Archived News : May-June 2024


28.6.2024

BELT-UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION – ROUND TEN PREVIEW

We head into week ten of the Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division on Sunday, and Joondalup United are still searching for their first point of the season, but it’s been tough for the northern suburbs, with injuries taking its toll, and in midweek coach Blaine Merredew, stepped down due to personal reasons, and the club posted the follow statement. “With the departure of Blaine, the club would like to announce Daniel Merrie, Kevin Merrie and Adam Buckley as interim coaches for the Amateur Premier squads, until a permanent coach can be appointed. Due to unforeseen circumstances and multiple injuries, the Amateur set up is in an unusual position this season. The club is determined to see out this difficult period and remain competitive within the Amateur League. United would like to say thank you to all club members, past and present, for all the support in helping the squads through this difficult period.

“There is also a special thank you to the coaches and players in the Amateur set up, for the loyalty and determination shown in difficult times. It’s very easy to throw in the towel when things get tough, however with our current dedicated group of members we will come out the other side stronger. The club will stand by the Amateur squads and ensure it has the support and respect that it has earned and deserves. We are actively looking to bolster the squad numbers for the remainder of the season and to rebuild through next season. Joondalup United prides itself on its great club culture and is open to everyone who would like to be a part of it. Please send any enquiries or questions amateur@jufc.com.au.”

The interim coaches begin their tenure on Sunday, when they host North Beach at Forrest Park. (All games kick off at 3.00pm, unless stated) The hosts were beaten at home by Peel last week, leaving them six points adrift, but Daniel Merrie said they are looking forward to the challenge of turning the clubs’ fortunes around. “I think it’s a positive appointment for the club during what is clearly a tough period. Me and the rest of the team would like to thank Blaine for the work he’s put in over the last six months,” he explained.

“It’s been an unfortunate outcome but these things happen in football and we have to move on as a club. Adam and Kevin both have a long history with the club and they are well regarded across our team. I’m looking forward to working closely with them both. We all know Sunday is going to be a tough game. We are all aware of the challenge that North Beach brings and we are all well aware of how far off we are so far this season. The plan is to be positive and to do everything we can put up a fight each week starting Sunday.”

North Beach coach Nick Di Carlo said they have to do things right on Sunday to get the result, especially with a change of coach at Joondalup, but he hopes to build on last week’s good performance against Maccabi. “The boys gained a lot of confidence from last week's performance and were hoping to bring that same intensity again this week,” he said. “We treat this weekend like every other week and are prepared to face a team chasing an important three points so will have to bring our A game and hope to look to finish the first half of the season strong and bring form into our midweek cup hit out.”

League leaders Wembley Downs hit the road to take on fourth placed Maccabi at the Maccabean Memorial Oval. It’s been a great start for Ricky Berelowitz side, and he is looking forward to the challenge of taking on the leaders, this after a draw at North Beach last week. “I’ve not much to say about last week, they’re a good side with quality players and it was a well fought game. Conceding from a mistake and having a couple of goals chalked off was tough to take but there were a lot of positives from the performance that we hopefully can take into this weekend,” Berelowitz explained. “Everyone’s tried and no one’s been able to take points off Wembley this season, which shows how strong of a side they are, we’re hoping to apply ourselves to the best of our ability and work rate and see if we can be the ones to do it.”

In other games Emerald host Kelmscott Roos at Fraser Park (1.00pm), with both sides need the points to keep the pressure on the leaders, Peel United welcome South Perth United to Bortolo Park, Kingsley Westside meet Jaguar at Chichester Park, while North Perth United entertain Morley Windmills at Woodville Reserve. (1.00pm) Morley striker Gavin Knight said last week was a hard-fought game, and he knows this week will be just the same. “It was a tough game against Kelmscott, they battled hard, but we should have got more than we did. We created a lot of chances, and they scored a great free kick and then a dubious penalty which he put away nicely. But we keep our heads and move to next game,” he said. “North Perth are always a tough team to play against but we beat them in night series and hope to get another three points on the weekend.”

28.6.2024

NPLWA – WOMEN’S – ROUND TWELVE PREVIEW

Perth RedStar continues to lead the NPLWA – Women’s competition, five points clear at the top of the table, and in week 12 they head to Hilton Park on Sunday to take on the inform Fremantle City, which should be an entertaining contest. (1.00pm) Both sides are coming off big wins last week, RedStar beating UWA 5-0, while Fremantle, who moved to fifth, went three better, beating Subiaco 8-0, so there should be plenty of goals in this one.

Fremantle defender Annabelle Leek said last week was a huge win, plenty of goals and a clean sheet, which sets them up for the big challenge of taking on the league leaders this week. “We knew a win would move us up the ladder but to win convincingly, and come away with a clean sheet, was the perfect result. It added to the momentum we’ve been building each week and sets us up for an exciting game against RedStar,” Leek explained.

“They’ve shown for a number of years why they’re deserving leaders of the league so there is no doubt that it will be a test for us. But the positive energy we have within the team is undeniable and we’re relishing the challenge. It’s always a good game against RedStar and I think we will both need to be at our best if either of us are to get a favourable result, we’re really looking forward to it.”

RedStar coach Carlos Vega Mena said last weeks win was pleasing, against a well organised side. “Yes, it was a good performance by us against a much-improved MUMFC team who have improved a lot. They are a well organised team and this time they were much stronger. We stayed calm to control the tempo, and this enabled us to play our game, so happy with the three points,’ he said.

“Traditionally they are close games between Fremantle and Perth RedStar, so it will be another hard game for us. Fremantle has lots of talented individuals to make it difficult for us, we will need to be at our best. We need to be solid across the lines, also we need to minimise our mistakes, and finally we will need to be clinical with the chances we get.”

The round starts on Saturday afternoon, when the Hyundai NTC host Perth SC at the Sam Kerr Football Centre Pitch 1. (1.00pm), while Subiaco AFC will look to bounce back from their heavy defeat at Fremantle, when they host Balcatta Etna at Rosalie Park on Sunday. (3.45pm) The final game on Sunday, sees Murdoch University Melville hosting UWA Nedlands at Besteam Stadium. (3.00pm) Both sides were well beaten last week, at RedStar and Perth SC respectively, but with both sides sitting level on four points at the foot of the ladder, it’s an important three points for both sides.

MUMFC coach Steve Atkins said both sides have improved over the season, and he is expecting an intense game. “A challenging game on Sunday for us, between two young sides that have shown great developments and improvements over the season,” Atkins said. “The last encounter was a high paced and intense game and we expect the same this weekend. The girls know the importance of not only the game, but also to ensure that we start well, show confidence, belief and be competitive throughout. This has been reflected at training during the week so we look forward to the game.”

28.6.2024

NPL-WA ROUND FOURTEEN - PREVIEW

It’s been a difficult NPLWA-Men’s season for both Inglewood United and Perth SC, United sitting bottom of the table with just four points, and the Azzurri in eighth on 12, so three points will be vital when the pair meet in our week 14 ‘Match of the Round’ at the Inglewood Stadium on Saturday afternoon. (All games kick off a 3pm) Inglewood have picked up in their last two games under new coach Alex Stanojevic, their first win against Glory in round 12, before a hard-fought draw at the Knights last week. Kenny Lowe’s side have won only one in their last three games, against the Knights in round 12, and they are coming off a loss at Stirling last week. It’s a big day for the clubs, as the match will be the Heritage Cup, and they are inviting all former players from each club to the game, so it should be a great turn out for this one.

After a poor start to the season for Inglewood, like all clubs the coach was first to go, with Taki Nicolaidis making way for Stanojevic, and keeper Nic Speca said the players have taken that on board, and their last two games has showed they are ready to fight for their NPL status. “It was a very big win for us against Glory, a well needed win, the boys played aggressive the whole game which was the reason we scored six goals,” he said. “I thought against the Knights we deserved a win but came out with a draw after a mistake from myself at the back. I think the whole team is eager to win every weekend, we’re playing a lot more aggressive with comes with its risks, but it’s the risks we’re prepared to take to climb up the NPL ladder and escape relegation.”

Speca, who headed to the club from Bayswater this season, said Stanojevic has given them a boost, but the work of the new President Anthony Rowlings, and his hard-working committee have the club moving forward. “Yes, Alex has brought a new approach, it’s what we needed in order for us to climb up the ladder, the boys have adapted well to the new changes and are still hungry to get more wins in the remaining second half of the season,” the keeper explained. “I think Anthony and the committee have been doing a great job in their new roles, they have some great ideas moving the club forward, so it’s very exciting for the future of the club.” The visit of Perth SC is never easy, but the Inglewood custodian said they are ready for the challenge and looking to continue their recent good form. “Absolutely, this week’s game against Perth is a great challenge, a challenge I think we’re so ready for. They’re a young team and full of energy so it’s not going to be easy,” Speca said. “Our whole team is eager for Saturday, it’s a must win match if we want to keep the chances of staying in the NPL next year.”

Perth defender Federico Achilli said it’s been tough with the change of coach so early in the season, but he believes they are starting to show improvement, and will look to push up the table in the second half of the season. “It has been a very difficult start and it's always hard when you are transitioning from one coach to another in the middle of the season. Obviously, we have not had any preseason with Kenny, which has hindered us because it has taken a few weeks to learn and understand Kenny's way of playing the game,” he explained. “Kenny's style of play is very high risk and a lot of errors are expected to be made but the message to the boys has been to embrace this challenge and we have done exactly. We have shown improvement over the last couple games and even though mistakes are being made and costing us points, we all know that we are still learning and still feel we can have a strong finish to the season.”

Despite the club’s position on the table, they have unearthed some talented youngsters from their academy program this season, and Achilli said they are starting to see some of them make the next step to first team football, which bodes well for the future. “Perth has always been a club that encourages a lot of youth development and looking at the first team itself, you can tell it is a very young squad. Usually at other clubs you can see young players get neglected and pushed aside for older, more experienced players but at Perth we like to encourage talent and it has shown through this season,” Achilli explained. “We have had five or six U20s make their senior debuts with us this season and plenty more training throughout the week with the first team and I personally think it is fantastic, and as much as it makes me feel old, even though I am only 23. I hope it continues and the club keeps striving in developing these young players into hopefully one day getting them to the next level.”

Achilli’s said Saturday is a big game for both sides, but three points would be massive to move them clear of the foot of the table. “Massive game this weekend, probably the biggest game yet. A win can give us some breathing room however any other outcome means it will be a dog fight until the end of the season,” he said. “We know Inglewood have been in good form recently, picking up a win and a draw in their last two games, so it is even more important that we are well prepared and confident going into Saturday. With that in mind though, all the boys and the coaching staff are looking forward to the game and I think it will provide everyone with some really good entertainment.”

In other games on Saturday, leaders Olympic Kingsway make the trip to Hilton Park to meet Fremantle City, while Perth RedStar welcome Armadale to the RedStar Arena. Floreat Athena and Western Knights will both look to get back in the winner’s circle when they meet at E&D Litis Stadium, Perth Glory will look to build on their win at Floreat last week, when they entertain Balcatta Etna at the Sam Kerr Football Centre, while in the final game, Striling Macedonia travel to Frank Drago Reserve to meet Bayswater City. The hosts were beaten at Olympic last week, after conceding two late goals to lose 1-3, while new Stirling coach Ago Mujic picked up his first win, a 3-1 win against the Azzurri, and with only one point separating the two sides, a win in this one for either team, will keep them in touch of the sides above them.

Mujic has been delighted how the club have embraced the change of coach, and he knows it’s never easy, but was delighted to get his first win at Macedonia Park. “The club, staff and specially the players have made it a much easier transition for us coaches and everyone has been working hard and we all enjoy the journey ahead,” he said. “Last week, the boys executed the plan perfectly, our press and how we want to play, the boys have done an unbelievable job, even when we were missing a couple very important players, but it shows you how strong our squad is. Everyone was very happy to get our first win together and now try to improve every week and start being consistent with our performances.”

Last week win against Perth was built on a strong performance from the senior players at the club, but their deeds lifted the younger players, and Mujic will be looking for more of the same at Bayswater on Saturday. “Yes, you are right, the senior boys have been huge help, and they all push young players to the limits, but in the same time young players are pushing senior boys which is very healthy competition in the squad. The changing room is so close together because they all friends firstly then team mates as well which does help and I’m very proud of every single player,” the coach explained. “Saturday is a massive game for both teams, especially now we are in the business part of the season. Bayswater are great team and big club and we looking forward playing against them on Saturday, and it should be cracker of the game.”

28.6.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND THIRTEEN PREVIEW

All roads will lead to Dianella Reserve on Saturday evening, when second placed Dianella White Eagles welcome the leaders, and unbeaten Sorrento, for our week 13 State League Division One ‘Match of the Round’ (5pm) Steven McGarry’s side sit three points clear of the hosts, and have won their last nine games, including a big win in the local derby against Joondalup last week, while Angel Andres’ side are unbeaten in their last four games, after their first defeat of the season at Kingsley in round eight, but they did lose ground on Sorrento after being held to a draw at Mandurah last week. The pair have pulled away from the chasing pack, and they both know three points are important in this one, and it was a tight affair in their first meeting this season at Percy Doyle Reserve. Both picking up a point in a 0-0 draw, and I’m sure it will be another tense affair under lights on Saturday.

