski to produce a smart low save to deny him. Stirling settled and went close to the opener two minutes later, Miki Vujacic’s cross headed over by Rory Grant from 6-metres.

Vrteski twice came to the rescue, saving in each occasion from Gustavo Catarcione as Bayswater pressed to make something of their dominance. So it was against the run of play that Stirling went ahead on 29 minutes, Dean Evans playing down the left for Daniel Micevski whose cross was dummied by Phil Arnold and fired in from 18-metres by McGlynn. This gave Stirling the lift they needed and five minutes before the break Evans close-range shot was met by the gloves of Devon Spence after Arnold had skipped past Chris Saldaris on the right.

Stirling carried on after the break where they left off, Rory Grant centring for Arnold to neatly roll the ball back for Evans whose fierce strike from the edge of the area was well-saved by Spence. Giron-Marulanda restored parity in the 53rd minute by tucking into an empty net after Howarth’s low shot was parried by Vrteski, who was helpless at the follow-up. It was now Bayswater that was dictating terms and Jamie Coyne’s long-range effort drifted just wide before Andy Brown’s last gasp tackle denied Giron-Marulanda. Stirling, too, had their chances but shots from Andy Todd and Arnold were taken by Spence.

The game looked destined for extra-time when Farrell, from his position on the left, delivered the ball into Howarth who slid past his marker and fired low into the net. Stirling pushed men forward late in a desperate attempt to equalise, and they would have had one deep in stoppage time had Spence not brilliantly turned away Evans’ powerful header at the far post from a Matthew Harold cross. The final whistle sounded shortly to trigger scenes of jubilant celebration in the Bayswater camp. Howarth’s afternoon was made complete when awarded the man of the match honours, the ‘Gary Marocchi’ Medal.

Bayswater City: Devon Spence, Patrick Quinn, Trent Kay, Andy Reale, Chris Saldaris, Brian Farrell, Jamie Coyne, Adrian Caceres (Hassan El Yassiri 75), Todd Howarth, Gustavo Giron-Marulanda (Ross Cosgrave 89), Gustavo Catarcione (Steve Burton 76)
Stirling Lions: Aleks Vrteski, James Cogley, Andy Todd, Andy Brown, Clayton Arnez, Daniel Micevski, Dean Evans, Miki Vujacic (Tim Hill 71), Gareth McGlynn, Phil Arnold (Josh Booysen 89), Rory Grant (Matthew Harold 83)
Bookings: Giron-Marulanda (45+1), Quinn (51), Burton (82), Arnold (92)
Dismissals: Nil
Referee: Mathew Cheeseman

Bayswater City - 2013 State League Champions.



Inglewood United have completed the Premier Division and Top Five double by downing Perth SC 9-8 in a tense penalty shoot-out in the this afternoon’s Reserves Grand Final at Litis Stadium. The game was deadlocked at 0-0 after regulation time and it wasn’t decided until Perth goalkeeper Dominic Savoldelli crashed his spot kick against the crossbar that the game was decided. “We’ve had a great season and the boys have worked hard to get to today and were all over the moon to win it,” said Inglewood captain Cameron Sutton. “We’ve had tough games against Perth this season and today was no different, so to win is great for the club.”

It was Perth who went closest to an early lead with Chris Rizidis’s shot blocked by goalkeeper Mitchell Papas, who was at full-stretch in tipping over the follow-up by Giuseppe Agnello. There was no end to the openings created by Inglewood but a lack of quality delivery into the final third denied them the go-ahead goal. Soon after the break Scott Witschge took the ball deep down the right before cutting back to Anton de Francesch but Savoldelli was out bravely to save at his feet. Inglewood continued to carve out chances with Anthony Papalia placing too close to Savoldelli from distance while substitute Connor Devlin lifted over the top.

With neither side able to break through, the game was decided from the penalty spot with Inglewood prevailing in the test of nerves. “Today’s win was more a reflection of the season we’ve had, but we got the chocolates at the end,” said Inglewood coach Michael Garcia. “It’s harsh winning on penalties, they are like a lottery, and I feel for Perth they have been a good side as well this season … we really respect Perth, they’ve been the benchmark setter for the past few years and we’ve aspired to catch them and we’ve done that which is a credit to our guys

Inglewood United: Mitchell Papas, Joseph Pullella, Tsinat Tamerat, Cameron Sutton, Luke Randazzo, Scott Witschge, Jarrod McNally (Dejan Andric 60), Dino Topcagic, Anthony Papalia, Anton De Francesch (James Gordon 81), Dario Pavic (Connor Devlin 45)
Perth SC: Domenic Savocdelli, Thomas Southgate, Jordan Colasante, Ogi Lalovic, Savo Cubrilo, Jordan Candlish, Tim Robertson, Guiseppe Agnello, Nathan De Abreu (Mundy Toure 73), Chris Rizidis, Michael Rizidis
Bookings: De Francesch (59), Papalia (69)
Dismissals: Nil
Referee: Stephen Gregory

Inglewood United - 2013 Reserves Grand Final winners. (Photo courtesy Tom Gordon)



Perth SC have added the Under-18 Top Five trophy to the Premier Division one on show at Dorrien Gardens after defeating ECU Joondalup 4-2 on penalties in today’s Grand Final at Litis Stadium. Luka Ninkovic’s goal midway through the second half looked to have given Joondalup victory when Joel Bayubahe grabbed a dramatic equaliser three minutes from the end. “The boys have had that team spirit all through the year and have played all the way to the end and today we got a break” Perth coach Gavin Tait said. “Joel’s been the top goal scorer in the league all season, so it was fitting that he got the equaliser.”

Perth went close to opening their account midway through the first half but Gabriel Kieswetter’s close-range header was brilliantly turned away by 14-year old goalkeeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer. Only a few more minutes passed before Matthew Milenkovic’s corner landed kindly for Daniel Tait whose goal bound shot was blocked close to the line by Cian Hirrell. Joondalup’s best opening of the period came the way of Damian Simic who, having spotted Perth custodian Hudson Herron off his line, chanced his luck from the half way line with the ball drifting just over the crossbar.

The second half opened with Perth again on the attack, Milenkovic cutting in from the right to rifle into the side netting. The game was blow wide open in the 69th minute when Simic reacted quickest to net at close-range after Jack Cairns’ shot was kept out by Herron. Maynard denied Perth an equaliser by moving sharply to keep out Jordan De Leo’s curling shot. And when Blues captain Adrian Pizzata was sent off in the 86th minute it looked as though the trophy was heading north. However, sixty seconds later Bayubahe applied a tidy finish to send the game to the penalty spot.

ECU Joondalup: Ash Maynard-Brewer, Jack McMaster, Kye Douglas, Scott Robertson, Cian Hirrell, Yatin Panar (Jake Davies 45), Jack Cairns, Paul David, Damien Simic, Nick Maynard (Jack Hailstones 45), Luka Ninkovic
Perth SC: Hudson Herron, Ahmed Naser (Jordan Doropoulos 66), Jordan De Leo, Matthew Milenkovic, Daniel Tait, Gabriel Kieswetter (Joel Bayubahe 51), Alex Silla, Daniel Henry, Jonas Dorling (Saul Healy 77), Conner Becsi, Adrian Pizzata
Bookings: Pizzata (63), Kieswetter (87)
Dismissals: Pizzata (86)
Referee: Elliot Cirkovic

Perth SC - 2013 Youth Grand Final winners. (Photo courtesy Alex Howell)



It’s been a memorable week at the National Youth Championship with the West Australian Under-13 side claiming the national title, and the Under-14’s finishing in second place. The Under-13 team, coached by Brad Hassell, collected five wins from six even starts at the tournament in Coffs Harbour to finish on top of the pile. Not to be outdone, the Under-14’s made it a clean sheet of wins to take out their group but were pipped for top honours by New South Wales.

The Under-13’s kicked off their campaign a convincing 2-0 defeat of Victoria, courtesy of Charlie Watt and Jake Robinson, followed by a 4-0 win over Queensland Metro against whom Abias Bukari netted a hat-trick with Jaidon Seldon also on the scoresheet. Liam Murray grabbed the only goal of a tight day two meeting with New South Wales Metro, while first half goals by Seldon and Thomas Eijgenhuijsen brought down South Australia 2-0. Bukari and Ethan Kerridge were on-target in a 2-0 defeat of Capital Football before West Australia went down 4-1 to Northern New South Wales on the final day of competition, Bukari again the scorer.

Losene Dulleh snared four goals and Abu Dulleh grabbed a hat-trick in the Under-14’s opening day 7-0 thrashing of Northern New South Wales. Abu Dulleh scored three more, and Losene Dulleh another two as West Australia swept past Tasmania 5-0 before the Northern Territory succumbed 6-0 to goals from Abu Dulleh (3), James Owen, Ryan Charles and Sam Pollard. Victoria Country was undone 3-0 by Nick Koefler, Ayden Dragun and Abu Dulleh, while a final day 2-0 win over Queensland Country came via Abu Dulleh and Losene Dulleh.

The West Australian Under-13 squad features Malek Kuc, Ronan-Marc Cowley (Balcatta), Jesse Lippert (Cockburn City), Abias Bukari, Jake Robinson, Riley van Dieken, Charlie Watt (Fremantle United), Ethan Brooks (Inglewood United), Thomas Eijgenhuijsen, Declan Hughes, Ethan Kerridge (ECU Joondalup), Jordan Allen-Rana, Chris Hall, Liam Murray, Jaidon Seldon (Perth SC) and Liam Levy (Westside). The team officials are Brad Hassell (coach), John Walmsley (assistant coach), Dave Whalley (manager) and Mirella Korver (physiotherapist)

The West Australian Under-14 squad is Ryan Charles, Ayden Dragun, Ashley Maynard, James Owen (ECU Joondalup), Abu Dulleh, Losene Dulleh (Melville City), Jesse McEwen (South Perth United), Rhett De Silva, Adam Falcone, Stefan King, Nick Koefler, Jack Leech, Ben Pellizari, Sam Pollard, Walter Scott and Kosta Sparta (National Training Centre). The team officials are Callum Salmon (coach), Sean D’Arcy (assistant coach), Rodney De Silva (manager) and Mirella Korver (physiotherapist).



The State League Grand Final takes centre stage this weekend with Bayswater City taking on Stirling Lions at Litis Stadium for the 2013 Championship. Stirling were left humbled when the sides met a fortnight ago, however, assistant coach Gary Williams says lessons were learnt that afternoon. “We discussed the defeat against them last time, and that’s now in the past,” Williams said. “We bounced back against Sorrento and I thought Phil Arnold was great on the day, scoring two goals, and he has matured as a player over the past month.”

Gareth McGlynn was absent through suspension last time the sides met but the Stirling playmaker will be back in action this time around. “Gareth returned last week against Sorrento and his calmness on the ball gave confidence to the other players on the pitch and, hopefully, he will put in a similar performance this week,” Williams added. Defender Jason Gavin also comes back into the line-up for Stirling, where the coaching staff has a full squad to select from despite a few players pulling up sore following a hard-fought win over Sorrento.

Chris Coyne says his Bayswater players will require very little motivation when kick-off rolls around off tomorrow. Bayswater totally demolished Stirling in the Major Semi-Final and, in all honesty, have looked the goods since the season began. “We are really looking forward to game,” commented rookie coach Coyne. “After beating them and having week off it feels like a long wait. Training has been intense and everyone wants to be a part of the final and (to win) it would cap off what has already been a decent season.”

Coyne knows Grand Finals can be unpredictable but believes his side have the edge. “The two Gustavo’s (Giron-Marualanda and Catarcione) are vital and there pace and movement will be crucial, while Jamie Coyne and Todd Howarth have been fantastic in the centre of the park,” he said. “Whoever wins the battle in midfield will win the game.” Team captain John Kearney misses the game through suspension but otherwise Coyne has a full squad to choose from. The 2013 State League Grand Final between Bayswater and Stirling takes place tomorrow at Litis Stadium, kick-off 3.00pm.



The Reserves Grand Final has regular season winners Inglewood United up against runners-up Perth SC. Games between the pair have been tight and Inglewood coach Michael Garcia is tipping more of the game. “Perth is a quality opponent and will be tough to beat, and we know anything can happen in a Final,” Garcia said. “We respect Perth and the way they go about it so it’s fitting the two best teams in the league play-off in the last game of the season.” Dino Topcagic, Anton De Francesh, Luke Randazzo, Joeseph Pulella and Nikki Talimdzoski will be crucial to Inglewood’s hopes of completing the double.

Perth coach Paddy Strano, like his counterpart, expects very little to spate the sides at the end of 90 minutes. “It will be another close game against a good Inglewood side,” Strano said. “We were on top of the league for most of the season before we moved players into the first team (so) I’m delighted that we have reached the Grand Final. Whatever the result, it shows that our squad depth is strong.” Goal-focused Giuseppe Agnello will have a big role to play along with captain Tim Robertson, Chris Rizidis Mundy Toure and goalkeeper Dom Savoldelli. The 2013 Reserves Grand Final between Inglewood and Perth takes place tomorrow at Litis Stadium, kick-off 12.15pm.



The Grand Final in the Under-18’s also brings together the top two regular season sides, that being Perth SC and with ECU Joondalup. Perth claim victory on both previous meetings this year and coach Gavin Tait knows a full squad effort will be required to lift the trophy tomorrow. “Everyone has contributed and they will all be important on the day to give us the best chance of success on Saturday,” said Tait. Joel Bayubahe is the youth league’s top goal scorer and, along with Conor McKay, Daniel Tait, Matt Milenkovic and captain Adrian Pizzata, will have a big say in the outcome.

Joondalup coach Mark Windeatt is looking to end the winter on a high. “All the players have been outstanding this season, we’ve had a completely new team from last season and they have performed well,” Windeatt said. “It should be a great game, we will be looking to win and we will not be sitting back.” Captain Jack Cairns holds the key in the middle of the park while Paul David, Luke Ninavich, Jack McMaster and Scott Robinson will vital if the trophy is to head north. The 2013 Youth Grand Final between Joondalup and Perth takes place tomorrow at Litis Stadium, kick-off 10.00am.



Stirling Lions midfielder Dean Evans will be hoping to help his club to their first State Championship win in eighteen years when they face Bayswater City in Saturday’s State League Grand Final. Evans, who recently a short-term deal with Perth Glory, believes last week’s win over Sorrento was just the tonic Stirling required leading into the final game of 2013. “It was a great win for the club, Sorrento are always a hard team to come up against,” said 23-year old Evans. “I thought we did enough to come away with the win and we go into the final full of confidence.”

Evans has no doubt Stirling have the quality to beat Bayswater. “We’ve got probably one of the strongest squads I’ve been involved with throughout my career at the club, every player that has stepped in to do a job for the club has,” explained Evans. “The mix of the experienced boys and the young talent at the club has really gelled this season and it’s been a pleasure to be a part of. But anything can happen in a one-off Final. We can’t wait to come out Saturday and, hopefully, bring home some more silverware to the club.”

Teenage winger Moses Kalau played a big role in Stirling ending the home and away series in top spot, so when he went down with a serious knee injury late in the piece it’s no surprise there was considerable concern at Macedonia Park. “Moses is a massive loss, he has that bit of ‘X’ factor that wins games,” Evans said. “But the boys that have stepped, guys like Josh Booysen and Daniel Micevski, have added even more balance to our squad which is why I think we’ve been so consistent this year.”

Stirling will need to be on top of their game to get the better of a star-studded Bayswater outfit this weekend admits Evans. “They have a strong unit throughout their team, we witnessed the full brunt of their squad in that 4-1 loss so there is no weak link,” Evans commented. “They have lost John Kearney, their captain and a player that brings leadership and consistency throughout the team but, saying that, Bayswater have cover to replace him … our best eleven will be more than ready for the challenge on the day.”



Bayswater City teenage Chris Saldaris has made great strides in his first season of senior football. Signed mid-year from Perth SC, the 19-year old defender has cemented his place in Bayswater’s starting eleven and intends repaying the faith shown in him by coach Chris Coyne by bringing the State Championship to Frank Drago Reserve on Saturday evening. “I’m grateful Chris gave me the opportunity and threw me in the deep end,” Saldaris said. “This week we, as a team, will return the favour and bring home the silverware.”

Bayswater take on Stirling Lions this weekend in the State League season finale, and having beaten their opponents a fortnight ago Saldaris says they can do it again. “We played really well that day but it was a hard-fought win,” Saldaris recalled of the 4-1 Major Semi-Final triumph. “The lads won there one on one battles across the park and it showed in the score line. Last year’s final shows that anything can happen in 90 minutes of football, but Chris and Stewart (Moses) have a game plan and we have big game players.”

Win or lose, Saturday afternoon will be a bittersweet occasion for Bayswater captain John Kearney who misses the Grand Final through suspension. “It’s really disappointing for John, who has been a great leader for us this season and will be a big loss for the team,” concedes Saldaris. “But the gaffer has a few options ready to step straight in and the side is really clicking at the moment. Jamie Coyne and Todd Howarth provide us a great deal of stability in the midfield while the strikers and wide players have been providing goals in the final third.”

Saldaris is quick to point out Stirling, too, have an abundance of talent on show. “We are under no illusions – it is going to be a tough game and they have a number of danger men,” he said. “Gareth McGlynn, Phil Arnold and Dean Evans have all been good this season and there are a number of experienced players like Andy Todd, Andy Brown and Aleks Vrteski that can make a difference. We need to stop them playing and take our chances when they come, and we will come out on top.”



A burning desire to play in Europe was behind Ljubo Milicevic’s shock decision to split from Perth Glory. Milicevic, 32, described Glory as the “right place” to play upon signing a one-year deal with the club just two months ago, highlighting the positive environment under coach and former teammate Alistair Edwards. Having featured in Glory’s recent pre-season games, Milicevic missed the weekend friendly with Sydney FC due to an apparent groin injury and, only days later, was confirmed to have parted company with the club by ‘mutual consent’.

Milicevic, who played for Swiss clubs FC Zurich, FC Thun and BSC Young Boys along with Hadjuk Split in Croatia, now seems destined to return to Europe. “Everyone knows that I enjoyed my time in Europe and obviously as a footballer if you have got ambitions to play against the best or be the best you can be, Europe’s the only place for you,” Milicevic told “When you’ve had success anywhere I guess doors will always stay open for you and I had good times both in Switzerland and Croatia.”



Respected coach Salv Todaro has been tasked with reviving the fortunes of Division One club Swan United. Todaro, whose background includes guiding Bayswater City and Balcatta to the top of the table, is delighted with being named first team coach of the black and whites for season 2014. “Swan is a club with a proud history and tradition, and I will endeavour to add to it,” Todaro commented. “I can’t wait to get started. I will be bringing a ‘can do’ mentality, hard work, professional attitude, analytical and planning capacity and a developmental and winning focus and a sense of fun.”

Todaro says he has a fair idea of what is needed for Swan to improve in the third from bottom placing achieved in 2013. “We will be looking at stabilising the club and playing group, and start the long hard climb up the ladder,” Todaro explained. “We will be looking at laying the foundations for the future to ensure that we have a genuine pathway for all the players at the club. We will be looking for long-term stability, instead of just short-term fixes.” In addition to leading Bayswater and Balcatta to the Division One title, Todaro has coached with success at Ashfield, Morley Windmills and ECU Joondalup.



When began as a routine injury very nearly cost Neil Young his life. Thankfully, Young pulled back from the brink of death but the complications that set in following an operation to repair a broken nose three years ago have led the former goalkeeper to bring the curtain down on an all-too-brief national league career. It was while playing or Newcastle Jets in January 2010 that Young copped an accidental kick to the face from Shane Smeltz. Medication used to help ease the pain of the injury caused a bowel infection, prompting six operations and six weeks in intensive care.

Those operations included the removal of part of Young’s large intestine. “I was in and out of consciousness, high on morphine. I was so sick I was hallucinating – I remember thinking I was floating around the hospital,” Young recalled. “Then my dad came over to see me and the doctor told him it was touch and go because my body had stopped producing white blood cells. That was the darkest part.” When the former Sorrento ‘keeper was finally discharged from hospital he had lost 25% of his body weight and struggled to walk.

He eventually returned to the training track and in March 2011 jumped at the chance to join Perth Glory on a two-year contract as back-up to Danny Vukovic, with some coaching duties added in to the deal. But halfway through last summer – after another operation to release the remaining part of his intestine, which had attached itself to the scar tissue – Young knew his playing days were coming to a close at just 34. “Physically, I could play games, but I just couldn’t train every day,” Young said. “The fatigue was too much and, while technically I was on the injury list last season, I had all but retired.”

Although his body is now in good shape, Young still has to be careful to take care of himself – physically and mentally. “After the second operation, I went to get counselling, and I got some relief from that, but every day there’s a new battle,” said Young, who has eased into retirement by being appointed Glory’s full-time goalkeeping coach. “I think playing probably just wasn’t for me. I don’t tend to believe in spiritual stuff, but my pathway was perhaps coaching and not playing. It’s a longer career too – so that’s where I’m heading.”



