Archived News : September-October 2023



The Matildas have produced a stunning performance to beat Philippines 8-0 in their second Women's Olympic Asian Qualifiers at a packed Optus Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Chelsea and Matildas skipper Sam Kerr and Arsenal striker Catlin Foord were the stars, both bagging hat-tricks, with the other to Mary Fowler and second half substitute Clare Wheeler, but it was an outstanding performance, and one of the best displays of attack football seen from them in many years. “It was amazing to play here in front of a packed crowd, and walking out it was pretty nice, but a great performance by the girls,” Kerr said post-match. “We have been training for this weekend. We had a few things to work on, but I think we just came out again 100% and we worked our butts off today.”

Tony Gustavsson made ten changes to the side that beat Iran at HBF Park on Thursday, with only Ella Carpenter holding her place in the starting side, and they were on the front foot from the first whistle, the lively Foord’s shot from the edge of the box was saved low by Olivia McDaniel. The Philippines custodian was in for a busy afternoon as the hosts pressed for the opener and it arrived on the quarter hour.

A diagonal pass from Alanna Kennedy found Hayley Raso down the right, and she found Kerr, and her inch perfect through ball sent Carpenter overlapping on the right of the box, the Lyon defenders cross was flicked on by Foord and Fowler found the corner of the net, the noise from the sell-out crowd was deafening. The Matildas were playing some superb free flowing attack football, and it wasn’t a surprise when they doubled their lead four minutes later.

Foord and Steph Catley combined, the Arsenal striker turned her marker, and held off another before cutting the ball back to Kerr, and WA superstar found the net, much to the delight of the Optus Stadium fans. It was 3-0 on the half hour, the Matildas played some superb one-touch football, with Kerr finding Foord, who took a touch and finished well. What a start to the game, and the 55,155 crowd were on their feet again four minutes later.

The lively Raso burst through the middle of the park, and she found Foord on the edge of the penalty area, she held off her marker, before finishing with aplomb past McDaniel to make it 4-0. The Philippines keeper then got down well to deny Fowler, before Foord’s header was straight at the Philippines custodian. But in stoppage time it was five, Foord’s through ball sent Kerr racing clear, and as the visitors looked for an offside flag, that never came, the former Perth Glory skipper raced into goal and fired home powerfully into top corner of the net.

The visitors made a couple of changes at the break to stop the onslaught, but it didn’t work, and 25 seconds into the second half it was 6-0. Fowler wriggling past her marker on the left, and her pinpoint cross picked out Kerr, who headed home to complete her hat-trick. The Philippines were fighting for every ball, but were simply outclassed and the Matildas were carving through them at will, and it was 7-0 on 56 minutes. Foord eased her way along the byline on the left, and curled in superbly to also complete her hat trick.

Kerr was one of four changes just after the hour mark, and the Matildas and Chelsea striker received a standing ovation from the Perth faithful. They continued to look for more goals, and it was one of substitutes who added the eighth on 72 minutes. Carpenter lung-busting run down the right ended with a ball to Foord on the edge of the box, she laid the ball back to Wheeler, whose shot flew into the corner of the net. Clare Hunt headed over Catley’s corner late, before Wheeler did likewise moments later.

But the damage had already been done, the Matildas making it two wins in the Women's Olympic Asian Qualifiers, the only downside to the big win was the hamstring injury to Cortnee Vine, forcing her off the pitch not long after coming on in the second half. These two sides are back in action again on Wednesday with the Matildas taking on Chinese Taipei, Philippines v Iran, both games are at HBF Park.

Australia: GK Mackenzie Arnold, Kyra Cooney-Cross (Clare Wheeler 64’), Steph Catley, Caitlin Foord, Mary Fowler, Alanna Kennedy, Clare Hunt, Hayley Raso (Cortnee Vine 65’) (Alex Chidiac 75’), Katrina Gorry (Emily Van-Egmond 65’), Sam Kerr (Amy Sayer 65’), Ellie Carpenter – Subs not used: RGK Lydia Williams, RGK Teagan Micah, Courtney Nevin, Charlotte Grant, Clare Polkinghorne, Tameka Yallop

Philippines: GK Olivia McDaniel, Dominique Randle (Alicia Barker 46’), Jessika Cowart, Jaclyn Sawicki, Long, Sarina Bolden (Meryll Abrahamen 77’), Sara Eggesvik, Reina Bonta (Eva Madarang 46’), Angela Beard, Quinley Quezada (Chandler McDaniel 62’), Katrina Guilllou (Isabella Flanigan 62’) – Subs not used: RGK Kiara Fontanilla, RGK Inna Palacios, Tahnai Annis, Jessica Miclat, Meryll Serrano, Isabella Pasion – Attendance: 59,155 – Referee: Ranjita Devi Tekcham (India)



The name Sam Kerr is well-known to all in WA, and on Friday morning Premier Roger Cook announced that the new State Football Centre in Queens Park will be named after the former Perth Glory and current Matildas and Chelsea striker, the $50.8million facility will be named the Sam Kerr Football Centre. The announcement came on stage at the State Football Centre Festival to mark the official opening of the venue.

Kerr, who is in town with the Matildas in their 2024 AFC Women’s Olympic qualifying campaign, bagged her 65th international goals on Thursday evening after a 2-0 win over Iran at HBF Park. She was joined on stage by a number of her Matildas teammates, including Mackenzie Arnold, Caitlin Foord, Alanna Kennedy and Lydia Williams. Kerr was born in East Fremantle, and played AFL as a youngster, but played her junior football at Western Knights, before her talents were spotted by Glory legend Bobby Despotovski at 13, and she made here W-League debut two years later.

“As a proud West Australian, I am incredibly privileged to have this amazing State Football Centre named after me," Kerr said. “It fills me with pride to think that football in WA is growing so rapidly in popularity and that children, at a grassroots level, as well as world-class sporting teams will be able to access these impressive facilities. Football centres such as this create opportunities for kids that enable them to reach their full potential, and that is the ultimate goal.”

The Premier said that Kerr’s contribution to football in the state will help the game grow locally. “Our very own Sam Kerr is a global football superstar and truly a sporting icon. But most of all, she’s an incredible role model for West Australians," he said. “In naming our new world-class facility after Sam, my government hopes that her contribution to football and impressive legacy will continue to inspire our future Matildas and Socceroos and help grow the game locally.”

Football West CEO Jamie Harnwell, who coached a number of the current Matildas squad when he was coach of the Perth Glory W-League team, said the popularity of the Matildas has grown after their success in the FIFA World Cup, and three sell-out crowds in Perth just shows that. “Football West is delighted that the home of football in Western Australia will be named the Sam Kerr Football Centre. As well as being one of the best players in the world, Sam is a fantastic role model and a proud West Australian,” he said.

“I watched with interest, as I’m sure many of you did, the docuseries of the team and more recently 60 Minutes on Sunday. That one really resonated, where Mackenzie Arnold spoke about her first football contract of $1,000 for the season and moving to Perth to play. It resonated as I coached that team, where we trained in a suburban park and played games, and there were no female change rooms. Players trained full-time but needed to have jobs to support them.

“To fast forward less than a decade later and witness the changes that have occurred have been incredible and driven by some fantastic players and people. It is why I am extremely proud to stand here today and have the Sam Kerr Football Centre as the home for Football West and more importantly for all of football in Western Australia. The Sam Kerr Football Centre will provide for all levels of the game, from Sam’s CommBank Matildas to the grassroots players and will provide a platform for aspiring young footballers to reach the world stage. There is no more fitting choice for a name than Sam Kerr.”

The naming of the Sam Kerr Football Centre comes on the same day the WA government announced a $9.3m package for grassroots football in WA. The investment includes: $6.1m towards an expansion to the recently completed State Football Centre - A $2.4m grants program to improve facilities and infrastructure for clubs participating in Football West’s NPLWA - Women’s competition, and significant investment in grassroots football to ensure a lasting FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand legacy.



Perth Glory have been beaten 2-1 by Wellington Phoenix in the ‘Distance Derby’ at Sky Sports Stadium on Saturday afternoon. A first half strike from Polish striker Oskar Zawada gave the hosts the lead, but a towering header from Mark Beevers levelled on the hour. Bulgarian midfielder Bozhidar Kraev regained the lead for the Phoenix16 minutes from time, but Glory had the chance to grab a point two minutes from time, but Adam Taggart saw his penalty saved low by Alex Paulsen.

Glory skipper Beevers said it was a though loss to take. “We’ve come all this way, and for the majority of the game I thought we put in a good performance, created a lot of chances, but to be fair both sides had spells throughout the game, and in the end, we shot ourselves in the foot,” he said post-match. “It’s nice to get a goal personally, but it’s the result that matters, and it’s pretty flat when you lose, so we go back to Perth and look forward to the home game next and hopefully pick up three points.”

The hosts were on the front foot early and Johnny Koutroumbis had to be alert to clear a dangerous cross from Tim Payne, but sixty seconds later they were handed the lead. A poor clearance from former Phoenix keeper Oli Sail went straight to Zawada, and the striker looked up and fired first time over the head of the standard Glory custodian. Payne was a real handful, and moments later he cut in from the right and his shot flashed the wrong side of the upright.

Glory was forced into a change on 18 minutes after Luke Ivanovic limped off, with David Williams replacing him, but the visitors were struggling to get into the game, and they were lucky not to concede a second five minutes later, with Kraev’s shot hitting the foot of the post. Alen Stajcic’s side came to life late in the half, first Paulsen had to be alert to save Koutroumbis’ shot, before a neat move down the right saw Taggart cut the ball back to Williams, who beat the keeper but Payne cleared the ball off the line.

Stajcic made a change at the break with Stefan Colakovski replacing Jarrod Carluccio, and he was straight into the action. First receiving a yellow card for a foul on Payne, and moments later his shot on the turn flew over the top. It was the best period of the game for Glory, and on 58 minutes they deservedly levelled. Oliver Bozanic’s free kick picked out Beevers, and the English defender rose highest to head past Paulsen. But Phoenix hit back and Sail made up for error for the opening goal on 73 minutes, saving to deny Lukas Kelly-Heald.

But sixty second later he was beaten again, as the Phoenix regained the lead. Kosta Barbarouses raced at the Glory defence, before laying the ball on to Zawada, who slipped the ball onto Kraev who fired low past Sail at his near post. Glory pressed for the equaliser and five minutes from time substitute Trent Ostler’s cross was going out of play, but it struck the arm of Kelly-Heald. Referee Daniel Elder waved away the Glory protests, but after viewing VAR he pointed to the spot. Taggart stepped up to take the resulting penalty, but Paulsen guessed the right way to save to right, giving the Phoenix a winning start on home soil.

Penalty hero Paulsen, who earned them a point at Western Sydney Wanderers last week, was a happy man post-match. “My heart dropped to be fair, especially at that late stage of the game,” he said. “It’s one of those things and a penalty like that comes into play, everyone’s hearts drop. It’s fantastic, a great atmosphere and something special too because it’s my debut here at the stadium as well. I’ve never played here before, it’s a special moment.”

Wellington Phoenix: GK Alex PAULSEN, 3 Finn SURMAN, 4 Scott WOOTTON, 6 Tim PAYNE, 7 Kosta BARBAROUSES (26 Isaac HUGHES 83'), 9 Oskar ZAWADA, 11 Bozhidar KRAEV, 12 Mohamed AL-TAAY (42 Fergus GILLION 81'), 14 Alex RUFER (8 Ben OLD 70'), 15 Nicholas PENNINGTON, 18 Lukas KELLY-HEALD – Subs not used: RGK Jack DUNCAN, 10 David BALL, 34 Josh RUDLAND, 52 Jackson MANUEL

Perth Glory: GK Oli SAIL, 2 Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 5 Mark BEEVERS, 12 Luke IVANOVIC (9 David WILLIAMS 18'), 15 Aleksandar SUSNJAR (3 Jacob MUIR 82'), 17 Jarrod CARLUCCIO (7 Stefan COLAKOVSKI 46'), 20 Giordano COLLI, 22 Adam TAGGART, 23 Daniel BENNIE (77 Bruce KAMAU 58'), 24 Oliver BOZANIC (19 Trent OSTLER 82'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN - Subs not used: RGK Cameron COOK, 14 Riley WARLAND – Referee: Daniel ELDER



The trickle-down effect of Australia’ Women’s World Cup heroics is starting to be felt with the State Government committing $9.3 million in funding for grassroots clubs. Chief among the funding package is an extra $6.1 million for an expansion to the recently completed State Football Centre in Queens Park.

At grassroots level, clubs competing in the National Premier Leagues Women’s league will have access to a $2.4 million grant program to improve facilities and infrastructure. Each of the eight NPLW clubs will be eligible for up to $300,000 in funding for improvements supporting women’s participation.

The State Football Centre - which has served as a training base for the Matildas this week - will expand to include two additional pitches and lighting. The Queens Park venue is the administrative home of Football West and incorporates two full-sized FIFA standard pitches, three five-a-side playing pitches and sport science facilities.

Western Australia Premier Roger Cook said the funding commitment was about supporting and aiding the legacy the Matildas had cultivated during the World Cup. “The Women’s World Cup was an incredible tournament that Perth played a part in – and we want to make sure that the world game, and women’s football in particular, can continue to benefit from its success,” he said.

“Our Government’s investment in the women’s game is all about making sure every young Western Australian has the opportunity to become the next Sam Kerr. A key element of that is supporting grassroots clubs and a further investment in the State Football Centre – the WA home of football.”



After last week’s 2-2 draw against Newcastle Jets, Perth Glory will look to kick start their season over the ditch, when they travel to Sky Stadium in the Distance Derby to take on Wellington Phoenix in Week Two of the Isuzu Ute A-League on Saturday afternoon. (12.30pm WA Time) After the disappointment of conceding the equaliser in the final minute of stoppage time last week, Head Coach Alen Stajcic has taken a great deal out of the game, especially the second half.

“I don’t think we need to change the approach we have to go in with a positive mind-set and keep building on what we did last week because it was really impressive for me that we could improve from the first half to the second half,” Stajcic explained. “If we can keep building rhythm and momentum, there’s no reason why we can’t be super-competitive again this week. For us to be able to go into that game [v Newcastle] basically with one A-League friendly under our belt and Newcastle having had about eight, just shows that we could improve and improve rapidly against a team that probably had a better pre-season prep than us, that gives me even more confidence going into this week.”

Stajcic and his staff and players headed to New Zealand on Tuesday to allow more time to adjust to the flight and the five-hour time difference, and the coach hopes it will give them the edge in game. “[This trip] feels more like international duty and it’s been good to spend a bit of time together,” he said. “For all intents and purposes, this is an international-type of preparation for me and we are leaving no stone unturned in making sure that we’re ready to go at the weekend. Travel is part of the A-League for every team, so for me, it’s just an excuse really and nothing other than our performances will dictate whether we win or lose on the weekend.”

The last time Glory headed to New Zealand was in round 14 last season, when they fought out a 2-2 draw at the Central Energy Trust Arena in Palmerston North. Glory found themselves two goals down after 20 minutes, with Oskar Zawada and Kosta Barbarouses on target. The visitors hit back two minutes later with David Williams reducing the margin, and the hosts were reduced to ten men on 56 minutes when Tim Payne was sent off by referee Lachlan Keevers. Glory pressed for the equaliser and they found it ten minutes from time, Jacob Dowse’s cross was headed home by Williams. Glory almost won it in stoppage time, but Mark Beevers header crashed off the crossbar.

The Phoenix also started their season with a draw, after holding Western Sydney Wanderers to a scoreless draw in Sydney, and Stajcic is well aware the threats they have in their lineup. “They (Phoenix) faced a lot of the same difficulties we did in pre-season in not being able to too many A-League, or high-quality friendlies under their belts, so I thought they were also very good and unlucky not to be able to snatch a goal and a result,” he said. “They definitely showed a good level of organisation and Head Coach Giancarlo Italiano has done an excellent job with them to this point.”

Saturday will be the 50th time Glory and Wellington have contested the Distance Derby, with the WA side having claimed 20 wins to Phoenix’s 19, while 10 games have ended all square. Three of the last five meetings have seen the points shared and Glory’s last win came in August 2020 when Joel Chianese scored the only goal of an Elimination Final clash at Bankwest Stadium. Glory’s Oli Sail and David Williams will come against their former club in this one, likewise Phoenix keeper Jack Duncan. In team news, Stajcic has not risked former skipper Mustafa Amini, Aaron McEneff, Salim Khelifi or Adam Zimarino due to injury for the trip, but has the same squad as last week, with defender Jacob Muir also added to the travelling party.

Wellington Phoenix squad: GK Jack DUNCAN, GK Alex PAULSEN, 3 Finn SURMAN, 4 Scott WOOTTON, 6 Tim PAYNE, 7 Kosta BARBAROUSES, 8 Ben OLD, 9 Oskar ZAWADA, 10 David BALL, 11 Bozhidar KRAEV, 12 Mo AL-TAAY, 14 Alex RUFER, 15 Nicholas PENNINGTON, 18 Lukas KELLY-HEALD, 24 Oskar VAN HATTUM 26 Isaac HUGHES, 34 Josh RUDLAND, 41 Kaelin NGUYEN, 42 Fergus GILLION, 52 Jackson MANUEL - *Two to be omitted* - Ins: VAN HATTUM (returning from injury), NGUYEN (promoted), GILLION (promoted) - Outs: 5 Fin CONCHIE (injured), 23 Luke SUPYK (injured), 48 Charlie BEALE Unavailable: 19 Sam SUTTON (injured)

Perth Glory Squad: GK Oli SAIL, GK Cameron COOK, 2 Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 3 Jacob MUIR, 4 Luke BODNAR, 5 Mark BEEVERS, 7 Stefan COLAKOVSKI, 9 David WILLIAMS, 12 Luke IVANOVIC, 14 Riley WARLAND, 15 Aleksandar SUSNJAR, 17 Jarrod CARLUCCIO, 19 Trent OSTLER, 20 Giordano COLLI, 22 Adam TAGGART, 23 Daniel BENNIE, 24 Oliver BOZANIC, 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 77 Bruce KAMAU - *One to be omitted* - Ins: MUIR - Unavailable: 6 Aaron MCENEFF (injured), 8 Mustafa AMINI (injured), 10 Salim KHELIFI (injured), 11 Adam ZIMARINO (injured), 21 Antonis MARTIS (injured), 27 Jayden GORMAN (injured)



Perth RedStar FC Daryl Nicol and Bayswater City Soccer Club Gordon Smith have both been rewarded for outstanding seasons, by taking out the respective club’s major awards. The pair played at ECU Joondalup in their earlier years in WA, and both headed to Bayswater in 2019, but Nicol return north to ECU in 2021. Smith continued at the club, and had his best season at Frank Drago Reserve and he said to win the Fairest and Best Award capped up off a good season. “It’s always a great honour to win the Rocco D’Orzaio award, and over the years Bayswater have had some amazing teams and great players who have won it before me,” Smith explained. “We had a fantastic night at the Astral Room at the Crown Casino, and as always, the club but on a great night, and congratulations to all the other winners on the night.”

City missed out on a top four spot on the final day of the season, but Smith said they improved as the season went on, but inconsistency cost them. “The season was a very up and down for us, we started the season without a win in the first three rounds, but then hit some good form, but we knew consistency would be key, but unfortunately, we couldn’t find it,” the former Heart of Midlothian player explained. “Gary and Stewy came in and gave us a lift and it was evident in the performances and results. Bayswater are a huge club in WA and next season we want to be challenging for success and to bring some silverware back to the club.”

Head Coach Gary Williams said the players were outstanding since he arrived at the club, and Smith thrived as captain, and is looking for more of the same next season. “Gordon deserves his award based on my short time at the club. Goggsy stepped up and thrived on the responsibility as the captain and weighed in with a number of goals towards the back end of the season. He has a great attitude, is a good character and for a 35-year-old he is exceptionally fit. He will be ready to go again next year and will strive to lead the team to success,” he said.

“I enjoyed the last eight games of the season, and the players reacted well and unfortunately, we just missed out on the top four, but I cannot fault the efforts of the players. We will be stronger next year and will be striving for the top four, that will be the minimum expectation from Stewy and I.” In other awards on the night, Aryan Yazarlou won the under 20’s Fairest and Best, while Hidayat Rezai won the under 18’s Fairest and Best.

Nicol helped RedStar to the NPLWA title, and took out the league and clubs top goalscorer and was also runners up to fellow RedStar striker Chok Dau in the Football West Gold Medal count. The Scotsman, like his mate at Bayswater, said the award topped off a great season for him and the club. “I was delighted to pick up the Player of the Year trophy as well as the top goalscorer, after a phenomenal season for the team. Picking up individual awards is always nice, but to do it after picking up the league trophy is unbeatable,” Nicol explained.

“I think that was the toughest NPL season in recent history and to be crowned champions at the end of it is quite an achievement and everyone involved at the football club should feel immensely proud with the role they played.” In other awards on the night, Chok Dau won the First Team Player’s Player of the Year

Head Coach Callum Salmon said Nicol and Dau formed a deadly partnership, and they both deserved the awards they won. “Daryl and Chok both enjoyed fantastic seasons that were rightly rewarded all the awards and accolades they received on top of winning the league which is the greatest honour we can achieve at RedStar,” Salmon explained. “The way President Mark Donnelly wanted to play at RedStar, is attacking football, positive football and our idea is to create as many goal scoring opportunities as we can. We as coaches are committed to supporting our owners’ approach and actually what our players want to do anyway.

“Daryl and Chok are the perfect players to benefit from that. They love to score goals. They love to create goals and they love nothing better than winning games. They are the perfect teammates, train hard, and both inspire the group and when we need something they’ll deliver no question. It isn’t a surprise for me they have dominated the ‘Gold Medal’ count for the last two seasons, as a coach, you can’t ask for anything else. We’ll all be back next season, Daryl and Chok will be back and we are hungrier than ever and we want to continue winning leagues and playing attacking football. The NPL last season was the toughest, tightest and most competitive that I’ve ever seen, and for us to take out the title was a great achievement, and the coaching staff and I are proud that we won, and we’re hungry to win it again in 2024.”



It was a great night for WA football on Thursday, with the Matildas returning to the state for the first time since 2018, and it was a successful one, with goals from Ellie Carpenter and WA superstar Sam Kerr, in front of the shed, securing a 2-0 win against Iran in their 2024 AFC Women’s Olympic qualify at a sold out HBF Park. The Matildas dominated from the outset, but they looked a little rusty, and they came up against a determined Iran side, who won a lot of plaudits for their battling performance

Gustavsson started just two players from the side that faced England in the World Cup semi-final in August and said the scratchy performance was due to a lack of familiarity. "Football is about relationships and getting time together ... and you can see (the result of) little training time and a lot of new combinations out there," he said post-match. "I loved the bravery we played with tonight. Compare the Ireland game, with the low block, the 5-4-1, we didn't really have the guts to play through. A lot more combination play today and it's time for us to take the next step with the ball. I saw a team trying to play through with a lot of combination play which I was happy with."

The Matildas were on the front foot early, with Charlotte Grant, Alex Chidiac and Clare Wheeler looking lively, and it wasn’t a surprise when they found the opener on 19 minutes. Courtnee Vine crossed from the right to Grant, who played the ball down to Carpenter, whose shot beat Zahra Khajavi, this despite the Iran custodian getting a hand to it. The visitors were working overtime to keep the Matildas at bay, with Fatemeh Amineh and Melika Mohammadi getting important blocks to keep the hosts out. It should have been 2-0 just before half time, Chidiac found space in the middle of the park, and her through ball sent Carpenter clear, but the Lyon defender fired wide of the target.

It was more of the same after the break, the Matildas pressing, but Iran held firm, although their delaying tactics was getting the crowds back up, with players falling left, right and centre and medical staff were on the pitch more than off it. There best chance of the night came when Negin Zandi broke at pace, but her shot failed to trouble Matildas and Liverpool keeper Teagan Micah. But the biggest cheers of the night came on 65 minutes, when Gustavsson made a triple change, with Steph Catley, Mary Fowler and Kerr entering the pitch, and the tempo immediately lifted, and they were all involved in the second goal on 79 minutes. Fowler’s clever pass released Catley on the left, and her cross found Kerr at the back post, and the former Perth Glory skipper made no mistake in front of the Shed, here 65th goal for Australia.

Kerr almost made it 3-0 moments later after the striker latched onto a long ball but Khajavi was out quickly to deny her. Still the Matildas pressed, and substitute Alana Kennedy headed wide from a corner, before Kerr fired over the top. However, they would have to settle for a 2-0 win, and the scoreline was a testament to Iran’s defensive resilience. Australia will continue its Olympic qualifying campaign on Sunday night when they host the Philippines at a sold-out Optus Stadium. “It was very frustrating,” Carpenter said post-match. “A lot of stop-start and breaking the momentum of play, but I think for us, we stayed focused. We knew what we had to do, we knew it was going to be a game a little bit like this, but I think we stayed very professional and got the job done.”

Australia: GK Teagan Micah, Courtney Nevin, Clare Polkinghorne, Cortnee Vine, Calre Wheeler, Alex Chidiac, Emily Van-Egmond, Tameka Yallop, Amy Sayer, Ellie Carpenter, Charlotte Grant - Subs: RGK Lydia Williams, Kyra Cooney-Cross, Steph Catley, Caitlin Foord, Mary Fowler, Alanna Kennedy, Hayley Raso, Katrina Gorry, Sam Kerr

Iran: GK Zahra Khajavi, Fatemeh Amineh, Hadis Basatshir, Zahra Sarbali, Afsaneh Chatrenoor, Shabnam Behesht, Zahra Ghanbari, Behnaz Taherkhani, Negin Zandi, Melika Mohammadi, Fatemeh Adeli. Subs: RGK Raha Yazdani, RGK Mina Nafeei, Zeinab Abbaspour, Fatemeh Shaban, Samaneh Chahkandi, Fatemeh Makhdoumi, Hasti Foroozandeh, Mona Hamoudi, Mohadeseh Zolfi, Tasavvori, Golnoosh Khosravi - Referee: Oh Hyeon Jeong (South Korea) - Attendance: 18,789



Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson says he will handle Samantha Kerr with care during the upcoming Olympic qualifiers in Perth as part of a plan to heavily rotate his jet-lagged team. The Matildas squad has trickled into Perth over the past few days, with Kerr among a host of stars who arrived only yesterday.

With a large chunk of the squad arriving late, it meant Wednesday's training session in stifling Perth heat was the only chance the team got to train together as a full unit before tomorrow night's clash with Iran. The Matildas will then take on the Philippines on Sunday, before facing off against Taiwan next Wednesday.

Kerr is still building back to full fitness following on from the calf injury that heavily impacted her World Cup campaign. The hometown hero will be the star attraction during the three sold-out games in Perth, but just how much action Kerr will see remains to be seen.

"I think all of us would love to play Sam Kerr in 90 minutes every game," Gustavsson said today. "Considering she's coming back from injury very recently, she hasn't played 90 minutes in a very, very, very long time. Not for club either with that calf issue."

"We need to be extremely mindful. As I did in the World Cup, I'm going to go by recommendation with my (sports science sports medicine) team. They are our experts in this field and they work very closely with Chelsea, because it's (about) the total load over time."



Football Australia havce confirmed the Matildas’ blockbuster clash with the Philippines is a sell out. The nation’s favourite sporting team start their trio of games in Perth against Iran at Perth Oval on Thursday, before the Optus Stadium clash on Sunday, in front of a capacity crowd of 60,000.

The team returns to Perth Oval for their final game, against Chinese Taipei is on November 1. Both games at the 20,000-capacity venue had previously sold out, with a limited amount of tickets released on Wednesday. The Matildas captured the hearts - and attention - of the nation during a record-shattering World Cup campaign earlier this year.

“Eleven consecutive sold-out matches is no small feat; it’s a testament to the passion for women’s football in Australia,” said Football Australia chief executive James Johnson. “The overwhelming support in Perth underscores the nation’s unwavering commitment to our women’s football team.”



Melbourne Victory will be sweating on the fitness of Lydia Williams after the veteran goalkeeper was injured while conceding a late goal in a 2-1 loss to Western United. Williams suffered the injury only moments after saving a thundering strike from Hannah Keane late in the game.

And in the mad scramble for the loose ball, Western forward Kahli Mary Johnson accidentally collided with Williams. The goalkeeper crashed to the ground and stayed there for several minutes before being assisted off the pitch clutching her arm.

The injury is bad timing for Williams, who is pushing to be part of the Matildas' squad for their Olympic qualifiers in Perth. "She got hit pretty hard," coach Jeff Hopkins said. "I'm not really sure (what it is). I think it's her back. We're still waiting to hear."



Mumbai City midfielder Rostyn Griffiths has opened up on the influence of head coach Des Buckingham while talking about their upcoming AFC Champions League clash. Mumbai face a star-studded Al Hilal line-up in the tomorrow's Champions League clash at King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh.

Griffiths is enjoying his football in India under Buckingham, who he worked under in the A-League at Melbourne City prior to linking up again at Mumbai last year. "Des has a background in, not just football, but other walks of life," 35-year old Griffiths commented.

"So he understands players, and that sometimes goes unnoticed, especially with other coaches who have only been involved in football. Perhaps you forget the human element in people. So I think, for players, that makes him approachable. People aren't scared to come and ask him questions or speak to him on a personal level."

Four-time Champions League winners Al Hilal boats a host of super-stars including Neymar, Ruben Neves, Kalidou Kolibaly, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Malcom and Yassine Bounou. Griffiths says Mumbai's focus will purely be on their game, and not their oppositions.

"If they had one good player, you could potentially make a plan for one player. But the problem is they've got 11 good players," he said. "It's gonna be difficult to worry about just one person. We don't really focus too much on the opposition. It's mostly about ourselves."

"Of course, we have to take the opposition into consideration. But we do the same thing, whoever we play against. And I think the club's belief is that if we do that more often than not, it's gonna give us better results." Mumbai have lost their opening two Champions League games, to Nassaji Mazandaran (Iran) and Navbahor (Uzbekistan).



Perth Glory conceded an equaliser deep into stoppage time to draw 2-2 with Newcastle Jets in their round one clash in the Isuzu Ute A-League at HBF Park on Sunday afternoon. Skipper Adam Taggart gave the hosts the perfect start scoring in the second minute, but a stunning striker Kosta Grozos levelled things up. Second half substitute Stefan Colakovski, regained the lead for Alen Stajcic’s side, his first for the club, just after the hour mark, but Apostolos Stamatelopoulos won a point for the visitors, heading home a free kick, to send the Glory faithful home disappointed.

The late equaliser was a disappointing end to Stajcic's first game in charge of the Glory, and he said the whole group is hurting, but he thought they should put the game to bed before the late drama. “It is heartbreaking. Everyone's shattered," Stajcic said post-match. “We probably should have won the game in the second half but you don't get points for should-haves and would-haves and could-haves. We had enough chances to win the game, but there is a lot of positives to take out of the game, but has I’ve said, if you don’t take your chances, you open the door for a sucker-punch and that’s what we got tonight.”

Glory gave club starting debuts to new signings Oli Sail, Oliver Bozanic, Jarrod Carluccio and youngster Daniel Bennie, whose good form in pre-season gave him the nod over more senior players. There was a disappointing crowd at HBF Park at kick off, but those who were there were on their feet 90 seconds into the game as Glory found the opener. Luke Ivanovic raced down the right and his cross from the bye-line was headed goalward by Bennie, keeper Ryan Scott could only push the ball onto the post and Taggart was on hand to ram the ball home from close-range.

It was a perfect start for the men in purple, but it was the Jets who lifted and had plenty of possession, with Glory camped into their own half, and it was only a matter of time before they found the equaliser, Grozos finding space in the middle of the park and rifling home a great striker from distance, and although Sail got a hand to it couldn’t keep it out. The game then settled down, and Beenie was denied by Scott seven minutes later, before the lively Trent Buhagiar fired wide on the half hour, but at the break it was all-square.

Glory started the second half on the front foot, in front of the Shed, and Scott produced a smart save to deny Giordano Colli early before Ivanovic effort flashed over the top. Stajcic went to the bench on 57 minutes bringing on Colakovski for Carluccio, and he had an immediate impact regaining the lead for the hosts seven minutes later. A high press from Glory was rewarded when Jason Hoffman’s pass was picked off by Taggart, who slipped in Colli who in turn found Colakovski, and the forgotten man of last season under Ruben Zadkovich finished low past Scott and celebrated in front of the Shed.

It was almost 3-1 moments later, Bozanic’s shot well saved by the alert Scott, before the Jets custodian denied Taggart his second. The Jets were coming though, and Glory were defending deep, but they couldn’t clear the lines and the ball kept coming back into their box, it was edge of your seat stuff for the 6,592 Glory supporters. Former Glory and Gwelup Croatia midfielder Daniel Stynes thought he had found the equaliser in the first minute of stoppage time, his powerful shot from range was heading for the corner of the net, but Sail produced a smart one-handed save to thwart the WA youngster.

But moments later the Jets did find the equaliser they probably deserved. Grozos’ free kick into the box caused panic, Sail came to punch and mis-timed the flight of the ball and was in no-man’s-land when Stamatelopoulos rose highest in a pack of players to head home. Glory return to action on Saturday with a trip to the Sky Stadium to take on Wellington Phoenix, while the Jets are also on the road, with an away trip to Melbourne Victory next Sunday at AAMI Park.

New Jets coach Rob Stanton was proud of his team's resilient attitude especially away from home. "Probably both teams deserve the point to be honest," he said post-match. “I'm a little disappointed in in how we conceded our goals, but in the end, very pleased with the way we showed some strong character to come back twice to get ourselves back in the match and get a point."

Perth Glory: GK Oli SAIL, 2 Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 5 Mark BEEVERS, 12 Luke IVANOVIC (9 David WILLIAMS 66'), 15 Aleksandar SUSNJAR, 17 Jarrod CARLUCCIO (7 Stefan COLAKOVSKI, 57'), 20 Giordano COLLI, 22 Adam TAGGART, 23 Daniel BENNIE (4 Luke BODNAR 83'), 24 Oliver BOZANIC (77 Bruce KAMAU 83'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN - Subs not used: RGK Cameron COOK, 14 Riley WARLAND, 19 Trent OSTLER

Newcastle Jets: GK Ryan SCOTT, 3 Jason HOFFMAN, 7 Trent BUHAGIAR (37'), 8 Apostolos STAMATELOPOULOS, 13 Clayton TAYLOR, 14 Dane INGHAM, 15 Jason BERTHOMIER (19 Callum TIMMINS 66'), 17 Kosta GROZOS 25 Carl JENKINSON (18 Daniel STYNES 77'), 33 Mark NATTA - Subs not used: RGK Noah JAMES, 22 Phillip CANCAR, 23 Daniel WILMERING, 39 Thomas AQUILINA - Referee: Tim DANASKOS, - Attendance: 6592



A second half strike from Perth Glory striker Susan Phonsongkham has secured them a hard-fought 1-0 win against Newcastle Jets to maintain their perfect start to their Liberty A-League season at HBF Park on Sunday afternoon. Following their win against Western United last week, the lively Phonsongkham finished off a great team move to score the winner just after half time, the win maintained top spot.

“We’re pleased to have won the opening two games, but we have to keep building on that foundation. It’s a good starting point but we’re not going to rest on that,” Glory Head Coach Alex Epakis said post-match. “The Jets are a physical side and we had to match them today, and we had to show a different part of our game, and we had to manage the game and win some important duels and really compete, and I thought the players did that today, rolled their sleeves up and got the job done.”

Glory went into the game unchanged, but were on the back foot early in the game, the Jets going close on six minutes, with Mindy Barbieri firing wide of the target. It was a cagey opening to the game, with both sides struggling to take control, the best Glory chance came midway through the half, skipper Nathasa Rigby’s low cross flashed just wide of the far post, before a Grace Johnston ball picked out Jessika Cowart in the penalty area, but her shot was blocked by some desperate Jets defending, and keeper Izzy Nino saved the rebound.

The Jets went close to the opener just before half time. First Melina Ayres pounced on a short pack pass from Claudia Mihocic, but Morgan Aquino was out quick to challenge the striker and her shot rolled agonizingly wide of the post. Then in stoppage time Emma Dundas picked out Ayers on the edge of the box, and here first time shot whistled inches over the top, and at the break it was scoreless, not for the last of trying.

But whatever Epakis said at half time worked, and five minutes in Glory hit the front. Cowart sent New Zealand striker Grace Jale down the left, she found English striker Millie Farrow, who held off her marker and drove into the box, before laying the ball out to Phonsongkham on the edge of the penalty area, and she rifled a shot into the bottom corner much to the delight of the home faithful.

The pair combined again on 67 minutes, this time Phonsongkham was the supplier, sent down the right with a perfect pass from Hana Lowry, before delivering an inch-perfect cross which Farrow met firmly, but Jets custodian Izzy Nino made an excellent fingertip save to deny her a first goal in the A-League. The Jets pushed late looking for the equaliser, the best falling to Ayers, who headed over substitute Laura Gooch’s cross in stoppage time, but Glory held firm to seal back-to-back wins to keep them top of the Liberty A-League table. With the Matildas in town for the next two weeks, the league is taking an international break, and Glory will not return to action until November 4th when they travel to McKellar Park to meet Canberra United.

Perth Glory: GK Morgan AQUINO, 3 Jessika COWART, 4 Natasha RIGBY, 8 Hana LOWRY, 9 Millie FARROW (10 Abbey GREEN 81'), 10 Susan PHONSONGKHAM, 11 Grace JALE, 12 Sofia SAKALIS (18 Sadie LAWRENCE 77'), 22 Claudia MIHOCIC, 25 Grace JOHNSTON (19 Izzy FOLETTA 65'), 27 Georgia CASSIDY - Subs not used: RGK Sally JAMES

Newcastle Jets: GK Izzy NINO, 3 Claudia CICCO (2 Josie WILSON 83'), 4 Natasha PRIOR, 6 Cass DAVIS, 8 Rebecca BURROWS (10 Libby COPUS-BROWN 61'), 9 Mindy BARBIERI (24 Milan HAMMOND 71'), 13 Lauren ALLAN (25 Lara GOOCH 71'), 14 Melina AYRES, 22 Lorena BAUMANN, 23 Zoe KARAPIDIS, 28 Emma DUNDAS - Subs not used: RGK Kiara ROCHAIX - Referee: Bec MACKIE - Attendance: 1,450



Perth Glory Football Club go into a new era on Sunday evening when they take on Newcastle Jets in the opening Isuzu UTE A-League of the season at HBF Park. (4.45pm) The club have a new owner after the Primeland Group-led consortium took over last week, while there will be a new coach in the dugout, with Alen Stajcic taking control of his first A-League game for the club, and there will be a number of players in line to make their debuts. for the club.

The Head Coach is looking forward to the game, and reward the club’s loyal members and supporters with a first-up win. “It’s always that area of not knowing where you’re at in Round One, but I know we’ve put in some really hard work and have really focused in on some key areas that needed improving on from last year,” Stajcic said.

“The boys have all embraced it in a unified way and I know that they are going to give everything in Round One. I’ve been coaching for 20 years, so I think people have seen a glimpse of some of my teams before. It’s a team that will be united first and foremost and which will fight for the club and for the city and that’s the most important thing. People want to see the heart and spirit of the group and that is one thing I can 100% guarantee.”

Stajcic is well aware of the talent in the Jets side, and they have a new coach in 2023-24, with Rob Stanton in control, and he knows they will have to be at their best to kick off the season with three points. “They’re a good team and have a good squad on paper,” he said. “They’ve had an excellent pre-season, playing against seven or eight A-League opponents already; a couple in the FFA [Australia] Cup and another five or six friendlies that they’ve had.

“So, in terms of preparation, they’ve probably had the best out of all the teams in the A-League. Having watched Robbie work for a long time, I’ve got an immense amount of respect for him as a coach and a football practitioner. I think they’re going to be a very well organised and coached team and are going to surprise a few teams this year, so I’m definitely wary of the calibre of what they’ve brought in and their prep and it’s going to be a big challenge for us this weekend.”

The last time the Jets headed to Perth, they left with a share of the spoils after a 2-2 draw in round 15 at Macedonia Park. Luka Bodnar had given the hosts the lead just before half time, but Reno Piscopo levelled on the hour. It looked like Mark Beevers had won it for Glory when he scored 11 minutes from time, but a late goal from Archie Goodwin gave both sides a point.

Stajcic goes into the opening game with almost a full squad, but former skipper Mustafa Amini will miss the game due to back injury, along with Adam Zimarino, Antonis Martis and youngster Jayden Gorman, and the coach said spots are up for grabs. “There are always a few niggles around and we still have some key players that are rehabbing,” he said. “Mustafa has been out for a few months and he’s a key player in the team, so we’re looking forward to getting him back in the next couple of weeks.

“We’ve got a squad of about 30 and they are all fighting for 11 spots in the starting line-up and another six or seven on the bench. The good thing about this pre-season is that it’s been very competitive and not just competitive in terms of trying to improve, but also in terms of competition for spots and I hope that continues throughout the year.”

Stajcic said he can’t wait for the season to kick off, and made it clear that anything is possible judging by what has transpired in the competition in recent times. “Every club is starting from scratch and what we have learned and it’s been proven again over the last few years of the A-League, is that anyone can move anywhere quickly,” he said. “Teams can move from the bottom to the top quickly and vice versa, so really last year’s results are irrelevant and have no impact on this year. Our mentality and spirit and the way we play is going to have the biggest impact, not what happened last year.”

The Jets have a number of former Glory players in their squad, with Daniel Stynes, Jacob Dowse, Callum Timmins and Dane Ingham in line for a starting role but former Glory skipper Brandon O’Neill will miss the game due to suspension. They have added some experience to their squad, with French midfielder Jason Berthomier, former Adelaide United and Western United forward Apostolos Stamatelopoulos

Perth Glory Squad: GK Oli SAIL, GK Cameron COOK, 2 Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 3 Jacob MUIR, 5 Mark BEEVERS, 6 Aaron MCENEFF, 7 Stefan COLAKOVSKI, 9 David WILLIAMS, 10 Salim KHELIFI, 12 Luke IVANOVIC, 14 Riley WARLAND, 15 Aleksandar SUSNJAR, 17 Jarrod CARLUCCIO, 19 Trent OSTLER, 20 Giordano COLLI, 22 Adam TAGGART, 23 Daniel BENNIE, 24 Oliver BOZANIC, 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 77 Bruce KAMAU - Unavailable: 8 Mustafa AMINI (injured), 11 Adam ZIMARINO (injured), 21 Antonis MARTIS (injured), 27 Jayden GORMAN (injured)

Newcastle Jets squad: GK Ryan SCOTT, GK Michael WEIER, 3 Jason HOFFMAN, 5 Lucas MAURAGIS, 7 Trent BUHAGIAR, 8 Apostolos STAMATELOPOULOS, 11 Jacob DOWSE, 13 Clayton TAYLOR, 14 Dane INGHAM, 15 Jason BERTHOMIER, 17 Kosta GROZOS, 18 Daniel STYNES, 19 Callum TIMMINS, 22 Phillip CANCAR, 23 Daniel WILMERING, 25 Carl JENKINSON, 29 Justin VIDIC, 33 Mark NATTA, 37 Lachlan BAYLISS, 39 Thomas AQUILINA - Unavailable: GK Noah JAMES, GK Zac BOWLING, 6 Brandon O’NEILL (suspended), 10 Reno PISCOPO (Injured/Indefinite), 26 Archie GOODWIN (Injured/Indefinite), 27 Nathan GRIMALDI



Perth Glory will look to build on their opening day Liberty A-League win against Western United when they host Newcastle Jets at HBF Park on Sunday afternoon. (2.00pm) It will be a first double header with the Men’s side this season, and Head Coach Alex Epakis is looking forward to the game and he has almost a full squad to choose from for the game, which will give him some selection headaches. “I think we might be in a position to have a full squad available,” he said. “The reality is that our strength is in our depth and having internal competition is important as it pushes the group and come game-day, the players are so primed because of that. Anyone who comes into the squad or off the bench, we know they’re going to make an impact.”

The round one win was a perfect start, with goals from Susan Phonsongkham and Grace Jale, but Epakis knows there is still room for improvement against a Jets side who also collected three points on the opening day. “We were really happy with the performance which was a 90-minute collective effort, but there were phases when the opposition had more control than us and then phases when we had more control than them, but I think ultimately we took our chances and were a bit more clinical,” Epakis explained.

“We also defended our box well and they were the key things that got us over the line… and we were happy with it. But after watching it again, it was pretty clear that there are still a lot of things we know we can do a lot better. The Jets are an aggressive and physical team, like Western United and they have some pretty powerful players across the park, especially up front. So, we’ve got to make sure that we manage that physicality well, especially in and around our box as they have some dangerous players who can be clinical in there. I think if we minimise that and improve in some of the areas I already mentioned, we certainly give ourselves a chance.”

The coach was delighted with locals, Grace Johnston and Georgia Cassidy on their debuts last week, and he is excited to see what they are capable this season and in the future. “I’ve been delighted with them all pre-season. When you come into a team as a new, young player, you might have some people that are just happy to go through the motions. But those two came in on day one and went into business mode and they haven’t looked out of place,” Epakis said.

“They’ve improved the squad and the team with what they do and I think they both have bright futures ahead of them. They’ve already showed a really rapid increase in their skill-set and understanding of what we’re trying to do and now we need to continue to support them to make sure that that growth is steady and not an up and down roller-coaster. I’m excited to see what they’re capable of this season and into the future.”

The last time Glory took on the Jets in Perth was in round 14 last season at Macedonia Park, when they ran out convincing 4-0 winners. Sofia Sakalis gave them the lead from the spot early, before Isabella Foletta doubled their advantage just before half time. A brace from Cyera Hintzen after the break secured the win, and Epakis will be hoping for a similar result on Sunday, in their first game at the club’s traditional home, HBF Park since 2018.

“I’ve been here for four seasons and this is my first opportunity to coach there and I’m extremely excited about that,” Epakis said. “To play in front of our supporters on what will hopefully be a really good day for the club is something that excites me and the players are sharing that sentiment. What I hope is that we really set the scene for what fixtures could look like there in the future, so hopefully it’s a really good turnout and we embrace the moment and the opportunity to play there.”

Perth Glory squad: GK Morgan AQUINO, GK Sally JAMES, 3 Jessika COWART, 4 Natasha RIGBY, 7 Liz ANTON, 8 Hana LOWRY, 9 Millie FARROW, 10 Susan PHONSONGKHAM, 11 Grace JALE, 12 Sofia SAKALIS, 13 Sarah CAIN, 14 Tia STONEHILL, 17 Abbey GREEN, 18 Sadie LAWRENCE, 19 Izzy FOLETTA, 20 Quinley QUEZADA, 22 Claudia MIHOCIC, 23 Isobel DALTON, 25 Grace JOHNSTON, 27 Georgia CASSIDY - (four to be omitted) - Ins: ANTON, Tia STONEHILL, Quinley QUEZADA, Isobel DALTON - Outs: Nil - Unavailable: 16 Isabella WALLHEAD (injured)

Newcastle Jets squad: GK Izzy NINO, GK Kiara ROCHAIX, 2 Josie WILSON, 3 Claudia CICCO, 4 Natasha PRIOR, 6 Cass DAVIS, 7 Gema SIMON, 8 Rebecca BURROWS, 9 Mindy BARBIERI, 10 Libby COPUS-BROWN, 13 Lauren ALLAN, 14 Melina AYRES, 18 Sophie HOBAN, 19 Bonnie DAVIES, 22 Lorena BAUMANN, 23 Zoe KARAPIDIS, 24 Milan HAMMOND, 25 Lara GOOCH, 26 Josie ALLAN, 28 Emma DUNDAS - Ins: Nil - Outs: 15 Alex HUYNH (suspended)



Western Knights will play NPLWA – Men’s football for the first time in their history, after taking out an enthralling State League Division One title last season. The Nash Field club were a powerhouse in the old State Premier League, with Ronnie Cambell leading them to two titles in 1998 and 2004, with Paul Price and Carl Medica taking them to runners-up spot in 2009 and 2010. But relegation in 2012 took them outside the top league for the first time since 1995, and despite winning the Division One title in 2017, they missed out on promotion to the NPL after failing to meet the criteria.

But not this season, after a stoppage time winner from striker Albert Luwi secured the title after a 1-0 win against Joondalup United, and President Dean Zlendic said he is extremely proud of everyone’s hard work during the season. “There is a lot of hard work by a lot people that goes into preparing for the season and then making sure you implement your plans as best you can,” he said. “I made it very clear at the end of last year that it is important every one of us; whether a player, committee member, coach, volunteer, supporter, or sponsor is fully committed to achieving the one goal, that is, to win the league and be promoted, and we all were, and the rest is history.”

Zlendic said everyone in the ground was very nervous in the Joondalup game, but the season had been so close to win it like that continues to give him goosebumps. “Your right, the anxiety levels were at an all-time high, and the week prior against Mandurah was mentally draining also, like all game had been in the season,” he explained. “But for some reason I had this strong belief we would eventually score the winner and we did. The scenes immediately after the goal and after the final whistle on the field were very special, and I still have goosebumps thinking about it.”

The club were outstanding in the season, and in many eyes their promotion was totally deserved, and Zlendic said coach Adam Kostrencic and his staff deserve a great deal of credit. “We have always prided ourselves on ensuring we play a good brand of football. We like to knock it around, keep it on the deck as much as possible,” he said. “Adam and his coaching team tweaked a couple of things this season following falling short previous years which included bringing in a younger group of players, and it was great to see Adam win the Coach of the year award, thoroughly deserved.”

The President said their success is built on a team effort, and thanks everyone involved in their title success, and they can’t wait to be back with the big boys. “We can't wait, it is very exciting for us all. I told someone the other day that we started preparing the Monday after the win, in actual fact we have been laying the foundations behind the scenes all season. My committee is used to hard work, we are under no illusions, we know what we need to do,” Zlendic explained.

“To every single supporter, volunteer, sponsor, coach, and players across the entire club thank you very much from me and my committee for your commitment, support, and hard work. And of course, a big thank you to my committee. Most of us have been involved as committee members for the last ten or so years and supporters/members of the club since childhood. A very passionate group of people that want what's best for the club and continued success. A special thank you to our respective partners and children for their patience and for allowing us to spend countless hours at the club.”

The title win was a huge success for coach Adam Kostrencic, and he said everyone brought into his plans, and to end the season back in the NPL was something they have been planned for. “From day one the application of both our coaching team and entire squad was outstanding. There was real buy-in as to what we wanted to achieve and how we wanted to achieve it,” he explained. “Our style of play enabled us to win the majority of our matches and we gave ourselves every opportunity to win the league title. Mandurah pushed us to the very end and the last few rounds were a real test that as a collective group we came through to achieve the ultimate success in the best way possible.”

Kostrencic said he is grateful for all the hard work and support of many people at the club, and they all totally deserve success, and the hard work starts to make an impact in the NPL. “The club is well run by a group of passionate, dedicated and hardworking people, and the disappointment of missing out on promotion in 2017 further fueled the desire of the committee and volunteers to ensure everything was in place to achieve the goal,” the coach said.

“We have been close for a number of years now and the scenes of celebration after winning the league title on the last day shows how much it meant to everyone involved at the club that has been on the journey to the NPL. But you’re right the hard work has already started and there is a new level of enthusiasm around the club in preparation for the coming season. Our recent under18’s and under 20’s trials attracted an impressive caliber of players and the makeup of the first team squad is taking shape with some top-quality additions. Everyone involved is certainly looking forward to the challenge and making an impact in the 2024 season.”



UWA Nedlands have been given the final spot in the NPLWA – Women’s competition, to replace Curtin University who didn’t meet the criteria next season. The decision comes on the back of last year’s comprehensive Women’s Football review, which saw Football West introduce a promotion and relegation system in the senior women’s competitions for 2023.

Although Curtin University finished bottom of the NPL last season, neither of the teams who finished in the top two of the Hyundai Women’s State League, Hamersley Rovers and Perth AFC, were eligible for promotion. However, Curtin still dropped out of the top tier after they were unable to secure an NPL licence, thus leaving a vacancy in the competition. In accordance with the NPL Competition Rules, Football West conducted consultations with the Women's Standing Committee to establish a consensus on filling this gap, and UWA Nedlands were successful.

For club President Alexandra Lyons, it’s been something they have been planning for a number of seasons, and they are looking forward to the challenge. “We are absolutely looking forward to the challenge, it is an opportunity that UWANFC have been preparing for behind the scenes for several years now. We think there are enough quality players out there for a strong eight team competition, and we hope to show that with our inclusion in the league,” Lyons explained.

“The promotion reflects the hard work on and off the pitch by many people across the last few years. We have to give a big thank you to our Female Football Working Group who have driven a lot of work behind the scenes, especially in delivering our Female Football Plan which has grown our junior base significantly. But as you say, the hard work really starts now, to ensure we put the best foot forward on Round One 2024.”