Dianella keeper Peter Pilkadaris has been in sparkling form this season, only conceding 12 goals, the second best in the league behind Sorrento. He knows how important their good form has been to their loyal supporters, who follow them home and away, and he thought they deserved more last week at Mandurah, and he hopes to put it right on Saturday in the top of the table clash. “Always a tough trip to Mandurah, but we were disappointed with the draw, it felt like a loss to everyone. They had a few chances from dead balls but I feel like we should have had more from the game than a draw,” he explained.

“Our supporters are great, this my third season with the club now, and every game we play the supporters are always behind us, especially playing at home, it’s always a great atmosphere. Our goal from the start of season was promotion, so we just need to stay disciplined and continue to improve. I believe Saturday is the biggest game of the season for both clubs, and we are thinking we have every chance to win this game, both sides know what is at stake, so it’s going to be tough but we are looking forward to it.”

It’s been a fantastic start for Sorrento, under the tutelage of Steven McGarry, and midfielder Andrew Maranta said despite going behind last week in the local derby against Joondalup, they turned things around in style to make it nine straight wins. “The win against Joondalup was a hard fought one, and even when we went behind early, I think our mindset and reaction after that goal, was top class,” he said. “All credit to the boys to turn it around to secure the three points at the end of the day, with special credit to Dean Cummings once again getting four goals in a game, a different level from him again.”

The Gulls, who were relegated last season, have impressed in the league and cup in 2024, and Maranta said the team are working hard and coach Steven McGarry demands high standards from every player. “Nine wins on the bounce is great for the playing groups confidence, but most importantly I think it sums up as a whole what the club along with the coaching staff are doing. Stevie and his team have built a great squad and they all demand high standards from us each week,” the midfielder said. “Beating Fremantle in the cup and then going toe to toe with RedStar is once again a testament to all the hard work everyone at the club has been doing since being relegated last year.”

Maranta, who joined the Percy Doyle Reserve club from Bayswater City this season, said Saturday will be a tough game, like their first meeting was, when they fought out a draw. “This week’s game against Dianella is a big one definitely. I think both teams are confident going into this weekend and it's a massive game as it's very tight in terms of points with Dianella being only three points behind us,” he explained. “The first game against them was a hard battle and could've gone either way and I think everyone expects this game to be the same, so it'll be a great hit out come Saturday.”

All other games kick off at 3pm, and first up third placed Murdoch University Melville host Rockingham City at Besteam Stadium, the visitors looking for only their second win of the season, to keep in touch of the team above them, while Subiaco AFC welcome Kingsley Westside to Rosalie Park. Gwelup Croatia are unbeaten in their last three games, and this week they visit Walter Padbury Reserve, to take on Gosnells City, who like Rockingham, need the points to keep tabs on the teams above them. Mandurah City entertain Cockburn City at Poolmart Stadium, Peelwood Parade, while the final game takes us to the Pentanet Stadium, where Joondalup United host third placed UWA Nedlands.

The visitors were back in the winner’s circle last week at Gosnells, while Joondalup were beaten by Sorrento, making it three games without a win, and skipper Jay Lang said it’s been a difficult time for the club, but everyone is determined to turn things around. “The last couple of weeks haven’t been good enough in terms of the results and that’s something we as a group are looking to address as quickly as possible. We had some good moments in both games but weren’t able to capitalise on them and when you don’t take your chances against teams at the top of the ladder then ultimately, they will punish you and that’s what happened,” the skipper explained. “We’re looking forward to being back at home this weekend, but we know that UWA will be another tough test. It’s important we get back in the winner’s circle and start trying to claw back points on the teams above us.”

28.6.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND TWELVE PREVIEW

We head into week 12 of the State League Division Two, and our ‘Match of the Round’ takes us to Hudson Park where East Perth host Ashfield. (All games kick off at 3.00pm) it’s been a great start for the hosts in their first season in the State League, and they sit third on the table, and coming off a draw against Wanneroo last week, which leaves them six points behind the leaders. Ashfield have been the form team in the league recently, unbeaten in their last seven games, and they are coming off big wins against Swan and Carramar, scoring nine goals, so they head into this one full of confidence, so this one should be a great contest.

Ashfield started the season with a narrow loss against Saturday’s opponents, but have improved in the latter part of the opening round of fixtures, and they sit in seventh spot, only four points behind East Perth, and they are coming off a couple of big wins, and coach James Sammut said they are building nicely. “Yes, it has been good month and we are continuing to build, although each week presents a different challenge. As happy as we are with the results over the last fortnight, we know that we still have a lot of work to do and will look to implement in the second half of the season,’ he explained. “We know our best is good enough as shown in a nice cup run, although we dropped some valuable points in the league during it, but credit goes to the lads who come in each week with a great work ethic and want to be better.”

Sammut said consistency is the key to their success for the rest of the season, and it starts against a strong East Perth on Saturday. “It’s a very tight league and each week there is that possibility of moving a couple of spots up or down depending on results. We aren’t looking at that too much but more so how we want to play each week and getting consistency across 90 minutes. As a club we are looking forward to the second half of the season, we will set some goals internally but understand that there are no easy games in this league,” he said. “I don’t think anyone is surprised about how well they (East Perth) are travelling this year. They are a good side and we will have to be at our best to take points. It’s going to be another tough challenge but one that we are looking forward to.”

East Perth coach Colm Costello said their start to life in the State League has been good, sitting third, and he couldn’t have asked for more from his squad. “So far at the half way point we are doing well, and at the start of season we would have taken third after 11 games 100%. As a group we are always looking to improve and, in some games, we should have done better, but overall, we can’t ask any more of the players,” he explained. “Stepping up a division and competing weekly is down to the lads working hard week in week out and trying to prove themselves at this level. When we have everyone available, I feel we have showed we can match any team, but like every team, getting your strongest side on the park is difficult with holidays injuries etc, and it is certainly a factor. This league is so tight but and you’re constantly looking over your shoulder at teams chasing you down, it’s a very competitive league.”

They lost ground on the leaders last week against Wanneroo, but Costello said it was a fair result, but he is looking for an improvement on Saturday against a good Ashfield side. “Last week was probably fair result, yes, we definitely had the better of the chances, including penalty and harshly disallowed goal but that’s football. If you don’t take them chances it will reflect the result, but with the changes made, we worked hard to get a point,’ the coach said. “Saturday will be another big battle, Ashfield have been the team to beat lately and also have had a brilliant Australia Cup run, so they will be a difficult task for us this weekend, as they are on fire of late. Our lads are always up for the challenge and it should be a great open game on Saturday, and we’re looking forward to it.”

In other games leaders Kalamunda City welcome Forrestfield United in the local derby at Maida Vale Reserve, the host are five points clear at the top, while United will go in search of a first win in three. Second placed Joondalup City entertain Curtin University to Iluka District Open Space, hoping to keep the pressure on Kalamunda, while Ian Ferguson will take control of his first home game for Quinns, after his return, when they host Swan United at Stylish Park at Gumblossom Reserve. Wanneroo City will aim to continue their two-game run without defeat, when they travel to Princess Road Reserve to meet Balga, while in the final game Carramar Shamrock Rovers will look to end a three-game losing streak when they travel to Burrendah Reserve to take on Canning City.

Canning have had a good season to date, sitting eighth, and coming off a good point at Swan last week, while Rovers slide down the table continued, after a heavy defeat at Ashfield, saw them drop to 11th, and striker Phil O’Callaghan said it was a disappointing result, but they will be looking to turn things around this week. “Very disappointing result last week against Ashfield. First half we gave them too much time on the ball by sitting back a little too much, but a change of formation in the second half got us back in the game with an early goal only to go a spoil it with silly mistakes, which can’t keep happening,” he explained. “The boys have worked hard at training and like every game will be up for it. We need to start picking up points quick but we know in this league any team can beat anyone on their day. We have had a lot of first team players out injured or away traveling and have had to bring in a lot of young boys from the 18’s. We know Canning will be a tough game, but if the boys stick to the game plan and put in a good shift, I am sure we can pick up a result.”

28.6.2024

VICTORY SNAP UP RAWLINS

Melbourne Victory have secured the services of Australian youth international Josh Rawlins for the next two A-League seasons. The 20-year old joins Victory fresh from a two-year spell with Dutch side FC Utrecht, where he made 24 appearances for the Under-21s and was loaned to Perth Glory for the second half of the 2023/24 campaign.

Rawlins, whose career began at Dianella SC, is looking forward to commencing the next chapter in his football journey. “I’m excited to be able to sign for Melbourne Victory and represent such an iconic Club in Australian football,” Rawlins said.

“Victory has created an environment where I believe I can get the best out of myself and help the team achieve the ultimate success. The Club went so close to the Championship last season and I’m looking to help the side go one step further next season.”

Rawlins turned out for Glory’s National Premier Leagues side before gaining his professional debut as a 16-year old in November 2020 when he started the Asian Champions League fixture with Shanghai Shenhua. He went on to make 34 league appearances over his hometown club before moving to Utrecht.

Rawlins was part of the Olyroos squad that competed at this years Under-23 Asian Cup in Qatar and featured in the side that finished third in the 2022 edition of the competition. The full back is Victory’s first new signing for the 2024/25 A-League Men’s squad, which begins pre-season training on July 10.

27.6.2024

BRISBANE BRING ZIMARINO ON BOARD

Forward Adam Zimarino has put pen to paper on a one-year deal with Brisbane Roar ahead of the 2024/25 A-League season. The 23-year old makes the move east after three seasons and 25 appearances with Perth Glory.

"After speaking to Ruben (Zadkovich), Zac (Anderson) and others from the club it made my decision fairly easy," explained Zimarino, who was released by Glory only yesterday. "I'm excited for this opportunity and can't wait to get going."

"The club's going in the right direction which is something I'd love to be a part of. For me personally, this year I want to contribute to the team, score goals and ultimately help the team win and get to where this club deserves to be."

Zimarino made his A-League debut for Glory against Central Coast Mariners in 2022 after impressing in the National Premier Leagues for Perth SC and the Glory academy team. He becomes Brisbane's seventh new arrival for the summer of 2024/25.

26.6.2024

FIVE RISING YOUNG STARS PLEDGE FUTURES TO GLORY

Perth Glory have confirmed a quintet of young local talents - Anasmo, Kaelan Majekodunmi, Andriano Lebib, Khoa Ngo and Will Freney - have signed new contracts with the A-League club. Football Director Stan Lazaridis is thrilled with Glory's newest additions. "These guys are all super-talented and hungry to make their mark in the A-League and beyond," Lazaridis said.

"Four of them have already been exposed to senior football and we are excited to see them kick on again in the coming seasons. As long as they continue to work hard and learn from the senior players around them, they all have very bright futures ahead of them."

19-year old Anasmo, who made 11 A-League appearances last season and scored on debut, has penned a two-year professional contract with Glory. Kaelan Majekodunmi, 20, who also gained his first taste of A-League football last year, has also agreed to a new two-year deal.

Defender Lebib, 18, who took his A-League bow in the final fixture of last season, has inked a deal on a three-year contract. Ngo, 17, who came off the bench in the last two games of the 2023/24 campaign, and 18-year old midfielder Freney, who has been in impressive form for Glory's National Premier Leagues side have been locked in on two-year scholarships.

26.6.2024

SUSNJAR JETS IN TO NEWCASTLE

A-League club Newcastle Jets have confirmed the signing of towering defender Aleksandar Susnjar on a two-year deal. The 28-year old joins Newcastle from hometown club Perth Glory, where he made 21 appearances across the 2023/24 season.

Susnjar is determined to hit the ground running with Newcastle. "I can't wait to start training," he said. "It's a young squad and I'm hoping to add some experience at the back and achieve something big with this club for the upcoming season."

Newcastle coach Rob Stanton is looking forward to what Susnjar brings to his squad. "Aleksander brings us not only experience but a huge amount of quality at the back. He has played in some tough competitions overseas and his best football is still ahead of him."

Susnjar has plenty of playing experience having turned out in Lithuania, Romania, Czechia, Slovakia and South Korea as well as in the A-League with Macarthur FC and Glory. The central defender also represented Australia in 2018 against Norway.

25.6.2024

GLORY CONFIRM THE DEPARTURE OF STAJCIC

Alen Stajcic’s reign at Perth Glory is over with the experienced coach parting company with the club after just one season. Following two months of speculation over his future at the club, Glory announced today that Stajcic would not be at the helm next season amid reports linking him to the vacant Western Sydney Wanderers job.

The announcement ends a difficult and testing spell for Stajcic in Perth. In 27 games under Stajcic, Glory won just five times and lost on 15 occasions, shipping 69 goals along the way - just two short of the all-time A-League Men’s record for most conceded in a season - amid a backdrop of off-field unrest and ownership struggles.