Perth SC Youth Development Player of the Year Marco Santalucia is a step closer to a professional football career after signing a one-year deal with Italian Lega Pro club Ascoli Calcio. Santalucia, a versatile right-sided player, came up through the junior ranks at Dorrien Garden to captain the reserve team to victory on Grand Final day last year. “I would like to give a special thanks to Gavin Tait who’s taught me everything I know and helped me grow as a player,” said Santalucia, who has worn Perth colours for twelve years. “I would also like to thank current head coach Taki Nicolaidis and reserves coach Paddy Strano.” Santalucia joins a growing band of former Perth juniors plying their trade overseas which includes Adrian Madaschi (Jeju United), Dino Djulbic (Al-Wahda), Eli Babalj (AZ Alkmaar) and Nikita Rukavystya (FSV Frankfurt).



Australia have finished top of their qualifying group at the Asian Football Confederation Under-16 Championship in Hong Kong. The Joeys made a clean sweep of their four games – defeating Chinese Taipei (7-0), Macau (14-1), Hong Kong (2-0) and Singapore (3-1) to claim top spot in Group G, and in the process book their place at next year’s Under-17 World Cup in Chile. West Australian Jamal Reiners featured prominently throughout the Joeys qualifying campaign, scoring twice against Macau.

The Joeys campaign got off to a flying start, thrashing Chinese Taipei 7-0. It wasn’t until the 20th minute that a resilient Chinese Taipei defence was opened up for the first time by Nicholas Panetta. Three minutes later Jackson Bandiera doubled the margin with Perry Fotakopoulos heading in goal number three just after the half hour. Jamie Dimitroff half volleyed in a few minutes later with Bandiera grabbing his second before the break. Bandiera took his personal tally to four goals with a couple of second half finishes.

The flow of goals continued with Macau succumbing 14-1 to Australia. Jamal Reiners got the ball rolling after only 4 minutes with Nicholas D’Agostino and Charlie Devereux adding to the lead inside the quarter hour. Caio De Godoy netted twice with Kosta Petratos and a D’Agostino penalty conversion making it seven -nil at the break. Reiners grabbed his second from close-range before Macau pulled a goal back against the run of play. The Joeys regrouped and piled on further goals through Danny Kim, Gian Mendez, Joe Caletti, Petratos and Daniel Maskin.

A 2-0 defeat of Hong Kong put Australia on the cusp of qualification for next year’s Championship. Nicholas D’Agostino continued his fine form in front of goal by netting the Joeys first in the 33rd minute, and soon after Jake Brimmer doubled the lead. “It was a well-structured performance against a team who had no intention of playing football and just wanted to defend,” said coach Tony Vidmar. “We were patient in our build up and picking the best moments to go forward. We should have rewarded ourselves with at least another three goals.”

Australia made it four wins from as many starts by accounting for Singapore 3-1 in their last Group G game. The Joeys were dominant throughout, Charlie Devereux putting their one-nil up after only 13 minutes. Nicholas Panetta doubled the difference three minutes later with a crisp first time shot after a poor defensive clearance landed at his feet. Singapore pegged a goal back via Haiqal Pashia in the 39th minute but Jackson Bandiera sealed victory by converting from the spot seven minutes after the turnaround.

Australia’s squad for the Asian Football Confederation Under-16 Championship qualifiers featured Jackson Bandiera, Joe Caletti, Caio De Godoy, Perikles Fotakopoulos, Cameron Joice , Daniel Maskin, Gian Mendez, Kosta Petratos, Zachary Speth (New South Wales), Nicholas D’Agostino, Jamie Dimitroff, Duro Dragicevic, Danny Kim, Nicholas Panetta, Kye Rowles (Queensland), Charlie Devereux, Tommy Stokes, Christian Verbi, Zakariah Waters (South Australia), Jake Brimmer, James Delianov, Brandon Osipov (Victoria) and Jamal Reiners (Western Australia).



Stirling Lions qualified for the 2013 season finale by brushing off Sorrento 3-1 in this afternoon’s Preliminary Final at Macedonia Park. Goals inside ten minutes by Dean Evans and Phil Arnold had the home side in a commanding position from which they never once looked back. Gavin Knight gave Sorrento a glimmer of hope before the break but Arnold was having none of it and promptly restored his teams’ two-goal advantage with the goal of the game. “All the goals were well taken today which is pleasing, topped off by a stunning strike from Phil late on which was the icing on the cake,” said winning coach Gary Williams. “We now start planning for the Grand Final against Bayswater City next week.”

Stirling’s all-attack start stunned Sorrento. In the 2nd minute Rory Grant drove down the left and, having found his path blocked by two defenders, pulled the ball back for Evans to side-foot in from 6-metres. That lead was doubled seven minutes later when Miki Vujacic clipped over the defence for Arnold, who cleverly side-stepped Curtis Aspden before blasting into the roof of the net. Ryan Pearson came within inches of cutting the deficit shortly after with a shot on the run which fizzled over the crossbar. Stirling was quick to resume the attack but Arnold was robbed of a shot by Wesley Padley’s sliding tackle before Andy Brown’s spectacular bicycle kick had Aspden stretching for the top corner.

It took a good twenty minutes for Sorrento to start making any meaningful in-roads. Pearson got a header on-target but it was far too close to Aleks Vrteski, who was also well-placed when Brodie Martin got on the end of a Knight corner. Sorrento got the goal they were after via an Aspden clearance which deceived the home defence but not Knight, who calmly tapped a bouncing ball under the oncoming goalkeeper with 36 minutes on the clock. Play was at the opposite end four minutes later when Steve McDonald was fortunate not to concede a penalty for pulling down Grant as the pair competed for a bouncing ball.

The second half was only six minutes old when Arnold took possession in midfield and, after taking a couple of touches, unleashed an explosive shot from 22-metres which soared across Aspden and into the top corner. Grant should have sealed the game ten minutes later but blazed high from Daniel Micevski’s cutback. Todd Harnwell was unlucky not to post Sorrento’s second goal when his shot on the turn crashed back into play off the base of the upright. The Gulls enjoyed the bulk of late possession but their long ball approach caused very few moments of concerns for experienced the defensive combination of Vrteski, Andy Brown, and Andy Todd.

Stirling Lions: Aleks Vrteski, Clayton Arnez, Andy Todd, Andy Brown (Dennis Galan 88), James Cogley, Daniel Micevski, Miki Vujacic (Tim Hill 69), Gareth McGlynn, Dean Evans, Phil Arnold, Rory Grant (Josh Booysen 71)
Sorrento: Curtis Apsden, Brodie Martin, Daryl Platten, Steve McDonald, Wesley padley (Danny Cain 60), Mikey Aspin, David Price (Jesse Fuller 60), James Morgan, Ryan Pearson, Todd Harnwell, Gavin Knight
Bookings: Knight (35), Morgan (85)
Dismissals: Nil
Referee: Adam Fielding



Perth Glory completed their pre-season campaign with a resounding 3-0 win over Sydney FC at WIN Jubilee Oval in Kogarah. Teenage recruit Jamie Maclaren played the starring role for the away team, scoring twice and setting up Glory’s other goals for Brazilian import Sidnei. “Jamie has come back from England where he played a lot of games for Blackburn out wide, but I knew him as a number nine before he went over there and we’ve re-trained him to become a number nine again,” coach Alistair Edwards said. “It’s great for a striker to be scoring goals, but he’s also contributing very well in other aspects of the game with his defensive work and bringing other players into the play.”

Maclaren opened the scoring with a neat close-range finish on the quarter hour, benefitting from some fine approach work from overlapping full-back Josh Risdon. Sydney’s best chance of the half was a looping Richard Garcia header which goalkeeper Danny Vukovic tipped onto the crossbar after 33 minutes. Alessandro Del Piero also went close with a curling shot that ended the wrong side of the upright. The second half was only a few minutes old when Maclaren’s lobbed pass put Sidnei through on goal to finish into the net. Maclaren rounded out the scoring with virtually the final play of the game, a 25-metre lob over Ivan Necevski.

With the start of the A-League season only a fortnight away, Edwards says he is pleased with where Glory are placed. “I’m very pleased with the position we’re in,” he said. “The performances have been very good and the players are really excited about the start of the season. It’s been a long pre-season with some good trips away, the bond in the group is very good and we’re all really looking forward to the season proper. The match fitness in the boys is there and structurally we’re very happy with what we’re doing. Now it’s just about fine-tuning individual performances.” Glory’s 2013/14 campaign begins with a trip to Adelaide United on 13 October.



Perth Glory Women midfielder Sarah Carroll has been selected in the Young Matildas squad for the upcoming Asian Football Confederation Under-19 Women’s Championship. Carroll, who has made a dozen W-League appearances, will fly the flag for Western Australia as one of 22 players named by coach Spencer Prior for the tournament in Nanjing, China. Australia’s campaign opens against South Korea (11 October) followed by outings with Japan (13 October), China (15 October), Myanmar (18 October) and North Korea (20 October).

The Australian Women’s squad for the Asian Football Confederation Under-19 Women’s Championship is Mackenzie Arnold, Grace Field, Meg McLaughlin, Sally Rojahn, Georgia Yeoman-Dale (Australian Capital Territory), Tara Andrews, Alisha Bass, Melissa Caceres, Elize Campbell, Amy Harrison, Shamiran Khamis, Chloe Logarzo, Grace MacIntyre, Olivia Price, Liz Ralston, Rachel Soutar, Nat Tobin (New South Wales), Larissa Crummer, Hayley Raso, Britt Whitfield (Queensland), Emma Checker (South Australia) and Sarah Carroll (Western Australia).



All roads lead to Macedonia Park this weekend for the Preliminary Final showdown between Stirling Lions and Sorrento (Sunday, 2.30pm). Stirling have moved on from their semi-final loss to Bayswater City and assistant coach Gary Williams is already looking forward to a re-match on Grand Final day. “Doug (Hesketh) and I have talked about the Bayswater game and we feel we were due a blip at some point after having a great season,” said Williams. “The players’ attitude has been great this week and I believe they’ve got two more big performances in them … we go into Sunday’s game full of confidence.”

Ryan Jeans, assistant coach at Sorrento, will be surprised if Stirling don’t come out swinging. “Stirling are coming of a heavy loss to Bayswater and will want to respond well,” he said. “They have a very strong defensive unit and in Dean Evans have one of the best midfielders in the league. When we last played they counter attacked very quickly through the likes of Phil Arnold, so that is something we will be aware of come Sunday. However, our lads have been here and done it before so they know what’s required to progress to another Grand Final.”

Although high on confidence, Williams is not underestimating Sunday’s opposition. “I am big fan of Sorrento due to their never-say-die attitude and they always play until the last minute,” he said. “It’ll be a different game to the one we played recently when we won 4-1. A couple of their players were suffering with illness and injury that day and they want a second successive Grand Final appearance.” Stirling playing stocks have been swelled for the Preliminary Final with seasoned campaigners Rory Grant and Gareth McGlynn back in contention and teenager Dave Fillipou knocking on the selection door.

The Gulls are flying high after late goals by Gavin Knight and Ryan Pearson took them past Cockburn City in the semi-finals. “We didn’t create too many chances last week but when we did the lads were clinical,” said Jeans. “Some of the lads have been together for many years and know what it takes to win big games, so we expect them all to step-up and perform on Sunday.” Club stalwart Danny Cain comes back in following suspension while attacker Jesse Fuller is pushing for selection after overcoming a knee problem.



Cockburn City midfielder Paul Lloyd has been voted the 2013 Premier Division Player of the Year by the slenderest of margins. The leader board was congested when counting ended, Lloyd finishing just one vote ahead of Dean Evans (Stirling Lions) and two clear of Todd Howarth (Bayswater City) with Sorrento striker Gavin Knight close behind in third. Lloyd becomes the second Cockburn player to be voted Premier Division Player of the Year, joining Branimir Mikulic who collected the inaugural award in 2001.

Lloyd’s drive up and down the left flank throughout Cockburn’s top flight return, not to mention his knack of sticking the ball in the back of the net, garnered 56 votes. A single vote behind was Evans, whose efforts over the winter months were rewarded with a Perth Glory contract, while former A-League player Howarth came in third with 54 votes. Knight, who has spearheaded Sorrento’s charge for back-to-back State Championships, was hot on their heels with 51 votes.

40 votes secured fifth for John Kearney, one of five Bayswater players to place in the top ten. Two of his team mates, Gustavo Giron-Marulanda and Steve Burton, were joined on 38 votes with Stirling midfielder Gareth McGlynn. Young attacker Harry O’Brien (Cockburn) polled 27 votes along with Brian Farrell (Bayswater) with Stirling pair Andy Brown and Moses Kalau collected 22 votes each. The Premier Division player of the Year is the longest-running award voted for by the players, club representatives and supporters of the local game.

Lloyd joins an exclusive group of footballers to win the Premier Division Player of the Year. The last year awards were taken out by Gustavo Giron-Maruladna (Bayswater) with other previous recipients being David Micevski (Western Knights), Andy Brown (Mandurah City), Boima Karpeh (Floreat Athena), Simon Harland (Sorrento), Nick Ward (Stirling), Antonio Naglieri, Shane Crampton, Jamie Coyne (Perth SC) and Branimir Mikulic (Cockburn). The team thanks everyone who voted in this year’s award.



The strong camaraderie that exists with the Sorrento squad will prove vital when they go into battle with Stirling Lions this weekend for a spot in the 2013 Grand Final. Wesley Padley has been a regular fixture of the Gulls finals push and the 22-year old defender has no desire for his teams’ season to end on Sunday. “There’s no doubt in my mind that we can’t beat Stirling,” he said. “We don’t play the prettiest football in the league but our team bond is strong, we all play for each other and we’ll be looking to finish the year off strongly.”

Sorrento rode their luck last weekend before hitting two late goals to see off Cockburn City and progress to the last three of the State League Finals Series. “We defended reasonably well but they had chances to score and failed to take them,” Padley commented. “Although we didn’t create too many opportunities we took them when they came. Gavin Knight, our top goals scorer, was never a doubt when he went one-on-one and Ryan Pearson pushed forward again, he’s always clinical in front of goals and sealed the win for us.”

Padley, a graduate of Sorrento’s youth system, is enjoying his first season of senior football. “I’ve always enjoyed playing for the club, the convenience of living around the corner ties in well with my work,” explained Padley, who feels he has fitted into an evolving defensive line well. “. Week in week out the line-up is usually different due to injuries and work commitments, but whoever comes in has done a great job. The boys have jelled well at the back and getting Steve McDonald back in time for the finals gives us experience.”

From the outside it looked as though Sorrento’s season was about to go off the rails when coach Paul Price resigned on the eve of the finals. However, Steve Neville’s promotion to the helm has meant it’s business as usual. “Nev’s has been around a long time and knows the boys really well so it didn’t feel any different having him as head coach,” said Padley, who has his sights on a State Championship winners medal. “Sorrento has been a successful club for a number of years and it’s great to now have the opportunity to help them win another trophy.”



Midfielder Daniel Micevski says past results will mean nothing when Stirling Lions step out against Sorrento this weekend. Stirling claimed victory in both regular season meetings but come kick-off on Sunday it will be the eleven players that want it more who will book a Grand Final date with Bayswater City. “Although we’ve beaten them twice this season this weekend will be a lot more difficult than our last meetings,” Micevski commented. “Sorrento won the double last season and are a very good side with a lot of experience, so we know we will have to be at our best to get a win.”

Stirling may have ended the regular season on top of the Premier Division but last weekend were given a footballing lesson when beaten 4-1 by Bayswater City. “It was very tough game. Bayswater played well, they hit us early and we never really recovered,” commented Micevski, whose team conceded twice inside the opening ten minutes. “Bayswater have a very well-organised team and deserve their spot in the Grand Final. We know we will need to improve our performance this week if we’re to get another chance to take them on.”

Micevski has endured a difficult year with injury, illness and work commitments prompting the midfielder to consider whether it was time to hang up his boots. “It has been very frustrating for me,” commented Micevski. “I started well this season but I was very close to throwing in the towel with a spine injury and work commitments. After I got over my injuries I came down with the flu over the last couple of weeks. I knew that if had played I couldn’t have played the way that I’m capable of, and didn’t want to let the team down.”

Stirling is a club with a very proud history that stretches back to 1958 and includes six State Championships. The last of those triumphs arrived almost twenty years ago and Micevski feels the time is right to return to the club to the top of the pile. “The Lions supporters have had to wait a long time for success,” he said. “We have a very strong squad and if we can jump the last couple of hurdles then the Grand Final trophy will be coming back to Macedonia Park.” Stirling has home ground advantage over Sorrento in Sunday’s Preliminary Final (2.30pm kick-off).



Shamrock Rovers striker Ciaran Byrne is the Division One Player of the Year for 2013. Byrne came from behind to overtake Dianella White Eagles playmaker Andreas Theodosiades, who missed part of the season with a hamstring injury, in what quickly developed into a two-horse race for 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.

Byrne, the competitions top scorer with 27 goals, ended the four-week polling period with 54 votes to become the first Shamrock player to win the Division One Player of the Year. A strong start by Theodosiades, last year’s recipient of the award, was rewarded with 49 votes to place second. Competition for the minor places was intense, Ashfield goalkeeper John Perkins polling 32 votes to edge out by two Daniel Neiderberger (Canning City), who was himself two ahead of Robbie Phelan (Dianella).

Ashfield’s Ruben Tristao picked up 24 votes to claim fifth spot, pipping Western Knights stalwart David Annall who ended on 21. Sitting three votes behind was defender Goran Radinovic (Dianella) plus veteran pair Stuart Montgomery (Wanneroo City) and Paul Van Dongen (Canning). Thomas Gooding (Dianella), Guy McDonald (Wanneroo) and Paul Concannon (Shamrock) each scored 16 votes which was two more than Johny Mirco (Knights).

Byrne becomes the eleventh recipient of the Division One Player of the Year. The winners in previous years were Theodosiades, John Monterosso (Swan United), Gustavo Giron-Marulanda (Bayswater City), Ashley Rosindale (Balcatta), Paul Harvey (Canning), Andy Brown (Mandurah City), David Rodgers (South West Phoenix), Adam Raines (Balcatta), Scott Bulloch (Wanneroo) and Boima Karpeh (Bayswater). The team would like to thank everyone who took the time to cast a vote in our annual award.



Wanneroo City overturned a two-goal deficit to claim the Division One championship with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Canning City under lights at Kingsway Reserve. First half finishes by Nathan Hubbard and Daniel Neiderberger had Canning in the box seat before Stuart Montgomery, Glen Thomas and substitute Ryan West turned the game on its’ head. “A great end to the season from my players, I’m absolutely over the moon,” said Wanneroo coach David Tough, whose team stretched their unbeaten run to 18 games. “We were two-nil down at the break and I told the players in the rooms we were still in the game and they showed great spirit and character to run over the top of a very good Canning side.”

Canning, who needed the three points to win the title themselves, could not have wished for a better start. The ball had been in motionless than a minute when an unmarked Hubbard lashed in from close-range after being found by Neiderberger’s cross from the right. Wanneroo needed a quick reply but Montgomery’s lob cleared the crossbar before Scott Bushby stung the gloves of veteran goalkeeper Steve Grant. Those misses were compounded on 16 minutes when Neiderberger sent Clint Davies the wrong way from the penalty spot after referee Adam Fielding ruled handball against David Timmins. Again the home side pressed forward and again Grant proved their undoing with saves from Brad McDonald and Montgomery.

The second half was six minutes old when Montgomery halved the difference by firing past Grant from 9-metres following a handball call that went against Emlyn Whetnell. The momentum was now with Wanneroo, who heaped pressure on their opponents defences without reward. That was until the 83rd minute when captain Anthony Jones advanced down the right to deliver a deep cross which a diving Thomas headed in from 5-metres. A draw was enough to give Wanneroo the title, however, they had no desire to share the points. With only a minute to go Bushby and Thomas combined on the left, the latter crossing to the far post where West turned in at close-range to put the icing on a memorable season.



Perth Glory were made to work hard for this evening’s 2-1 victory over the State Amateur Team under lights at Percy Doyle Reserve. Bayswater City striker Gustavo Giron-Marulanda made the most of his trial opportunity by putting Glory ahead with Steven McGarry doubling the A-League clubs lead before Aeamon Kelly found the net from distance in the second half. “It was a good game against local opposition,” Glory coach Alastair Edwards said. “We managed to give some of our younger players some game time … so we know coming into the season, the current capabilities of the kids and the jobs they can do.”

Giron-Marulanda broke the deadlock with an exquisite free-kick which curled into the top corner from the edge of the 18-yard box after 13 minutes. Glory’s lead was shortly after by McGarry’s shot from outside the area which caught the fingertips of goalkeeper Jamie Serra, who was unable to keep it out of his net. Jack Clisby came within inches of making it three-nil after half-time, the defender rattling the crossbar from outside the area following some fine work in the lead-up from Adrian Zahra. Having create a smattering of half-chances, the State Amateur’s finally pulled a goal back on 68 minutes when Kelly’s strike from 25-metres drifted over ‘keeper Devon Spence.