Lyons said the hard work of coach Lawrence Lewis has played a huge part in their success, but the Women’s program at the club is blossoming. “Lawrence has been a big part of female football at UWANFC for the last five seasons, and we're looking forward to more to come,” she said. “It has been great to see some of our younger players, particularly ex-junior players like Chloe Rodrigo get the opportunity to shine and stand up amongst the best in Women's Division One, where in 2023 our average age was 24.

“We had a good mix of experience and youth will be what we look for in 2024, driven by a highly qualified and experienced coaching team. Last season we had four women's teams, eight junior girls’ teams, and about 250 girls playing in our in-house Joey Soccer program in 2023, out of a membership of around 1500 players at the club. We are planning for that to increase in 2024 with very strong expressions of interest coming in.”

Lewis said injury took their toll last season, but he was delighted to see some of the younger player’s shine. “As with most seasons, teams never go the full season with having a 100% attendance from their first team squad. However, the depth we had was fantastic and that included some young players that have come through our junior Academy system,” Lewis explained. “Providing those players with a chance to play first team football at a competitive level has given them a chance to greatly improve their game. We hope to have these players turn into our NPL first team players in the next year or two, which will allow us to start filling teams from the junior teams more and more each year.”

A jump to the NPL may be daunting, but Lewis believes they have the quality to compete, and he can’t wait to get started. “Very excited to make the step up, personally and as a club. We have been building behind the scenes in lots of aspects of the club and wanted to make that jump soon, so I am glad we have been given this opportunity. We understand the difference between the State league and the NPL by watching teams over the last couple of years and how they operate, so we like to think we have set ourselves up well to compete,” he said.

“I believe we have a lot of quality players within our 2023 squad that can move up into the NPL and those players are excited to show their worth on a bigger stage. Of course, we are under no illusion that having players with NPL calibre/experience will be needed to provide that support structure in making the transition up to NPL. We are looking to provide players who want to be a part of the UWA NPL experience, a welcome home with lots of support via good coaching staff, competitive drivers for players, backroom staff and an awesome home pitch to play on.”



The 2023 NPLWA awards night was held at The Westin Perth on Wednesday evening, and Perth RedStar’s Chok Dau and Laura Waltman of Fremantle City were the winners of the Gold Medal, as the best player in the Men’s and Women’s competition. Dau, who helped RedStar claim this season’s NPLWA – Men’s title, finished on 23 votes, three in front of teammate and three-time winner Daryl Nicol, with Sorrento skipper Dean Cummings a further vote back. Waltman, who added this year’s Women’s Gold Medal to the one she shared in 2019, collected a massive 34 votes – seven votes clear of RedStar’s Reina Kagami and Balcatta Etna’s Tia Stonehill, who tied for second.

Dau said winning the award topped off a great season for him. “I’m really proud and grateful to win the ‘Gold Medal’ award. This recognition means a lot after a fantastic year with everyone at Redstar. I just want to say a big thank you Callum Salmon, Davey Butterfield and the rest of the staff at Redstar and of course the boys for making my job easy on the pitch,” the striker said. “At the beginning of the season, our goal was clear: to win the league. Achieving this feat in the end truly exemplifies the dedication and excellence of our team throughout the entire season. It's safe to say that this year has been nothing short of fantastic.”

Waltman said she almost gave the game away this season, but a chat with Fremantle coach Faye Chambers changed all that. “I’m overwhelmed to win the award, and I’m happy I had a chat to Faye,” Waltman told the Football West website. “I wasn’t really enjoying it at the end of last season, I was going to stop playing. Faye asked, ‘What can we do to keep you’. I moved into midfield, I was always a centre forward, and my coach Faye let me have free rein of that middle area … I just enjoy the freedom.”

In other awards on the night, RedStar striker Nicol retained the Men’s NPL Golden Boot, the third time he has claimed the award, while Stonehill won her second Women’s NPL Golden Boot. The Ron Tindall Award for the NPLWA - Men’s First Team Coach of the Year was won by Callum Salmon, who guided RedStar to the league title following a terrific tussle with Stirling Macedonia and Olympic Kingsway.

The NPLWA - Women’s First Team Coach of the Year was Carlos Vega Mena, also of RedStar, whose side successfully defended the league title and Top Four Cup. Female Coach of the Year was Fremantle City’s Chambers. The Dylan Tombides Young Player of the Year award, named in honour of the late Perth SC and Stirling Macedonia junior, went to Jayden Gorman of Perth Glory, while Clara Hoarau of Murdoch University Melville took the Female Young Player of the Year Award.

The NPLWA – Women’s Goalkeeper of the Year award was won for the second successive year by Rebecca Bennett of Perth SC, while James Bosdet of Stirling Macedonia was named Men’s NPL Goalkeeper of the Year. Stirling also celebrated winning the NPL Men’s Goal of the Season thanks to Daniel Zivkovic’s stunning effort against Bayswater City from Round Six. The Women’s NPL Goal of the Season was equally impressive, won by Hyundai NTC midfielder Grace Johnston for her rocket against Fremantle City in Round 20.

Subiaco AFC won the NPLWA – Women’s Fair Play Award, and Olympic Kingsway won the Men’s award. Olympic Kingsway club secretary Mandy Gordon received the David Schrandt Award for the Administrator of the Year, while Luis Miguel Marcellino of the Gold Fields WA State Paras took the David Cantoni Disabilities in Football Award. New Football West Life Members Nick Tana, Eddie Lennie and Phil Kelly were honoured, as were NPLWA Female Referee of the Year – Golden Whistle Award winner Jasmine Bremner and NPLWA Male Referee of the Year – Golden Whistle Award recipient Stewart Beattie.

Football West CEO Jamie Harnwell said: “Congratulations to all of our award winners, especially our Gold Medallists Chok Dau and Laura Waltman on their fantastic individual achievements. Thanks to MLA Ali Kent for her speech and helping present the awards after stepping in to represent Deputy Premier Rita Saffioti, plus all of our partners and supporters, and to everyone who has contributed throughout the season.”

Other awards were as follows: NPLWA – Men’s U18 Troy Bernard Player of the Year: Santiago Flores (Perth Glory) and Roland Ballah (Perth RedStar) - NPLWA – Men’s U20 Player of the Year: Keegan Chambers (Sorrento FC) - NPLWA – Women’s U21 Player of the Year: Dareskadar Tamru (Balcatta Etna) - NPLWA – Men’s U18 Golden Boot: Santiago Flores (Perth Glory) - NPLWA – Men’s U20 Golden Boot: Keegan Chambers (Sorrento FC) - NPLWA Women’s U21 Golden Boot: Dareskadar Tamru (Balcatta Etna)



The A-Leagues Grand Finals will return to their traditional format as part of a revamped deal with the NSW Government that will launch a “Unite Round” with every team playing over three days in Sydney. After 10 months of furious debate, over the original deal to site both Men’s and Women’s Grand Finals in Sydney for three years, the NSW Premier Chris Minns revealed on Wednesday morning that a new arrangement had been struck between the Australian Professional Leagues (APL), the government and Destination NSW, meaning the Grand Finals will be held in the city of the highest-ranked qualifier – as had been the case every year until last season.

Glory Shed Supporters Club President David Winkless said common sense had prevailed, if you earn the right to host the final, you should host it, and he can still remember the Grand Final at Optus Stadium four year ago, which still gives him goosebumps. “As a fan, it’s great to see the Grand Final decision reversed, and in 2019 seeing Perth turn purple for a weekend was something I will remember for years to come,” he explained. “It showed just how much support Perth Glory had, to tap into. Hopefully the clubs hosting grand finals, can now build on that support that will come their way once again.”

Winkless said the Unite Round is great for the game, as the more Glory you can get is great for the supporters, and is something he’s looking forward to. “To be fair the Unite Round should have been announced from the start in my opinion,” he said. “For me, I would much rather an extra weekend of football, which allows people the opportunity to travel and take in as much or as little football as they want, as opposed to a club losing their earned right to host a men’s or women’s Grand Final, a great decision and one the supporters will look forward too.”

APL CEO Danny Townsend acknowledged the work that had been done to change the decision, and the voice of the fans across the country was huge “We have worked closely with our clubs and fans to ensure that there are suitable constructive mechanisms for the voices of fans to be heard,” he said. “Many of the resulting conversations have included the hosting of the Grand Finals, and the strong sentiments around that, and we thank DNSW and Premier Minns for their partnership in creating a truly inclusive experience for our game.”

The Unite Round will be held between Friday, January 12 and Sunday, January 14, with Sydney hosting all 12 Isuzu UTE A-League Men and Liberty A-League Women matches, as the A-Leagues become the first leagues to celebrate a full men’s and women’s round in a single city. The weekend will also host a series of grassroots competitions and activities for children and teens. The ‘Unite Round’ is being introduced for the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons, as the APL’s partnership with DNSW enters its second year. As part of the updated partnership, the hosting rights for the Grand Finals will revert to the traditional format with hosting rights awarded to the highest placed qualifier from the Semi Finals, starting from season 2023-24.

During ‘Unite Round’, the double header matches will be hosted at Allianz Stadium, CommBank Stadium and Leichhardt Oval, and grassroots tournaments for junior boys and girls will take place at venues across Sydney. A live site at Moore Park will also feature a fan park and viewing party for the AFC Asian Cup match in Qatar between Australia and India’s men’s teams on Saturday 13 January at 10:30pm AEDT. “The Unite Round is a brand-new experience which brings together all A-Leagues clubs, fans and grassroots players together for the very first time in Sydney in an unprecedented celebration of football,” Townsend added. “With the women’s domestic attendance record already broken twice on the first day of this season, we are looking forward to welcoming A-Leagues fans, old and new, to experience our leagues

“We have worked closely with our clubs and fans to ensure that there are suitable constructive mechanisms for the voices of fans to be heard. Many of the resulting conversations have included the hosting of the Grand Finals, and the strong sentiments around that, and we thank DNSW and Premier Minns for their partnership in creating a truly inclusive experience for our game.” The Isuzu UTE A-League Men, ‘Unite Round’ will be an additional round – making it a 27-game regular season. The existing Round 12 fixtures are being moved to new dates and times. For the Liberty A-League Women, ‘Unite Round’ will use the existing Round 12 fixtures, keeping the season as a 22-game regular season.



Former Perth Soccer Club and Perth Glory Youth defender Alessandro Circati made his Socceroos debut on Tuesday evening in London, and despite having to wait for his starting spot, the current Parma defender put in an assured performance as the green and gold beat New Zealand 2-0 in a friendly at the Gtech Community Stadium in Brentford. The centre-back, who has been starring for his Italian Serie B side in recent weeks, was given the opportunity by Head Coach Graham Arnold, and he never looked out of place and played a role at both ends of the pitch.

He was key in keeping a clean sheet, while also contributing to Australia’s first goal. Heading back across goal to Mich Duke, whose shot deflected off Harry Souttar. It got the Socceroos off to a perfect start, and showed many what the 20-year-old can offer, and Jackson Irvine scored off the bench to seal the result. Circati explained it was a familiar motion for him in a comfortable first Socceroos’ outing. “I felt comfortable. I felt like I’d been playing with these boys for many years,” he said. “The ball came to me - I’ve done that many times now and today I knocked it in and the ball’s gone in the back of the net.”

Circati said he was delighted to earn his first minutes for the team with competitive fixtures on the horizon, and competition for places is high in the Australian backline, with former ECU Joondalup Cameron Burgess recently coming into the fold to partner Harry Souttar, and the defender said Graham Arnold told him on the morning of the game he was starting. “This is my third camp with the boys, and my time’s come. I’m very happy we won and also happy for my first game for the Socceroos,” Circati said. “He told me this morning, and his message was just to play how you play with your club, and I felt like I’ve done exactly that.”

The Parma defender has an old head on those young shoulders, and he never put a foot wrong in the 90 plus minutes, but he had Leicester City defender Souttar beside him, and the big defender was impressed with what he saw. “I thought he was first class. Playing against a Premier League striker in Chris Wood is not easy because he gives anyone a hard game. He’s physical, and he can hold the ball up,” Souttar said. “Everything he did in terms of when he was on the ball, his movement off the ball covering me, which is always nice to have a defender that does that. “He was so comfortable in possession. Breaking lines, and he only turned 20 the other day, so a really bright future for him.” Australia’s next task sees them face Bangladesh in the first World Cup qualifier for the 2026 tournament, with Circati seeking to cement his place in Arnold’s plans.



The 2023 State League Awards were held at Dorrien Gardens, the home of Perth SC last Thursday with the Men’s State League Divisions One and Two, plus the Hyundai Women’s League Division One, celebrating their seasons. In Division One it was the closest season for many a year, with Western Knights crowned Champions and promoted to the NPL, while Fremantle City joined them after beating Joondalup United in the playoff final. The Player of the Year was shared between Fremantle’s Hamza Hina and Dianella White Eagles player/coach Angel Andres.

Andres, who took over as player/coach at the club in mid-season, said he had a good season, and was really happy to win the award. “Delighted to receive the Player of the Year award, on my return to Dianella,” Andres said. “I re-joined the club first as a player, and the club were really good to me again, and to win the award, along with Hamza was a huge honour, and one I’m really pleased with. “When the coaching role came up, I jumped at the chance, and I thought we had a good season, but just failed to reach the Top Four, but a fifth-place finish was ok, but we hope to build on it, next season. We have a good squad, and we hope to add to it and build on what we achieved in 2023.”

Hina said the award capped off a great season for him, and the club. “Having joined Fremantle City last season with the sole purpose of getting this club promoted to where it deserves to be, but falling slightly short from said objective only helped light a fire under our bellies to go out and achieve promotion this season,” he explained. “After finishing the top scorer at the club in back-to-back seasons, achieving the goal we set out to when I initially joined, and now to be awarded the Player of the Year feels like the perfect conclusion to my Freo City Chapter as I now move on to the next challenge in my career and wish nothing but the absolute best to the lads and the club.

“Personally, I have been fortunate in the last two seasons, playing alongside some of the best players in WA, pushing each other to our limits which culminated in us checking the ultimate goal of promotion this year, it didn't come easy, and for me to miss out on the finals due to a muscle injury after playing every game the past two seasons certainly wasn't ideal but that all only further sweetened the feeling once the lads got the job done.”

In other Men’s State League Division One awards on the night, Andres also won the Golden Boot as the league’s top goal scorer, while Western Knights custodian Devon Lindermann won the Goalkeeper of the Year. Knights coach Adam Kostrencic was rewarded for winning the title by taking out the Coach of the Year, while the Nash Field club won the Fair Play Award. In the Reserves Subiaco won the title, and the Player of the Year was won by Mandurah City’s Jordan Callaghan, with Tomas Despotovski winning the Golden Boot. In the under 18’s Subiaco were also crowned Champions, while Forrestfield United’s Austin Reynolds won the Play of the Year, while team mate Cooper Holland won the Golden Boot.

In the Men’s State League Division Two awards, the Player of the Year was a three-way tie, with Curtin University duo Jeffrey Ledwith and Kieran Will, and Canning City keeper Alec Radonich taking out the award. Ledwith was skipper for Curtin, helping them to State League First Division/Second Division – Promotion Relegation Play-off 2023 Final, where they were beaten by Subiaco, while Witt was the clubs top goal scorer, and was vital in the season. For Radonich, who also took out the Goalkeeper of the Year, he was really surprised to win the award, but was delighted to get the phone call. “I couldn’t make the awards night, and it came as a little shock getting a phone call Thursday night about the award,” he said. “But I’m very grateful for the award and glad to share it with two boys that had great season at Curtin.”

In other Men’s State League Division One awards on the night, Champions Kingsley Westside coach Steven Dimitrovich won the Coach of the Year, while Swan United Rhys Loxley and Kingsley Luke Salmon shared the Golden Boot, while Swan United were awarded the Fair Play Award. In the Reserves, Kingsley Westside were Champions, and the Player of the Year was won by Curtin University’s Kobe Mayers, while Ashfield’s Matthew Chambers took out the Golden Boot. In the Under 18’s Carramar Shamrock Rovers were Champions, and the Play of the Year was jointly won by Kingsley’s Charlie Goff and Joondalup City’s Donnacha Flaherty, while Rovers’ Samuel Lawless won the Golden Boot.

In the Hyundai Women’s League Division One awards, Hamersley Rovers’ Christiane Astorp was the star, winning the Player of the Year and the Golden Boot awards. “After years of playing NPL and having a baby, I had other priorities in life but still wanted to play competitive. I was very surprised of the quality of the Hamersley girls and even after night series I thought we had a chance to win the league,’ Astorp explained. “The vibe in the team has been fantastic and we are all like a big family. I had to bring my son to most games where he’s been in the changerooms and the girls and our coach Betim has looked after him even in the warm up, they have all really looked after me and you would not find that in many teams.

“I’m very happy I could help the team by scoring goals, but the girls have given me easy tap-ins and penalties so definitely a team effort. I did not expect the MVP award so that means a lot to me. We have a lot of players that deserved this award. It is good to see that State league is closing the gap to NPL and the quality is getting better, hopefully state will keep improving and challenge NPL more in the future.” In other awards on the night Champions Hamersley Rovers’ coach Betim Ziba won the Coach of the Year, while Perth AFC custodian Danielle Caruso won the Goalkeeper of the Year, and Port Kennedy and Subiaco AFC wee joint winners of the Fair Play Award.



The 2023 Football West Referee Awards night was held last Friday evening at the Pagoda Resort, and a packed house saw Stewart Beattie and Jasmine Bremner take out the top awards on the night, winning the Golden Whistle in the NPLWA Men’s and Women’s competitions. Bremner, who moved to Perth from Queensland at the start of the year, said it was a huge honour to win the award. “Winning the Golden Whistle Award is a tremendous honour and a great achievement especially considering the high standard of my female colleagues,” Bremner said.

“I think the award is a wonderful opportunity to recognise female accomplishment in the refereeing space and hopefully serves to encourages female referees in the future. I moved over at the start of the year for a work opportunity after completing my university studies in QLD. The move to WA has been an incredible opportunity and a chance to challenge myself in new professional and footballing environments. The referee team at Football West have been continuously supportive and especially accommodating of my FIFO roster, while the wider referee community has been extremely welcoming.”

Bremner, 23 started playing football in the UK, and continued when she arrived in Australia, but now the challenge of referring is something she wants to build on to the next level, and after the success of the Matildas in the World Cup, the game is on a high. “I started playing in the UK when I was 10 or so (2010) and kept at it, and in QLD I played a combination of QPL and NPL finishing up at the end of 2021,” she explained. “I started refereeing in 2015 and grew to love it, it has been an incredibly rewarding journey over the past eight years, allowing me to challenge myself while staying closely connected to the game I love.

“Having attended some FIFA World Cup games at HBF this year, the atmosphere surrounding women’s football at the moment is really exciting. With this momentum I hope we see an increase in female participation in the sport as both players and referees. Yes, I would love to take the next step, I’m always looking to improve and push myself to take my game to a higher level, I look forward to taking any future opportunities that may arise.”

The other awards on the night were as follows: - Referee Encouragement Award: Chloe Smith - Football West Referees Department Award: Robert Curry - Best First Year Referee – Junior: Angus Calder - Best First Year Referee – Senior: Philip Corcoran - Community Competitions Referee of the Year: Ton Klaver - Senior Competitions Referee of the Year: Martin Devitt - Junior League Female Referee of the Year: Briar Hargreaves - Junior League Male Referee of the Year: Nick Burmej - Most Improved Referee of the Year – Junior: Cameron Everett - Most Improved Referee of the Year – Senior: Brian McKeown - Referees’ Referee of the Year: Stewart Beattie

Merit Award – Service to Refereeing: Stephen Muldoon - Retirement – Recognition of Achievement Award: Matthew Southern - Referee Coach of the Year – Community: David Shanks - Referee Coach of the Year – State League: David Currie - Referee Coach of the Year – NPL: Greg Birch - Amateur Premier League Referee of the Year: Alex Novatsis - Amateur Leagues Referee of the Year: Joe Williams - State League Youth Referee of the Year: Alex Wright - State League Assistant Referee of the Year: Dragan Kovaceski - State League Referee of the Year: Andre Ferreira - Female Assistant Referee of the Year: Samia Omar - Male Assistant Referee of the Year: Adrien Liechti



Perth Glory has a new owner, with Primeland Group-led consortium announced, this after Tony Sage handed back the clubs’ licence to the Australian Professional Leagues (APL) in July. On Tuesday morning the APL issued the following statement regarding the ownership of the club. “The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) has today named a Primeland Group-led consortium as the new owner of Perth Glory Football Club. In July 2023, the APL appointed receivers to manage the transition of Perth Glory’s licence to new owners. At the conclusion of this 11-week process, Primeland Group, an Australian-based development group specialising in asset management, was identified as the successful bidder.”

The CEO of the APL Danny Townsend said the club will be entering a new era. “Perth Glory is one of Australia’s oldest professional football clubs and we are pleased to welcome Robert Brij and the Primeland Group to the A-Leagues as the club enters a new era,” he said. “The incredible volume of interest during the bidding process for the licence is testament to the opportunity that exists for football in Western Australia. Together with the recent announcement of the preferred bidder for Auckland’s expansion team, the strength of interest in the A-Leagues is stronger than ever both domestically and internationally.

“We are grateful to the Western Australian Government for its strong support during this transition period and into the future. I also want to acknowledge and thank the fans for their passion for Glory and club management, staff, players and coaches for their dedication and commitment. The club has been focused on their preparation for the 2023-24 season and has already kicked off the Women’s season with a win in its opening game. We wish the new owners, the club and Perth Glory Members and fans all the best for the seasons ahead.”

New Glory owner Robert Brij said they are eager to reconnect with the fans. “We are honoured to have been handed this great responsibility, acknowledging we are just the third ownership group to lead the club in 27 years,” he explained. “We believe in the potential of football, the potential of the A-League and particularly in the potential of Perth Glory. At its best, Glory was a representation of Perth and WA and we are eager to reconnect, especially with the fans and bring everyone along for the journey in what we believe will be an exciting future for the club.”

Formal completion is scheduled to take place in early November, but the full licence approval is subject to successful completion of the necessary regulatory processes by Football Australia (FA). The Primeland Group-led consortium, headed by Robert Brij and John Nekic, has global business links. A business magnate, Brij is chairman of Primeland, a developer specialising in building and investing in sustainable and visionary projects.

Nekic has been appointed as Executive Chairman-elect of Perth Glory Football Club and has coordinated the bid alongside Primeland Group. John is an entrepreneur who has been involved at various levels of Australian football for over four decades, holding a range of roles as Chair, CEO, Committee Member and Adviser. Primeland Group has a presence in Australia, Singapore, UK, India, UAE and Europe. Their diverse portfolio of work includes real estate, hotels, business parks, luxury residential developments, private equity, movies and media production.

Nekic said they can’t wait to get started and bring back the Glory to the club. “We are energised by the support of the WA State Government and local councils and their desire to engage and work with us on helping Glory realise its full potential,” he said. “Perth Glory’s role in the history of Australian football is profound, born from the inspiration of the Perth Kangaroos and played a key role in the formation of the A-League. We want to continue that trailblazing spirit. In the first instance, we are eager to engage, listen and understand the opportunities that exist for Glory.”



Perth Glory have begun their 2023-24 Liberty A-League season with a bang, defeating last season’s beaten grand finalists, Western United 2-0 in front of a big crowd at Macedonia Park. After a tight first half, where United created the better chances, Glory took control after the break with new signings Mille Farrow and Grace Jale a constant threat. The pair were involved in the opener for Susan Phonsongkham, before Jale’s stunning strike secured an impressive victory, and Head Coach Alex Epakis was delighted with goal scorer Phonsongkham post-match.

Phonsongkham returned for the new campaign off the back of a great season with Bankstown where she scored 17 goals in 22 games, and the 22-year-old continued that form bagging the opener, and Epakis is tipping her to have a breakout season. “During the off-season, she worked significantly hard to make sure she came into pre-season at the best level I’ve ever seen her,” explained Epakis. “I’ve coached Susan or seen Susan for the last seven-eight years as a player and this is the best, I’ve ever seen her, mentally and physically. Today was a really just reward for the effort she’s put in. That goal was top class, and it came at such an important time for us, and I’m backing her to kick on and have a really stand-out season.”

It was new look Glory starting line-up with five players making their debut for the club, Jessika Cowart, Jale, Farrow, Grace Johnston, and Georgia Cassidy all wearing purple for the first time. The last two are locally produced teenagers, who were outstanding for the Hyundai NTC side in the NPLWA WA last season. But it was United who were on the front, and Glory keeper Morgan Aquino, who was making her return west, was busy early, firstly out smartly to smother bravely at the feet of Hannah Keane and then to push a Melissa Taranto header around the post, after she was picked out by a pinpoint cross from the left by Tyla Jay Vlajnic.

But after the break the hosts turned things around, and they were ahead four minutes in. Jale’s cross eluded Farrow, but the English striker never gave up and played the ball back to the edge of the box to Phonsongkham, and the Thai-born midfielder curled home superbly past Alyssa Dall’Oste, much to the delight of the 1,114 home supporters. United weren’t finished and they went close to the equaliser just after the hour mark, Vlajnic’s curling free kick beat Aquino, but the crossbar came to the rescue of the Glory custodian, and Alana Cerne was inches away from heading home the rebound.

But Glory hit back and wrapped up the points 11 minutes from time. A clearance from Aquino was played on by substitute Sarah Cain, and Jale raced clear, with United looking for an offside flag, that never came, and the New Zealand international striker finished superbly from the edge of the box. Jale almost added a third late, Hana Lowry and Abbey Green combined in the middle of the park, Green sending Jale clear again, but Dall’Oste stood tall to deny her, saving low with her feet, but Glory were celebrating at full time, with the three points and a perfect start to the new season.

Perth Glory: GK Morgan AQUINO, 3 Jessika COWART, 4 Natasha RIGBY, 8 Hana LOWRY, 9 Millie FARROW (17 Abbey GREEN 71'), 10 Susan PHONSONGKHAM (18 Sadie LAWRENCE 77'), 11 Grace JALE, 12 Sofia SAKALIS (13 Sarah CAIN 77'), 21 Claudia MIHOCIC, 25 Grace JOHNSTON (19 Izzy FOLETTA 85'), 27 Georgia CASSIDY - Subs not used: RGK Sally JAMES

Western United: GK Alyssa DALL’OSTE, 2 Stacey PAPADOPOULOS, 4 Jaclyn SAWICKI, 9 Hannah KEANE, 10 Kahli JOHNSON (20 Keiwa HIEDA 70'), 11 Emma ROBERS (7 Kiara DE DOMIZIO 57'), 15 Adriana TARANTO, 16 Melissa TARANTO, 18 Grace MAHER, 19 Tyla Jay VLAJNIC, 22 Alana CERNE - Subs not used: RGK Natalie PICAK, 24 Julia SARDO - Attendance: 1,114 - Referee: Isabella Blaess



Sorrento are determined to bounce straight back after the disappointment of relegation to State League Division One, and they have showed their intention to do just that after signing former Perth Glory and Socceroos midfielder Neil Kilkenny as a player/coach for next season. Sorrento Head Coach Steven McGarry, is delighted to have Kilkenny on board, as the club look to regain their NPL status. “We are delighted to get this signing over the line and announced, as we get down to business and look to bounce back to the NPL next season,” he said. “Neil will be fantastic addition to the club both on and off the pitch with his A-League and Socceroos experience.”

Kilkenny beginning his career within the Arsenal Academy, before spells at Leeds United, Birmingham City, and Bristol City in the UK, before stints at Melbourne City, Perth Glory and Western United, helping them to the 2021-22 A-League title, and winning 15 caps for the Socceroos. Sorrento FC President, Nico Hoyle believes this is a massive coup for the club, as they start to rebuild the squad for an exciting year ahead.

“Delighted on behalf of the club to have Neil on board both within the playing group and within the coaching set up. I’m thrilled for our members, supporters, volunteers as a whole who have been through a tough time within the last month,” Hoyle explained. “In particular we’re excited for our young players who will get the opportunity to work, learn and hopefully thrive off his experience. Neil’s a winner and that’s been evident over his career bringing that as well as his passion for developing young players is going to put us in good stead as he will work closely with Steve heading into the 2024 season, and we look forward to him working with us at Percy Doyle.”



WA’s Sam Kerr made her first start of the Women’s Super League season after injury, and the Matildas skipper opened the scoring in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over West Ham United at Kingsmeadow on Sunday. The calf injury that plagued her FIFA Women’s World Cup on home soil delayed Kerr’s start to the 2023-24 campaign as she worked her way back to full fitness. But the former Perth Glory striker, and A-Leagues legend was back in the starting XI and back on the scoresheet for the defending champions after scoring against Matildas teammate and West Ham captain Mackenzie Arnold.

Her powerful header nine minutes before half-time broke the deadlock in London, where she had an initial goal ruled out for offside. It meant Kerr – nominated for the AFC Women’s Player of the Year award – has now scored 11 goals against West Ham, while taking her overall league tally to 55 goals in 69 WSL appearances. “It seems like it’s been a rollercoaster for me lately,” she told Chelsea TV post-match. “I’m happy to be back at Kingsmeadow, back playing minutes. I’m getting better every week but I’m not there fully yet. It’s nice to score and get a win.”

Erin Cuthbert sealed the result in final minute of the London Derby, as Chelsea moved joint-top of the table with an 18th consecutive home victory. “I said to Mack (Mackenzie Arnold) after the game, they’re really improved,” Kerr said. “They were hard to break down. You have to show respect to teams when they come here and defend well like that. Two goals and a clean sheet, we can’t do anymore.”



After a year out of the dugout, Danielle Brogan has returned as Head Coach for Perth SC NPLWA – Womens side for season 2024. The former Matildas defender takes over the reins from Peter Rakic, who left the club at the end of last season, after winning the NPL Nights Series, and taking them to runners-up spot on the table, the final of the Top Four Cup, before losing to Champions Perth RedStar, and the semi-finals of the Womens’ State Cup.

But the club have brought in their inaugural NPLW Head Coach Brogan, who coached for two seasons, before moving to the Director of Women’s Football role at the club. The 35-year-old plied her trade at Sydney FC, before a season in the English Women’s Super League with Notts County, before returning to Australia and spells at Adelaide United and Perth Glory, and she has also won seven Matildas caps along the way.

Brogan, who won the 2021 NPLW Coach of the Year, said she was looking forward to getting back into coaching as part of the club’s revamp of the women’s program in 2024. “On the back of the success of the Matildas at the World Cup, there is no better time to be involved in women’s football,” Brogan said. “I have been at Perth SC since the start of our NPLW program in 2019 and I’m looking forward to being back coaching our very talented group of players. Working with the club’s High Performance Director Danny Hay, we are committed to developing a first-class environment for our female program, with a focus on player development and providing opportunities for talented and serious footballers.”



Fremantle City will play NPLWA – Men’s football for the first time, after their playoff final win against Joondalup United, with coach Matthew Sparrow and President Tony Estrano seeing all their hard work rewarded. The Hilton Park club won the Premier League title in 1963, 1964, 1965, 1970, 1972, when they were named East Fremantle Tricolore, and in 2015 Fremantle United and Tricolore formed a joint venture to form the Fremantle City FC. Since the merger the club have fought their way out of the State League Division Two as Champions in 2016, and have been in the top six in Division One ever since, but promotion is well deserved for everyone involved at the club.

“Yes, a massive achievement for us as a club in achieving promotion to NPL, and it was a magical night against Joondalup,” President Tony Estrano said. “This was not only special for our players, coaches and back-office team, it was extra special to see the connection our first team has made with our juniors. We had two party buses packed with many of our juniors on board who came down to cheer on the boys. The game itself was next level, yes there were definitely a few nerves after we went down one nil, but the boys have shown they love the comeback this season and the way they did the comeback in the final with three goals in the last 15 minutes was a fitting way to close out the season and achieve promotion.”

Estrano said the league this season was tough, and he was proud how his players fought it out each week, and to beat the Champion’s twice showed promotion was deserved and he was pleased for Head Coach Matthew Sparrow who worked hard to build the team. “Having the playoff opportunity for the top four this season made every game count and it was definitely the most exciting season I've seen for a long time. We can confidently say our promotion was deserved as we performed well and played some attractive football across the season,” he explained.

“Congratulations to the Knights finishing top, but we did get the points both home and away against them so shows how close the league was. Mandurah was well organised and looked like they were going to do it, it was so close for them. The two playoff games against Mandurah were epic, and the excitement of both these games showed what Fremantle City could do and provided the confidence going into the final game against Joondalup United. Matty was fantastic in his first season, and along with Matt Lenzo and the extended team were well prepared in their game plans and it showed across the season. Matty has brought in a style that allowed us to contain the opposition while being able to play some attractive football. It always felt we could score goals this season. We made sure Matty and the team were rewarded for their efforts this season and we re-signed them for next season before the playoffs to demonstrate the confidence the exec team had in their abilities.”

The hard work will start now for the club, after becoming only the fourth club to have both men’s and women’s NPL sides, but Estrano said his hard-working committee and volunteers are ready for the challenge. “Yes, as most people in football know - the season never ends, and our NPL sub-committee hasn't stopped. They have been at the clubhouse every day since the promotion win making sure we are all set and ready to go for next season,” he explained. “We have strong and passionate back-office team so we are looking forward to the challenge of our first season and confident we can make a positive impact. It is exciting times for us next season as we will have NPL Women's, NPL Men's and NPL Juniors at Fremantle City.

“We are a big club with over 144 volunteers and our success is not possible without them. Our sponsors are amazing and their involvement is crucial to our success. An extra special thankyou to our sponsors who have been with us for many years, it has been a long, long road and wonderful that they could share this journey with us. This promotion is for everyone involved at the club, including all our past committee members, coaches and players. As a community club, our success stems from our passionate volunteers who absolutely love this club and help create a wonderful community at Fremantle City Football Club.”

Head Coach Matthew Sparrow said the credit goes to the players, and the club for backing him in his first season at the helm. “Everyone at the club have played their part whether that’s on or off the pitch, the players, coaching staff, supporters, Presidents, committee members you name it have played a big role in getting the cub promoted,” Sparrow said. “The club have been waiting patiently for this moment to come along so I’m delighted that myself and my assistant Matt Lenzo were able to achieve success for them in our first season at the club as first team coaches.”

Sparrow, who had a successful playing career in English football at Brighton & Hove Albion, and over 330 games for Scunthorpe United. He played over 550 career games winning five promotions along the way including three appearances at Wembley Stadium, the highlight was winning 3-2 for Scunthorpe and scoring two goals against Millwall in the league one play off final in 2009, and gaining promotion to the championship.

He then headed to WA and playing for Sorrento, Joondalup United, Gwelup Croatia, Bayswater City and Fremantle, said he is looking forward to the challenge in the NPL and will look at what Olympic Kingsway did last season as an inspiration. “Promotion was our aim, and from day one together as a squad and club, we have put a lot of time and effort into everything that goes on, preseason, night series, training sessions to match day planning to all the off-field problems and preparation it’s been a long season worthwhile looking back at everything now,” the coach explained.

“Olympic showed last season that the gap between Division One and NPL is closing, and we are well aware it’s definitely going to be a challenge and one personally I’m looking forward to, but the NPL is certainly a step up in terms of better-quality players and teams so we need to be ready. We need to recruit smartly and try get the right type of players who will strengthen the team but also fit into the requirements and characteristics we are looking for as a club. To be fair, the squad isn’t that far away but adding a few new additions will be healthy as competition will be key again to keeping everybody on their toes.”



There is an optimism with the Perth Glory camp around the coming A-League Women’s campaign that hasn’t been there for some time. Club stalwart Tash Rigby has been installed as captain for a fifth successive season and will be join once again by Hana Lowry, Morgan Aquino, Sadie Lawrence, Liz Anton, Sofia Sakalis and Susan Phonsongkham.

Into the mix come English striker Millie Farrow, New Zealand international Grace Jale, Phillippines pair Quinley Quezeda and Jessika Cowart plus a host of local talents headed up by Tia Stonehill. Rigby is confident the newcomers will hit the ground running having settled quickly into their new environment.

"We've had a lot of new players come in that have brought a whole new level of intensity and drive to the team," enthused Rigby. "They are settling in so incredibly well. The energy every player has brought into the squad is phenomenal this season. They have gelled really well off the field and then on the field."

"The level of intensity - especially the girls that have come directly from World Cup environments - has been outstanding. We really feel like this is our season and we've been building over the last few years to something special. It feels like it's all coming together at the right time."



Striker Samantha Kerr has been named in the Matildas squad to play in Perth at the end of this month. The bulk of the coach Tony Gustavsson's 23-player squad for the upcoming Olympic qualifiers against Iran, the Philippines and Chinese Tapei were at the recent Women's World Cup.

In addition to Kerr, Mackenzie Arnold, Steph Catley, Ellie Carpenter, Mary Fowler and Caitlin Foord are among the star-studded squad. Kyra Cooney-Cross and Clare Hunt, who have both sealed high-profile European moves since the World Cup, penalty shoot-out hero Cortnee Vine and veterans Alanna Kennedy and Katrina Gorry are also there.

The trio of games will be the Matildas’ first in Perth since a friendly against Thailand five years ago. "It's hard to believe that by the time we take the field in Perth that it would have been over two months since that exhilarating and unifying month of football in Australia," coach Tony Gustavsson said.

"While we have had some time to reflect on the impact of this remarkable team on and off the pitch, the special trait of this group is that they are always looking to embrace the next challenge and that is now qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games."

The Australia squad to play in Perth is Mackenzie Arnold, Ellie Carpenter, Steph Catley, Alex Chidiac, Kyra Cooney-Cross, Caitlin Foord, Mary Fowler, Katrina Gorry, Charlotte Grant, Clare Hunt, Alanna Kennedy, Sam Kerr, Teagan Micah, Courtney Nevin, Clare Polkinghorne, Hayley Raso, Charlize Rule, Amy Sayer, Emily van Egmond, Cortnee Vine, Clare Wheeler, Lydia Williams and Tameka Yallop.



After Armadale’s best season in the NPLWA – Men’s competition the club celebrated long and hard at their awards night at Mercure Perth on Saturday evening. With over 120 in attendance on the night, the club looked back on a successful season which saw them just miss out on a top four spot for the first time in the club’s history, and it was defender Matt Worton and midfielder Lachlan Collins who won the first team Players’ Player of the Year and Coaches Players of the year respectively.

For Worton, it was a return to first team football after taking 2022 off due to family commitments, and he was outstanding at the heart of the defence, and he said to win the award was a huge honour. “It’s always nice to be recognised by your team mates, and it was probably my best season in terms of performance,” he explained. “It was great to be back playing, and this season I probably enjoyed the most, which speaks to the atmosphere that the lads and people at the club created.”

Armadale ended the season well and were just pipped for a top four spot on the final day, and Worton said they will hope to go one better in 2024. “I believe it’s the highest Armadale has ever finished in the league, and that credit to the lads after a change of coach, but we tried not to get involved in the behind the scenes, we are just there to play,” he said. “We were flying early, but everyone seemed to get injured at the same time and we had a losing streak in the second half of the season as a result we changed coaches.

“As silly as it sounds, credit to the boys as we stuck together, we embraced the change of coach and it showed in our last three games with three wins where we got out of the danger zone and managed to keep a bit of respect for ourselves and push for the top four. Theres always things to improve on, which works out well as from my understanding the majority of the boys are staying on with Armadale so the chemistry is there.”

Collins joined Armadale from Gwelup Croatia this season, and he became a regular starter in the lineup, and to receive the coaches award was special, but he said there were many players who deserved it, and he can’t wait to get started for 2023. “I’m very pleased with the award but there were many people on the field that could’ve easily won it, and I was not expected to get it, but am very pleased with taking the award home and thankful,” he explained. “It was a great night, building relationships with the club and players for the following season, I can’t wait to get into it.”

The midfielder said the season was a huge success, and like Worton hopes to build on it, next season. “I was very pleased with my first season at Armadale, very proud of everyone finishing the highest Armadale has ever done. We did have our ups and downs losing games that we shouldn’t and obviously getting a new coach, but that what happens when you’re trying to rebuild a club in the right detection,” Collins said.

“Everyone is new and we all building relationships between coaches and players, in my eyes next season will be very different with Alun (Vernals) stepping into the picture, and I really liked the last few weeks of the season he was involved in. The mood of the team and everyone’s attitude towards him was brilliant, and definitely some really good connections between Alun and players, so I’m really looking forward to getting back into things and make the Top Four this season.”

Vernals said the pair were outstanding since he and Victor Sikora have been at the club, like all the players were, and he hopes to build on their success in 2024. “Ever since we came into the club the players have been outstanding, and we couldn’t have asked anymore of them,” Vernals explained. “Matt provided real leadership which saw him pick up two well deserved awards on the night, while Lachlan was fantastic as we pushed for a top four spot, and I’m sure he’ll win many more personal accolades in his career.”

In other awards on the night, Worton also received the Sports Star Excellence Award, while Simuteya Sikazwe won the under 20’s Players Player of the Year, with Purvishna Appadoo winning the Coaches Player of the Year. James Wratten won the under 18’s Players Player of the Year, with Dylan Konomba taking out the Coaches Player of the Year. Kevin Brophy won the Club Person of the Year, with Derek Wratten winning the Most Valuable Team Member.



After finishing in the bottom three on the State League Division Two table for the last three seasons, Canning City hope the appointment of experienced coach Lee Hayward can turn their fortunes around. Hayward spent the last two seasons at South Perth United, guiding the club back to the Amateur Premier League last season, and also won the Amateur Cup final in 2022.

Hayward said his time at South Perth was pleasing, and the decision to leave was a difficult as he enjoyed his time playing and coaching there, but he is ready for a new challenge. “I really enjoyed my time at South Perth, Leo Peter got me down in 2017 and gave me the chance to play even though I was pushing 40. Unfortunately, I broke my ankle in 2019 and spent the season on the sidelines watching,” Hayward explained. “With a few rounds left, the first team were struggling at the bottom of the table and the president at the time asked me to get involved with the coaching, so I jumped in and helped keep the club up.

“I was given the job the following season, and since then it has been onwards and upwards, narrowly missing out on promotion and losing in the Amateur Cup final to a last-minute goal against North Perth in 2021, before going one better and gaining promotion and winning the cup in 2022. So, after a few good years, with some really good people, it was a tough decision to walk away from South Perth, but after sitting down with the Canning City President and listening to his and the committee’s vision for the club, it seemed like a logical move and one that can be beneficial for all parties.”

Prior to heading to Perth, Hayward coached at his home town club Trowbridge Town in the Wiltshire Country League, as well as being a player Coach in the Hellenic League prior to that. He was also a scout for League Two club Barnet for two seasons, and has coached at Fremantle City and South Perth. But he can’t wait to get started at Canning, who were last in the Premier League in 2009, but have been hovering just above the relegation zone for the past three seasons. Hayward will be joined at the club by Brad North, as his assistant and Callum Barry, who coached South Perth Reserves last season, and he will be the reserves coach, while Under 18’s coach Mark Pearce also returns to the club.

“I’m more than aware of the issues Canning have had over the years, but I would prefer to focus on the future. Myself and the rest of the coaching team know that it will not going to be an easy task, but I look at it in a similar manner to when I took over South Perth, and we are confident we can make a similar impact,’ Hayward said. “If we can bring the discipline and structure back into the set up, then I am confident we can push on and build something long term. You only have to look at Curtin to see that with a little structure and stability things can happen, and after years of struggle, they really pushed on this year.”



Perth Glory have secured up-and-coming local talents Mischa Anderson and Clara Hoarau for the 2023/24 A-Leagues Women’s season. Anderson, a resolute 17-year old central defender, was a standout performer for the National Training Centre during the winter, while dynamic 16-year old midfielder Hoarau was similarly impressive for Murdoch University Melville.

Coach Alex Epakis believes Anderson and Hoarau, who both featured in Glory's recent pre-season friendly with the State team, have huge potential. "Mischa and Clara are both fantastic additions to our squad," said Epakis, whose team open their season on Saturday evening against Western United at Macedonia Park.

"They possess a real hunger and level of enthusiasm to their approach and are really looking forward to being a part of our professional environment this season. Both players have had strong seasons within the local NPLW this year and in each performance showed a level of maturity beyond their experience. This has been further witnessed over the past few weeks during training."

"Clara is a very versatile midfielder who has a great skill set with and without the ball, while Mischa is player who enjoys the art of defending and distributing possession from the back. Across the month of training, both players have already shown a great level of quality involvement and they will continue to progress throughout the season and into the future."



Perth Glory women's coach Alex Epakis says having Alen Stajcic as his sounding board will be a "priceless advantage" during the upcoming A-League Women's season. Stajcic coached the Matildas between 2014 and 2019 before guiding the Philippines to their maiden Women's World Cup win earlier this year.

Epakis assisted Stajcic at the World Cup with the Philippines posting an upset 1-0 victory over New Zealand in their opening game before falling to Norway and Switzerland. After that campaign ended Stajcic was announced as the new Glory men's head coach, while Epakis recruited Philippines stars Quinley Quezada and Jessika Cowart.

The ability to pick Stajcic's brain will be a vital asset for Epakis this season, which kicks off for Perth at home to Western United on Saturday night. "Alen is one of the benchmark coaches in the country, if not the world," said Epakis. "To have a sounding board with so much experience in the room next door is a pretty priceless advantage for me."

Glory have fallen just short of making the finals over the past two years, but there's high hopes they can compete for the title this season. "The reality is that winning is important to me and I knew coming into this season that winning was everything," the coach said. "We had to live and breathe that idea."

"Seeing that in the World Cup and how we were able to see the Philippines team be motivated and have the belief they could beat teams, that really resonated with me. So it's one thing that's on the forefront of my mind coming into this season - creating the belief to win and really pushing the players to have that belief as well."



Perth Glory’s first-ever co-captains have declared the club a blank canvas and a clean slate as it emerges from a tumultuous period with a new manager. Adam Taggart and Mark Beevers were unveiled as the surprise replacements for Mustafa Amini in a leadership pairing under new coach Alen Stajcic.

Glory are “on the brink” of a new owner taking over and as Stajcic launches a push to restore it to its halcyon days, the rise of a “Perth boy” to the captaincy is significant - alongside the club’s most experienced professional. It means Amini can focus on getting his body right as he continues an off-season rehab program.

Taggart was a young fan watching on in some of the club’s best years and now in his third stint in his home city, wants to lead them back to the top. And the striker had no concerns over sharing and balancing the captaincy with Beevers, a veteran of over 550 professional appearances in England.

“Throughout pre-season we have both been captain on numerous occasions, so I think the decision was probably just made that we both bring different things to the table and it’s more about leadership than actually wearing an armband,” Taggart said.

“Beevs is experienced in those roles and I am from Perth and represented the club from an early age, I think that combination can work well. It’s definitely something that means a lot, supporting the club from the start and going to the games with my Dad.”

“It has been a long journey with the club, starting off as a supporter, to playing for the club and going away and coming back a couple of times. I’m really proud to represent this place and really proud in terms of the way the club is going with the new gaffer and new owners coming in.”

Beevers is Glory’s first English captain, the towering centre-half winning the club’s Most Glorious Player award in his first season. “I think it’s healthy for the team to have two different kinds of leaders in my opinion,” he said. “I like to think I bring a little bit of experience in the captain’s side of things from when I played back home in England.”



Perth Glory begins their Liberty A-League season on Saturday evening, when they host last season beaten Grand Finalist Western United at Macedonia Park. (7pm) Glory have added a number of exciting new attacking options during the off-season, including international trio Grace Jale, Millie Farrow and Quinley Quezada, while the visitors have brought in the dangerous Catherine Zimmerman to partner fellow-American Hannah Keane who claimed the ALW Golden Boot last term, and Glory Head Coach Alex Epakis is expecting thrills galore in the season opener.

“I’m really excited by it, as we know, they had a fantastic year last year, they’re well coached and have some strong players within their squad. So that presents the perfect opportunity for us to start the season by testing ourselves against one of the best teams and I’m really looking forward to that challenge and the players are as well,” Epakis explained.

“We’ve all spoken about how much of an impact the Women’s World Cup has had in Australia and New Zealand and I really believe that we’ve brought on some fans now that are new to the game. It’s such a great game for those people to have a first taste of Perth Glory at home because it’s going to be exciting. I really believe the supporters will be treated to a great spectacle.”

The coach is well aware of the threat that United will provide, but he insists that his side will direct their main focus inwards. “The reality is that we know what we’re capable of, we have a really strong belief within the group that we can achieve something special and I don’t want to dampen that, I want to use that as momentum and just to create a real force around what we’re doing,” Epakis said. “We are setting really high expectations of ourselves, but it’s because we have the group that we have, they’re realistic expectations.

“Western are a very experienced team and are strong and powerful. You just look at the profile of their players and you know it’s going to be a physical challenge. They’re very effective going forward as well, so we have to really mindful of managing that. But the priority and the focus is on our own attack, and we go into the game… with the belief and the idea that we will win.”

The last time they hosted United was in round eight last season, when the visitors scored late to win 3-2. Rylee Baisden gave Glory the lead early, but Hannah Keane levelled. Hana Lowry regained the lead for the hosts, but once again United levelled with Matildas midfielder Chloe Logarzo on target. It looked like the points would be shared, but an own goal four minutes from time from Demi Koulizakis gave the visitors the three points.

With a new-look Glory side targeting a top-six finish Espakis feels that the club’s loyal fans will enjoy the journey this season with the talent they have brought into the squad. “Grace Jale, Millie Farrow, Quinley Quezada and Jessika Cowart are players that are coming in with some really great experience from overseas,” he said. “They’re exciting and that was really the profile of the kind of players we were looking to bring in this year. A dynamic, exciting profile and players who have a bit of edge and character about them. I think as a group, that was something we needed this season.”



Perth Glory kicks off their 2023-24 A-League Women’s season on Saturday, and they have bolstered their squad by adding up-and-coming WA duo Mischa Anderson and Clara Hoarau to their squad. Both players featured in Glory’s recent pre-season friendly victory over the WA State Team and Head Coach Alex Epakis believes that they have huge potential.

17-year-old Anderson, impressed in the centre of defence in a standout season for the NTC throughout the 2023 NPLW WA campaign, while 16-year-old midfielder Hoarau was similarly impressive for Murdoch University Melville. “Mischa and Clara are both fantastic additions to our squad,” Epakis said. “They possess a real hunger and level of enthusiasm to their approach and are really looking forward to being a part of our professional environment this season.

“Both players have had strong seasons within the local NPLW this year and in each performance showed a level of maturity beyond their experience. This has been further witnessed over the past few weeks during training. Clara is a very versatile midfielder who has a great skill set with and without the ball, while Mischa is player who enjoys the art of defending and distributing possession from the back. Across the month of training, both players have already shown a great level of quality involvement and they will continue to progress throughout the season and into the future.”



Perth Glory’s Men’s and Women’s captains for the 2023/24 A-Leagues season were confirmed during the club’s season launch event held at Fraser’s Restaurant in King’s Park on Wednesday morning. Glory new coach Alen Stajcic has appointed Mark Beevers and Adam Taggart as skippers, and the pair will become Glory Men’s first ever co-captains, while Natasha Rigby will lead the Women’s team for a fifth season.

Beevers, who joined the club from English club Peterborough United, after stints at Sheffield Wednesday, Millwall and Bolton, and over 460 appearances in the UK, was a cornerstone of Glory’s defence in what was his first season in purple last year, and Taggart, who returned for a third spell with the club in January from Japanese club Cerezo Osaka, and both are excited at what lies ahead.

“The captaincy is definitely something that means a lot,” said Taggart. “I supported the club from the start when I went to the games with my dad, so it’s been a long journey with the club… and I’m really proud to represent this place and I’m really proud of the way that gaffer and new owners coming in. For me, it feels like a good time to step into the role and contribute to the way the club is going. Without having been captain at any of my other clubs, it’s a good opportunity to learn from Beeves and improve in the leadership role. I’ve probably always been someone who’s tried to lead by example and allow my football to do most of the talking, so it’ll be an interesting one, but a positive one and something that I’m really looking forward to.”

Beevers said co-captains are not unusual, but all players need to be leaders on the park. “I think it’s healthy for the team to have two different kinds of leaders,” Beevers explained. “Taggs is a Perth boy and I think it’s good for fans looking in to have a Perth player as captain. I like to think that in terms of myself, I bring a bit of experience of the captaincy side of things from when I was playing back home in England. I’ve been involved with co-captaincies before and who wears the armband is irrelevant in my opinion. I feel as though we should 11 leaders on the pitch.”

Rigby, who is in line to make her 100th ALW appearance for the club this season, is confident that Glory has what it takes to make a major impact in the competition. “It’s such an honour to be able to captain this team again,” she said. “We have an amazing group of players and staff and [Head Coach] Alex [Epakis] has been incredible, so we’re looking to continue the charge. We’ve had a lot of new players that have come in that have brought a whole new level of intensity and drive to the team, so we really feel that this is our season. We’ve been building over the last few years towards something special and it feels like it’s all coming together at the right time.”