“Upon season’s end, after personal reflection, I have decided that it’s best for me to look for a new challenge in my coaching career,” Stajcic said via a statement issued by Glory. “The difficulties we faced this year were unique and consistent and took a great toll on most within the organisation.”

“I would like to thank all the staff for their unwavering support, commitment, and dedication to the mission. The expertise, care and professionalism shown by all in the face of adversity was second to none. I would like to thank the playing group for their efforts during a period when they faced existential concerns about our club and their careers.”

“Finally, I would like to thank the members and fans that continued to support both me and the club through thick and thin. Their level of loyalty, passion and energy was inspirational to both me and the playing group and I will always treasure this part of the club. I wish the club all the best in the future.”

Glory’s lack of an owner for the first half of last season tied Stajcic’s hands in the transfer department, with the club prevented from signing players mid-season and then forced to loan foreign attacker Salim Khelifi to Melbourne Victory. Stajcic denied in April he was looking at exiting the club despite rumours of his imminent departure.

However, the rumour mill continued to swirl post-season as Glory’s review into their football operations continued into June, and the buzz only grew louder with each passing week. Stajcic’s departure comes only 24 hours after his Glory Women counterpart, Alex Epakis, stepped away from his role after four seasons at the helm.

25.6.2024

GLORY CHASING TWO NEW SENIOR COACHES

Perth Glory will be on the lookout for new senior men’s and women’s Head Coaches, after both Alen Stajcic and Alex Epakis left their positions at the A-League club this week. Reading between the lines, it looked like Stajcic wasn’t in the plans of the new owners of the club, and his none comments on the recent new signings gave thoughts to everyone he wouldn’t be around next season. Many believe he has been made a scapegoat for last season’s wooden spoon, but all the problems off the pitch affected his selections, with players taken from his squad at the drop of a hat by the then owners APL, something that must have been extremely difficult for him.

Stajcic, who was appointed Head Coach at Western Sydney Wanderers for next season today, was pragmatic about his decision and wished the club all the best in the future. “Upon season’s end, after personal reflection, I have decided that it’s best for me to look for a new challenge in my coaching career,” he said. “The difficulties we faced this year were unique and consistent and took a great toll on most within the organisation. I would like to thank all the staff for their unwavering support, commitment and dedication to the mission.

“The expertise, care and professionalism shown by all in the face of adversity was second to none. I would like to thank the playing group for their efforts during a period when they faced existential concerns about our club and their careers. Finally, I would like to thank the Members and fans that continued to support both me and the club through thick and thin. The level of loyalty, passion and energy was inspirational to both me and the playing group and I will always treasure this part of the club. I wish the club all the best in the future.”

Glory CEO Anthony Radich said the club wishes to acknowledge the professionalism shown by Stajcic under extremely challenging circumstances throughout his tenue as Head Coach. “Alen’s leadership and resilience during what was one of the most difficult seasons in the club’s history was admirable,” he said. “The courageous decision to take on this role in a period of unprecedented uncertainty and adversity is testament to Alen’s great character and we are very grateful for that commitment.

“On behalf of everyone associated with the club, I would like to thank Alen sincerely for his service to Perth Glory and wish him all the very best for the next stage of his coaching journey.” Having undertaken a full review of the club’s football operations following the completion of the 2023/24 season, Perth Glory now expects to confirm the appointment of a new ALM Head Coach later this week.

Epakis, who has been the longest-serving Head Coach in Glory’s ALW history having overseen 66 games across the past four seasons, but he gave the club notice of his intention to depart the club at the end of July for personal reasons. “Despite the strategy and plans collectively put in place for next season by myself, Football Director Stan Lazaridis and CEO Anthony Radich, I have made the difficult decision to step down from my position due to personal reasons,” the 33-year-old explained. “The ongoing support of Anthony, Stan and previous management has been exceptional across my time at the club and I appreciate their understanding of my decision.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and opportunity of coaching the Perth Glory ALW team, it has been an experience which won’t be forgotten and a responsibility which I have sincerely valued. To the best of my ability, I was unwavering in my attempt to lead the squad, achieve on-field competitiveness and foster a strong team identity during a period of great uncertainty for the club. I am deeply appreciative of the connection formed with all the Members, fans and sponsors and the support they provided for the team.

“I have also hugely valued the opportunity to work with the players and staff across the four seasons. I’m extremely grateful to the playing group for the respect and belief they’ve shown me across my tenure and I wish them all the absolute best. I believe the club is heading in the right direction and that the strong leadership of Anthony, Stan and the Pelligra Group will no doubt return Perth Glory to its competitive best. I look forward to seeing the club progress and achieve future success.”

Radich acknowledged the dedication and resilience shown by the outgoing coach. “Alex has made a significant contribution to the club over the past four years and we will be very sad to see him go,” he said. “That said, we understand the personal sacrifices he has made and appreciate that he now needs to reassess and reset. Alex has worked incredibly hard to strengthen our ALW program and laid a very solid foundation for his successor to build upon as the club moves forward. On behalf of everyone associated with the club, I would like to sincerely thank him for all his efforts and wish him all the very best for the future.” The club will confirm the appointment of a new ALW Head Coach in due course.

24.6.2024

GLORY WOMEN COACH EPAKIS STEPS ASIDE

Perth Glory Women are on the lookout for a new coach after Alex Epakis stepped down from the role for "personal reasons" despite having one more year to run on his contract. Epakis is the longest-serving coach in Glory's A-League Women history, having overseen 66 games across the past four seasons.

"Despite the strategy and plans collectively put in place for next season by myself, football director Stan Lazaridis and chief executive Anthony Radich, I have made the difficult decision to step down from my position due to personal reasons," 33-year old Epakis said in a statement.

"To the best of my ability, I was unwavering in my attempt to lead the squad, achieve on-field competitiveness and foster a strong team identity during a period of great uncertainty for the club. I'm extremely grateful to the playing group for the respect and belief they've shown me across my tenure and I wish them all the absolute best."

Epakis was appointed coach in late 2020, coinciding with the toughest chapter in the team's history. Ravaged by COVID restrictions and border issues, Glory fielded a hastily-assembled and youth-laden squad that went on to post 11 losses and a draw from the 12-game season.

Epakis led a remarkable recovery the following season, with the club only missing out on a finals berth on goal difference. They again fell short of a finals berth by a single point in 2022/23. Last season opened with four consecutive wins to shoot into early title contention, only to fade in the second half of the campaign and finish 10th.

23.6.2024

BELT-UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION – ROUND NINE REVIEW

It was first against third in week nine of the Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division, and it was a cracking game, with Wembley Downs continuing their unbeaten start to the season, beating last season champions Emerald 2-1 at Butlers Reserve on Sunday afternoon. “We haven’t been behind in many games this season so conceding from a corner early on was a challenge, and thankfully we were up to the task and in front at half time,” Wembley skipper Jack Mellor said. “Sometimes you have to win ugly and that’s what we did so we protected the lead in the second half. This sort of game we wouldn’t have held onto in previous seasons so credit to all the lads for working hard. We’ve beaten our two nearest rivals back-to-back and with six/seven players unavailable each week just shows the quality in depth we have.”

The host were without coach Rob Jackson, who was serving a one-match touchline ban, with Gary Heferty in the dugout, and it was Emerald who made the better start, taking the lead on 13 minutes, with Kevin Hurley finding the target. Wembley levelled four minutes later, some good work from Harry Browne finding Noah Thavaseelan to slot home. The hosts were ahead on 34 minutes, Browne showing good persistence on the high press by Wembley, the ball breaking free for Callum McLeod to tuck home, which turned out to be the winner.

Maccabi lost ground on the top two, after being held to a 1-1 draw by North Beach at Charles Riley Memorial Reserve. “It was a tough game on Sunday, which could have gone either way late on. We felt like we deserved more with the effort and chances we created, but as has been a theme for us we just haven't taken our chances to walk away with three points,” North Beach coach Nick Di Carlo explained. “Maccabi make it tough and have been doing great so far this season, so we move forward onto the next week which will involve three games in seven days for us heading into cup fixtures.” The hosts were ahead on 17 minutes, Alex Kretowicz got a toe in from a loose back pass from midfield, and he raced in on goal, one on one with the keeper, he rounding him and slotting in calmly. But Maccabi levelled six minutes before the break, a set-piece was flicked on and Aamon Zothner shot was deflected into the net.

Kelmscott Roos bounced back from their first defeat of the season last week, to beat Morley Windmills 2-1 at Wotton Reserve. Isaac Koomson stunning free kick gave the visitors the lead early, before Vaughan Audrain doubled their advantage on 25 minutes from the spot. Travis Taylor pulled one back for the hosts, also from the spot on the hour, but Morely couldn’t find the equaliser, with Kelmscott leaving with all three points. Jaguar have also bounced back from defeat in the last round, beating an inform North Perth United 2-0 at the Herb Graham recreation Centre, with goals from Abraham Taona and Paul Sopp.

South Perth United and Kingsley Westside have shared the spoils after they played out a 2-2 draw at Challenger Reserve. “A disappointing result for us it feels more like it’s two points lost rather than a point gained. However, it’s four games unbeaten ten points from 12 available so a really good turn in form for us in recent weeks,” Kingsley coach Brad Hayward said. “Credit to South Perth they really capitalised on our two mistakes at the back and at the end of the day made the most of the opportunities where as we missed a lot of our chances to kill off the game and take the win. We will quickly move on and start to focus on a huge game at home to Jags next weekend.”

It was South Perth who would take the lead early, with Wellington Muvunduke scoring, but it was Kingsley who would take the lead into the break. They levelled on the half hour, after some sustained pressure, a long-range effort from Luke Coltman gave South Perth keeper Jordan Barclay no chance. They added the second two minutes from half time, a well worked counter attack after a turnover inside South Perth’s half, was finished by Nathan Griffiths. It looked like they would take the points, but eight minutes from time the hosts levelled, with Ayela Santa on target.

In the final game, Peel United have won for the second time this season, after a 3-1 win against bottom of the table Joondalup United at Forrest Park. It was a tight opening, but as the first half went on Peel created the better chances but failed to take them. That all changed eight minutes into the second half, Daniel Fenton effort was fumbled into his own net by Joondalup keeper Patrick Lawless. They added a second on the hour, some neat build-up play end with a cross from the right and new signing Cristian Mejia tapped home from close-range.

Joondalup found a lifeline four minutes from time, with John McNeil pulling one back, but Peel sealed the points in stoppage time with another new recruit Cameron Crowley, capping off a good performance, with the third. “The game was a little tense in the opening 5-10 minutes as we started very flat. We managed to gain control of the game, and it didn't look like we would slip up. We made an incredible number of chances for the entire 90 minutes but we just couldn't put them away, but we managed to change that after the break,” Peel coach Daryl Willmont explained. “We have a lot of gears to kick and with a lot of injuries and holidays in our side we know we have more quality against other sides. Props to Joondalup as they're still happy to face anyone with facing such a difficult season.”

In Division One, leaders Hamersley Rovers beat Ballajura 1-0 at Carine Open Space, with Francesco Rosica finding the winner 17 minutes from time to keep them one point clear at the top. Southern Spirit kept the pressure on Rovers, after a brace from Brandon DeAbreu helped them to a 4-2 win against Olympic Kingsway at Watsons Oval, while Kwinana United lost ground on the top two, after a 3-3 draw against Canning City at Kelly Park, Greg Sharland scoring a late equaliser for the visitors. In other games Ellenbrook United drew at home 1-1 with Stirling Panthers, Cracovia and Port Kennedy played out a 11 goals thriller at Koorana Reserve, with Leigh Morgan scoring a hat-trick to seal a 6-5 win for Cracovia, while in the bottom of the table clash, Quinns beat Baldivis 3-1 at Stylish Park at Gumblossom Park.

23.6.2024

NPLWA – WOMEN’S – ROUND ELEVEN REVIEW

The NPLWA – Women’s round 11 was completed on Sunday, with all games being one-sided affairs, with plenty of goals. Balcatta Etna started the round on Friday, with a brace from Liana Cook helping them to 3-0 win against the Hyundai NTC at Home Group Stadium at Grindleford Reserve. In Sunday’s games Fremantle City were the biggest winners, beating Subiaco AFC 8-0 at Hilton Reserve, to make it four straight wins for Faye Chambers’ side. “Our win on Sunday was a good reflection on how far we’ve come so far this season. We went into the game wanting to jump another place on the ladder which led to a really good team performance,” Fremantle striker Abbey Green said. “Keeping two clean sheets in a row reflects really well on our defensive line and being able to enjoy playing well together will definitely help us as we get closer to top four.”

The hosts were on fire in the first half, and they found the opener on 13 minutes, Green finding Tanika Lala, and the Perth Glory striker skipped past a couple of challenges before finishing low past Subiaco keeper Isobel Robinson, who was in for a busy afternoon. They doubled their advantage nine minutes later, the alert Anna Powell pinched the ball off a Subiaco defender, her shot was saved by Robinson, but Lala was quickest to the rebound to score.