State Amateurs coach Steve Dimitrovich was thrilled by his teams’ performance. “It was a fantastic effort by the boys out there tonight,” he said. “(We’re) playing against professionals that are training six or seven days a week, where as our boys are training Tuesdays and Thursdays, so you’ve got to take your hat off to them. We had a game plan and we’ve played it to the best of our abilities, so I’m very proud of the boys. We’re building towards our trip to Malaysia, so the twenty boys out there tonight have given me a good headache to cut it back to sixteen, but I’m very happy.”



Celebrations went well into the night after Joondalup City clinched their first piece of State League silverware, the Division Two championship, last weekend. Joondalup headed into the final day of Division Two competition in third place but leapt to the top of the table with a 9-0 thrashing of Kingsway Olympic. “There was a good deal of singing and champagne spray in the changing room after the game,” club president Peter Dearlove commented. “Saturday also was our awards night, and with 140 people in attendance there was plenty of celebrating and the partying went on into the early hours.”

Dearlove says the foundations of this years’ success were laid during Joondalup’s inaugural State League campaign of 2012. “Our first season was a big learning curve for us – on and off the pitch,” said the president. “The plan this year was to keep building and strengthening our player group, bringing through young players that were deserving of places and ensuring that we had a solid coaching team. We were only looking at relatively small goals in lots of different areas to give us an overall lift – to quote Micky Quayle ‘fix-up all the one per centers’ – and it worked out we did better than expected.”

Even so, Dearlove admits there were a few alarm bells sounding when Joondalup collected just a ssingle win from their first four games of the league season. “There was a good deal of head scratching as we hadn’t played badly, but were struggling to get the results,” he said. “We got beat at Quinns 3-1 but we played great football and within 20 minutes should have been four-nil up. Thinking about it now, we were still settling into new coaching team and a few new players … (coach) Gary Kalahar remained calm and soon turned it around.”

Joondalup moved on from that sputtering start by winning six of their next seven games. “All the players performed really well this season, through all three teams. We called on some of the 15s and 16s to play in the 18s, and some of the 18s to play in the reserves and first team and everyone stepped up to the challenge. The strength in depth has been a key factor to success,” said Dearlove, before tipping his hat to coaches Kalaher, Paul McAteer, Kevan Towers and Terry Booth. “Our coaching provided great stability and they worked very closely together with great support for each other.”

The final race for Division Two honours was incredibly tight with Joondalup’s home defeat of Kingsway putting them just a single point clear of Quinns and Fremantle United, both of whom drew their final game. “I was in constant contact with Ian McTear from Fremantle and we were also getting updates on the Quinns game, so there was a huge roar in our changing rooms as the results finally came through,” said Dearlove. “I’d like to acknowledge both those clubs for their great achievements this season, especially Quinns who went from bottom last season to pushing for top spot.”

Although Joondalup finished the home and away series on top of the table, Dearlove says he is yet to formally hear whether or not the club will be offered promotion to Division One. “I’ve still not clearly understood how next season will work, and whether the current Division One and Two will look the same,” Dearlove commented. “My understanding was that teams would be ranked based on positions at the end of this season and that Football West would advise what the leagues would look like, when they were ready.”

Not a club to rest on their laurels, Joondalup have quickly turned their attention towards season 2014. “The key to success is to keep looking for improvements, be that the training equipment, what we give the players to eat after training, warm-up tops, etc … all small stuff off the pitch,” said Dearlove. “Then look to the coaching team to also find small improvements, be it working on attacking/defending set plays, player fitness and recovery sessions, etc. Next year won’t be much different to this year, we may find that we attract a few more quality players but in general it’s about finding those one per centers.”



Quinns captain Arran Maplestone has been voted the 2013 Division Two Player of the Year. The leader board was congested entering the final week of counting when Maplestone snuck away to claim the award. Danny Allen, fresh from guiding Joondalup City to the championship, shared second place with Subiaco AFC attacker Ger Fitzgerald and Aaron Bahadori of Melville City having captured the attention of the players, club representatives and supporters of the local game over the winter months.

Maplestone ended top of the pile with 34 votes, just four ahead of Allen, Fitzgerald and Bahadori. Maddington White City captain Ty Fenwick was next on 23 votes with Quinns custodian Dan McAinsh in hot pursuit on 19 votes. Paolo Pacitti made such an impression in his half season with Maddington to score 17 votes to finish two clear of David Ashworth (Kingsway Olympic) and Connor Shaw (Fremantle United). The team would like to thank everyone who took the time to cast a vote in our annual award.



Young Socceroos Head Coach Paul Okon has selected five West Australians in his 23-player squad for the upcoming Asian Football Confederation Under-19 Championship qualifiers. Attacker Daniel De Silva, defenders Scott Galloway, Jordan Lyden and Mitchell Oxborrow plus goalkeeper Luke Radonich will wear the green and gold during next month’s tournament in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. “I’m really excited to be chosen,” De Silva commented. “It’s always a great honour to represent Australia and I’m sure it will be another fantastic experience.” Riley Woodcock, another local product, also gained selection but withdrew having only recently returned from injury.

Australia’s squad for next month’s Asian Football Confederation Under-19 Championship qualifiers is Jordan Lyden (Aston Villa), Danijel Nizic (Burnley), Jake Adelson (Everton), Christopher Ikonimidis (Lazio), Callum Elder (Leicester City), Ben Garuccio, Stefan Mauk (Melbourne Heart), Jordan Brown, Christopher Cristaldo, Scott Galloway, Luke Radonich (Melbourne Victory), Nicholas Cowburn, Mitchell Oxborrow (Newcastle Jets), Daniel De Silva (Perth Glory), Peter Skapetis (Queens Park Rangers), Hagi Gligor, Joshua McDonald, Christopher Naumoff (Sydney FC), Rafael Jimenez (Villarreal), Thomas Manos, Nicholas Olsen (Western Sydney Wanderers), Anthony Kalik and Benjamin Warland (Australian Institute of Sport).



Socceroos striker Adam Taggart he is readying himself to lead Newcastle Jets into attack in the absence of injured teammate Emile Heskey. A medial ligament strain has put Heskey out of action for up to six weeks and Taggart appears to be a potential candidate to step into the former England international’s shoes. “It’s a big blow for the team that Emile’s out, but it’s a challenge for me to step-up whilst he’s on the sidelines and take responsibility for that role,” Taggart said. “Playing as a number nine is something I’m used to and it’s probably my natural position, so I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

A number of Newcastle youngsters have made the transition to senior football over the summer, giving the club added depth to cover for injuries. “This season we’ve definitely got a lot more depth and I think that’s shown in the pre-season games,” Taggart explained. “The younger boys in the squad are stepping up now with the experience of last season under their belts and the senior boys bring that experience, so there’s a good balance there. This is the year where we’ve got to kick-on and really try and do something and make our mark in the A-League.”

Taggart missed last week’s friendly with Melbourne Victory due to a minor knee injury, but the former ECU Joondalup junior is confident his hand will be up for selection when Newcastle takes on Central Coast Mariners this Sunday. “The knee is feeling really good,” Taggart said. “Missing the trip to Melbourne was just a precautionary thing. I’ve done a bit of training with the strength and conditioning coach this week and it’s feeling very stable and ready to go again.” Taggart scored twice in 19 appearances for Newcastle last season and has made it his goal to hit the back of the net with greater frequency in 2013/14.



Coach Holger Osieck has named a 24-player provisional Socceroos squad for next month’s outings against France and Canada. Veteran goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer is the only notable omission with Osieck keeping one eye on the future by opting for Mitch Langerak and Mat Ryan in the upcoming friendlies. Nikita Rukavytsya, who was on the scoresheet for Frankfurt 1899 over the weekend, and Middlesbrough captain Rhys Williams are in line to make their first appearances since featuring against Romania in February. 24-year old defender Shane Lowry, who made 39 appearances last season for English Championship side Millwall, was surprisingly overlooked.

Australia’s squad for upcoming friendlies with France (11 October) and Canada (15 October) is Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa), Brett Holman (Al Nasr), James Holland, (Austria Vienna), Robbie Kruse (Bayer Leverkusen), Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund), Matthew McKay (Brisbane Roar), Mat Ryan (Club Brugge), Tommy Rogic (Celtic), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow), Matthew Leckie, Nikita Rukavytsya (Frankfurt 1899), Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo), Jackson Irvine (Kilmarnock), Oliver Bozanic (Luzern), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough), Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus), Tim Cahill, David Carney (New York Red Bulls), Lucas Neill (Omiya Ardija), Dario Vidosic (FC Sion), Sasa Ognenovski (Umm Salal) and Tommy Oar (Utrecht).



Teenager Callum Richardson is a step closer to realising his dream of one day playing for Australia after attending a four-day Young Socceroos training camp in London earlier this month. Richardson, who last year commenced a two-year scholarship with English Championship side Burnley, admits he was surprised to be called up by coach Paul Okon but thoroughly enjoyed the experience. “The training was very intense and a very good standard as there wasn’t a bad player there, everyone was extremely talented,” 16-year old Richardson told the ‘South Western Times’.

Richardson, who made his State League debut for Bunbury Forum Force prior to joining Burnley in September, has his fingers crossed that Okon liked what he saw. “If I get selected for Malaysia and get the opportunity to represent Australia I will be excited as it will be a dream come true especially at this age,” the defender said. “Hopefully I can then progress to the Socceroos later on.” Richardson was joined in camp by fellow West Australians Thomas Beadling (Sunderland), Jordan Lyden (Aston Villa) and Connor Thurston (Blackpool).



Bayswater City qualified for their first Grand Final in four decades by thrashing Stirling Lions 4-1 at a wet and windy Macedonia Park. All the damage was done in the opening half hour when Brian Farrell, Jamie Coyne and Gustavo Giron-Marulanda found the back of the net, with Coyne adding Bayswater’s fourth goal in stoppage time. “We had a bee in our bonnet over Stirling winning the regular season title, so it was good to come here and show that we are the best team in the league,” Farrell commented. “We have trained hard since November and have one aim – to win the League and Cup – and we’re one step closer to that now.”

The crowd were still settling into their seats when Farrell lashed in after only 7 minutes, punishing Stirling’s failure to deal with Todd Howarth’s in-swinging corner. Bayswater returned to the attack two minutes later with Gustavo Catarcione’s centring pass finding Giron-Marulanda who laid the ball back for Coyne to fire in from 15-metres. Although stunned, Stirling came within inches of cutting the deficit through Dean Evans whose low finish crashed into the upright after being played in by Josh Booysen. Giron-Marulanda strengthened his teams’ hold on the game with a cheeky penalty conversion in the 27th minutes, following Clayton Arnez’s foul on Catarcione.

Having posted three goals, Bayswater clearly wanted a few more. Giron-Marulanda’s goalbound strike was cleared off the line by Jason Gavin and a few minutes later Chris Saldaris’ low shot brought a sharp save out of Aleks Vrteski. The Stirling custodian was beaten again in the 34th minute by Giron-Marulanda’s curling a free-kick smacked but this time the crossbar came to his rescue. Stirling needed to cut the deficit before the break and substitute Daniel Micevski almost delivered, the attacker stroking just wide on the end of a lead-up that featured Evans and Booysen.

Evans’ flashed over the top from distance as Stirling continued to probe for openings upon the resumption. Their search was eventually answered on 76th minutes when Andy Brown tucked in from 4-metres after goalkeeper Devon Spence parried a Jason Gavin shot. Two minutes later Phil Arnold’s snap-shot was brought a good save from Spence as the home side pressed for a second goal. But in throwing caution to the win they ran the risk of being caught short at the back and, just moments from the final whistle, Coyne chipped over Vrteski and into the net from 22-metres as way of underlining Bayswater’s superiority.

Stirling Lions: Aleks Vrteski, Andy Todd, Clayton Arnez, Jason Gavin, Matthew Harold (Daniel Micevski 34), Dean Evans, Miki Vujacic (James Cogley 57), Andy Brown, Sam Fusik, Josh Booysen (Dave Fillipou 70), Phil Arnold
Bayswater City: Devon Spence, Patrick Quinn, Trent Kay, John Kearney, Chris Saldaris, Andy Reale, Todd Howarth, Jamie Coyne, Brian Farrell, Gustavo Giron-Marulanda (Adrian Caceres 70), Gustavo Catarcione (Ross Cosgrave 77)
Bookings: Brown (21), Arnez (27), Kearney (53), Arnold (82)
Dismissals: Nil
Referee: Adam Fielding



Two goals in the last ten minutes have seen Sorrento through to the last three of the State League Final Series with a 2-0 defeat of Cockburn City this afternoon at Percy Doyle Reserve. The Cockerels were left to contemplate what might have been after squandering several clear cut opportunities before Gavin Knight and Ryan Pearson stole a late victory. “It was a long hard game, we battled through to the end against a never-say-die team,” Knight commented. “We had a few chances early, they hit the bar a couple of times and we got a bit lucky, but at least we’re through to next week.”

The first half was an error-riddled affair dominated by a continual turnover of possession. With passes regularly under-hit or simply going astray, neither side was able to establish any sense of rhythm or assert control over play. Harry O’Brien looked set to break the deadlock midway on 26 minutes when a superb last gasp Steve McDonald tackle robbed him of a shot. Ten minutes O’Brien conspired with Alex Castiello to thwart Pearson as he was about to send goalward a Todd Harnwell centre. Ian McMurray should have done better than lift over the top, and at the other end Mikey Aspin curled into the arms of Cockburn custodian Nick Feely.

Cockburn returned to the park eager for the lead. And Eamon McNelis should have provided it on 58 minutes when a defensive lapse allowed the midfield a free run at goal but his finish clipped the top of the crossbar. Curtis Aspden came to the rescue a few minutes later with a flying save to keep out McNelis’ angled header on a Jack Eades cross. It seemed only a matter of time before Cockburn would get the goal they sought. O’Brien glanced wide a golden chance after being foul unmarked at the far post by a Paul Lloyd corner. A rising shot by Lloyd was destined for the far top corner when a full-stretch Aspden tipped it away.

Knight provided the spark for Sorrento’s late revival by swinging a dead ball past the defensive wall but not the diving ‘keeper. The breakthrough came four minutes later when Aspden’s goal kick was flicked on by Pearson to McMurray, who benefited from Euan Grant’s slip to steal away and arrow into Feely’s net. Cockburn had their chances to restore parity. An vicious Lloyd strike kissed the top of the bar before Matt Salmon side-footed against the upright with the rebound going straight to Aspden. The result was put beyond doubt in the 89th minute when Ryan Pearson slotted into an empty net at the second attempt after his initial shot was blocked by Feely.

Marc Anthony conceded today just wasn’t Cockburn’s day. “We’re all pretty gutted in the way that we’ve lost the game, especially considering that we had more of the game, we had more of the chances and we hit the woodwork four times,” the Cockerels coach said. “If you’d have asked if we’d be top five at the start of the year, we would’ve said ‘yes we’d take that’. We’re happy making the five, obviously we would’ve been happier to bring on an extra week, but that’s football, hopefully we come back bigger and stronger next year.”

Sorrento: Curtis Aspden, Brodie Martin, Steve McDonald, Daryl Platten, Wesley Padley, Ryan Pearson, David Price, James Morgan, Mikey Aspin, Todd Harnwell, Gavin Knight
Cockburn City: Nick Feely, Paul Natale (Aiden Da Luz 81), Euan Grant, Alex Castiello, Harry O’Brien, Paul Lloyd, Conor Kavanagh, Eamon McNelis, Jack Eades, Matt Salmon, Ian McMurray
Bookings: Nil
Dismissals: Nil
Referee: Michal Jasinski



Wanneroo City kept their dreams alive of winning Division One by downing Swan United 2-0 at Francis Street. Brad McDonald and Ryan West struck in the first half to set-up a winner-take-all title decider with Canning City on Wednesday evening. “We’ve gone seventeen games undefeated, I’m really proud of the lads,” said Wanneroo coach David Tough. “We knew today would be a hard game with it being Cory Hugo and Damian Scali’s final game and it’s always a difficult place to come. So to win and the results going our way elsewhere it sets up a Grand Final on Wednesday against Canning.”

Chances came thick and fast early on, Scott Bushby’s low shot bringing Hugo into action before play swung to the other end where Clint Davies saved from Owen Curtis. With their next attack Wanneroo claimed the lead, Ross Edwards turning his man inside the 18-yard box and threaded for Brad McDonald to fire in from 5-metres. Swan were fortunate not to go further behind when West pounced on a poor back pass but with Hugo narrowing the angle he placed wide. Curtis twice came close to restoring parity in the minutes before half-time when Davies’ turned wide his low shot, and from the resulting corner Brad McDonald cleared the attacker’s powerful header off the line.

It didn’t take long for Swan to return to the attack upon the resumption, Trent Wood teeing up Curtis who was again foiled by Davies. There was a touch of controversy when Wanneroo’s lead was doubled after 64 minutes, Bushby sliding a pass through a square defence which stood appealing for offside as West strode clear and finished past Hugo from 10-metres. Swan refused to give up the chase but Curtis headed straight at the ‘keeper and later placed wide with substitute Callum Burton provider on both occasions. The day ended on a sour note for Wanneroo with Rowdy Yates earning a second yellow card from referee Michael Tolmie for a late tackle.



Canning City have the Division One title in their sights following this afternoon’s 2-0 win over UWA-Nedlands at Burrendah Reserve. Paul Van Dongen and Daniel Neiderberger were on target early to put Canning one point off top spot leading into Wednesday evening’s title deciding catch-up game with Wanneroo City. “We wanted to make sure that we got off to a good start with a first half goal or two to allow us to make some subs and rest players, so that we could go into Wednesday as fresh as possible,” said player/coach Paul Van Dongen. “Steve Grant, Rory Mouttet, Michael Van Dongen and possibly myself are retiring at the end of the year so we’re excited about being able to hang up the boots on the highest possible note and walk away with the league title.”

Traffic was one-way across the opening 45 minutes with Canning by far the dominant force. Their focus on attack reaped rewarded when a long throw was flicked on to Paul Van Dongen who tucked inside the post from 9-metres. Michael Van Dongen, Simon Corriea and Emlyn Whetnall linked soon after to play the ball in for Neiderberger to sweep in Canning’s second goal. Tom Gibbons squandered a couple of opportunities to further extend the hosts advantage, likewise Niederberger who should have done better than chip into the goalkeeper’s arms. UWA were allowed into the game after the turnaround but home custodian Steve Grant remained untroubled. Down the other end substitute Dane Navarro rifled just over the crossbar after being played in by Michael Van Dongen.



Shamrock Rovers rounded out the 2013 campaign with a comfortable win 3-0 over Rockingham City at Harold Rossiter Reserve. Rockingham, who will drop down to the third tier next year, battled gallantly throughout the 90 minutes but had no answers to Ciaran Byrne’s double and a towering Shane Cassidy header which secured Shamrock fourth in the final standings. There was an air of inevitability about a first half in which Rockingham were doing everything in their powers to repel wave after wave of attacks from the home side. And it was somewhat predictable that Byrne posted the opening goal midway through by side-footing in Barry Mulligan’s cross from the left flank.

Rockingham continued to compete for every ball after the turnaround and, although there were a few niggly moments, common sense prevailed. Shamrock added a second goal to their tally when centre back Cassidy rose superbly to head into the top left corner of the goal from a well-flighted Mulligan corner. A rash challenge on Thabiso Ncube by Paul Concannon presented Rockingham with a chance to cut the deficit, however, Rafael Insaurralde’s spot kick was saved by Justin Scarvaci who, post-game, was found to have fractured his collarbone in an earlier collision with an opponent. A succession of chances followed at the other end before Charlie Kenna teed-up Byrne for the simplest of tap-ins with only four minutes left.



The Division One title has slipped through Dianella White Eagles’ finger after going down 2-0 to arch-rivals Western Knights at Nash Field. Dianella entered the afternoon needing victory to secure their first trophy in two decades but it wasn’t to be as Luka Jukic and substitute Dean Thurston struck to give the Knights a deserved victory. “I think today we proved that we were the best team in the league,” said Knights assistant coach Andy Thorburn, whose team finished fifth but only five points off top spot. “We were under no pressure, they had to come here and win if they had a chance of winning the league … we were the better team today.”

The decision to partner Johny Mirco in attack with Jamie Ricks caused Dianella’s backline no end of trouble throughout the opening stanza. Tom Dixon parried Ricks’ powerful volley onto the crossbar after 25 minutes and a few minute later the visiting goalkeeper was again at his brilliant best in denying the same opponent in a one-on-one. Dianella may have been enjoying a good share of the ball but time and time again their attacks amounted to nothing. At the other end Dixon was working overtime, saving from both Mirco and Jukic. The deadlock was broken five minutes from the break when Jukic caught the ‘keeper by surprise when he blasted a dead ball into the roof of the net.

Dianella’s hopes of clawing their way back into the game were set back on the hour when the hosts brought attack-minded pair Thurston and Brendon Craig off the bench. Dixon ensured the difference on the scoreboard stayed at a single goal by keeping out a couple of sensational long-range strikes by Steve Purton. The game was made safe in the 85th minute when a tidy lead-up ended with Ricks’ delivering the ball in from the right for an unmarked Thurston to side-foot in at the far post. Purton could have added a third goal but the winger’s close-range header was off-target. The final whistle was following by an ugly melee as tempers, which had been simmering throughout the day, threatened to boilover.