It was a disappointing season for Forrestfield United, a club who were playing NPL football in 2018, but after a season to forget, they were relegated to the State League Division Two. The appointment of Eric Williams at the start of the season looked like a like a good choice, but things didn’t work out, and despite a good finish to the season under interim coaches Daryl Platten and Paul Oliver, where they drew with Fremantle City, and were just edged out by top four sides Mandurah City and Joondalup United, there were no excuses and only one win for the season made relegation even tougher.

Oliver and Platten were appointed coaches for next season, and Oliver, who joined the club late in the season said it’s a challenge he looking forward to. “I was approached mid last season but it wasn't the right time for myself nor the club, but Daryl called with six games to go last season and despite the club’s position after sitting down with Daryl and Paul Mansfield I was excited by the plans and where the club saw themselves,” Oliver explained. “Off the field it is obvious when you look at the facilities and the junior setup that Forrestfield are a club that should be competing at the top and I'm excited to play my part in the next chapter.”

It will be a season the club would like to forget, but Oliver said they weren’t too far away, but they switched off in games and were punished. “As a club we definitely underachieved last season but there were a number of factors that contributed, none of which can be pointed at the playing squad. In the games that I was involved we were more than competitive for the majority but moments in games where we switched off cost us,” he said. “We gave Fremantle, Joondalup and Mandurah a real contest in the last six weeks and on another day, in another season it could have been different. The players were fantastic though and despite the writing being on the wall showed up at training and always gave 100%. With a couple of tweaks and perhaps a couple of experienced heads we should get the right mix and balance to hit the ground running.

Oliver, who last coached at Armadale, as assistant to John O’Reilly, said they have a huge job ahead of them, but he can’t get wait to get started. “As a coach there isn't such thing as an off season as the ground work is put in now to ensure a solid preseason. To be fair, Daryl and I are happy with the squad and have two or three targets in mind but we certainly don't believe wholesale changes would be beneficial or required,” Oliver said. “The club has a proud history of developing talent at junior level and has some great coaches in place to carry that on, so we have all the ingredients required of a big club in WA are there, we now just have to get to work.”

Forrestfield President Paul Mansfield said the re-appointment of the pair is huge, and he believes they are the coaching team to get them straight back to Division One. “Both men had distinguished playing careers and are now fast becoming respectable coaches. Daryl has been with the club for four years now and has cut his teeth coaching the under 18s before taking the first team for the last five games,” he said. “Daryl is well liked and appreciated at the club, he has the benefit of knowing all our NPL youth players in the system and this is important to continue the clubs’ beliefs and allow young player’s opportunities to develop and get first team exposure.

“Paul is a fresh new addition to Forrestfield United however we knew his DNA and history to Canning City would allow him to fit into our club with ease, he is a very intelligent coach and reads the game well. They have been busy in the off season building a playing list to combine with our existing young players with a big focus on getting the youth and experience mix right, something we struggled with in 2023. We are confident Daryl and Paul will build a side that will be competitive and give us the best opportunity to be in the promotion race come next August.”



Melbourne Victory proved to strong for Perth Glory in the A-League friendly at Dorrien Gardens on Wednesday evening, running out convincing 4-0 winners, which ended the Glory’s unbeaten preseason. Glory had beaten Victory 3-1 in the first game in Bunbury on Sunday, but a brace from former Glory striker Bruno Fornaroli helped Tony Popovic’s side to victory, with others to Nishan Velupillay and Eli Adams.

“The first half was pretty pedestrian from us if I’m honest, we tried a few combinations out there, but it wasn’t a great performance from us, with and without the ball, and we were lucky to only go in three goals down,” a disappointed Glory Head Coach Alen Stajcic said. “But second half we turned things around and should have scored a few goals, and were unlucky not to, and I thought we had a lot of momentum in the game which was really pleasing to see.”

The visitors made a perfect start and were ahead on four minutes, Adama Traore raced down the left and crossed to Fornaroli in the box and the striker showed the Glory supporters what they will be missing this season, flicking home past Cameron Cook. Victory continued to dictate terms and Roderick Miranda and Ryan Teague hit the woodwork, as they pushed for a second, and it duly arrived on 35 minutes.

The lively Velupillay was brought down by Joseph Forde, and referee Shane Skinner pointed straight to the spot, and Fornaroli sent Cook the wrong way from the resulting penalty. It was a disappointing half from the home side, and it was made worse four minutes before the break when Victory added a third. Zinedine Machach sent Traore down the left, his cross picked out Fornaroli, who was denied a hat-trick by a last-ditch block from skipper Mark Beevers, but the rebound was rammed home by Velupillay.

Stajcic had seen enough and made four changes at the break, with Beevers, Darryl Lachman, Jarrod Carluccio and Giordano Colli making way for Jacob Muir, Luke Bodnar, Aaron McNeff and Young Socceroo Kaelan Majeks.

Glory started the better after the break, with the lively Daniel Bennie once again impressing, before Majeks headed inches wide. They went closer on 69 minutes, Bodnar’s corner picked out Muir, but the crossbar came to the rescue of Victory custodian Christian Siciliano.

Victory changed their whole team moments later, but still the Glory pressed and Bennie shot on the run flew over the top. But after dominating for most of the second period, it was Victory were found a fourth in stoppage time. Adams out muscled Muir on the right of the penalty area, and he raced along the bye-line and fired low past Cook from the angle.

Perth Glory: GK Cameron COOK, 5 Mark BEEVERS (3 Jacob MUIR 46'), 7 Stefan COLAKOVSKI (77 Bruce KAMAU 62'), 14 Riley WARLAND (9 Oliver BOZANIC 62'), 16 Joseph FORDE, 17 Jarrod CARLUCCIO (6 Aaron MCENEFF 46'), 20 Giordano COLLI (4 Luke BODNAR 46'),21 Antonis MARTIS (19 Trent OSTLER 62'),23 Daniel BENNIE (12 Luke IVANOVIC 78'),27 Jayden GORMAN (26 Corey SUTHERLAND 67'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN (28 Kaelan MAJEKODUNMI 46') - Subs not used: RGK Oli SAIL

Melbourne Victory: GK Christian SICILIANO (RGK Ahmad TALEB 66’), 2 Jason GERIA, 3 Adama TRAORE, 4 Rai MARCHAN, 5 Damien DA SILVA, 8 Zinedine MACHACH, 10 Bruno FORNAROLI, 17 Nishan VELUPILLAY, 19 Daniel ARZANI, 21 Roderick MIRANDA, 25 Ryan TEAGUE Melbourne Victory: (70 minutes) – RGK Ahmad TALEB, 6 Leigh BROXHAM, 14 Connor CHAPMAN, 15 Matthew BOZINOVSKI, 16 Stefan NIGRO, 22 Jake BRIMMER, 23 Fabian MONGE, 24 Eli ADAMS, 28 Franco LINO, 29 Joshua INSERRA, 34 Kasey BOS - Referee: Shane SKINNER



Former Perth Glory and ECU Joondalup defender Jack Iredale continues to impress for his English League One club Bolton Wanderers, bagging one and having a hand in the other two as the Trotters beat Stevenage in midweek, and for the second week running the defender was names in the EFL Division One ‘Team of the Week’. It was made even more special with his dad Paul in the crowd to watch it, after his parents flew into the UK for a few weeks to catch up.

Unfortunately, his mum Fiona missed his ‘Man of the Match’ performance, after attending a concert in Glasgow, but the defender said the performance and more importantly the goal was dedicated to his dad, who is battling cancer. “It’s the one-night mum chose to go to a concert instead of coming to the game so she's missed the game,” Iredale told the clubs website.

“But my dad, my missus and other family were in the crowd tonight so it's really nice having them over. It's been a few months since I've seen them last and I'm really happy that dad's well enough to be here and he's enjoying himself and he'll be at every game home and away until he goes back to the sunny part of the world. Whenever they're here it's special and I'm really glad that they get to see me play on a platform like this club gives me, with a packed stadium and a lovely arena to be playing football in. He's having a great time and I'm just trying to keep him happy.”

Iredale’s goal helped send all Bolton fans home with a smile on their faces as Ian Evatt’s men dug in to make it back-to-back wins and go third in League One. Three times Wanderers led as Iredale earned the penalty converted by Dion Charles, volleyed home the second goal early in the second half and then created the winner for Josh Sheehan with a perfectly delivered pass. His work wasn’t over there, though, as Iredale and his defensive colleagues then had to stand firm to prevent Stevenage hitting back again as Wanderers followed up a clean sheet at Port Vale last Saturday with another resolute performance that got them over the line.

“It was an incredibly tough game,” added Iredale, whose form has seen some talk about a Socceroos call-up. “They threw absolutely everything at us and credit to the boys, we found a way to win. It wasn't always pretty but the best teams always find a way and tonight we did that so it's a really good three points for the club. That's got to be the mentality we have this season. We are going to face setbacks and twice we got pegged back but credit to the lads we kept going and got the winner; find a way, build the momentum, keep getting points on the board and we're doing that. We've got one more game to get through. That's what we've got to do and look forward to Saturday now. I'm sure we'll have a really good crowd backing us and we really want to get another three points.”



Coach Graham Arnold has included Cameron Burgess and Alessandro Circati in his 23-player squad for the Socceroos up-coming friendlies with England and New Zealand. The two games later this month will be the final opportunity for Arnold to work with players ahead of qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup, which commence in November.

Arnold was looking forward to getting his squad together in London. "We've played some quality opposition in recent months, and I've been happy with how we're building towards what's an important period," said Arnold, who's overseen recent Socceroos fixtures against Argentina, Ecuador and Mexico.

"Aside from the opposition, we've been able to vary conditions and personnel to give players the opportunities they need to grow and develop within our environment. This period [post-Qatar 2022] has always been geared towards those outcomes, as we refine the system and style of play that will carry us through the Asian Cup and World Cup qualification."

The Australia squad to play England (13 October) and New Zealand (17 October) is Keanu Baccus, Aziz Behich, Brandon Borrello, Jordy Bos, Martin Boyle, Cameron Burgess, Alessandro Circati, Milos Degenek, Mitchell Duke, Craig Goodwin, Thomas Glover, Jackson Irvine, Massimo Luongo, Awer Mabil, Riley McGree, Connor Metcalfe, Lewis Miller, Andrew Redmayne, Kye Rowles, Mathew Ryan, Sam Silvera, Harry Souttar and Ryan Strain.



East Perth FC are the latest club to be promoted from the amateur ranks into the State League.

But who else has made the move and what clubs in the past have decided not to take up the offer?

Prior to the first season run by Football West in 2005, promotion between the two competitions did not exist. Both were controlled by two different associations (Soccer West Coast and WAASSA) and clubs had to either apply to be granted entry or be invited. This generally only happened if clubs withdrew from the professional competition, clubs merged or folded, or if league numbers increased.

Colo Colo were the first of five clubs that won promotion by winning the Amateur Premier Division but decided not to take up the offer. Spearwood Dalmatinac, Shamrock Rovers, Fremantle United and Stirling Panthers followed suit over the next few years. This saved a number of well established clubs from relegation. However, in Football West's very first year, three clubs were relegated to bring the First Division back down to 12 clubs, they were Olympic Kingsway, Queens Park and Stirling Suns.

Due to Bassendean Caledonian's demise in 2006, Queens Park were able to win promotion, after a number of clubs above them in the Amateur Premier wanted to stay where they were.

Shamrock Rovers became the first club to join the State League by winning the Amateur Premier title in 2010, only three seasons after they rejected the offer, Queens Park were relegated.

From 2011 to 2015, no promotion was up for grabs. This was due to the re-introduction of a State League Division Two, which was later expanded. All new member clubs during this period were selected by application.

Promotion returned in 2016, and Amateur champions Gwelup Croatia SC gladly took up the offer, especially after they were denied the opportunity when they won the league a year earlier. Ellenbrook United were relegated.

Wembley Downs were champions in 2017, and after a long hard think about going up, they decided to not do so. This saved Shamrock Rovers from relegation. North Perth United followed suit in 2018 by not taking up the offer, with Kelmscott Roos staying up.

In 2019, it was Kingsley's turn to join the State League after winning the title. Canning City finished in the relegation position. However due to South West Phoenix withdrawing from Division One prior to the season starting, FW decided that an application process would be decided to see who took up Phoenix's position. Canning City, South West Phoenix and Carramar FC all applied, but it was Canning that won the day.

No promotion or relegation was on offer during 2020 due to COVID.

In 2021, South West Phoenix won the league and replaced Kelmscott Roos in the State League, while the following year, Phoenix went straight back down, with champions Maddington White City going up.

This season, Emerald FC were champions but wanted to the stay in the Amateur Premier, however under the rules, the second placed team could earn the right to go up in a play-off. This was taken up by East Perth, who became a State League club after Morley-Windmills were forced to forfeit the match.

It's interesting to note that from the last four seasons (not including the COVID year), a club has decided to make the jump up, after many clubs in the earlier days decided to stay where they were.

Is this going to be more common?



After recently scoring two goals in two minutes in Spain's second-division, Ryan Edwards reminded everyone just how good he is. The 29-year old midfielder has largely flown under the radar for many years despite playing consistently in the United Kingdom for a decade.

Recent moves to K-League 2 side Busan IPark and Spanish club Amorebieta have added intriguing new chapters to the former Australia Under-23 captain's career. While both stints may not have necessarily helped boost his profile, they did make perfect sense to Edwards as he turns heads in Spain and embraces every aspect of life on and off the pitch.

"I remember as a kid writing down somewhere that I wanted to play football in England and Spain so it was always in the back of mind to try and get here eventually and just immerse myself in the language and the culture," Edwards said. "I love it. It’s a great mix being in the second-division and even last season in the third-tier."

"Spanish football is known for the passing football, tiki-taka, but there’s a great variety of styles and the fans are brilliant. Amazing stadiums. The level is really good quality, you’re punished for a mistake. The football is great. Every game is a chance to play against players who were in LALIGA."

"One of my teammates has played Champions League for Athletic Bilbao, playing against Messi, Neymar, Suarez so the calibre of player is great. It’s a great moment in my career to be playing here. The football here, there is more thought behind how to score. It’s a great learning experience for me."

Edwards double for Amorebieta in a 2-0 win over Mirandes summed up just how much he's learning in Spain, where he has found that extra edge in the final third with two smart runs into the box inside the first 10 minutes. "It’s something I’ve been working on in my career to get back into positions to be a goal-scoring midfielder," he commented.

"I’ve done it a couple times playing in that attacking midfielder role and getting in the box to score. I think at the moment the way we’re set up is to try and start games really strongly with a fast tempo which suits me. We’re versing some strong opposition so to get early goals is important for us."

Edwards joined Amorebieta in March to help the club seal promotion to Segunda Division last season, finishing first based on their superior head-to-head record against second-placed Eldense. He is hopeful they can perform well in the second division this season and is certainly feeling at home in the beautiful Basque region.

"I think they want to learn from what they did wrong and right to stay in the league and build from there. The league’s very exciting this year with very strong teams," he said. "The recruitment has been strong and we’re competing with some good teams and getting points on the board early which is important."

"The mentality of this region and club is about fighting together as a team. >From the staff, players and fans - it’s been quite remarkable. The first thing when I arrived all the players and staff were saying, ‘Welcome to your new family’ so it’s a very special feeling to be welcomed like that."

Having represented Australia at youth level, Edwards has always dreamed of making his senior international debut. However, that first cap has so far eluded the midfielder. "I’ve had a few moments of close calls with selections in 30-man squads. Everything I did in my early career was for Australia, for the Socceroos," Edwards said.

"You get your first professional contract but I want to play for the Socceroos, I want to go to the World Cup, I want to go to the Asian Cup. Everything was about where can I play to match the criteria the staff are asking for to be in form, to play 90 minutes weekly, and I did that throughout my whole career."

"A big part of my mentality has always been about controlling what you can and do everything you possibly can to achieve your goals. But if it doesn’t happen then I’m happy because I’ve given everything I possibly can. As time went on I stopped making decisions for ultimately getting chosen for the Socceroos."

"There were times I saw the squad when I was playing 90 minutes, I’m scoring, I’m in form but I see the squad and I think, how can I get in this team? This is going to be impossible. But then there were times where I saw the squad and thought I personally could add something to this team, I play differently to those midfielders, I deserve a chance."

Despite being overlooked, Edwards, who is currently studying a Masters in Psychology, has well and truly come to terms with the situation and feels he is managing to get the most out of his football career with or without a Socceroos cap.

"The Socceroos dream is never going to falter, it’s always going to be there," he said. "If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I’ve made different moves to other players in Australia, I take pride in that. Culturally I’ve learned so much and nothing can take that away."



Charlton Athletic youngster defender Matt Dench has joined Billericay Town on a one-month loan deal. The 19-year old defender, who has been capped by Australia at youth level, made his debut for the Isthmian League Premier Division side in yesterday's 1-0 FA Cup qualifying round victory over St Albans City.



Wembley Downs are the 2023 Belt-Up amateur League Cup winners after a 3-1 win against Perth AFC at the State Football Centre on Sunday afternoon. First half goals from Josh Chalmers and skipper Jack Mellor had Wembley in control, but Francisco Jorquera halved the deficit on the hour, and it was substitute, Kevin Punselie who sealed the tie 15 minutes from time to give them their first cup final win since 2015, when they defeated Gwelup Croatia 2-1.

"Delighted with the win and especially delighted for all the boys who've worked so hard this season,” Wembley coach Bob Jackson said post-match. “To win the cup makes all the effort they've put in this year worthwhile. This is a great opportunity for me to thank them publicly for their dedication this season. We weren't at our best tonight and Perth AFC worked hard to make things difficult for us. In the end, a little bit more quality going forward helped us over the line, and I’m defiantly looking forward to celebrating the win.”

Wembley, who had beaten Premier Division Champions Emerald in the semi-final, were ahead on 22 minutes, Dave Brownlees found space down the right, and he slid it across the box, and Chalmers finished clinically. They added a second moments later, they pressed the ball coming out of the Perth AFC defence, and Omar Shatila won possession and found Mellor, who hit a stunner into top right corner.

But Perth AFC, who beat Premier Division Kelmscott in the semi-final continued to fight for every ball, and were rewarded on the hour mark, Jorquera pouncing on some poor defending to reduce the margin. But Wembley responded, and made it 3-1 fifteen minutes later, Stef Hill beat his man down the right and crossed to Punselie who finished nicely. Wembley keeper Jef Cornez said it was a great way to end the season for the club with a trophy.

“A fantastic win for us and the club. It was a pleasure to play at such a class venue and appreciate the hospitality from Football West,” the Wembley custodian explained. “Our nerves showed in the first 15 minutes and Perth AFC showed why they deserved to be there. We were up for it in the end and played some beautiful football to score our goals and lift the trophy. Finally, a huge congratulations to our captain Jack Mellor who got engaged to his beautiful fiancé after the game.”

Wembley Downs: GK Jeff CORNEZ, RGK Toby JAMES, 6 Ryan MORRIS, 7 Kevin PUNSELIE, 11 Ben SWINNERTON, 12 David MARSHALL, 16 Jack MELLOR, 17 Kyle THISTLETHWAITE, 27 Omar SHATILA, 30 Natale MORABITO, 32 Stefan HILL, 33 Thomas BISH, 35 Cameron CHAMBERS, 38 Patrick SINICKI, 67 Callum FORSYTH, 95 Halai RUSSO

Perth AFC: GK Ryan MOSS, RGK Cameron RICHINS, 2 Spiro NENADIC, 3 Daniel BARTON, 5 James KIMBER, 6 Kevin HIGGINS, 8 Stefan THOMSEN, 9 Lucas PICKERING, 10 Nathan THORP, 12 Jamie BUCAT, 14 Ante JUKIC, 16 Jak ATTFIELD, 17 Francisco JORQUERA, 19 Ryan FIELDER, 20 Martin BECKER, 23 Andrija JUKIC, 32 Clement PAIK-SWAN, 37 Oscar PIT



Perth Glory have continued their preparations for the Isuzu Ute A-League season, after a 3-1 win against Melbourne Victory at Hay Park in Bunbury on Sunday afternoon. A first half goal from Adam Taggart got Alen Stajcic’s side on their way, before English defender Mark Beevers added the second after the break, and substitute Luke Ivanovich added a third late. Former Glory midfielder Jake Brimmer scored a consolation goal for the visitors, but it was too little too late. Glory coach would also be pleased the hit out, and the form of keeper Oliver Sail, who made a number of telling saves, in their best pre-season performance so far.

“Tough conditions, windy and a bit of rain which disrupted play for both teams, but our first hit out against an A-League team, and we had good patches and things we have to improve,” Stajcic explained. “But the effort of the team was amazing, the cohesion of the group, especially without the ball was good, as a starting point. So, we have a lot to build on, and obviously three weeks out from the start of the comp, a lot to improve on as well.”

A big crowd of around 2,000 were on hand at kick off, and despite windy conditions and the occasional shower, they were rewarded with an entertaining start to the pre-season friendly. Glory shot stopper Sail was busy early, and he made himself big to deny Eli Adams on ten minutes. He saved again on 16 minutes, getting down at his near post to thwart the lively Nishan Velupillay, but Glory went straight down the other end and found the opener. A quick break from Jarrod Carluccio in the middle of the park, he found Johnny Koutroumbis who picked out Bennie, the youngsters through ball sent Taggart in on goal, and the striker made no mistake past the advancing Christian Siciliano.

Siciliano then saved Bennie’s header at the back post before Daniel Arzani stung the palms of Sail at the other end. Moments later Giordano Colli’s corner found Darryl Lachman at the back post, but his header was cleared off the line by the alert Roderick Miranda, but at the break Glory held a narrow 1-0 lead. Victory was on the front foot after the break, and Sail made a couple of smart saves to Velupillay and Stefan Nigro volleying wide when well placed.

But twenty minutes from time, Glory added a second, Colli’s set piece caused problems in the penalty area and Beevers forced the ball home from close-range. It was 3-1 nine minutes from time, with the goal of the game, Luke Bodnar found fellow-substitute Bruce Kamau and he released Ivanovic who outpaced his marker and found the far corner of the net. Victory scored a consolation goal in the final minute, Brimmer’s free kick took a deflection off the Glory wall, to beat Sail. The two sides will meet again at Dorrien Gardens on Wednesday evening – kick-off is at 7pm.

Perth Glory: GK Oli SAIL, 2 Johnny KOUTROUMBIS (16 Joseph FORDE 46'), 5 Mark BEEVERS, 9 Oliver BOZANIC (21 Antonis MARTIS 60'), 12 Luke IVANOVIC, 14 Riley WARLAND (7 Stefan COLAKOVSKI 60'), 17 Jarrod CARLUCCIO, 20 Giordano COLLI (4 Luke BODNAR 80'), 22 Adam TAGGART (27 Jayden GORMAN 80'), 23 Daniel BENNIE (77 Burce KAMAU 46'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN (28 Kaelan MAJEKODUNMI 80') - Subs not used: RGK Cameron COOK

Melbourne Victory: GK Christian SICILIANO (RGK Ahmad TALEB 66’), 2 Jason GERIA (15 Matthew BOZINOVSKI 46’), 8 Zinedine MACHACH (29 Joshua INSERRA 46’), 14 Connor CHAPMAN (22 Jake BRIMMER 66’), 16 Stefan NIGRO (5 Damien DA SILVA 66’), 17 Nishan VELUPILLAY (6 Leigh BROXHAM 66’), 19 Daniel ARZANI (4 Rai MARCHAN 46’), 21 Roderick MIRANDA (34 Kasey BOS 46’), 23 Fabian MONGE (28 Franco LINO 66’), 24 Eli ADAMS, 25 Ryan TEAGUE (10 Bruno FORNAROLI 46’) – Subs not used: None – Referee: Shane SKINNER



Emerald have won the Belt-Up Amateur Reserves Cup Final after a narrow 2-1 win against Kingsley Westside at the State Football Centre on Sunday afternoon. Andrew Patton gave them the lead in the first minute, before Stephen Pollock doubled their advantage 14 minutes from time. Kingsley did pull one back four minutes later through Ozren Kotur, and they pressed for the equaliser, but Emerald held firm to run out winners. It was a perfect start for Emerald, a ball down the line was flicked on by Andrew Dunbar, and Patton cut in from the left, and his shot from the edge of the box flew past the Kingsley keeper. Kingsley looked to get back into the game, but Emerald kept them at bay, and they doubled their advantage on 76 minutes.

A quick throw from Stuart O'Callaghan sent Dunbar down the right, and he played the ball across to Pollock, who lifted the ball over the on-coming keeper before rolling the ball into the empty net. But four minutes later Kingsley were back in the game, Jamie Foster was brought down by Cathal Quinn, and Craig Cunningham free kick into the penalty area was headed home by Kotur. They pressed for the equaliser and had a penalty claim turned down, before Cunningham curling free kick was deflected wide, but Emerald held firm.

Kalgoorlie College are the 2023 Belt-Up Metropolitan Cup winners, after a 2-0 win against Perth Soccer Club Division Two side at the State Football Centre on Sunday morning. It was a tight game, but late goals from Luca Baldassarra and skipper Jace Reilly secured the win, and coach Brock Reilly said it completes a great season for the club. The game was tight throughout, with both sides having their chances. Reilly’s effort looked to have to found the lead for Kalgoorlie, but his shot was cleared off the line by Jamie Wolf, before Robert Tewksbury’s curling effort was tipped around the post by the alert Daniel Tebble.

But the deadlock was finally broken seven minutes from time. Sean Nzuwa and Reilly combined to send Jesse Taylor down the left, his cross on the run picked out Baldassarra, whose first time shot flew past Markus Mohrhard, and he headed off to celebrate with his teammates and the travelling supporters in the ground. They sealed the game three minutes later, Taylor won possession in the middle of the park, and with a couple of defenders out of position, Baldassarra played the ball through to Reilly, who steered the ball past Mohrhard and into the net, despite the efforts of Oliver Barnard to clear off the line. Comments from Kalgoorlie skipper

Sorrento and Fremantle City met in the Women’s League Cup, and it was Fremantle running out 3-2 winners, to make it a three-peat for the Port side in coach Robin Chilcott’s final game as coach. Fremantle started the game well, but it was the Gulls who found the opener, after they pounced on some sloppy play in the middle of the park and Jayde Keogh made them pay to score. Sorrento had the chances to put the game to bed, but failed to take them and Fremantle levelled just before half time. A stunning free kick from Zoe Andrijich sent the sides in level at the break.

Fremantle were on the front foot after the break, and hit the front 19 minutes from time, Rachael Oliver’s cross hit the unfortunate Sorrento defender Isabel Judd, the ball finding it’s way in to the net. It was 3-1 late, a long clearance from keeper Tessa Cliff was won by Jesse Mitchell, and she hit a stunning strike into the top corner. Fremantle pressed for more and Michelle Sullivan produced a great save to deny Andrijich, and Alice Vandermeiren went close with a couple of opportunities. It looked game over, but Sorrento weren’t finished and Keogh added a her second in stoppage time, to set up a nervy finish to the game, but Fremantle held firm to seal the cup.

“We went into the game with confidence, off a good run of form towards the end of the season, with only one loss in our last six games in all competitions. We knew what to expect from Sorrento with their direct approach, and a lot of speed upfront and they started the game on the front foot and were on top for first ten minutes. But we settled down and began playing some good football and began to control the game and create several half chances, but a sloppy moment in midfield cost us, and they were ahead,” Fremantle coach Robin Chilcott explained.

“But we got back to playing our style on the deck and pushed for the equalizer which came shortly before halftime, and I thought we deserved to be going in level at half time. We spoke about their pace upfront at the break and considered changing formation, but I convinced the players if we played on the front foot more and dominate the game and press more to prevent the long ball being played in the first place then we would control the game.

“So, we came out in the second half and played with more composure and produced some great football, and created some good chances, taking two of them. They still caused us problems on the break but our defense worked their socks off to stifle the chances. We did concede late on from another break which looked like we had dealt with but then on the second chance they put it away. So, it was a bit more stressful than it should have been for the closing minutes but that's what my team seems to like doing to me. It was a great achievement for this squad to win their third cup in a row and I was really pleased for them as it was a fitting end to an inconsistent season and a great way for me to end my coaching career.”



Hillarys FC are the 2023 Masters Cup winners after a dramatic 4-2 penalty shootout win against Kingsley Westside at the State Football Centre on Friday evening. Hillarys coach Chris Treacy said it was a great way to end the season, after also taking out the league. “I thought it was a very even game, in which both teams showed how Masters football should be played,” he explained.

“I’ve seen a video in which Kingsley’s disallowed goal was clearly onside, so you can say we got lucky there. Like I said a great game, and thanks to Kingsley for some good battles this year and it was great to see both teams back at the same pub after the game. My lads have been great all season and thank them for all the efforts and they are deserved league and cup winners. I’m very proud to be involved with a great club like Hillary, also a special mention to our sponsors Ruby tiling who give great discounts.”

Hillarys found the opener after five minutes, Antony Jones’ cross from the right picked out James Boland who headed home. Kingsley thought they had found the equaliser eight minutes later with Mark Magorian scoring, but his celebrations were cut short with the assistant’s flag raised for offside. Both sides had chances in a tight first half, but at the break Hillarys held a narrow lead. It was more of the same after the break, but it was Kingsley who levelled 20 minutes from time, Ian Woolley’s cross from the right ended with Stuart Montgomery at the back post who fired low past Stephen Vanderdeyl.

But Kingsley were only level for two minutes, Johnny Byrnes shot was parried by Kevan Towers, and Jones was quickest to react to fire home the rebound. It looked like that goal had won the cup for Hillarys, but three minutes from time Cathal Quinn’s deep cross picked out Sam Francis, who lost his marker to head home to send the game to penalties. Hillarys were perfect from the spot and when Vanderdeyl saved the fourth Kingsley spot kick it was Chris Tracey’s team celebrating the league and cup double.

“Very happy to get the win and secure the double,” Hillarys Antony Jones said. “Kingsley gave us a great game and, on another night, they could have nicked it, but I was very confident when it went to penalties and having a team full of lads who have been there and won it before helped us get it over the line. Also, I have to shout out to Carramar and Joondalup city for pushing us all the way for the league title. It’s a fantastic facility at the football centre however the pitch is a bit too big for us old fellas.”



Bayswater City eased to the Masters Over 45’s Cup Final win, after a 5-0 win against Spearwood Dalmatinac in the early game at the State Football Centre on Friday evening. City coach Nick Dyer said it was a great performance from his whole squad. “It was a great way to finish the year. Our cup final started Wednesday night with the entire squad, training on the main pitch at the State Football Centre, and it helped us with the ball speed and bounce of the unique surface,” Dyer explained.

“I thought it suited our football, and they had no answers for our second half performance. We starved them of possession and bossed them all over the park. I told our boys if we work hard, the cream will always rise to the top. We worked very hard played some delicious football and the rest took care of itself. All 16 of our squad had an involvement in the game which was nice, so a great win to go back-to-back in the competition.”

Bayswater were ahead on 23 minutes, Dom Ando won a 50/50 ball in the middle of the park, and Paul Lincoln sent Victor Sikora in on goal, his shot was saved low by the Craig Rourke, but Jason Colli fired home the rebound. Spearwood pressed for the equaliser, but it was Bayswater who doubled their lead nine minutes into the second half. Matthew Sparrow playing Colli into the right of the penalty area, and he finished low past Rourke.

It was 3-0 on 68 minutes, Sikora and Sparrow combining, the later finishing clinically past the Spearwood keeper. The pair were at it again ten minutes from time adding a fourth, Sparrow picked up a loose ball in the middle of the park and raced towards goal, before unselfishly squaring the ball to Sikora to fire home. The icing was put on the cake five minutes later, Sparrow racing at the Spearwood defence, geld off his marker and hammered the ball home to seal a comprehensive win.



It’s another huge weekend of football at the State Football Centre, with the Belt Up Amateur Cup Final taking centre stage on Sunday afternoon, with Division Two side Perth AFC take on Premier Division side Wembley Downs. (4.45pm) Both sides have had a tough run to the final, although both had byes in Round One. In Round Two Perth AFC fought out a 2-2 draw against Port Kennedy at Len Packham Park, with goals from Spiro Nenadic, Marko Matic, and they prevailed 7-6 on penalties. Wembley travelled to the UWA Sports Park, and four goals from Luke Thistlethwaite, helped secure a 6-0 win.

In Round Three a brace from Sandro Digirolamo, helped Perth AFC to another home win, this time a 4-2 win against Division One leaders Maccabi, while Thistlethwaite was the star again for Wembley scoring twice as the they beat Fremantle City at Butlers Reserves. Both quarter-finals were tight affairs, first Perth AFC overcame Division One opposition again, this time beating Kingsley Westside 2-1, with Ante Jukic bagging a brace, including the winner two minutes from time. Meanwhile Wembley took on North Perth United, and it looked like their campaign was coming to an end, but a goal deep into stoppage time from David Brownlees sent the game into extra time, and goals from Patrick Sinicki and Jack Mellor sealed the 3-1 win.

Both sides had home ground advantage for the semi-final, and Perth AFC welcomed Premier Division side Kelmscott Roos to Len Packham. Things didn’t go to plan for the hosts, with goals from Benn Lewis and Alex Ekeze, giving the Roos a two-goal lead. But on the hour Spiro Nenadic headed home at the back post. The hosts could sense a comeback and six minutes later they were level, Alessandro Di Girolamo pouncing on a mistake from keeper David Andrews to score. Then moments later they sealed the game, a ball into the box found Lucas Pickering who headed home, much to the delight of the Perth AFC supporters.

At Butlers Reserve, the hosts lead at half time after Jack Mellor found Tom Bish, who controlled the ball well and slotted it past the keeper. After the break Ben Swinnerton’s long-throw caused problems in the Emerald defence, and Mellor raced in on goal and beat the onrushing keeper to head home for 2-0. They sealed the win when some neat build up play ended with Omar Shatila down the left, he cut inside his marker and played a perfectly weighted pass to Niall Thomas, who finished clinically much to the delight of the home faithful. Emerald pulled on back midway through the half, after Andrew Wood’s was brought down in the penalty area, and James Craig fired home the resulting penalty, but it was too little too late.

The cup run has given Wembley a huge boost, and their league form also improved, but coach Bob Jackson said the quarter and semi-final wins were massive, and the lads were magnificent. “I thought we produced two outstanding performances in the QF and SF against two top quality sides so we feel we fully deserve to be there on Sunday,” he explained. “We know we'll need to be at our very best again in the Final, and competition amongst the boys for a place in the squad, never mind the starting 11 has been intense this week, so I have no worries about us being ready for the game.

“The win over Emerald was a huge result for us. We knew that to have any chance on the night we would have to match them for desire and commitment. We have held up Emerald and East Perth as the example to our boys when it comes to being up for every game - week in week out. On the night we more than matched them and it was a real battle. To be fair we rode our luck and Emerald will feel they had enough chances to win the game. We took our chances when they came along and worked really hard to stay in front and see it out.”

The Downs will look to captain Jack Mellor and Alessandro Morabito to control things in the middle of the park, while for Josh Chalmers and Omar Shatila will be their avenue to goal, but Jackson said he needs an all-round team performance on Sunay to take out the game. “As I said, we're fully aware we'll need to be at our very best on Sunday. The fact that Perth AFC have seen off Kelmscott and a very good Kingsley side in the QF tells us we're in for a real battle,” he said. “As with any final it’s all about who performs on the day, be we’ve trained well this week and are focused and confident.”

Perth AFC have played some good football on the road to Sunday’s final, and coach Nathan Thorp said the players have been outstanding, and to come from two goals down to beat Kelmscott was a massive result for the club. “Yes, we’ve had a very tough run to make it to the final, and all of our lads have been amazing in this crazy run we have been on, so full credit to them from Jake Ambrose and I. Playing teams from leagues above is always a challenge but with the quality we have in our group and the belief also we could beat anyone that was drawn next,’ he explained.

“The Kelmscott result in the semi was huge for us, we have belief we can beat anyone, and now to be playing the final is amazing. To be fair, it was by far the worst half of football we’ve played all year, I think nerves got the best of us, but credit to Kelmscott they knocked the ball around well in that first 45 and we couldn’t get near them. But in the second half I thought our nerves calmed and we got the result we deserved after a crazy seven-minute spell.”

AFC keeper Ryan Moss will be vital in the final, he has been one of the best shot stoppers in the league this season, while at the back skipper Daniel Barton pips a tight defensive unit. He has led the side by example this season, and has been a rock, but he is mentally tough and will push his teammates all the way no matter the result or stage of the game. Up top Cisco Jorquera is their talisman going forward, his experience is second to none in the state and his class shows, and he will be pivotal on Sunday.

Thorp said they are ready for the final, and training has been upbeat this week, and they looking forward to the challenge. “With Sunday just around the corner the excitement at training is clearly there to see and feel. We will have a full week on the grass to make sure we are as well prepared for the game as we can be,” he explained. “We head into the game as underdogs yet again in the cup, and with Wembley knocking off the Premier League champions Emerald in the semi’s, we are going to have to be on it and some come Sunday to get the cup. It will be our 31st match in a long season, but the lads are very keen to show the amateur leagues some of the football we are capable of and that we aren’t here to make up the numbers.”

In the Reserves Cup Final Premier Division Emerald meet Division One side Kingsley Westside. (2.30) Emerald needed penalties to reach Sunday’s decider, after it finished 2-2 in the Semi-Final against Wembley Downs at Butlers Reserve. Matthew Giudicatti gave the hosts the lead early, only for Fergal Corry to level, and it looked like Wembley had won it when Connor Liew gave them the lead three minutes from time. But a stoppage time equaliser from Corry took the tie to penalties, where Emerald prevailed 4-3.

There was another tight game at Chichester Park, with Kingsley running out 2-0 winners against South Perth United. Craig Cunningham gave the hosts the lead midway through the first half, and the visitors had Bradley North sent off on the hour, after picking up a second yellow card, and six minutes from time the hosts sealed the tie with Ozren Kotur scoring.



The State Football Centre will once again be busy this weekend, not only the Amateur Cup Finals, but we also have the Metropolitan and Masters Cup, Men’s Over 45’s Masters Cup deciders, plus the Hyundai Women's League Cup. In Sunday’s Metropolitan Cup Final Kalgoorlie College will be flying the flag for the country region, when they take on Perth SC Division Two side. (10am) Perth reached Sunday’s final with wins against Ballajura, Belmont Villa, Wembley Downs and North Beach on penalties in the quarterfinal. In the semifinal they traveled to Hamersley Rovers and came home with a narrow 2-1 win. Rodney Peh gave them an early lead, but Tuan Vu levelled for the hosts, but a Jahir Espindola goal secured the win, but they did end the game with ten men after George Shi was sent off.

It’s been a tough run for Kalgoorlie, playing all their games on the road, and coming home with wins against Baldivis, Whitford City, Kingsley Westside, Fremantle City, before beating Perth Saints and Perth SC Premier’s in the quarterfinal and semifinal respectively. Kalgoorlie coach Brock Reilly said the club have worked extremely hard to embrace the competition, and they have showed great character in the cup run. “The tough run in the cup has been something our group has embraced all year. When we enter these metropolitan competitions we understand the time, money and travel, we especially, need to complete in order to be successful,” he explained.

“As far as the draw goes, we love playing the big sides - premier and division one teams - as it's a real challenge and a chance for us to gauge ourselves against some really good opposition. Both Perth Saints and Perth SC Premier were really good sides and to be able to say we can match it with them is something we pride ourselves on. I thought the 2-1 win against Perth SC Premier was probably our best win of the year so far. Huge character from the boys to be able to regroup after going down 1-0 and play well in the 2nd half to turn the result around. Perth SC Premier are a good team, well-drilled, physical, and I expect their side this weekend to be similar.”

The club play in the Goldfields Soccer Association and have another fantastic league season, winning the title. Skipper Jace Reilly and Saxon Epris-Brown are in the engine room in their midfield, and both like to get forward and score, and they will have to pull the strings in the middle of the park. Young defender Sean Nzuwa is a workhorse down the flanks, and is good at both ends of the park, but they have team who work for each other, and the coach hopes they can take out the cup to give them the league and cup double.

“I think the game this weekend will be a great watch, and we will be looking to add another trophy to our collection. But we are well aware Perth SC as a whole are a huge club, very well run and they have plenty of talent throughout all levels. We expect them to be a tough side to play against as they also have some big scalps from their cup run,” Reilly explained. “For us it's about preparing well, playing our best football and hopefully the result takes care of itself. At the end of the day, it's a cup final and anything can happen, should be an exciting fixture this Sunday, we are really looking forward to it.”

In the other final on Sunday Sorrento take on Fremantle City in the Hyundai Women’s League Cup. (12.5pm) The Gulls edged out East Perth 1-0 in the semifinal at Percy Doyle Reserve, while Fremantle overcame Subiaco Gold 4-3 on penalties after the game ended 1-1 at the end of normal time. The games begin on Friday evening, when Kingsley Westside meet Hillarys in the Men’s Masters Cup Final. (6pm) Both the semifinals ended 2-0, with Kingsley beating Carramar Shamrock Rovers at Grandis Park, while Hillarys overcame Forrestfield United at Crazy Domains Stadium, Hartfield Park.

In the late Friday game Bayswater City take on Spearwood Dalmatinac in the Men’s Over 45s Masters Cup. Spearwood beat Sorrento in the semifinal, while Bayswater were too strong for Perth City, with Matthew Sparrow bagging a brace, Victor Sikora, Paul Lincoln and S O’Kelly grabbing the others in a 5-0 win, and they will be looking to go back-to-back in the competition after defeating Subiaco AFC in last seasons final. Coach Nick Dyer said t will be another tough game, as they are also are against Spearwood. “We are looking forward to this one, especially after missing out on the league this year,” he said. “We have a strong squad but you need to work hard to win these games. I am hoping we get solid performances from our entire squad. We know Dallies are a decent side, and we’ve had battles over the years, and I’m sure this isn’t going to be any different.”



It has been a meteoric rise for the East Perth Football Club, and after only ten years in existence they have fought their way from Amateur Division Five, to be playing State League football next season. They missed out on the title in a dramatic final game of the season, and were supposed to play Morley Windmills in a play-off, but unfortunately Morley were unable to field a side to play the game, so it’s East Perth who will take their place in Division Two next season.

It’s been a roller-coaster ride for many at the club, and current President Christiopher Lynch, who has been in the role for four seasons, said all the hard work is finally been rewarded. “It’s a massive achievement for such a young club and one that we are thrilled about,” he said. “Coming from metros and starting in Division Five to get to where we are now is amazing, the work that the committee, coaches and players have put in to reach this level we are all very proud.”

Lynch said over the past two seasons the Premier Division has been a very competitive league, and they we’re in the race both season’s and were pipped at the post for the title on both occasions, and he was full of praise for coaches Jason Winter and Colm Costello. “We finished third last year, losing out on the last game to Maddington, and this year losing out on goals scored was very hard to take,” he explained. “I’ve seen a few comments that we go up by default again, but in my opinion, we have deserved to go up, we have won Division Five, Four, Three, Two and finished third in Division One, but other clubs couldn’t survive so again we deserved to go up as we have always been competitive and challenged the leagues.

“Even this year we finished level on points with the same goal different just scored six less goals but we have conceded six less than Emerald so our defence has been the best in the league. We wanted the play off to go ahead to feel like we earned it, but again off field problems for other clubs isn’t something we can control and are delighted with the outcome. Colm and Jason have been nothing short of fantastic they came in last year and made a few changes and we finished third and won the night series

“This year the aim was again to finish as high as possible and we did endure a tough start but we have basically changed our whole team from last year. We did start slow but we as a club always had every faith in Colm and Jason and once, we started to gel we looked very good and played some really nice football, in my opinion the best football and team we ever had and it showed by going undefeated at home and winning our last 9/10 games.”

All the hard work for the President will start now, as they look to make an impact in the State League, and he said they couldn’t have done it without a lot of hard work and generous sponsors. “It might be a break for the players but as a committee we are already working on the season ahead, we are looking forward to fielding an under 18 team and hopefully pick up a few extra players but we already have the quality here as the reserves won the league and the first team, I feel would hold their own as it is,” Lynch explained.

“I think Kingsley is a great model to look at and Chris Brady has done a great job there with all their teams being competitive, and this is something we will be looking to do also. We want to build a club from the ground up and do it right with youth to seniors in both women and men’s teams, we want to make a big community and a place for players to express their skills and feel welcome. We have had lots of support over the years and none of this would be possible without Gary Morrell and John Healy so big shout out to them.

“Also going back to Division Five to Division Two, Johnny Tracy was massive for the club back then and deserves a mention, as does Sully who has come in and helped massively. I would like to thank Bill Busby at Ashfield who opened up their ground to us and we look forward to seeing him next season, also Cesare Colli at Inglewood and Ken Shorto at Balga who helped us while we got our own ground this year, and lastly our club sponsors from the start SS Secure, Bortech Contracting, Leen Construction and Knockalla Civil, The New Park and Galway Hooker we appreciate all the support.”

For coach Colm Costello, his attention this week was all about preparing for the playoff game against Morley, but when the news filtered through on Wednesday the game wouldn’t go ahead, he celebrated the promotion, and looked back on a superb season from his new look side. “We’re all delighted with the reward of State League football after an excellent season from the lads, in a really competitive competition,” he said. “Firstly, a huge congratulations to Emerald, also to the rest of premier sides in a brilliant season with lots of quality.

“Emerald spent most of the season at the top and they were the only team that we didn’t beat, so well done to them lads, but we were disappointed to lose out on goals scored obviously, but take nothing away from them lads. For us, after we had a whole new squad this year bar two/three lads, and no matter the quality of the players or coaches it was always going to take time to get our way of playing and trust each other. After the round seven, narrow defeat by Kelmscott, the season completely turned around and huge credit to every player involved.

“We started this year training two nights a week and it made a huge difference and was a big sacrifice for the players to consistently turn up and improve. From that game we finished the season with 13 wins two draws and one defeat so we deserved to be where we were at round 22 chasing the league and in contention for a playoff place, those results speak for themselves. Unfortunately, Morley had problems, which was out of our control, but we were more than ready to play them. In fact, we were looking forward to it to be honest but out of our hands what happened.”

Costello said the club committee has been great to him and Jason since they have been at the club, and each and every coach within the club have played their part in the success. “Jason and I would like to thank all the coaches at the club, who have played a vital part of this successful season, making huge efforts week in week out so they deserve a huge mention too,” he explained. “The lads behind the scenes have been incredible support, they make our job so easy and lay out everything out on training night and match days not just for coaches but for the players too

“The commitment of them lads over last ten years, has been brilliant and getting promoted to the State league, it’s an achievement not many clubs will do or have done in such a short period of time. When we met with the committee this time two years ago in the Greenwood Tavern the plan was to get too Premier, consolidate and then challenge, but in two years the club are now looking going to compete in the State league, so I’m very happy for every one of them.

“Also, for me, and probably the biggest achievements this year, is the club has really become a family club. Having Cabrini Park was a breath of fresh air and to see all the family’s wife’s partners and kids including my own was incredible and they supported the club for every single game. You can’t put a price on that and I’m sure anyone that was at Cabrini on match days would agree, that’s worth its weight in gold.”

Costello, who coached the WA State Amateur Squad for three seasons, taking them to Malaysia in 2018, Kuala Lumpur in 2019, and Kalgoorlie in 2020, said he can now take a little break, but he knows preparation for next season are vital. “The hard work starts now and a lot will go on behind the scenes, but personally I never mentioned 18s or any other criteria until we found out Morley were not playing. I’ve been in football long enough not to plan anything unless it’s 100% happening and guaranteed, so the lads will be busy and I think after a short break will get back preparing,” he explained.

“We are looking forward to a huge challenge after spending many years in the Amateur game and although we will be new to Saturday football it’s a huge chance for us, and we have to grab it and enjoy it at the same time. Maddington have been brilliant this season, so hopefully we can try mix it with the Division Two sides. If we keep the squad we have, who got us here after huge efforts, and add the correct players I have no doubt the lads will do well. Firstly, I’m looking forward to a decent break after such a long season, then get back at it preparing for another huge challenge next season.”



After wins against NPLWA sides and the WA State team last week, Perth Glory will step up their A-League preseason when they take on Melbourne Victory at Hay Park in Bunbury (kick-off at 3pm) Alen Stajcic’s side have played well against local opposition, but he will be looking for them to step it up against A-League opposition on Sunday, and in their second game at Dorrien Gardens on Wednesday evening (kick off 7pm)

The coach is looking forward to back-to-back games against Tony Popovic’s side, as they prepare for the season opener against Newcastle Jets at HBF Park on Sunday October 22 (kick off 4.45pm) “The two games will be a good test for us,” he said. “We haven’t played any A-League opposition yet, so it’ll be good to test ourselves and really see where we’re at. It’s still only a friendly and they’re never a predictor of A-League performance, but it’ll be good to test ourselves against A-League-quality players.”

Stajcic is also excited by the prospect of engaging with the local community in the south-west and taking the game to the regions. ‘I’ve always said that the regions are the strongholds of Australian football and the parts that we haven’t exploited enough,” he said. “They’re the parts, not just Bunbury, but all-around Australia, that we have to target if we are to become the number one sport in the country. We really have to fulfil our obligation in connecting with those communities and building the game because I think that’s the future of our game.

“Football is the number one sport across the country in terms of participation and we need that connection with the top league. To have the fans come out and see games live and have that connection with the players is a massive part of our club and our country as well.” New signings Oliver Bozanic, Antonis Martis, Aleksandar Susnjar, arrod Carluccio and Bruce Kamau are all expected to see more game-time for Glory over the course of both Victory games, while youngsters Daniel Bennie and Jayden Gorman, who both impressed against the state side could also get some minutes, while the visitors are likely to include a host of familiar faces such as Bruno Fornaroli, Chris Ikonomidis, Jake Brimmer, Jason Geria and Daniel Arzani in their travelling party.



The State Football Centre will once again be busy this weekend, not only the Amateur Cup Finals, but we also have the Metropolitan and Masters Cup, Men’s Over 45’s Masters Cup deciders, plus the Hyundai Women's League Cup. In Sunday’s Metropolitan Cup Final Kalgoorlie College will be flying the flag for the country region, when they take on Perth SC Division Two side. (10am) Perth reached Sunday’s final with wins against Ballajura, Belmont Villa, Wembley Downs and North Beach on penalties in the quarterfinal. In the semifinal they traveled to Hamersley Rovers and came home with a narrow 2-1 win. Rodney Peh gave them an early lead, but Tuan Vu levelled for the hosts, but a Jahir Espindola goal secured the win, but they did end the game with ten men after George Shi was sent off.

It’s been a tough run for Kalgoorlie, playing all their games on the road, and coming home with wins against Baldivis, Whitford City, Kingsley Westside, Fremantle City, before beating Perth Saints and Perth SC Premier’s in the quarterfinal and semifinal respectively. Kalgoorlie coach Brock Reilly said the club have worked extremely hard to embrace the competition, and they have showed great character in the cup run. “The tough run in the cup has been something our group has embraced all year. When we enter these metropolitan competitions we understand the time, money and travel, we especially, need to complete in order to be successful,” he explained.

“As far as the draw goes, we love playing the big sides - premier and division one teams - as it's a real challenge and a chance for us to gauge ourselves against some really good opposition. Both Perth Saints and Perth SC Premier were really good sides and to be able to say we can match it with them is something we pride ourselves on. I thought the 2-1 win against Perth SC Premier was probably our best win of the year so far. Huge character from the boys to be able to regroup after going down 1-0 and play well in the 2nd half to turn the result around. Perth SC Premier are a good team, well-drilled, physical, and I expect their side this weekend to be similar.”

The club play in the Goldfields Soccer Association and have another fantastic league season, winning the title. Skipper Jace Reilly and Saxon Epris-Brown are in the engine room in their midfield, and both like to get forward and score, and they will have to pull the strings in the middle of the park. Young defender Sean Nzuwa is a workhorse down the flanks, and is good at both ends of the park, but they have team who work for each other, and the coach hopes they can take out the cup to give them the league and cup double.

“I think the game this weekend will be a great watch, and we will be looking to add another trophy to our collection. But we are well aware Perth SC as a whole are a huge club, very well run and they have plenty of talent throughout all levels. We expect them to be a tough side to play against as they also have some big scalps from their cup run,” Reilly explained. “For us it's about preparing well, playing our best football and hopefully the result takes care of itself. At the end of the day, it's a cup final and anything can happen, should be an exciting fixture this Sunday, we are really looking forward to it.”

In the other final on Sunday Sorrento take on Fremantle City in the Hyundai Women’s League Cup. (12.5pm) The Gulls edged out East Perth 1-0 in the semifinal at Percy Doyle Reserve, while Fremantle overcame Subiaco Gold 4-3 on penalties after the game ended 1-1 at the end of normal time. The games begin on Friday evening, when Kingsley Westside meet Hillarys in the Men’s Masters Cup Final. (6pm) Both the semifinals ended 2-0, with Kingsley beating Carramar Shamrock Rovers at Grandis Park, while Hillarys overcame Forrestfield United at Crazy Domains Stadium, Hartfield Park.