Green got in the act just after the half hour, curling home a third after good work from Clara Hoarau, and Green was in again four minutes before the break, finishing off a fine solo run. Subiaco were shell-shocked, their best chance fell to Cass Harvey, whose curling effort flashed wide. But Fremantle weren’t finished and they added a fifth just before the break. Green’s pace took her down the left, and she picked out Powell at the back post to make 5-0 at the break. The hosts picked up where they left off in the second half, with Sophie Meaden’s cross turned home by Powell, before Janice Kiama turned home Green’s corner, to make 7-0, and the midfielder added an eighth from close range after Hoarau’s shot was saved by Robinson to cap a fine day for the port side.

Perth SC have bounced back from their defeat at Balcatta last week, beating UWA Nedlands 5-0 at Dorrien Gardens. “Coming off of last week’s result it was important that we reminded ourselves of the type of football we play. Although it was scrappy at times, our combinations which we have had trouble transferring into our games are getting better each week,” Perth midfielder Daisy McAllister explained. “We were happy to get some more goals on the board along with a clean sheet, but we have to turn our focus to continuing solid performances into an important second half of the season.”

They were ahead early, neat approach work from Charli Wainwright and McAllister ended with Jess Flannery, who finished well. McAllister doubled the Azzurri’s lead on the half hour, and the visitors suffered another blow when keeper Morgan Springer was shown a straight red card for handling outside of the penalty area. Ella Lincoln made it 3-0 on the stroke of half time, and second half goals from substitute Annika Stajcic and another to Lincoln from the spot, whose form this season has been outstanding, this one her 12th goal of the campaign.

In the other game on Sunday league leaders Perth RedStar were too strong for Murdoch University Melville, running out 5-0 winners at the RedStar Arena. Carlos Vega Mena’s team were ahead just after the half hour mark, with Caitlin Doeglas’ looping shot beating Manon Gebauer. It was 2-0 four minutes before the break, Oliva Wood’s shot was saved by Gebauer, the ball falling for Renee Leota to score. They added a third in stoppage time, with Doeglas finishing clinically, her 13th goal of the season. RedStar added two more after the break, Wood pouncing on a mistake at the back to score, before Reina Kagami was credited with a late fifth which took a couple of deflections before crossing the line.

22.6.2024

NPL-WA ROUND THIRTEEN - REVIEW

NPLWA – Men’s league leaders Olympic Kingsway have maintained their three-point lead at the top of the table after a 3-1 win against Bayswater City, in our week 13 ‘Match of the Round’ at Kingsway Reserve on Saturday afternoon. A first half goal from Aryn Williams set them on their way, but Bayswater, who are the only side to beat Olympic this season, hit back midway through the second half with Cameron Teece levelling. David Tough’s side won it with late goals from Joe Knowles and Joe Hobson, to make it 11 games without defeat.

“It’s been a tough couple of weeks, with cup games and injuries taking their toll on the group, but the lads have been terrific, and today was a good home win against a very tough and experienced Bayswater team,” Bayswater assistant coach Ross Edwards said post-match. “It was a different test for us today and the guys showed another side to their game which David (Tough) and I were delighted with. With the game locked at 1-1 the game was in the balance, but the players stepped it up another level and we managed to take control with two late goals.”

The hosts were on the front foot early, and Aryn Williams’ header was well saved by Lewis Italiano on five minutes, but eight minutes later the former Wellington Phoenix keeper was beaten. Mitch Oxborrow’s free kick wasn’t dealt with and Williams fired home from ten meters. Bayswater looked for a quick response, and Jason Mirco almost caught Adrian Sinagra out at his near post with a cross shot, but the Olympic custodian did enough to push the ball over the top. Moments later former Olympic defender Luke Palmateer headed over the top as Gary Williams side looked for a quick response.

But Olympic should have added a second on 23 minutes, Tyler Garner’s cross from the right picked out the unmarked Joe Hobson, but with the goal at his mercy he headed well wide. Bayswater were convinced they should have had a penalty seconds later, when Mirco’s cross seemed to hit the arm of Ryan Lowry, but referee Alex Novatsis was well placed to wave away their protests. Then from the resulting short corner, that caught Olympic napping, Mirco fired just wide. The visitors lost skipper Gordon Smith to injury just before the break, he was replaced by Jackson Stephens, but the hosts led by the only goal at the break after an entertaining first 45 minutes.

Italiano made a smart save at his near post to deny Ollie Annis early in the second half, before Mirco got back with a last-ditch challenge to deny Annis again moments later. Second half substitute Joe Knowles was next to go close, racing clear from Garner through ball, but his lob over Italiano drifted just wide. Knowles was in again on 67 minutes, but his shot on the run hit the side netting. But their profligacy was punished on 68 minutes with Bayswater levelling. Sam Mitchinson’s cross from the left found Joshua Anasmo, his shot was cleared off the line by Annis, but Cameron Teece fired home the rebound.

Both sides pressed, as the game opened up, Teece’s looping header was claimed by Sinagra, but it was Olympic who restored their lead eight minutes from time. The referee pointing to the spot after a late challenge by Joshua Bell on Joshua Samson, and Knowles sent Italiano the wrong way from the resulting penalty. They sealed the game in stoppage time, Calum O’Connell sent Annis down the left and his low cross was turned home by Hobson. “Another great team performance, everyone worked hard and kept our structure, and we were happy to go into the break 1-0 up,” Olympic defender Ollie Annis said post-match. “We had a bad spell for 10 minutes which led to the goal but kept creating plenty of chances. I thought we over ran them with 20 minutes to go which granted the two goals and the three points, and we now focus on Fremantle next week.”

Perth RedStar remains just behind the leaders after a come-from-behind 3-1 win against Balcatta Etna at the Home Group Stadium at Grindleford Reserve. “It was a tough game in hard conditions against a very motivated Balcatta side,” RedStar midfielder Matthew George said. “It was an end-to-end game, but we managed to finish our chances and continue our winning form.” It was the hosts who made the best possible start, taking the lead after only nine minutes, with Adam Buckingham heading home at the back post from a Declan Hargreaves corner.

RedStar were back on level terms 12 minutes later, Matthew George found Bryce Bafford on the left, and he cut inside his marker and found the bottom corner of the net past Connor Campbell. The visitors hit the front in the shadows of half time, George was the supplier again, this time slipping Theodore Leeming in down the right channel and he finished low past Campbell. The points were sealed 11 minutes from time, with RedStar adding a third. It was George again with the assist, sending Dayl Nicol clear, and he finished with aplomb, for his 12th goal of the season.

Third placed Fremantle City have lost ground on the leaders after a 3-1 defeat against Armadale at Alfred Skeet Reserve. “I thought we started the game well, and we had a few very good chances in the first 15 minutes, but we lost our way until half time,” Armadale coach Alun Vernals said. “We had to get into them a bit at half time, but I wanted a response and to be fair the boys were a different team second half. Much more aggressive in the tackle and the one on one’s, and we ended up being really good value for the win.”

Both sides had their chances in the first half that they failed to take, but all the goals came after the break. The hosts opened the scoring on 59 minutes, Peter Jacobsz crossfield ball found Amir Ajan, who became a father in midweek, and he picked out Jayden Leader, whose quick feet took him clear of his marker and he found the corner of the net past. Moments later it was 2-0, Jacobsz cross from the left was headed goalward by Luke Collins, and it hit the unfortunate Jesse Fuller and roll into the net.

It became 3-0 five minutes later, Fremantle turned the ball over playing out from the back, Leader won possession and slipped Hamish Van Dieken in on goal, he sent Jacobsz racing to the by-line and he cut it back to Leader, who had continued his run to fire home through the legs of Baker from close-range, a great return from a long-term injury for the former Perth Glory youth midfielder. Fremantle were back in the game eight minutes later, when referee David Bruce pointed to the spot after Patrick Loughrey was brought down in the box by Lachlan Collins, and Loughrey picked himself up and sent Joel Driscoll the wrong way from the resulting penalty, but it was as good as it got for Fremantle.

Inglewood United resurgence under new coach Alex Stanojevic has continued, earning a hard fought 1-1 draw against Western Knights at Nash Field. “It was good to see that we are able to repel the high press by the Knights, while at the same time break free and put their defence under pressure,” he said. “After conceding a goal in the first half, we came out fighting in the second and grabbing the equaliser in the dying minutes of the game, no small feat to walk away sharing points with the Western Knights at their Mosman fortress. There are a few things still to iron out, but I'm happy with the performance by adding another valuable point to our tally.”

After a tight first half it was the hosts who opened the scoring three minutes before half time, Owen Goodliffe’s snap shot from the edge of the box crept under the body of Inglewood keeper Nic Speca. Inglewood continued to fight, and were rewarded with the equaliser three minutes from time. A long throw from Jordan Brown was flicked on by Ciaran Salinger, and his fellow defender Chris Tilson headed past Anthony Lance to give both sides a share of the spoils.

“I felt we were in control for the majority of the match and we are disappointed not to get the win in the end, we just couldn’t seem to find the second goal with the ascendancy we had,” Knights coach Adam Kostrenic explained. “Defensively we were solid most of the game in particular when dealing with their long throw threat, but unfortunately it was a key moment late in the game when a decision didn’t go our way that we lost focus briefly and conceded the late equaliser.”

Perth Glory have eased their relegation worries, winning for the first time in nine games after a 1-0 win against a ten-man Floreat Athena at E&D Litis Stadium. “It was about time we had some luck go our way in key moments, and the boys really stepped up this week with their intensity on and off the ball,” Glory coach Will Cruz explained. “Definitely a much more mature performance from the group, which we will look to build upon in the next few weeks.” Glory had the perfect opportunity to take the lead in first half stoppage time, when Sam Barry’s cross into the box hit the hand of Floreat defender Mohammed Al-Zaidy, and the referee pointed straight to the spot. There was a big delay as Floreat keeper Jason Saldaris was accidently caught by Glory winger Khoa Ngo in the aftermath, but after lengthy treatment he was able to continue, and he guessed the right way to save Barry’s resulting penalty.

The game took another twist on 67 minutes after Al-Zaidy was shown a second yellow card for a trip on Sebastian Despotovski, and was sent off. Then five minutes later Glory won it, Despotovski’s pass found Royie Rahamim, who looked in an offside position, but the flag stayed down and his shot was saved by Jason Saldaris, but the ball rebound back off Chris Saldaris and into the net, with Cameron Murray failing to clear it off the line.

In the late game Stirling Macedonia have won for the first time under new coach Ago Mujic, beating Perth SC 3-1 in the ‘Dylan Tombides Trophy’ at Macedonia Park on Saturday evening. “It was a great evening for us, and the boys worked very hard last week at training and we prepared ourselves the best way we could and that showed on the pitch when boys executed everything, we asked them to do,” he explained. “Never easy playing against Perth SC and Kenny’s team are always well organised and you must be at your best to get anything from the game which we did and I’m very proud of the boys. It’s a good start, and everything is slowly starting to gel, and we know we need to keep improving every week and wanting more from ourselves each week, our focus is already on next game against Bayswater away.”

It was the visitors who opened the scoring on 18 minutes, after Sam Cook was brought down in the box and the striker picked himself to take the resulting penalty, which keeper Liam Price saved well, but Cook followed up to fire home the rebound. But moments later Stirling levelled, Sam Wynne raced down the left, before cutting the ball back to Calvin Whitney, and the former Perth SC midfielder found the bottom corner. Stirling hit the front nine minutes before the break, Wynne finishing clinically from the angle, and Stirling sealed the points 12 minutes into the second half. Once again Perth gave the ball away trying to play out from the back and Ciaran Bryne punished them firing low past Joe Pollard.

22.6.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND TWELVE REVIEW

Our week 12 State League Division One ‘Match of the Round’ didn’t disappoint, with Mandurah City scoring eight minutes from time to earn a 1-1 draw with Dianella White Eagles at the Poolmart Stadium, Peelwood Parade on Saturday afternoon. Andy Keogh gave the visitors the lead just after the hour, but substitute Ben Gallagher levelled, to give both sides a share of the spoils. “First half was very cagey affair, both teams a bit nervous, and not wanting to lose the game,” Mandurah striker Leigh Griffiths said. “We’ve hit the woodwork twice from free kicks and had another half chance, and then second half they score a set piece which was poor from our point of view. But we showed great reaction to get a goal towards the end of the game and should’ve won it with last kick of the game if we are more clinical.”

It was a high tempo first half, with both sides creating chances, but they failed to take them, but on 66 minutes it was Dianella who found the opener. Keogh was brought down on the edge of the box by Steven Hesketh, which earnt the defender a yellow card, and Keogh stepped up and curled the resulting free kick around the wall finding the bottom corner of Alfie Brincat’s net. Mandurah lifted and pressed for the equaliser and it came on 82 minutes. John Baird found Shaun Mukwevho in a pocket of space, and his first-time pass ball found Gallagher, who raced into the box, took a touch and finished with aplomb past Peter Pilkadaris. The hosts should have won it deep into stoppage time, Charles Parry sent Gallagher racing clear, he held off his marker and cut inside the penalty area, but his shot flew inches over the top.