Gosnells City extended their unbeaten home run to five games by coming from behind to earn a 2-2 draw with Ashfield in the final round of Division One fixtures. Home custodian Struan Herd was at full-stretch to keep out the afternoon’s first shot on goal by Karl O’Reilly Only a few minutes passed before the Ashfield threatened again via a Jay Lang corner which Steve O’Mahoney touched just the wrong side of the upright. John Perkins was called upon to make a regulation save to Wade Farmer’s strike before Branimir Mikulic steered his header into Herd’s gloves. Half-time was just four minutes away when Karl O’Reilly edged Ashfield in front by putting away a Lang centre on the counterattack.

Ruben Tristao looked destined to double Ashfield’s lead when Herd tipped his shot around the post minutes after the resumption. However, it would be Gosnells that hit the net on 54 minutes, Luke McCord playing a quick free-kick to Alan Carroll who teed-up Farmer to drive past Perkins. Thomas Kennedy restored Ashfield’s lead twenty minutes later with a speculative strike from 20-metres. Things stayed that way just three minutes before McCord’s defence-splitting pass allowed Farmer to race away and make it two-each. Farmer collected a second yellow card soon after and, as if that wasn’t bad enough, Gosnells saw out the closing stages a further man down after McCord was forced out by the ‘blood rule’.



Joondalup City has secured the Division Two championship by massacring Kingsway Olympic 9-0 this afternoon at Iluka Sports Complex. A four-goal haul by Jason Rubidge was complimented by Elliott Rose’s first half double and singles to Jody Thompson and Rhys Booth to gain Joondalup their first piece of silverware in just their second State League season. “The club has come a long way after a poor season last year, so winning the league and gaining promotion means a lot to everyone involved,” commented Rubidge. “It goes to show the hard work the squad has put in throughout the year and ending with a 9-0 win is just about as good as you can get.”

It clear from the outset that Joondalup meant business but it took until the 21st minute for Rose to break the deadlock with a precision header to Booth’s far post delivery. A tidy exchange between Thompson and Rose ten minutes later allowed the former to fire in goal number two from the edge of the 18-yard box. Kingsway may have been hoping for a reprieve at this stage but the hosts continued to attack. A stray defensive pass in the 38th minute gifted Joondalup another goal, Rubidge beating the last defender before finishing low past advancing goalkeeper Mike Brand. Rose heaped further misery on the away side by converting Rubidge’s low cross on the stroke of half-time.

The second half was just minutes old when Rubridge volleyed in at the back post after Kingsway failed to deal with another Booth cross. Adam Proctor’s shot on the hour was too hot for Brand to hold with Booth pouncing to tap in for a five-nil advantage. A slip by Wayne Culverwell was enough of an invitation for Thornton to further extend the difference by chipping over an exposed ‘keeper on 71 minutes. Rubridge had his hat-trick soon after by whipping into the net after Thompson’s through ball rebounded off the ‘keeper. It was only fitting that Rubridge complete the route with a crisp volley after Danny Allen and Thornton combined in the lead-up.



Quinns had to be content with the runners-up position in Division Two after being held to a 2-2 draw away at Melville City. Mark Lucas delivered the northern suburbs side their first blow by tucking into the net with only a few minutes on the clock. Melville wanted another goal and would have had one had goalkeeper Dan McAinsh not saved at close-range from Lucas Pickering. However, five minutes later Pickering got the goal he was after by guiding his header into the top corner from 10-metres. McAinsh did well in keeping out an Aaron Bahadori header before Brian Cairney was foiled at the opposite end by Elliot Duncan, whose smart response preserved Melville’s two-goal lead.

Knowing their season was in jeopardy, Quinns returned for the second half with renewed vigour. And they didn’t have to wait long before the difference to cut to a single goal, Jake Benson-Cooper skipping past three challenges before firing past Duncan. Ashley Savage squandered a chance to increase Melville’s lead by placing wide from a Bahadori flick on at the near post. A similarly golden opportunity then went begging at the other end, Arran Maplestone finding on the crossbar when faced by only the goalkeeper. Unperturbed, Quinns continued to create openings and eventually got back on level terms when John McNeil was allowed space to drill in from Cairney’s.



Maddington White City twice came from behind to grab a 2-2 draw at Fremantle United and kill off the port side’s plans of finishing top of the table. The away team had the ball in the net early through Ty Fenwick, however, and offside flag meant the attacker’s efforts counted for nothing. The port side responded to this scare by winning a corner which Fab Fusari swung into the danger zone where Fletcher Tracy glanced beyond the despairing gloves of Peter Wile. Fenwick restored parity with a tidy chip over Carlos Bervenotti after he failed to reach a long ball ahead of his opponent.

Fremantle opened the second period on the attack but neither Robert Mariano nor Maddy Holman could find a way past former team mate Wile. The Maddington shot-stopper was eventually beaten for a second time by old Holman, who calmly slotted in from the spot after being unceremoniously felled inside the 18-yard box by a defender. It looked as though that was the end of the scoring when Yves Mwila worked his way past a couple of opponents before stabbing in the equaliser from close-range. The shared points means Fremantle end the season in third place with Maddington, who were deducted nine points on a technicality, took out fifth spot.



The season is just 90 minutes from being over for either Sorrento or Cockburn City, who face off in tomorrow’s Minor Semi-Final at Percy Doyle Reserve (3.00pm). State striker Gavin Knight doesn’t need reminding that his Sorrento team failed to turn up the last time these side met. “We didn’t do well in our last league game with Cockburn, they beat us 5-1,” commented Knight. “But this is the finals, we have home ground advantage and we are definitely up for the challenge.” The Gulls defensive stocks are looking decidedly thin with Danny Cain suspended and Daryl Platten struggling with a thigh injury.

Cockburn seem to have found top gear at just the right time, as evidenced by the six-goals they put past Floreat Athena last time out. “We are full confidence,” said Cockerels captain Paul Natale. “I doubt most would have predicted us to even make the finals, so the pressure will all be on Sorrento on Saturday.” Nick Feely and Euan Grant form an imposing defensive line while heading in the other direction they possess arguably two of the local scenes most exciting players in Harry O’Brien and Paul Lloyd. Like their opponents, the Cockerels have some injury concerns with Conor Kavanagh and Blake Adams in doubt.

The honour of being first team through to the Grand Final is up for grabs when Stirling Lions and Bayswater City meet at Macedonia Park on Sunday (2.30pm). “Our encounters this year have been real crowd pleasers, played at high intensity and with remarkable quality, and this weekend will be no different,” said Stirling midfielder Andy Brown. “We fancy ourselves as always, especially being at home where we have had great support and success this season.” Gareth McGlynn (suspension) and Steve Burton (knee) will be notable by their absence when the two sets of players step out onto the park.



Western Knights attacker Johny Mirco is tipping a bumper crowd at Nash Field where his team will attempt to prevent Dianella White Eagles from secured their first trophy in two decades. “It was a great game last time, both sides competed well with Dianella scoring the winner in the last minute,” Mirco recalled of June’s game which ended 3-2. “I’m sure there will be a big crowd down to watch what is sure to be another thrilling game.” There are injury concerns in both camps with David Annall and Ben Coulter in doubt for the hosts, while for Dianella it’s Robbie Phelan and Corey Wiltshire who are under a cloud.

Swan United farewell veteran goalkeeper Cory Hugo by hosting Wanneroo City, who can sneak into top spot should Dianella slip-up. “Wanneroo are a very good team and are probably the team we were most comprehensively outplayed by last time we met, so we know how hard this week will be,” said Swan coach Damian Scali. “However, we generally play better against the better teams and I’m sure the effort will be even greater this week as we say goodbye one of our great players, Cory Hugo. Hopefully, we can give him a fitting farewell for all the tremendous service he has given our club.”

Also in the mix for top honours are Canning City who have a tricky home date with a UWA-Nedlands outfit that is wanting to make a statement. “We will be doing our best to cause an upset and finish strongly what has been a disappointing season for us,” UWA’s Yohanes Tadesse commented. Playing options are decidedly thin at Canning where Paul Van Dongen (knee), Gerardo Soto (ankle), Daniel Trevisiol (calf), Rory Moutett (suspension), Josh Findlater, Lawrence Cheyne and Steve Kane (overseas) are all unavailable for what is a must-win game.

Shamrock Rovers coach John O’Reilly have a full squad available for Rockingham City’s visit to Harold Rossiter Park. The return of captain Alan Carroll, Michael Logue and promising youngster Luke McCord has boosted Gosnells City spirits as they go in search of a fourth successive home win by hosting Ashfield. Mandurah City’s season to forget comes to a close with a home outing against Morley Windmills, who will be without Jean-Marc D’Avray, Bernard Marcelo and Brandon DaSilva for the occasion. All six Division One games kick-off on Saturday at 3.00pm.



Kingsway Olympic coach Nathan Chapman expects to be confronted by the full force of Joondalup City when the sides meet tomorrow at Iluka Sports Complex. “Joondalup are a good side with lots of quality but all the pressure is on them,” comment Chapman, well aware Joondalup must win to stay in the mix for top honours. “It’s been a disappointing season for us – there have been far too many ‘what its’ – and this will be another difficult game.” Joondalup entered the final round of the season in third spot, one point behind joint leaders Quinns and Fremantle United but with a game in hand over both.

Quinns are expected to account for a youthful Melville City outfit at Len Shearer Reserve. “Quinns will be a great test for us,” said Melville coach Danny Evans. “It’s been a challenging year but we go into the game with the same confidence do every week. Of course we have one eye on 2014 so there’s a good chance we’ll put out a young side, which will benefit from the experience. It’s important that we are better placed for next season and, based on our performances in the last part of the season, we’ll start making decisions about some of our younger players.”

Fremantle United welcome Robert Mariano back into the squad for a must-win encounter with Maddington White City at Beeliar Reserve. Unfortunately for the port side, Connor Shaw (holiday), Andrew Morrow (suspension) and Sam Smith (hamstring) will be watching from the sidelines while Marc Sim is in a race against time to recover from a hip problem. Coach Darren Yates will have nine players under the age of 20 in his Subiaco AFC squad which welcomes Forrestfield United to Rosalie Park. All four Division Two games kick-off on Saturday at 3.00pm.



Midfielder James Morgan is well versed in what finals football is all about. Morgan played a key role in Sorrento lifting the State Championship twelve months ago and the club stalwart believes victory in Saturday’s Major Semi-Final against Cockburn City can provide the catalyst for the northern suburbs outfit to go back-to-back. “We did it the hard way last season, when we lost to Floreat Athena in the first final, so we know we can do it,” said Morgan, only after his team went down to Bayswater City in the first game of the 2013 State League Finals Series.

Morgan feels Sorrento were hard done by with the sending off of defender Danny Cain against Bayswater, who went on to put away three unanswered goals. “Bayswater are a hard team to play with eleven men but it (the straight red card) really did change the game as they scored the resultant penalty we had to chase the game early,” said Morgan. “What makes it even more frustrating is that it was a harsh decision by the referee. I was right there and Cainy has made a great tackle and taken the ball but the ref awarded a penalty and sent him off.”

Sorrento’s finals plans were thrown into turmoil on the eve of the play-offs by the sudden resignation of coach Paul Price. “Pricey leaving was a shock to us all,” Morgan commented. “I don’t really know what went on behind closed doors but I believe he wasn’t offered a deal for next season and he chose to leave now, a decision that no doubt was hard for him after three years in charge. He came to training, told the boys what was happening and he wished all the best for the finals. And the boys wish him every success at the next club he takes charge of.”

Playing options at Sorrento will be stretched this weekend but Morgan is confident his team will get the better of Cockburn on Saturday. “We’ve lost Jason Mirco (injury), Jamie Harnwell (retired) and Steve McDonald (work) as the season has gone and now have Cainy suspended Anthony Skorich (injury) and Daryl Platten (injury) are also out,” he said. “Cockburn have a good midfield and are very good going forward, so we’re going to have to be at our best to beat them. But regardless of the eleven that we put out, Sorrento have a never-say-die attitude that has got us over the line many times before, and we can do it again.”



Bayswater City took a lot more out of last weekend’s win over Sorrento than meets the eye according to captain John Kearney. A couple of Gustavo Giron-Marulanda goals plus a late Gustavo Catarcione finish allowed Bayswater to get the better of Sorrento for the first time in seven meetings. “Last week was a big win for us,” said Kearney, whose team intend using the result as a springboard to their first State Championship. “Sorrento had been our bogey side for the last few seasons so to get a win over them gives us a lot of confidence for the games ahead.”

What made the win over Sorrento all the more pleasing for Kearny was the fact Bayswater were without star striker Steve Burton, who could miss the rest of the campaign with a knee injury. “Steve has been great for us this season but, hopefully, the two Gustavo’s can continue their good form and make up for Steve’s absence,” said Kearney, who is confident Jamie Coyne and Patrick Quinn will shake off minor injuries to line-up on the weekend. “Paddy and Jamie will be back for Sunday so that’s something that will give the coach a few selection headaches.”

Bayswater entered 2013 with the expressed aim of making a clean sweep of all the silverware on offer. The Night Series and State Cup have been added to the cabinet at Frank Drago Reserve and, although the regular season trophy slipped through their fingers, lifting the State Championship would certainly make amends for any lingering disappointment. “Hopefully, the players can repay Chris (Coyne) and Stewart (Moses) for their hard work and professionalism they have brought to the club,” said Kearney. “Since the lads have come in the aim really has been to get the (Cup and Championship) double.”

Having seen off Sorrento, Stirling are now preparing to pit skills with a Stirling Lions outfit that finished top of the regular season pile. “We know it’s going to be a tough game, Macedonia Park is a tough place to go and get a result these days,” said Kearney. “We’ve had two tight games against them this season and both teams have match-winners, so who can perform on the day will win it. We’ll prepare well for the game and go there confident of booking our place in the Grand Final.” Stirling and Bayswater kicks-off at 2.30pm on Sunday at Macedonia Park.



The Division One title race will go down to the wire after Wanneroo City scored late to steal a 2-1 win over Ashfield from this evening’s Round 14 catch-up game at Kingsway Reserve. Chris Pugh and Guy McDonald hit the back of the net to jump Wanneroo to within three points of leaders Dianella White Eagles, who have played one game more than their rivals from the north. Played in blustery conditions and on a pitch struggling to cope with recent rains, first half chances were few and far between. Luke Colli spurned an early opening for the visitors before Karl O’Reilly’s volley on goal was blocked by the Wanneroo defence. Guy McDonald chipped onto the top netting at the opposite end where appeals for a penalty were dismissed after Scott Bushby was felled inside the 18-yard box.

The addition of Mark Tenney for the second half unsettled the Ashfield defence, whose clumsy foul on the attacker led the referee to this time point to the spot. A floodlight failure then left everyone in the dark for ten minutes before power was restored and Pugh calmly converted to put Wanneroo one-nil up. Ashfield had no problem chasing the game and were soon back on level terms, O’Reilly lashing a partial clearance beyond Clint Davies on the volley. Tenney came close to putting the hosts back in front with a vicious shot that brought a superb save from John Perkins with ten minutes remaining. The game was seemingly destined for a draw when Guy McDonald thundered an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net from 18-metres after a fine lead-up that featured Anthony Jones and Brad McDonald.



Melville City moved clear of last spot in Division Two for the first time this year following this evening’s 4-2 defeat of home team Kingsway Olympic. All six goals arrived in the second half with Ashley Savage, Aaron Bahadori, Mark Lucas and 16-year old debutant Danny Robinson on target to earn Melville just their six win of an injury-riddled campaign. “It’s a relief to move off bottom spot,” said coach Dan Evans. “Obviously, it has been a disappointing year but there are many things we are pleased with, such as the unity of the squad. We’re confident that we’re on the right path for next season, when our kids will be a year older and wiser.”

The first 45 minutes was a cautious affair in which both sides prodded and probed their way forward with reluctance. Melville began to assert themselves after the turnaround but it was a scrappy goal that put them ahead, Savage bundling over the line Jack Mawdsely’s centre. Zeph Rolls put Kingsway back on level terms only to have Bahadori restore the visitors advantage by heading another cross by Mawdsley. Again Kingsway equalised, Josh Rolls punishing Mark Howell’s lapse by sliding the ball into Elliott Duncan’s net. Lucas back Melville back in front with a blistering free-kick into the top corner. Robinson commemorated his first senior appearance by tucking in the sealing goal after being teed-up by Sasa Gojic.



Jamie Maclaren continued his impressive pre-season form by snaring a brace in Perth’s Glory 3-1 defeat of the Northern All-Stars on a windy afternoon at the Edith Cowan University campus. With the new A-League season less than a month away, coach Alistair Edwards was delighted with a solid hit-out against an opponent drawn from the ranks of ECU Joondalup, Joondalup City, Joondalup United, Quinns and Whitfords City. “We wanted good games against local clubs as preparation for the A-League season and we certainly got that again today,” commented Edwards. “It was a very good game played in the right spirit and it was very positive for us that we got another intense game of that quality.”

Glory was out fast to establish a two-goal buffer inside 8 minutes. A Jacob Burns thunderbolt from 18-metres flashed past young goalkeeper Luke Green, and from the re-start Maclaren’s speculative long-range strike looped into the net. Jon Stynes pulled a goal back for the All-Stars on 16 minutes by converting a penalty awarded for Brandon O’Neill’s foul on Joe Knowles. Half-time was on the horizon when Maclaren restored Glory’s two-goal lead, tapping in at close-range on the end of a fine sweeping move which involved Ryan Edwards and Adrian Zahra. The second half following much the same pattern but, despite the best efforts of Edwards, Michael Thwaite and Chris Harold, further goals evaded the A-League side.



Cockburn City striker Ian McMurray has a good feeling about his teams’ chances of going all the way in the State League Final Series. The Cockerels walloped Floreat Athena 6-1 in last weekend’s Elimination Final with a performance that highlighted why they’ve been installed as the dark horse of the play-off field. “We were absolutely delighted with the performance against Floreat,” McMurray commented. “Not only did we play some good football and score some good goals, but we also showed that we could scrap and put in the work rate when needed.”

A trio of first half goals, the second scored by McMurray, laid the foundations for Cockburn to breeze past Floreat. “Scoring three goals in first half helped us settle and meant Floreat had to come out and press to get back into the game,” commented the striker. “They came at us strong (in the second half) and, although we gave away a poor goal, we knew they would be stretched and that would give us space and chances to hit them on the counterattack. On their day Floreat are one of the best in the league so to put six past them was a bit of a surprise.”

Cockburn possess all the hallmark of a team that can go all the way and be crowned State Champions according to McMurray. “The squad of lads is excellent with class, youth and experience all the way through it,” said the striker. “All the hard work Scottie Miller and now Marc Anthony have done is now showing. We are a well-organised team with everyone knowing their role in the system and that makes us hard to break down. On top of that we all get on great, our team spirit cannot be faulted and we want to succeed as a team.”

McMurray, who helped Cockburn to the top of Division One this time last year, is pleased with what he’s contributed since returning from a spell at Floreat earlier in the year. “It was easy for me to slip back in as I know the team structure and how the team plays. I feel with my goals, assists and hard work has been invaluable in our push into the finals,” said McMurray, who plans hanging up his boots when the season is over. “I’m treating every time I train or play like it’s the last time … especially now it really is elimination time!”

Its winner-take-all on Saturday with Cockburn venturing north for a Minor Semi-Final showdown with Sorrento, who lost at Bayswater City last time out. “It should be a cracker … Sorrento are looking to bounce back and we are pushing to earn a shot at a Grand Final place,” said McMurray, whose team trounced the Gulls 5-1 last time they met. “The midfields will play a massive part in the outcome, the battle to get control and gain possession will be intense. Hopefully the weather will be kind for us and the fans will be treated to a great game – a game which finishes with us as winners.”



Trent Sainsbury says his lack of game time during Australia’s East Asian Cup campaign may have been of his own making. A breakthrough season with Central Coast Mariners appeared to have put Sainsbury on the cusp of a Socceroos debut. However, the 21-year old remains uncapped by Australia at senior international level after being overlooked by coach Holger Osieck at July’s tournament. The rumour mill was rife with reasons why Sainbury did not feature in Seoul, ranging from a lacking fitness to the defender being distracted by transfer rumours linking him with clubs in England and Switzerland.

But Sainsbury, a former Armadale junior, says those suggestions are well wide of the mark. “Viddy (assistant Aurelio Vidmar) did say my attitude was a problem – that it looked like I didn’t want to be there. But I’ve had that from every coach I’ve ever worked under,” Sainsbury explained to “Kenny Lowe over in Perth was the first one to point it out to me – he said I looked so relaxed that anymore and I’d be dead. He thought that coaches were going to find that difficult unless they knew me really well … It’s something I need to work on.”



Representatives of the twelve National Premier Leagues WA clubs met with Football West officials for the first time last week to continue discussions around the future of the new top tier competition. Less than two weeks after the State’s peak body revealed the dozen clubs chosen for inclusion for the inaugural NPL, 40 people met at Litis Stadium to discuss competition matters including the proposed licence agreement, the competition schedule, administration of the competition, and marketing and promotion of the new league.