In the late Friday game Bayswater City take on Spearwood Dalmatinac in the Men’s Over 45s Masters Cup. Spearwood beat Sorrento in the semifinal, while Bayswater were too strong for Perth City, with Matthew Sparrow bagging a brace, Victor Sikora, Paul Lincoln and S O’Kelly grabbing the others in a 5-0 win, and they will be looking to go back-to-back in the competition after defeating Subiaco AFC in last seasons final. Coach Nick Dyer said t will be another tough game, as they are also are against Spearwood. “We are looking forward to this one, especially after missing out on the league this year,” he said. “We have a strong squad but you need to work hard to win these games. I am hoping we get solid performances from our entire squad. We know Dallies are a decent side, and we’ve had battles over the years, and I’m sure this isn’t going to be any different.”



Joondalup City have announced the appointment of Guy McDonald as their First Team Head coach for the 2024 State League Season. The club finished a disappointing eighth in Division Two last season, and the club are hoping following on from a very successful playing career, McDonald is the man to guide back up the table. He does have a good CV, working at Perth Glory as an academy coach, before taking up role as assistant coach with the clubs under 20’s and First Team.

Following success in both roles, McDonald moved to be an assistant coach at Olympic Kingsway for the 2023 NPL season, and now feels ready to take the next step, to be a first team coach. Holding both a C Licence, and more recently, a B Licence, McDonald was the club’s number one candidate, and they are looking forward to working with him and his support team in the forthcoming season.

McDonald said he can’t wait to get started. “It’s an exciting time to come into the club, create an atmosphere and culture of firstly being good people and give our thriving junior academy a pathway to the senior setup. We will have an identity in the way we play and ensure we are competitive every single week. I’ve been patient in terms of putting my name out there applying for first team jobs to ensure I spent the time to learn my trade as a coach from the best coaches in the state at Perth Glory and Kingsway, I’m really looking forward to it,” he explained. “It wasn’t an easy decision to leave Kingsway, it’s a massive club, run by great people, I will certainly miss it. I want to say a special thanks to David Tough and Ross Edwards for bringing me in and making me feel part of a very special place, and I wish them all the best for next season.”



Western United have added veteran marksman Nikita Rukavytsya to its playing roster for the 2023/24 season. The 36-year old former Perth Glory and Western Sydney Wanderers forward returns to the A-League after spending the past eight seasons in Israel.

“I’m excited for this season,” said Rukavytsya, who earnt the most recent of his 21 Socceroos caps in November 2021. “It’s a relatively fresh club but it already tasted success a few years ago and I’m looking forward to having a successful season.”

“My main goal this season is to give my experience, quality and my 100 per cent to the club. From what I’ve heard, there are great people involved with the club, and (great) fans, so hopefully we can have a successful season and make everyone happy.”

Western United coach John Aloisi said Rukavytsya – whose club career has also include stints in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany – would bring “significant quality” and “invaluable leadership” to his squad.

“Nikita is a fantastic signing for us,” Aloisi said. “He has shown his ability to score and assist at a high rate across the world, and we look forward to him bringing his talent into our team. His experience in big leagues and competitions across the world will be important for us.”

“We are equally buoyant about the impact he will be able to have on our young core of players. With pace and quality upfront, a great work ethic and fantastic leadership, we are confident Nikita will help us achieve our goals.”



Western Sydney Wanderers have confirmed the scholarship signing of rising star Ischia Brooking for the next two A-League Women seasons. The teenager joins Western Sydney off the back of the Junior Matildas qualification campaign for the Under-17 Women’s Asian Cup where she played a pivotal role for the national team.

Brooking, 14, has been part of the National Training Centre program and was last year crowned the Under-16s Player of the Tournament at the National Youth Championship for Girls in Coffs Harbour.

“The facilities here (at Wanderers Football Park) are incredible, so I definitely wanted to join the Wanderers the minute I came to the ground,” commented Brooking. “Game time in general would be an honour, just to step on the pitch.”

“Hopefully throughout my time at the Wanderers, I hope to get into the starting line-up. I’d like to thank my parents for inspiring me all the time, my brother and all my teammates for inspiring my every day at training.”

Western Sydney coach Kat Smith spoke highly of Brooking’s potential. “Ischia is one of Australia’s brightest young talents, and we at Western Sydney Wanderers see massive potential in her and believe she’ll make her mark on the pro game,” said Smith.

“With good dribbling skills, a superb range of passing and a keen eye for goal from any distance, she is a joy to watch. We expect Ischia to take this opportunity to join the professional environment with a growth mindset and unwavering commitment to develop as an individual.”



Zak Gilsenan is someone who’s risen to the first two challenges in the Carabao Cup and wants his fine form in the competition to continue if he’s selected against Cardiff City this evening. It’s time for round three in the tournament tonight for Blackburn Rovers, who have passed League Two tests in rounds one and two so far this term.

Gilsenan got himself on the scoresheet when Blackburn overcame Walsall in early August before turning on the style to record a record-breaking 8-0 victory at Harrogate Town later that month. Tonight’s test against the in-form Bluebirds, who have won five of their last six games in all competitions, will no doubt be a step up in class, but it’s something Gilsenan’s relishing as he aims to showcase his talent once again.

“They’ve been great opportunities for me personally and all the young lads,” Gilsenan said. “Getting two goals and an assist as well, it’s been amazing to play in the Carabao Cup so far. You’ve got to enjoy everything as it comes by and I’m someone who wants more opportunities to show what I can do, to impress and do well.”

“I’ve played League Two sides so far and it’s gone well for me, but the game against Cardiff will be a great test if it comes my way. I want to keep improving and to take every opportunity that comes by to show the gaffer I’m ready for it. There’s a really big winning mentality among everybody and it’s a chance to do well in a cup competition.”



After a flying start to pre-season, Perth Glory captain Tash Rigby is sanguine about reaching the A-League Women’s finals for the first time since 2019. Just two and a half weeks separate the Glory and their season opener against Western United at Macedonia Park, beginning a campaign Rigby has high hopes for on and off the field.

With the positive buzz of the Women’s World Cup still ringing in their ears, Rigby believes the upcoming season will be one to remember. The Glory captain said the standard had been set prior to pre-season by coach Alex Epakis, and after a sluggish start last season, the players had returned eager to hit the ground running.

“The expectations were laid out really clearly by Alex and the staff, everyone knew where they needed to be coming in, and it’s a credit to the team and all the individual players on making sure they got the work done in the off-season and we’ve come in at an amazing level,” Rigby said.

“Last year we took a little while to find our groove and then when we did, we were flying - but by that point, it was a little bit late in the season. By coming in at an even better level, starting really strong and having that extended season, it allows us to kind of find our groove and our feet and play together as a team.”

“Our goal is to be a winning team this year and to play a really direct, fast and forward brand of football ... We want to make sure we’re individually getting as many players noticed as possible and on the map, and then collectively, we want to be a team that other teams are scared to play and really be attacking in our style this season.”

With interest in the league arguably at an all-time high following the recent World Cup, and Matildas Cortnee Vine, Kyah Simon, Emily Gielnik and Lydia Williams all signing on for A-League sides, Rigby said the buzz entering the season was incomparable to previous years.

“We can feel it internally and externally. In the group, everyone’s really energized by what we’ve just seen and then externally, even my friends and family are just showing more interest generally and I think hopefully that will reflect in the attendance at these games and the level of promotion as well,” she said.

“The World Cup has just been such a big turning point in women’s football, there’s been a lot of momentum building over the last few years, but that event, it was just incredible to see so many people turn up and support women’s sport and women’s football specifically. It definitely feels different ... it feels like we’ve got the support of the country.”



Alessandro Circati’s brilliant start to the season continued with the teenager scoring a late equaliser in Parma’s 1-1 draw with Sampdoria. The 19-year old defender has been a mainstay in the heart of the Parma defence to start the campaign, but it was his presence at the other end of the pitch that made headlines on the weekend.

Circati, a former Perth SC junior, nodded in an 82nd minute cross from substitute Cristian Ansaldi for his first senior goal, which helped preserve Parma’s two-point lead atop the Serie B standings as well as their unbeaten start as they chase promotion back to Italy’s top flight. Circati received his maiden Socceroos call-up earlier this month, watching friendlies with Argentina and Mexico from the bench.



Much-travelled striker Nikita Rukavytsya is set to close out his career in the A-League with Western United making overtures for the off-contract veteran. The 36-year old Socceroo was released by Maccabi Haifa at the end of last season after nearly eight years in the Israeli Premier League.

During that time Rukavytsya has been one of Israel's most dangerous finishers, scoring 104 goals from 192 appearances for Beltar Jerusalem, Maccabi and Hapoel Be'er Sheva. He has twice been the Premier League's top goalscorer along the way to collecting two Premier League titles and the State Cup.

The Ukraine-born former Inglewood United junior has already played in the A-League with Perth Glory and Western Sydney Wanderers. He has also had stints with Dutch side FC Twente, Belgium outfit Roeselare and German clubs Hertha Berlin, Mainz 05 and FSV Frankfurt.



Emerald FC are the 2023 Belt-Up Premier Division Champions, after their 4-1 win against Jaguar edged out East Perth on goal difference, after they also beat South West Phoenix 4-1 in Bunbury, meaning Shane O’Donovan’s side won the league on more goal scored, to end one of the closest title races for many of years. “The win means so much to us, we’ve been training since January, and it’s been a long slog all year and to finish off with the title is amazing,” Emerald skipper Paul Curran explained.

“It’s the club’s ten-year anniversary and this win is for all the lads who’ve put in so much work to build the club to where it is. It’s been an unbelievably competitive league this year. We’ve gone into every single match knowing that it was going to be a battle. North Perth and East Perth have pushed us all year, they’ve been brilliant, so I want to say well done to those two clubs on a great year, but we’ll go on and celebrate accordingly.”

The hosts had the title in their own hands, but they knew that we had to stay patient and just treat the game like any other. They found the opener from the penalty spot, James Craig converting, but they went into the break still sitting in second place on the table on goal difference. But after the break Emerald doubled their lead with a super volley again from James Craig, before Andrew Wood headed home a third from a corner, which meant they were back to the top. That all changed on when Jaguar pulled one back with Magai Deng on target, his 16th goal of the season to go joint leading goalscorer in the league, and it was a nervous ending for the home supporters, but in the final minute they bagged a fourth, Donal Shanley scoring to win the title for Fraser Park club.

East Perth headed to South West Phoenix on Saturday evening needing goals, but they found themselves behind after only five minutes, with Jeremy Stephens firing home from distance. After a sloppy start the visitors lifted and had the perfect opportunity to level on 37 minutes when they were awarded a penalty, but Niall Murray’s spot kick hit the post and went wide. But three minutes before half time they found the equaliser, Ryan McGready finishing well.

The visitors started to get on top after the break but found Phoenix keeper Kobe Lie in excellent form, but on 69 minutes they did beat him to take the lead. Murray free kick found Ryan Murray who headed back for McGready to grab his second of the night. They added a third when Darran O’Riordan volleyed home from six meters, and it was 4-1 five minutes from time, when Ryan Murray’s pinpoint free kick picked out Conor Convery to head home.

“We started slowly, but after conceding we grew into the game and created chance after chance, but couldn’t hit the target or beat their keeper,” East Perth coach Colm Costello said. “At half time the lad’s realised levels were not where they needed to be but they stuck to it and thankfully got the reward in second half. I honestly couldn’t be any prouder of the lads today, SWP were very good today and we overcame an early goal to win the game. As I said previously you can’t go chasing games and the important thing is to win a football match.

“The lads have dropped very few points in last 15 games and have been on a brilliant run and have put so much effort into this season and I honestly think this group will only get better and better. We obviously had to wait on results on Sunday, and congratulations to Emerald, the table doesn’t lie, but the lads can be extremely proud of themselves for everything achieved. The message to the squad at the start of this season was simple, improve on last year, and that’s exactly what has happened so I’m delighted for them all, and we now wait and see when the playoff against Morley Windmills will be played.”

North Perth United were still mathematically in the title race before the round started, but East Perth’s win on Saturday evening ended that, but they finished the season well, with a 4-1 win against Wembley Downs at Butlers Reserve. They opened the scoring on nine minutes, Patrick Montgomery scoring a diving header, and it was 2-0 ten minutes later, Kyle Jackson racing clear and rounding the keeper to score. But the hosts reduced the margin in stoppage time with Thomas Bish converting from the spot. But North Perth regained their two-goal advantage early in the second half, Darby Gaffney won the ball in the middle of the park and his through ball sent Jackson in for his second. They sealed the win on the hour, Liam Fyfe curling home a free kick from the edge of the box.

“It was great to see such a positive response from the boys after the disappointing day we endured last week, we all wanted to make sure we finished the season on a high,” North Perth coach Alex Carter explained. “We fell just short of winning the league which was our goal all year, however to turn last season’s ladder position around to where we finished this year is still a great result. Congratulations to Shane and the lads at Emerald for winning the league, I know first-hand they were enjoying themselves last night.”

At the bottom of the table, it was also close, South West Phoenix were already relegated and they will be joined in Division One next season by Kwinana United, despite them winning the last game against Peel United 2-1 at Kelly Park. The hosts opened the scoring early, Dean Cooling heading home, and it was 2-0 early in the second half, with Jake Fallows on target. Tristan Sullivan pulled one back for the visitors 20 minutes from time, but they couldn’t find the equaliser. “Obviously extremely disappointed with how the season has turned out, and it’s difficult to really put it into words,” a disappointed Kwinana coach Mark Purvis said. “As I’ve said before I couldn’t ask any more from the players, and the responsibility for this rests on my shoulders.”

Joondalup United survived relegation by just one point, after a 1-0 win against North Beach at Charles Riley Memorial Reserve. The only goal of the game came on the half hour mark, Niall McGurk finishing well Aaron Persse. Joondalup Coach Mike Ford said they had their keeper to thank late for sealing the vital three points. “It was another entertaining game, and North Beach started well without threatening, and we started to grow into the game and was on top for long periods and finally got rewarded with the goal,” he explained. “Like most of the season we could never quite put the game away despite many chances and towards the end they pushed hard and came close a couple time with Pat Lawless making a couple of crucial saves, but a great result for us.”

Kelmscott Roos finished their season with a 3-1 against South Perth United, to remain unbeaten in the league at Frye Park. The Roos hit the front early, some great work down the right by Isaac Koomson, taking on his defender before squaring the ball to Miguel Oliveira who finished clinically. But the visitors levelled just before half time, with Gianluca Pezzino on target. Both sides had chances in a frantic second half, but it was Kelmscott who regained the lead nine minutes from time, Koomson was the provider again, picking out Lemeo Wordu who went one-on-one with Shannon Beniston and finished well. They sealed the points three minutes later, Ishmael Greywood was brought down in the box, and Koomson converted the resulting penalty.

“It was a great game and some of the best football we played, and it was a great occasion in front of a big crowd,” Kelmscott keeper Taylor Warwick said. “Not the season we wanted, but we have to be proud with where we finished in such a tough league. We congratulate Emerald on winning the league for sure, but the win means we stayed unbeaten at home all season which is great, so it’s now time for a break and onto next year.”



Perth Glory have retained the Gold Fields Challenge Cup after a 3-0 win against the Gold Fields WA State Team on Sunday evening at the State Football Centre. They were made to work hard for the win, against a well-organised WA side, but David Williams struck twice and new signing Antonis Martis also found the net in the final 11 minutes as Glory sealed the win.

WA defender Nick Walsh said they gave a good account of themselves on the night. “I thought we showed a great account of ourselves and held our own for most of the game and managed to create a couple of chances which could’ve gone in on another day,” the RedStar’s defender said. “We had a plan and defended very well, and it was unfortunate to concede the goals at the end because I think the score doesn’t truly reflect how competitive we were. Overall, very proud of the team’s performance after only a handful of training sessions.”

The State Team, coached by Andy Ord, started brightly and had the first opportunity on 12 minutes, Perth SC striker David Ninkovic cutting in from the left, but his shot on the run flashed the wrong side of the post. Moments later Glory new recruit Oliver Bozanic saw his long-range effort saved low by former Glory custodian Liam Reddy, before Adam Taggart’s curling effort went wide of the target.

But it was the state side with the best opportunity of the match on 26 minutes. Mitch Oxborrow found Chok Dau on the right, and his low cross found Michael Domfeh, who got in front of Darryl Lachman in the box, but his first time shot flashed inches wide. Glory ended the half the better, and guest state player Neil Kilkenny did well to block Adam Zimarino’s low cross, after he was sent clear by a neat through ball from Taggart, before Taggart volleyed wide of the target moments later.

Glory made a number of changes at the break, and one of them David Willians almost had an immediate impact, his rasping shot from distance took a touch off Julian Teles, wrong footing Reddy, but the keeper produced a great reaction save to deny him. Glory went close again on 55 minutes, Giordano Colli’s free kick wasn’t dealt with and substitute Stefan Colakovski saw his snap shot saved low by Reddy.

The A-League side were having to be patient against a well organised State Team, and they had keeper Oli Sail to keep them level on 69 minutes, substitute Josh Anasmo raced clear down the left, cut inside the box, but the New Zealand international keeper saved well to deny him. Glory went close themselves moments later substitutes Bruce Kamau and Jayden Gorman combining, the later was denied by a great last-ditch tackle from Breckan Baker.

But ten minutes from time the deadlock was finally broken, Gorman won possession on the left and cut the ball back to Williams, who rounded the keeper and fired home from close-range. It was 2-0 moments later, Kamau squaring the ball to Martis who finished with aplomb. Glory’s fitness showed late, and it was 3-0 when Williams added his second after a through ball from Gorman, to seal a hard-earned win, and retain the Gold Fields Challenge Cup. Glory now turns their attentions to next Sunday when their pre-season preparations will be ramped up once again as they take on A-League rivals Melbourne Victory at Hay Park in Bunbury.

“It was tough test against a side with a sprinkling of A-League experience, and they were a good opposition and were up for it, and made it extremely tough for us which was good,” Glory Head Coach Alen Stajic said post-match. “I was a little concerned we got caught out on the counter attack a couple of times, but they only had a couple of good chances, and we need to protect ourselves from that vulnerability. But overall, we got better as the game went along, and once we got that first goal it opened up the floodgates a bit.”

Gold Fields WA State Team: GK Liam REDDY (RGK Rocco LIBERTI 65’), 24 Chok DAU (25 Jesse LAZZARO 77’), 26 David NINKOVICH (44 Josh ANASMO 46’), 27 Zayd FARAH (23 Josh SAMSON 58’), 31 Julian TELES, 33 Michael DOMFEH (45 Kotaro YAMAMOTO 65’), 37 Nick WALSH (43 Kosta SPARTA 77’), 38 Neil KILKENNY (32 Thiak KUEL 65’), 41 Tyler GARNER (40 Liam HUDSON 58’), 47 Breckan BAKER, 48 Mitch OXBORROW (39 Abdul OSMAN 77’) Subs not used: 46 Pieter JACOBSZ

Perth Glory: GK Oliver SAIL (GK), 2 John KOUTROUMBIS (7 Stefan COLAKOVSKI 46'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN (28 Kaelan MAJEKODUNMI 69'), 5 Mark BEEVERS (14 Riley WARLAND 69'), 9 Oliver BOZANIC (21 Antonis MARTIS 46') 15 Aleksandar SUSNJAR (16 Joseph FORDE 46'), 20 Giordano COLLI, 11 Adam ZIMARINO (4 Luke BODNAR 69'), 23 Daniel BENNIE (77 Bruce KAMAU 69'), 12 Luke IVANOVIC (27 Jayden GORMAN 69'), 22 Adam TAGGART (18 David WILLIAMS 46') – Subs not used: RGK Cameron COOK - Referee: Shane SKINNER



Perth Glory new striker Millie Farrow was the star of the show, in the Women’s Gold Fields Challenge Cup bagging a first half hat-trick, to beat the Gold Fields WA State Team 4-0 at the State Football Centre on Saturday afternoon. The former Chelsea, Leicester City and Crystal Palace striker showed she will be a huge plus for the Glory A-League side this season, completing her hat trick in the first half, this after Sofia Sakalis opened the scoring early. The state team had their chances, the best falling to Judy Connolly that crashed against the woodwork, but the Glory were too strong on the day.

The Glory were on the front foot from the kick off and Sofia Sakalis went close to an opener on four minutes, pouncing on a loose pass, but she couldn’t keep her shot down, before Farrow dragged her shot wide moments later. WA keeper Rebecca Bennett then saved low from Liz Anton, before coming out smartly to save at the feet of Abbey Green. But on 14 minutes their early pressure was rewarded with the opener, Sakalis was brought down on the edge of the box by Baxter Thew, earning the defender a yellow card, and from the resulting free kick Sakalis curled home superbly via the post to give Glory the lead.

The State team were struggling to get a grip in the game, but Maja Archibald’s curling effort on 24 minutes, was their best effort early on, but moments later it was Glory who doubled their advantage. Susan Phonsongkham superb through ball meant Farrow didn’t have to break stride, before the English striker rounded Bennett to slide the ball home, for her first goal for the club. But the State team hit back, and an inch perfect through ball from Reina Kagami sent Judy Connolly in on goal, and the Perth SC striker saw here shot beat Morgan Aquino, but the post came to the rescue of the Glory custodian.

Glory continued to threaten and added a third just after the half hour mark, Georgia Cassidy’s through ball sent Farrow clear, and she held off her marker before finishing low past Bennett. It was 4-0 moments later, the State team gave the ball away playing out of defence and Phonsongkham’s neat pass found Farrow, who finished clinically to complete her hat-trick.

Kagami tested Aquino from long-range early in the second half, but the Glory keeper collected easily, and moments later the Perth RedStar striker hit another shot from distance, this time Aquino was forced into a fingertip save to push her shot around the post. Green then tested Bennett down the other end, her shot from the angle was pushed over the top by the State team keeper, before Phonsongkham shot from the edge of the box was saved low by Bennett.

Kagami then pounced on a mistake at the back, rounded Aquino, but her touch was too strong the ball going out for a goal kick, before Kim Carroll’s free kick flashed wide of the far post. Glory trialist Ella Lincoln tried her luck from the edge of the box late, but her curling effort flew wide, but Glory had done the damage early to see Alex Epakis’s side run out convincing winners.

WA State Team: GK Rebecca BENNETT, 22 Laura WALTMAN (24 Violet LONGMORE 46’), 23 Maja ARCHIBALD (26 Lou TANNER 46’), 25 Poppie HOOKS, 27 Monique GODDING (35 Monique PRINSLOO 46’), 28 Judy CONNOLLY, 29 Kim MCCARTNEY, 30 Kim CARROLL, 32 Chari WAINWRIGHT, 33 Baxter THEW, 34 Reina KAGAMI – Subs: None

Perth Glory Line-Up: GK Morgan AQUINO, (RGK Lilly BAILEY 61'), 2 Sadie LAWRENCE, 3 Georgia CASSIDY (14 Olivia WOOD 54'), 4 Tash RIGBY (16 Mischa ANDERSON 54'), 6 Claudia MIHOCIC (13 Clara HOARAU 54'), 7 Liz ANTON, 8 Abbey GREEN (17 Ella LINCOLN 54'), 9 Millie FARROW (15 Tanika LALA 54'), 10 Sofia SAKALIS, 11 Susan PHONSONGKHAM (5 Anika STAJCIC 54'), 21 Sarah CAIN - Subs not used: None – Referee: Referee: Jasmine BREMER



The Belt-Up Amateur league season has come to an end, and we take a look at the four divisions promotions and relegations. First in Division One Maccabi had already won promotion to the Premier Division, but they were joined in the top flight by Kingsley Westside, who edged out Olympic Kingsway, after a 4-1 win at Port Kennedy. Coach Ben Andrews said they are delighted to have earned promotion in such a tight league this season. “We knew heading down to PK that it’s not an easy place to go and get three points, so we are delighted for the playing group to get a positive result and secure promotion,” he explained. “The league has been a really good one to be a part of this year with some really strong teams.

“After a poor start to the season, we really weren’t sure where we would finish up, but one loss in the last 14 games is a real testament to all the players who showed a real desire all year to make sure they got the reward their hard work deserved. We’ve been really lucky this year to have two really hard-working teams with our reserves winning the league and still a cup final to come. Everyone at Kingsley would also like to congratulate Ricky and Maccabi on winning the league, they have been a class outfit all year who play some great football.”

Club President Chris Brady said they are delighted to see the club back in the Amateur Premier League from 2024. “It has been a goal of ours since the second Kingsley Amateur Team entered Division Four in 2017 and really gathered speed after our Premier League team was promoted to the State League in 2019. Three promotions in the last three years speaks for itself,” Brady explained.

“I would like to acknowledge Oli Healey, Chris Donlevy, Robert Holgate and John Cann who coached the side at various stages in the difficult early years when the club’s focus was elsewhere and Mo Livingstone whose three years managing the Amateurs really laid the foundations for the success, we have enjoyed this year. Coaches Ben Andrews and Luke Thompson, Reserves coaches Ryan Lickiss and Lee Williams and all the players can all be very proud of what has been achieved this year. We now look forward to two Cup Finals next weekend and hopefully some more icing on the cake for what has already been an amazing 2023 for the club.” At the other end of the table Stirling Lions and Queens Park were relegated.

In Division Two the title went down to the final game of the season, with Ballajura AFC pipping Cracovia by one point. On the final day Ballajura hosted Belmont Villa and a brace from Craig Highet, and others to Jake Cosenza, Rhys Booth, Brandon Rector and Roshann Frederic secured a 6-2 win, while Cracovia did all they could to win the league, after a double from Leigh Morgan and another to Connor Nicolaidis gave them a 3-0 win against Baldivis, but second place was good enough for promotion for John Sabetta’s side.

Ballajura player/coach Wayne Culverwell said his side have been great all season and they deserve promotion. “Yesterday’s win was a great way to top of a really good season for Ballajura, and the lads were really up for it and got their rewards,” he said. “The lads have been brilliant all year and we are confident and excited about stepping up to Division One. At the other end of the table Tigris and Mandurah City were relegated.

In Division Three Alkimos have taken out the title, with Joondanna Blues joining them in Division Two next season. Alkimos sealed the title with a 4-2 win against Subiaco at Rosalie Park on Friday evening, and coach John Evans said it’s been a rollercoaster season but he is delighted to win the title and earn promotion. “Friday night’s game against Subiaco was a great way to end another successful season. All players got 45 minutes or more, so to come away with three points was a great way to finish Division Three,” he explained.

“All players have given 100% every week, and that’s what’s required to enable us to be successful again this season. To be fair, this season has been a roller coaster of a ride, a lot of highs and lows, but as a group we have finished top of the league again, which is a credit to everyone involved, on and off the pitch. Next season in Division Two will be a massive step, which we are all looking forward too.” At the other end of the table UWA Nedlands and Woodvale were relegated.

Finally in Division Four Bayswater City wrapped up the title a few weeks ago, while they will be joined in Division Three by Wanneroo City, who pipped Swan Valley and Wembley Downs to runners-up spot. Despite Wanneroo being beaten 5-0 by the Champions on the final day, nearest rivals Swan Valley and Wembley were held to 2-2 draws by Mindarie and Sporting Warriors respectively to miss out.

Bayswater City coach Luke O’Neill said it’s been a fantastic season from his players, and thanks the club for all their support. “We are happy and proud of what we have achieved as a team, especially with the club entering the amateur league this season and having to start from scratch,” he said. “The players have worked extremely hard throughout the season and their work has paid off with winning 22 games. From day one Oriano (Colli) and the club have been excellent with both squads, and made everyone feel welcomed. We are looking forward to the off season and having a little break and then starting preparations for next season.”



Fremantle City will play NPL football for the first time after a beating Joondalup United 3-1 in a thrilling NPL-WA/State League First Division Promotion/Relegation Play-off Final at the State Football Centre on Saturday evening. Joel Sollitt had given United the lead just after half time, but goals from substitutes Enzo Marangoni and Bill Orr and one from Alex McLean turned things around for Matthew Sparrow’s side to seal a dramatic victory in front of a big crowd at the home of WA football.

“What a day for the club, we knew heading into this promotion play off it was never going to be easy against a well-organised Joondalup United side, and we lost our skipper Hayden Stevens in the first half to injury which was a big blow,” Fremantle’s Ryan Hogan explained. “Going one down so early in the second half kind of kicked us into gear and the gaffer made some very important subs at the right time. Enzo came off the bench and scored in both legs against Mandurah and what a strike it was from him to draw the game level. From there we knew we could go and win the game, and it was a huge momentum shift for us and the subs had a huge impact on the game. Big shoutout to young Billy who came off the bench to score his first senior goal for the club.”

With promotion on the line, it was a nervous start from both sides, but Fremantle’s striker Oliver La Galia was a constant threat early, and he had the first opportunity on four minutes, bursting into the box on the right, his low shot was saved by Todd Hoyle. Fremantle suffered a huge blow on 22 minutes, with skipper Hayden Stevens limping off with injury, and he was replaced by Roberto Soares. Joondalup settled and started to create chances of their own, Ben Cambell’s shot on the run saved low by Jordan Barbas. But clear-cut chances were few and far between, but Soares and James Harmer fired wide at either end as the tempo lifted.

There was a nervous moment for Joondalup custodian Todd Hoyle on the half hour, Patrick Loughrey cross was fumbled by the keeper, but he recovered quickly to claim the rebound with Dean Hurley ready to pounce. Joondalup were creating the better chances, and Barbas had to be alert on 36 minutes to save Jay Lang’s volley at his near post, before Ben Campbell blazed over the top instead of passing, when they had a three on one break.

Fremantle then had the best opportunity of the game, Hurley’s snap shot from long-range beat Hoyle, but crashed off the crossbar and away to safety. Then in the shadows of half time it was Joondalup who had the final chance, James Harmer’s corner picked out Gary Hill at the back post, but he headed straight at Barbas, and at the break it was all to play for.

Joondalup made the perfect start to the second half and were ahead two minutes in. Elliot Tattersall’s corner wasn’t dealt with and in goalmouth scramble Joel Sollitt fired home, much to the delight of the Joondalup supporters. Fremantle looked for the quick response and after good work by La Galia, Hurley fired over the top. Nick Jennings’ team went close to a second just after the hour, Tattersall’s shot from the edge of the box flashed inches wide of the target. Moments later Fremantle went close to the equaliser, La Galia’s powerful shot whistled just wide of the far post.

But on 72 minutes, Fremantle’s super sub, Enzo Marangoni brought his side level. The striker had only been on the pitch for five minutes when he picked up the ball in the middle of the park and fired home a rocket from distance, giving Hoyle no chance. Soares then saw a curling effort saved by Hoyle as Fremantle looked for the winner. Hoyle then produced a stunning reaction save to deny McLean, then he was out bravely to save at the feet of La Galia moments later.

Both sides were going for the winner, and Barbas pushed Harmer’s shot on the run around the post on 86 minutes, but sixty seconds later it was Fremantle who found it. Marangoni found McLean on the right of the penalty area, and his first time shot found the top corner, and he raced off to celebrate with the Fremantle supporters. It was Joondalup now pressing for the equaliser and Callum Stocks saw his shot at the near post saved low by Barbas.

But five minutes into stoppage time Fremantle added a third, Soares’ cross wasn’t dealt with and substitute Bill Orr fired home to seal victory and their place in the NPLWA for the first time. “What can I say, all the hard work has paid off. I thought it was a typical final, up and down, both teams really giving everything, and thankfully we came out on top,” Fremantle’s Elliot Ireland said. “Enzo with another goal worthy of goal of the season, but I couldn’t be prouder of the lads, it’s been a long season but it’s all worth it after that. Special mention to all our supporters who came and made it such a special night.’

Joondalup United: GK Todd Hoyle, 4 Gary Hill, 5 Jay Lang, 6 Shaun Kilkelly, 7 Benjamin Campbell, 9 Joel Sollitt (10 Callum Stocks 68’), 11 Elliot Tattersall, 12 Ayden Dragun (2 Jackson Dongray 83’), 19 Joel Prout (14 Jude Bailli 55’), 30 James Harmer, 77 Sam McKearnen – Subs not used: RGK Harry Mitchell, 8 Joshua Allum, 15 Adam Buckley, 20 Craig Harrison

Fremantle City: GK Jordan Barbas, 2 Joshua Macri, 3 Patrick Loughrey, 5 Hayden Stevens (10 Roberto Soares 22’), 6 Elliot Ireland (18 Enzo Marangoni 65’), 8 Anthony Topini, 9 Oliver La Galia, 11 Alex Mclean, 13 George Festa, 14 Ryan Hogan, 20 Dean Hurley (44 Bill Orr 91’) – Subs not used: RGK Ryan Barker, 16 Luke Christie, 24 Elijah Haas, 21 Shale Moothen – Referee: Steve Gregory – Assistants: David Teo, Fin Johnson – Fourth Official: Liam Howgate



Subiaco AFC have maintained their State League Division One status after a 2-0 win in the State League First Division/Second Division Promotion/Relegation Play-off Final against Curtin University at the State Football Centre on Saturday afternoon. First half goals from Kaleb Morrison and a Simone Sichel own goal sealed the tie for Marc Wingell’s side, and the scoreline could have been more if not for Curtin keeper Daniel Marques who made a number of fine saves on the day.

Subiaco defender Christian Miraudo said it was a solid performance and delighted to keep their Division One status. “We thought we were the better team over the 90 minutes and deserved the win,” he said post-match. “We had a good game plan and executed it perfectly, so it was nice to be rewarded for all our hard work this year.”

It was a tight opening to the final and it was Curtin who had the first opportunity on four minutes, Oscar Wright racing down the left to the bye-line, his shot from the angle was saved low by Conor Hogan. But three minutes later it was Subiaco who found the opener. Morrison picked the ball up in his own half and raced at the Curtin defence, his pace took clear of his marker and he finished low past Daniel Marques.

They went close to a second moments later, Gavin Knights’ free kick was tipped over by Marques, and on 22 minutes the lively Morrison raced away again, but this time Scott Geare got back with a last-ditch tackle to deny him. That was the last action for the Curtin defender, who limped off with an injury, and was replaced by Jordan Valentini. Curtin were struggling in the final third, and the last thing they needed was to concede a second, and that’s exactly what happened on 28 minutes.

It looked little danger from Adrian Manno’s free Kick into the penalty area, but some misunderstanding between Marques and Simone Sichel, saw the striker head into his own net. Troy Reid’s side needed a lift, and they went close to reducing the margin four minutes later, Daniel Devey’s curing shot beat Hogan, but the post came to the rescue of the Subiaco custodian, and at the break Subiaco were in control.

Subiaco went close to sealing the tie early in the second half, with a great reserve pass from Knight sending Morrison in goal, but Marques saved well to deny him, and Aaron McGuirk’s follow up shot was blocked. McGuirk then saw a long-range shot fizz over the top, as Subiaco looked to kill the tie off. Curtin were struggling to find away past a firm Subiaco defence, but Subiaco continued to have the chances, with Knight racing in on goal from McGuirk’s through ball, but Marques stood tall to deny him.

Curtin did find an opening on 64 minutes, Jai Coker’s cross from the right found Sichel, who couldn’t keep his header down. With Curtin pressing forward Subiaco had a number of chances late, the best fell to ‘Man of the Match’ Morrison, who pounced on a defensive mistake and raced towards goal, but once again Marques stood tall to save, but at the final whistle it was Subiaco celebrating the win, and their survival in Division One.

Striker Gavin Knight said it was a great win for the club. “We had a game plan and stuck to it. We knew an early goal would put pressure on them and it worked,” he said post-match. “Going in 2-0 at half time was brilliant and second half’s target was clean sheet, the first one this season and we achieved that. Now the season is over we plan for next season and do better than this year.”

Subiaco AFC: RG Conor Hogan, 2 Ethan Johnson, 5 Lazar Spasojevic, 7 Zac Benabid, 10 Gavin Knight (13 Agustin Ventre 78’), 11 Aaron McGuirk (4 Maurice Vermeulen 78’), 14 Gaspar Becerra, 17 Christian Miraudo, 19 Adrian Manno, 21 Kaleb Morrison (12 Dominic Manno 93’), 29 Zane Singleton - Subs not used: RGK Samuel Assumption, 9 Oscar Barry, 18 Brendan Griffiths, 22 Emin Holic

Curtin University: GK Daniel Marques, 2 Jeffrey Ledwith, 3 Daniel Davey, 4 Janno Saks, 6 Nathan Smith, 7 Oscar Wright, 9 Simone Sichel, 10 Jai Coker (12 Todd Nyawayi 68’), 16 Dane Meerally, 17 Scott Geare (11 Jordan Valentini 24’), 18 Ali Reza Akbarzadeh (5 Christopher Sutton 46’) - Subs not used: RGK Robert Nicolosi, 8 Angus Cash, 14 Nayan Brown, 15 Carlo Chiellini – Referee: Liam Barclay – Assistants: Jimmy Graham, Brian McKeown – Fourth Official: Alex Novatsis



Goalkeeper Mark Birighitti will remain at Dundee United after a proposed move to Hapoel Petach-Tikva fell through. The Israeli Premier League side had agreed to a season-long loan with the Tangerines for Birighitti, however, the 32-year old couldn't sort out personal terms before the transfer window closed.

Birighitti will now remain at Tannadice, despite being surplus to requirements. The one-time Perth SC junior joined United in mid-2022 and gained 30 appearances in his debut season in Scotland. Although he still has a season left on his deal, Birighitti isn't part of manager Jim Goodwin's 2023/24 first team plans.



The Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division title has gone down to the final round of the season, with three teams still mathematically possible of being crown champions, with Emerald, East Perth and North Perth United still in contention. Emerald and East Perth sit joint top of the table, level on goal difference, with Emerald in front on goals scored, so goals will be vital in this weekend’s fixtures.

East Perth opens the round on Saturday evening when they make the trip to Bunbury to take on the already relegated South West Phoenix at Onside Sports Stadium. (5pm) East Perth are the only club of the three, who have applied for promotion, and they head south looking for a big win to put pressure on Emerald, and knock North Perth out of contention. Coach Colm Costello said their season is peaking at the right time, and go into the last game, like they did last season with the opportunity for promotion, but can’t take Phoenix lightly.

“Another final day very like last season, but it’s brilliant to be part of it again. The lads have put a brilliant run together and have deserved the right to be in the mix with some brilliant performances and great consistency week in week out,” Costello said. “Lots of people seem to be predicting the result’s already this week, but we know Phoenix we’re narrowly beaten by Emerald and North Perth a few weeks back by the odd goal, so we are not getting sucked into any of this, we have a huge game ahead of us and we will prepare like every week to try win the game.”

Costello said it couldn’t have been scripted any better, but his players are buzzing and are looking to end the season on a high, and have trained well this week. “We enjoyed a good performance last Sunday but on Tuesday it was straight back into work for Jason Winter and I. Phoenix at home nobody has got an easy game in Bunbury all year, so if we switch off or have lads complacent we will be punished,” he said. “Likewise with Emerald, Jags have been a top consistent team every year since they entered the Premier League, and Josam is a brilliant organised coach and there’s no way Emerald will be getting it easy off Jags.

“It’s a great weekend of football ahead, the coaches are buzzing the players are buzzing and we are ready for another huge challenge and all we can do is try win a game of football, we can’t control anything only our job. The lads have been brilliant after a sluggish start to the Night Series and also the league campaign, but hopefully they produce a big performance on Saturday evening and we wait and see the outcome on Sunday.”

Emerald will be at home on the final day, when they host Jaguar at Fraser Park on Sunday afternoon (3pm) They will go into the game, knowing what they need to do and coach Shane O’Donovan said his players will give it there all on Sunday, and that’s all they can do. “I’ve been absolutely delighted with the season as a whole, we knew after last year to be competitive in this league you have to be consistent. We have done that and put us right in the mix come the last game of the season which is a fantastic achievement for such a small club,” O’Donovan explained.

“The players from both reserves and firsts have put the effort in all year and deserve to be here. Whatever happens in other results, we will be fighting to the final whistle and hopefully celebrating at the end of it. We know Jaguar are never an easy opponent, so we know we will have to be at our best to win. whatever happens in the other game, we as a squad are fully confident that we can get the result we need.”

In other games on Sunday (all games kick off a 3pm), North Perth United travel to Butlers Reserve to take on Wembley Downs, and need a win, and both Emerald and East Perth to lose, if they are to take out the title, and as they say football is a funny old game, so you can’t rule that out, while Kelmscott Roos welcome South Perth United to Frye Park. It’s also tight in the relegation battle, with South West Phoenix already down, Kwinana United and Joondalup United will be fighting it out on the last day.

Joondalup have their survival in their own hands, and a win against North Beach at Charles Riley Memorial Reserve will secure it. Joondalup coach Mike Ford said another performance like last week will be required if they are to stay in the division. “Last week against Phoenix was a cup final game, and this week will be no different,” he said. “We’re expecting North Beach to want to finish on a high, and there are no favours in this league, it’s up to us to get a result. It’s going to be a hard and tough game, but as always very entertaining. Along with Karl Cherrie and the lads we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Kwinana United need Joondalup to slip up and then take all three points when they host Peel United at Kelly Park. Mark Purvis’ side sit two points behind Joondalup, and have a better goal difference, and he knows they will need a favour from North Beach, but he said they are ready for the challenge, and all they can do is get the right result. “We are excited for it, yes, we need a result to go our way but at one stage we were written off so we are going to enjoy this game and play with freedom,” Purvis said. But as I’ve said before if the worst happens then that responsibility is mine alone.”



It’s been a stellar season for Olympic Kingsway midfielder Tyler Garner, helping the club to the Top Four Finals in their first season back in the Premier League since 1999. The 22-year-old’s form has also seen him selected in the WA State squad to take on Perth Glory on Sunday, and the former Kalamunda United junior has also been selected for the Australia Futsal squad for the AFC Futsal Asian Cup 2024 Qualifiers in October.

Garner, who plays for Rockingham Cambio Cumbre Futsal Club, has been selected as an Ala, which is a winger in Futsal, and he is delighted to be selected in the squad. “It’s an honour to be selected and be given the opportunity to represent my country,” Garner said. “I’m really looking forward to meeting up with the rest of the squad for camp next week in Sydney before travelling to Taiwan. Hopefully we can go there, and get the job done and qualify for Asian Cup next year.”

The midfielder said it was a successful season for Olympic, and he is hoping to go one better next season, after losing in the Top Four Cup Semi-Final. “We started the year off so positively winning the night series which was great for the club. We struggled in patches throughout the season with results but still managed to achieve our goal of finishing in the top four,” Garner explained. “As a squad we still feel as if we somewhat underachieved this season despite finishing third, we dropped points in games that we should really be winning. Overall, it was a great first season for us back in the NPL and hopefully we can come back stronger next season.”

Olympic coach David Tough said Tyler had a breakout season with the Green Machine, and wished him all the best on international duty. “It’s a remarkable achievement for Tyler, to once again be selected for the Australia Futsal Team. It reflects his dedication and relentless work ethic. He is an exceptional talent who is only going to improve. I have no doubt that he will make both his family and country proud,” Tough said.

“Tyler played a huge part in the club’s success last season, with us winning the night series and a third-place finish is the first top division trophy and the clubs highest finish since 1981. It's an incredibly promising start to life in the NPL. The club's very ambitious, we’ll look to improve our squad in the off-season, with the goal of achieving another successful season in 2024.”

Garner will meet his teammates in Sydney, and Futsalroos Head Coach Miles Downie has named a 14-player squad, and it features some of Australia’s best male Futsal talent. They will travel to Chinese Taipei for two matches from 7 – 11 October to determine which countries advance to the AFC Futsal Asian Cup™ 2024 to be hosted by Thailand. A total of 31 teams were drawn into eight groups, where Australia is in Group H with Japan and hosts Chinese Taipei. To qualify for AFC Futsal Asian Cup ™ 2024, The Futsalroos will need to finish either first or second in their group to advance to the final stage. The action kicks off on Saturday, 7 October when the Futsalroos face Japan at Taipei University Stadium in Taipei City.

Downie has been working hard to galvanise the squad since taking over the head role in 2022 and is looking forward to returning to the international stage. “The past year has been an exciting period for Australian Futsal and the prospect of competing in the AFC Futsal Asian Cup is something we’re determined to achieve,” Downie said. “In the lead up to this competition we have been working hard to build a squad who we believe have the skills to compete against the Asian nations and who will form part of the national team for years to come. The AFC Futsal Asian Cup qualifiers will be a good test for the squad, and I have full faith that we have the ability to surprise our more experienced opponents.”

On Monday, 9 October, Australia will play host nation, Chinese Taipei, once again at the Taipei University Stadium. The squad features experienced players from the Futsalroos’ AFF Futsal Championship 2022 campaign in Thailand and the recent PacificAus Sports Futsal Series where Australia hosted the Solomon Islands in a three-match international series in Sydney. If the Futsalroos are successful in qualifying for the AFC Futsal Asian Cup 2024™, the top four teams from the tournament automatically qualify for the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2024™ in Uzbekistan.



A spot in the NPLWA – Men’s competition is up for grabs on Saturday evening, when Fremantle City takes on Joondalup United in the NPL-WA/State League First Division Promotion/Relegation Play-Off Final at the State Football Centre in Queens Park. (5.30pm) Both sides fought their way into the final, after two entertaining semi-finals. Fremantle came home from Mandurah City with a 3-1 victory, to complete a 5-1 aggregate win, while Joondalup drew 2-2 at Sorrento, to win the tie on the away goals rule, and end the Gulls 35-year run in the Premier League.

The fixture has been eagerly anticipated by the football community, with it being the first ever play off to gain a place in the NPL, but that was somewhat quashed this week with Football West announcing Joondalup had not met the criteria to join the competition. This decision could have been made a number of weeks ago, but the club are to appeal the decision, and if they win on Saturday, it will be a wait and see situation, something that could have been avoided with some communication earlier.

That’s our thoughts on the disappointing decision, now on to the football. Joondalup United last played NPL football in 2018, but they had a tough job to reach the final, after a scoreless draw against Sorrento in the first leg at Forrest Park, they headed to Percy Doyle Reserve and drew 2-2 to seal the tie, and coach Nick Jennings, who is in his eighth season at the helm of the club, was delighted the way his players battled hard to seal the tie.

“I think you could see, with the relaxed but focused nature of our boys, before and during the game, that we had nothing to lose and everything to gain,” Jennings explained. “Even after falling behind our game plan remained the same to score that away goal and that to hit Sorrento in transition. Then when we had to, we got men behind the ball and made it difficult for them, apart from a moment of magic from a highly talented Danny Douglas we did just that, to come home victors.”

On Saturday it will be the final game for defender Shaun Kilkelly, who announced his retirement last week, and Jennings said they will be doing all they can to send him out a winner. “Shaun is a massive player and personality in WA football, a player I tried to sign many times over the years. My respect for him has grown even more witnessing at first hand his leadership and example he sets on and off the pitch,” Jennings said. “He’s a serial winner and we’ll be doing all we can to send him off a Champion in the final against a good Fremantle side.”

Joondalup skipper Ben Johns said the semi-final was a battle, but they won the battle to seal their spot, and despite the off-field noises, all the players are doing is contracting on another tough game in the final against Fremantle. “It was a hard-fought game with both teams creating chances in the match. Both teams had spells of dominance but ultimately in the end I felt that it was us that wanted it more,” Johns said.

“I thought we were unlucky not to come out of the game with an outright win, but we did enough to progress. There’s a lot of background noise going on off the pitch, but ultimately that’s for other people to sort out. We have a job to do on Saturday on the pitch and everything else is irrelevant at the moment. The boys are very much looking to playing in a final and pushing for a NPL spot after a great season.”

Fremantle City Head Coach Matthew Sparrow said the performance of his chargers over the two legs against Mandurah was outstanding. “Obviously we’re delighted as a group the way we performed against a very strong Mandurah side, we knew they had to come at us and we defended exceptionally well all over the pitch, we spoke about our game plan before the ties and I thought we executed it perfectly,” Sparrow explained. “To score five good goals and limit them down to one goal (penalty) over 180 minutes, the players deserve full praise for their attitude commitment and professionalism.”

City had a mid-season slump, but circumstance didn’t help them during that period, but Sparrow said it’s been a successful season, after beating two NPL sides in the Australia Cup, and ended the season in fine form. “Yes, you could say we’ve been extremely unlucky with injuries to key players throughout the year, along with suspensions and players going away, these are situations that we just have to deal during the season,” the coach explained.

“But once again the boys have responded well to these setbacks, I’ve always told them we can beat anybody on our day and we’ve proved that by beating the champions twice along with knocking out Olympic Kingsway and Perth SC out the cup and now Mandurah twice. Unfortunately, we’ve not been as consistent as we would have liked as the table never lies, but we’ve hit good form at the right time again and everybody connected to the club is really looking forward to the final.”

Sparrow said Saturday is a huge game for the club, as they look for a place in the NPL for the first time. “It’s a game we are really looking forward too, we’ve had some great battles with Joondalup down the years and it’s a club I’ve got fond memories of on and off the pitch,” Sparrow said of his three years at JUFC. “It’ll be the first time the two teams have met in a playoff final like this, the players will get the chance to express themselves at the new stadium on a great surface so hopefully it will be an entertaining game for the supporters and neutrals out there watching.”

Fremantle skipper Hayden Stevens was part of a rock-solid defence against Mandurah, but he said it was a good all-round team performance. “We knew going down there we were going to have to weather some early pressure, which we did, but we also knew a goal would make their life really difficult,” Stevens said. “It probably wasn’t the prettiest game of football to watch, but we knew a solid defensive performance would get us through to the final and that’s what we were able to achieve.”

Stevens said Joondalup will be up for the game, after the news off the park this week, but the defender said they are looking to make some history for the club, and he has full faith in his side to get the job done. “This is the game that you want to play in given the route we’ve had to take to potentially go up, and now we’ve given ourselves that chance, like you said for the first time in the club’s history,” the former Perth Glory Youth defender said.

“I know the boys are all up and about, and raring to go. The last month I feel we’ve really started to click as a group and there is a full belief in the squad and the club. It should be a great game, when we’ve played each other this year it has always been at a decent level. We’ve both had a win against each other this year, so it should be another tough game. However, I have full faith in the boys and the whole club that we can get the job done.”



The State League First Division/Second Division Promotion/Relegation Play-offs has also reached the Final, with Subiaco AFC taking on Curtin University at the State Football Centre on Saturday afternoon (3pm) Subiaco will be hoping to stay in Division One, after finishing 11th in the regular season, and they reached Saturday’s final with a tight 4-3 semifinal win against Swan United. Meanwhile Curtin will be aiming for a spot in Division One for the first time in their history, this after finishing third in Division Two, and overcoming Maddington-Kalamunda White City 3-2 after extra time in a thriller last week, so it’s all to play for both sides.

Subiaco looked safe at the end of the season, but a 3-4 loss in the final game against Gosnells City, when they were winning by three goals, saw them drop into the relegation playoff spot, and defender Christian Miraudo said the play offs are a new challenge, and they had to work hard to get the win against Swan. “The game was exactly how we thought it would go, they were a tough team, but played good football as well,” he said. “They defiantly made us work for it, so to hear the whistle on Saturday felt very rewarding.”

Miraudo said a change of coach midseason wasn’t ideal, but he believes the appointment of Marc Wingell saw them pick up, and he is hoping they can continue next season in Division One. “Marc and Dale are quality coaches they’ve won plenty of trophies and have a lot of experience,” the defender explained. “We had a good back half of the year with them in charge and as a group we definitely feel like we owe them and the club the opportunity to build something special.”

Standing in their way is Curtin, and Miraudo said it will be another stern test, and they know what to expect after playing them in preseason. “We played Curtin in pre-season and we knew they were a good side then, and with this being a final, we know it’s going to be anything but easy Saturday,” he said. “But the boys are up for it, and we are hoping to finish our season on a high and keep the club where it belongs.”

Subiaco keeper Conor Hogan was a busy man at Swan last week, and he is expecting Saturday to be just the same with promotion within their grasp. “We knew it was going to be tough playing away at Swan, and we thought when we scored the first that it would affect Swan,” he explained. “But if anything, it got them more up for it, the lads stuck with it in the second half and defensively I thought we were very good. We are under no illusions Saturday is going to be a tight game, they (Curtin) look good and fit so I’m sure it will be a tough game, but hopefully we turn up with the right attitude and stay in Division One.”

Curtin secured the place in the final after a dramatic extra time win at Maddington, and it continued the rise of the side under the tutelage of coach Troy Reid, and he was delighted with the players attitude to fight out the win. They go into the final looking to play Division One football for the first time in the club’s history with a win, and Reid said everyone at the club has worked extremely hard to get into this position. “Very proud of not just the effort last week but the maturity and grit to find a way to win,” Reid said. “Since the first day I started at Curtin the goal has always been to get to Division One. We’ve been pushing towards that over the last three years, building not just a good playing group but also a winning culture. The boys and everyone around the club has brought into what we want to achieve as a group and I’m excited as to how close we are.” Reid knows Saturday’s opponents will be desperate to keep their Division One status, but he is confident they can get the result to seal promotion. “Subiaco are a strong side with some exciting young players balanced by experience in players like Gavin Knight. I think this blend of youthful energy and experience is similar to ours, which should lead to a high energy game,” Reid explained. “The confidence across our group is sky high at the moment and if we execute how we want to play, I’m confident we’ll get the job done on Saturday.”