That draw meant league leaders Sorrento have extended their lead at the top of the table to three points, after they beat local rivals Joondalup United 5-1 at Percy Doyle Reserve on Friday evening. The game was a Joondalup home game, but due to their ground being unavailable, the game was switched to Sorrento’s home ground. “The boys again were fantastic, three points are always the priority of course but the football we are playing and chances we are creating is really pleasing,” Sorrento coach Steven McGarry explained.

“After going a goal down very early in the game the boys showed some character to get back level quickly and Dean Cummings must get a special mention, that’s the third time this season he’s scored four in a game, his appetite and hunger for the game and goals seem to increase the older he gets. All in all, though it was a quality team performance and continues our nine-game winning streak.” Joondalup found the opener on seven minutes, Tyler Holden burst into the box, picking out Jack Taylor, whose shot was blocked, the ball falling for Jamie Gardiner who fired home past David Keenan. But the Gulls were level 11 minutes later, Neil Kilkenny’s corner from the left was turned home at the back post by Dean Cummings. Sorrento were ahead on 26 minutes, Hamza Hina slipped Kilkenny down the left, and his low cross was finished by Cummings at the back post.

The Gulls skipper completed his hat-trick just before the break. Scott Robertson’s searching ball was headed into the path of Kilkenny by Connor Simpson, he beat Joondalup keeper Todd Hoyle to the ball and unselfishly squared the ball to Cummings who made no mistake. He added his fourth eight minutes from time, after George Mcilroy brought down Hina, and Cummings sent Hoyle the wrong way from the resulting penalty, his 14th goal of the season. The icing was added to the cake in stoppage time, with substitute Luke Salmon adding the fifth. “I thought the first 20 minutes we started a bit slow, and fell behind,” Cumming said. “But once we equalised, I felt like we dominated the game with some good combinations of play for the goals.”

Murdoch University Melville had gone three games without a win, but Marc Anthony’s side are back in the winner’s circle after winning a seven-goal thriller against Kingsley Westside at Chichester Park. “It was a poor first half performance, where we were second best and the lads needed a reminder at half time as to where we went wrong,” MUMFC coach Marc Anthony said. “Second half was fantastic we dominated and could have scored more. It’s a tough place to come and win they were on a five-match unbeaten run, so plenty merit in our win.” The visitors made the best possible start, ahead on four minutes, a long clearance caught Kingsley napping, sending Iljas Ahmedov racing clear and he finished clinically past Peter Stewart. But Kingsley were level seven minutes later, a long throw by Nicholas Koefler wasn’t clear and Aston Montgomery volleyed home from the edge of the box.

The hosts were ahead on 18 minutes, Chad Samuels crossing to Shane Hulgraine, who swept the ball home. It was end-to-end football and MUMFC restored parity just after the half hour, Ahmedov finding Pat Sara, and the skipper played in Declan Tanna, who made no mistake from the edge of the box. Then in first half stoppage time Kingsley added a third, Daniel Harrison’s through ball sent Hulgraine clear and he rolled his shot into the corner of the net. We were level again on the hour, Edward Wynne-Willson’s corner was headed home by Adam Fields, and it was the visitors who won it nine minutes from time. Sara burst in the penalty area on the left, and cut the ball back to Tanna who finished well to seal the win.

UWA Nedlands remains fourth, after beating a ten-man Gosnells City in the early game at Walter Padbury Reserve on Saturday lunch time. “Gosnells away is always one of the hardest fixtures of the season, but I’m glad we came away with the win with the three points,” UWA skipper Luke Salas said. “I thought we controlled the goal for 90 minutes, especially when they went down to ten men. I think for the first half we were sleeping a little bit. We weren’t moving the ball quick enough and it was easy for Gosnells, but even in the last 20 minutes of the second half of the game, we managed to get two more goals.

“Hats off to Jed to scoring his tenth goal for the season, and for Pas coming off the bench, it really made a massive difference. I’m looking forward to playing our remaining fixtures. The boys are just taking it one game at a time with whatever team is in front of them, and we are trying to be the underdogs in the top four after being in the bottom three last year. The next few weeks are going to be super hard with suspensions and numerous injuries, especially with Jordan Pokler being out, but hopefully the lads can come through.”

The visitors found the opener on six minutes, Gosnells struggled to clear the ball on the edge of their penalty area, and Sebastian Hooshangian shot was blocked, but it fell to Jed Afenyo, who finished low past Duncan Lennon-Black. The hosts chances of a comeback took a huge blow on 23 minutes when skipper Scott Pereira was shown a straight card. The ten men held firm, but they were breached again ten minutes from time, when skipper Luke Salas’ perfectly weighted through ball sent Afenyo clear and he made no mistake. The points were wrapped up four minutes later, a quick counter attack saw Toby Robertson send Salas clear, with the Gosnells defender looking for the offside flag, that never came, and he finished clinically past Lennon-Black.

In other games Gwelup Croatia have made it three games without defeat to move within five points of the top four, after a late goal secured them a 1-0 win against Subiaco AFC at Rosalie Park. The only goal of the game came in the final minute. A quick break, saw a ball over the top find Jeremie Mba, who beat Subiaco keeper Conor Hogan to the ball and rolled the ball home from a tight angle, much to the delight of his teammates. While in the final game Cockburn City have won for the third time this season, after a narrow 1-0 win against bottom of the table Rockingham City at Lark Hill Sportsplex. “Great to kick off the second half of the year with three points,” Cockburn’s Daniel Dols said. “We take a lot of positives out of closing out the game with a clean sheet and creating plenty of opportunities, so we are looking forward to taking that momentum into next week. The only goal of the game came 20 minutes, Dols cross was headed down by Anthony Skorich, Thomas Maycock-Hansen flicked the ball on to Harry O’Brien, whose shot was parried by the keeper, but despite an attempted clearance by a Rockingham defender, the assistant flagged to say the ball had crossed the line.

22.6.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND ELEVEN REVIEW

Forrestfield United and Joondalup City have fought out an entertaining draw in our State League Division Two week 11 ‘Match of the Round’ at Crazy Domains Stadium at Hartfield Park on Saturday afternoon. “Overall, we did enough to win the game, at 1-0 anything can happen, we got ourselves in positions to kill the game but just weren’t clinical enough,” Joondalup keeper Joey Smith said. “We were comfortable at the back and we were disappointed to walk away without the three points. We’ve got a few players back next week so I’m confident we’ll get back to winning ways.” In a tight first half, both sides had their chances, but at the break it was all-square, but straight from the kick off in the second half the visitors opened the scoring.

A diagonal pass from Liam Peacock found Mason Gallagher who crossed it in for Lucas Reid, whose first effort was touched on to the post by Charlie Bayliss, but Reid was quickest to the rebound to score. But nine minutes from time Forrestfield levelled, a ball fell to defender John Philippidis who smashed a dipping half volley from 20 meters, which Joondalup's keeper Smith lost in the sun and it sailed in just over his head. “It's unfortunate we have dropped more points against Joondalup, as I felt we were the better side on the day,” Forrestfield’s James Oliver said. “A momentary lapse in concentration off kick-off cost us. however, we showed a lot of positive signs that we can take into the second half of the season.”

Kalamunda City have extended their lead at the top of the table to five points, after a 3-0 win against Quinns at Maida Vale Reserve. Jose Zuniga gave the hosts the lead on the half hour, and the skipper doubled their advantage ten minutes into the second half. Quinns, with Ian Ferguson in the dugout, after rejoining the club in midweek, looked for a goal to get back into the game but couldn’t find one, and four minutes from time Nicolas Pardo scored a third to seal the points for Kalamunda.

East Perth lost ground on the leaders, after being held to a 1-1 draw by Wanneroo City at Hudson Park. “A draw a fair result today, we played OK in patches, but we couldn’t finish the chances to nick a win,” East Perth coach Colm Costello said. “We had to make a number of changes from last week’s squad and the lads that came in performed well, and hopefully a good week of training now and another tough test with Ashfield next week who are flying of late.” The hosts were ahead on 23 minutes, a Jamie O’Connor corner was met by Ryan McGready who headed home for his 13th goal of the season.

But ten minutes later Wanneroo deservedly levelled, a ball over the top by Asa Sippits found Aaron Louttit, who beat two defenders before firing home. The hosts had the better chance to win it, the best falling to Adam McCarron, whose penalty was well saved by Jordan Barbas. The visitors held firm to take a point home, despite having Sven Waldmeier sent off. “A draw I believe was a fair result in the end on a pretty average pitch for football,” Wanneroo keeper Barbas said. “Both teams had some decent chances to win it, but it was more in East Perth’s favour after Sven was sent off with15 minutes to go.”

Curtin University are up to fifth, after a goal seven minutes from time from Kieran Witt, gave them a narrow 1-0 win against Balga at Edinburgh Oval. “Very pleased with the win and clean sheet as Balga are a difficult team to play,” Curtin goalscorer Witt said. “I thought we had the better of the chances in the first half, but after half time Balga were on top and controlled the second half so it was great to score late and hold on.” The only goal of the game came when Rowan Steed played a through ball that the defence didn’t deal with and it fell to Witt, who rounded the keeper to score from a tight angle.

Ashfield have moved to seventh, after a 5-1 win against Carramar Shamrock Rovers at Paintseal Arena at Ashfield Reserve. “It's another great result for us and finishes the first half of the season on a positive note,” Ashfield coach James Sammut said. “Whilst we thought we had control of the game and it was pleasing to see how the lads responded after conceding early in the second half.” After a lot of possession, it was the hosts who opened the scoring, Gareth Hamilton found himself about 25 meters out, his shot was on target, but it took a deflection of the Carramar defender and left the keeper helpless. But Rovers were level early in the second half, with Phil O’Callaghan on target.

But they were level for only six minutes, Hanani Ndebele cut in from the right, his shot was saved by Thomas McCracken, but Ben Entwistle was there to follow up and made no mistake from close-range. They added a third shortly after, a scramble in the box after a set piece, wasn’t dealt with and Dean Kezurer scored from close range. It was 4-1 nine minutes from time, Anthony Orobio racing one-on-one with the keeper, before rounding him and roll the ball into an empty net. They completed the scoring four minutes later with a great solo goal. Ravi Singh raced down the left, cut inside a few players and raced one-on-one with the keeper to score from a tight angle

In the final game Swan United and Canning City have fought out a 1-1 draw at the Swan Italian Club, Francis Street. “It was a tough game, as we had seven players out, skipper Mason Langham and Josh Wallhead out with covid, and our front three from previously weeks with George Stephens, Freeman Nyatsambo and Tom Kinnane all unavailable, as well as long Bill Orr and Ishmael Greywood,” Canning coach Lee Hayward explained. “It was always going to be a challenge missing our front line from previous weeks, but the boys battled well and we could have come away with three points if we had been a little more clinical in front of goal.” The hosts were ahead when a long free kick from Ben Parry was flicked on by Brennan Borzecki, which released Jake Fritchley in behind, who lifted the ball over the oncoming keeper in to the net.

But the visitors levelled and secured a point late. Ben Godfrey, on his first team debut, came off the bench and raced through from a Brayden Burton ball over the top to score with his first touch. Both had chances to win it, but had to settle for a share of the spoils. “Look we are disappointed not to have come away with three points at home, especially going up 1-0. We were much better than last week, however we failed to punish Canning when we had our chances at 1-0 and again at 1-1,” Swan coach Niall Hughes said. “I think that’s been our story for a while now, a lot of that comes down to confidence and from poor decisions. The league is so tight, two wins from third place, so we as a group are all determined to get wins on the board and the ball to start hitting the back of the net.”

22.6.2024

NPLWA – WOMEN’S – ROUND ELEVEN PREVIEW/REVIEW

The NPLWA – Women’s week 11 started on Friday evening, with Balcatta beating Hyundai NTC 3-0 at Home Group Stadium at Grindleford Reserve to move them to second, three points behind leaders Perth RedStar. 'It was a much needed three points and our first clean sheet for the league which is a huge positive for us and hopefully something we can build on,” Balcatta coach Peter Rakic explained.

“I thought it was a clean and patient game for both sides, and with a lot of injuries and absences it gave a lot of younger players an opportunity to step up which is always refreshing to see. For us, there is a lot to take from this performance still, both good and bad, and our players understand that we have to continue to push for more each week as we fight for a firm hold on the top two.”

The hosts were ahead on 23 minutes, Jamie-Lee Gale’s corner was headed powerfully home by Liana Cook. They doubled their lead just before the break, a short corner caught the NTC napping and Gale’s ball into the box was turned home by Monique Prinsloo. They sealed the points ten minutes from time, Abbey Meakins’ neat through ball sent Carys Davis racing down the right and she pulled the ball back to Cook who made mistake, for her third goal of the season.