Football West director Sherif Andrawes was pleased with the response from officials at the first meeting of member clubs. “It was pleasing to get down to business and talk about the implementation of many of the ideas that clubs presented as part of their NPL applications,” Andrawes told “Over the coming months Football West will be working closely with the clubs to ensure next season’s kick-off is a success. Football West share the determination of the clubs to improve standards of play, coaching and the overall match-day experience and are excited about next season’s first step towards a big future.”

The inaugural NPL is likely to commence in the first week of March and conclude in mid-September with the State champions qualifying for the national championship series, which is due to commence in September. Clubs will also compete in the Football Federation Australia Cup competition in June. Football West are considering options for an earlier-than-anticipated second intake of teams in 2015, with a suitable league structure to be developed in conjunction with current clubs before proceeding with that expansion.

It was recognised that NPL clubs are best placed to develop strategies to ensure the success of the fledgling competition. A number of working parties, consisting of club representatives, will be created to progress key initiatives such as marketing and promotion, match-day activities, licence and participation agreement and social and digital media strategy. Football West will facilitate regular meetings of the NPL clubs over the coming weeks and assist working parties to develop a structure that works best for Western Australia.



Eliminating silly errors and soft goals has been a big part of Newcastle Jets’ pre-season according to goalkeeper Mark Birighitti. Even though Birighitti was outstanding between the sticks last season, Newcastle still conceded 45 goals to have the second worse defensive record of the A-League, something the shot-stopper readily admits needs improvement. “We conceded so many soft goals in the first five minutes of a game as well as just before or just after half-time,” Birighitti explained. “We conceded something like 17 goals from set pieces and that’s just not on One thing we’ve worked on a lot this pre-season is our back four and our defensive structure – we’ve definitely been working hard on it.”

Birighitti feels the addition of former Dutch international Kew Jaliens, a veteran of almost 450 appearances in Europe, will prove a major asset. “Kew Jaliens will make a big difference in the centre of defence and one thing we lacked last year was that really experienced player in our backline,” Birighitti said. “I think last year was just down to a lack of experience and the average age of our back four was 22 or 23. Kew has played ten times for the Dutch national team and he’s played for big Clubs in Europe, so with his experience, I’m sure he’ll lead these younger boys on the right path.”

Newcastle’s preparation for the coming season has them next take on Melbourne Victory in a behind closed doors friendly tomorrow. It will be the second time in five days Newcastle have faced A-League opposition – they defeated Sydney 1-0 on the weekend – and Birighitti can’t wait. “The boys are shaping up for a good year, we’ve made a few key signings and we’re really looking forward to a big year ahead,” said Birighitti, who pulled off several important saves I the win over Sydney. “We had a solid hit-out against Sydney on the weekend and we’re looking forward to the game against Melbourne Victory tomorrow.”


WHAT’S THE POINT? (with Ashley Morrison, Not the Footy Show")

A great deal has been made about the proposed Player Points System, both here in Western Australia and elsewhere around the country. The much-maligned system, under which players aged 25 and over are prejudiced against, has already been branded illegal by a lawyer specialising in employment law. Professional Footballers Australia has also come out on the side of the players to try and stop the points system. However, it appears Football Federation Australia and its satellite state bodies are ploughing ahead regardless. Many believe the reason for this is that its’ the clubs who will face legal action, not those governing the game and implementing the rule.

At last week’s meeting of inaugural National Premier League WA clubs, Football West advised they were prepared to increase the number of cumulative points a team can have on the park, and that the number of visa players – non-permanent residents – would be increased to four per team. However, clubs were also advised they would have to revert to the national standard for the NPL finals series, meaning the points value would be lowered and their visa player allocation would be halved. In effect you play all season under one set of rules but that same team cannot play in the finals because an over-riding national set of rules.

Age has no limits, and should certainly never determine whether a player plays a sport or not. Pele and Norman Whiteside were 17 when they played at the World Cup finals, Dino Zoff lifted that trophy with Italy at 40 and Teddy Sherringham (40), Gordon Strachan (40), Stuart Pearce (39) and Ryan Giggs (39) are just a few of football’s elder statesmen to play in England’s top flight. The Player Points System is foolish in the extreme. Sadly, it seems the clubs who will be the one’s putting their futures at risk if they accept this system as they, as the employers, will face the legal challenges.



Gustavo Giron-Marulanda scored twice to lead Bayswater City to a 3-0 win over a ten-men Sorrento in this afternoon’s Qualifying Final at Frank Drago Reserve. Sorrento worked tirelessly to make up for the first half dismissal of Danny Cain but, ultimately, found no response to Giron-Marulanda’s double and a late third goal by Gustavo Catarcione. “Hats off to Sorrento, they never gave up even when they went down to ten men, they have had that mentality for as long as I can remember,” said Bayswater coach Chris Coyne. “The boys deserved the win, especially after the effort they put in last week in the defeat at their place.”

It was straight into attack for Bayswater, Catarcione forcing a smart save at close-range from Curtis Aspden inside a minute. The visitors responded in kind with James Morgan bringing Devon Spence into action after being picked out by Brodie Martin. David Price played through for Gavin Knight whose finish was past the post, and soon after Morgan’s finish was also wide as Sorrento began to gain a foothold on the game. However, the northern suburbs side were rocked on 21 minutes when ever-reliable defender Daryl Platten succumbed to a thigh injury, his place taken by Danny Cain.

Cain’s involvement lasted just a few minutes, the defenders’ challenge on Todd Howarth inside the 18-yard box earning a harsh straight red card from referee David Bruce. Giron-Marulanda added insult to injury by despatching the resultant spot kick just beyond the despairing gloves of Aspden. Knight should have brought the teams level almost immediately but placed wide after a poor clearance by Spence went straight to his feet. Aspden ensured the difference remained a single goal by keeping out shots from Andy Reale and Catarcione in the minutes leading into half-time.

Bayswater’s lead was doubled seven minutes after the restart by Giron-Marulanda’s precision finish from 10-metres after being Patrick Quinn’s clever back-heel sent him clear. The ten men of Sorrento refused to give up hope. A long-range strike from Mikey Aspin was tipped over by Spence and, with just over ten minutes to go, substitute Steve McDonald nodded just over the top. Bayswater had no intention of letting the game slip away and on 89 minutes Catarcione completed the route by tucking in at close-range after Apsden had turned away Adrian Caceres’ strike.

Bayswater City: Devon Spence, Patrick Quinn (Ross Cosgrave 66), John Kearney, Trent Kay, Chris Saldaris, Andy Reale, Brian Farrell, Todd Howarth, James Isaia (Declan Hargreaves 86), Gustavo Giron-Marulanda (Adrian Caceres 80), Gustavo Catarcione
Sorrento: Curtis Aspden, Mikey Aspin, Wes Padley, Daryl Platten (Danny Cain 21), Ryan Pearson, Razack Geloo (Steve McDonald 61), David Price, James Morgan, Brodie Martin, Todd Harnwell, Gavin Knight
Bookings: Morgan (30), Kearney (37), Giron-Marulanda (57), Geloo (58), Cosgrave (73), Aspin (82), McDonald (91)
Dismissals: Cain (23)
Referee: David Bruce



Cockburn City sounded an ominous warning to their fellow finalists by crushing Floreat Athena 6-1 in this afternoon’s Elimination Final at Dalmatinac Park. Harry O’Brien, McMurray and Paul Lloyd had the hosts in a strong position before Floreat were given a flicker by hope after the break by Blair Govan. Despite playing into the breeze, Cockburn piled on further goals through Matt Salmon and Aiden Da Luz, who snared a double off the bench, in a resounding victory. Cockburn will now start preparing for next week’s semi-final against the loser of tomorrow’s Qualifying Final between Bayswater City and Sorrento.

Those arriving at the ground late would have missed O’Brien open the scoring after 2 minutes, the youngster punishing poor defending inside the 6-yard box by blasting in after meeting Ian McMurray’s squared pass. David Heagney stung the gloves of Nick Feely as Floreat set about finding an immediate reply. Salmon was within inches of extending the hosts lead with a clipped shot that passed beyond the top corner on the quarter hour. In the minutes that followed Brad Eiffe twice came to Floreat’s rescue, pushing away Lloyd’s powerful shot on the run before capturing an in-swinging corner under the crossbar from the same player.

Floreat were also enjoying a good share of possession but, if truth be told, they lacked the nous required to unlock a well-organised backline marshalled by Euan Grant. In the shadows of half-time Cockburn strengthened their hold over the game with two more goals. McMurray applied a cheeky back-heeled finish from inside a crowded 6-yard box after the away team failed to deal with a 43rd minute ball in from the left by Lloyd. And in stoppage time Lloyd’s crisp free-kick from 17-metres deflected off the defensive wall to wrong-foot Eiffe, who could only watch as the ball crept over the line.

Govan gave Floreat just the start to the second half they were after, getting the last touch on a scramble stemming from Mark Pritchard’s 48th minute corner. Another goal was needed but the closest they’d come was Jack Allen’s audacious strike from the halfway line which drifted over the top after being caught by the wind. The result was put beyond doubt in the 68th minute when Lloyd threaded through the defence for Salmon to stroke goal number four in via the upright. Even so, Floreat kept pushing but Heagney pulled horribly high after getting on the end of a Pritchard through ball.

Sensing there were a few more goals in the game, upped the tempo for the final ten minutes. Da Luz lashed across the face after working space while McMurray was unable to get the touch needed to turn in a Lloyd centre. Feely was called upon for just the second time, parrying Ludovic Boi’s first time strike from 8-metres. McMurray got clear down the left in the 85 minute, luring Eiffe out of position before crossing for Da Luz to crash into the roof of an empty net. Da Luz completed the route four minutes after by side-footing in another centre from the left by Lloyd.

Cockburn City: Nick Feely, Alex Castiello, Euen Grant, Paul Natale, Blake Adams (Jack Eades 38), Harry O’Brien, Matt Salmon, Eamon McNellis, Paul Lloyd, Connor Kavanagh (Aiden Da Luz 57), Ian McMurray (Gian Albano 88)
Floreat Athena: Brad Eiffe, Blair Govan, Bobby Wilson, Cameron Yorke, Jack Allen, Aryn Williams, Ludovic Boi, Andrew Xydas (Benny Kouakou 45), Cisco Jorquera (Sam Barbas 73), David Heagney, Mark Pritchard
Bookings: Jorquera (33), Xydas (45), Salmon (48)
Dismissals: Nil
Referee: Josh Manella



Gosnells City secured Division One survival by trouncing Rockingham City 3-1 in a fiercely contested encounter at Walter Padbury Reserve. Chris Holland’s brace and a late Ben Howe free-kick secured Gosnells a third straight home win plus their place in next year’s second tier, and at the same time condemned Rockingham to relegation. Playing with the aid of a strong breeze, Rockingham monopolised the early play and of not for Struan Herd then they would have gone in front. But it was Gosnells who were first on the scoreboard with Holland punishing some defensive hesitancy on the counterattack. Ten minutes later Rockingham drew level after Trent Blewett’s defensive header came back off the post.

It took Gosnells only a few second half minutes to restore their lead, Howe delivering a corner to the far post where Holland tapped in his second goal. Wade Farmer was twice presented chances to extend the hoists lead, lashing one shot wide and another just high with the retiring Daiten Twyman provider on both occasions. Rockingham crashed into the side netting in the visitors attempt to get back on level terms, then Holland’s shot on the turn flashed high. Howe made the game safe with ten minutes to go, hitting a dead ball from wide on the right across the goalkeeper and inside the far bottom corner. There were further opportunities for both teams but the scoreline remained 3-1 to Gosnells’ favour.



Ciaran Byrne’s third hat-trick of the season paved the way for Shamrock Rovers 5-1 thrashing of a flat Morley Windmills side at Harold Rossiter Park. It took only 13 minutes for Shamrock’s focus on attack to paid off with Byrne brushing off his marker and apply a cool finish 10-metres. The margin was doubled seven minutes later when Byrne, in a clear offside position, ignored Will Pender’s through ball as Michael Lawson continued his run from midfield to beat goalkeeper Phil Herschell. Shamrock would have had a few more to their name at the break had shots from Byrne and Charlie Kenna not been cleared off the line.

The second half opened with a bang, Byrne tucking a sharp shot into bottom corner after some great lead-up play by Kenna. Shamrock were still enjoying the moment when Andy Griffiths cut the deficit with a tap-in after Justin Scarvaci spilled a high ball. It was then back to business for the away team, Kenna drifting inside the 18-yard box to curl an excellent shot into the top corner after 55 minutes. Barry Mulligan worked himself into space before crossing from the left for Byrne to head in his third and final goal of the afternoon at close-range. The win jumps Shamrock into third position, one points head of Wanneroo City who admittedly have two games in hand.



Fremantle United encountered new problems in sweeping aside a lacklustre Forrestfield United outfit 4-1 at Hartfield Park. Connor Shaw helped himself to a brace with Fletcher Tracy and teenager Maddy Holman also finding the back of the net on an afternoon when Fremantle’s dominance stretched from the opening whistle through to the last. The pattern of the first half was set early, Fremantle raining shots down on their opponents goal where Nathan Cipriano was working overtime to keep the sides level. Half-time was approaching when Tracy finally found a way through with a stunning volley from top corner of the 18-yard box.

Holman doubled the visitors tally early in the second period by latching onto Angus Vos’ angled pass through the defence and, after racing clear of his marker, unleashing a powerful shot which gave the advancing ‘keeper no chance. Shaw complimented a fine flowing move by arriving at the back post to stab in goal number three from close-range. Forrestfield were gifted a late consolation with visiting ‘keeper Carlos Bervenotti punching the ball into his own net. There was still time for Fremantle to add another with Shaw applying the easiest of finishes.



Steven McGarry’s superb late strike earned Perth Glory a 1-1 draw from this afternoon’s fiery encounter with Melbourne Heart at Hyundai Stadium. Played in howling wind and driving rain, Glory were made to play the entire second half a man down after defender Steve Pantelidis was sent off for his second bookable offence. Melbourne eventually made their numerical superiority count with Harry Kewell firing in after 84 minutes, however, with the final whistle looming McGarry produced a stunning finish from 25-metres to bring the game level. “With the wind behind us in the second half … I managed to find a bit of space and get a shot away and luckily it went in,” said McGarry.

The first half was light-on in terms of clear-cut goalscoring chances as both sides struggled to adapt to the wild weather conditions. Aziz Behich’s crude tackle on Josh Risdon sparked an all-in melee during which referee David Bruce booked three players, including Pantelidis who was already sitting on a yellow card. After the break, Heart carved out several good chances on goal with substitute Andrea Migliorini and Mate Dugandzic tested Danny Vukovic. The deadlock was finally broken after 84 minutes when Dugandzic rolling a free-kick into the path of Kewell who fired low into the bottom corner. With time running out McGarry unleashed a stunning strike from 22-metres which gave Andrew Redmayne no chance to get Glory a fortunate draw.



The 2013 State League Finals Series swings into action with two absolute blockbusters across the weekend. Dalmatinac Park is the place to be on Saturday for the sudden-death Elimination Final between Floreat Athena and Cockburn City, who ran out 5-0 winners the last time these teams met. “We’ve beat then twice already but in finals football anything can happen,” said coach Marc Anthony. “We’ve had a few little hiccups the last few weeks, hopefully, we can keep our season going longer by keeping up the good work.” The loss of defender Devon Gibson through injury has been balanced by Jack Eades’ return.

Chris Barbas says his players are fully focused on the task at hand after a bumpy regular season ride. “Even though we were last (after seven games) we still had the belief that we could finish in the finals race, said Barbas. “If we had won some of the close games during the season we would have finished third, but we had to settle for fifth. The lads are focused on playing one week at a time and seeing how far we can go.” Callum Franz (suspension) is out while injured pair Mark Pritchard and Ludovic Boi are in a race against time.

Bayswater City and Sorrento go into battle in Sunday’s game at Frank Drago Reserve. Only a single goal separated the sides when they meet last weekend and Sorrento captain Todd Harnwell is tipping another close encounter. “Bayswater are always a very difficult team to play and Chris Coyne will no doubt have them fired up,” said Harnwell. “Obviously our goal is to win the top five series as that is what counts. But there are still some good teams we need to beat first and, given our record against Bayswater, we know we are capable of getting the right result on Sunday.”

Chris Coyne doesn’t see any reason for concern leading into Bayswater’s game with Sorrento, despite going down 1-0 to the northern suburbs side last weekend. “We played really well last week against Sorrento and, on another day, could have five or six goals,” Coyne commented. “We have had a good season so far and played some really good football but we want to finish off well and then assess how it went for us … it’s an old cliche but we are taking it one week at a time.” Both State League Finals Series games kick-off at 2.30pm.



It’s make-or-break time for Division One title contenders Canning City and Wanneroo City when they meet at Kingsway Reserve. “It’s been a long journey to get where we are and there is a strong belief that we can finish as champions,” said Canning’s veteran defender Rory Mouttet, whose team enter the weekend in second place, just two points ahead of Wanneroo. “There is no love lost between Canning and Wanneroo, there’s a huge rivalry between us. Wanneroo are a very tough and very organised side, it goes without saying that we will need to be at our very best to beat them on their turf.”

Top of the table Dianella White Eagles can put one hand on the Division One trophy by collecting maximum points over Swan United at Dianella Reserve. There’ll be few changes to either the Shamrock Rovers or Morley Windmills line-up when they square off at Harold Rossiter Park. Matt Carruthers last home game with Ashfield has then up against a Western Knights side which has Luca Jukic, Ben Coulter and Jamie Ricks all in doubt through injury. Suspension has ruled Craig Young and Jay Bonser out for Mandurah City’s visit to UWA-Nedlands.

Gosnells City knows what they need to do in order to get the better of bottom of the table Rockingham City and secure a spot in Division One for season 2014. “We need to be focused, disciplined and totally ignore Rockingham’s league position,” said Gosnells goalkeeper Struan Herd. “Saturday will be like a Cup Final and we need to be at our best. We’ve won our last two games at home and the Gosnells fans have been fantastic, they haven’t given up on us. I’m confident we can take all three points and repay the fans faith.” All six Division One games kick-off on Saturday at 3.00pm.



Division Two leaders Joondalup City face a difficult trip to Maddington City, whose hopes of finishing top of the table were recently snuffed out by a technicality. Quinns are acutely aware that anything less than victory at home against fourth-placed Subiaco AFC is likely to spell disaster for their title hopes. The same goes for Fremantle United when they travel to second-from-bottom Forrestfield United. Kingsway Olympic are minus Sota Iwasaki, Lee Thomas, Aaron Lickiss, Craig Cunningham and possibly Aaron Platten for the home outing with Melville City. All four Division Two games kick-off on Saturday at 3.00pm.



Matt Carruthers has announced his departure from Ashfield just weeks after leading the club into their first ever State Cup Final. Carruthers will hand over the reins at seasons’ end for work and family reasons, however, the 33-year old plans staying on at the Division One club in a football management role while working towards his coaching badges. “It’s been a very difficult decision,” Carruthers said. “I would love nothing more than to continue in my current role, however, understanding the time the role takes verses the time I currently have the two just don’t meet. To stay on wouldn’t be doing myself or the club justice.”

Carruthers admits to having mixed feeling about his three years in charge of Ashfield. “My aim was to put silverware in the cabinet and that’s not been achieved, I’m personally I’m disappointed,” said Carruthers, who took Ashfield to third in the 2011 Night Series in addition to the final of this year’s State Cup. “However, I feel the club is in a better place today and we are moving forward. I’ll be pleased to see the current group of players stick together under new management and take the work done forward to the next level for the club in 2014.”

In stepping aside Caruthers paid tribute to Ashfield’s many unsung heroes that cheer the side on through rain, hail or shine. “The support we get off the park from guys that have been at the club since the inaugural years, as well as some of the new blood at the club has been terrific,” explained Carruthers. “Win, draw or lose, it was rare over the three years that the players were not welcomed for their efforts with comments along the lines of ‘the football was brilliant’ … it’s a joy for everyone at Ashfield to have that kind of support.”

The next twelve months are shaping up to be a very busy time for Carruthers. “I have a number of items on my list for 2014 including promotion in my current professional role, personal health, building a house, family and my future development in the game,” he said. “When I return to the game in some coaching capacity, I’m sure it will be with further hunger to put silverware in a cabinet and perhaps if the timing is right it will be with Ashfield.” Ashfield have commenced the search for a new head coach for season 2013 with the club inviting expressions of interest to be submitted to by Monday 30 September.



State goalkeeper Curtis Aspden is confident Sorrento can produce an encore performance of last weekend’s win over Bayswater City when the sides meet in the opening round of the 2013 State League Finals Series on Sunday afternoon. A second half David Price may have been all that separated the teams on the scoreboard but it was an afternoon of hard graft that ensured Sorrento’s goal remained unbreached. “The win against them was great and we hope to carry that momentum into the finals,” Aspden said. “We all played our part, we soaked up a lot of pressure and got over the line.”