Curtin skipper Jeffrey Ledwith said the work rate and commitment of all the players at Maddington was second to none, especially with big home support. “Maddington have a great team and have had a great season, and we always knew it was going to be hard playing at their home ground, especially in front of their massive fan base and it showed over the weekend,” Ledwith explained. “It was great to get the win in extra time, the game was very even all the way to the last whistle and we held firm to get win.”

Ledwith said the players have had a good week on track and are ready to claim their place in Division One. “Everyone is super excited and ready for this weekend. Subiaco are a Division One team for a reason, and we know they will fight to the end to not get relegated, and they showed they are up for the challenge with a win against Swan,” he said. “But the Curtin lads are in high spirits this week, and to have a chance to get promoted is every club’s dream and for Curtin this is a chance to create history for the club.”



WA Men’s State coach Andy Ord has named a 23-man squad to represent WA in the Gold Fields Challenge Cup against Perth Glory at the State Football Centre on Sunday evening (6.00pm) Daryl Nicol is a notable absentee, but the Scottish striker, who was the league’s leading scorer for the second consecutive season, is at his brothers wedding in the UK, while the experienced Bayswater duo Gordon Smith and Ndumba Makeche also missed out.

The only three teams who do not have any representatives are Floreat Athena, Sorrento and surprisingly Top Four Cup winners Stirling Macedonia, and James Bosdet, Calvin Whitney and Luke Palmateer should feel unlucky not to get a gig. Perth SC have five players, Olympic Kingsway four, Perth RedStar, Balcatta Etna and Bayswater City who have three each, while Cockburn City have two and Armadale’s Pieter Jacobsz, who won the Dylan Tombides Young Player of the Year last season, is their sole representative.

We all know at the end of the season many players do have other commitments, but to have a guest player, playing for the WA State representative side, is a kick in the teeth to many players in the league. But the decision has been made and coach Andy Ord will have strong squad to work with. Football West Policy and Advocacy Manager Gareth Naven said Kilkenny will be great on and off the pitch for the WA State side

“Once again, I would like to thank the players who have made themselves available to represent WA and the clubs for their assistance. I also want to acknowledge our State Team naming partners Gold Fields for their ongoing support. The players and coaching team are looking forward to the game and the chance to test themselves against Perth Glory.

"Neil Kilkenny epitomises what it takes to be a professional and is a great example for our state's best young players to try and emulate. The opportunity for him to come in and instill his wealth of experience on the training ground and the change room in the lead-up to the game will give the players valuable insights into life at the next level."

WA State Squad: GK Liam Reddy (Perth RedStar), GK Rocco Liberti (Perth SC), Pieter Jacobsz (Armadale), Declan Hudson, Kotaro Yamamoto, Liam Hudson (Balcatta Etna), Joshua Anasmo, Konstantinos Sparta, Thiak Kuel (Bayswater City), Breckan Baker, Jesse Lazzaro (Cockburn City), Michael Domfeh (Inglewood United), Josh Samson, Liam Murray, Mitch Oxborrow, Tyler Garner (Olympic Kingsway), Abdul Osman, David Ninkovich, Julian Teles, Zayd Farah (Perth SC), Chok Dau, Nick Walsh (Perth RedStar), Neil Kilkenny (Guest player)

Football West have also announced a 16-player WA Women’s State squad, for Sunday’s Gold Fields Challenge Cup match against Perth Glory in the early game at the State Football Centre. (4pm) Hyundai NTC U21s’ Sam Geddes is head coach for the game, and there are three players from NPLWA - Women’s champions Perth RedStar, including Japanese duo Chiori Ikeda and Reina Kagami, five from Perth SC including goalkeeper Rebecca Bennett, three from Balcatta Etna, two each from Hyundai NTC and Fremantle City, and one from Murdoch University Melville.

Football West Policy and Advocacy Manager Officer Gareth Naven said: “Congratulations to all of the players selected to represent the Gold Fields WA State side. “It is great to see the enthusiasm with which they have embraced the opportunity to play against Glory and to show they can compete with some of the best players in the State. Football West would like to thank our partners Gold Fields, who are the name sponsors of the State teams.” Sunday’s game at the State Football Centre kicks off at 4pm. It is the first part of a double-header, with the Men’s Challenge Cup game at 6pm. As part of Glory’s preparations for the A-League Women’s season, it will be played across 35 minutes each way.

WA Women’s State Squad: Baxter Thew, Monique Prinsloo, Kim McCartney (Balcatta Etna), Laura Waltman, Jamie-Lee Gale (Fremantle City), Charli Wainwright (Murdoch University Melville), Maja Archibald, Violet Longmore (Hyundai NTC), Kim Carroll, Reina Kagami, Chiori Ikeda (Perth RedStar), Monique Godding, Rebecca Bennett, Poppie Hooks, Judy Connolly, Gemma Craine (Perth SC) All payment for entry to the ground is by EFT only. Entry on Saturday is $10 per person with all under 16s free.



Perth Glory have signed their second Stajcic this season as former Sydney FC striker Anika Stajcic is unveiled as the newest women’s signing. Stajcic, the daughter of new men’s coach Alen Stajcic, joins Glory after making her A-League debut last season with Sydney FC and following her pathway through the Football New South Wales Institute.

Stajcic, a Young Matildas representative, is hoping to make an impact at Glory. “I want to get a bit more playing time than I got at Sydney last season and I definitely feel that the team here is very together, really connected and willing to fight for each other,” said the 17-year old attacker.

“I’m confident that we can make the finals this year having been pretty unlucky to have just missed out in the past couple of seasons. We definitely have a high spirit and I think that can really take us far in this competition.” Former men’s team coach Tony Popovic had son’s Gabi and Christian both play for Glory during his stint in the west.

Glory coach Coach Alex Epakis is delighted to add more youth and attacking depth to the squad. “Anika holds a very strong competitive mentality, along with a good attacking skill-set and she is very eager to make her mark on this team and contribute to the team success,” Epakis said.



New Hereford signing Jordan Lyden is out to prove his doubters wrong with consistent performances for the Bulls. The 27-year old Aston Villa academy graduate has won the League Two title on two occasions, with Swindon Town and Leyton Orient, however, injuries have plagued his career.

Lyden, who was released by Orient following a hamstring injury, played 64 minutes on debut in Hereford's 2-0 FA Cup win over Anstey Nomads on the weekend. "I was just buzzing to be back out there," said Lyden. "The last time I played was five months ago. Hopefully I showed what I can do... there is a lot more to come."

Lyden is hoping for a consistent run of matches with Hereford having only played in five league matches last season. "The main thing is getting as many minutes as I can under my belt and managing myself in the right way," he commented. "My injuries have come at bad times and been unlucky."

"I've had really bad, bad injuries if you look at my history. I want to get rid of that tarnish on my head which has been following me around for years. I'm trying to prove people wrong and hopefully I can do that here. There is nothing worse than being injured (but) I'm hoping here I can get a good run of games to kick-start my career.”



Goalkeeper Mark Birighitti is on the verge of exiting Scottish club Dundee United with a loan move to Israel on the cards. An Israeli Premier League club has opened talks with the Tangerines over a season-long loan deal, which would need to be completed before the transfer window closes in Israel this evening.

Birighitti, 32, has been surplus to requirements at Tannadice and now has to decide whether to go and play or to remain on the fringes at United. He has not featured this season and is well down the pecking order behind Jack Walton and Scotland under-21 'keeper Jack Newman.



Perth Glory have added another young homegrown talent to their roster with the signing of Australia youth international Lilly Bailey. The 18-year old goalkeeper has just completed a stellar local season in which she helped the National Training Centre to fourth in the league and victory in the State Cup final.

Bailey, who joins National Training Centre teammates Grace Johnston and Georgia Cassidy in the Glory squad, is delighted to reach the next stage of her career by stepping into the A-League. “I’m so excited to be able to come into the squad this season,” Bailey said.

“I’ve been lucky to have been training in the background for a couple of years and have seen first-hand the amount of work that Alex, the staff and the team do. I’m keen to show what I can do, while also being there to support the team and help them achieve their goals.”

Glory coach Alex Epakis rates Bailey as one of the best players in the country in her position for her age. “Lilly is one of the most talented up-and-coming goalkeepers in the country and is another proud local player who is keen to play for her hometown club,” Epakis said.

“She has been involved in various training blocks with our team over a number of years and I am very proud to be able to give her this opportunity to be part of the team. Lilly is a mature young person with a fearless mindset which is very important for her position. Moreover, she is a player that will be able to grow and develop with great support and coaching.”



The Matildas are set for an Optus Stadium showdown against fellow Women's World Cup participants the Philippines after demand for tickets forced the game to be moved to the 60,000-seat stadium. Premier Roger Cook and Football Australia chief executive James Johnson made the announcement at Optus Stadium yesterday, with matchday two of the AFC Olympic qualifiers relcoated from Perth Oval.

Australia will now play the Philippines at 3pm on Sunday October 29, followed by Iran's clash with Chinese Taipei at 6pm. Tickets were exhausted for all three double-header matchdays at the 22,000-capacity Perth Oval, prompting the move to the larger venue. Fans who previously brought tickets for matchday two will receive special access to new tickets.

Johnson said the move reiterated the strong appeal and fanaticism for the Matildas following their historic Women's World Cup campaign. "The Matildas are one of the strongest sporting brands in the country, and it has become strongly evident that passionate support for this iconic team continues to grow and, for the second time in 12 months we need to relocate to a venue with a higher capacity to accommodate the demand," he said.

"We thank Premier Roger Cook, the Western Australian Government and Tourism Western Australia for their co-operation in ensuring a significantly greater number of fans can not only watch the team live, but also be a part of the journey towards the Paris 2024 Olympic Games." The Matildas will need to top their qualifying group - featuring the Philippines, Chinese Taipei and Iran - to proceed to the next phase of qualifying for the Paris games.



Decorated Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams has returned to the A-League by signing with Melbourne Victory for the next two seasons off the back of the Women's World Cup. The five-time World Cup attendee joins from Brighton and Hove Albion after previously having stints with Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal.

Williams, 35, said the World Cup on home soil had made her more eager to return home to Australia and inspire the next generation, especially young Indigenous football fans. "Obviously being overseas for a while now and seeing just the push and the pull of women's football and how it's grown, then how we all did at the World Cup really helping inspire the next generation," Williams said.

"(I was) really humbled and excited seeing a lot of Indigenous kids coming out and supporting. That's always really been something that I've wanted: to give back to the community and provide something for the future. So it was just an opportunity too good to be missed. I just felt that it was time to come back and be at the place where I first started and it'd be the place where I kind of end it all... I'm really excited to come back to the league."

Williams, who won three championships and two premierships with Melbourne City and one of each with Canberra United, replaces departing goalkeeper Casey Dumont. "We're thrilled to have a goalkeeper of Lydia's calibre in the squad for the upcoming campaign," Victory coach Jeff Hopkins said. "Her experience not only at A-League level but across Europe and internationally will be an invaluable asset to our squad on and off the field."

The Matildas return to action in Olympic qualifiers in Perth in October but Williams played down her Paris 2024 ambitions. "It's just gonna depend how I go back in the league, and how my body holds up and everything. I'm obviously not retiring yet," Williams said. "It's more about just getting some games under my belt again, and playing and being home and just enjoying the Aussie sun and the culture again, and laying the foundation for what the future might be. But I will never say no to another international competition."



Alen Stajcic is fond of history. He likes being able to learn from the mistakes of the past. His own personal history and coaching resume is impressive. Four trophies in six seasons with Sydney FC’s women’s side. Four-and-a-half years as Matilda’s coach, where he took them to the Women’s World Cup quarter-final and their highest-ever FIFA world ranking.

After his shock axing from the national team in 2019, Stajic took Central Coast Mariners to their first finals appearance in seven years, before helping the Philippines’ women’s side to a historic run of results which reached its apex at the recent Women’s World Cup.

The new Perth Glory coach is particularly fond of his club’s own history. Specifically, Stajic is full of praise for the club’s purple patch in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, when they were the hottest ticket in town, filled Perth Oval on a regular basis, appeared in four Grand Finals, won two Championships and three minor Premierships.

Stajcic wants Glory to be the biggest team in the A-League, and he knows it possible because he has seen it with his own eyes. He does not know why the club has consistently failed to hit those heights upon the conclusion of the old National Soccer League and birth of the A-League, but he knows there is no reason why the glory days of old cannot return.

“History is always a good teacher and history has shown us that something’s possible first and foremost and what we did well and didn’t do well,” Stajcic said. “Perth Glory, when it was founded in the 90’s, showed what is possible and for whatever reason, during the A-League era, it hasn’t really lived up to those aspirations, goals and objectives that were achieved within the old national league.”

“Those levels weren’t attained in the terraces, in the administration, on the field - no consistency and no stability and sustainability of achievements. I’m hoping over time that we set things in place here that will keep the club successful, not just for half a season or one season, but ongoing. That requires everyone - it’s not a coaching staff model; it’s a whole club model moving forward with with good foundations and principles.”

There are mild similarities between Stajcic’s tenure at Central Coast and Glory. He came to the club after several years of disappointing performances and in 2020, shortly after Stajcic had overseen a wooden spoon in his first full season in charge, owner Mike Charlesworth put the club up for sale. The only way was up and the next year Stajcic took the Mariners to third on the ladder.

Stajcic believes the future of the game in Australia can be steered by smaller market clubs, like Glory. “It’s important to have good clubs and big clubs in Sydney and Melbourne, but I actually think the future expansion and growth is in regional areas,” he said. “So it’s essential that clubs like Central Coast and Perth, Wellington and Brisbane, Newcastle, one-team towns, that they get their act together and are prosperous.”

Stajcic has already begun to instil his methods in Perth, upping training to six days a week and beginning to impose upon his team a desire to play for the purple shirt they wear. After the roller-coaster past five years, Stajcic said he had learnt the importance of unity and being able to convince everyone - not just his players - to come on the journey with him.

“Values and principles are the most important thing within teams and within leagues and within countries if they want to grow so having a good set of core values that everyone wants to stick by,” he said. “Ultimately, I think unity is number one and the more aligned an organization is, or a team or club, the bigger the chance you have of success - but as we know, nothing’s ever guaranteed in sport.”



Perth Glory have signed their third midfielder in as many days with Antonis Martis joining after impressing in trials. The 23-year-old youth academy graduate of Danish giant Midtjylland has been on loan for the past three seasons at Macarthur, where he notched up 23 A-League appearances.

Martis captained the Australia Under-16 side and more recently represented Cyprus, the island of his birth, at Under-19 level. He joins former Socceroo Ollie Bozanic and Jarrod Carluccio, both on loan from Western Sydney Wanderers, in bolstering Glory's midfield stakes for the coming summer season.

"I'm happy to be joining Perth and can't wait to work with Alen Stajcic and his team," Martis said. "It's a great opportunity for me and the team has been forming up well with all the new signings, so it's been exciting. Personally, I just want to contribute as much as I can individually and achieve things collectively as a squad and I feel that we have the team to do so."

Glory coach Stajcic said Martis has a lot to offer Glory. "Antonis has shown his technical capabilities in the A-League previously," Stajic commented. "His resilience and persistence are admirable qualities and his addition will add great depth to our central midfield stocks."



The Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division title will go down to the final game of the season, after some huge week 21 fixtures. In our ‘Match of the Round’ East Perth leapfrogged North Perth United and into second on goal difference, after a 3-0 win at Woodville Reserve on Sunday afternoon. “A brilliant team performance from the lads today they all stood up to a huge challenge,” East Perth coach Colm Costello said. “North Perth have spent the best part of the season at the top, so we knew everyone had to be at their best for 90 minutes and that’s exactly what they did.”

The visitors were ahead on 18 minutes, Chris Smith pressed the North Perth defender, and the pass was intercepted by Ryan McGready who made no mistake past Jamie Serra. East Perth was well on top and Adam McCarron effort hit the post, and McGready was unlucky to narrowly miss from the rebound. But on 37 minutes it was 2-0, Dean Wall’s corner was headed goalward by McCarron and Jamie O’Conner turned the ball home. North Perth needed a good start to the second half, but they found themselves three down in the first minute. A great through ball from the impressive Smith sent McGready in on goal, and he lobbed the oncoming Serra.

It could have been more, but East Perth left with all three points and go into the final game still in the mix for promotion to the State League. “It was a great atmosphere and very big crowd down at Woodville and delighted for the lads, they put so much in every week training and turned up and produced again yesterday,” Costello added. “Jason and I couldn’t have asked for more from the 16 lads this week, delighted for them. It sets up another huge game now next weekend at Bunbury, so it’s back to training and preparing for that again on Tuesday. Still all to play for in the last game of season which is brilliant to be part of.”

Emerald FC are top of the table after a 2-1 win against South Perth United at Challenger Reserve. “A great first half, very dominant all over the pitch and got the goals to back it up,” Emerald coach Shane O’Donovan said. “We lost our composure in the second half and let them grow into it. But overall, I’m happy to get the result to keep us in contention for the league going into next weekend, and everyone is looking forward to an exciting finish to the season.”

The visitors were ahead when Andrew Wood pressed the centre back and nicked it from him, and went through one-on-one and finished well past the keeper. They added a second when Shane Young’s corner found Woods at the back post to head home. South Perth pulled one back ten minutes from time, with Brad North firing home a free kick, to set up a tense finish for Emerald, but they couldn’t find the equaliser and the visitors held firm to seal the points.

Kelmscott Roos title hopes have been quashed after being held to a 1-1 draw by Kwinana United at Kelly Park. “It was a do or die game for both sides, and you could tell as both teams wanted every bit of the result,” Kelmscott keeper Taylor Warwick said. “I thought we played some great football but again couldn’t find the back of the net with any regularity which has been the story of our season. It’s disappointing that we are now confirmed to have missed out on promotion, but next season is already in planning and we will do everything in our power to not make that mistake again.”

It was the hosts, who need the points at the other end of the table, who opened the scoring in the first half, Arron Neal won possession on the left, and delivered a terrific ball in and Hamma Kamel glanced in a header at the near post. But ten minutes from time the Roos levelled, some great work down the right by Ishmael Greywood he took on his marker and whipped a great ball into the box to find Miguel Oliveria who took a great first touch and finished clinically. “Overall, a draw was probably fair but being 1-0 with ten to go I was hoping we could have held on, but I couldn’t be prouder of the group,” Kwinana coach Mark Purvis said. “The players have had to deal with a lot this year and could have easily given up especially after the start to the season and preseason we had. But they haven’t, they have dug deep be given ourselves a chance to stay in the league and as I say could not be prouder of this group.”

In the relegation six pointer at Beldon Park, Joondalup United have secured a 3-0 win against South West Phoenix. Second half goal from Ryan Pellow, penalty, Conor Lindsay and Taylor Cooper secured the win. “A much-needed win against a spirited Phoenix side,” Joondalup coach Mike Ford said. “With the half time score 0-0, it was crucial to come out and start well in the second half and with two goals within 10 min set up the win.”

The round started on Saturday evening, with North Beach coming home from Bortolo Park with a 5-1 win. “We were all disappointed with how the result ended up last week in a tight battle but the silver lining going into this week at Peel was we could play with absolute freedom knowing our status in the league was secure,” North Beach coach Nick De Carlo explained. “It was a great result under the lights and it sets up a momentous battle next week at home against Joondalup who will have everything to play for.” The visitors were on top early, Ben Reynolds played a ball over the top of the Peel defensive line to Dan Yelland-Hunter who calmly took a touch and finished across the face of goal into the bottom corner.

Yelland-Hunter became provider for the second goal after managing to recycle a corner that went deep, sending it back in and causing the keeper to fumble and allow Sam Richardson to tap home from close range. It was 3-0 shortly before half time, Luke Jones heading in from a corner. The hosts pulled one back on the hour, Bradley Mallinder scoring from a corner. But North Beach hit back, Reynolds racing onto a though ball from Yelland-Hunter and easing past two players and finished neatly into the bottom corner. They added a fifth late, Luke Wearing sent a header back across goal and Jones bagged his second for the evening from close range.

In the final game it was seven-goal thriller at the Herb Graham Recreation Centre, with Wembley Downs leaving with all three points after a 4-3 win. “A really impressive away win against an always dangerous Jags to back up a great win at home to South Perth last week,” Wembley coach Bob Jackson explained. “On our day we're a match for any side in this division but we are a young squad and have struggled for consistency at times this season. Credit to the boys for continuing to work hard and improve week by week, we’re looking forward to hosting North Perth in the last game of the season next Sunday.”

It was Wembley who opened the scoring, a sharp finish from Tom Bish. But the hosts hit back before half time, first Mathew Sesay scored, before Conor O’Driscoll gave them the lead at the break. Wembley were level on the hour, David Marshall fired in from just inside the area, and 15 minutes from time they regained the lead, substitute Callum Wilson with a fine finish. Jags restored parity five minutes later with Sesay adding his second, heading home from a corner. But it was Wembley who won it two minutes from time, substitute Kevin Punselie firing in off the bar. The visitors ended the game with ten men after Matthew Giudicatti was sent off.



Stirling Macedonia have won the 2023 NPLWA – Men’s Top Four Cup Final, beating Champions Perth RedStar 2-0 at the State Football Centre on Saturday evening. A penalty early in the second half from Calvin Whitney set Ian Ferguson’s side on their way, before Alex Tanevski added a second 12 minutes later. Whitney was sent off moments later, after receiving a second yellow card, while RedStar also finished the game with ten men after Sonny O’Shea was also given his marching orders, but at the final whistle Stirling were celebrating their first win in the top flight of WA football since 2010.

“It’s a great consolation after letting the league slip through our fingers, and I think we feel that we were the best team this year but we lacked the consistency that RedStar showed throughout,” Stirling defender Brent Quick explained. “The game was quite tight throughout the first half, and we had a couple half chances. The second half we were able to capitalise through our penalty and their mistake in the box, and Calvin and Alex Tanevski did brilliant to score for us. After that it was a matter of seeing the game out. As a defence we were able to control the game and were happy enough to come out with the win and cap off a fairly successful season.”

It was a tight opening with clear cut chances few and far between, the best opportunity went to Stirling on ten minutes, Asher Nelson cutting the ball back to Daniel Faichney, whose shot took a deflection off Ryan Lowry the ball hitting the post before being cleared. Moments later Nelson header at the back post was saved by Liam Reddy, as Stirling pressed for the opener.

Stirling were the side creating the better chances and Blair Govan got back with a last-ditch tackle to deny Alex Tanevski. RedStar were struggling up top without their top scorer Daryl Nicol, although Chok Dau was a constant threat down the left, and he cut inside on 25 minutes, but his curling effort flashed over the top. The best chances of the game came on 36 minutes for Stirling, Whitney’s through ball sent Faichney racing in on goal, but Reddy made a smart save at his near post, but at half time it was still all to play for.

After dominating the first half, it was Stirling who found the opening goal four minutes into the second half. Nelson’s shot struck the arm of RedStar defender Blair Govan. Referee Shane Skinner had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, and Whitney stepped up and sent Reddy the wrong way from the resulting penalty. It was no more than they deserved, and RedStar needed to lift, and they went close to levelling with their first shot on target on the hour.

Andy Higgins’ ball found O’Shea, who raced to the edge of the box, his shot beat James Bosdet, but the crossbar came to the rescue of the Stirling custodian. (Double sub for Redstar 61 mins not 51) Higgins was involved again moments later his precise pass finding Dau, who’s cross was well blocked by the alert Hristijan Jankuloski. It was the best spell of the game for the Champions, but 18 minutes from time it was Stirling who doubled their advantage.

Whitney’s free kick in to the box wasn’t claimed by Reddy, and the rebound saw Reddy and Govan get in each other’s way the ball falling kindly to Tanevski who fired home from close-range, and raced off to celebrate with the Stirling supporters. But moments later Whitney was sent off after receiving a second yellow card for a tackle on Theodore Leeming. Then a crude tackle from Dau on Brent Quick sparked a melee, which ended with yellow cards to Dau, Govan and Sam Wynne. RedStar were reduced to ten men late after O’Shea was given two yellow cards for two reckless tackles. A great end of the season for Ian Ferguson’s and skipper Luke Palmateer was awarded the ‘Gary Marocchi Medal’, as best player on the night.

“It's the best way we could have ended the season. To have come so close to potentially winning the league and missing out on that to now beating RedStar who finished ahead of us, it’s a very satisfying victory,” Palmateer said. “We did it the hard way by playing the midweek game against Perth, which really tested our squad’s character. Going behind early in that game to playing through extra time and winning on penalties, it's just reward for enduring through a season of almost to now having something to back up our performances.

“Winning the player of the match was a bit of a surprise, personally I was just really focused on achieving the collective result of winning the cup. But winning that medal, having been coached by Gary Marocchi’s brother Eric for many years at Perth as a junior, makes it special. Playing at the club as a junior was a real formative time in my development, so it meant a lot to receive that from Gary.”

Perth RedStar: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Nick WALSH (5 Lewis TUCKER 77’), 3 Blair GOVAN, 4 Declan HUGHES (8 Daniel KATZ 88’), 10 Andy HIGGINS, 11 Oscar MALFIORE (6 Theodore LEEMING 61’), 13 Ryan LOWRY, 14 Chok DAU, 17 Sonny O’SHEA, 18 Gomo DUKULY (12 Roland BALLAH 61’), 19 Ryan FINNIE – Subs not used: 15 Sean O’CONNOR, 16 Jeremy TSHONGO, 17 Nyle WEALE – Red Card: O’SHEA 90’

Stirling Macedonia: GK James BOSDET, 2 Brent QUICK, 4 Hristijan JANKULOSKI, 5 Luke PALMATEER, 7 Asher NELSON (3 Ryan MALTON 88’), 8 Gyles DAVIES, 10 Sam WYNNE, 11 Daniel FAICHNEY (14 Kingsley ESHUN 79’), 12 Kai MATTHEWS, 13 Calvin WHITNEY, 17 Alex TANEVSKI – Subs not used: RGK Liam PRICE, 16 Kyle DAVIS, 18 Daniel STEFOSKI, 19 Joshua BOSEVSKI – Red Card: WHITNEY 74’ - Referee: Shane SKINNER – Assistants: Josh MANNELLA, Arvin SHANMUGANATHAN – Fourth Official: Steven GREGORY



Perth Glory have secured the 2023 NPLWA Under 20’s Top Four Final Cup and completed the treble, the first in the clubs NPL history, after a big 8-1 win against Bayswater City at the State Football Centre on Saturday afternoon. Glory Head Coach Ivan Zuvela said they made a perfect start and went on with it.

“I thought we started off very well, scoring two goals in the first five minutes, and it was just one of those games where everything went right for us, and we were clinical in the final third and finished our chances,” Zuvela said. “I’m just so pleased for every player as they have put so much effort and hard work throughout the whole season, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more and I’m so proud and humbled to be their coach.”

Glory made the best possible start, and were ahead in the second minute, with Khoa Ngo on target. They doubled their lead three minutes later, Royie Rahamim getting on the end of Samuel Barry’s cross to head home. It was 3-0 on 17 minutes, Gert Prinsloo won possession off Sasha Demirovic to fire home, before Sebastian Despotovski converted from the spot to make it four moments later. Bayswater conceded another penalty on 37 minutes, and Tadiwanashe Kuzamba made no mistake. Bayswater were on the scoreboard just before half time, when Cory McNelis scored.

Bayswater held firm early in the second half, but they couldn’t keep Glory at bay, and it was 6-1 when Daniel Adesina scored another penalty. Louis Hewings scored the seventh from close range before Abdulla Dofash, run and finish completed the scoring, the result means Glory have completed an U20s treble of league, State Cup and Top Four Cup.

“I thought the scoreline was surprising, as Bayswater have some good players, but it just wasn’t there day and we exploited their weaknesses on the day and run out 8-1 winners,” Glory’s Sebastian Despotovski explained. “I was very happy with the team on the day and the whole year, and we were the first team to ever win the treble at the club, which is a huge achievement, overall, it was a great year from everyone involved with the team.’

Bayswater City: GK Casey ROBERTSON, 2 Kaleb SCOTT-Healey, 3 Benjamin THORPE, 5 Trejuan POTTS, 8 Sasha DEMIROVIC, 9 Celeston FULLER, 15 Jacob ROSSI, 16 Aryan YAZARLOU, 18 Cory MCNELIS, 20 Milan BULATOVIC, 21 Jethro HAAS – Subs not used: RGK Tyler WILKIE, 4 Fletcher ELLERTON, 11 Trevor NYAGWAYA, 13 Adbul MBANO, 14 Joshua BELL, 17 Deng GALUAK, 19 Samuel BADIASHILE

Perth Glory: GK Liam COYNE, 2 Tadiwanashe KUZAMBA, 3 Luke SPRIGG, 4 Manolo VENERACION, 5 Aston MONTGOMERY, 7 Samuel BARRY, 8 Gert PRINSLOO, 9 Royie RAHAMIM, 10 Sebastian DESPOTOVSKI, 11 Khoa NGO, 20 Giovanni DE ABREU – Subs not used: 12 Daniel ADESINA, 15 Daniel JANKULOSKI, 16 Abdulla DOFASH, 17 Louise HEWINGS, 18 Julian KELLY, 25 Kaveen WARAN – Referee: Kai BARTUSCH – Assistants: Naum KOVACSKI, Sam BAKER – Fourth Official: Alex CICCARONE



Perth Glory have added the 2023 NPLWA – Under 18’s Top Four Cup winners to their NPLWA league title, after coming from two goals down to beat Sorento 5-3 at the State Football Centre in Queens Park on Saturday morning. It was a frenetic start to the game with four early goals, and it was the Gulls who opened the scoring on three minutes. A quick throw from keeper Liam Hattersley saw Sorrento hit on a quick counter attack, and Rhys Thompson was found on the edge of the box and he fired home superbly. It was 2-0 moments later, Brodie Roberts finding Jack Sprigg, who found the bottom corner of the net. The Gulls were in full flight, but Glory hit back and reduced the margin, sixty seconds later, Louis Sollitt capitalizing on a defensive mix up to score from close-range.

Amazingly it was 2-2 on 12 minutes, Maxim Uvarov’s corner from the left was only cleared to the unmarked Alexander Bolton, who fired home through a crowded penalty area. Kenny Lowe’s side hit the front on 37 minutes, Bolton and Sollitt combining to find Santiago Flored, whose shot on the turn beat Hattersley. It was 4-2 moments later, Christian Pullella sent Flored down the left, he found Sollitt, who beat his marker before finishing low.

Both sides had chances early in the second half, but Sorrento were desperate to get back into the game, and Glory keeper Keveen Waran saved low to deny Roberts, before Thompson headed wide, with the goal at his mercy. But on the hour Glory made it 5-2, Flored firing home from six meters. They were denied a sixth moments later, Hattersley tipping over Sollitt’s shot on the run, before the Sorrento custodian was out bravely to save at the feet of half-time substitute Alfie Knight.

Sorrento pulled one back 12 minutes from time, Glory gave the ball away on the edge of their penalty area and Roberts finished low past Waren to make it 5-3. Sorrento went close to a fourth moments later, substitutes Leo Rietkerk and Jake Devey combining, the latter seeing his shot was saved by Waran. Then the resulting corner from Rietkerk hit the crossbar, before Oisin Mahon saw his shot saved low by the alert Waran, as Sorrento continued to press. Credit to the Gulls they weren’t giving up and Dilan Catiblanco-Angel was denied by Waran, and Sean Lougheed’s follow up shot was cleared off the line by Hayden Thomas, but Glory held firm to take out the entertaining game.

Perth Glory: GK Kaveen WARAN, 2 William FERSON, 3 Malise MPUNGA (18 Hayden THOMAS 60’), 4 Mark CIN ZAH, 5 Christian PULLELLA, 6 Ziyan LAN (14 Alfie KNIGHT 46’), 7 Louis SOLLITT (17 Tinomuonga MUEMA 67’), 8 Alexander BOLTON, 9 Santiago FLORED, 10 Maxim UVAROV (16 Noah IERACI 60’), 11 Chulu JOHNSON (12 Beckham BAKER 60’) – Subs not used: 13 Andreas PIOTROWSKI, 25 Jim COLLINS

Sorrento: GK Liam HATTERSLEY, 30 Trent SCOTT, 34 Patrick JACKSON (43 Leo RIETKERK 56’), 35 Ronan DOWLING (36 Dilan CASTIBLANCO-ANGEL 81’), 37 Brodie ROBERTS, 40 Rhys THOMPSON (50 Sean LOUGHEED 81’), 45 Zachary GARCIA, 47 Oisin MAHON, 48 Jack SPRIGG (41 Jake DEVEY 63’), 49 Alexander DAY (39 Clarence MUSA 63’), 51 Benjamin NILES – Subs not used: 46 Tom SADLER – Referee: Alex STOJCHESKI – Assistants: Finn JOHNSON, Armold WALSH – Fourth Official: Dragan KOVACESKI



Perth RedStar have completed the double in the NPLWA-Women’s Top Four Cup Final’s, with the first team beating Perth SC 4-1, while the under 21’s beat Balcatta Etna 2-1 at the State Football Centre on Saturday. First in the first team final, goals from Reina Kagami, Abbey Wolley and a brace from Olivia Wood secured the win, and it gave Carlos Vega-Mena’s side the league and Top Four double, and the coach was delighted to end the season with another strong performance.

“Playing Perth is always a challenge as they are a talented team, but we came out strong and were determined to bring home the title. We had a strong starting 11 and it’s a credit to the club for its player development that we had such quality and depth on the bench,” the coach explained. “It makes a coach’s job easy when you have the depth in a squad and know the team won’t drop when substitutes are made. I’m really proud of the way the players can bring my philosophy and playing style to the pitch. They are an awesome group who play quality football. I am truly privileged to be their coach.”

Perth went into the game after a hard-fought win against NTC on Wednesday evening, but they found themselves behind after only eight minutes. The Azzurri thought they had cleared the danger, but the fell to Kagami on the edge of the box, and her shot beat Rebecca Bennett. The Champions doubled their advantage ten minutes before the break, a mis-timed back pass from Matilda Boehm put pressure on keeper Bennett, and Wood nipped in lifted the ball over the Perth custodian.

The second half was a tight affair, but Perth couldn’t find a way back into the game, and five minutes from time RedStar made it 3-0. Kagami was the supplier this time, sending in Wooley, who rounded the Perth keeper before rolling the ball home. They added a fourth in the final minute, Wolley picking out Wood, who made no mistake for her second of the game. Perth scored a late consolation goal in stoppage time, with Gemma Craine scoring, but it was too little too late.

“The Top Four Final was a very clinical performance for us as we stuck to our game plan of a high press and quick ball movement on the great new surface very well. Every game against Perth SC is tough and unpredictable, it was great to put the game away early in the second half,” RedStar defender Bronwyn Studman said. “Overall, the season for us has been fantastic. We have had so many junior players, namely Abbey Wooley, Katie Ritchie Queyen Doan show that they are the future of this club. It would be amiss of me to not comment on the incredible international players we had join us in Reina and Chio who have shown us a whole other level of skill and finishing capability and had a huge impact on the quality of our training and games as a whole.”

In the earlier Top Four 21’s Cup Final, Jessica Wheatman’s RedStar 21’s has come from behind to beat Champions Balcatta Etna 2-1. The coach was delighted with her side’s performance on the day. “I’m super proud of the girls. The football we played was really positive and, in the end, I think the girls got what they deserved,” Wheatman explained. “To come back from a goal down to the champions in both the semi-final and final shows the character of this team. These girls will be playing in NPLW first teams in the near future.”

RedStar had the opportunity to take the lead in the first half, but Kaitlyn Bellanca saw her spot kick go over the top. But it was Balcatta who opened the scoring early in the second half, Nicole Smith’s long-range shot flew past Jayde O’Donohoe and into the top corner of the net. But the game took a twist on 66 minutes, Balcatta keeper Isabella Comito raced out and brought down Natalie Malicky, and referee Darius Andres pointed to the spot and sent the keeper off. Balcatta scorer Smith went between the sticks, but her first job was to pick the ball out of the net, with Charlotte Taylor converting the resulting penalty. RedStar pressed for the winner, and it came five minutes from time, Alkira Mogridge’s corner hit the back of the unfortunate Chloe McGlinn, and into her own net to seal the final for the RedStar.



Fremantle City and Joondalup United booked their spot in the NPL-WA/State League First Division Promotion/Relegation Play-off Final, after Saturday’s Semi-Final second legs. Joondalup United ended the 35-year Premier League stint for Sorrento, after they drew 2-2 at Percy Doyle Reserve, seeing them move though on goal difference. Joondalup assistant coach Steven Flint said it was a huge win for the club.

“Sorrento must be applauded, they hard fought till the very last second of the second game. It was probably not the most attractive games to watch, but on the pitch the intensity was immense. Both sides were fully committed and both games were fiercely competitive,” Flint explained. “We are obviously delighted to get a step closer to gaining NPL status and the JUFC squad proved again to be so hardworking and resilient, especially coming back from a goal down in the second game.”

There was a big crowd of over 1,000 at the venue, and it was the hosts who were ahead on 25 minutes, Danny Douglas’ long ball wasn’t claimed by Todd Hoyle, and Keegan Chambers headed home much to the delight of the home supporters. Scott Witschge went close to doubling the Gulls lead, his shot on the run deflected off a Joondalup defender, but Todd Hoyle produced a great reflex save with his leg to deny him.

Joondalup went close at the other end Ayden Dragun long throw wasn’t dealt with and James Harmer’s volley was deflected over the top. Then from the resulting corner Jay Lang lost his marker to head inches over the top. But in the shadows of half time Joondalup levelled, Elliot Tattersall slipping the ball into Harmer, who finished low past Patrick Hughes.

Lang fired over the top early in the second half, but on 54 minutes Joondalup hit the front. Joel Prout’s long ball was flicked on by Harmer, and Joel Sollitt out-muscled his marker on the edge of the box, and cut the ball back to Harmer, whose shot deflected off David Stokoe and lobbed over Hughes, before racing off to celebrate with the visiting faithful.

Sorrento substitute Gustavo Giron-Marulanda saw an effort whistle over the top as the host looked for the equaliser. Joondalup were defending deep, with former Gulls defenders Ben Johns and Shaun Kilkelly working overtime, but on 74 minutes they were breached, with Sorrento levelling. Witschge’s ball into the penalty area was only cleared as far as Douglas, who brought the ball down before curling it home from the edge of the box.

Both sides had chances in a frantic finish, Tattersall’s header from Lang’s free kick was tipped over the top by Sorrento keeper Hughes, before Chambers’ shot on the turn flashed wide at the other end. Sorrento needed a goal to keep their NPL status, but they couldn’t find it and after six minutes off stoppage time referee David Bruce’s final whistle saw wild celebration on and off the pitch. “Where do I start,” Joondalup defender Shaun Kilkelly said. “It was a fantastic team performance by us. We stuck to our game plan and it worked. We are looking forward to next week. It will be a tough game, and our two games this year have been close, and I doubt next week will be the same.”

At the Genesiscare Stadium, Fremantle City won 3-1 on the day to seal a 5-1 win against Mandurah City. “Tough game like I said it would be, it’s never an easy atmosphere down in Mandurah,” Fremantle’s Elliot Ireland said. “We had to suffer for parts of the game especially in that first half, but I thought we stuck together really well and then we got the goal which I think was so important for us to get the first goal. From then I thought we showed great character to finish the job and entertain our supporters with some great goals.”

The hosts Mandurah City needed a good start, trailing 0-2 after the first leg, and Joe O’Brien and Leigh Griffiths were lively early, and O’Brien’s shot on the run flashed wide on 14 minutes. Fremantle had chances to, Joshua Macri shot crashing off the bar ten minutes later, before O’Brien then fired into the side netting, after nipping in after a mix up between keeper and defender. But in first half stoppage time Fremantle found the opener, Patrick Loughrey’s free kick was headed home by skipper Hayden Stevens.

Mandurah needed a good start to the second half, and they found it four minutes in, after referee Josh Nixon pointed to the spot after Robbie Galvin was brought down by Elliot Ireland. Griffiths stepped up and found the bottom corner to bring the tie level. They went close to a second moments later, O’Brien’s shot from the angle flew over the top. But the game took another twist on the hour, Harry Collins sent off for a late challenge on Oliver La Galia.

Fremantle made their numerical advantage count, and five minutes later they regained the lead. Loughrey’s corner from the right picked out the unmarked Roberto Soares, who had just come off the bench, to head home. Matthew Sparrow’s side sealed the tie ten minutes from time with a third goal, substitute Enzo Marangoni cutting in from the left and firing home superbly from long-range. “We knew going into the game that anything close to our best would be enough,” Fremantle’s George Festa said.

“We had full confidence in ourselves as a squad and on the back of some positive results in recent weeks, trusted each individual to do their job, regardless of starting or making an impact elsewhere and our depth shone through. We seem to have peaked at the right time after a lot of people would've counted us out for promotion, but internally we knew we had the ability to overcome Mandurah despite some difficulty against them in recent history. Congratulations to Mandurah on a top season, and I’m sure it won’t be long until they're knocking on the door of the NPL again.”



Curtin University and Subiaco AFC will meet in next week’s State League First Division/Second Division Promotion/Relegation Play-off Final after both progresed in Saturday’s second leg. First at Maida Vale Reserve Curtin scored late to seal a 2-1 win on the day, and a 3-2 win on aggregate against Maddington-Kalamunda White City. Curtin coach Troy Reid said it was a battle for the 120 minutes, but he was delighted with the strong performance. “Thrilled for the boys and the whole club getting the win in extra time on Saturday in front of a hostile Maddington crowd,” Reid explained.

“Credit to Maddington, they were two of the most even games of football I’ve seen in a long time, and it was only key moments that we took that decided the tie. It’s going to be a big week for the group as we prepare for Subiaco, who I’m sure will go in as favourites. The goal has always been Promotion, and we’re all focused on getting the win on Saturday to reach Division One.”

It was Curtin who hit the front on 17 minutes, Daniel Davey made space down the right, and his cross found Oscar Wright, whose first touch took him away from his marker and he found the bottom corner of the net. But Maddington were level seven minutes later, good work on the edge of the box by Gaston Bazet, he drove into the box and was brought down by Jeffrey Ledwith, and the referee pointed to the spot. Jose Zuniga stepped up and converted the resulting penalty.

It was a great atmosphere with a big crowd on hand, and both sides had chances after the break, but good saves from Rain Blauberg and Daniel Marques meant extra time was called for. It looked like going to penalties but six minutes from time Curtin won it. A good advantage was played by the referee in the leadup to the goal, Jai Coker raced down the right and cut the ball back from the byline, and Wright played the ball to Nathan Smith, who found the bottom corner, much to the delight of the players and visiting supporters. “A very tough game, proud of the boys for the effort they put in and absolutely stoked to get the win,” Smith explained. “Credit to Maddington, good team and for their first season in the state league they've done a cracking job.”

Subiaco AFC also moved into the final, despite a 1-2 loss against Swan United at the Swan Italian Club, Francis Street, winning the tie 3-2 on aggregate. “We knew the game was always going to be a tough one, and it was end to end stuff,” Subiaco striker Gavin Knight said. “We needed to get an away goal which we did and with Swan getting two quick goals it put pressure on us. But we kept clean sheet in second half which got us through to the final.”

The hosts needed a strong start after a 1-3 loss in the first leg at Rosalie Park, but it was the visitors who made the break through on the half hour, after Knight was brought down in the box, and he converting from the penalty spot. Subiaco had a couple of good chances to double their lead, but failed to take them, and the hosts hit back and levelled on the day six minutes later. A Michael Maratea corner was whipped into the front post, Jake Fritchley got out in front of his marker and headed home at the back post.

The hosts were ahead just before half time, Jordy Lyall got possession of the ball in the middle of the park and lofted a pinpoint diagonal over the full back to Fritchley who took a touch and fired a low cross across the box to John Monterosso at the back post to fire home. Swan pressed after the break but couldn’t break down a tight Subiaco defence, and it is Marc Wingell’s side moving into next week’s final. “We had our chances to put the game to bed in the first half, but we didn’t finish it off and ultimately had to work for it,” Subiaco’s Christian Miraudo said. “Second half ended up being a physical battle which we were expecting and thankfully we were able to hold on and now we have to prepare for the final next week. You have to give credit to Swan, who didn’t give us an inch all game, scored some nice goals and played some really good football.”



There is a three-way tie at the top of the Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division, with North Perth United, Emerald and East Perth locked on 41 points, and with only two rounds remaining the race for the title heats up this weekend. Our ‘Match of the Round’ takes us to Woodville Reserve on Sunday lunch time, with North Perth hosting East Perth. (1pm) The hosts saw their lead at the top of the table disappear last week, with a draw at Jaguar, but they did salvage a point with a late equaliser from Nickolas Bailey. Meanwhile East Perth surge up the table continued with a win against Joondalup, making it six games unbeaten, so to say three points are massive in this one is a huge understatement.

North Perth, who have decided not to apply for promotion this season, sit top of the table on goal difference, but coach Alex Carter said they will be doing all they can to win the title. “Everyone at North Perth is looking forward to the last two games of the season, and hopefully we can do enough this week, then take it to the final day of the season,” he said. “We have been pretty open internally with the squad to embrace the situation we have been in for the last few weeks and that’s chasing a trophy. We haven’t tried to hide away from it, nor will we on Sunday.”

Carter said he will be looking for an improvement from his side, from the last time the sides met in round ten, when they shared the points in a 1-1 draw at Cabrini Park. “Yes, we were really disappointed the way we applied ourselves when we meet East Perth earlier in the season. I really don’t need to say much to our boys on this as they are 100% aware of what is expected this week,” the coach explained. “Hopefully the sun is out and the hill is packed with a good atmosphere on Sunday.”

East Perth skipper Darren O’Riordan said they are finding form at the right end of the season, sitting second on goal difference, and will be doing everything they can to win the title and get promotion to State League football. “Yes, we are on a good run of form, but we are still only taking it one game at a time, we can’t look to far ahead,” O’Riordan explained. “We train how we play and every player plays a big part in the squad.”

The midfielder said Sunday is huge in the race for the title, and slip up can let the other two sides into pole position. “Sunday is a big game at the top of the league of course, but I don't think either team is counting out Emerald, and a draw in our game is a great result for Emerald so obviously we will be going for the win and the three points on Sunday,” O’Riordan said. “Personally, I have been in this position before with Kingsley, so I know what these games are about, and I'll be hoping for a better outcome this time round. As a team we don't fear anybody, so let's bring on Sunday.”

Emerald, who have also declined promotion, sits third on goal difference, and will hope for a favorable result in the North Perth v East Perth game, but they face a tricky tie against sixth placed South Perth United at Challenger Reserve. (All other games kick off at 3pm, unless stated) Emerald coach Shane O’Donovan said it’s been a successful season, and to be in the mix for the title with two games remaining is a fantastic effort from his squad. “Yes, it’s been a great season for us, in a very competitive league. We knew we had to be consistent in our performances and results to be in with a chance and in fairness to the lads they have put a savage effort in this season,” the coach explained. “Hopefully they can get rewarded for it now, just need to give it one final push in these last two games.

The coach knows South Perth won’t just roll over, and their results have shown they can beat anyone on their day, but they head there looking for three points, and take the title race down to the final game. “South Perth, are tough team to play against, as they have shown throughout the season,” O’Donovan said. “So, we know we will have to be at our very best to beat them, the lads are ready for the challenge and hopefully we can get the result we need to put ourselves in the best possible position going into the last game of the season.”

South Perth coach Lee Hayward said they will look to bounce back after last week’s loss at Wembley, but is struggling for numbers this week. “It’s going to be very tough against a good Emerald’s side, and it will be a much-changed South Perth team due to injury and holidays,” he said. “We welcomed back Brayden Burton for the Jags game for the first team since round three, but unfortunately, he got injured again, so he joins Jack Dalla Via, Beau Rahim, Gavin Walker, the league’s top scorer George Stephens and keeper Brian Burke on the side lines. We also have a bit of sickness around the camp this week, so we hope that clears up.”

The round starts on Saturday evening when Peel United welcome North Beach to Bortolo Park (6pm), while Jaguar host Wembley Downs at the Herb Graham Recreation Centre. The other two games will have a say in the relegation places. First Kwinana United need the three points when they host fourth placed Kelmscott Roos at Kelly Park, while in the final game the bottom two sides. Joondalup United and South West Phoenix meet at Beldon Park. It’s a huge trip north for the Bunbury-based side, and midfielder Corey Barclay knows the importance of the game.

“To put it simply this is a do or die game for us, lose and our seasons over, win and we give ourselves another week of hope in staying up. It won’t be an easy game with Joondalup playing much better in the second half of the season and we only managed a draw against them at home,” he said. “They will be up for it just as much as we are because a win for them helps them towards securing safety from the drop. Should be a great game with both teams leaving everything they have out on the pitch.”

Joondalup United have dropped into the drop zone after back-to-back defeats, but coach Mike Ford said it’s a must win game, but like all games this season, he knows it will be tough. “It’s a crucial game for both teams, South West Phoenix will be desperate for a result and we again will need to be at our best to get anything from this match,” he said. “This season has seen every team capable of winning any game, so for both teams this is a cup final situation and no doubt, as all games this season have been, will be very entertaining.”



There will be a Festival of Football on Saturday at the new State Football Centre with five games across the day, and in the NPLWA-Men’s Top Four Cup Final sees Champions Perth RedStar take on runners-up Stirling Macedonia on Saturday evening. (7pm) RedStar beat Saturday’s opponents last week in the semi-final, while Stirling overcame Perth SC in the preliminary final on penalties on Tuesday night, so if this game is anything like they have been this season between the two side, it should be another tight encounter and hopefully a big crowd on hand to watch.

Stirling skipper Calvin Whitney was on target in Tuesday’s win against Perth, and the former Perth Glory Youth midfielder said it was a tough game, but their experience on the night got them through. “Your right, Tuesday was a tough game, as Perth are a well-structured and an organised team which were hard to break down,” Whitney explained. “We had to fight the whole game and take chances when they made mistakes. But with Boz (James Bosdet) in goals and what I know that he’s capable of, I was confident in us when we went to penalties.”

Whitney said on their day they can beat anyone, and they are hoping to do that at the new State Football Centre. “We’re all excited to play at the new stadium and no better way for the final to be against the Champions,” he said. “Obviously RedStar have their threats, but knowing what we have done in the season against them, I know we can come up with a big result on the weekend. So, if everyone in our team turns up on Saturday, I believe we will be lifting the trophy.”

RedStar defender Blair Govan the win against Stirling in the Semi-Final was important, as they had failed to beat them this season. “It was a very hard-fought win last weekend against Stirling, and I thought it was a pretty even game between the two best sides this year,’ the defender said. “I thought we defended as a team really well, and Chok and Daryl worked there magic once again up top. In the second half we sat back a little more but again we were solid and looked like scoring every time we went forward. It’s been a big improvement for us this season being able to grind results out, which at this time of year is all that really matters.”

Govan said the incentive to hold on to their Top Four crown is something the players have spoken about, but they face a stern test against Stirling, but he is confident they can get the job done. “We’re expecting a tight contest against Stirling again this weekend as it always is when we play them,” he explained. “Hopefully they are a little fatigued from there mid-week game, but when there’s a trophy up for grabs on the night that doesn’t really matter as we proved last year. So, we will have to be at our best again and hopefully we can pick up our second trophy of the season, and go back-to-back in the Top Four Cup.

In the Under 20’s Top Four Cup Final, Champions Perth Glory meet Bayswater City. (2pm) Glory reached Saturday’s final with a narrow win against Perth RedStar, while Bayswater secured their place after beating RedStar in the penalty shoot out in the preliminary final on Wednesday evening. Scotlan Morrison gave City the lead just before half, but he was then sent off on the hour. The ten men held firm but Theodore Leeming levelled for RedStar in stoppage time to take it to penalties, and City prevailed 5-4.

Bayswater coach Kevin Castle said to concede so late was tough, but his players showed great character to win the game. “It was a tough game as expected against RedStar, and it made it even harder defending a 1-0 lead for 30 minutes with ten men,” he said. “To concede so late was gutting, but full credit to the boys for having the courage to rise up yet again and get ready for penalties. Every penalty was superb and a great save from Casey Robertson gave Sasha Demirovic the chance to take us to the final.”

Castle said Glory have been the benchmark this season, but games between them have been tight, and he is expecting the same on Saturday. “It’s always hard against a well-coached Glory side, Ivan and Will deserve full credit for what they’re doing with the academy set up,” Castle explained. “Every time we have played them this season it has been a close and exciting game and we expect nothing different on Saturday. Our boys will be up for it and ready to commit everything to the cause to come out on top.”