In Sunday’s games (all kick off at 3.00pm), leaders Perth Redstar welcome Murdoch University Melville to the RedStar Arena. The hosts bounced back to winning form last week against UWA, while a late goal from Monique Baiamonte gave the visitors a 2-2 draw at Subiaco. Sixth placed Fremantle City, who are unbeaten in their last three games, welcome fifth placed Subiaco AFC to Hilton Park. Only one point separates the two sides on the table, although the hosts do have a game in hand.

The final game takes us to Dorrien Gardens, where Perth SC entertain UWA Nedlands. Both sides are coming off defeats last week, UWA beaten 4-1 at home by RedStar, while Perth were beaten in the Italian Derby against Balcatta. UWA coach Lawrence Lewis said despite the loss against the leaders, there were some good signs. “We’re definitely looking forward to our trip to Dorrien Gardens to take on Perth SC, and despite our 4-1 loss last week against the RedStar, we showed some promising signs,” he said.

“The last time we faced Perth SC, it was a tough game and we ended up on the wrong side of a 7-1 result. However, we've learned from that experience and are determined to put in a much-improved performance this time around. Perth is a strong side, but they've just come off a loss to Balcatta Etna, so we believe we can take advantage of any uncertainty that might be lingering from that match. Our team is focused, motivated, and ready to compete. We are up for the challenge and eager to show how much we've progressed.”

22.6.2024

BELT-UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION – ROUND NINE PREVIEW

We head into week nine of the Belt Up Amateur Premier Division, at this early stage the league is tight at the top, with Wembley Downs leading the way, five points clear. But the next seven teams are only separated by seven points, while at the other end Joondalup United are still searching for their first points of the season. It’s also been a tough start for South Perth United, currently sitting tenth, but they will be looking to improve that on Sunday when they host Kingsley Westside at Challenger Reserve. (All games kick off at 3.00pm)

United were beaten at North Perth last week, but assistant coach Willson Otto said the result did not reflect on how they played. “North Perth had their chances to score and they put all three chances at the back of net,” he said. “But we could have taken the lead half way through the first half, but we couldn’t convert from the penalty spot, after Adam Swan was brought down by the keeper. Second half was same result, we created so many chances but couldn’t convert from it.”

Otto said they have worked hard at training to get the team chemistry right, and he is confident they can turn their fortunes around. “This weekend game against Kingsley, we going stick to our game plan we been working on since preseason, and we are still working on building that team chemistry,” he explained. “We are newly formed team most of the lads have never played with each but myself and Richard are confident we are on the right track to get the results we need, and this weekend game is great starting point.”

North Beach sit just in front of South Perth in ninth, and they will look to close the gap on the teams above them when they welcome Maccabi to the Charles Riley Memorial Reserve. North Beach was narrowly beaten at Emerald last, but coach Nick De Carlo thought they deserved something from the game, but he said they will take a lot of confidence from the performance into Sunday’s game. “It was a tough loss last week at Emerald, we felt we were in the game for 90 minutes, but just couldn't take some chances early in the first half and break the deadlock before unfortunately conceding and not being able to take anything away from the result,” he explained. “Emerald, as we know are quality, so we still take a lot away from the effort and what we want to take into this weekend.

“Maccabi is another tough challenge this week, they are a well-coached and drilled team who have had the better of us in recent games and we expect no different in terms of what will be thrown at us at home this weekend especially after their return to form last weekend. As all clubs are, we're facing injuries and absences from travel/work commitments, but we know we remain competitive every time we walk onto the pitch and everyone is desperate to give 100% and get a win, we feel we deserve after recent frustrations. Really looking forward to being back home this weekend for a massive game ahead.”

Maccabi go in to the game after a win against Peel last week, and coach Ricky Berelowitz said it’s been a good start to life in the Premier Division for the club. “It’s been a great experience so far, certainly a big jump in the quality compared to what we have been up against the last few years. Overall, I’m pleased with how we’ve started and dealt with the challenges of injuries / players away. Hope we can push on now, although we have a very tough month coming up which we are looking forward to,” he explained. “Looking forward to Sunday and expecting a tough game, I know they have some very talented players who can hurt us if we aren’t 100% focused for 90 minutes, I don’t think their start necessarily reflects the quality they have so we’ll need to be at our best once again to have any chance.”

In other games Jaguar host North Perth United at the Herb Graham Recreation Centre, Joondalup United welcome Peel United to Forrest Park in a real six pointer at the bottom of the table. League leaders Wembley Downs entertain last season’s champions Emerald to Butlers Reserve. The hosts are unbeaten this season, while the visitors sit six points adrift. Emerald coach Paul Curran said it’s a hug challenge, but one they are relishing. “We’re sitting third and we’re still in with a shout, it’s such a competitive league that any team would be delighted to be in our position,” he said. “Wembley are absolutely flying. They’re scoring and not conceding many. They’re obviously strong favourites. They’re always a hard team to play against and especially at home they’ll be hard to beat but we’ll fancy we can go there and get a result.”

In the final game Kelmscott Roos will aim to bounce back from defeat by Wembley last week when they travel to Wotton Reserve to meet Morley Windmills. The hosts produced their best performance of the season to beat Jaguar on the road, and coach John O’Reilly said the team is starting to hit their straps. “Yes, the game last week was our best team performance, both in possession and on the transition. From the coach’s perspective, we are now starting to see a little bit more consistency and our systems from training are translating to match day. We are no way near the finished article, but definitely moving in the right direction,” he explained. “Kelmscott will be a great test after last week's game to see if we are able to back it up. They have some players that I know well from working with, so I'm aware of their strong areas and hope we can nullify them the best we can, we look forward to the challenge.”

21.6.2024

WA THREE SIDES HAVE HOME TIES IN AUSTRALIA CUP

The draw for the Australia Cup round of 32 was made on Wednesday night, and all three WA teams will play at home. Perth Glory will need to beat Brisbane Roar in the play-off game at Larrakia Park in Darwin on Tuesday 23 July, which would lock in a home date with fellow A-League side Melbourne City, and all games will be played over two weeks from late-July to mid-August.

Meanwhile NPLWA league leaders Olympic Kingsway will take on Football Northern NSW NPL side Edgeworth Eagles. The Eagles, who have former Brisbane Roar midfielder Jacob Pepper and former Melbourne City defender Joshua Rose in their squad, currently sit fourth on the table. It will be Olympics first time in the round of 32, and head coach David Tough said it’s a great opportunity for the club. “It's an exciting draw for the club and a great opportunity for the players to showcase their talent on the national stage,” he said. “I'm sure we'll have a large crowd on the night, and we hope to make our club, supporters, sponsors, and WA football proud.”

Perth RedStar will make their second appearance in the competition, the last time the club were known as ECU Joondalup in 2021, when they were beaten 0-3 by Adelaide Olympic at Dorrien Gardens. This time they host Football Queensland NPL outfit Lions FC, who sit second in the NPL Queensland, and who have former Wellington Phoenix duo Louis Fenton and Matthew Ridenton in their line-up.

Head Coach Callum Salmon said he’s happy to get a home tie, although his players were looking for an away trip. “We’re looking forward to the challenge, and happy and excited with the home draw although the players were equally keen on an away trip,” he said. “Lions FC have a number of former A-League player on their books and it will be a very tough game, but we can’t wait to compete in the cup and we’ll work as hard as we can to progress to the next round.” It’s anticipated that venues, dates and timings for the Round of 32 will be made available next week, as Football Australia works with participating clubs and Member Federations to navigate ground availability.

The full draw is: Moreton City Excelsior (QLD) v Campbelltown City (SA), NWS Spirit (NSW) v Glenorchy Knights (TAS), O'Connor Knights (ACT) v Macarthur FC, Perth RedStar (WA) v Lions FC (QLD), Melbourne Srbija (VIC) v Modbury Jets (SA), Olympic FC (QLD), v APIA Leichhardt (NSW), Brisbane City (QLD) v Western Sydney Wanderers, Heidelberg United (VIC) v Central Coast Mariners, Olympic Kingsway (WA) v Edgeworth FC (NSW). Oakleigh Cannons (VIC), v Sydney FC, South Melbourne (VIC) v Wellington Phoenix, Blacktown City (NSW) v Adelaide United, Lambton Jaffas (NSW) v Melbourne Victory, Rockdale Ilinden (NSW) v Newcastle Jets / Western United, Brisbane Roar / Perth Glory v Melbourne City, Darwin Hearts (NT) v Hume City (VIC)

21.6.2024

NPL-WA ROUND THIRTEEN - PREVIEW

It’s been a huge week for Olympic Kingsway, extending their lead at the top of the NPLWA – Men’s ladder to three points after a 3-0 win against Stirling, and reaching the State League Cup Final, and the Australia Cup round of 32, after a hard-fought win against Perth SC. They will look to keep their lead intact when they host Bayswater City in our week 13 ‘Match of the Round’ at Kingsway Reserve on Saturday afternoon. (All games kick off at 3.00pm, unless stated) Bayswater sit fourth, nine points behind the Green Machine, but did beat them in week two, but they have drawn five games this season, including a six-goal thriller against Armadale last week, and need to turn them into wins, if they are to challenge for the title.

The last time the two sides met at the venue was in round ten last season, when Olympic won a seven-goal thriller. The host hit the front on 13 minutes, skipper Shane Cassidy’s pass found David Perich in acres of space in the middle of the park, he raced forward and finished low past Casey Robertson. But in the shadows of half time Bayswater found the equaliser, referee Josh Nixon spotting a handball from Cassidy, and Ndumba Makeche converted from the spot. Olympic regained the lead on the hour, with Ciaran Byrne on target, but City restored parity two minutes later, Makeche got to Declan Hargreaves pass, before keeper Joe Pollard, and when the ball bounced, the striker back heeled the ball home from five meters.

The hosts hit the front again eight minutes from time, Ollie Annis’ corner was headed home by Byrne. But in the final minute it looked like City had earned a point, after the referee pointed to the spot after a high boot on Sam Mitchinson from Cian Hirrell, and Jon Stynes finished low past Pollard from the resulting penalty. But deep into stoppage time David Tough’s side found the winner. Annis’ corner was nodded down by Hirrell, and Calum O’Connell blasted the ball home from close-range, much to the delight of the home faithful.

Olympic skipper Shane Cassidy said the win against Stirling last week showed the resolve they have within the squad, with a number of first team players missing they still fought hard to take the points. “It was a massive win against Stirling. They had just appointed a new manager so we knew their players would be out to impress, and we had a lot of tired legs after the busy couple of weeks and a couple of injuries to go with it,” he explained. “We just had to keep it tight at the back and take our chances when they came which the lads did. The players who came in for the injured ones did a great and they all scored which is testament to how good a squad we have. We are three points clear now, and on a good run of results so we just have to keep going week by week and not look to far ahead there is still a lot of football to be played.”

The players were hoping for an away trip in the Australia Cup, after beating his former coach Kenny Lowe’s Perth SC in the Semifinal, but Cassidy said it’s a great occasion to represent the state on the national stage. “The Perth game was a very tough one, they played some good football, they are starting to click now and got the first win under Kenny this weekend, but we put the game to bed early scoring three early goals,” the skipper said. “Despite some tired legs we got the job and got through to the state cup final which everyone at the club is delighted with. An away trip would have been nice in the Australia Cup, but all in all a home game in front of our fans in a game which is winnable is the next best thing, and all the lads can’t wait to play it and give a good account of ourselves and the club on the national stage.”

Olympic are now the hunted in the NPL, sitting on top of the table, clubs will be looking to take them down, but Cassidy said bring it on, starting on Saturday against Bayswater, who are the only team to beat the Green Machine this season. “Like all games are in the competition, Saturday will be another tough game to get past, and they (Bayswater) gave us a wakeup call at Frank Drago in round two, when they beat us 5-1,” he said. “But since then, the team has gone from strength to strength. Bayswater do have a lot of dangerous players across the park but so do we. So, we will be concentrating on ourselves and if we play to our potential, I’ll be confident in getting the result we are looking for.”

Bayswater draw against Armadale last week, was their fifth for the season, and coach Gary Williams said it was a first half to forget, but in the end, they could have won it late, and was really pleased how his players responded after the break. “Last week was very disappointing in the first half and Armadale could have won the game by half time. We changed a couple of things at half time and we performed much better,” he explained. “The lads are a magnificent group, and they keep going and came from behind on three occasions. They have done that many times this year and although not ideal they have great character. That makes it five draws from 12 games and three of which we should have won. Many teams will paint the same picture and the table and results do not lie after 12 games. We have to be harder to score against and collectively need to defend better. Having said that we are still in the top four and a good run could help us improve our position.”

Williams, who will return to his former club for the first time, said the win in round two has been forgotten by his players, but believes it might be still in the minds of Olympic, and it’s a game he is really looking forward to. “We are all looking forward to this week’s match, I genuinely believe our lads have the ability to step up a gear when required and there is a real positive feeling going into this game,” he said. “Kingsway will be looking forward to continue their run and may have extra incentive after our two wins against them earlier in the season, and we go into the game full of confidence and will be going there to win. On a different note, it will be the first time for me in the away dressing room at my old club, I’m really looking forward to the game.”