Aspden is not surprised Sorrento have taken something from their lasts six encounters with Bayswater. “Everyone gets up for big games and there are not bigger games in the State League that when us two meet,” said Aspden, whose team have emerged strong for a mid-season metamorphosis. “Losing both Jamie Harnwell and Steve McDonald was hard, and we also lost Craig Robson at the same time. But we have recovered now and young Razack Geloo and Wes Padley have settled into the back line along with Brodie Martin. We are looking more comfortable and more solid every game.”

Long-time captain Todd Harnwell has been a key figure for the Gulls this year and his influence across the middle, along with that asserted by David Price and James Morgan, will be vital on Sunday afternoon. “Toddy is just the same every week, he’s a manager’s dream because you know what you’re going to get,” Aspden commented. “David has played a lot this year, which has been good for him, and he’s only got better as the season as gone on. James is a massive player for us and he’s getting fitter with every game after returning from his travels abroad.”

Sorrento have always been a tight-knit group and Aspden couldn’t help but take aim at team mate Gavin Knight. “Gav has been good for us, he’s our leading scorer even though 90% of his goals are from free-kicks and he can’t control a bag of cement,” joked Aspden, before getting serious about Sunday’s meeting at Bayswater. “We know it’s going to be a tough game and we can’t afford to concentrate on individual players – we need to stop their whole team. Bayswater have quality everywhere on the park and in my eyes they are our biggest threat to winning back-to-back Grand Finals.”



In the space of twelve months Cockburn City have gone from winning promotion from Division One to being in a race for the State Championship. From the outside Cockburn’s rise up the State league standings has been something of a miracle, however, defender Euan Grant isn’t at all surprised with how well 2013 has panned out. “Overall we’ve had a pretty good year,” said Grant, somewhat understatedly. “When a team is promoted usually their first aim is to stay in the league but our aim was to make the top five, and we achieved that pretty comfortably in the end.”

Having qualified for the finals by finishing the home and away season in fourth place, Cockburn now host Floreat Athena in Saturday’s make-or-break Elimination Final. “Floreat have good players all over the park and they reached the Grand Final last season, so we will need to be switched on and at our best to win the game,” said Grant. “We’re lucky we have a squad full of quality players and everyone has played their part this season. But the job is only half done and we need to stay focused in the finals because if you drop your intensity you will punished.”

One player Cockburn will need firing on all cylinders this weekend is young attacker Harry O’Brien, whose talents were recently rewarded with a Perth Glory contract. “Harry has played well this season and we are hoping he has a big final series. All the boys wish him all the best when he moves to Glory at the end of the season,” said Grant, who expects to feel more than his fair share of pressure on Saturday afternoon weekend. “We’ve had three tough games against Floreat this year and we are expecting the same this weekend.” Cockburn and Floreat go head-to-head at Dalmatinac Park from 2.30pm on Saturday.



The Professional Footballers Australia have waded into the National Premier Leagues debate, labelling the proposed Player Points System a violation of players’ rights and claiming it’s in opposition to Australian law and FIFA regulations. The points system is a key component of the NPL and has the expressed aim of encouraging clubs to develop young players while providing a pathway to senior football. However, it also discriminates against players over the age of 25, those that transfer from one club to another and players who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents, otherwise known as visa players.

PFA management team member Brendan Schwab lashed out at the PPS when speaking on ‘Let’s Talk Football’ earlier this week. “They system is draconic,” stated Schwab. “It’s an unreasonable restraint of the trade of players and contrary to Australian law. It violates the global FIFA system for the registration and transfer of players. And it’s going to be completely counter-productive, it will not advance the objectives for which it has been established which is to encourage the training and development of young players … if anything it will operate against those objectives.”

The PPS requires each club to nominate a 20-player squad which fits under a points cap. Each player is allocated ten base points with points then removed or added dependent upon the characteristics of the individual player. The positive for young, locally developed players is they will have one point removed from that tally for each youth team they have played for. Senior players, however, accumulate one point added for each year they are over 25, players that transfer between clubs attract an eight point penalty while for visa players it’s a point penalty.

Schwab made it clear the PFA will rally against the PPS as it currently stands. “We can’t support players over the age of 25 being penalised,” he said. “Players above the age of 25, irrespective of their nationality, have a lot to offer the competition. If we make that competition too young we risk diminishing the quality to such a level that it won’t be a good breeding ground for future professionals … it has already ended the careers of players who have done their coaching badges and who are still in the position to still play and contribute.”

The restriction of player movements is also of serious concern to the PFA. “The whole concept of freedom of movement, something that is a very important right for players, will be seriously compromised,” Schwab added. “Under the FIFA regulations and under Australian law, athletes are permitted to move when their contracts have expired. Under this system the player gets an eight point penalty if he’s coming from another club, so he takes up 18 points. That’s not only a restraint of the players, it has a dramatic impact on the clubs that want to recruit players.”

Schwab says the case for Football Federation Australia to scrap the PPS is compelling. “We need to make sure players below the A-League do not have their rights violated this fundamental way,” Schwab commented. “If FFA are not prepared to engage in a discussion with us (about the PPS) then we’d have the unfortunate situation of a legal dispute. And we are very confident that the law is on the player’s side and we are also very confident the FIFA regulations are on the side of the players, and that FIFA wouldn’t allow this system to happen.”



A goal inside 10 minutes by Young Socceroo’s striker Jamie Maclaren was enough to get a youthful Perth Glory line-up a 1-0 win from this afternoon’s friendly with Melbourne Heart. Maclaren’s early strike ultimately proved the difference between the two sides at Intiga Stadium, but the hosts would have won by a greater margin if not for an inspired performance by former Glory goalkeeper Tando Velaphi. “I thought we did really well today in our first test against an A-League side,” said Glory midfielder Brandon O’Neill. “We did everything Alistair asked for and it always nice to get a win, and we look forward to Saturday’s game in Mandurah.”

Played in driving wind and rain, the only goal of the afternoon came after 9 minutes when Maclaren pounced on a loose ball in midfield and drove forward to calmly slot past Velaphi in a one-on-one. The margin should have been doubled seven minutes later when Adrian Zahra was bundled over by Ross Archibald, however, Maclaren’s spot kick was brilliantly saved by Velaphi. The visiting ‘keeper continued to keep Glory at bay, tipping over Jack Clisby’s curling shot on the half hour and denying Sidnei shortly after. Melbourne’s only genuine chance of the period came late when Iain Ramsey’s low centre was taken off David Williams’ toe by Dean Evans.

Glory resumed the attack after the resumption, Daniel De Silva and Matt Davies combining to set-up Sidnei whose dipping strike from 15-metres was just over the crossbar. Velaphi saved well from Ryo Nagai on 65 minutes and Sidnei’s follow-up was cleared off the line by David Vrankovic. O’Neill tried his luck from distance only to for his shot to find the gloves of Velaphi, who on 77 minutes brilliantly blocked Sidnei’s explosive strike. The only time Glory triallist Nick Feely was called into action was close to the final whistle when he saved low from Ramsey. Glory and Melbourne meet again on Saturday afternoon at Hyundai Stadium in Mandurah from 3.00pm.



Floreat Athena has come a long way this year, and they intend going much further according to striker David Heagney. Last year’s Grand Finalists opened 2013 by taking a single win from seven games to be stumping up the Premier Division a third of the way through the winter. The record was cast aside by a fine run of form which has culminated in an Elimination Final date with Cockburn City on Saturday afternoon. “Everyone has forgotten about the bad start to the season we had,” said Heagney. “So to even be in the top five is a massive achievement for us.”

Floreat boast one of the local scene’s most accomplished midfield units which has Mark Pritchard and Cisco Jorquera at its heart. “Mark has been great this season, and Cisco has come in and done a great job,” explained Heagney, who rates the mid-season departure of Spencer Harris as a defining moment in their year. “Spencer was a massive player for us and a real character in the team, so to lose him was hard. We’ve not had much luck with injuries, suspension and players leaving this year but the squad we have now is good and we’re looking forward to the weekend.”

There’ll be no second chances on Saturday afternoon with the victors progressing to the semi-finals, while the vanquished start planning for 2014. So if Floreat are to come out on top Heagney says there are a couple of Cockburn players that will need to be shut down. “Paul Lloyd is a massive danger going forward, we will have to watch him closely, and Conor Kavangh is also dangerous in the middle of the park if not closed down,” said Heagney. “But we go into the game worrying about what we do and not about them. If we get the game plan right we will come away with a win.”

Heagney says it’s time for Floreat to wrong a few wrong when it comes to Cockburn, who held the inner city club scoreless in both regular season meetings. “This will probably the hardest game we have had all season, but the players are ready for it,” commented Heagney, who remembers all too well his last visit to Dalmatinac Park. “We caught them on a good day and haven’t forgotten the 5-0 loss they inflicted. Cockburn are a very good side with some quality players, but we can beat anyone on our day and I’m confident that will be the case on Saturday.”



There’s still a lot of work to be done before Bayswater City will consider their season a success according to attacker Brian Farrell. Bayswater have already lifted the Night Series and State Cup trophies and Farrell, who missed the final of the later due to suspension, has made clear his teams’ desire to bring a third piece of silverware, that of State Champions, to Frank Drago Reserve. “We have had a very good year but it isn’t over yet,” said Farrell. “The Cup Final was a day, all the players remember the celebrations and we hope to be doing it again in a few weeks.”

Victory over Ashfield three weeks ago was the culmination of many months work and dedication, both on and off the field of play. “Winning the Cup was a testament to all the hard work put in from players, coaches, the board and the chairman,” said Farrell. “We have been training since November of last year and the coaches have been implementing their ideas on the training ground and all the players are on the same page. We go into the finals full of confidence in what we have in the squad and on our day we can beat anyone in the competition.”

Bayswater open their finals campaign on Sunday by hosting Sorrento. “They are a strong outfit, they won the Grand Final and State Cup last year and that doesn’t happen by chance. It takes great belief and confidence in your team mates to get across the line in big games like those,” commented Farrell, whose team have not beaten Sorrento since April 2011. “We know they have strength all over the park, and we can’t focus on one or two players. They have been somewhat of a bogey team over the last couple of years but we will aim to set that straight on Sunday.”



Goalkeeper Tando Valaphi is hoping to revitalise his career by signing on with Melbourne Heart for the coming A-League summer. Velaphi, 26, has joined Heart as back-up to Andrew Redmayne, however, the former Australia youth international has made clear warming the bench does not factor in his plans. “I want to contribute as much as I can to the team,” said Velaphi. “Obviously Redders has established himself last year really well as number one. I didn’t just sign here to sit on the bench. I’d love to get as many games as I can.”

The past two and a half years have been a nightmare for Velaphi, a former Perth SC junior. It was with 74 A-League appearances for Perth Glory to his name that Velaphi headed east in February 2011 to take up a two-year deal with Melbourne Victory. He played four Asian Champions League games for Victory before suffering a stress fracture of the tibia, an injury which ruled him out for the majority of the 2011/12 campaign. He gained only three further outings for the club before being released at the end of last season.

The retirement of Heart number one Clint Bolton in late March prompted Heart to turn to Velaphi, who is still settling at his new club. “Obviously I haven’t played that many games for the last couple of seasons. But it’s good to get a good run and just looking to improve each week in training and then implement the things I’ve learnt in training in to the games,” he commented. “Hopefully I get a bit more of a run, but we’ll see how we go. I’m just enjoying playing and enjoying being out there with my new teammates.”

Velaphi had high praise for the coaching team at Heart. “The communication is really good between all the coaching staff,” he revealed. “Johhny (Aloisi) is one of the new coaches and he brings through this different sort of philosophy and it’s great. It’s very dynamic and the style is really up-tempo. I’ve really enjoyed that. The performance staff are really professional and are all looking after me very well … I’m quite happy here and I’m starting to find my feet with the boys in training and looking forward to every minute of it.”



Bayswater City striker Gustavo Giron-Marulanda has created his own special place in State League history by becoming just the third player to score three Golden Boot awards. The silky-skilled Colombia found the back of the net 18-times in an injury interrupted season to secure his third successive top goal scorer trophy, a record which puts him alongside greats of yesteryear John McInroy (1961-1965), Len Dundo (1972-1974, 1976-1978) and Frank Bate (1989, 1992, 1993). Thirteen goals in the opening twelve games laid the foundations for Giron-Marulanda’s sensational season highlighted by match-winning braces against Floreat Athena (R6), Cockburn City (R18).

Giron-Marulanda’s 18-goal haul saw him collect the top scorer award ahead of Gavin Knight, whose 15-goal tally included hat-tricks for Sorrento against Armadale (R3) and Floreat (R21). Inglewood United’s Greg Sharland came in third with 12 goals, just ahead of Ndumba Makeche who netted 11 times in a six-game cameo for the National Training Centre. Benny Kovadio (Floreat) and Harry O’Brien (Cockburn) snared 10 goals and finished with one more than Rory Grant of Stirling Lions. Level with eight goals each were Steve Burton (Bayswater), Ashley Rosindale (Balcatta) and Paul Lloyd (Cockburn).



Newcastle Jets midfielder Mitch Oxborrow is riding the high of representing Australia at the recent COTIF Under-19 International tournament in Spain. Oxborrow, 18, said his performances with the Young Socceroos had given him the confidence and drive to push for more game time with Newcastle during the coming summer. “When you do go away with the national team you’ve just got to do your best to perform, so you can come back to your club with a positive mindset,” Oxborrow explained. “When you do get your chance you’ve got to be ready to grab hold of it and not let go … if you keep working hard, it will come eventually.”

Having already represented Australia at Under-17 and Under-20 levels, Oxborrow was one of the squad’s more experienced players in Spain. “I captained the side against Saudi Arabia and was vice-captain throughout the rest of the tournament,” Oxborrow said. “Just to be able wear the armband and lead the boys out while representing my country was an unbelievable feeling that you can’t beat really. I played two full games at centre-back and two half-games in the midfield. It was something a bit different for me (at centre-back), but I felt like I played pretty consistently at the back and felt comfortable there as well.”

The tournament in Span served as preparation for the Young Socceroos upcoming 2015 Under-20 World Cup qualifiers, hosted by Hong Kong from 3 October. “It’s always good to go away and represent your country on the international stage,” Oxborrow said. “Our first game of the tournament was probably our poorest, but I thought we kept gradually building and improving and by the end of the tournament we were playing some good football. I think at the moment we just need to gel as a team and hopefully the results start to come. Overall I thought it was a very worthwhile trip.”



Versatile youngster Dean Evans plans to stake a claim to a full-time contract with Perth Glory after agreeing terms on a three-month deal with the A-League club. Evans has been a stand-out the local scene for Stirling Lions this winter, prompting Glory to turn to the 23-year old with the offer of a short-term injury-replacement contract. “It’s an honour to have the opportunity to play for your hometown club and it was a breath of fresh air for me getting this contract,” said Evans, who made one senior appearance for the club during a previous spell as youth team captain. “All my family and friends can come and watch the games and just being a part of Glory again is a great feeling.”

Evans showed he’s up to the rigours of national league football during Glory’s recent tour of South Africa, where he was utilised at centre-back rather than in his more accustomed defensive midfield role. “I was effectively on trial and had to prove myself to Alistair Edwards and the rest of the coaching staff,” he said. “I got quite a bit of game time with Alistair playing me in a few different positions and I felt that I held my own over there which was pleasing. I love playing as a defensive midfielder because you tend to get a lot of the ball and be really involved, but centre-back is a really important position as well and I’m happy to slot in anywhere.”

After splitting with Glory in 2011 Evans headed to Hong Kong where the experience he gained has positioned him well for an A-League return. “It was a fantastic experience for me,” said Evans, who enjoyed his time with Sham Shui Po. “I played in the First Division for a year and luckily enough I got to play in pre-season friendlies against Chelsea, Blackburn and Aston Villa … I certainly learned a lot in those games. I was weighing up my options when Alistair (Edwards) asked me to come back down to training with Glory. I was hoping something would come up and luckily this chance came my way. It’s really pleasing to be back at the club.”



Australia youth international Dylan Tombides needed just one touch to put the ball in the back of the net when West Ham United’s development squad downed Colchester United 3-0 late last week. Just seconds after coming off the bench, Tombides outrageously chip over the goalkeeper after latching onto a through ball. “If you ask anyone around the club I’m always doing lairy things like that,” the 19-year old told “In training I practice it constantly because the ‘keeper doesn’t expect it, he expects it to go low or to the side of him so when it goes over he’s just like ‘oh no’ and luckily for me it came off.”

It was Tombides second goal in four days after the former Stirling Lions junior netted in a 5-4 win over Newcastle United. “Being a striker, every time you come on you always get in the box as much as possible. You’re always going to get an opportunity and when you get it you should be able to take it and in the last two games I’ve been able to do that,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the game against Manchester City (on Friday), they are a massive name in the Barclays Premier League. Obviously playing at Upton Park you always relish it because it’s such a great stadium and to play in, it's fantastic.”



Australia youth international Dylan Tombides needed just one touch to put the ball in the back of the net when West Ham United’s development squad downed Colchester United 3-0 late last week. Just seconds after coming off the bench, Tombides outrageously chip over the goalkeeper after latching onto a through ball. “If you ask anyone around the club I’m always doing lairy things like that,” the 19-year old told “In training I practice it constantly because the ‘keeper doesn’t expect it, he expects it to go low or to the side of him so when it goes over he’s just like ‘oh no’ and luckily for me it came off.”

Swan United caretaker coach Damian Scali has announced he will not be applying for the position when it becomes available on a permanent basis at seasons’ end. Scali stepped into the role earlier in May but at the time made it clear he was not interested in coaching his former club beyond 2013. “When the club approached me to take over as head coach, I told them then I would only do it for the season as I’ve got commitments elsewhere,” said Scali. “I’ve just got married and I’m changing jobs so I wouldn’t be able to commit to the full-time role next season.”

It’s been a difficult season for the black and whites but Scali is confident the club are heading down the right path. “The future is bright at the club with the juniors impressing this season and the 18’s showing signs of improvement, while the senior side has performed well despite a large turnover of players,” he commented. “Whoever comes in to take control will have a good squad to start from.” Expressions of interest for the head coach role at Swan for season 2014 should be submitted to by the close of business Monday 16 September.



The Socceroos were handed a footballing lesson by five-time world champions Brazil, who scored a resounding 6-0 win from their overnight friendly in Brasilia. Brazil netted three times in each half with striker Jo grabbing a brace while Neymar, Ramires, Alexandre Pato and Luis Gustavo also added their name to a scoreline that did not flatter the hosts. The rout began after only 8 minutes when Jo tapped in at close-range. Brazil’s lead was doubled by a quick attack which ended with Jo athletically steering in a Bernard cross, and moments later Neymar angled his shot across an exposed Mark Schwarzer.

Ramires made it four-nil after 58 minutes with a towering header from Maxwell’s delivery which gave Schwarzer no chance. Neymar was involved in Brazil’s fifth goal as Australia again failed to follow his forward burst, allowing the playmaker to pull the ball back for substitute Pato to convert at the near post. The South American’s fluent passing continued with their best goal saved for last, Gustavo playing a tidy one-two with Neymar before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner from 22-metres with only seven minutes left on the clock.



Stirling Lions have won the State League regular season title for the first time since 1995. A late second half penalty converted by substitute Daniel Micevski was all it took to send the trophy back to Macedonia Park, courtesy of a 1-0 win at Bunbury Forum Force. “It’s great being part of a championship winning side,” said Stirling midfielder Dean Evans. “It’s a great feeling for everyone involved with the club and, hopefully, we can back it up in the top five finals. The coaching staff has stuck by us all year and they have to be credited on all their hard work.”

Stirling controlled the game early on through the central dominance of Dean Evans, Miki Vujacic, Phil Arnold and Sam Fuzik. The first real opening saw Booysen blazed high from 8-metres after some good lead-up work from Fuzik and Arnold just before the half hour. Bunbury may have been coming off a trio of wins but with Steve Howson playing the loan role in attacker they struggled for impact. A surging run by Arnold in the 37th minute ended with the striker flashing just wide as Stirling continued to probe for a way through.

Goalkeepers Aleks Vrteski and Ryan Montgomery were in the thick of the action upon the restart, former keeping out Bright Ababio’s shot while the latter denied Arnold. With Liam Hutchinson, Oliver McGee and Ryan Risdon solid at the back, the momentum was beginning to shift in favour of the home team. Clayton Arnez cleared off the line to thwart Ryan Francis before Hutchinson’s curling centre passed out beyond the far post. Stirling looked to be on the ropes when Jason Gavin was brought down by Risdon, referee David Costello wasted no time in pointing to the spot from where Micevski made no mistake to send the home camp into celebration mode.



Goalkeeper Curtis Aspden played the starring role in Sorrento’s hard-fought 1-0 win over Bayswater City at Percy Doyle Reserve. Aspden thwarted the visiting attack time and time again while down the other end it was midfielder David Price that found a way through midway through the second half. “Curtis was good today, I believe he is the best ‘keeper in the league and could play in the A-League, while Wes (Padley) and young Razack (Geloo) were great against quality strikers,” said Sorrento coach Paul Price. “When we lost Daryl Platten we had to make four positional changes, but I was delighted the way the lads’ battled.”