Glory won the title convincingly, six points clear of RedStar, and 15 points clear of fourth placed Bayswater. Ivan Zuvela’s side won the round three game 4-1 at Frank Drago Reserve, before a narrow 2-1 win at Lark Hill, but the coach knows Saturday is a cup final and will be a tight game. “We know that Bayswater are a very disciplined and well-structured side, and I have a lot of time for their coach, Kevin Castle, and I think he has done an outstanding job this season,” Zuvela said. “I’m really proud of our playing group this year and we are looking forward to another exciting day this Saturday.”

In the Under 18’s Top Four Cup Final Sorrento take on Perth Glory in the early game at the venue (9.30pm) Glory moved into Saturday’s final after dramatic penalty shootout win against Sorrento in the semi-final, but the Gulls bounced back on Wednesday evening, with midfielder Brodie Roberts scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win against Bayswater City to seal their spot. Glory won the first meeting in the league this season, with a 5-0 win in round ten at Percy Doyle Reserve, and they also won the round 16 game 4-1 at Lark Hill so Kenny Lowe’s side will go into this one as favorites.

But Sorrento showed in the semi-final they are up for a fight and pushed the champions all the way, and coach Allan Hodgkinson said they had to work hard to beat a good Bayswater side on Wednesday, and hopes they can take that momentum onto Saturday’s clash. “The Bayswater game was a close encounter as every Bayswater against Sorrento game is. It was a bit of an old school tough game in rough weather conditions we scored in the first half and dug deep showed great character to keep Bayswater from scoring,” the coach explained. “The boys are looking forward to the Glory game. They beat us twice in the league this season, but we pushed them to penalties in the semifinal hopefully the lads can go one better in the final.”



It's NPL-WA Grand Final day this Saturday. The first Grand Final was in 1960, which decided the Top Four Cup played between East Fremantle Tricolore and Windmills.

The Grand Final format has changed between a Top Four and Top Five Cup a number of times. While in some years, it wasn't even played. In 1989, for the first time, the league championship itself was decided by the game, which to this day still has had the biggest ever attendance. In fact, on ten occasions the ultimate prize in WA football was decided by the Grand Final, last occurring in 2014.

Football West has since reverted back to the "first past the post" for deciding the state championship, with the game now deciding the "Top Four Cup", which is separate to the league. Click NPL-WA Grand Finals page for a full history of the decider.



The second legs of the NPL-WA/State League First Division Promotion/Relegation Play-off is on Saturday, and both ties are evenly poised. Firstly, Sorrento host local rivals Joondalup United at Percy Doyle Reserve. (3pm) The Gulls came home with a scoreless draw in the first leg at Forrest Park, and defender Mark Barnett said it was a tight game, as they knew it would be, but missed chances cost them. “The first leg was a dog fight, but full credit to Joondalup who defending outstandingly and hung on at the end,” he said. “I thought we controlled large parts of the game and applied a lot of pressure over their defence which was the plan. We had a lot of chances to score and to win the first leg convincingly however that’s football and we didn’t take those chances.”

Barnett said not many thought they would be this position, but they are and are looking to get the job done on Saturday. “There is a lot riding on the second leg at home for the club considering what’s at stake. I don’t think anyone thought we’d have finished 11th come the end of the season, but here we are and as a playing group we need to accept that and rectify it on Saturday,” the defender explained. “Since the last game of the season keeping the club out of relegation has been our only focus. In saying that Joondalup will be up for this and they will bring the support, we need to be the more mature fighters in the boxing ring come 3pm on Saturday and let our experience take care of the results.”

Joondalup midfielder Jay Lang said a clean sheet was vital in the first leg, and he said the whole club is buzzing for Saturday’s second leg. “Yes, the first leg was a bit of a cagey affair with both teams figuring each other out. I thought a draw on the whole was probably a fair result and importantly for us we were able to keep a clean sheet,” Lang explained. “Saturday is almost like a free hit for us as I don’t think many people thought we would be in this position at the start of the year. Whereas the Sorrento boys have got the pressure of playing at home in front of their fans and trying to preserve their NPL status, so I’m sure it’ll be another tight affair and it’ll come down to who can manage the game better.”

Fremantle City head south to Genesiscare Stadium with a two-goal advantage after the first leg, with goals from Dean Hurley and Enzo Marangoni, while Mandurah will be without Aaron McCready who was sent off last week. Fremantle midfielder Elliot Ireland said last week was a good win, but he is well aware the tie isn’t over, but they head into the game full of confidence they can get the right result. “It was a huge win in the first leg, at home in front of a great crowd,” Ireland said.

“We’ve had some great battles this season with Mandurah, so we knew it was going to be very tough but I thought every single one of our lads was committed to the plan we set out and it worked perfectly. But you know that’s only the first leg, the jobs not finished. In games over two legs you obviously want to give yourself the best chance going into that second leg, I think we’ve done that. But we know how good Mandurah can be, especially in front of their home crowd, I’m sure it’ll be a great atmosphere. Should be a very good game, and we are looking forward to it.”

Mandurah player/coach John Baird will miss the game, and the rest of the season, after tearing his MCL in his knee against Western Knights on the final game of the season. The coach said his players gave it everything in the first leg, but lady luck wasn’t on their side. “Yes, of course it was a disappointing result, but not the performance, the boys stuck to the game plan against a good Fremantle side on their patch, considering we had to make a change after ten minutes with one of our players getting a broken nose,” Baird explained.

“Then to score a goal which has been seen on video to be over the line then to go down to 10 men, six seconds later is disappointing but I felt we handled it well, but in the end lost a second goal. Saturday is not about putting it right, it’s what we need to do to progress to the final simple as that. Yes, we have injuries and suspensions, but we’ve shown we can deliver throughout the squad and I believe we can do it on Saturday.”



There is everything to play for in the second legs of the State League First Division/Second Division Promotion/Relegation Play-offs, with all teams still in the mix to reach the final. In the first game, Subiaco head to the Swan Italian Club, Francis Street (3pm), holding a 3-1 lead from the first leg, after a brace from Kaleb Morrison, but a late goal from Brennan Borzecki has given the Swans a huge boost, but they will be without skipper Michael Yarker, who was sent off in game.

Swan coach Colin Morgan said last week’s loss was disappointing, but the sending off had a huge say in the way the game went, and they are looking to make emends on Saturday. “Look, a disappointing result last week, but the away goal however is massive, and playing the best part of 60 minutes with ten men and managing to get a goal gives us a chance going into this week,” Morgan said. “The lads are furious with the outcome from last week and want to right those wrongs at home. The tie is not beyond us at all, we know where we need to be better from last week, and if we get going at home, we think we are every chance of getting the job done.”

Subiaco striker Gavin Knight, who had a successful stint at Swan a few years ago, said the tie is still not won, and they have been told all week by coach Marc Wingell the same. “Yes, Marc has definitely been drilling it into us all week, saying we only got one foot in the door, and we shouldn’t take Swan for granted,” he said. “We need to stick to game plan and get an early goal. But the confidence is high in the camp, but we all know football is football, and anything can happen.”

In the other semi-final takes us to Maida Vale Reserve (3pm), where the game between Curtin University and Maddington-Kalamunda White City is evenly poised, after the 1-1 draw in the first leg at Edinburgh Oval. Simone Sichel gave the hosts the lead, but Nicolas Roca scored a stunner to level things up, but Curtin will go into Saturday’s game without Scott Geare, who was sent off in the game. Maddington striker Farruh Mavlonov said last week was a great game, but thought a draw was a fair result, and he is expecting more of the same on Saturday. “Yes, it was a tough first leg away at Curtin and I think the draw was a fair result. Their pitch was dry and not in great condition, making it hard for us to play our usual good brand of football.

“It was crucial for us to get a late away goal, and we're happy with the result. Going into Saturday’s game we are undefeated in the league at home, and we hope to keep it that way to reach the final. Even though a 0-0 will see us through on away goal rule, we will be coming down to play for a big win. We have always played an attractive brand of football on our nice pitch, and the boys are buzzing to enjoy the game and win on the weekend. I'm confident we will get the job done in front of a big, loud home crowd.”

Cutin coach Troy Reid said the first leg draw was fair, but they are looking forward to the challenge at Maida Vale, and knows if they play at their best, they can get the right result. “The first leg was a tight game and both teams had chances to win it, but a draw was a fair result in the end,” the coach said. “There’s a buzz around the group at the moment as to how close we are to making the playoff final. But this weekend will be a tough game as Maddington haven’t lost at home all year. We’ve been working hard on a few areas of our game this week and I’m confident that if we play at our best, we can get the job done.”



In the NPLWA - Women’s Top Four Cup Final, Champions Perth RedStar meet Perth SC at the State Football Centre in Queens Park. (4.15pm) RedStar beat Perth in the semi-final last weekend to book their place in Saturday’s Final, while Perth sealed their spot after a 3-0 win against the NTC on Wednesday evening. It was a terrific first-half performance from the Azzurri, with goals from Gemma Craine, Ella Lincoln and Faye Phillips, and they held firm after the break to advance.

Perth striker Ella Lincoln said it was a good performance, especially after the disappointing result at RedStar, and she has been delighted the way the younger players have made their mark in the first team. “It was good to fight back and get a good win after a poor result against RedStar on Sunday,” Lincoln said. “The girls having to come in from the 20’s, that hadn’t started for us yet this season, did very well. It sure won’t be an easy game on Saturday, and we have to be at our best to overcome them, but we’re looking forward to it.”

Perth coach Peter Rakic was delighted with the performance on Wednesday, and he said now they are looking to put to bed their disappointing result in the semi-final. “I'm just happy with the win and the second chance it's given us to play finals football, after such a difficult season, I think we thoroughly deserve to be there on Saturday and that's what I'm pleased about the most for these girls,” Rakic explained. “The defeat in the first semi was hard to accept, but I'm confident our girls will show up to make amends for it. Whatever happens on the day, I know we'll push them to the final whistle. Anything is possible in football and that's the exact mindset that we'll prepare for.”

RedStar coach Carlos Vega-Mena said they are aiming to finish the season on a high, and they are looking forward to playing at the new home of football. “We started preparing for the final after the win against Perth, and regardless of who we are up against on Saturday, we will prepare this week with the same mentality as always and with the same commitment to playing our style of football,” the coach explained. “As always, the team that makes the least mistakes will have more chance to bring home the title, I’m sure Perth feel the same. We are looking toward to participating in the first Top Four Final to be held at the new venue. It will be a great experience for all involved.”

RedStar striker Renee Leota said their win against Perth in the semi-final was convincing, and they have worked on a few things and it worked then, and she hopes it does again in the final. “I thought the performance last week was good, and it was great win for us, so we were stoked to have secured a convincing win against Perth,” she explained. “Our focus was a higher press, putting them under pressure higher up the pitch and winning it back in more dangerous areas. I think that helped us enormously, and we’re be looking for more of the same on Saturday.”

The NPLWA – Womens’ Under 21 final sees Balcatta Etna taking on Perth RedStar. (11.45pm) RedStar’s moved into the final after beating Balcatta 2-1 in the semi-Final, with goals from Freya Bibby and Natalie Malicky. Balcatta bounced back in the preliminary final edging out the NTC 5-4 on penalties to take their spot in the final. Nicole Smith gave Balcatta the lead in the shadows of half time, but NTC substitute Cate McAuliffe levelled in stoppage time to send the tie to penalties, and Chantelle Colalillo scored the fifth spot kick to seal the win.



Maccabi SC will play Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division football next season, for the first time in 15-years, after wrapping up the Division One title with two games to spare on Sunday. The 2-0 win at Port Kennedy with a brace from Mitchell Furness, secured the title, and coach Ricky Berelowitz said having played at the club and just missed out on promotion, now coaching them back to the Premier Division is a proud moment for him and everyone involved at the club. “Obviously myself, the players, everyone at the club and in the community are absolutely delighted to gain promotion, it’s been a very long time since we were last in the Amateur Premier, and we’re really excited to be back,” Berlowitz said.

“Having played for the club in Division One, seven-years ago when we just missed out on promotion, and then seeing the club drop down to Division Three, it’s been really great to be a part of the club for the last few seasons and see some success again. This group of players is really special, a large core has been together since the Division Three days, and I must acknowledge the work done by Ian Joselowski to get this journey started and bring us up to Division One.”

Skipper Dean Gordon said the work the coaching staff have put in this season has been fantastic, and a major reason why they gained promotion. “Our promotion is well deserved in my opinion, and we have been working on this for the past four years having been promoted every season besides the last. The failure of last year definitely gave us the extra motivation to achieve what we did this season. I think it is also important to know some other big reasons why we won this year,” Gordon said.

“Firstly, the job Ricky has done coaching us has been great, we played our system every week with our philosophy focusing on playing out from the back and being very organised defensively which is clear when you see we have only conceded 14 goals this season,” explained. “Secondly, the togetherness of all the lads. We have a squad full of top lads which make it a joy to train hard and work hard in games for each other, and finally, the depth of our squad, we have players on our bench or in our reserves in almost every position that can and have stepped up if needed.”

The success was built on solid back four, having the best defensive record in the league, but the goalscoring exploits of top goalscorer Jacob Wemyss was also a huge factor in their promotion, and he said everyone has done their part in the success. “It’s been a journey, but we’ve had the Premier Division in our sights for the last five years so for us to get there is an amazing feeling,” the striker said. “I think our system was the major key in us winning the league, Ricky’s done an amazing job at drilling it into us and to only concede 14 goals in the league so far shows that.”

The last word went to coach Berlowitz, who thanked his players and the clubs’ loyal supporters, and dedicated the promotion to them. “I’m very proud to get to coach these boys, the level of dedication and commitment has been exceptional, and the numbers at training along with the level and quality they bring has been fantastic for an amateur team, and I’m so happy they have now been rewarded for their efforts,” he said.

“They’ve been a pleasure to coach and I’m privileged to have been a part of the journey with them - really looking forward to testing ourselves in Prem next season. I also want to thank all of our supporters. We’ve consistently had really great support both home and away, and we would like to dedicate this promotion to them.”



Defender Jack Clisby says a lot has changed since he last turned out for West Sydney Wanderers five years ago. Having returned to the A-League club after stints with Central Coast Mariners and Perth Glory, the 31-year old left-back is impressed with developments at the club.

“A lot has changed, the environment where we’re having this conversation - the gym wasn’t around when I was here - the club’s really grown over the years,” said Clisby, who made 42 appearances for Western Sydney across two seasons from 2016.

Clisby has settled in quickly at club and singled out the strong bonds that already exist within the playing squad as a key strength ahead of the coming summer. “I’m really enjoying being here and the boys have been very welcoming for all the new players, not just myself,” he said.

“(There are) some funny guys in the change room and it’s some good camaraderie going on in there. First of all, they are all good people, but secondly, they’re all really good footballers playing in this team, and I’m thinking we’ve got a really good squad of players here.”

The veteran defender is looking to sharpen the attacking side of his game under coach Marko Rudan. “I want to add goals to my game. I’ve scored a few previously, in the last couple of years, I want to keep building on that,” commented Clisby, who scored three times for Glory last season.

“I want to keep helping be part of the goals, creating, assisting, whatever that is, being part of the team, scoring goals as well as being resilient in defence. That’s the thing, being a full-back, you’ve got to be good going forward and good at the back.”

Clisby feels the sky is the limit for Western Australia this coming season. “It always has been a big club and I feel like it’s time for us to challenge with some silverware this year,” he said. “I believe we’ve got the right environment, the right people and the right staff to really be successful this year.”



Perth Glory have signed midfield duo Ollie Bozanic and Jarrod Carluccio on loan from Western Sydney Wanderers. Former Socceroo Bozanic and Carliccio, an Australia youth international, will be part of coach Alen Stajcic options through to January 2024, when the next transfer window opens.

Bozanic, 34, joins GLory with almost 400 senior appearances across a lengthy career which has taken in spells in Australia, England, Switzerland, Japan and Scotland. He has represented Australia on seven occasions, including at the 2014 World Cup, and turned out for Australia on 30 occasions at Under-20 and Under-23 levels.

"I'm very happy to work with Staj and Naz (assistant head coach Nahuel Arrarte) again following our time at the Mariners," said Bozanic, who worked under Stajcic at Central Coast Mariners in 2020/21. "Joining Perth is fantastic. I believe it's a great opportunity for us as a team to unite the fans and create something special this season."

Carluccio, 22, has spent his entire senior career in Sydney, playing juniors with Blacktown Spartans before entering Western Sydney's academy in 2016. A former Australia Under-20 international, he stepped into the A-League in 2020 and has gained 19 A-League appearances for Western Sydney.

"I'm really keen to get in and hit the ground running," Carluccio said. "Success for me would be playing with a smile on my face every week, enjoying myself, trying to be out there as much as I can and helping the team. Obviously the most important thing is team success and if we can build on performing well every week, results will follow."



Young local talent Riley Warland has returned to Perth Glory for a third stint to bolster their defensive stocks. The 21-year old, a one-time signing for now English Premier League side Fulham, has penned a one-year deal with Glory’s men’s side.

Warland has started Glory’s recent pre-season friendlies Stirling Macedonia and Olympic Kingsway following seasons in the National Premier Leagues with Bayswater City, Gwelup Croatia and Perth RedStar. His arrival will off-set the off-season departures of Jack Clisby and Matt Hatch.

Warland came up through Glory’s academy system and in mid-2018 sign for Fulham, where he played for their Under-18 Premier League side. he returned to Glory in 2020 and early the following year made his professional debut against Adelaide United. An 11-game A-League stint preceded his return to the local scene in 2022.

Warland is determined to make the most of his time this coming summer. “It’s always a pleasure to return here to Glory, my boyhood club, who I’m very familiar with and fond of,” Warland said. “I honestly think the sky is the limit for this team and I believe we can achieve a lot more than we have in the past couple of seasons.”

“Glory is a such a great club with great history and I want to be a part of putting this club back where it should be. A lot has changed over the years especially for myself; finding myself again and the love for football coming back. I’ll work harder than ever for my teammates and the fans to hopefully bring a lot of success back to this great club.”

Glory coach Alen Stajcic said he had been impressed by Warland’s season with RedStar, who he helped win the league and reach this weekend’s Top Four Cup final. “After an outstanding season with Perth RedStar, he has displayed the hunger and desire to test himself at the highest level in the country again,” Stajcic said.

“Another Glory junior coming back to the A-League shows the commitment to locally-produced players. I’d like to thank Perth RedStar for granting Riley an early release. As a club, we very much appreciate their cooperation and willingness to do everything possible to help Riley further his football career.”



Borussia Monchengladbach’s Jacob Italiano was given the opportunity to impress with the Bundesliga side’s first team during the international break. The 22-year old has been a mainstay in the club’s second team in the German Regionalliga West league since linking with the club in 2019.

On the weekend Italiano was one of six under-23 players given a taste of first team action in a 1-0 friendly defeat against Werder Bremen. The one-time Inglewood United junior, who left Australia for Germany as an 18-year old, started the match and played an hour but he was used by Gerardo Seoane at right-back.

Italiano made a name for himself as an attacker with Perth Glory but has transitioned to full-back over the past year. He featured at right-back for the Olyroos during the Maurice Revello Tournament in June, having spent the majority of the 2022/23 campaign at right-back and left-back for Gladbach II.

Of Italiano’s 17 appearances last season, 14 were at full-back while he his one and only match this term saw him used in that position. He has now been given a chance to catch the eye of Seoane in that role with Gladbach preparing for a Bundesliga trip to Darmstadt following the international break on September 18.



Perth Glory have continued their winning pre-season run against NPL opposition, after a 4-0 win against Floreat Athena at E&D Litis Stadium. Skipper Mark Beevers gave Glory the lead, before Young Socceroo winger Daniel Bennie doubled their advantage sixty seconds later. New recruit Bruce Kamau came off the bench on the hour to add a third, before Joel Anasmo added a fourth late. Glory Head Coach Alen Stajcic said they are improving each week.

“Another good hit out, our third against NPL opposition, and we play the WA State side next week then Melbourne Victory the week after, and will look to improve the team chemistry,” he said. “We’ve seen gradual improvement, and giving players a run, in different positions and experimenting a bit, it’s all about putting all the pieces together, but it’s only the beginning of the process really.”

Floreat, who were coming off their State League Cup Final win against Inglewood United two weeks ago, started brightly, Sean McManus cross was only inches away from Noah Shamaki, before another cross from the wing back found Phil Arnold, but some tight defending meant the midfielder couldn’t get his shot away. Glory started to get a foot hold in the game and on 27 minutes they found the opener. Adam Zimarino’s cross picked out Beevers, and the big defender headed past Josh Hunter. They doubled their lead moments later, Bennie firing home from close-range. Then five minutes from the break Glory added a third, Zimarino’s in-swinging free kick wasn’t dealt with, and Bennie got the final touch in the goalmouth scramble. Floreat went close to reducing the margin late, after neat lead up play down the left, Shamaki cut into the penalty area, his shot crashed off the post.

Both sides made changes after the break, and the chances came at both ends. More good work by McManus ended with him picking out Guy Davies, but a last-ditch tackle by Aleksandar Susnjar denied him. Down the other end, Kamau, was unable to mark his Glory debut with a goal after he scooped a John Koutroumbis cross over the bar. Robert Petkov was next to go close for the hosts, substitute Luke Ryan cutting in from the left and finding the striker, but he was closed down, and his shot was blocked. But eight minutes from time Glory added a fourth, Luke Bodnar’s cross was headed back across goal by Koutroumbis and Anasmo was on hand to fire home from close-range. Glory will be back in pre-season action on Sunday 24 September when they will face the WA State team at the State Football Centre.

Floreat striker Nick Ambrogio said it was good hit out, and a great experience for the younger players in our squad. “It’s always a good experience playing against a professional side like Perth Glory, and it’s an opportunity for the young boys to see what it takes to get to the next level,” he said. “And Even for the older boys in the team it’s a chance to continue to learn things about their own game they might not notice when playing against semi-professional sides during the season.”

Assistant coach Miki Vujacic said they started well, but after conceding the opening goal they struggled to get back into the game, and believes the players now deserve a break, after a tough season. “I thought we started really well, and were quite comfortable for the first 25 minutes, and it took a while for Glory to really get going but once the first goal from Beevers went in, it deflated us a bit. Then two really scrappy goals soon followed, which killed off the tie,” he explained.

“I thought Glory was solid without being outstanding, they are obviously still working through the squad and the system of play Stajcic wants to implement, and they were also missing a few key players meant they weren't really that polished as yet. For us it was a good hit out, and a chance to have a look at some younger players for next year. I thought we performed admirably, but I think the boys are looking forward to a bit of time off before pre-season rolls around.”

Floreat Athena: GK Joshua HUNTER (RGK Gianluca DE FELICE 75’), 3 Kye MURRAY (3 Filip MINIC 75’), 6 Jesse FULLER (2 Nick SANTALUCIA 75’), 8 Sean MCMANUS, 10 Nick AMBROGIO (22 Jesse ROBERTS 75’), 11 Dennis GALAN, 17 Alex CHRISTODULAKIS, 18 Phil ARNOLD (12 Guy DAVIES 75’), 19 Mohammed AL-ZAIDY (24 Luke RYAN 75’), 20 Andrew PALMER 25 Noah SHAMAKI (9 Robert PETKOV 55’) – Subs not used: None

Perth Glory GK Oli SAIL, 16 Joseph FORDE (42 Kaelan MAJEKODUNMI 60'), 29 Daryl LACHMAN (2 John KOUTROUMBIS 60'), 5 Mark BEEVERS (28 Aleksandar SUSNJAR 46'), 26 Riley WARLAND (37 Shade STEWART 46'), 8 Antonis MARTIS (trialist) (3 Jacob MUIR 60'), 20 Giordano COLLI (24 Joel ANASMO 60'), 11 Adam ZIMARINO (14 Bruce KAMAU 60'), 23 Daniel BENNIE (21 James OVERY 60'), 12 Luke IVANOVIC (18 David WILLIAMS 46'), 10 Salim KHELIFI (6 Aiki TSUKAMOTO 30') (4 Luke BODNAR 60') - Subs not used: RGK Robert COOK – Referee: Shane SKINNER



Stirling Macedonia will play Perth RedStar in Saturdays Top Four Series Final at the State Football Centre, after a 4-3 penalty shoot-out win against Perth SC in Tuesday’s preliminary final at Macedonia Park. Alex Da Rocha gave the Azzurri the lead early, before Gyles Davies levelled for the host. Skipper Calvin Whitney gave Stirling the lead just after the hour, and it looked like that would be enough, but three minutes from time substitute Jeremie Mba levelled. Both sides were reduced to ten men in extra time, but the deadlock couldn’t be broken, and in the shootout keeper James Bosdet saved Zayd Farah’s twice taken third penalty and when David Ninkovich missed Perth’s fifth, it secured the win for Stirling.

“Always good to come through the lottery of a penalty shootout and now we get to play in a final which is always the games you want to play in,” Bosdet said. “To be in the final against RedStar is quite fitting with the way the season has gone. The two best teams in my opinion, so will be another great game and hopefully we can get the job done and finish the season with a trophy.”

It was the visitors who found the opener on 19 minutes, Ninkovich slipping the ball into the path of Da Roche, who finished clinically from the edge of the box. But Stirling were level five minutes later, Kade Fearnall’s free kick found Davies, whose glancing header found the bottom corner. It was a tight game, and both sides had their chances, but on 66 minutes it was Stirling who hit the front, a miss placed pass from Julian Teles was pounced on by Whitney, who finished low past Rocco Liberti.

It looked like that strike would win it for Ian Ferguson’s side, but on 87 minutes Perth restored parity. Farah’s cross from the right was only cleared as far as Federico Achilli, who headed it back across goal and Mba fired across Bosdet finding the corner of the net. It was off to extra time and Teles and Fernall were shown second yellow cards by referee Julian Serra and sent off, but neither side could find the winner, and in the shoot-out Stirling prevailed.

“We are very happy to come away with the win and to have another chance to go up against RedStar. We were well aware of the momentum that Perth was carrying going into the game and we were looking to get revenge for our last loss to them,” Stirling’s Brent Quick explained. “I thought it was a tight game and I believe we didn’t quite play as well technically as we could have, but we were fortunate to get a win from it.

“Calvin and Gyles came up big for us as they have all season scoring great goals and Boz kept us alive in crucial moments as he has done so often. This has been a long season and a competitive one, regardless of everything we have an opportunity to win this cup and it means a lot to us. There will be a lot of battles all over the park on Saturday and if last night is anything to go by, the boys are ready for this match. We cannot wait to rise to the occasion.”

Stirling Macedonia: GK James BOSDET, 2 Brent QUICK, 3 Ryan MALTON (12 Kai MATTHEWS 46’), 4 Hristijan JANKULOSKI, 5 Luke PALMATEER, 6 Dejan SPASESKI (14 Kingsley ESHUN 80’), 8 Gyles DAVIES, 9 Kade FEARNALL, 10 Sam WYNNE, 13 Calvin WHITNEY (11 Daniel FAICHNEY 76’), 17 Alex TANEVSKI (7 Asher NELSON 76’) – Subs not used: RGK Liam PRICE, 18 Daniel STEFOSKI, 19 Joshua BOSEVSKI – Red Card: Fearnall 105’

Perth SC: GK Rocco LIBERTI, 2 Carl MORGAN, 3 Jordan DE LEO, 4 Julian TELES, 5 Luke COLLINS (7 John LARDIS 80’), 6 Abdul OSMAN, 9 Hasani SINCLAIR (11 Jeremie MBA 54’), 10 David NINKOVICH, 12 Zayd FARAH, 18 Archie WHITFIELD (16 Federico ACHILLI 58’), 21 Alex DA ROCHA (19 Toby SNOOK 80’) - Subs not used: RGK Luke MARTINO, 8 Joshua CALA, 13 Max BLACKSHAW – Red Card: Teles 102’- Referee: Julian SERRA



Ipswich Town centre-back Cameron Burgess made his full international debut as Australia drew 2-2 with Mexico in a friendly in Dallas overnight. The 27-year old played the full 90 minutes against the world’s No.12-ranked side, starting alongside Harry Souttar in front of a 50,000 strong-crowd in Dallas, Texas.

“It was a special occasion. I’m really proud on a personal note,” commented Burgess, who has dreamt of playing internationally since his junior days with ECU Joondalup. “It was definitely one of my goals. It's nice to have that ticked off and I’m hungry to get more (games for Australia) now.”

Burgess’ first taste of international football came in front of a boisterous, and predominantly Mexican crowd. “It was good to get out there with the boys, the stadium was a cool place to play football in front of a lot of fans,” said the veteran of 300 league and cup games in England.

“The crowd got it going. It was quite noisy (but) it was all background noise really. A few of the boys were asking about whether they were playing music during the game but I couldn’t tell you if that was going on to be honest. I didn’t hear a thing, I was focused on the game.”

Australia are next in action when they take on England at Wembley in mid-October. Playing at the home of English football would tick another box on Burgess’ football ‘to do’ list and also ease the bitter memory of being robbed of the chance to play there previously with Salford City, in the 2020 EFL Trophy final.

“I missed out on the chance to play at Wembley before (due to COVID) so it would be another crazy experience to play there for Australia,” he commented. “But it’s going back to club football now with Ipswich and focusing on that, doing the best I can there and anything on top of that is a bonus.”

Born in Aberdeen and raised in Perth, Burgess has been based in the United Kingdom since entering Fulham's academy in 2011. He has since played for Cheltenham Town, Oldham Athletic, Bury, Scunthorpe United, Salford, Accrington Stanley and, since August 2021, Ipswich.



We have a three-way tie at the top of the Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division after week 20, with another exciting weekend of football. In our ‘Match of the Round’ leaders North Perth United scored with five minutes remaining to earn a hard earned 2-2 draw with Jaguar at the Herb Graham Recreation Centre on Sunday afternoon. It started so well for the visitors, hitting the front on eight minutes, some neat build up ended with Liam Fyfe on the edge of the box, who finished clinically. But eight minutes later they were reduced to ten men, after skipper Kelechi Osunwa was sent off. The hosts took advantage and levelled on 25 minutes, with Magai Deng on target.

Jags then hit the front four minutes later, with Deng adding his second, and 14th for the season. It looked like that would be enough for Jaguar, but five minutes from time United restored parity, Nickolas Bailey on target, to give both sides a share of the spoils, and keep United on top on goal difference. “I was so proud of the boys the way they dug in for 75 minutes with only 10 men on the biggest pitch in WA. It was also a little frustrating in the last 30 minutes as we bombarded Jags goal attack after attack, and on another day, we could have easily had half a dozen,” North Perth coach Alex Carter explained. “The point though could prove vital as destiny is still in our own hands. The group is really embracing the challenge of being in this position. It’s fun to be this deep in the season and getting to play in a belter this coming Sunday against East Perth.”

Emerald have bounced back from defeat last week at North Beach, with a 6-0 win against Kwinana United Fraser Park. “Very happy with the result after a turbulent week for us, but we knew it wasn’t going to be easy coming into this and the first goal would be crucial, thankfully we got it,” Emarald coach Shane O’Donovan explained. “Kwinana had a spell before the end of the first half but we very solid defensively and in the second half we got the third which really killed their spirit. So, it was a good win and a couple of goals as well which may be very important come the end of the season.” The hosts raced to a two-goal lead early, first on nine minutes Jarred McConnell crossed from deep for Ronan Flaherty to head home. It was 2-0 moments later, Shane Young’s free kick to the back post found Flaherty to tap home his second.

Kwinana, who need the points at the other end of the table, steadied, but after half time the home side took control again. It was 3-0 on the hour, McConnell long-throw into the box found Donal Shanley, who rose highest to head home. They added a fourth 12 minutes later, Shane Power cross in to the penalty area, and Andrew Wood got in front of the keeper to head in. The hosts added two more late, first in the final minute Young’s corner picked out Shanley to head home, and in stoppage time Shanley turned provider, bursting into the box before squaring to Josh Cornwall to score.

East Perth moved level with North Perth and Emerald, third on goal difference, after a 4-1 win against Joondalup United at Cabrini Park. “Great performance from the lads today, I thought the first half was our best of the season by a mile,” East Perth coach Colm Costello said. “I thought we kept possession very well and we’re clinical in Front of goal. Last week’s sessions were about creating more chances and being calmer and more clinical and it definitely clicked today.” The hosts hit the front on 12 minutes, a mistake from the defender was pounced on by Ryan Murray who finished well. They doubled their advantage on 25 minutes, Chris Smith got in behind his marker and squared to Ryan McGready who slotted home.

They added a third before the break, a great through ball from Craig Howey found Murray, who crossed first time and was met with a great header from Adam McCarron. Joondalup hit back after the break and reduced the margin on the hour with Conor Lindsay’s stunning effort giving Tommy McCarron no chance. The East Perth keeper was busy, as Joondalup looked to get another, McCarron making a number of fine saves to keep Joondalup at bay, but 20 minutes from time East Perth sealed the points, with substitute Stephen Geoghehan adding a fourth.

Kelmscott Roos also bounced back from their midweek cup defeat, scoring a late goal to beat North Beach 2-1 at Charles Riley Memorial Reserve. “We expected a good game of football against North Beach and that’s exactly what we got, similar to our previous encounters,” Kelmscott’s Benn Lewis said. “We started strong and were controlling the game, unfortunate to miss a few chances before conceding, but we hit back after the break, and managed to seal the game late. We manage to see out the game and keep our promotion hopes alive with a 2-1 win.

“Another great game against North Beach, truly an enjoyable team to play against and wish them the best for the remainder of the season.” The hosts, who upset Emerald last week, were ahead on the half hour, Clayton Arnez heading home at the back post. Kelmscott, whose season was on the line in this one, and they levelled 18 minutes from time, some neat build up play ended with Ishmael Greywood, who finished well. Both sides looked for the winner, but both keepers made important saves to keep it level, but in the second minute of stoppage time Kelmscott won it. A free kick into the box from Greywood found half time substitute Phatehate Kiazolu who made no mistake.

Wembley Downs have continued there good week with a 2-1 win against South Perth United at Butlers Reserve. The hosts reached the Amateur Cup Final in midweek, and these three points seals their survival in the league. “Another fantastic win to back up our midweek cup win. We knew it was going to take all of our efforts and skill to take the points and we certainly were up for it,” Wembley keeper Jeff Cornez explained. “Sunday was one of our best complete passing games, and South Perth keeper had a cracker and they defended really well.

“We will look to carry our momentum into Jags with our goal of finishing as high up on the ladder has possible.” The visitors were ahead early after Wembley’s Jack Mellor scored into his own net. Both sides had chances, with both keepers keeping their sides in the game, but on 71 minutes the hosts levelled, a perfectly timed through ball from Tom Bish found Josh Chalmers who finished calmly past the keeper. Both sides looked for the winner, but it was Wembley who found it deep into stoppage time, a corner from Kevin Punselie was met by a towering header from Cameron Chambers to seal the win.

The final game saw Peel United come home from Bunbury with all three points, after a 4-1 win against South West Phoenix at the Onside Sports Stadium on Saturday evening. “All up I'm very impressed with the lads to pull out a result like that with a very stretched roster currently. It shows the mentality of the playing group in spades,” Peel coach Daryl Willmont explained. “We are looking forward and upward in the goal to bag more points to leap North Beach this weekend at Bortolo. We will be training hard to welcome them for a Saturday game under the lights.”

Peel hit the front on the half hour, Mitch Stopher’s corner was headed back across goal by Bradley Mallinder, and Zac Lee scored from close-range. The visitors doubled their advantage on 69 minutes, a corner was only cleared to the edge of the box and Scott Martin’s half volley through a crowded penalty area found the corner of the net. But the Phoenix halved the deficit two minutes later, with R Brand firing home after a goalmouth scramble.

Peel added a third seven minutes later, substitute Alfie Birmingham raced clear and he crossed to Tristan Sullivan to tap home. They added a fourth late on, Birmingham again the supplier his cross found Martin on the edge of the box, and he made no mistake. “We were light on numbers this weekend and had a few walking with knocks so after a few changes to freshen it up more,” Willmont added. “It gave us a new dynamic going forward and, in the middle, and it was needed as SWP had a big momentum shift after their goal.”



Perth RedStar will play in next weekend’s NPLWA-Womens Top Four Final, after a 5-1 win against Perth Soccer Club in the Major Semi-Final at the RedStar Arena on Sunday afternoon. “The girls trained well during the week in preparation as they knew it was going to be a tough game,” RedStar coach Carlos Vega-Mena said. “First half was pretty even, but we discussed some things in the change room at half and the girls came out determined to dominate in the second. I’m very happy with their performance and their ability to bring this to the pitch.”

The hosts, who have been beaten twice by the Azzurri this season, started brightly and they found the opener on 18 minutes. Olivia Wood made space out wide, and her cross found Chori Ikeda, who made no mistake. But Fremantle levelled nine minutes later, Faye Phillips finding Gemma Craine, who finished well. It was all-square at half time, but RedStar lifted a gear after the break and were ahead six minutes in, when Renee Leota picked the pocket of Matilda Boehm and scored. It was 3-1 moments later, when Jay Colman’s long-range volley flew past Rebecca Bennett. The hosts went on with it and Sarah Carroll broke clear to score a fourth, before Abbey Wooley punished another defensive mistake to seal the 5-1 win. The Azzurri must now regroup for their second chance at home to Hyundai NTC in the Preliminary Final on Wednesday night.

In the Minor Semi-Final the Hyundai Women’s NTC have ended the season of Fremantle City after a 3-1 win at Hilton Park. “A game for us of seeing where the younger ones from Sam’s team are at, although we already knew they were almost there and there about, but also Ben (Anderton) and I are aware that we’ve got some work to do next year,” NTC assistant coach Fernando Barreiro explained. “I thought the game was very transitional which doesn’t really suit us as we like to keep the ball and maintain effective possession and control the game. But credit to Fremantle, they hustled hard and forced us into some mistakes which meant we struggled for any sort of fluency and rhythm.

“But on the positive side we scored some fantastic goals and always looked a threat going forward. Emily Garnett looks like she could be a readymade replacement for Tanika Lalla but we won’t put that kind of pressure on such young shoulders just yet. Still areas that need improvement, but a good outing for some of our injured players coming back like Mia Britton, Klaudia Khoulis and Anna Powell. Not a long turnaround now so it’s all about our recovery and trying to get a team out that can compete against Perth on Wednesday, and it should be another tough test for our young group but an experience they should relish.”

NTC opened the scoring on the half-hour, Mischa Anderson received the ball from a short corner and fired in a cross which flew over Fremantle keeper Dayle Schroeder and into the far corner. But Fremantle hit back five minutes later, NTC keeper dropped the ball and Jamie-Lee Gale fired into an empty net. But it was the NTC who took control after the break with two quickfire goals. First on 74 minutes Emily Garnett eased past her marker and finished clinically from the edge of the box. Then two minutes later it was 3-1, Maja Archibald raced down the left and crossed for Garnett, whose volley was saved by Dayle Schroeder, the rebound fell kindly for Louise Tana to tap in.

The game was very intense game, and it was end-to-end the whole game, with chances at both ends,” NTC defender Mischa Anderson said. “I’m very proud of all the girl’s effort and how all the younger girls stepped up for such a big game. I felt like we took our chances really well and worked extremely hard against a very physical and experienced team. I’m Looking forward to the Perth game as both teams love to play possession biased football and is always a high scoring game.”



Perth AFC have finished runners-up in the Hyundai Women’s League Division One, after a hard fought 2-1 win against Fremantle City at Wauhop Park on Sunday afternoon. Going into the final round of the season, Perth AFC knew a point would secure second place, but a slip up could let in UWA Nedlands, but Rob Caruso’ side secured the three points. “It wasn't us at our best but we played some good football, our finishing let us down as we missed a lot of opportunities but kept our heads even with Fremantle getting physical and trying to put us off our game,” Caruso said. “So proud of the squad and what we have achieved and was great to finish the season with a well-deserved win.”

The visitors found the opener on ten minutes, some neat build up play saw the ball find Amy Ashton on the left, and her low cross was met by Laylana Richardson, who made a late run at the near post to deflect the ball home. Fremantle levelled just after the hour mark, Ashlee Byrne converting from the spot, and it was game on, but the visitors dominated the rest of the game and deservedly won it nine minutes from time. A switch of play on the edge of the box found Keeley Hughes, and she found the top corner with a great strike.

UWA Nedlands did all they could do, beating Subiaco AFC 4-1 at the UWA Sports Park, and coach Lawrence Lewis said it was good to finish off the season with a good win. “It was nice to finish the season off on a win and scoring a few goals also,” he explained. “The last few weeks really haven't gone our way and the lack of goals was hard on us, so we were determined to get a really good result to finish it off.” It was UWA who opened the scoring, the ball was won high in Subiaco’s half, Serena Lin was able to dribble past her marker and slot into the bottom corner.

It was 2-0 when Emily Dinsdale’s corner was parried by the Subiaco keeper, the ball falling nicely for Chloe Rodrigo, to score from close-range. The hosts made it 3-0 after the break, good work by Dinsdale down the left, ended with a cross into the box, which was only cleared as far as Erin Armstrong on the edge of the box, and she found the bottom corner. They added a fourth a Subiaco goal kick was pounced on by substitute Hannah Seeley, who crossed to fellow substitute Charlotte Swan who headed home. Subiaco pulled one back late from the spot, but it was too little too late.

Champions Hamersley Rovers have ended the season unbeaten, after a 5-3 win against Mandurah City at Genesiscare Stadium. “Honestly the game itself was intense but very physical. A lot of bad tackles mixed in with not-so-great refereeing, which lead to me keeper coming off injured. We played a new formation and try to implement a new system. Mandurah did well, had a few good opportunities but we did well to respond back once they scored,” Rovers’ coach Betim Ziba explained. “Overall, the game was competitive and intense but could of lead to a lot of injuries. We finished the season unbeaten with we all enjoyed, and we are happy for the break and will be looking to recruit well for next season.”

The visitors raced to a three-goal lead in the first 27 minutes, with Royan Norman, Brianna Patrick and a Christiane Astorp penalty. But Mandurah pulled one back from Jessica May just before half time, and added a second early in the second half from Amy Terrell. Then just after the hour the Dolphins levelled with Cassidy Moyle scoring, but Rovers finished the game well to seal the victory. First on 70 minutes substitute Cassandra Harvey made it 4-3, before Astorp added a fifth late, to end the season with 31 goals.

In the final game Port Kennedy and Sorrento have fought out a 0-0 draw at Percy Doyle Reserve. “The Sorrento game was a very entertaining one, it ended a goalless draw but he should've scored at least three,” Port Kennedy coach Kevin Cole said. “I thought we totally out played them the whole game, but the ball just didn't go in the back of the net for us.”



Perth RedStar have moved into the Top Four Series Final after a hard fought 1-0 win against Stirling Macedonia in the Major Semi-Final at the RedStar Arena on Saturday afternoon. Top goalscorer Daryl Nicol won it for Callum Salmon’s side and the coach was pleased with his side’s performance, especially against a side they had failed to beat in the regular season. “A very competitive game and the level you’d expect from Stirling and ourselves. I thought the game was even in the first half and nothing really separating the teams,” Salmon said. “Second half I thought we were far better team, in control and unlucky not to finish up 2 or 3-0. Happy we finally beat Stirling and looking forward to an opportunity to do the double and go back-to-back.”

Both sides went close early, the lively Sam Wynne fired over the top for Stirling, while Chok Dau’s free kick whistled over the top. Asher Nelson then pouncing on a stray pass from RedStar and raced into goal, but his shot flashed just wide of the post. But on the half hour it was RedStar who found the opener, a quick counter attack saw Dau race down the left, he picked out Nicol in the penalty area, and the Scottish striker did what he has done all season, finish clinically past James Bosdet.

Ian Ferguson’s side looked to hit back after the break and from Kade Fearnall’s corner, Hristijan Jankuloski’s header flashed over the bar. With Stirling chasing the equaliser the hosts almost added a second, Gomo Dukuly’s effort was well saved by Bosdet, the Stirling keeper tipping it on to the crossbar. At full time it was RedStar progressing to the final, while Stirling must now reset and will take on Perth SC on Tuesday.

Redstar defender Nick Walsh said the clean sheet was important, and they now prepare for the final on Saturday. “I thought we had a great performance, we took our chance early and then managed to see out the game very professionally,” Walsh said. “It is not the way we usually win our games, but it’s finals football and all that matters is the end result and we’re buzzing to be through to the Grand Final.”

Perth RedStar: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Nick WALSH, 3 Blair GOVAN, 4 Declan HUGHES, 6 Riley WARLAND, 9 Daryl NICOL, 10 Andy HIGGINS, 14 Chok DAU, 17 Sonny O’SHEA (5 Lewis TUCKER 84’), 18 Gomo DUKULY (11 Oscar MALFIORE 84’), 19 Ryan FINNIE – Subs not used: RGK Marino GOJAK, 12 Theodore LEEMING, 13 Daniel KATZ, 15 Sean O’CONNOR, 16 Jeremy TSHONGO

Stirling Macedonia: GK James BOSDET, 2 Brent QUICK, 4 Hristijan JANKULOSKI, 5 Luke PALMATEER, 6 Dejan SPASESKI, 7 Asher NELSON (14 Kingsley ESHUN 64’), 9 Kade FEARNALL, 10 Sam WYNNE, 12 Kai MATTHEWS, 13 Calvin WHITNEY, 17 Alex TANEVSKI (11 Daniel FAICHNEY 71’) – Subs not used: RGK Liam PRICE, 3 Ryan MALTON, 16 Kyle DAVIS, 18 Daniel STEFOSKI, 19 Joshua BOSEVSKI – Referee: Stewart BEATTIE



In the Minor Semi-Final, Perth Soccer Club secured their place in the Preliminary Final after a 3-0 win against Olympic Kingsway at Kingsway Reserve. Perth hadn’t beaten Olympic this season, but a brace from Abdul Osman and another to Zayd Farah secured the win, and will see them take on Stirling Macedonia at Macedonia Park on Tuesday evening, with a place in the final up for grabs. Perth SC assistant coach Stuart Banks was delighted with the side’s performance.

“It was one of the most satisfying performances of the season. We had a specific game plan going into the game and I thought the boys executed it to perfection. Not just the starting 11 but the lads who came off the bench had an impact on the game too,” Banks explained. “We could’ve had a few more goals but we’re very happy with the clean sheet which has been a focus for us over the past few months and now we look forward to the game against Stirling on Tuesday evening.”

The hosts were coming off a clash with A-League side Perth Glory in midweek, but it was the visitors who were on the front foot early, and were ahead on 19 minutes, Hasani Sinclair’s cross picked out Osman, who finished well past David Keenan. The Azzurri doubled their lead two minutes later, Osman linking up with Luke Collins, the former Armadale midfielder making no mistake for his second of the day.

The hosts were shell-shocked, and looked to hit back but Daniel Walsh’s effort from a corner hit the post, before Perth custodian Rocco Liberti made a smart save to deny Cian Hirrell. Perth almost added a third before the break, but Keenan got down well to thwart David Ninkovich, but Danny Hay’s side held all the cards at the break. David Tough’s side lifted the tempo after the break, but couldn’t break down a tight Perth defence, and six minutes from time Perth added a third to seal the game.

Farah made space down the right, and cut inside his marker before firing past Keenan. Perth’s next challenge will be at Macedonia Park in midweek against Stirling Macedonia, while it ended a successful campaign for Olympic, and they can take plenty of positives from their first season back in the top flight since 1999. “It was a really strong performance from the boys, and we knew what was at stake coming into this game. We had a plan in place and we implemented it to perfection,” Perth’s Luke Collins explained. “Everyone on the day did their roles that was asked of them, I think we could’ve been a bit more clinical in front of goal but non the less we got the win which was most important. In the dressing room after we said ‘that’s just one of three done.’ So, our attention now turns to Tuesday night where we will have a plan in place to beat Stirling.”

Olympic Kingsway: GK David KEENAN, 3 Daniel WALSH, 4 Cian HIRRELL. 8 Ollie ANNIS, 9 Ciaran BYRNE (16 David PERICH 70’), 10 Tyler GARNER, 12 James FANELLI (19 Noah KANZI 57’), 13 Sasa NJEGIC (2 Lebib LEBIB 46’), 14 Liam MURRAY (7 Jamie GARDINER, 17 Joshua SAMSON, 18 Mitch OXBORROW – Subs not used: RGK Joe POLLARD, 5 Calum O’CONNELL 70’), 6 John CHALMERS

Perth Soccer Club: GK Rocco LIBERTI, 2 Carl MORGAN, 3 Jordan DE LEO (13 Max BLACKSHAW 89’), 4 Julian TELES, 5 Luke COLLINS, 6 Abdul OSMAN (7 John LARDIS 66’), 9 Hasani SINCLAIR (19 Toby SNOOK 85’), 10 David NINKOVICH, 12 Zayd FARAH, 16 Federico ACHILLI (21 Alex DA ROCHA 46’), 18 Archie WHITFIELD – Subs not used: RGK Luke MARTINO, 8 Joshua CALA, 11 Jeremie MBA – Referee: Steven GREGORY



In the Under 20’s Top Four Series Semi-Finals, Perth Glory have moved into next weekend’s Final after a tight 2-1 win against Perth RedStar in the Major Semi-Final at the RedStar Arena. It was the hosts who opened the scoring in the shadows of half time, with Theodore Leeming scoring. But after the break Glory levelled on the hour mark, Sebastian Despotovski on target, and the striker won it ten minutes later, adding his second to send Glory in to Saturday’s Final. “I thought it was a very close game over the whole 90 minutes. Both sides came very close to scoring number of goals and to be honest I thought the game could’ve gone either way,” Glory coach Ivan Zuvela said. “We came in down 1-0 at half time and we just spoke about who we are as a group and what it takes to win games like this when you are up against it. I thought our boys just stayed focused and executed the instructions that we gave them, and their effort was fantastic and I was really proud of them.”

In the Minor Semi-Final Bayswater City moved into Tuesday’s Preliminary Final after a narrow 1-0 win against Perth SC at Kingsway Reserve. The only goal of the game came on 70 minutes, a great team goal, with a ten-pass move starting at right back and being capped off with a great finish from Cory McNellis. City coach Kevin Castle said it was a good all-round team performance. “The game was always going to be a battle against a tough Perth side but the boys stuck to the game plan and the principles we work on week in and week out, so all credit to the lads getting us over the line,” Castle explained. “We know there is still a lot to do to get to the final and we have to go through a strong Perth RedStar side first on Tuesday evening.”

In the Under 18’s Top Four Series Semi-Finals, Perth Glory is into Saturday’s final after a thrilling penalty shoot-out win against Sorrento in the Mayor Semi-Final at the RedStar Arena. Sorrento were on the front foot from the first whistle and Rhys Thompson gave them the lead on five minutes, and on 22 minutes Jack Sprigg doubled their advantage. Glory pulled one back on the half hour through Santiago Flored, and they were level 18 minutes from time, with Flored adding his second. So, it was off to the penalty shoot-out and Alexander Bolton scored the sixth for Glory, to give Kenny Lowe’s side a 6-5 win.

In the Minor Semi-Final Bayswater City are through to Tuesday’s Preliminary Final after a 3-1 win against Floreat Athena at Kingsway Reserve. It was Bayswater who opened the scoring on 18 minutes Josh Bell on target, but Floreat, who were pipped in the State League Cup final on Saturday by Perth, hit back and levelled on the hour, with Harry Stonehouse scoring. The game was up for grabs, but five minutes from time Bayswater regained the lead, with Bell adding his second. Then in the final minute Bayswater sealed the tie, with Bell completing his hat-trick. “We had to be at our best to win the game, as Floreat are a well-coached team and have some good players so we knew that we had to work hard for 90 minutes. The first half presented some challenges and to go in at halftime 1-0 in front was important to the outcome,” Bayswater coach Paul Lincoln explained.

“I thought the longer the game went the better we got especially when we changed our shape in the second half “With elimination games the whole team needs to play well and today we didn’t have any passengers. Josh Bell was the catalyst and took his three goals well. I want to pay credit to the referee who overturned an offside decision to allow one of our goals, and it was the correct decision in the end. We now turn our attention to Sorrento on Tuesday night for a place in the final so it will take another team effort to win. The players have worked hard so it would be a reward for all their hard work if we get through.”



Fremantle City will take a two-goal lead into the second leg of the NPL-WA/State League First Division Promotion/Relegation Play-off, after beating a ten-man Mandurah City 2-0 in the Semi-Final first leg at Hilton Park on Saturday afternoon. “I’m really proud of the boy’s performance, we prepared well leading up to this game and everything came together on the pitch, our shape with and without the ball was spot on, tactically we looked ready and nullified their main threats which was really pleasing,” Fremantle coach Matthew Sparrow.

“To start off with a win and a clean sheet gives us a slight advantage going down to Mandurah but we know it’s only half time and next week will be an even bigger test and knowing they will have to take the game to us we need to be ready and put in another perfect performance. The mood in the camp is high and this week will be about recessing everyone whilst ticking over in training to make sure we are fully focused and prepared for when Saturday comes. The fans were terrific today, they definitely played their part and we will need them again for the trip to Mandurah as we really appreciate their support.”