In other games Floreat Athena welcome Perth Glory to E&D Litis Stadium, and both sides need the points in this one. Glory sits second from the bottom on nine points, and have slipped down the table in recent weeks with only one win in their last nine games, while Floreat sit ninth, and have also slipped down the table after being deducted six points after crowd violence against Olympic in round nine, but they have appealed the decision. Fremantle City will be looking to bounce back from defeat last week against Balcatta, when they visit Alfred Skeet Reserve to take on Armadale, while Western Knights welcome a rejuvenated Inglewood United to Nash Field, fresh of their first win of the season at Glory last week.

It's a special evening at Macedonia Park on Saturday, when Stirling Macedonia host Perth SC in the ‘Dylan Tombides Trophy’ (5.00pm) Tombides, a former junior player for both clubs, went on to play for West Ham United and represent his country with the Olyroos. Tragically, he passed away at the age of 20 with testicular cancer. Ten years on, both clubs continue to honour Dylan's legacy and memory, in this DT38 Match Day. The day will feature a variety of exciting activities, a full pitch dash, hit the target, crossbar challenge and much more, with all funds raised being donated to the club’s charity partner DT38 Australia.

In the final game second-placed Perth RedStar will make the trip to Home Group Stadium, at Grindleford Reserve, to meet Balcatta Etna. The visitors will be on high after a thrilling win at Floreat last week, with Daryl Nicol’s hat-trick sealing a 4-3 win, while the hosts will be buoyed by a win at Balcatta last week, and assistant coach Malcom Tshuma said it was strong display. “The performance last week was the embodiment of a team that’s still together and fighting for each other. We know the quality we have in our squad and the goal now is to add a level of consistency with positive results which should hold us in good stead,” he explained. “You have to look forward to games like this (against RedStar) and embrace the challenge ahead. I know the players are raring to go and want to build on last week’s performance.”

21.6.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND TWELVE PREVIEW

Dianella White Eagles are hot on the heels of State League Division One leaders Sorrento, and they head down the Kwinana Freeway on Saturday to take on Mandurah City at the Poolmart Stadium, Peelwood Parade, in our week 12 ‘Match of the Round’ (All games kick off at 3.00pm, unless stated) It’s the second half of fixtures, and the Eagles boosted their goal difference last week with a big win against Joondalup, which kept them just one point behind the Gulls, while Mandurah sit in sixth, two points outside the top four, and are coming off a win in the local derby against Rockingham last week, so with three big points up for grabs, this one should be a cracker.

The last time the two sides met at the venue was in round 22 last season, with the hosts running out 4-0 winners. Mandurah found the opener on the half hour, Leigh Griffiths’ cross picked out Murray Mackintosh at the back post who made no mistake. They doubled their advantage four minutes later, Brian Patterson’s cross from the left hit the arm of Mitchell Byrne, and referee Josh Nixon pointed straight to the spot, and Griffiths made no mistake from the resulting penalty. It was 3-0 at the break, Hamish van Dieken turning his marker in the box and finishing with a plomb. Griffiths adding his second after the break, outmuscling his marker after a ball over the top and he finished clinically.

Dianella coach Angel Andres said the season is going to plan, and the win against Joondalup was clinical with five different scorers on the night. “We were all disappointed in our loss at Kingsley in round eight, but the players bounced back with three straight wins, which was pleasing for me and the coaching staff,” he said. “I thought the win against Joondalup last week was good, and to have five different scorers shows we have plenty of firepower, which is important with the league so tight.”

The Spanish player/coach, has taken a back step from playing, and along with his assistant Miguel, has the team playing a good brand of football, something the former Armadale striker is looking for. “My team work hard for each other and play with and without the ball, which has been good to watch from the dugout,” he explained. “I’d love to be out there, but we have good depth this season, which has given me a rest and get some niggling injuries, although the red card a few weeks ago made the decision a little easier.”

Andres knows the next two weeks will be huge for the club, with a top of the table clash with Sorrento next week, but all their attention is on Mandurah on Saturday. “The Sorrento game, we haven’t spoken about it as a group, all our focus is on Mandurah on Saturday,” he said. “They are only a few points out of the top four, and won last week, so we need to be at our best, but if we can repeat last week’s performance, we will be hard to beat, looking forward to it.”

Mandurah bounced back from their defeat at Kingsley in week ten, and coach Pete Taylor said the win against Rockingham was tough, like all local derbies are. “The Mandurah v Rocky derby is always an awesome affair and a massive thanks to the fans that came along, and the atmosphere was top notch all day,” he said. “The game itself was a game of two halves really. We dominated possession in the first half and went in with a well-deserved lead, they made a few adjustments in the second half and the game became somewhat scrappy, that took us out of our rhythm and we had to show a lot of character to secure the result.”

It's not been the start the Dolphins were chasing, but Taylor believes they are starting to hit their straps, and now consistency is the key. “We’ve had an indifferent first half of the campaign with a number of injuries, holidays and work commitments interrupting the flow of the team, so we’re hoping that the majority of those are behind us heading into the second half of the campaign,” he explained. “The playoff spots are definitely up for grabs and there’s a number of teams more than capable of securing one. Our aim is to be in the mix and we’ll be doing everything we can to make that a reality, so consistency will be the key.”

Taylor said Saturday’s visitors are in red hot form, and knows the quality they have in their side, but with the loyal supporters behind them, they are looking forward to the challenge. “Saturday will be a really tough game, for me they are the best team we’ve faced this season with Andy Keogh being by far the best player,” he said. “That being said, we’ll have a game plan that will hopefully bring out the best in our players and if the fans are as loud as they were last week then we’ll have a nice home advantage as well.”

The round kicks off on Friday evening when Joondalup United take on Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve. (7.00pm) The game was originally scheduled for Pentanet Stadium, but the venue is unavailable, so it has been switched to the home of Sorrento. Kingsley Westside are unbeaten in their last five, including four wins, and this week they welcome Murdoch University Melville to Chichester Park, the visitors sit third, but have stumbled in recent weeks, and haven’t won in three games, they will be hoping to change that on Saturday. Subiaco AFC welcome Gwelup Croatia to Rosalie Park, while Gosnells City host UWA Nedlands at Walter Padbury Reserve. (1.00pm)

The final game is a real six pointer at the foot of the table, when Cockburn City visits the Lark Hill Sportsplex to meet Rockingham City. Cockburn moved away from the bottom of the table last week with a hard-fought draw against Kingsley, while Rockingham are rooted to the bottom, and haven’t won since their round one win at Cockburn. Rockingham assistant coach Fraser Marr said they deserved more from last weeks loss at Mandurah, but they will take plenty of positives, especially the second half, and will be looking for a positive result on Saturday.

“Ultimately it was a game of two halves, where we couldn’t get the second goal, we needed to get something from the game. Watching it back, we certainly were on the ascendency for majority of second half, so it’s a feeling of disappointment to walk away with nothing however, quite a few positives to take from the game,” he explained. “Saturday is certainly an exciting game to look forward to, and put right what we couldn’t the week before, in front of goal. Although results haven’t been on our side, we know if we put in performance like we did against Perth Redstar and Dianella recently, then we can send our fans home happy and build some momentum for second half of season.”

21.6.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND ELEVEN PREVIEW

We head into week 11 of the State League Division Two, and our ‘Match of the Round’ takes us to Crazy Domains Stadium, at Hartfield Park, when the early front runners Forrestfield United and Joondalup United meet. (All games kick off at 3.00pm) Both sides started the season with a bang, but recent results have seen them slip off the pace, and both sit three and four points respectively behind league leaders Kalamunda. City arrive after a 3-3 draw at Balga last week, with a late goal from Sam Rawlings securing a point, while Forrestfield have lost back-to-back home games, and at Quinns last week so they will be looking to get back to winning ways in this one.

Last time the two sides met at the venue was in round eight in 2017 in Division One, with United winning 5-1. It was the visitors who opened the scoring, with Nathan Hibbert heading City ahead after only eight minutes. But in the shadows of half time the hosts levelled. Jordan Hart made space down the line and cut the ball back to Trevor Laure, who shot on the turn flew past Andy Williamson. But eight minutes into the second half Forrestfield hit the front. Luke Martino’s long clearance sent Rhys Loxley clear, and finished clinically past Williamson. On the hour the visitors were reduced to ten men, when Alex Robinson was sent off after receiving a second yellow card, and the home side took advantage with Hasani Sinclair firing home. It was 4-1, with Laure turning home Loxley’s cross, and in the final minute Sinclair added the fifth, finishing well from Loxley’s cross

Joondalup coach Guy McDonald said he was really pleased how his side battled back to get a point last week at Balga, and it continued their good result against East Perth the week before. “The lads definitely showed great character last week and never stopped, which is something we always talk about and pride ourselves on,” he said. “We’ve had two really good performances in a row, but we need to start putting teams away early because when we don’t, goals against like penalties and own goals are deciding games which should already be over.”

McDonald believes Forrestfield will be out of the blocks fast after back-to-back defeats, and he’s relishing the challenge. “Forrestfield will be a tough test, they had a very similar start to us and by the sounds of things have also been a bit unlucky to lose a few games since,” he explained. “I really look forward to playing the teams in the top half of the table as I know both teams are going to have a good crack at trying to beat each other, so we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Forrestfield coach Paul Oliver said they had their chances at Quinns, but didn’t take them, and it came back to bite them. “Obviously a disappointing result in a game we’d have hoped to pick up points, but we had more than enough chances to win the match easily but that’s football,” he explained. “There are no easy games in this division and you have to be up for the battle every week. Again, like Balga, we played the better football, had the bulk of the possession and created chances but we have to be more clinical.”

The hosts slipped to fourth after last weeks defeat, and Oliver said the big games are coming thick and fast, and they hope to get back to winning ways on Saturday. “We have two massive weeks coming up against the top two sides in games that I would say are must not lose rather than must win as there is still a long way to go and plenty of points available,” he said. “We tend to play better against the footballing sides so I would expect a competitive game and a good spectacle for the neutral. The lads are looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity to get back on an upward trajectory.”

In other games this weekend, leaders Kalamunda City welcome Quinns to Maida Vale Reserve, hoping to maintain their three-point lead, while the visitors will be buoyed with a big win against Forrestfield last week, and they will have a new coach in the dugout, with former Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson returning to the club in midweek. Wanneroo City will look to build on their first win of the season Shamrock last week, when they make the trip to Hudson Park to take on third placed East Perth, who bounced back from back-to-back defeats to beat Curtin last week. It’s fifth v sixth when Curtin University welcome Balga to Edinburgh Oval, while Ashfield entertain Carramar Shamrock Rovers at the Paintseal Arena, at Ashfield Reserve.

In the final game Swan United will look to halt their slide down the table, when they host Canning City at the Swan Italian Club, Francis Street. Both sides are coming off defeats last week, Canning losing at home to leaders Kalamunda, while Swan were beaten at Ashfield, which saw them drop to tenth. Swan coach Colin Morgan said it was a poor performance at Ashfield, and they need to bounce back on Saturday, against an improved Canning side. “Look, it was really disappointed last weekend, we didn't take advantage of our early dominance and Ashfield, credit to them, took full advantage of our mistakes and punished us. They scored two in three minutes just before half time and it was an uphill battle from there on it, but take nothing away from Jimmy and his side, they battled and, in the end, deserved the points.

“We’re looking forward to getting back home after two weeks on the road, and another two weeks on the road after this, so it'll be nice to get back to Italian Club. Canning have massively improved this season, and Lee has come in and turned the club around on the pitch. He's put together a good young side as well, and I’m pleased to see the likes of Freeman (Nyatsambo) and Ishmael (Greywood) get a regular chance at first team football, both players I've coached previously. It'll be an interesting game, and our lads are raging after last week’s disappointment and want to get our season back on track.”

20.6.2024

KERR REMAINS AT THE BRIDGE

Former Perth Glory skipper Sam Kerr has signed a new contract with here English Women's Super League club Chelsea, which will see the forward continue her stay with the London side, extending her contract at the club until the summer of 2026. The Perth-born striker, who signed for the Blues midway through the 2019/20 season, and has helped them to back-to-back titles, will now remain at the club on a two-year deal.

In an unusual re-signing announcement, Chelsea first posted a video on their social media account in which a tearful Kerr appeared to be saying goodbye to the club, but less than 20 minutes later, they posted another video of Kerr confirming she was actually staying. "I'm not leaving," the matildas skipper said. “Did you guys really think I was going to end on 99 goals. It’s really exciting and a very proud moment for me. Having the opportunity to stay at a club like Chelsea means a lot to me. I’m really excited to continue to push and to try to win trophies.”

Kerr has won 10 trophies since signing for the club, securing the league five times, the FA Cup three times and the League Cup twice. The forward has also won the Golden Boot twice, was runner-up to Spain’s Aitana Bonmatí at the Ballon d’Or awards last year and finished third on the Guardian’s list of the top 100 female footballers in 2021 and 2022. She will have a new coach next season, with Sonia Bompastor taking over the reins from Emma Hayes, whose 12-year tenure at the club came to an end this season.