Bayswater opened brightly with James Isaia flashing narrowly wide from 11-metres with 7 minutes gone. Isaia came close again not long after, this time swinging a dead ball just beyond the upright. Sorrento eventually settled and on 16 minutes James Morgan put Gavin Knight in behind the defence but the striker’s shot was prevented from entering the net by Patrick Quinn. Bayswater should have gone in front in the 23rd minute when Todd Howarth played down the right for Farrell, fired into the side-netting when the better option would have been to pass to unmarked team mate Steve Burton.

The early part of the second half belonged to Sorrento with Ryan Pearson forcing a good save from Devon Spence before crashing another header into the upright. Their persistence was rewarded in the 65th minute with Pearson this time the provider, the defender driving half the length of the pitch to play in Price who made no mistake from 11-metres. Bayswater retaliated with a series of raids but could find no way past Aspden, who turned away shots from Howarth, Gustavo Giron-Marulanda and Trent Kay. Todd Harnwell came within inches of adding a second to Sorrento’s tally in stoppage time with a vicious shot which whistled past the post.



Cockburn City’s re-emergence as a State League power was made complete with this afternoon’s 3-2 victory over Balcatta at Grindleford Reserve. Ian McMurray, Conor Kavanagh and an own goal earned the away team not only all three points but also secured third place on their return to the top flight. “I said to the lads we’ve got an opportunity to finish third today if results elsewhere go our way and we make sure of the three points,” said Cockburn coach Marc Anthony. “We’ve held our end of the bargain up today, and now we can knuckle down and prepare for our (Elimination Final) tie with Floreat Athena.”

The away team start positively and would have taken the lead after 7 minutes had Harry O’Brien not blazed high after Alex Dunn parried a McMurray shot within his reach. That miss was forgotten two minutes later when Eamon McNelis’ quickly taken free-kick caught Balcatta by surprise but not McMurray, who duly found the back of the net from 6-metres. Cockburn’s advantage was doubled on the quarter hour when searching ball over the home defence send Kavanagh on his way to round Dunn and stroke into an empty net.

Whatever Balcatta coach Contera said at the break worked a treat. Good lead-up play between Kris Gate and Ashley Rosindale ended with Tong cutting the deficit four minutes after the restart. And three minutes later Gate threaded a delightful ball through for Rosindale to finish into the top corner and bring the teams level. Balcatta had the ball in the net for a third time only for it to be disallowed by the match officials. Cockburn did likewise on 79 minutes but this time it counted, Paul Lloyds’ shot on the run deflecting off defender Matt Brook and wrong-footing Dunn for what would prove the decider.



Floreat Athena qualified for the end of season play-offs by stealing a 1-0 win from Perth SC. On a day when little went right for the home side, imports Ashley Corker and Clark Keltie were issued their marching orders before Ludovic Boi tapped in the decider with only 9 minutes to spare. “It’s been a topsy-turvy season for us and after going into round seven sitting bottom, now in round twenty-two we’re fifth and we’re in the finals … so I’d have to say I’m happy,” said Floreat coach Chris Barbas. “Our form will come, I thought in the last month we forgot how to win so it was good to get that win off of our backs today.”

A cagey start was interrupted just after the quarter hour by the dismissal of Cocker for pulling back Boi as he raced goalward. It looked as though Floreat would enter the break in front after Aryn Williams netted, however, celebrations were cut short by an offside flag. Perth’s day took a turn for the worse when Keltie’s challenge on Blair Govan earned the midfielder a harsh straight red card. The pace quickened as the final whistle nearer with Cameron Yorke’s goal line clearance thwarting Frank Furfaro before an offside flag ruled out Bobby Wilson’s header. It was a case of third time lucky for Floreat when Wilson’s powerful header was parried by Dom Savoldelli who was helped as Boi lashed in the loose ball.

Speaking post-game, coach Taki Nicolidis expressed his disappointment over Perth’s lack of discipline which has resulted in four red cards in their past 180 minutes of football. “Very disappointed with the first one, bad by our player, it was stupid,” Nicolidis said of Corker’s early exit from today’s game. “The second I thought was a bit harsh, should have probably been a yellow, I didn’t think there was any malice behind it, he’s gone in hard but that’s the way it is. It’s very disappointing, what can I say. In the old times they might have been yellows, but that’s his interpretation so you can’t do much about that.”



ECU Joondalup stretched their unbeaten run to seven-games by coming from behind to claim a 3-3 draw at Inglewood United on the final day of the Premier Division season. Jon Higgins, Charlie Comyn-Platt and teenager Joe Knowles were on-target for the northern suburbs side to cancel out an Andrija Jukic brace plus David Perich’s opener. “I’m chuffed that we haven’t been beaten in the last seven games,” said Joondalup coach Dale McCulloch. “I wouldn’t say it’s a season to forget because we’ve played very well for the past seven games so I think we’ll be able to build on that next year.”

Inglewood, whose slim hopes of sneaking into the finals hinged on getting a win, took the lead after 10 minutes when Alex Caniglia carried the ball forward then fed the overlapping Jason Colli whose far post cross was turned in by Perich from 5-metres. Eight minutes the hosts added a second with Jukic squeezing the ball between goalkeeper and upright with a precision strike from 14-metres. Half-time was just moments away when Joondalup pulled a goal back, Comyn-Platt playing over the top for Knowles whose centring pass was whipped into the net on the turn by Jon Higgins.

The second half was only minutes old when Jukic bagged his second goal, the midfielder reacting quickest to Andy Banks’ parry and netting at close-range. McCulloch responded by applying a few positional and tactical changes and on 66 minutes these paid dividends with Comyn-Platt bundling the ball over the line after Inglewood failed to properly deal with a Jon Higgins free-kick. Joondalup continued to work for openings and with four minutes remaining they deservedly drew level, Andy Higgins putting the ball with Knowles whose low shot from the edge of the 18-yard box flew past Luke Martino.



The National Training Centre produced one of their best performances of the winter in hammering Armadale 5-2 at Alfred Skeet Reserve. Darcy Cosgrove scored a hat-trick for the development squad with Blamo QuaQua and Lawrence Shuruma also on target, while the hosts’ consolations came via Rhys Loxley and Sam Loveless. “We’ve been really super-competitive this year but our theme today was really (to win) for Kenny Lowe, who is moving on (as head coach),” said assistant coach John Gibson. “He’s left a fantastic legacy – he’s an amazing man and he has done an amazing thing for a whole lot of players, coaches and people.”

Armadale were first on the scoreboard after 20 minutes when Loxley’s long-range blast found the top corner of Jordan Franken’s net. Cosgrove brought the sides level twelve minutes later with another shot from distance, this one slipping under veteran Cyril Sharrock. A minute later Jeremy T’Shongo sent clear Cosgrove, who showed great composure beating Sharrock for a second time. The onslaught continued with QuaQua curling a dead ball over the defensive wall and into the Armadale net. Loveless gave the Reds hope of a comeback just before the break by nodding in at the back post after Mitch Castrilli’s corner was flicked on by Malcolm Tshuma.

The second half began with the NTC again on the attack and with 53 minutes gone Shuruma swept on goal number four from close-range after meeting Borbor Sambini’s cross from the left. Cosgrove completed his hat-trick four minutes later by converting from 9-metres after Billy Quinncroft’s foul on the attacker left referee Matt Southern little option but to point to the spot. Shazalee Ramlee almost had another when his powerful shot slammed against the underside of the bar but bounced back into play. Armadale’s misery was made complete in stoppage time when Quinncroft was sent off for his second bookable offence.



The Division One title race remains wide open following this afternoon’s scoreless draw between leaders Dianella White Eagles and second-placed Canning City at Burrendah Reserve. Dianella may have enjoyed the lions’ share of possession but resilient defending ensured genuine chances on goal were few and far between for either side. “Dianella held the majority of possession but we stuck to our game plan and stopped them playing in the final third,” said Canning coach Paul Van Dongen. “To be honest we didn’t have many chances either, we just had to sit back and try to hit them on the counterattack.”

Dianella looked the better through the first half, dominating both in terms of possession and territory, but unable to breakdown their opponents well-organised defensive line. Veteran goalkeeper Steve Grant who was calling the shots and ready to react on the few occasions Dianella found a way through. Thomas Gooding, Andreas Theodosiades and Jon Stipe were the architects of the hosts’ better moves but the closest either side came to scoring was a long-range effort by Stripe which crashed against the upright. Canning came into the game more after the break, however, when the final whistle sounded both sets of players had to be content with a single point.



Wanneroo City jumped into the Division One title race by claiming a 3-1 win over Mandurah City on a windy afternoon at Hyundai Stadium. Rowdy Yates got the show on the road with a lovely free-kick before second half finishes by Anthony Jones and Chris Pugh securing victory for Wanneroo, who are unbeaten in 15-games. The win moves the northern suburbs club to within three points of top spot and, even though they have a game in hand over the top two, coach David Tough isn’t about to get carried away. “It’s still a big ask (to finish top) but were going to give it our best shot,” said Tough.

Knowing anything less than victory would kill off their title hopes, Wanneroo entered the afternoon in an attacking frame of mind. Mandurah, however, had no intention of taking things easy on their opponents and in a scrappy opening it was the hosts who enjoyed the better of possession. A foul on Stuart Montgomery provided the away side an opportunity to go ahead and that’s exactly what Yates did, using the win to terrific effort by bending the dead ball into Mandurah’s net. But the sides would enter the break level thanks to a superb solo effort by Craig Tone, who jinxed past two defenders before lobbing over goalkeeper Kevin Miller.

A tense second half developed into something of an arm wrestle in which Wanneroo spent lengthy period in their attacking third with Mandurah always threatening to nick a second goal on the counterattack. Wanneroo substitute Kevin White forced a stunning save from point-blank range out of Matt Hamnett, who later also parried away Jones’ goalbound shot. Yates provided the ammunition for the visitors to go back in front with an insightful cross which Jones rose highest to and steered into the net. With no option but to push men forward, Mandurah were exposed at the back when Pugh lashed in from a tight angle following tidy lead-up work by Scott Bushby and Guy McDonald.



A season best 90 minute performance by Western Knights has produced a 6-1 humbling of Gosnells City at Nash Field. Jamie Ricks grabbed himself a double on an afternoon Steve Purton, Brendan Craig, Johny Mirco and Julian Teles also on-target for the home side, who leapfrog over Shamrock Rovers into fourth place. It took only 3 minutes for the Knights to opened their account through Purton’s stunning strike into the roof of the net from 15-metres after latching onto a partially cleared corner. The margin was doubled after 21 minutes when Teles casually slipped the under goalkeeper Struan Herd after being picked out by a quickly taken Mirco free-kick.

Gosnells rallied with a series of attacking raids but on the half hour they went a third goal behind to Craig, whose brilliant volley was the perfect accompaniment to Ricks’ pin-point delivery. This seemed to take the wind out of the visitors and ten minutes out from the break Mirco coolly slotted in goal number four despite the best efforts of Herd and Alan Carroll. The second half was ten minutes old when Ricks side-footed in at close-range after Ben Coulter and Purton combined in the lead-up. Ten minutes later Mirco threaded a pass to Ricks who posted his second goal with a neat chip over Herd. With eight minutes to go defender Ethan Levitt headed into his own net for Gosnells consolation.



Shamrock Rovers put aside some early nerves to run out 3-0 winners over UWA-Nedlands at Harold Rossiter Park. Ciaran Byrne stuck twice to take his season tally to 22 goals before Kevin O’Herlihy added some further glossy to the hosts’ performance. “UWA are a decent side and they caused us some problems defensively but three-nil was a fair reflection of the game,” said Shamrock goalkeeper Justin Scarvaci, who felt a few more goals wouldn’t have gone astray. “We created a lot in the final third, had we been a bit more clinical at times we could have bagged a couple more.”

UWA’s high-pressure approach produced a good few chances on goal early on but home custodian Justin Scarvaci was in no mood to be beaten. Eventually Shamrock got into gear but it wasn’t until just before the break that Byrne, who was the subject of some close attention, clipped into the net from 15-metres despite the presence of three defenders. Shamrock picked up the second half where they left off, Byrne squirming free of his marker to apply a cool finish from 7-metres before O’Herlihy made the game safe by putting a third goal past Duncan Lissiman. Barry Mulligan, Byrne, Paul Concannon and Shane Cassidy all had chances to further extend Shamrock’s lead before the final whistle sounded.



A first half goal blitz paved the way for Morley Windmills’ 5-1 demolition of Rockingham City at Wotton Reserve. The star of the show was striker David Houston who helped himself to four goals with Andy Griffiths getting the remainder. Houston opened his account after 17 minutes with a crisp half-volley from Kris Dennis’ right wing cross. Dennis was involved again two minutes later when his deflected shot spilled for Houston to double the hosts’ advantage. Houston completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot after Davide Panaia was felled rounding Phil Herschell. Morley’s lead extended to four-goals when Griffiths fended off two defenders to net after meeting Houston’s cutback.

Rockingham were more involved after the turnaround but chances to reel in the difference were rare thanks to the defensive efforts of David McNally and Jean-Marc D’Avray plus debutant goalkeeper Chris Potter. The visitors’ consolation came via a corner which went to feet and was eventually blasted into the roof of the net from 8-metres. Brandon Da Silva had been on the park just a few minutes when he set-up the games’ sixth and final goal by playing through from the left to Houston who, after making his way past Herschell, placed into an empty net.



Ashfield consolidated sixth place with a hard-fought 3-1 win over Swan United at the Swan Italian Club. Ryan Frisina and an own goal had Ashfield in the driving seat at half-time but it wasn’t until the closing stages that Aaron Colli sealed Ashfield the points. ”We executed out game plan – Swan is a hard place to go and play – so we’re pleased with the outcome,” said winning coach Matt Carruthers. “It wasn’t pretty at times but we worked hard as a team, had the better chances and could have had a few more (goals) if we’d been more clinical.”

The game was given a crackerjack start with two goals in rapid succession. Frisina drove into the net after latching onto Steve O’Mahoney’s ball over the top of the defence with just 4 minutes on the clock. Swan returned fire immediately, Luke Colli getting down the left and delivering the far post where John Monterosso headed in. Ashfield edged back in front just before the break when an attempted clearance crashed off Jay Lang and ricocheted past the home goalkeeper. With eleven minutes go play substitute Karl O’Reilly beat two opponents and found Aaron Colli, who made no mistake at the near post.



Entertainment value high when joint Division Two leaders Fremantle United and Quinns played out a 0-0 draw at Hilton Reserve. Quinns’ domination of the early exchanges had the home team on the defensive. Gareth Hamilton almost broke through via a dead ball before Brian Cairney and Arran Maplestone called goalkeeper Carlos Bervonotti into action. The home side slowly came into the game but in the shadows of half-time suffered a setback when striker Andrew Morrow collected a second yellow card, despite being taken down inside the 18-yard box. Although down to ten men, Fremantle controlled the second half with Maddy Holman, Adam O’Neill, Angus Vos and Ben West going agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock. Quinns best moment came when Cairney steered the ball goalward only to be foiled by Nathan Findlater’s goal line clearance.



Subiaco AFC remains on course for a top four finish after out-gunning Melville City 3-1 at Len Shearer Reserve. Teenager Tristan Gandin played the starring role by scoring once and setting up others for Ger Fitzgerald and Alan Biletic with Christian Long’s second half equaliser providing little consolation for Melville. The ball had been in motion barely a minute when Melville coach Danny Evans was forced to reshuffle his deck after Matt Donlevy limped from the field. It wasn’t long after that Subiaco opened their account through Fitzgerald, who was presented with a simple tap-in at close-range after meeting a squared pass from teenager Gandin.

The second half opened with Melville on the attack. This approach paid off when David Palin sent a free-kick to the far post where substitute Christian Long punished some poor marking by nodding in the equaliser. This sparked the visiting team back into action and not long after Fitzgerald’s delivery from the right allowed Gandin to restore their lead from a few metres. Gandin was involved again when Subiaco posted a third goal, the teenager combining with Biletic who finished well beyond the goalkeeper’s reach. The visitors continued to press forward and only a bewildering offside call denied Fitzgerald an opportunity to further increase the difference in the closing minutes.



Bunbury Forum Force have stepped up their fight for a place in the National Premier Leagues WA by lodging a complaint with the Department of Sport and Recreation over the selection process. Football West last week revealed the make-up of the inaugural NPL with Bunbury the only existing Premier Division club not to make the cut. This prompted club president Albert Nascimento question why two of the three-man selection panel scored Bunbury 79 and 78 out of 90, with the other scoring them below 70.

Football West chief executive Peter Hugg expressed his disappointment on radio last week that details of the confidential document had been leaked. “A person had a different opinion but it was all averaged out so there wouldn’t be any personal bias,” said Hugg, who refuted suggestions a member of the panel did not want Bunbury in the NPL. “It’s not a case of bias against Bunbury. They (the panel member) had certain expectations and certain standards.”

Nascimento said the battle to keep Bunbury in the top flight had just begun. “We owe it to our kids to be in the Premier League,” he said. “We’re not going to sit back and let Football West dictate to us how things are going to be. I believe the system is flawed. With regard to the outlying score, people can read into it whatever they want, but when there’s such a big variation you have to wonder.” Bunbury have started an online petition to raise support for their cause.



The 2013 Premier Division could not have been scripted any better with Stirling Lions and Bayswater City both aiming to win the title on the final weekend of the season. Stirling, who hold a one point advantage over Bayswater, will collect the regular season for the first time since 1995 by taking maximum points away at Bunbury Forum Force. “The league title is in our grasp,” said Stirling midfielder Miki Vujacic. “Bunbury are one of the toughest opponents we’ve played this year, but we have gone sixteen games without a loss and we are playing some top quality football so we have no reason to fear them.”

Reasons to cause an upset are not lacking at Bunbury with the clubs omission from next year’s National Premier Leagues WA top of the list. “It’s a massive game, not only for Stirling but for us as well,” said goalkeeper Ryan Montgomery. “As a club, and I think I speak on behalf of the players, we’re bitterly disappointed over the NPL debacle. I’m sure everyone in our squad will be up for the challenge of playing the top team and show that we deserve to be in the league next season, just as we did against Cockburn City last weekend.”

Bayswater need to get the better of Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve, and hope Stirling slip up in Bunbury, to claim their second regular season crown in as many years. “Going to Sorrento is always is a tough game, and if we take our eyes off our own game and start worrying about what’s happening in Bunbury then we will get turned over,” said Bayswater attacker Brian Farell, who returns to the line-up along with Steve Burton. “We are in a good run of form and if we perform to our abilities we will win the game and let other results take care of themselves.”

Gavin Knight will spearhead Sorrento’s quest for maximum points against his former club. “We need the points to stay in third place and Bayswater need to win to take out the title, if Stirling slips up,” said Knight, whose club enter the round on level points with Cockburn. “Both us and Bayswater had good wins last week and they have a number of players returning from injury and suspension so it’s going to be tough. But we played well at their place earlier in the year, winning 4-1, and we will be looking for a repeat on Saturday to enter the finals in good form.”

Floreat Athena must collect the win away at Perth SC to secure their place in the finals. It’ll be the end of an era at Dorrien Gardens where the final whistle will signal the retirement of David Onoforo, Antonio Naglieri and Dom De Felice. Sixth-placed Inglewood United will be going all out to pick up maximum points – and hope Floreat don’t – when the host ECU Joondalup. Saul Contera will have the reins of Balcatta for the final time by welcoming Cockburn City at Grindleford Reserve. Armadale’s season ends with a home clash with the National Training Centre. All six Premier Division games kick-off at 3.00pm tomorrow.



Canning City has home ground advantage over Dianella White Eagles in the Division One title decider at Burrendah Reserve. “There’s a buzz around training and in the change rooms as we are so close to winning the league,” said Dianella goalkeeper Tom Dixon. “But Canning are a good side and they did beat us last time round. They have a smaller pitch, which suits us, and we haven’t lost an away game this year so we are confident.” For Canning, who sits one point behind Dianella, the cupboard is looking decidedly bare on the attacking front with Laurence Cheyne, Josh Findlater and Gerardo Soto unavailable.

A draw between the top two will bring third-placed Wanneroo City well and truly into the title race. Wanneroo goalkeeper Clint Davies will be missing for his teams’ trip to Mandurah City, who are minus Craig Young, Liam Hurst, Tom Straker and Alex Randall. Shamrock Rovers are tipped to take the points on home soil over UWA-Nedlands, likewise Western Knights who welcome Gosnells City to Nash Field. Swan United will be out to avenge their State Cup semi-final loss when they take on Ashfield at the Swan Italian Club. David Paone and Aaron Colli are likely to back into the eleven for their respective teams.

Rockingham City dropped into the relegation zone last weekend but goalkeeper Phil Herschell says that’ll change after his teams’ visit to Morley Windmills. “We’re confident we can get something from the game … it’s do or die now,” said Herschell. “This is an extremely important fixture if we are going to avoid relegation. We’ve been improving lately and have been playing some decent football at times. Hopefully we can put a solid 90 minutes in on Saturday, get the result we need and deserve then carry than into the two games of the season.” All six Division One games kick-off tomorrow at 3.00pm.