In front of a big crowd at Hilton Park, it was a tight first half with both sides having their chances, the visitors thought they had scored just before half time, Murray Mackintosh’s header looked like it had found the bottom corner, but a stunning low save from Jordan Barbas denied him. Then moments later the visitors were reduced to ten-man after Aaron McCready was sent off by referee Liam Barclay for a late challenge on Patrick Loughrey. The hosts made their numerical advantage count on 68 minutes, Fremantle thought they had a penalty after Elliot Ireland was brought down by Alfie Brincat, but the referee waved play on, but then blew for an indirect free kick after spotting a back pass to the keeper, who picked the ball up. Frem the resulting free kick Dean Hurley fired the ball home via a deflection off a Mandurah player on the line.

Then two minutes from time, Fremantle scored the important second goal, Loughrey was sent down the left and his cross on the run picked out substitute Enzo Marangoni who got in front of his marker to score, much to the delight of his teammates and the home supporters. “It was one of those days where both teams set out to be defensively solid and not give too much away early. Jordan Barbas makes a huge save and then off the back of that, they receive a red card that changes the course of the game,” Fremantle skipper Hayden Stevens said. “I thought neither side really took control of the game but always felt like we would get and chance and full credit to Deano and Enzo because when their chances come, they both took it very well. However, we know the job is only half done, and it’s going to take another massive performance next week down in Mandurah to see us through to the next phase.”

In the other semi-final Joondalup United and Sorrento have fought out a tight 0-0 draw at Forrest Park. Both sides struggling in the final third, but both will go into next week’s game confident they can reach the play off final. “It was a physical, tight, cagey game as expected with a good crowd down at Forrest Park to witness it,” Joondalup skipper Ben Johns explained. “Ultimately, we’re happy with the clean sheet and it heaps even more pressure on Sorrento then there already was for the second leg at Percy Doyle, and our boys are looking forward to it.” Sorrento, who finished second bottom in the NPL, and Joondalup fourth in Division One, looked nervous early, with so much on the line, The first chance went to the hosts, when Ben Campbell’s in swinging corner was tipped over the top by the alert Patrick Hughes. Moments later the Gulls went close, Joe Tweats shot looked like the opener, but former Sorrento defender Shaun Kilkelly cleared the ball off the line superbly.

It was more of the same after the break, with both sides cancelling each other out, the best opportunity fell to the Gulls, Clay Gibbs shot crashed off the post, and Dean Cummings fired the rebound wide. Sorrento midfielder Tim Hill said they had the better chances, but a clean sheet was a huge positive going into next week’s second leg at Percy Doyle Reserve. “We knew it would be a tough game if we didn't manage it well, and for the most part we did,” he explained. “Were disappointed not to have taken a couple goals home with us, but a clean sheet on the road is always good and gives us something to build on in the next leg.”



In the State League First Division/Second Division Promotion/Relegation Play-off, Subiaco AFC have taken a huge step towards the final, after a 3-1 win against Swan United in the first leg at Rosalie Park. Former Swan United striker Gavin Knight said the job is only half done. “I thought we played well in game and deserved the win,” Knight said. “But we only half way there, and we need to get an away goal in next game to have good chance going through.” The hosts were ahead on 10 minutes, Kaleb Morrison raced at the swan defence before finding the bottom corner from the edge of the box. Swan was then reduced to ten men, after skipper Michael Yarker was shown a straight red card by referee Dave Avison on the half hour, and the hosts doubled their advantage in the final minute of the first half, with Morrison again firing home from distance.

The tie looked over when Subiaco added a third early in the second half, Morrison was the supplier this time playing in Agustin Ventre, who made no mistake past Ben Parry. But ten minutes from time Swan found a lifeline for the second leg, Rhys Loxley’s corner from the left picked out Brennan Borzecki, who powered his header home, and it sets up an intriguing second leg at the Swan Italian Club on Saturday. “Look we are obviously disappointed with the result and the overall performance, and we didn’t deal with the conditions very well from the start and didn’t get the ball down and play our own game. Conceding early and then going down to 10 men after 30 mins makes the job even harder in this type of tie,” Swan coach Niall Hughes said. “We hoped to get to half time at 1-0 but we didn’t, so we knew we needed to come out second half and get ourselves in the game through hard work and get that away goal, which fortunately we got late.

“I don’t feel we got the rub of the green in any decisions at all either, which I’m sure any neutral would agree to, which isn’t an excuse for the result, but it didn’t allow us to get any momentum in the game at all. Subiaco had a really effective game plan and took their chances really well and deserved to win the game with what they did in the first half. However, the away goal keeps the tie well and truly alive for when we go back to Francis Street next Saturday and the lads are dying to set things straight.”

In the other semi-final first leg, Curtin University and Maddington-Kalamunda White City have fought out a 1-1 draw at Edinburgh Oval. “It was a tough, physical game between two good footballing teams,” Curtin’s Nathan Smith said. “Both teams went for it and was a good game to watch I've been told, and I'm sure the return leg will produce more of the same.” The sides had played in the final game of the regular season last weekend, with Maddington running out 2-1 winners, but it was Curtin who found the opener in this one on the hour.

Jaxon Illman cut inside and after a series of deflections the ball found its way to Simone Sichel who poked home from seven meters. It looked like that would win it for Troy Reid’s side, but eight minutes from time Maddington levelled, a corner picked out Nicolas Roca, who lost his marker and volleyed home superbly from the edge of the box. The host were reduced to ten men late after Scott Geare was shown a second yellow card by referee Kai Bartusch, and he will miss the return leg at Maida Vale Reserve on Saturday.



With only three rounds to go in the Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division, North Perth United hold a two-point lead at the top of the table, and a win this week against Jaguar at Herb Graham Recreation Centre, in our ‘Match of the Round’, could see them take a giant step towards the title and state league football next season. (All game kick off at 3pm, unless stated) Before we look at that game, in midweek we had the two Amateur Cup semi-finals, and Wembley Downs and Division Two Perth AFC moved into the final after both winning their respective home games against Emerald and Kelmscott Roos.

At Butlers Reserve, the hosts lead at half time after Jack Mellor played a beautiful through ball to Tom Bish, who controlled the ball well and slotted it past the keeper. After the break Ben Swinnerton’s long-throw caused problems in the Emerald defence, and Mellor raced in on goal and beat the onrushing keeper to head home for 2-0. They sealed the win when some neat build up play ended with Omar Shatila down the left, he cut inside his marker and played a perfectly weighted pass to Niall Thomas, who finished clinically much to the delight of the home faithful. Emerald pulled on back midway through the half, after Andrew Wood’s was brought down in the penalty area, and James Craig fired home the resulting penalty, but it was too little too late.

“It was a glorious night with a lively crowd at Butlers Reserve under the lights, which resulted in our biggest win of the year,” Wembley keeper Jeff Cornez said. “The first half was a dog fight with both teams only having a couple good moments and we were happy to find the net with one of ours. The second half opened up a bit and again we were the ones to take our chances. Emerald kept coming but we saw the game out with confidence. They definitely will have a good chance at the league title, but we are thrilled to be in a final and will do everything to prepare for a battle with Perth AFC.”

In the other semi-final at Len Packham Park, Kelmscott Roos lead 1-0 at half time, with Benn Lewis on target, and early in the second half Alex Ekeze doubled their advantage, and they looked like taking their place in the final, but the hosts had other ideas. First on the hour a cross from the left was headed back across the keeper by Spiro Nenadic at the back post. The hosts could sense a comeback and six minutes later they were level, Alessandro Di Girolamo pouncing on a mistake from keeper David Andrews to score. Then moments later they sealed the game, a ball into the box found Lucas Pickering who headed home, much to the delight of the Perth AFC supporters.

“After 45 minutes we headed into the break 1-0 down with a great strike from the lad to be fair, and we come in at half time knowing that that was the worst half of football we’ve played all year, the message at half time was calm we had plenty of time to rectify that half, after conceding within the first minute we made changes and rolled up our sleeves to chase the game,” Perth AFC coach Nathan Thorp explained. “So, from being 2-0 down with 30 minutes to go and scoring three goals in eight minutes to turn game on its head was amazing and everyone at the club are super proud of the lads to take AFC to its first ever final.”

Back to league action, and Injuries and suspensions have hurt Jaguars in recent weeks, with only one win in their last six games, while North Perth broke away at the top of the table with a big win against Joondalup last week, and skipper Kelechi Osunwa said it was a pleasing performance from the whole squad. “I thought it was a good win against Joondalup, and we managed to score in critical moments and the best thing was seeing the depth of the squad in full play with players getting a chance to start, being positive, and making things happen,” the defender explained.

“That result just shows you how tough this league is and how important it is to just keep getting points. Anyone can beat to anyone on any given Sunday. We know Emerald will be hurting and looking to bounce back and know that East Perth are right there fighting for every single point that’s up for grabs. It’s really exciting to be a part of in all honestly and it sure beats last year where we were 9th and nervous about being dragged into a relegation scrap.”

Osunwa said Jaguars form of late has been down, but he is well aware they can’t be taken lightly. “Yes, they’re form isn’t the best at the moment and we know that’s down to injuries and the tightness of the league. But we’ve never had an easy game against them and think the club has only won at Herb Graham once in my time here so will be expecting another tough game on Sunday,” he said. “They are quick on the counter, tough in the tackle, and have some real serious ballers on the team and like always we’ll need to be at our best to make something happen.”

East Perth sit two points behind the leaders in third place, will look to keep the pressure on North Perth when they host Joondalup United at Cabrini Park. They are coming off a big win at Peel last week, and coach Colm Costello said they are playing some good football, but knowing how competitive the league is this season they will have to bring that again on Sunday. “Another big weekend for us, as Joondalup are going to be fighting for every ball this week in massive game for both sides,” he said. “Our form has been decent lately but this week will be a very tough battle as always with Joondalup. We have had a great couple of sessions this week and really looking forward to Sunday. I thought we played some good football last week and created lots of chances, and hopefully we can push on from last week’s performance.”

Second placed Emeralds will look to bounce back from their cup loss at Wembley in midweek, when they host Kwinana United at Fraser Park. Coach Shane O’Donovan said they need to get back to winning ways, and he is confident they can. “Disappointed with the game against Wembley, especially when we dominated the game and had plenty of chances but we didn’t take them and they did so we move on,” he explained. “Looking forward to the game against Kwinana, everyone is looking to get back on track after last week’s results. It won’t be an easy game by any means but as long we are patient and take our chances, we are confident of a good result and putting pressure on the teams ahead of us, it should be an exciting run-in.”

Likewise, Kelmscott Roos, who lost at Perth AFC in the cup, when they make the trip to Charles Riley Memorial Reserve to meet North Beach. Keeper Taylor Warwick returns to the squad, after missing the cup tie, and he said they have three huge games to end their season. “We go into the business end of the season, and we have three cup finals to play,” he said. “After a disappointing defeat midweek, we are looking at making amends straight away. North Beach will be no push over, and we've had two good battles with them this year. We go into the game with a point to prove and three points are a must.” In other games this weekend, it kicks off on Saturday evening when South West Phoenix welcome Peel United to the Onside Sports Stadium in Bunbury (5pm), while Wembley Downs will look to build on their cup win when they host South Perth United at Butlers Reserve.



The Top Four Final Series in the NPLWA – Women’s competition kicks of this weekend, with Champions Perth RedStar hosting Perth SC at the RedStar Arena, while Fremantle City entertain the Hyundai NTC at Hilton Park. (Both games kick off at 3pm) First up the Champions will look to defend their final series crown, but games against the Azzurri have been tight this season, with Peter Rakic’s side knocking them out the State League Cup and beating them in the Night Series this season.

RedStar coach Carlos Vega-Mena said games against Perth are always entertaining and he believes Sunday will be no different. “Finals are always different type of game and at the end of the day the results can go either way. Perth is always a tough team and has some very talented players,” he said. “We have been working hard in the break and the players have been preparing both physically and mentally. I believe they are well and truly are up for the challenge and will bring this to the pitch on Sunday. As always in a game like this, the team that makes the less mistakes will make it through.”

Perth finished runners-up in the league and coach Peter Rakic said they have prepared well for this game and are ready for it. "We know how tough this game is going to be, there's always so much on the line when it comes to playing first versus second and we were in the same situation last year,” he explained. “Redstar are a very experienced team so we have to ensure we are prepared both mentally and physically, the girls have trained really well during the week so now it's up to them for what they put out in the 90 minutes that's at stake."

The winners of this tie will go straight through to the Top Four Cup final, which will be played at the State Football Centre on Saturday 16 September, while the losers will host the winners of Sunday's other semi-final between Fremantle City and Hyundai NTC in midweek. The NTC will be looking to build on last week's 6-1 State Cup final win over Murdoch University Melville when they take on Fremantle at Hilton Park. But both sides will be without some key players, with Freo's Tash Rigby and NTC players Georgia Cassidy, Grace Johnston and Tanika Lala all having joined Perth Glory's A-League squad for the upcoming season. NTC assistant coach Fernando Barreiro said their preparation has been hampered by illness, but he is confident the young side can get the result.

“Another game we’re looking forward to, but are well aware Fremantle will prove to be another tough test for us. But it’s an opportunity for some of under 16s to get a chance in the first team and it’s also an opportunity for us to see who’s potentially ready to step up for next year,” he said. “Preparations this week hasn’t been ideal as we’ve had a few players sick and so numbers have been low and Ben (Anderton) has also been ill all week. But no excuses from us we’ll put out a team who we think can get the job done and be competitive in every aspect. While we’re very proud to have won the State Cup for the first time we’ve already forgotten about that and are fully focused on the game against Fremantle on Sunday, it should be a good game.”



We head into the final week of the Hyundai Womens League Division One, and with Hamersley Rovers taking out the title, the race for the runners up spot is still up for grabs. Perth AFC are in pole position, three points clear of UWA Nedlands, but they have the same goal difference, so Perth only need a point when they travel to Wauhop Park to take on Fremantle City to seal the spot. Fremantle, who came into the league mid-season, have performed well and it will be a stern test for Rob Caruso side, who missed the opportunity to wrap up second spot last week at Mandurah, but the coach is looking to bounce back on Sunday.

“Very disappointed with last week's performance, Mandurah are a very good side and punished us with a well-deserved win,” Caruso said. “We are hungry to bounce back this week and won't be taking Fremantle lightly. We’re going into this game with the aim of taking all three points and finishing our season on a high note. It would be a massive achievement to finish the season in second spot, but we know it won't be easy.”

UWA Nedlands host Subiaco on Sunday at the UWA Sports Park, and are coming off a narrow loss against the Champions, and coach Lawrence Lewis said they will be doing all they can to finish the season with a win, and see what happens in the other game. “All we can do is go out and try to get a win to put the pressure on Perth AFC, and that what we aim to do on Sunday,” he said. “We have done well against Subiaco in our past two games, but they are an ever-improving team, so we will be wary, but it would be nice to go out on a win after a few losses recently.”

Hamersley Rovers make the trip to Genesiscare Stadium to take on the inform Mandurah City. The hosts are unbeaten in the last six games, including last weeks win against Perth AFC and defender Melanie Loreto said they are looking to continue their good form against the Champions. “We played well last week against Perth AFC and are relishing playing the Champions this week,” she said. “We are very much looking forward to the game and hope to continue our undefeated round three of the competition and end the season on a high.”

Rovers are unbeaten this season, and coach Betim Ziba said the girls want to continue that on Sunday, but he is expecting a tough game against and improved Mandurah outfit. “Mandurah have been improving and they will definitely look to beat us, so we are expecting a tough game,” he said. “As nice as it would be to stay unbeaten, I’m not too worried about it. I’m using this game as an opportunity to try new things and give some game time to developmental and young players.

“This game is a good opportunity to try new things to implement for next season. If we try them and we lose, it gives us a better idea of how to do it better. We will look to go out and keep the unbeaten record, but I would much rather try develop and implement than play to win for a record that does not benefit us as much. Regardless it will be a good and tough game, but we are up for it and will look to end the season strong.” In the other game this weekend Sorrento welcome Port Kennedy to Percy Doyle Reserve.



After last week’s dramatic State League Cup Final, we are expecting more drama on Saturday as the NPLWA - Men’s Top Four Finals Series kick off, involving Champions Perth RedStar, Stirling Macedonia, Olympic Kingsway and Perth SC. First in the Qualifying semifinal Perth RedStar host runners up Stirling Macedonia at the RedStar Arena. (3pm) The hosts are the holders of the end of season trophy, after defeating Floreat Athena 3-2 in last season’s final.

It looked like Floreat were on course to win the game after goals from Bayley Brown-Montgomery and Phillip Arnold gave them a two-goal lead at the break. But the game changed in a dramatic last 19 minutes. Ryan Lowry reduced the margin on 71 minutes, before Daryl Nicol levelled three minutes later. It looked like we were going to extra time, but deep into stoppage time Nicol secured the win, and took out the ‘Gary Marocchi Medal’ as player of the match.

On Saturday the RedStar’s will have to do something they have failed to do all season, and that is beat Stirling. In round two goals from Calvin Whitney and Kingsley Eshun gave Stirling a 2-1 win on the road, while in Round 13, Whitney was on target again, along with Kade Fearnall as they won at home 2-0. RedStar striker Daryl Nicol said they hold the trophy and they will be doing all they can to keep hold of it, to continue the good season for the Northern suburbs club.

“It’s been a phenomenal season for the club, with the women going back-to-back and the men getting over the line in probably the toughest NPL season to date. I’m not sure the gap between top and bottom has ever been smaller in our league so to come away with the title in what has possibly been the highest standard in recent memory is quite an achievement. Two major trophies in two seasons are something to be proud of and we hope to always be up there challenging for the top awards,’ Nicol explained.

“We know it will be a very tough game against Stirling as it always is, and I’m sure they’ll still be hurting from the fact that we have beaten them to the league trophy, but that’s what complacency does to you and we will be looking to make sure that we don’t fall into that trap on Saturday. The top four cup is our trophy to defend and we want to make sure we’re in the Grand Final come 5pm on Saturday.”

Stirling we’re promoted back to the NPL in 2021, and have made the top four in the last two seasons, and defender Luke Palmateer said it was a season of what could have been, but to finish second, and get the second chance was huge for them. “Overall, our season has had plenty of ups, but to finish with second place is bitter sweet. Our goal for the year was to win the league, so it is a bit disappointing however we have the opportunity in the top four cup to get some revenge on the team that finished ahead of us,” Palmateer explained.

“RedStar have a large degree of quality filtered throughout their side and should be credited with how consistent they were in their season efforts. Having beaten them twice this season is quite an achievement however you are only as good as your last game and hopefully it ends with us progressing through to the finals ahead of them. They are a side we have had many battles with, so we know it will be difficult however we go into the game knowing if we play our game, we can beat any side.”

In the elimination Semifinal, Olympic Kingsway host Perth ASC at Kingsway Reserve (3pm) Olympic has had the wood on Perth this season winning both games, and in round six a brace from Liam Murray helped them to a 5-0 win at home, while in round 20 goals from Ciaran Bryne and Tyler Garner secured a 2-0 win at Dorrien Gardens. Olympic have been outstanding in their first season back in the Premier League since 1999, and David Tough’s side will be looking to continue on with it on Saturday, and look to continue their dominance in the fixture.

“Looking back at the season I think we’ve had a great season. At the start of the season our aim was to finish in the top four and we achieved that. But we are a little disappointed in some ways as we did have an opportunity to finish higher in the league, but with a few disappointing results towards the end we finished third,” Olympic striker Ciaran Bryne said. “But overall, if you said you can have a Night Series trophy with a top four finish and a possible other trophy in our sights, we’d definitely take that.

“It’s Kingsway’s joint highest ever finish in the top league and we’re delighted to be able to achieve that in our first season back for the club, and we’re not finished. I’m looking forward to another big game for the club, yes, we’ve beaten Perth on both occasions this year, but that means nothing now going into this. Perth had strong finish to the season and won’t make it easy. But I think with the quality we have in the team and the advantage of the home draw we will be looking for a strong win. We’re not taking these games lightly and want to win this top four cup.”

The Azzurri edged out Armadale for the final spot, with a 3-3 draw at Bayswater, with French striker Jeremie Mba scoring the important final goal, and defender Julian Teles said the appointment of coach Danny Hay gave them a push late in the season. “Yes, the season has had its ups and downs that’s for sure, but since Danny came in, we have got stronger and it’s great to be in a position to be playing finals football,” Teles said. “Kingsway are a structured and organised team with strengths but also weaknesses. With having lost to them on both occasions previously, this has given us extra motivation to put on a great performance and progress to the next round.”

The other Top Four Final games, in the under 18’s, Champions Perth Glory take on Sorrento at the RedStar Arena, while Floreat Athena meet Bayswater City at Kingsway Reserve. (Both kick off at 11am) In the under 20’s Champions Perth Glory take on hosts Perth RedStar at the RedStar Arena, while Perth SC meet Bayswater City at Kingsway Reserve. (Both kick off a 1pm)



A spot in next season’s NPLWA - Men’s competition is up for grabs on Saturday, when the first ever NPL/State League Relegation/Promotion play offs begin. Cockburn City were relegated from the NPL, while Sorrento will have to battle it out in playoff, and in the first leg they travel to Forrest Park to take on local rivals Joondalup United. (3pm) The Gulls slipped into the playoff place on goal difference, after a heavy loss against Armadale in the final game of the season, and they face a tough game against a Joondalup side that has a number of old Sorrento players in the squad.

Last time they met in the league was in round 23 in 2018, when the sides shared Perth Doyle Reserve as a home venue, and it was Sorrento have won the 'Battle of the co-tenants' after a come-from-behind 3-1 win. The home side (Joondalup United) were ahead at the break through Elliot Tattersall, but the visitors (Sorrento) hit back after the break with Godwin Darkwa levelling before Jack Salter and Jordan Roberts made sure of the points.

Sorrento skipper Dean Cummings said it was a disappointing performance to end the league season, but that is in the past and they are focused on getting the job done in the playoffs. “As a group, we are very disappointed to be in the relegation play offs, but it is what it is, so we move on and have a chance to put it right starting this Saturday,” the midfielder said. “We have re grouped and are training well, so we will be going into Saturday’s fixture with a positive attitude looking to win both playoff games.”

It’s been a huge week of the pitch for Joondalup, after a deal with WAFL side West Perth, will see them play all their home games next season at Pentanet Stadium, and Head Coach Nick Jennings said it’s a great boost for the club. “The executive committee and President, have endlessly worked behind the scenes for years in an attempt to move the club forward off the field, and thanks to West Perth are Football Club we now have an elite complex to prepare and play home games,” Jennings said. “In turn this should make the recruitment and also retention of players easy as we look to propel the club into the upper echelons of WA football.”

Only two defeats in the last ten games for Jennings’ side, and he said after a poor start, they got things going, and its all down to the players. “Our off-field issues and a lack of training facilities, killed our night series, and put us on the back foot in our preparation for the season, which in turn meant we started off very slowly,” he explained. “However, the playing groups attitude was spot on, and our work ethic enabled us to turn things around and deservedly earn a top four spot.”

Jennings, who has coached at United for the last eight years, can remember when they called ‘Windy Hill’ as their home ground, and he said with a number of players with links to both clubs, this should be a cracking game. “Playing Sorrento is an exciting prospect for the coaches and the playing group. We have a number of boys with links to Sorrento and they all want to get one over on their former club. For me it’s a reminder of the good and bad times we had as an NPL side,” he said. “When we ground shared Windy Hill and we’re definitely the poor relations in the arrangement, but now we meet as equals on the playing field with one side with everything to lose, and the other with everything to gain.”

In the other semi-final Fremantle City entertain Mandurah City at Hilton Park. (3pm) The pair have met twice this season, with Mandurah winning both. In Round three they fought out an entertaining game at Genesiscare Stadium, with Mandurah running out 3-2 winners. Leigh Griffiths gave the hosts a two lead, but Hamza Hina pulled one back on the hour. Joey O’Brien added a third for the Dolphins five minutes from time to wrap up the points, with Hina scoring a late consolation goal for the port side. Then in Round 14 Mandurah came home from Hilton Park with all three points after a 3-0 win, with goals from Murray Mackintosh, Graham Tough and O’Brien.,

Mandurah were pipped for the title and promotion in the final game, after Western Knights scored in stoppage time to beat Joondalup, but coach John Baird said it was a great season to be involved in, and they have turned their attention to the play-offs. “Firstly, congratulations to Western Knights on winning the league, they have been trying for years to get out the division, and to go as close as it did shows you how tight it’s been all season, so well done to the Knights and all the best for next season,” Baird said.

“My players have been outstanding not just for one season but two seasons, that’s what makes this group what it is we never stop, we never give up and to take the league to the last minutes of the league proves that, night series was another example of that. To say how proud, I am of this group of players would be an understatement, they are a joy to work with. We know all the teams in the play offs, including our opponents on Saturday Fremantle, are going to provide crackers. But my thoughts are totally on us and to have us in the best condition to win the tie and as everyone is saying, looking forward to the challenge.”

Fremantle finished the season well, with only one defeat in their final six games, and coach Matthew Sparrow said they hope to take that form into the play-offs. “Yes, we finished strongly which was exactly what we needed to cement a playoff spot on the final day of the season, and we will look to take our good form into Saturday’s game,” Sparrow said. “We know Mandurah are a good side, who will be disappointed not to have won the league, but now there’s a second chance for them and ourselves to get promoted.

“Saturdays first leg match has the potential to be a cracker, going on history this season we’ve not beaten them yet and that really hurt us so they’ll be going into the game as favourites so we know we’ll need to be ready and focused for the challenge Saturday. Both teams play attacking football and like to score goals and John Baird has always had them well drilled as a group so we’ll need to compete and match them in every department if we want to get a positive result, we are in good form and we will give everything we have to win the game at home.”



The State League First Division/Second Division Promotion/Relegation Play-off’s will be closely fought, like games in the league have been all season. In Division One Forrestfield United were relegated, with Subiaco dropping into the playoff spot after throwing away a three-goal lead at half time to loss 4-3 against Gosnells City in the final game of the season. Kingsley Westside won the Division Two title, with Maddington-Kalamunda White City, Curtin University and Swan United, also securing a place in the playoffs.

The first game sees Subiaco AFC hosting Swan United at Rosalie Park. (3pm) United sealed their spot with a win against Carramar Shamrock Rovers, while Subiaco were stunned at home by Gosnells, and with UWA winning their match, Marc Wingell’s side dropped into the relegation playoff spot. Subiaco skipper Sean Cronin said the loss against Gosnells hurt the group, but they will be doing all they can to stay in Division One. “It was a massive disappointment for us losing to Gosnells, and the way we did. Injuries in the second half didn’t help, but we’ve no excuses for the way things went. Luckily none of the injuries were severe so we’re looking forward to giving Swan a good game on Saturday. They are a good side with some dangerous players, so we’ve made sure to put in the right trainings following the Gosnells defeat and make sure we are going into the game 100%.”

Swan winger Rhys Loxley said promotion is what they are looking for, and he knows Subiaco will be desperate to stay in Division One, so it should be a great game on Saturday. “Our aim since the beginning of the season was always promotion, and we knew that we had a capable squad, but the competition was strong which meant we had to fight hard to finish in the final playoff place. It still gives us a chance and one we are relishing going into the weekends game,” he said. “I love playing in these games. There is always an extra buzz, and I am looking forward to testing ourselves against them. I was a little surprised to see them end up in the bottom two as Mark and Dale have done well since taking over. They will be up for the challenge and desperate to avoid relegation, but I’m confident in our ability to win games of football no matter where, or who we are playing.”

In the other game, Maddington-Kalamunda City makes the trip to Edinburgh Oval to take on Curtin University. (3pm) The sides met in the final league game of the season, with Maddington running out 2-1 winners, and it has been a huge season for Maddington, in their first season in the State League since 2013, and coach German Montealegre Quijano said all their hard work has been rewarded. “It has been a great session so far for Maddington–Kalamunda, and It was a huge achievement in the first year in the league. The players and coaches have been working so hard to get this result (runners-up),” he explained.

“Overall, we had a great campaign despite the fact the beginning of the season was quite slow losing the three first games. However, during the progress of the tournament, we improved to the point that we were unbeaten at home ground this year. I cannot deny that our main goal was to be champions at the beginning of the season, but Kingsley did well and they highly deserved the championship. Congratulations.”

On the trip to Curtin in the playoffs, the coach said if last weeks game is anything to go by, it should be another entertaining game. “Last week we got a great result beating them 2-1, and it was a fantastic game to watch in general. Both teams had great chances to score more goals during each half. But I thought we deserved to win the game by more than two goals, but their great keeper performed well, and we know every game is completely different and more challenging.

“Curtin are a strong team to play against, they have a young and physically strong squad with some very interesting players. As far I know, this has been their best participation in the state league two since they have been taking part. It will be a huge motivation for them in the play-off continue with this momentum. I can guarantee that it will be a very entertaining two legs games. From my team perspective, we are quite motivated and confident that we can get a positive outcome in the playoff as we got great result in both games during the normal season against them.

“As coach, I am very pleased, because I have my full team available for these critical games against them. Unfortunately, the last three games of the season we missed some important and essential players for our main squad, but it won’t be the case for the play-off. Our final goal is to be promoted to the Division One and get the second promotion in row, and my team will not give up until they get it.”

Curtin finished third, which was their best finish in state football, and Nathan Smith said it was good, but he thought they deserved more. “I think if at the start of the season, if you said we would finish third, I would have taken that and ran, but I think we played a quality of football that deserved a bit more,” he said. “Everyone involved at the club would have been slightly disappointed with how the season turned out cause of the quality and the high standards we've set, but we have the opportunity to get more in the play offs. I think it’s going to be a great battle between two good footballing teams. Both games against Maddington this season have been tight and won in just a couple of key moments, and I'm sure Saturday will be the same, and I know everyone at Curtin is absolutely raring to go.”



Before he has even won his first Socceroos cap, Alessandro Circati has had more written about him than most uncapped 19-year olds. The central defender, who is in Graham Arnold's squad for this weekend’s friendly against Mexico, has created a fair bit of excitement that he could become a long-term member of the Australia national side.

Circati is thriving for promotion-chasing Serie B side Parma, who sit joint-top of the Italian second division and have only conceded one goal - a penalty - through their opening four games. Parma's social media team have christened the Australian, "il muro" (the wall) after helping maintain an undefeated start to the season.

"Being young and being a centre half, it's hard to get trust and faith because if you make a mistake the ball is in the back of the net," said Circati, a former Perth SC and Perth Glory player. "As a club we've had a strong start and topping it off is the chance to come to the national team."

There's also a buzz that Circati, who was born in Italy but raised in Perth, has chosen the Socceroos when a career in blue could have been a very real possibility. When he was called up for an Italian U20s team last year, Australia fans feared he might have followed the lead of Christian Vieri or Croatia's Joe Simunic and gone on to become one of those that got away.

Instead, after endless speculation over his allegiance and more than 12 months of communication with Arnold, he called the Australia boss prior to June's friendly with Argentina to declare his commitment for the Socceroos. "It wasn't an easy decision because of the circumstances that such a decision can lead to," Circati said.

"It was about a year of talking with Arnie ... I knew at the time it was the right decision to make because I felt that within myself. I was being sent things (articles) but I don't feel like there was any pressure ... at the end of the day it's just headlines, people writing something for people to read."

Should Circati make his international debut on Sunday, it will most likely be off the bench and in front of a raucous, pro-Mexican crowd at the 80,000-capacity AT&T Stadium in Texas. Whether that maiden cap comes now, in World Cup qualifiers or at the Asian Cup in January, it sounds like Arnold's messaging is already have its effect.



Perth Glory have continued to bolster their squad ahead of the upcoming A-League Women season with the signing of Philippines international Quinley Quezada. The 26-year old attacking midfielder has been a key figure for the Philippines over the last few years, helping the national team win the AFF Women’s Championship last year.

Quezada also played her part in the Philippines reaching the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup semi-finals and qualify for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, where she start in all three fixtures. She is her nation’s all-time leading scorer with 22 goals to her name in 51 appearances.

At club level, Quezada started out in the United States college system with UC Riverside Highlanders in 2015. She has since played for in Taiwan for Xinbei Hangyuan, for Japanese club JEF United Chiba and with Serbia Women’s Super League outfit Red Star Belgrade.

“I’m very excited to be joining Perth Glory this season,” Quezada said. “Aside from Perth being a beautiful community to live in, I’ve heard so many admirable things about the club and team. I followed the women’s team last season and they made a great run in the league.”

“For this upcoming season I’m hoping the team will grow into a strong unit and be constantly gunning for that number one spot. Personally, I want to continue learning, improving my technical skills and trying to be a leader within the team in any form that I can. I’m looking forward to joining the team and fighting for the championship.”

Glory head coach Alex Epakis said he’s looking forward to being reunited with Quiezada, after working alongside her during his time on the Philippines coaching staff. “Quinley is a senior member within the Philippines women’s national team and has a strong level of versatility to her game across multiple attacking positions,” Epakis said.

“I have been conscious of the style of play we want to have this season and having various attacking threats and types of players is an important part of that vision. Quinley will provide us with different attacking qualities and will certainly build a great combination with our other players in attack.”



If Graham Arnold was looking for a new warrior then the Socceroos boss might have found one in the shape of Ipswich Town defender Cameron Burgess. The towering 27-year old hadn’t been sighted in Australian colours since playing for the Olyroos in 2016, but has won his maiden senior call-up for this weekend’s friendly against Mexico.

The Perth-raised defender had been on a journey through England’s lower leagues before landing at Ipswich. Burgess’s hopes of donning the green and gold have taken its fair share of setbacks along the way, most notably last year when he was involved in a sickening on-field collision that left him requiring facial surgery.

“I couldn’t tell you the amount of fractures, it was a bit like a jigsaw puzzle and not one that was made up,” said Burgess, who played locally for ECU Joondalup. “I want to say there’s high 30s bolts and screws still in my face. The pictures (of scans) paint a thousand words.”

“It was a case of waiting for the bones to heal to the right spots and the surgeon was happy for me to go ahead. I had to wear a mask ... there was a game where I forgot to put it on one day and from then on it was good to go.”

Burgess was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, but says he never considered switching his allegiance to his birth country when Socceroos calls passed him by. “As soon as I heard about a potential call-up for Australia, that’s exactly where I wanted to be,” the uncapped defender said.

“That was also something that was a dream of mine since I was back playing in the Olyroos camp. It’s taken time since my last trip away but it couldn’t have come at a better time.” Australia take on Mexico at AT&T Stadium in Dallas on Sunday morning.



Western Australia will be well represented when the Junior Matilda’s qualifying campaign for the Under-17 Women’s Asian Cup continues later this month with Ischia Brooking, Ruby Cuthbert and Jessica Skinner named in coach Rae Dower’s 23-player squad.

Brooking, Cuthbert and Skinner, who play in midfield, defence and goal respectively, were stand-out performers in the local competition over the winter for the National Training Centre. They will now get the opportunity to extend themselves in the four-nation tournament in Vietnam.

The Junior Matildas will open their Group B qualifying campaign against the Philippines (20 September) before facing host nation Vietnam (22 September) and Bangladesh (24 September. The top two nations will progress to the Under-17 Women’s Asian Cup to be hosted by Indonesia in April 2024.



Perth Glory have added to their midfield options with the signing of Philippines international Jessika Cowart for the coming A-League Women season. The 23-year old can operate as a centre back or holding midfielder and played in all three of the Philippines games at the recent Women’s World Cup, including their historic win over New Zealand.

A stand-out performer for the University of Washington Huskies between 2017 and 2021 in the United State collegiate system, Cowart gained her first experience of European football with Turkish side Caykur Rizespor. A move to Swedish club IFK Kalmar followed earlier this year where she established herself as a first team regular.

Cowart is looking forward to getting her first taste of A-League football. “After multiple conversations with the coaching staff, I was impressed with their commitment, not only to us as players on the field, but also as people off the field and that is a big reason why I signed for Glory,” Cowart said.

“I am highly impressed by the environment that has been built and it’s clear to me that this is a top organization and I’m honoured to be a part of it. I hope to not only represent Perth well throughout the season, but also to help bring home a championship.”

It was Cowart’s performances at the World Cup that caught the eye of Glory coach Alex Epakis. “Jess comes to us after a great personal experience from that World Cup campaign and past exposure to some strong competition from her recent time playing in the Swedish top division,” said Epakis, an analyst for the Philippines during the World Cup.

“Jess has a really strong technical skill set which will allow us to build up and start our attacks from deep areas and help us be the type of attacking team we want to be. Moreover, her character and energy is very infectious and I have no doubt she will be a strong and positive personality within the group this season.”



Perth Glory have continued their pre-season games on Tuesday evening, with a trip to Kingsway Reserve to take on NPLWA side Olympic Kingsway, and they ran out 3-1 winners in an entertaining game. Glory skipper Adam Taggart gave Alen Stajcic’s side the lead at the break, his fifth goal in pre-season, before former Bayswater City midfielder Giordano Colli scored a brace after half time to seal the result, before Olympic substitute Lebib Lebib scored a late consolation goal for the hosts, as they build up for Saturday’s elimination Semi-Final first leg of the NPL Top Four Finals Series

“It was another good hit out, and a different type of game to last week, against a team that sat in a bit more, which required a bit more cutting edge in the final third, and like last week we have a lot to work on,” Glory coach Alen Stajcic said post-match. ‘We’re just mixing and matching at the moment, trialists, scholarship players and regulars, to try get that team chemistry across the board and make sure everyone is up to speed with the game plan, and its up the players to fight for the spot in the side for the A-League.”

The rain clouds were hovering prior to kick off, and the rain and wind hit early in the game, and the hosts thought they should have had a penalty after 11 minutes, Riley Warland, who is on trial at the club, brought down Sasa Njegic, but referee Shane Skinner waved away their protests. Glory started to get on top and David Williams saw his effort crash off the post, before Olympic keeper David Keenan produced a fine save to deny Luke Ivanovic moments later. But on 26 minutes the Glory pressure was rewarded with the lead, the lively Ivanovic sending in Taggart, and the striker finished clinically past Keenan.

The hosts were finding holes in the Glory defence, but the last ball in the final third hurt them, while at the other end the Glory looked to add to their lead. Ivanovic’s powerful shot cannoned back off the crossbar, before Keenan got down well to push Mark Beevers’ effort around the post, but at the break Glory held a narrow lead. It was a good start to the second half for the Glory, and they added a second four minutes in, Colli finding space and his quick feet took him clear of his marker and he arrowed his low shot into the bottom corner of the net.

Then on the hour it was 3-0, Colli’s corner was spilled into his own net by the unfortunate Keenan. Both sides made changes, with trialists for both sides having the opportunity to shine, with Cypriot midfielder Antonis Martis, former Western Sydney Wanderers Midfielder Dean Pelekanos, former Glory defender Walter Scott and former Perth SC keeper Adrian Sinagra coming on for Glory. But it was the hosts who pulled one back on 67 minutes, a poor clearance from Sinagra, was picked off by Liam Murray, and he squared the ball to Lebib, who made no mistake.

The rain returned, and Glory went in search of more goals, but substitute keeper Joe Pollard made a couple of fine saves to deny them, before Glory substitute keeper Sinagra produced a stunning save to thwart former Glory youth midfielder Ollie Annis. Late on Glory substitutes Danie Bennie and Adam Zimarino combined the former seeing his effort go over the top. But at the end it was the Glory supporters in the big crowd who were celebrating the win.

Olympic Head coach David Tough said it was a great workout for his side as they prepare for Saturday’s Top Four Finals. “The game was a great occasion for the club, and we appreciate everyone that came out and supported us, especially with the heavy rain,” he said. “I thought we gave a great account of ourselves, and the lads stuck to our principles and worked extremely hard out of possession. We were able to give 20 players games time and we didn’t pick up any injuries.

“We had three first team players missing tonight, as we prepare for Saturday’s big game, but towards the end of the game, we had a couple of 15-year-olds and a 17-year-old from our 18's and 20's squads on the field, demonstrating the wealth of young talent within our club. The match served as a valuable exercise in preparation for our upcoming top-four showdown against Perth on Saturday.”

Perth Glory: GK Robert COOK (RGK Adrian SINAGRA (trialist) 65') 2 John KOUTROUMBIS (16 Joseph FORDE 60'), 4 Luke BODNAR (9 Dean PELEKANOS (trialist) 60'), 5 Mark BEEVERS (25 Aleksandar SUSNJAR 60'), 8 Riley WARLAND (14 Walter SCOTT (trialist) 46'),12 Luke IVANOVIC (7 Antonis MARTIS (trialist) 60'),18 David WILLIAMS (23 Daniel BENNIE 60'), 20 Giordano COLLI (26 Corey SUTHERLAND 60'), 22 Adam TAGGART, (11 Adam ZIMARINO 46'), 24 Joel ANASMO (21 James OVERY 60'), 28 Trent OSTLER (29 Darryl LACHMAN 60') - Subs not used: 42 Kaelan MAJEKODUNMI

Olympic Kingsway: GK David KEENAN (RGK Joe POLLARD 66’), 3 Daniel WALSH (15 Thomas SALLIS 82’), 4 Cian HIRRELL (6 John CHALMERS 60’), 11Trialist (17 Coby SUTTON 75’), 8 Ollie ANNIS (7 Jacob EVANS 75’), 9 Ciaran BYRNE (19 Noah KANZI 66’), 10 Tyler GARNER (15 Billy BAKER 82’), 12 James FANELLI (20 Mark WITHERS 66’), 14 Liam MURRAY (7 Jamie GARDINER 66’), 13 Sasa NJEGIC (2 Lebib LEBIB 60’), 16 David PERICH (5 Calum O’CONNELL 46’) - Referee: Shane SKINNER



New Northern Ireland women’s manager Tanya Oxtoby has made it her goal to guide the national team to major tournaments. Northern Ireland qualified for Euro 2022 under previous manager Kenny Shiels but missed out on the recent World Cup in Australia.

Oxtoby, 41, signed a four-year deal with the Irish FA last month and is keen to build on those successes when the UEFA Women’s Nations League kicks off later this month. "When I took on this role I was looking at the Euros and the World Cup," said Oxtoby.

"What would I like? To be competing in both of those of tournaments. How we get there is going to be a process. We have short-term ambitions and long-term goals as well. Hopefully I'm sat in a nice sunny place in the world, with this team competing at a major tournament."

Oxtoby was appointed after an eight-month gap without a manager following Shiels' departure in January. The former Northern Redbacks captain says the initial conversations with the IFA aligned with her personal views and that made taking the job the right decision.

"When I initially spoke to (IFA's technical director) Aaron (Hughes) we were really aligned in terms of our views and what the organisation stood for," commented Oxtoby, who has coached previously at Bristol City and Chelsea, amongst others. "That was really important for me for what my next role was going to be. "

"Having conversations with Aaron and (director of women's football) Angela (Platt) about where they want to go and how they want to get there, for me that resonated and I think once we realised we were aligned then the rest took care of itself really."

Oxtoby will begin her tenure in Northern Ireland's Nations League opener with the Republic of Ireland on September 23 in Dublin. "It's a role for me that is really, really exciting," Oxtoby commented. "I've been in club football mostly and this is going to be a fantastic new challenge for me. "

"I was lucky enough to see them at the Euros and that sets me up really well. It's a fantastic fixture to start with and I'm really looking forward to it. We need to focus on us, we have a lot to do with bringing the squad back in and trying to embed some of the things we want to work on."

"It's a great challenge and hopefully we will give everyone something to get excited about. The foundations have been fantastic and we have a really good platform to launch the team forward. It's been a really exciting journey and one I want to carry on."

Hughes, who was key to Oxtoby's appointment, added that he felt the West Australian was the right person for the job and defended the association's eight-month wait to replace Shiels. "We sat down and said, 'what are we looking for here?'," the former Northern Ireland defender said.

"To be honest, there aren't many of that calibre (of managers) around, especially knocking around free as most of them are in jobs. It was a case of going through a detailed process and doing our due diligence. I suppose to get to the level of candidate that we got, with Tanya's calibre, you don't get that overnight."

"A lot of the pressure comes from the games on top of the time. If you remove the games, the pressure - you look at any other industry in the world, when they go out and they try and get the right fit, they take that time. Football just adds that pressure, as you know. We never felt like we were dragging our heels."

"We were always continually in that process and doing our due diligence, taking our time and it's really nice that we can sit back and be really satisfied with having someone like Tanya in the building. We can be really proud of our work and be really excited for what's ahead and the success we hope we can have, with Tanya leading that."



Perth Glory have added some attacking depth to their ranks after signing attacker Bruce Kamau on a one-year deal. The 28-year old has been without a club after his deal with Greek Super League outfit OFI ended, having spent the second half of last season on loan to Melbourne Victory.

Kamau, a winger, is well-known to A-League fans. He helped Adelaide United win the 2015/16 A-League premiership and championship double, played two seasons with Melbourne City and spent three summers at Western Sydney Wanderers. Kamau collected Australia Cup winners medals with Adelaide United (2014) and Melbourne City (2016).

The arrival of Kamau, a former Australia Under-23 international, follows the recruitment of Perth-born defender Aleksandar Susnjar last week, and will help make up for the loss of Ryan Williams. Kamau said he was excited to head home to Australia and was excited at the prospect of linking up with Glory and new coach Alen Stajcic.

“After speaking to not only the head coach (Stajcic) and his staff, but also other people that have worked with him or know him in a football capacity, working under him is part of the reason why I want to come to Perth,” he said.

“I believe that he can help me get the best out of myself.”

“I want to get back to playing consistently and enjoying my football and I think we’ll surprise a lot of people. It’s not a case of going there just to be competitive and make up the numbers in the league. I personally want to have as much success as I can with the team and strive to win silverware and championships.”

“I wouldn’t be returning to the A-League if I wasn’t confident in my abilities and what I can do on the pitch. I’m looking to return to the kind of form and quality that I had in my last season at Western Sydney and not just replicate that, but build upon it and have a better and brighter season.”



Our ‘Match of the Round’ in the Hyundai Women’s Division One Week 20 was a tight affair, with champions Hamersley Rovers taking on third placed UWA Nedlands at Carine Open Space, and it was Rovers who continued their unbeaten run with a narrow 1-0 win. The only goal of the game came just before half time, a cross into the box found top goal scorer Christine Astorp, who reacted the quickest, and slipped the ball past UWA keeper Maria Flandes Iparraguirre and into the bottom right corner, for her 29th goal of the season. It was a big day for the hosts who received the champions trophy from Football West Competition and Clubs Manager Dan Israel.

Rovers Head Coach Betim Ziba said it was a tight game, with chances to both sides, but he thought they deserved the win. “It was a competitive game against a good UWA side, and there were times they had the momentum and then there was times we did,” he explained. “I thought we were unlucky not to score earlier on, but some good saves from the UWA keeper kept them in the game. The game, like all this season against UWA, was great to be a part off, but I thought the better team won. Just means one more game to go this season, to keep our unbeaten record going, and the girls are determined to do that.”

The race for the runners-up spot in still up for grabs, after second placed Perth AFC were beaten 2-0 by Mandurah City at Len Packham Park. Knowing a win won seal second spot, Perth AFC were on the front foot early, but the Dolphins held firm, and had chances of their own, and on the half hour Mandurah found the opener. The referee spotted a handball in the penalty area, and Suria Priya Varatharaja made no mistake with the resulting spot kick.

It was 2-0 seven minutes later, Georgia Aiesi raced down the right, and he cross into the penalty area found Katrina Breen, who smashed the ball into the back of the net on the volley. Perth AFC pressed after the break looking to get back into the game, but Mandurah held firm to take home all three points. “The girls battled hard and kept the pressure on Perth to hold onto the lead till the end, and the growth in this team has been fantastic to see with so many young players stepping up the challenge,” Mandurah defender Melenie Loreto explained. “We look forward to hosting Hammersley this Sunday and want to say thank you to all the other teams and coaches in the competition for an excellent season.”

In the other games, Port Kennedy have won for the sixth time this season, after a 2-0 win against Subiaco AFC at Koorana Reserve. The home side were ahead on 24 minutes, when Taylor Olson’s shot from long-range went straight through the hands of the Subiaco keeper, and they doubled their advantage just before half time, Keira Turner scoring after some neat build up play. Port coach Kevin Cole said it was a deserved win, and they hope to end the season on a high at Sorrento next week.

“I thought both our goals were well taken, and we dominated from the first whistle,” he said. “After the break the game became a little scrappy, due to the strong winds, but it was a nice win to end our home games for the season, and hopefully we can go to Sorrento and get a win to finish off the season.” In the final game Sorrento and Fremantle City have played out an entertaining 4-4 draw at Percy Doyle Reserve.

Hamersley Rovers - Hyundai Women’s Division One Champions (Photo courtesy Hamersley Rovers)



The Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division continues to be gripping, and with three weeks remaining we have a new leader, with North Perth United moving two points clear after leaders Emerald were well beaten at North Beach. First in our ‘Match of the Round’, we focused on the bottom of the table and Kwinana United boosted their chances of survival after a 2-0 win against Wembley Downs at Kelly Park on Sunday afternoon. “I thought it was a decent game really, and pretty tight, but I believe on the balance of play we deserved the three points,” Kwinana coach Mark Purvis explained. “It was a good way to bounce back after last week at Jaguar, and keeps us in the fight to stay up.” The hosts found the opener after the break, when Sean Troop found space, and with a controlled finish, found the bottom. They sealed the points with a second, Micheal Lawson converting from the spot to give them only their second home win of the campaign.

Emerald lost spot after they were thrashed 6-1 loss by North Beach at Charles Riley Memorial Reserve. “Couldn’t be prouder of the boys after an amazing performance against the league leaders. We were able to match Emerald physically across the park and take control of the game, and club captain Chris Judge led from the front winning crucial challenges across the midfield which lifted the whole team,” North Beach coach Nick Di Carlo explained. “We wanted to make amends for our last outing against Emerald as well as a below par performance last week, and we executed our plan to perfection and were clinical in front of goal. It reminded us of the quality we have which we haven’t been able to emulate week in week out. The performance excites us for the challenge next week again at home and it is fair to say the mood in the group is at an all-time high.”

The hosts hit the front on 17 minutes, Keiran Moores played an early low cross from the left, which was finished neatly by Ben Reynolds inside the box. They doubled their lead six minutes later, James Ashford sent a ball out wide to Moores on the right, and continued his run into the box and headed home Moores cross into the bottom corner. It got better for the hosts, who made it 3-0 on the half hour, Ben Reynolds cross from the left picked out Chris Judge, who converted with an impressive scissor kick from just inside the box.

The visitors were shell-shocked, but they pulled one back eight minutes later, Shane Young’s shot from the edge of the box beat Aaron Persse. But the hosts regained the three-goal advantage five minutes later, Luke Jones lot his marker and headed home unmarked from a corner. Emerald needed a good start after the break to get back into the game, but it was North Beach who added a fifth early, Daniel Yelland-Hunter ran onto a through ball between two defenders and finished well into the roof of the net from the edge of the penalty area. The icing was put on the cake for North Beach when they added a sixth twelve minutes from time, Yelland-Hunter pounced on a defensive error to score, and complete a comprehensive win.

North Perth United took advantage of Emerald’s slip up with a 5-1 win against Joondalup United at Woodville Reserve in the early Sunday game. “I thought we controlled the tempo of the game from start to finish, and it was great to take chances when they presented, as the game was killed off early,” North Perth coach Alex Carter said. “Credit to all the lads that came off the bench and had a positive impact. It was good to have a full bench again after having a very thin squad for the last few weeks. The commitment of the boys for the last few weeks great with boys canceling tinder dates and work trips to be involved in what should be a fun run home.”

The Rattlesnake was at his best early in this one, Patrick Montgomery getting on the end of a Liam Fyfe diagonal ball into the box to finish into the top corner after only seven minutes. He was in again four minutes later, finishing well to double the home sides advantage. It was 3-0 moments later, Ben James broke down the left, and his low cross was turned home by Brian Woodall at the back post. Joondalup pulled one back before the break, with Niall McGurk scoring, but that was as good as it got for the visitors. Woodall added the fifth early in the second half wit ha neat finish, while Scott Blackmore completed the scoring 19 minutes from time, his half volley giving Joondalup keeper Patrick Lawless no chance.

East Perth moved up to second after a 6-0 win against Peel United at Bortolo Park. “A brilliant performance from the boys today, and were happy to come away with the points and a clean sheet in a very difficult place to come. Peel never gave up, and at 2-0 had some chances that if they go in it’s a different game then,” East Perth coach Colm Costello said. “At half time, although we were two up the lads were disappointed in a first half with too many missed chances and sloppy mistakes. And to be fare we didn’t have to say too much at the interval as the players knew it needed to be better on the ball and more clinical. So, we were delighted with a brilliant response in second half from the lads, and we move onto preparation for Joondalup next weekend, and will hit the training truck hard this week.”