Joint leaders Fremantle United and Quinns pits skills tomorrow in a game which will have a major bearing on who is crowned Division Two champions later this month. Fremantle moved level on points with Quinns and Joondalup City during the week after the result of their catch-up game with Maddington White City was overturned on a technicality, and the port side are determined to hold their place through to seasons’ end. “Our aim is to take nine points from our last three games,” said attacker Andrew Morrow. “We have some players back from injury and travel, so a fully fit Fremantle side is what Quinns will have to contend with on Saturday.”

Joondalup City will need to be on top of their game if they’re to get the better of a hot and cold running Forrestfield United at Iluka Sports Complex. Kingsway Olympic have a rash of absence when they host Maddington, who have slipped from first to fifth after being deducted nine points. Amongst those out of action for the hosts are Aaron Platten (ankle), Lee Thomas (away), Aaron Lickiss (away), Liam Hurley (ill) and Craig Cunningham (knee). Injury will also prevent Mark Lucas and Aaron Bahadori from taking to the field when Melville City hosts Subiaco AFC. All four Division Two games kick-off tomorrow at 3.00pm.



One of the State League’s most feared strikers, Perth SC stalwart David Onoforo, will bring the curtain down on his illustrious career this weekend. Onoforo has toyed with and terrorised opposition defences for over a decade but when the final whistle blows on Saturday afternoon at Dorrien Gardens the 32-year old will walk from the field of play for the last time. “I’ve been playing the game since I was four, and after that long I feel it’s the right time to retire,” said Onoforo, who’ll be joined by Antonio Naglieri and Dom De Felice in hanging up his boots. “It’s been an amazing journey.”

A Fremantle United junior, Onoforo was in his mid-teens when he stepped out in the State League for the first time. “I was 16 and still playing juniors at Fremantle when some friends asked if I wanted to play Saturdays as well, for North Lake Espanyol who were then in the First Division,” Onoforo recalled. “I started my first game for the league a few weeks later, we won 1-0 and I scored the winner … it was a memorable day.” From there Onoforo’s career quickly gained momentum with State Under-16 honours and an 18-month scholarship at the Australia Institute of Sport.

Upon returning to his hometown, Onoforo turned out briefly for Fremantle City before Graham Normanton convinced him to move to Dorrien Gardens, where he’d play much of the next fourteen years. “Perth is the best club in the state, without a doubt. When I was a junior at Fremantle it was all about making your way to Perth Italia, be like Perth Italia, do this like Perth Italia. So when the opportunity came I never let it go,” the striker said. “I’d like to thank Graham for bringing me to the club and showing faith in my ability over all those years.”

Onoforo was a key member of the Perth side whose dominance of the State League between 2000 and 2011 was near total. During that period Onoforo collected a staggering 22 winners’ medals, a tally which includes six State Championships and seven Night Series titles. “There are far too many good memories to single any out in particular,” he said when asked for the highlights of his Perth days. “To play a big part in the clubs’, and the Leagues’ history of this time means the world to me and no one can take that away from myself, Normo, the players or the club.”

The foundations of Perth’s success was a tight-knit player group over seen by a coach, Normanton, who knew how to get the best out of his players. “There was a special bond amongst the team, not as players but as mates. You knew every time you walked onto the field that your mate was going to be there to help you out, be it in pre-season, the League, Cup or finals. If it wasn’t for that togetherness then we would have never won the games we did. I’m ever grateful that during this period I developed life-long friendships with Dom De Felice, Antonio Naglieri and Andreas Oliviera.”

On a personal level, Onoforo has particularly fond memories of 2005 when his 23 regular season goal were rewarded with the Premier Division Golden Boot award. “That was definitely my best season for the obvious reason as well as the fact we won the League and Cup double,” said Onoforo, whose career tally stands at 170 goals for Perth. Although a prolific scorer, Onoforo gained senior State selection just once, in 2009, but he made the most of the occasion by scoring once and setting up two goals for Naglieri in a 4-2 win over South Australia.

Onoforo’s final State League winter has been something of a trial with the veteran walking out on Perth in pre-season following the dismissal of over a dozen team mates and friends. “To see what went on at Perth at the beginning of the year hurt me to no end, and that’s putting it lightly,” he said. “To see the club be dismantled in such a short period of time – both on and off the field – after all the hard work of the preceding years by coaches, players, the board, the football operations and backroom staff still does not sit well with me.”

It was only after the coaching appointment of Taki Nicolaides in June that Onoforo returned home. “Taki hasn’t set a foot wrong since coming to the club (in 2012),” said Onoforo, who feels Perth are on course to return to the summit of the local game. “Taki knows the youth at the club and with the National Premier League coming in next year this will be his greatest asset. Perth’s two other assets are Ante Kovacevic, who knows the game better than anyone in this League, and Robbie Puca, someone who always puts the club first … all the young players coming through should ensure that they pick the brains of these guys.”

Onoforo has played alongside and against the finest the State League has had to offer over the past decade. But when it came to selecting his All-Stars line-up, it was to Perth only that he looked. “In goal I’d have Robert Scarparolo with Michael Iconovski, Perry Ielati and Todd Howarth standing in front of him. Vince Tana and Greg Sharland get the spots out wide, in the middle I select Dom De Felice, Antonio Naglieri and Robbie Puca with Andreas Oliviera partnering me in attack. I need an extended bench of Trent Kay, Craig Simpson, Shaun Kilkelly, Dean Apelgren, Robert Giorgi, Mark Pottier, Matt Danskin and Robert Sciasca.”

Family has played a big part in Onoforo’s career so it’s fitting he signs off by saluting those who’ve supported him the most. “I would like to thank my Mum and Dad along with my brothers Paul and Richard for allowing me the opportunity to go as far as I could with my football. The support they have shown me along the journey is something that I will never forget,” he said. “And last but definitely not least, I would like to thank Carla Onoforo – my girlfriend, wife and mother of our children, Jake and Rubi – for the amazing support and faith shown in me and my football throughout our lives together.”



Maddington White City’s chances of finishing top of Division Two are over after being found guilty of fielding a player under a false name. The eastern corridor club have had nine championship points deducted and fined $2,000 for playing a goalkeeper under a false name in last month’s catch-up fixture with Fremantle United, who had been awarded the game 3-0 by forfeit. The finding has dropped Maddington from the top of the league to fifth, whereas Fremantle move to the top of the leader board on equal points with Quinns and Joondalup.



With the A-League fast approaching, Melbourne Victory’s Scott Galloway says expectations are high within the Melbourne Victory camp. Galloway, 18, is feeling refreshed from his first pre-season as a professional and can’t wait for his team’s opening round clash with Melbourne Heart on 12 October. “It’s been really good for me to get some decent kilometres in to the legs and the boys are really showing good signs heading in to the season,” said Galloway, a former State junior representative. “I can’t wait for the season to start, and the first game is going to be huge as well, with the Melbourne derby – we want to get off to a good start this time around.”

The off-season has been a busy time for Galloway with appearances for the Australian Under-20 team as well as at club level against English giants Liverpool. “The Liverpool friendly was amazing … the atmosphere, the ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ song and just the idea of playing on the same field as those players who all have achieved so much,” he said. “The World Cup was a great experience all round. It was an amazing feeling to go out there and play on the second biggest stage in international football, behind the actual World Cup. Our results were disappointing in the end, but we played some great football.”



Balcatta coach Saul Contera expects this weekend’s home game with Cockburn City to be his last with the club. Contera has endured a torrid six months at the helm of Balcatta and with the regular season coming to close this weekend the 28-year old is resigned to the fact his time with the club is at an end. “I think the board feel they need a more experienced coach to take them forward,” Contera commented. “The club haven’t spoken to (assistant coach) Richard Burton or myself about this, which is disappointing, but we are aware they are talking to other coaches so it seems pretty straight forward that we’ll be departing.”

While grateful to Balcatta for providing his first senior coaching appointment, Contera can’t help but feel he’ll be leaving with only half the job done. “Balcatta have been fantastic. I hold them close to my heart having spent three years in a coaching capacity and I owe them a lot of gratitude for giving me the opportunity to be a first team coach,” he said. “But another year would have proved if we could ‘cut the mustard’, which we are very confident we can. Who knows what could have been if we had been given the opportunity to build our own squad with a full pre-season under our belt.”

Balcatta had high expectations for 2013 but will finish the season in the lower half of the Premier Division. “We seriously felt we had the personnel to achieve a top five finish this year,” said Contera, who feels there are a number of factors that contributed to his teams’ poor showing. “There was a lot of unrest during pre-season with the management change so by the time I was appointed we were certainly lacking in the fitness department. This has shown throughout the season with Balcatta running out of steam, conceding late goals and losing points in far too many games.”

Contera also had to contend with a playing squad which was constantly evolving. “We lost a number of key players to injury, travel or transfers. My preferred eleven at the start of the year certainly didn’t look like the side which played last weekend,” he said. “Losing experienced players like Jason Barrera, Adam Bachiller, John Migas, Mikey Aspin, Ben Say, Callum Roberts and Bajo Savic leaves some pretty big gaps in the team. On the plus side, we have provided first team experience to some of the young boys at the club. So even though our expectations haven’t been met, Balcatta are still in good shape moving forward.”

The learning curve has been steep for Contera, who feels this years’ experiences will serve him well in the future. “I know more now than what I did then and that just makes me even more hungry for the opportunity to coach and to achieve,” he said. “Being a head coach looks like an easy job but it’s far from it – I have heaps of respect for my fellow head coaches throughout the league. The planning and time that is taken up behind the scenes goes unrewarded …. I’m pretty sure both Rich’s and my wife forgot what we looked like in the weeks running up to the end of the transfer window.”

Contera will be keeping his instructions simple pri0or to Saturday’s game with Cockburn. “I’ll be asking the boys to go out and leave everything on the ground, play for pride and play for the badge on their shirt,” he said. “A lot of things may change next year with the National Premier Leagues and some of the visa and older players may not have the opportunity to play at this level again. Cockburn have already qualified for the finals and we aren’t really playing for anything other than pride, but I hope we can repay the club with a win as way of saying thank you for the opportunity given.”



Perth Glory scored twice in each half to see off Premier Division leaders Stirling Lions 4-0 in this evenings’ friendly at Macedonia Park. Ljubo Milicevic and Ryan Edwards were on-target within minutes of each other in the opening stanza with Jamie Maclaren and Adrian Zahra completing the scoreline late in the second period. “You can see why Stirling are top of the league,” Glory coach Alistair Edwards said. “They gave us a really good game.” The game served as a farewell for former State goalkeeper Cory Hugo, who will retire at seasons’ end, and a fundraiser for princess Margaret Hospital where Hugo’s 2-year old son, James, has been receiving treatment for cancer.

Phil Arnold and Rory Grant were quick to starting causing the Glory defence some headaches down the left flank. However, the A-League side found their rhythm as the half progressed and just after the half hour Milicevic rose highest to power in a well-flighted Steven McGarry free-kick. Four minutes later Edwards slalomed past several defenders before calmly finding the bottom corner of the net for a two-nil lead. With just under twenty minutes to go Zahra sliced the home defence open with a pinpoint pass which Maclaren converted. Glory’s final goal arrived in the 87th minute when Zahra capped an impressive display with a vicious shot into the roof of the net.



Life with Bayswater City is proving to be good for young defender Chris Saldaris. 19-year old Saldaris made the move to Frank Drago Reserve earlier this year at the invitation of coach Chris Coyne and, although tore at leaving Perth SC, hasn’t looked back. “It was a difficult decision because I started playing at Perth as a junior, and to come up and play for the senior team was a big achievement,” he explained. “But when Chris contacted me I was very unhappy due to lack of game time and belief by the coaching staff at the time.”

Saldaris’ star appeared to be on the rise last year after captaining Perth’s reserves to the regular season title without defeat followed by glory on Grand Final day. However, a summer overhaul of the Blues squad prompted the talented teenager to consider options elsewhere. “I was coming off a lot of confidence after captaining the Under-23 team and winning both Fairest and Best and Robert Giorgi awards,” explained Saldaris. “But as the season progressed, a lack of belief and confidence was shown in me by the senior coach, which forced me to make a move to progress in football.”

Bayswater assistant coach Stewart Moses has no doubt Saldaris has what it takes to play football at the highest level. “Chris is a good young lad, and I think he is going places,” commented Moses, who has been impressed with what Saldaris has brought to Bayswater since stepping up into the first team last month “He’s bided his time at the club since coming from Perth but once he got his opportunity he has done a great job for us. For his young age he is he’s got an old head on his shoulders.”

Saldaris is hoping to emulate the achievements of older brother Jason, who last year kept goal for South Melbourne, and good friend Jesse Makarounas, who is on the books of A-League side Melbourne Victory. “I would love to make the next step. It is an ambition of mine to go as far as I can in football,” he said. “Seeing a close friend like Jesse Makarounas progress to where he is gives me belief that I can do it to. But I have to take baby steps and with the right atmosphere and opportunity I can become successful in football.”



Perth Glory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic has signed a three-year contract extension that will keep him at the club until mid-2017. Vukovic, 28, has been an ever-present between the posts since joining Glory in 2011 and welcomed the opportunity to extend his stay with the club in a show of support for the new direction being taken under coach Alistair Edwards. “The club is moving in a very exciting direction and one that I want to be a part of,” he said. “With Alistair, Gareth (Naven) and Scott (Miller) on board, it’s a really exciting time to be a part of this great club … I’ve just recently got married and we want to start a family, so that was a major factor as well.”

Vukovic has become a fans’ favourite at Glory and is keen to repay that support as he approaches the peak of his powers. “One thing that I’m very lucky to have is a great relationship with the supporters,” said Vukovic, who has made 59 appearances for the club. “They seem to appreciate the way that I go about my business and I really appreciate their support for me. They create a great atmosphere for us out there and it’s a great honour that they sing a song specifically for me. It gives me a massive lift and really pumps me up. Hopefully, me signing this long-term deal will show people exactly how much I love the club.”



New Sydney FC recruit Richard Garcia didn’t think twice about signing for the glamour club when the opportunity arose. Garcia, 31, was Melbourne Heart’s player of the year last season but when the two parties failed to reach an agreement over a contract extension the veteran midfielder found his career in limbo. That’s when the Sky Blues stepped in with an offer for Garcia to play alongside the likes of Alessandro Del Piero, Brett Emerton and Nick Carle. “Rado (Vidosic) and Frank (Farina) are ambitious guys who want to achieve things, and that for me is number one: I want to achieve stuff and the club has the capability to achieve it,” Garcia said of his reasons for joining Sydney.

Garcia, who signed with Sydney while the rest of the squad was on a pre-season tour of Italy, joined his new team mates for training for the first time yesterday. “It would have been nice to go and spend a bit of time with the boys in Italy,” Garcia said. “When you’re away you get to know the boys a bit quicker because you’re in close quarters. But never mind, I’ve got the next six weeks to get to know them and get to know how the team plays. They’re easing me back into it, I’m sure it will slowly get more intense until we’re ready for the kick-off this season.”

Sydney boasts a strong attacking line-up in which Del Piero, Corey Gameiro, Joel Chianese, Yairo Yau, Mitchell Mallia, Blake Powell and now Garcia will jostle for starting spots. “When you’ve got a competitive atmosphere it’s always good because you keep driving the person on that’s behind you and the guy who’s in front of you,” he commented. “Frank (Farina) knows I can play in quite a few positions and so far he’s just said he wants to utilise me as much as he can, so for me that’s more than good enough. I’m happy to play no matter where I play so I’m just looking forward to getting a good season under my belt.”

Garcia is especially looking forward to his first Sydney derby, against Western Sydney Wanderers in round three. “It’s fantastic for Sydney. I can’t see why Western Sydney wasn’t there from the start (of the A-League). Rivalries are what make football, football,” said Garcia. Last season a noisy and passionate crowd of just over 26,000 turned for December’s derby clash and there’s a good chance the game on 26 October will exceed that figure. “You always lift, especially when there’s a big crowd. For players it’s part of the reason why you play. You like to play in front of big crowds and it should be a great event.”



Fringe Socceroo Nikita Rukavytsya will play the coming German season in the second tier after being loaned out to FSV Frankfurt. Rukavytsya, 26, joined Bundesliga club Mainz in August 2012 on a reported €1 million transfer fee but struggled to hold down a regular place in the side, making just 8 appearances last season. “Frankfurt gives me the opportunity again to regularly be on the pitch,” said Rukavytsya of the loan move. “The first task now is to get to know the coaching staff and the team, and for me to work out my place in the team.” Rukavysta made 50 appearances for Perth Glory before heading to Europe in 2009 where he’s turned out for FC Twente (the Netherlands), Roselare (Belguim) plus German clubs Hertha Berlin and Mainz.



Middlesbrough defender Rhys Williams says he is in peak form and fitness for Australia’s weekend friendly with Brazil. Left out of June’s World Cup qualifiers against Japan, Jordan and Iraq following a lengthy lay-off through injury, Williams has bounced back with a solid start to the new Championship season which has propelled the 25-year old back into Socceroos reckoning. “It’s just great to be back,” Williams told “I feel I have started the new season well and I haven’t been feeling this good for a while, which is a massive boost.”

Williams, who has been touted as a possible long-term successor to the Socceroos defensive pair Lucas Neill and Sasa Ognenovski, admits his omission the squad earlier in the year was a wake-up call. “It was a bit of a shock to be left out,” he concedes. “It made me work harder than ever to get back in and it showed me that you can’t just expect to be picked, you have to be performing and when I was left out I just took it on the chin and got on with things. I certainly feel much happier with my game now and I can’t wait for the Brazil match.”

The game against Brazil will provide Australia a good gauge as to how they’re travelling en route to next year’s World Cup finals. “Not many people will expect us to go over there and get anything from the game,” commented Williams. “Our goal will be to just go out there and give them a good game, they are the team a lot of people expect to win the World Cup, so there isn’t too much pressure on us. The way we play will give us a guideline of where we are at and also a taste of what to expect when we go back for the World Cup next June.”



A war of words has broken out between the newly former Footballers Association of Western Australia and Football West over the direction of football in this state. The players association has accused the federation of forcing experienced players out of the National Premier Leagues WA, which from next year will be the top tier of football in this state. The peak body has returned fire by portraying FAWA as unrepresentative, unrealistic and living on past glories to the detriment of young players. The chief sticking points is the Player Point System which, while encouraging youth development, discriminates against players on the basis of age and background.

FAWA representative Robbie Gaspar, a former State representative, said 10 of the 12 State League clubs studied would be over the 250 player points cap if it was applied today. “We think if you’re good enough you play,” Gaspar told “You’ve got a lot of really good boys who have come back from overseas or from playing in the A-League and I think they’ve got a lot to offer. You’ve got the likes of Andy Todd, Todd Howarth and Jamie Coyne who have come down and really want to give back to the game. But the points system makes it very difficult for them.”

Football West chief executive Peter Hugg is in full support of the points system, which is weighted in favour of homegrown talent and against players from overseas or in the twilight of their careers. “If you’re a younger player that’s been developed by a club and are Australian, you will benefit and will be rewarded,” said Hugg. “You won’t find a 35-year old blocking your way or someone who is here as a backpacker or 457 visa from Ireland who is a bit mercenary and just goes around the country. This is all about looking after good young local up-and-coming players. It’s better for the clubs, cheaper, better for the Socceroos and Young Socceroos.”

The real problem, according to Hugg, lies with former elite players struggling to adjust to the realities of State League football. “The income is not there, the gate-takings are not there, the sponsorship is not there, there is no TV or broadcasting rights, so you have a very small income,” he said. “The likes of Robbie and a number of these other players are ex-A-League players or ex-internationals and they come back into our amateur league – the bright lights and the stars and the fans and all that have gone – and they’re still putting their hand out for similar amounts of money.”

Gaspar warned capping the number of visa players and those over the age of 25 will decrease the standard of football. “We’re saying to Football West – you’ve got the salary cap in place...where’s the benefit for the players?” added Gaspar before questioning why the introduction of the cap did not include trade-offs for players such as access to coaching education or better insurance. “Whether it be improving the insurance for the players, whether it be free coach education, encouraging them to coach at their clubs, helping them to give back to their club and being more engaged with their club. Everyone wins in that situation.”



Perth Glory Women plan to take advantage of a three-game home run in the early stages of the 2013/14 W-League. The coming season opens for the Glory girls with a trip to Newcastle Jets before home dates against Brisbane Roar, Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United. Coach Jamie Harnwell hopes the string of home fixtures can provide the foundations on which to build a finals charge. “With one away game and a good run of home games it gives us a real good chance to start the season well,” Harnwell said. “The flip side is that it’s going to be a hard run for us after Christmas with a couple of away games in a row and again leading into the finals.”

In a twelve-game season, Harnwell knows the importance of a strong start. “It’s a sprint, so if you get off to a good start, which we did last year with two home games and two wins, it can set you up. We’ve got an away trip to Newcastle first, which isn’t easy, but if we get something out of that it gives us a start before our home games,” said Harnwell, who has high hopes for the coming summer. “With the players we’ll have I think we’ve got to be aiming for finals again. We’re trying to assemble a very strong team and we’re working hard on that. The girls will set higher goals than that but for me you get to the finals and take it from there.”

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This page was last updated on the 5th September, 2013