The visitors hit the front on 25 minutes, a long throw was flicked on by Ryan McGready and Adam McCarron lost his marker to head home. They doubled their lead on the half hour mark, Dean Wall’s free kick crashed off the crossbar, but McGready was quickest to the rebound to score. After the break Peel pressed to get back into the game, but the visitors were sloid at the back, with skipper Darren O’Riordan outstanding, and it was East Perth who added a third just after the hour. Wall sending McGready in on goal and he finished clinically. They added a fourth when substitute Stephen Geoghegan raced down the left, and cut in, before firing home superbly into the top corner. McGready completed his hat-trick on 76 minutes, getting on Chris Smith’s through ball, while Smith capped off a brilliant performance by adding a sixth late to complete a good performance.

Kelmscott Roos are up to fourth after a 6-2 win against South West Phoenix at Frye Park. “We started off poorly in the game and SWP took advantage of that, but once we grew into the game, we took control and didn’t look back. We played some of the best football we played all season and finally got the reward for it,” Kelmscott keeper Taylor Warwick explained. “We are not out of the race for promotion yet and until we are mathematically out of the race we will not give up, but we have a huge cup semi to play on Wednesday now which is where our focus is.”

It the visitors who opened the scoring early, with Corey Barclay on target after only eight minutes, but the host levelled on the half hour. A mazy run down the left by Jonah Kuman, saw him take on two defenders, before curling home. Kelmscott hit the front five minutes before half time, a superb run by Ishmael Greywood, cutting the ball back from the bye-line, and Alex Ekeze made no mistake. It was 3-1 moments later, Jonah Kuman made space down the right, and he found Lemeo Reece, who eased past his marker before curling home.

Phoenix found a lifeline nine minutes into the second half, with J Menzies scoring, but that was as good as it got for them, and Greywood added a fourth for the hosts two minutes later, superbly curling home a long-range free kick, while Miguel De Oliveira added a fifth after getting on the end of a Brodie McRae through ball. It was 6-2 late, Isaac Koomson finishing well across the keeper to seal a big win for the hosts.

In the final game South Perth United moved to fifth and leapfrogged Jaguar after beating them 4-0 at Challenger Reserve. “I thought we put in a dominate display after an initial slow start,” South Perth coach Lee Hayward said. “We had to make a couple of changes as we lost Theo Petropoulos to Covid and Beau Rahim for work, but Brayden Burton has been injured since round three, and he came back into the squad for the first team last week and had to start today, and he put in a great shift and really helped balance the midfield out. I said weeks ago after the Kwinana draw, that I don’t think the top three is possible anymore, but I did say we will have a big say on who finishes where and we will be looking to finish strongly in the last three games, two of which are against teams still fighting for the title and or promotion.”

South Perth hit the front on seven minutes, good build up play between Ben Greaves, Ben Godfrey and Cohen Aitken, found George Stephens, who scored from close range. Both sides had chances for the rest of the first half, but it was the hosts who took the lead into the break. But five minutes into the second half the hosts doubled their lead Stephens broke free and delivered into the box for Aitken to score. Stephens made it 3-0 seven minutes from time heading home Dave Hardy’s cross, and Stephens completed his hat-trick in stoppage time to seal a 4-0 win.



Floreat Athena have secured their ninth State League Cup crown, after an exciting 3-2 win against Inglewood United in Saturday evening final at the State Football Centre in Queens Park. The game had everything, great goals, good football and red cards, which saw the game end prematurely, after a scuffle in the tunnel between players. Floreat coach Vas Vujacic said he was proud of his players, after a tough season for them in the league. “Very happy to win a trophy in what was a challenging season for us,” he said. “I think both sides felt a bit more freedom after a tense league campaign and it was quite an open game. I think we deserved the win but credit to Inglewood who put up a strong fight. I’m mostly proud of the way we were able to stick together in the last month to not only survive relegation but to put ourselves in a position to win last night.”

Both sides had only secured their NPL survival in the final league game of the season, and both wanted to end their season on a high, and it was Floreat who found the opener on 11 minutes, Bayley Brown-Montgomery picking out his strike partner Nick Ambrogio in the box, and he finished low past Alex Dunn. But five minutes later, Inglewood levelled, Rene Kisesa cut in from the left, drifted past a number of Floreat defenders before finding the top corner of the net from just outside the penalty area, giving Floreat keeper Joshua Hunter no chance.

It was end-to-end football and it was Floreat who regained the lead on 23 minutes, Brown-Montgomery’s free kick picked out Ambrogio, who lost his marker to head home. Then in first half stoppage time Inglewood restored parity again, a corner wasn’t dealt with Alexander Ishida-Livings’ shot saved on the line by Hunter, and in the goalmouth scramble the ball rebounded off the unfortunate Robert Petkov and into his own net, and at the break the game was still up for grabs for both sides.

Then three minutes into the second half Floreat won it, Ambrogio’s corner was cleared back to him on the left, and his ball back into the box found Petkov, who rode his marker and fired low past Dunn. Both had chances late, but neither could convert, and the tension was building as we went into stoppage time, and it unfortunately boiled over, with an incident between Brown-Montgomery and Anthony Bafobusha and referee David Bruce sent both players off. But it wasn’t the end of the incident, with both players going at it again in the tunnel, with players from both sides getting involved, and the referee called time early, with Floreat taking out the 2023 State League Cup, but I’m sure there will be more to come from the ugly incident.

“What a game,” Floreat striker Nick Ambrogio, who won the Stan Lazaridis Medal winner as best player on the night,” said post-match. “It was a tough season for us this with a lot of injuries and players coming in and out but to cap it off with a trophy, we’ll take it. Floreat’s not a club that should be down in the bottom half of the table. A relegation scrap was a foreign place to most of us but Credit to the boys always sticking together and grinding out results when needed. Big shout out to Bailey and Rob, they’ve been out more than half the year but when the big games come round those two never fail to rock up. We’ll enjoy the off-season, regroup and set our sights on pushing for a league title next year.”

Floreat Athena: GK Joshua Hunter, 6 Jesse Fuller, 8 Sean McManus, 9 Robert Petkov, 10 Nick Ambrogio (25 Noah Shamaki 54’), 11 Dennis Galan, 14 Ludovic Boi (19 Mohammed Al-Zaidy 54’), 16 Bayley Brown-Montgomery, 17 Alex Christodoulakis, 18 Phil Arnold, 20 Andrew Palmer – Subs not used: 3 Filip Minic, 5 Ethan Mom, 23 Gianluca De Felice

Inglewood United: GK Alex Dunn, 2 Alex Ishida-Livings, 3 Roberto Del Borrello, 4 Ciaran Salinger (14 Dhuors Chol 84’), 6 Matt Ntoumenopoulos, 9 Michael Domfeh, 10 Anthony Bafobusha, 12 Benson Nsegetse (8 Harry Evans 66’), 13 Rene Kisesa (7 Chad Nilson 84’), 19 Chris Tilson, 20 Shubham Mokala (17 Dylan White 88’) – Subs not used: RGK James Lindsay, 11 Egide Ngendakumana, 15 Joseph Marino – Referee: David Bruce

Floreat Athena celebrate winning the 2023 State Cup (Photo courtesy by Fotoenzo)



Perth Glory have completed the league and cup double, after a comprehensive 5-0 win against Armadale in Saturday’s State League Reserves Cup Final at the State Football Centre in Queens Park. Glory coach Ivan Zuvela said it was a tight game, but after half time they took control, and he was really pleased with the performance. “The game started fairly tight and close and we got what looked like to be a bit of a lucky goal in the first half. We then come out in the second half and remained focused on what we needed to do. We were then rewarded with some nice goals at the end,” he explained.

“Credit to Lee Taylor and his Armadale side who gave it everything and certainly didn’t make it easy for us. I’m just happy for our players for how they performed in the game. It was a fairly big occasion for them and some of them have never experienced cup finals like this. But they didn’t get overawed and they showed that they can deliver on the big stage. Overall, for me, it was nice to get the win and let the players enjoy and celebrate the successful season, considering all the hard work they have put in throughout the year.”

Glory had beaten Armadale twice in the league this season, and they made a great start in this one, finding the opener on nine minutes, Samuel Barry made space down the right and his cross found Royie Rahamim, whose shot was turned into his own net by Armadale defender Cohen Lane. The game was tight after that for the rest of the first half, with both sides cancelling each other out, and it was Glory heading into the sheds with a narrow lead.

But on the hour Glory added a second, Barry was sent clear down the right, and he cut inside his marker before finishing clinically past Tyson Paterson. It was 3-0 eight minutes later, the impressive Barry again was the supplier, getting to the bye-line and beating his marker, and his low cross was turned home by Rahamim from close-range. That broke the back of a competitive Armadale side, and Glory added a fourth on 77 minutes, good approach work ended with Seb Despotovski, and like a son-of-a-gun, the son of former Glory striker Bobby raced into the box and finished with aplomb Paterson.

Glory completed the scoring in stoppage time, Rahamim spot kick was saved low by Paterson, and the Armadale custodian also saved the follow up shot from substitute Abdulla Dofash, but Rahamim made it third time lucky, firing home to seal a comprehensive five-star show for Ivan Zuvela’s side. All their hard work was rewarded on the day and Despotovski said they now turn their focus to the top four finals.

“The cup final was a good game and was well fought by all the boys, I thought everyone who played did their role well, and that is what gave us a comfortable win by the end of the game,” Despotovski explained. “All the boys had a good season and we were all consistent with our performance though out the season and that was what made us finish top of our league, now everyone’s focus is on winning the top four so we can get the treble, but overall, a great performance by everyone who was involved.”

Perth Glory: GK Sam Reilly, 2 Tadiwanashe Kuzamba, 3 Luke Sprigg (13 Daniel Jankuloski 64’), 4 Manolo Veneracion, 5 Aston Montgomery, 7 Samuel Barry (18 Abdulla Dofash 70’), 8 Gert Prinsloo (14 Damon Karasavidis 70’), 9 Royie Rahamim, 10 Sebastian Despotovski, 11 Louise Hewings (17 Khoa Ngo 64’), 12 Giovanni De Abreu – Subs not used: RGK Kaveen Waran, 15 Jonathon Leithead, 16 Julian Kelly

Armadale: GK Tyson Paterson, 9 Angel Andres Jnr, 18 Eli Holdsworth, 23 Max Adlem, 24 Marley Kay, 25 Sean Palethorpe, 29 Abdirahmaan Warsame (28 Jivan Tharmarajah 80’), 32 Delano Adams (50 Solomon Finch 70’), 33 Simuteya Sikazwe, 34 Purvishna Appadoo, 36 Cohen Lane (38 Lachlan D'Silva 70’) – Subs not used: RGK James Wratten, 14 Chad Samuels, 30 Thabo Mazibuko

Perth Glory are the 2023 Reserves State Cup Winners (Photo courtesy by Fotoenzo)



Perth Soccer Club are the 2023 State League Under 18’s Cup winners, after a thrilling 5-3 win against Floreat Athena at the State Football Centre in Queens Park on Saturday morning. Perth SC coach Basil Lenzo said it was a fantastic performance from his chargers. “A massive congratulations to our young men who started off shaky however really turned it on in the second half. They really played well and took the chances when they needed to. We kept persisting by working through our process to stay in touch at half time,” he explained.

“Floreat scored a very good third goal however everything that we asked them to do at half time they did and we really took over for a well-deserved win. We knew we would finish strong and the last 30 minutes we were really good in all facets. These boys have toiled hard all year, three sessions a week and we play lots of games (I think we need to play a lot more competitive ones at this level) and they continue to give us their best commitment and efforts. Just sad as we had a few serious injuries with Finn Wesley and Gion Escape out for long period but glad they got that Cup medal. Well done to Giordano and Floreat who not only made the final however always gives us a really tough game.”

The two teams had split their league games this season, but it was Floreat who found the opener and the first goal at the new venue on six minutes. A neat back heel from Aidan McKie sent Jack Sparkes racing into the box, and he finished calmly past Samuel Hocking. But the Azzurri levelled five minutes later, Abdulraman Saccoh pressure saw an attempted clearance from a Floreat defender rebound off him and crash against the crossbar, and Oliver Carr was on hand to fire home the rebound past Hood Majiet.

But Floreat regained the lead on 25 minutes, Gianluca Paiano was played through by a slide rule pass from Xavier Medica, and he finished clinically across Hocking via the post. It was end-to-end football, and Perth restored parity eight minutes later, a corner from the right wasn’t dealt with and Jamie McNelis swiveled to fire home from close-range.

The second half began like the first with both teams pressing, and it was Floreat who went ahead for the third time on 52 minutes, the impressive Medica finding Harry Stonehouse, and he fired home superbly into the top corner from the edge of the box. But the Azzurri hit back again three minutes later, Carr and Saccoh combined on the edge of the box, the ball falling to Jonathan Ricupero, who fired low past Majiet.

Amazingly Perth hit the front for the first time in the match on 68 minutes, a great run from Ricupero saw him race past three Floreat defenders before finishing clinically. Then nine minutes later Perth sealed the win, a corner from the right by Marley Reddy wasn’t cleared and Nicolas Echeverria headed home at the back post to secure the 5-3 win. Perth skipper Massimo Paiano said it was a great game, and they are so happy to win it. “Words don’t do it justice as to what a roller coaster ride this game was, and it was an honour to be the first official game to be played at the new State Football Centre and to be part of making history in Football WA,” he explained.

“With it being 2-2 at the break and we changed a few things, and the last thing was written on the whiteboard in the changing rooms was ‘Leave everything on the pitch’, but we found ourselves behind again to a great finish, but we managed to get ourselves in front, with a fantastic team effort, and we defended nice and compact so that Athena couldn’t break us down. The final whistle blew and lifting the trophy with the squad was a great way to finish off our season. Having just missed out on the top four cup by two points. Well done to Giordan Serra and his team for making it to the final. To finish off I would like to say a big thankyou to our coaching staff Basil Lenzo, Paddy Strano, Dom Ciullo, Perth SC, all the people behind the scenes, all the supporters and most importantly all the boys who made this happen.”

Perth SC: GK Samuel Hocking, 2 Ethan Pangilinan, 3 Marley Reddy, 5 Alexander Stevenson, 6 Lucas Mucciarone, 7 Massimo Paiano, 8 Nicolas Echeverria, 9 Jamie McNelis, 14 Abdulraman Saccoh, 15 Jonathan Ricupero, 18 Oliver Carr – Subs: 4 Christophe Yao, 10 Raymond Sales, 11 Jamie Bilaloski, 12 Kaien Lim, 13 Leonardo Vicoli, 17 Zakharias Efthymiou, 23 Will Barker

Floreat Athena: GK Hood Majiet, 44 Manav Vohra, 45 Kyeson Barker, 46 Akshay Nadkarni, 47 Harry Stonehouse, 48 Joseph Miraudo, 50 Stefan Baiamonte, 51 Aidan McKie, 52 Jack Sparkes, 59 Gianluca Paiano, 66 Xavier Medica

Perth SC are the 2023 Under 18's State Cup Winners (Photo courtesy by Fotoenzo)



The Hyundai Women’s NTC have secured the 2023 State League Women’s Cup Final after a convincing 6-1 win against Murdoch University Melville at the State Football Centre in Queens Park on Saturday afternoon. “Finally happy to play and win a final after the year we’ve had. This just tops it off for the girls and rewards for their hard work this year. Congratulations to MUM for making the final as well, but the way we played with so much bravery and discipline was very pleasing,” NTC assistant coach Fernando Barreiro explained.

“The girls had a game plan and stuck to it through the whole game, plus scored some fantastic goals and our final third creativity was also very pleasing. A great way to send off Tanika Lalla, Grace Johnston, Ruby Cuthbert, Georgia Cassidy and Ischia Brooking who have all signed professional contracts. For myself and Ben (Anderton) this is why we coach and makes it all worth it when we get to see these players rewarded for their efforts. Really happy to see the program produce all these players and would like a few more if I’m honest.”

The rain was pouring at kick off, and MUMFC went into the game having not lost against NTC this season, winning one and drawing the other two, but two minutes in the NTC youngster found the opening goal. Maja Archibald pass sent Emily Garnett down the left, and her low cross picked out Louise Tana, who finished low past Stacey Cavill. But 16 minutes later MUMFC had the perfect opportunity to level when Sophie Meaden sent Charli Wainwright into the penalty area, and she was brought down by Hannah Collins, and the referee pointed straight to the spot.

Clara Hoarau stepped up to take the resulting penalty, but NTC keeper Lilly Bailey guessed the right way to save. That miss came back to haunt MUMFC, and eight minutes later NTC doubled their advantage, 11N slipped in Garnett down the left channel, and she finished low past Cavill. But three minutes later MUMFC were back in the game, Jessica Johnson started the move, racing through the middle of the park, before playing a one-two with Meaden, and racing into the box and finishing well past Bailey. It was game on, but NTC hit straight back and regained their two goal advantage moments later, new Perth Glory recruit Tanika Lala make space on the edge of the box, before firing home with aplomb, to give them the lead at the break.

The rain returned in the second half, but it didn’t stop the NTC, and they added a fourth on 58 minutes, Mischa Anderson’s free kick wasn’t dealt with, the ball falling to Garnett whose shot on the turn flew into the net. They added a fifth, 15 minutes from time, substitute Mia Britton sent Lala down the right and she pulled the ball back to Garnett, who made a late run, and she completed her hat-trick with a powerful shot into the top corner of the net. The scoring was wrapped up moments later substitute Klaudia Houlis finishing from close-range, to complete a comprehensive win, with Emily Garnett receiving the Sandra Brentnall Medal as Player of the Match from Federal MP for Swan Zaneta Mascarenhas.

NTC captain Georgia Cassidy said she is really happy to be winning a trophy in her last game for NTC. “It was a really tough game but I think our quality and our intensity was what got us through in the end, also staying disciplined and sticking to our principles helped us a lot too,” she explained. “We’ve got a really talented group of players and even though some of the senior players like myself and Grace are leaving I still believe there’s a lot more in the future that will be identified. I’d like to thank the coaching staff at NTC who always believed in me and pushed me and never doubted my abilities. I will always look back at my time in the NTC program with great fondness and I’m very grateful to have grown as a player and person - Thank you to Ben and the rest of the coaches.”

Hyundai NTC: GK Lilly Bailey, 5 Mischa Anderson, 6 Georgia Cassidy, 8 Grace Johnston, 9 Tanika Lala (24 Ella Marwick 85’), 10 Hannah Collins, 11 Louise Tana (7 Mia Britton 63’), 15 Nelli Johnson (33 Niamh Healy 46’), 17 Violet Longmore (12 Anna Powell 85’), 19 Maja Archibald (14 Klaudia Houlis 77’), 37 Emily Garnett – Subs not used: RGK Megan Phillips

Murdoch University Melville: RGK Stacey Cavill, 2 Rosie Lehane, 4 Lucy Hope, 7 Isabella Wainwright (19 Nicolina Ierino 72’), 8 Clara Hoarau, 10 Charli Wainwright, 11 Jessica Johnson, 12 Kathryn Schubert, 23 Sophie Meaden, 24 Brooke Burdett (20 Danielle Brown 58’), 35 Bonnie McQueen (13 Samantha Mathers 46’) – Subs not used: 27 Luana Ascenzo-Cabello, 34 Iva Beretovac

NTC celebrate winning the 2023 Women's State Cup (Photo courtesy by Fotoenzo)



Perth Glory began their pre-season on Friday evening, with a game against NPLWA – Men’s side Stirling Macedonia and they started the Alen Stajcic era at the club with a solid 5-2 win at Macedonia Park. Former Socceroo striker Adam Taggart was the star bagging four first half goals, with David Williams adding the other, while former Glory youth striker Alex Tanevski bagging a brace for the hosts.

“It was a good first half, we were four goals up at half time, and we tried a few things in the second half, somethings worked and somethings didn’t, but I was happy with a lot of things in the match, obviously we have seven weeks till the season starts, so we have a lot of things to work on, and get game time into the legs,” Stajcic said post-match. “Adam scored four, and he could have scored a couple more, but he is a great goalscorer, as we all know, he’s always in the right position, and that will give his confidence a boost as well.”

In what was his first game in charge, Stajcic saw his side make the best possible start, Taggart opening the scoring with a close-range finish past James Bosdet inside the opening two minutes. The Stirling keeper was back between the sticks after missing the last two NPL games with injury, but he was beaten again on 14 minutes, Taggart doubling his and Glory’s tally, again finding the net following a goalmouth scramble. He completed his hat-trick midway through the first half by crashing in a fierce shot having been teed up by the lively Stefan Colakovski.

Stirling went close on the half hour, when former Glory youth midfielder Calvin Whitney long-range shot was tipped around the post by the alert Oli Sail. Then moments later Taggart went close to a fourth, Luke Ivanovic pass finding the striker, but his volley flashed just wide of the post. But in the shadows of half time Glory added a fourth, Salim Khelifi and Luke Ivanovic combined to create the chance for Taggart who again made no mistake.

After half time Stirling hit back and pulled one back early, Dejan Spaseski and Brent Quick combined down the right, Quick’s ball into the box found Tanevski, who finished clinically past Sail. They added a second when half time substitute Liam Price’s goal kick found Asher Nelson, who held off his marker and played in Tanevski, who cut inside and his shot beat Sail at his near post. Glory changed all ten outfield players on the hour-mark and the new-look Glory side managed to have the final word when David Williams rose highest to nod home Trent Ostler’s fine cross in the final minute.

“Perth Glory showed us the difference between the level we play at and being a full time professional. Each time we made a mistake they capitalised on it and were very clinical in the final third,” Stirling defender Brent Quick said. “Even though the score doesn’t reflect it we were quite comfortable in possession and at times we were able to play some good football. Overall, there was things we were disappointed with and things we were happy with. It was a great opportunity to play a professional side.”

Stirling Macedonia: GK James BOSDET, 2 Brent QUICK, 4 Hristijan JANKULOSKI, 5 Luke PALMATEER, 8 Gyles DAVIES, 9 Kade FEARNALL, 10 Sam WYNNE, 12 Kai MATTHEWS, 13 Calvin WHITNEY, 14 Kingsley ESHUN, 17 Alexander TANEVSKI - Subs: RGK Liam PRICE, 6 Dejan SPASESKI, 7 Asher NELSON, 20 Jack TELFORD, 18 Luke PASSERETTO, 19 Yousif TOTO

Perth Glory Line-Up (first 60 minutes): GK Oli SAIL, 2 John KOUTROUMBIS, 5 Mark BEEVERS, 7 Stefan COLAKOVSKI, 12 Luke IVANOVIC, 14 Salim KHELIFI, 20 Giordano COLLI, 22 Adam TAGGART, 26 Corey SUTHERLAND, 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 36 Riley WARLAND Perth Glory Line-Up (Final 30 minutes): GK Oli SAIL, 4 Luke BODNAR, 9 Jayden GORMAN, 11 Adam ZIMARINO, 16 Joseph FORDE, 18 David WILLIAMS, 23 Judd MACDOUGALL, 24 Joel ANASMO, 25 Jaylan PEARMAN, 28 Trent OSTLER, 37 Shade STEWART - Subs not used: RGK Robert COOK, 6 Aiki TSUKAMOTO, 21 James OVERY – Referee: Shane SKINNER



With four rounds to go in the Belt-Up Premier Division, the title race is hotting up, but our ‘Match of the Round’ is at the other end of the table when Kwinana United host Wembley Downs at Kelly Park. (All games kick off at 3.00pm, unless stated) The hosts sit joint bottom of the table and are coming off a loss at Jaguar last week, while the visitors have moved clear of the relegation zone after only one defeat in their last six games, the latest a 3-1 win against North Beach. If last season’s game at the venue is anything to go by, we should be in for a thriller, after the sides fought out an entertaining 3-3 draw.

Wembley keeper Jeff Cornez said their good run is down to the hard work the players and coaching staff are putting in. “We’ve been finding different ways to get results and playing some good football. It’s a very long season so at this point in the season it’s about digging deep, and our current coach Bob Jackson has done a superb job of not letting us drop our standards,” he explained. “We have to keep our momentum against Kwinana. We know it won’t be easy (a theme of everyone’s comments this year -what a competitive league!). It will be easy to look ahead to Wednesday’s cup semifinal game, but we have to stay focused on the three points or Kwinana will make us pay.’

Kwinana coach Mark Purvis said they didn’t take their chances last week, and he hopes they can turn that around on Sunday. “I thought last weeks game, we didn’t take advantage of opportunities really, but hopefully we can put that right this week,” he said. “Wembley will be a tough challenge and for us, the points are critical, but I told the players this week that the situation we are in is my responsibility only and hopefully they can go out and play with freedom and enjoy the challenge and with some luck come away with three points.”

League leaders Emerald hit the road this weekend, a trip to Charles Riley Memorial Reserve to take on North Beach. They lead the league by one point from North Perth, and North Beach coach Nick Di Carlo said it will be tough game, but one his side are looking forward too. “Massive challenge back at home this weekend against the league leaders in Emerald, who in my opinion, deserve to be sitting at the top currently,” he said.

“The result will be massively important for both teams, both for different reasons, so we can expect solid efforts across the 90 minutes. We've felt really comfortable playing back at home but understand the challenge that Emerald will bring given we were totally outplayed and out worked against them in the reverse fixture. Everyone wants to make amends and have a really strong performance this time round as we head into a really big final month of football.”

North Perth United sit second, and they host Joondalup United at Woodville Reserve. (1pm) The visitors sit three points clear of the drop zone, and coach Mike Ford said they will look to build on last weeks win against Peel. “Yes, we will be looking to build on the win last week, and go into the game after a good week on the track,” he said. “North Perth have been a quality side every year and this year is no different. So, we will need to be at our very best to come away with anything this week, but the boys trained well and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

In other games on Sunday, third placed East Perth make the trip to Bortolo Park to meet Peel United. The visitors sit three points behind the leaders, while Peel are five points away from the drop zone, so a win for both teams is vital. South Perth United welcome fourth placed Jaguar to Challenger Reserve, the visitors looking to keep the pressure on the leaders, while in the final game Kelmscott Roos host bottom of the table South West Phoenix at Frye Park.



The title may have been decided in the Hyundai Women’s Division One, but there are still some big games this weekend, and our ‘Match of the Round’ takes us to Carine Open Space where champions Hamersley Rovers entertain third placed UWA Nedlands. (All games kick off at 1pm) Rovers continued their unbeaten season with a hard fought 2-1 win against Port Kennedy last week, while UWA lost second place on the ladder, after a 0-2 loss against Perth AFC, so they will be looking to bounce back this week, and look to end the host’s unbeaten run.

UWA coach Lawrence Lewis said missed opportunities cost them last week. “It was a big game for both teams, and I thought we started the game well and had chances but unfortunately could not take them, then Perth took their chance after their pressure gave them a ball in the box to latch onto,” he explained. “We came out fighting in the second half but again couldn’t get the ball over the line, then Perth doubled their lead halfway into the second half. It was going to have to be a big fight to get back into the game but that Perth defence is so strong and we couldn't manage it. So, it leaves us three points behind them now after dropping some other games this season, big couple of games coming up for us over the next two weeks.”

Lawrence said Sunday is another huge game, and he said if games between the two sides this season is anything to go by, it should be an entertaining game. “Hamersley are now champions and congratulations to them, with their first year in the league,” he said. “More than likely, they will be looking to finish out this season unbeaten also, so still a big game for us and them. I’m sure it will be a good game to watch and we’re hoping to take some points off of them.”

Rovers captain Ella Kerman said they have had to earn every point this season, with the league so tough, and she said it’s a credit to the whole squad. “Despite the unbeaten record, this has been an extremely competitive season. We’ve really had to earn our wins which makes winning the league even more satisfying,” Kerman explained. “We’ve been able to continue to get results despite losing multiple players to long term injuries and weeks of low numbers. The depth of our squad has really shone through this season and the girls should be extremely proud of themselves.”

Kerman said last week’s win against Port Kennedy was a tight affair, and she is expecting the same against UWA on Sunday. “The first 20 minutes of the game last week, we were extremely threatening, finishing two of our early chances. We had a few more opportunities to score but unfortunately couldn’t convert. Port Kennedy grew into the game and made the game competitive. Credit to them, they fought back and it was a grind for the second half but was a great game to be a part of,” she said.

“UWA have been sitting in the top three this season for a reason, they have a talented squad therefore we have to be switched on from the start. We have shown we can beat them, and we just need to make sure we play our game. After their defeat to Perth AFC, they will be looking to come out strong but we are prepared for it. There are no easy games this time of the season so we’re looking to finish off with two strong wins.”

Second placed Perth AFC welcome fourth placed Mandurah City to Len Packham Park. Perth vice-captain Amanda Smith said it’s been a great season for them, and the win at UWA saw them leapfrog them on the table, and with two rounds to go they hope to stay there. “UWA are always a tough opponent and we’ve had some great battles over the last few years so definitely good to get the win, especially at such a crucial time of the season,” Smith said. “It’s been a great year from the team so far and great to be a part of. We feel we’ve been there or there abouts to get a top two spot for a few seasons now so hopefully we can see it out and clinch it and push on even further next year.”

Smith is well aware the quality Mandurah have in their side, and they have only lost once in their last six games, so she is expecting another tight game, but they will be doing all they can to get the three points and consolidate second place. “Mandurah have had a solid season so far and have picked up a lot of good results recently, so it will be a good game on Sunday,” the captain explained. “All their score lines are very tight and I’m expecting another tight game, just like the two 1-0 wins we have picked up against them so far this year, I’m really looking forward to the game.” In the other games this weekend, Sorrento will look to build on their win last week at Subiaco when they host Fremantle City at Percy Doyle Reserve, while in the final game Port Kennedy host bottom of the table Subiaco at Koorana Reserve.



It’s been a difficult league season for Inglewood United and Floreat Athena, and they had to wait to the final day of the season to seal their spot in the NPL for next season. But they will put that all behind them on Saturday when they meet in the 2023 State League Cup Final at the State Football Centre, Queens Park on Saturday evening. (6.30pm) In the league the games were split, with Inglewood winning at E&D litis Stadium in round one, while Floreat won at the Inglewood stadium in round 12, so both sides will want to end their season on a high, so this should be a great game, and we hope for a big crowd at the new home of Football West.

How they reached the final… Both sides faced Amateur sides in round three, Floreat Athena overcame Jaguar 3-1 at E&D Litis Stadium, with goals from Nick Ambrogio, Noah Shamaki and Bayley Brown-Montgomery, while Inglewood beat Perth AFC 5-0 at Len Packham Park, with Anthony Bafobusha, Dhours Chol, Alex Ishida-Livings, Rene Kisesa and Harry Evans on target. In the next round Inglewood hosted Division One side Gosnells City at home, and won 3-0, while Floreat travelled to Edinburgh Oval to take on Division Two side Curtin University, and an early goal from Ambrogio saw them come home with a narrow 1-0 win.

In the quarterfinals both sides won tight encounters on the road. First Inglewood travelled to Alfred Skeet Reserve to take Division One Fremantle City, who had already beaten NPL sides Olympic Kingsway and Perth SC in the competition, and a late goal from Shubham Mokala gave Andrea Oliverira’s side a 3-2 win. Floreat took on Balcatta Etna at Frank Drago Reserve, and Jesse Roberts scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win.

It was an all NPL semi-final line up, and first up Inglewood played Sorrento at Inglewood Stadium, and a brace from Michael Domfeh gave them a 3-0 win, and a spot in the Cup Final for the first time since 2009. In the second semifinal Floreat took on reigning cup holders Cockburn City at Dalmatinac Park. Phil Arnold gave Floreat the lead early, but Cockburn skipper Jesse Lazzaro levelled for the Cockerels. But Arnold added a second in first half stoppage time, and that was enough to secure their first finals birth, and they will be looking to add to their eight State Cup Final wins.

It’s been a difficult season for Floreat, who were the reigning NPL champions, but assistant coach Miki Vujacic said it went down to the last game, but the lads held their nerve to see them survive. “Yes, it was a very tough season for us, I thought we played really well in a lot of our games, creating plenty of chances, but couldn't translate that into enough points. We did have our fair share of setbacks with long-term player injuries and availability but ultimately, as a whole, we should have done better,” he explained.

“The league was the tightest I have ever seen in my time in WA Football, with any team capable of taking three points on the day, but thankfully we did enough to stay up. Credit to our players, who have stuck together throughout the season and continued to fight to the end, although the last day drama, besides giving Vas and I a few more grey hairs, is a testament to the quality and competitiveness this league has.”

A spot in the Australia Cup round of 32 was a highlight, and Vujacic said despite the loss, the performance was good against A-League side Western Sydney Wanderers, and it took the spotlight off their relegation scrap. “To be honest it was a bit of a distraction from the league battle and came at a really crucial time of the year for us. It was a great experience for the players to play against a quality side like WSW, they are definitely looking to be a force in the A-league this year,” Vujacic said. “It was always going to be a tough ask for us, but I think the boys put in a good shift and did the club proud. Congratulations to Kingsway for hosting a great event, and many thanks to Con for all the hard work getting everything ready for the night.”

Vujacic, who won the State Cup Final with Swan IC in 2004, and with Floreat in 2009, said Saturday is a cup final and will be a tight encounter, just like the games they have played against each other this season. We've had some tight games this year, so no doubt Saturday night will be a very cagey affair. They have a lot of quality in the squad, and have put a good run of games together in the lead up,” he said. “But after the relief of last week's conclusion to the season, and some good performances of late, I feel our boys are primed to finish the season on a high.”

Inglewood coach Andres Oliveira said the season was disappointing, but the effort and commitment of his players shone through late in the season to pull clear of the drop zone. “The season was very inconsistent for us, and it was difficult for me as a coach due to a lot of circumstances, but the dedication and attitude from the players is the reason for us to stay above relegation and play in two finals this year,” the coach explained. “Our last eight games we only lost once, but we let ourselves down, and at the same time, we learnt from a couple of games that we should have won and not drawn.”

Like Floreat, a place in the Australia Cup round of 32 was the highlight of their season, and a trip interstate brought the team together, and Oliveira said even though they lost the game it was a catalyst in their NPL survival. “2. Playing MetroStars in Adelaide was a great experience for everyone involved at our club, and it gave exposure to Inglewood United and players to understand what kind of caliber is needed to play at a higher level,” Oliveira explained. “I honest believe this helped us for the season, as they bonded as a team/club and gave them that concentration and desire to push on together.”

It was be a sad day on Saturday, with Inglewood keeper Alex Dunn playing his final game before retiring, and Oliveira, who won two cup finals when he played at Perth SC in 2001 and 2005 said it will be a tough game, but he is hoping to send Alex out on top. “I believe Alex has been the best keeper in the last 10 years or so, and it’s ironic, Alex and I were laughing the other day because he made his debut with me as a player at Floreat and now retires with me as coach at Inglewood. I feel sorry for him having to put up with me all those years,” Oliveria joked.

“But you couldn't get a better person and keeper, and everyone who knows Alex or played with him would say the same. His dedication, attitude, and performances just show the reason why he played for so long at a high level. One thing I would really love is for him to go out with a trophy as he deserves it. But standing in our way are Floreat, and over my five-year coaching Inglewood, I enjoy coming against Floreat because it is always a great competitive game and has always been neck and neck with the results. This final will be exactly the same and just be who wants it more on the day.”



The Women’s State League Cup Final, sees the Hyundai NTC Women taking on Murdoch University Melville at the State Football Centre, Queens Park on Saturday afternoon. (3.45pm) The NTC youngsters, once again proved their quality, finishing fourth to reach the end of season finals, while MUMFC just missed out, finishing fifth. David Biancuzzo’s side have played the NTC three times in the league this season, and won one and drew the other two, so they head into the game in a confident mood, while the NTC will look to turn those results around in the final, it should be a great game.

How they reached the final…. Both sides had comfortable wins in round one, goals from Chari Wainwright, Jessica Johnson, Nitita Strickling and Sophie Meaden securing a 4-0 win for MUMFC against Subiaco Division One side at Besteam Stadium, while a hat-trick from Anna Powell gave NTC a 6-0 win against Division One side UWA Nedlands at E&D Litis Stadium. In round two NTC beat fellow NPL side Subiaco AFC 4-2 at E&D Litis Stadium, while MUMFC travelled to Division One leaders Hamersley Rovers, and goals from Johnson, Meaden and Isabella Wainwright gave them a hard fought 3-0 win.

Both semi-finals were all NPL affairs, and both were close games. In the first game MUMFC hosted Fremantle City at Besteam Stadium, and it was the hosts who prevailed, with Samantha Mathers scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win. In the second semi-final it was a five-goal thriller, with NTC running out 3-2 winners. Tanika Lala gave NTC the lead early, but goals from Ella Lincoln and Jaime Duncanson gave the Azzurri the lead at the break. But early in the second half Grace Johnston restored parity for the NTC, and four minutes from time they won it, with Georgia Cassidy converting from the spot.

It's been another successful season for the NTC youngsters, and the form of some of their talented players, saw them move to Perth Glory, with Grace Johnston and Tanika Lala both signing for the A-League Women’s league this season, and both have been named in the Young Matildas squad which will participate in a training camp in Sydney this week. NTC assistant coach Fernando Barreiro said its exciting times ahead for the pair. “Yes, definitely a year to remember for the NTC program in terms of identification and contracts for some of our youngest players,” he said. “We’re so excited to see this happening and we’re going to be following those players journey and supporting them.”

Barreiro said a good cup run was good for the development of the players, and he said the semi-final win against Perth SC, who beat them in the Night Series semi-final on penalties, was a great game for the supporters on the night. “I think cup final football’s important for the girls, you win you progress, you lose you go home, and the girls will be exposed to that type of football throughout their lives especially as they enter into the real world of must win games so this is an experience they should embrace and enjoy at the same time,” he explained. “Perth definitely gave us a tough game as always with the Azzurri. They’ve got some talented players and are coached really well, and they also play a similar style to us. But in the end our quality in the squad got the job done.”

On Saturday they come against MUMFC, who they have not beaten in the league this season, and Barreiro said they will be hoping to change that on Saturday, but is expecting another tough game. “Saturday’s final is a huge occasion for our players, and we definitely want to put things right against MUM. They’re a young team with a mix of some older experienced players, and we feel even though we haven’t beaten them this season, we still played some good football against them,” the assistant coach said. “I think it’s just about sticking to our principles and it might boil down to moments in the game. Ben (Anderton) and I have analysed our past games with them so we’ll try and be more prepared for Saturday and make sure the girls execute the game plan, but we’re looking forward to the game, it should be a good one.”

MUMFC coach David Biancuzzo said inconsistency hurt them in the league this season, but his younger players will get a great deal out of the season. “I thought it was a fantastic start to the season winning five out of our first seven games in the league and with a young squad, we were playing some great football, but in round 8 away at Redstar we lost 1-0 and lost Vanessa Miller, with a ruptured ACL which I think was a turning point for the season,” Biancuzzo explained. “Even though we drew at home against NTC and Perth soon after, players were starting to show signs of fatigue and we were getting injuries to key players most weeks.

“Add to that players were playing football with their schools and four players got selected in the State School Girls, the loads were just getting ridiculous for some of the players and it was starting to show with our results. We won only two out of our last 14 league games which was against Curtin and even though we had ‘good draws’ against NTC, Perth and Redstar, we were playing some U21’s players who were fantastic, but in the end, we were disappointed we weren’t able to maintain that good start. Having a young squad has been awesome this season because they have been so eager to adapt to our playing style but I think inconsistency and the amount of football they were playing really affected our season.”

The cup run was tough, and Biancuzzo said a game at Division One leaders Hamersley, in terrible weather, was a battle, and he was pleased to come home with a win, and the semi-final against Fremantle was a cliff hanger, but he said they defended well to get the right result and a spot in the final. “Cup games are always going to be tricky as you sometimes want to either rest players or limit their minutes and at the same time, it’s an opportunity for players who don’t normally start, to play 90 minutes,” he said.

“Our game against Hamersley the conditions weren’t fantastic - cold, wet, windy, lightening 10 minutes before kickoff and we struggled to adapt. We knew going into the game that Hamersley were a good team with quality players, but I think overall we created enough opportunities and were unlucky not to win by a bigger margin. In the semifinal against Fremantle, we had just played them four days earlier and lost 1-0 and knew the semifinal was also going to be a close game. We managed to score the only goal of the game early in the first half with a brilliant strike from Sam (Mathers) and then rode our luck at the end as Fremantle looked to equalise. I think either team would have been ecstatic to get through to the final and fortunately it was us on that occasion.”

Biancuzzo said Saturday is going to be a great occasion for the club, and everyone is buzzing to play in the final, and on the back of the huge success of the Matildas, women’s football is on a high, and he hopes there will be good crowd to watch the game. “The team this week has been really excited about the Cup Final, and as we were finishing off the league season it was challenging to keep everyone’s minds off the State Cup Final, but now that it has finally arrived, everyone is buzzing,” he said.

“No matter what has happened during the season we know this Cup Final against NTC is going to be a very tough game. They are such a talented team with Young Matilda’s and players signing for Perth Glory and have an excellent coaching group. At the same time, we also have very good young players, and we know that if we can play at our best, we can enjoy the spoils of winning the Cup Final. Finally, I think what is going to be very exciting for women’s football in this state is that both teams have so many talented young footballers, and coming off the success of the Women’s World Cup, hopefully we get a big crowd and it’s a great game.”



In the State League Reserves Cup Final, NPLWA under 20’s Champions Perth Glory will be looking for the double when they take on fellow NPL side Armadale at the State Football Centre, Queens Park on Saturday afternoon. (1.15pm) Glory sealed back-to-back league title’s this season, and beat Armadale twice during the season, but Armadale improved as the season went on, and they be looking for an upset on Saturday.

How they reached the final… Glory, were pushed all the way in the second round when they took on Inglewood United, and a brace from Khoa Ngo, including a last-minute winner, saw them prevail 4-3 at Len Packham Reserve. Armadale were on the road in their game, a trip to the Croatian Sporting Complex, and a double from Delano Adams saw the runout 4-1 winners. In the third round Glory took on Gosnells City at Crazy Domain Stadium, Hartfield Park, and goals from Gert Prinsloo, Louise Hewings and an own goal saw them win 3-0, while Armadale beat Maddington-Kalamunda White City 5-1 at Maida Vale Reserve, with Abdi Warsame bagging a hat-trick.

In the quarter-final Glory took on Perth SC, again at Crazy Domain Stadium, and a brace from Daniel Adesina saw them through 2-0. Meanwhile Armadale were made to fight hard to move through 2-1 against Rockingham City at the Larkhill Sportsplex, but goals from Elias Sobol and Angel Andres Jnr was enough. In the semi-final Glory took on Sorrento at the UWA Sports Park, and Sebastian Despotovski gave them a perfect start scoring twice in the opening 15 minutes. Samuel Barry added a third on the hour, before Daniel Adesina made it 4-0. Barry added his second four minutes from time, to secure a comprehensive win. Armadale moved into the final, after another hard fought 2-1 win, this time against Murdoch University Melville at Alfred Skeet Reserve. Adams scored the opener just before the break, and Andres Jnr doubled their lead on the hour. Alex Moffatt pulled one back for MUMFC late, which set up a tense finish, but Armadale held firm to seal their spot in the final.

Glory Head Coach Ivan Zuvela said he has been delighted how his young side performed in league and cup this season, especially at the back, the side conceding the least number of goals this season. “We have been delighted with how the whole squad has performed this year. We clearly do a lot of work on the training field and we are blessed to have a bunch of players that are so committed to performing and putting the effort in,” Zuvela explained. “It is always nice to score the number of goals that we have, but it’s also pleasing that our defence as a whole has been so tight and we are proud of our defensive record this year.”

Zuvela said their cup run started with a tough game, and they rode their luck at times in the game, but after reaching the final he hopes his side can stay focused and take out the double. “Our cup run didn’t start that smooth, and we had a very tough game against Inglewood, and to be honest, we were lucky to come away with the win. Our form then continued where we started off well against Perth and then what I thought was an exceptional display when we played Sorrento mid-week in the semi-final,” the coach explained.

“Saturday is a big game, and I have a huge amount of respect for Lee Taylor and what he has done with his under 20s side with Armadale this year. Their form recently has been outstanding and its credit to him as a coach for what he has done. Our mindset this week is to really stay focused on the task at hand, but we are also telling the players to enjoy the week and enjoy the moment on Saturday. Cup finals are always special and you don’t get many opportunities to be a part of it. My role at Glory is all about developing these players as people and professionals, and this weekend is another opportunity for them to continue their growth, and everyone is excited, but we certainly won’t be taking Armadale lightly.”

Armadale Head Coach Lee Taylor said after a frustrating start to the season his young side have fought hard to end it well, and play with confidence, which has been pleasing. “Although we have improved our final position in league on previous seasons, it has been a frustrating season in terms of results, there has been a lot of games where we have played well and made mistakes which have cost us points,” Taylor explained, “We have improved over the back end of the season and were able to get wins against a couple of the teams in the top four which has been positive. Our main priority though in the U20s is to prepare players for first team football, and we have been able to give debuts to a number of players this season, which is positive for the future.”

Their cup run has been solid, and wins against form teams Rockingham and MUMFC from Division One were hard fought, and he knows what to expect against Glory on Saturday, but he knows they will have the Army faithful supporting them. “Both the sides you mentioned were in good form when we played them and had beaten NPL U20s teams before they met us so they were tough draws to come through, Murdoch in particular was a tough game they moved the ball well, as always with a cup football it’s about taking your chances when they come which we were able to do that night,” Taylor said.

“We are really looking forward to the final, I’m told it’s been a long time since the U20s group have reached a final and we are privileged to have some really good vocal support in and around the club that will be there on the day to support us. There’s no doubt that glory has been the standout team in the league this season, Ivan and Will have done a brilliant job but teams in the league have shown that they can be beaten. We have improved a lot since we last played them in round 13 so we will go into the game with no fear and will meet the challenge head on.”



In the State League Under 18’s Cup Final, sees Perth SC take on Floreat Athena at the State Football Centre, Queens Park on Saturday morning. (11am) Floreat finished third on the NPL table, to qualify for the Top Four Finals, while Perth just missed out, finishing fifth. In games between them in the league this season, Perth won the round five game at Dorrien Gardens 3-0, but Floreat turned the tables on the Azzurri in round 19 with a 2-0 win, so Saturday will be the decider.

How they reached the final…. Floreat began their cup run with a home tie against Subiaco at E&D Litis Stadium, and goals from Xavier Medica, Daniel Nikoloski and Aidan McKie saw them run out 3-0 winners. Perth hit the round for their opener, and Jamie Bilaloski scored the only goal in a 1-0 win against Fremantle City. In round three goals from Harry Stonehouse and Lucas De Melo Veloso gave Floreat a 2-0 lead early against Curtin University, and despite a late goal from Chris Amedeo they ran out 2-1 winners at Edinburgh Oval. Perth were big winners in their tie against Olympic Kingsway, with a brace from Jonathan Ricupero giving them a 4-1 win at the Inglewood Stadium.

In the quarter-final, both sides were made to work hard for the victory. First Perth took on Forrestfield United at Crazy Domains Stadium, Hartfield Park, and it was a nine-goal thriller, with the Azzurri prevailing 5-4 with a goal in stoppage time from Finn Wensley. Floreat travelled to Besteam Stadium to take on hosts Murdoch University Melville, and A McKie gave Perth the lead early, but S Kalutotage levelled for the hosts. But six minutes from time McKie added his second to secure the win. In the semi-final Perth took on Sorrento at the UWA Sports Park, and it was a tight encounter, the only goal of the game coming ten minutes into the second half, with Sorrento scoring an own goal. Floreat travelled to the RedStar Arena to take on Perth RedStar, but due to the pitch not being fit for play, the referee abandoned the game, with Floreat being awarded the tie on a forfeit.

It's been a successful season for Floreat Athena, and coach Giordan Serra said his young side have had their challengers, but have stuck together and deserve a top four spot. “It's been a good year overall, but like every team we still had plenty of challenges. At times our discipline has slipped, or we weren't as in sync as we would've liked, or we just made poor choices. This is the price of learning. Ultimately, we played more good games than bad ones and when we are on, its enjoyable to watch,” he said. “Xavier Medica's contributions in front of goal speaks for itself. However, the stats alone don't do him justice. He is incredibly important to the way that we play, and he has taken some of the younger boys in the squad under his wing. This has been a constant theme in the squad this year, with the older players mentoring and motivating the younger ones.”

Serra said their cup run have been interesting to say the least, and a hard-fought win at MUMFC on their artificial pitch, showed the character of his side, while the semi-final abandonment at Perth RedStar was really disappointing. “It was a wet and windy night at MUMFC on an unfamiliar surface posed some difficulties. Murdoch fought hard and they looked to capitalise on our mistakes, but in the end, we showed good resilience to come away with the result,” he explained. “The semi-final game was disappointing, unfortunately, the pitch was not marked to the required standard. This caused the referee to abandon the game. It was not rescheduled and resulted in a forfeit by the home side who contributed to the abandonment of the game. It was pretty disappointing as I have boys that live in Baldivis, Fremantle, Rockingham and Mandurah, so to travel two hours in traffic and not play was very poor.”

The final against Perth will be another tough challenge, and Serra said it will be an entertaining game, and he is looking forward to the challenge. “Playing Perth is always a game to look forward to, they are well coached and have some quality players, so I’m expecting a highly competitive and open football match, and it should be entertaining to watch,” Serra said. “Perth maintains a proud reputation of developing young players and has had reoccurring success in every age group, and this is something Floreat is trying to emulate. A good performance on Saturday will go a long way to showcase the improvements we have made as a group and a club. I am incredibly proud of our boys and certain you will see many representing the first team in the years to come.”

Perth SC Head Coach Basil Lenzo said missed opportunities cost them in their fight for a top four place, and they missed out by just two points, but a good cup run was important. “Yes, we were disappointed to not make the top four, as we threw a few games away when in good positions,” he said. “However, we have rebuilt the squad this season, and we’ve been really pleased with the young group, and overall, we achieved the Cup Final which was one of our objectives at the start of the season.”

The semi-final win against Sorrento was a pleasing performance, and Lenzo said they have performed well in the competition, and he hopes it continues on Saturday. “In the game against Sorrento, I thought we were outstanding, and to be fair to our players, it should have been a lot more. In all the cup games, we have really produced our best team efforts so here’s hoping that they continue that form,” Lenzo explained. “We have had some great battles over the last few years with Giordan and his team. They are well organised and like to get forward. We like to keep the ball and work the ball around. It’s a great game for the young boys at the new stadium and great opener to the cup final weekend.”



West Australian trio Cameron Burgess, Alessandro Circati and Ashley Maynard-Brewer are in line for their first senior Socceroos caps after being named in a youthful Australia squad for this month's friendly against Mexico.

Australia manager Graham Arnold unveiled his squad on Friday with Ipswich Town defender Burgess and Charlton Athletic goalkeeper Maynard-Brewer called up for the first time. Parma defender Circati was previously selected for June's friendly against Argentina but didn't play.

The Australia squad to play Mexico is Mat Ryan, Tom Glover, Ashley Maynard-Brewer, Nathaniel Atkinson, Aziz Behich, Cameron Burgess, Alessandro Circati, Milos Degenek, Kye Rowles, Harry Souttar, Ryan Strain, Keanu Baccus, Martin Boyle, Cammy Devlin, Denis Genreau, Jackson Irvine, Riley McGree, Connor Metcalfe, Aiden O'Neill, Sammy Silvera, Nick D'Agostino, Mitch Duke and Mathew Leckie.



Perth Glory have signed central defender Aleksandar Susnjar for the A-League Men season in the first recruitment move under new coach Alen Stajcic. The 28-year old defender notched 50 national league appearances for Macarthur FC across the past three seasons following spells in Lithuania, Romania, Czechia, Slovakia and South Korea.

Perth-born Susnjar is looking forward to turning out for his hometown club. "Coming back home is something that I've always considered but just haven't had the opportunity to do," Susnjar said. "Last year was a bit of a hard year for me, but coming back to Perth and being around family, I feel like I can get back on the park and keep moving forward."

"Personally, I'm here to do my best and help the team. Working together, I think aiming for the finals is something that's achievable for us. I went to Glory games when I was a kid and did a year in the youth academy, so I've been around the club before and I've always followed the A-League, so I know what's going on."

Stajcic, who was appointed coach of Glory last month, said Susnjar is an important addition to the squad. "Aleks will add a vast amount of experience into our team having played in both Europe and in the A-League and made over 200 first team appearances," Stajcic said. "Having another Perth local re-connect with our club is an important part of our vision moving forward."

A commanding aerial presence at 192cm, Susnjar played as a teenager in Glory's development system before linking up with Lithuanian side Ekranas in 2013. He briefly returned to the local stage two years later with Perth SC followed by spells at Lietava Jonava (Lithuania) and Gaz Metan Medias (Romania).

Two seasons in Czechia were split between FK Teplice and Mlada Boleslav after which he joined Sloavkian side MSK Zilina on a six-month loan deal. In 2019 the defender switched to Busan IPark, who he held win promotion to South Korea's K-League. Susnjar represented Serbia at under-17 level before gaining his Socceroos debut in 2018 against Norway.

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This page was last updated on the 24th August, 2023