Chelsea Women’s general manager Paul Green, said the striker will be vital as they look for a third straight league title. "We are delighted that Sam has extended her deal with the club. Sam is a leader and one of the world’s best strikers and goalscorers,” he said. “She has been very important to our success, and we look forward to welcoming her back from injury next season." It's been a tough six months for Kerr, sustaining an ACL injury in January, which saw her miss out on selection for the Paris Olympics, and she is set to face trial next year after being charged with racially aggravated harassment of a London police officer.

She was charged in January this year with using insulting, threatening or abusive words that caused alarm or distress to a police officer during an incident in Twickenham, south-west London, on January 30 last year. She pleaded not guilty to the offence at a court hearing in March, according to the Crown Prosecution Service, and is scheduled to appear at Wimbledon Magistrates Court in February 2025. Both Chelsea and Football Australia have pledged to support their superstar striker throughout the trial.

20.6.2024

GLORY STOCK UP ON NEW SOUTH WALES YOUTH

Perth Glory continues to stock up on young talent after signing two rising stars from New South Wales. After completeingthe 2023/24 A-league season in last place, Glory are transforming their playing roster with 19-year old attackers Adam Bugarija and Abdelelah Faisal the latest additions.

Bugarija, who spent two years with Croatian giants Dinamo Zagreb and most recently played for Western Sydney Wanderers in the National Premier Leagues NSW, has put pen to paper on a three-year deal with Glory. Faisal heads west to take up a one-year contract having turned out for NSW State League side Bulls FC Academy.

Lazaridis was heavy in his praise as the signings, saying they could play key roles in their rookie seasons. "Adam is an out-and-out number ten. He’s got great vision, can score long-range bombs," said the former Socceroo. "Abdelelah can play on the left, upfront, or as a number ten, and he has huge potential."

19.6.2024

ITALIANO JOINS AUSTRIA'S GRAZER

Defender Jacob Italiano has become the first Australian player to sign with Austrian club Grazer AK by agreeing to a three-year deal. The move ends' Italiano's time in Germany, where he made over 100 appearances for Borussia Monchengladbach II, having joined the club in mid-2019 after catching the eye while playing for Perth Glory.

22-year old Italiano, who played his juniors days with Inglewood United, joins Grazer as they prepare for their first Austria's Bundesliga campaign after a seventeen-year hiatus. Grazer stormed their way to last seasons’ Austrian 2. Liga title, losing just three of 30 games to finish ten points clear of second-placed SV Guntamatic Ried.

19.6.2024

GLORY RECRUIT PENNINGTON LURED WEST BY LAZARIDIS

Former Australian under-23 international Nicholas Pennington has praised the impact of new Perth Glory football director Stan Lazaridis after signing with the A-League club. The 25-year old midfielder joins Glory on a two-year deal after playing the last three seasons for Wellington Phoenix, where he made over 60 appearances.

Pennington said Lazaridis, who was installed at Glory midway through last season, played a big role in his move to Glory. "There were a few factors that made up my mind in terms of signing for Perth Glory," commented Pennington, who was born in Rome and played youth football with Serie A club Cagliari.

"Firstly, having an ex-Socceroo like Stan Lazaridis putting a lot of faith in me to help turn things around from the last few seasons meant a lot. Secondly, I saw the atmosphere at HBF Park when I played for Wellington against Glory last season and it was amazing, even with the team struggling. I think if we give the fans some results, they will have our back."

Lazaridis backed Pennington to be in the mix for a starting eleven berth next season. "He's a big signing for us, particularly in the midfield areas where I felt we were lacking that box-to-box drive last season," Lazaridis said. "Nicholas has got a great engine, he's a smart player who can provide excellent link-up play with the forwards."

19.6.2024

GLORY YOUNGSTER OVERY SIGNS FOR RED DEVILS

Perth Glory academy product James Overy has signed a scholarship deal with Manchester United's academy. and will play under-18s in their youth setup next season. The 16-year old is expected to feature for Red Devils' Under-18s next season and will be hopeful of making a debut at Old Trafford in the next few years.

Overy, who is eligible to play for Australia and England, moved to the south of England at the start of this year with his family. The versatile right-sided player has been playing for Newton Abbot Spurs, but initially attracted Premier League interest after featuring in Glory's mid-2023 friendly against West Ham United when he was aged just 15.

17.6.2024

PERTH TO HOST FOUR-TEAM WOMENS FESTIVAL

Perth is set to play host to some of the world’s best female footballers as the Government announces plans to welcome the Women’s Super League for a new event - the Perth International Football Cup. Manchester City, West Ham United, Leicester City as well as French team Paris Saint-Germain will be part of an exhibition tournament set to take place over a week in August.

And that will mean Matilda’s star Mary Fowler, Alanna Kennedy, Mackenzie Arnold, Katrina Gorry, Clare Hunt and Courtney Nevin could all play their part - fresh from participating in the Paris Olympic Games. “(This event) is pitting four of the world’s best women’s football teams against each other over a week of top-tier football,” Premier Roger Cook said.

“We want Perth and Western Australia to be one of the great event destinations of south east Asia, so people in Singapore, Jakarta (and) other parts of south east Asia looking for a short stay will be incentivised to come Perth on that week so that they can be entertained and engage with their favourite football teams.”

Two of the matches will take place at Perth Oval during the last week of August, with a double-header to take place at Optus Stadium over the weekend. The announcement comes as registrations for women’s football around the state reached record highs following the success of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

17.6.2024

CIRCATI LINKED WITH NAPOLI

Defender Alessandro Circati’s impressive form for club and country has not gone unnoticed with Italian giants Napoli reportedly showing interest in the rising star. The 20-year old is coming off a stellar season with Parma, where he was a key figure in the club securing the Serie B title and promotion to Italy's top flight.

Circati backed this up with an impressive performance at the back in Australia's 5-0 thrashing of Palestine earlier this month. It is believed Napoli, who placed tenth this season, will move for Circati should they fail to sign Torino’s Italian international Alessandro Buongiorno.

17.6.2024

GLORY LOSE FARROW TO SYDNEY

Perth Glory Women are on the hunt for a new striker following the departure of livewire attacker Millie Farrow to Sydney FC on a one-year deal. Englishwoman Farrow, who's resume includes spells with Chelsea, Crystal Palace and North Carolina Courage, joins the reigning premiers after netting seven goals and four assists across 22 matches with Glory.

"Sydney FC are the benchmark each season and it's an honour to be joining Australia's most successful club," Farrow said.

"I'm excited to play with the championship winners and determined to help this club defend its title and reach an eighth consecutive grand final. I hope I can score the goals to help them extend their incredible record."

16.6.2024

BELT-UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION – ROUND EIGHT REVIEW

Wembley Downs have consolidated top spot on the Belt Up Amateur Premier Division table, after beating second placed Kelmscott Roos 4-2 to move five points clear, in our week ten ‘Match of the Round’ at Frye Park on Sunday afternoon. “We knew it would be a tough game against a strong Kelmscott team, especially with many of our players missing, but everyone rose to the occasion and fought hard for the full 90 minutes,” Wembley midfielder Noah Thavaseelan explained. “Both sides created numerous attacking opportunities throughout the match, but we capitalised on our chances and our back four and keeper delivered immense performances. “It was a real challenge defending the lead after going down to ten men with 20 minutes remaining, but we managed to stay solid defensively and see the game out. A memorable save from Ciaran Macquillan, getting a hand to a header to keep it out of the top corner, kept the score 3-2 late in the game. We have another big game ahead against a strong Emerald side, but I’m confident that we will be up for the challenge.” The visitors were ahead on seven minutes, a quick counter attack by Harry Browne, and he sent Sam Mattock down the flank, and he delivering a cross to Thavaseelan, who tapped it past the keeper from close-range.

They doubled their advantage, on the half hour, a cross wasn’t dealt with the rebound falling to Thavaseelan at the top of the box who placed it into the bottom corner of the net. Kelmscott were back in the game eight minutes before the break, a ball over the top sent Isaac Koomson down the right channel, and he cut inside and finished clinically, and at the break the visitors held a narrow advantage. But in the first minute of the second half, Wembley added a third. Browne cross picked out Mattock, who headed home. Kelmscott found a lifeline 18 minutes from time, substitute Ralph Mawire shot from the edge of the box gave Macquillan no chance to make it 3-2. Wembley were then reduced to ten men after Thomas Bish was shown a second yellow card and sent off, and the hosts pressed for the equaliser, but couldn’t find it, and in stoppage time Wembley sealed the points with a fourth. Zac Archer was brought down in the box, and Mattock calmly converted the penalty to make sure of the points. The only downside came deep into stoppage time when they were reduced to nine players, with Ryan Morris sent off after also receiving a second yellow card. “Considering the players we have missing at the moment it was a great performance from the lads,” Wembley coach Rob Jackson said. “Even the referee taking centre stage and making sure we’ll be missing a couple more next week couldn’t spoil our day, it was a great win.”

Emerald remains third, but have closed the gap to Kelmscott, after a narrow 1-0 win against North Beach at Fraser Park. The only goal of the game on the half hour, Kevin Hurley shot from the edge of the box fell to Andrew Wood, who controlled the ball well and finished into the bottom corner. “Very happy to get the points and the clean sheet today against a dogged hard working North Beach side who really made us work for it,” Emerald coach Paul Curran said. “We didn’t play our best football but happy that the lads were able to dig in and defend well when we had to and get an important win.’

North Perth sits fourth on goal difference, level on points with Maccabi and Morley, this after a 3-0 win against South Perth United at Woodville Reserve. “A great result, especially when we don’t always have our full list squad in at one time, but no matter what we also have the quality too fill a team list on game day,” North Perth coach Shane Nunes explained. “We had ten men for most the game so against tough odds, I thought we played them of the park. We stayed structured and in control that too me is scary because Chris and I have stayed true to creating a team playing football on the deck and a certain style and it showed in the result.” The home side found the opener early in the second half, a cross from the left by defender Zak Thomas, and a superb overhead kick from Joshua Cortes flew into the net. They added second on the hour, neat build up down the right ended with Kyle Jackson on the edge of the box and he finished clinically. But six minutes later they were reduced to ten men after Barry Boggan was sent off, but the ten men added a third late to seal the game, Dean Omeara racing clear of the North Beach defence, before going one-on-one with the keeper, and colly finishing.

Morley are back in the winner’s circle, coming back from the Herb Graham Recreation Centre with a 2-0 win against Jaguar. “Jags are a good side and we knew that on their field they would be tricky to beat, however we prepared well during the week, worked intelligently and diligently for the 90 minutes and I think deserved the points,” Morley coach Dan Evans explained. “Obviously now we turn our attention to Kelmscott who will be another big test, but certainly after today we are well and truly moving in the right direction.” It was a tight affair, and it looked like it would be a scoreless draw, but two minutes from time Morley hit the front. Substitute Shane Burke raced into the into the box before squaring the ball for fellow substitute Corentine Julien, who made no mistake. They sealed the points in stoppage time, Julien’s long-range strike finding the net, much to the delight of his teammates.

Maccabi have also bounced back from back-to-back defeats, beating Peel United 3-1 at Maccabean Memorial Oval. “Happy to get the win and three points leading into a very big month for us,” Macabi coach Ricky Berelowitz said. “Not our most clinical performance, and we could have had a few more, but was nice to see us creating and scoring again.” The hosts were ahead midway through the first half, Jacob Wemyss was taken out in the box, and Dion Berman made no mistake from the resulting penalty. Peel levelled on the hour, after Tom Hitchens capitalised on a and error at the back to score. Maccabi regained the lead four minutes later, Wemyss scoring, and the home side sealed the win 12 minutes from time, Zac Rosenberg bundling the ball over the line after an error from the keeper.

In the final game Kingsley Westside have made it three straight wins, after a 3-0 win against Joondalup United at Chichester Park. “The lads started with a bang and quickly took control of this one but as the game went on a bit of complacency crept in and we probably took our foot off the pedal, but credit to Joondalup they fought hard and really stepped up second half,” Kingsley coach Brad Hayward said. “The win makes it three wins from the last three and we have really looked comfortable the last few games. I’ve challenged to boys to keep the pressure on those teams above us and chipping away at those top four spots. We look forward to hitting the freeway down south next weekend away to South Perth.” Kingsley were ahead in the opening sixty seconds, Bailee Yeomans volleying in from a tight angle. They added a second moments later when Ryan Fish headed in to continue his good goal scoring form. The third came mid-way through the first half, Ollie Valentine finishing off a good piece play with a calm finish into the bottom corner.

16.6.2024

NPLWA – WOMEN’S – ROUND TEN REVIEW

The NPLWA - Women’s title race is hitting up after week ten and in our ‘Match of the Round’ Balcatta Etna have closed the gap on Perth SC, after a 2-1 win against them in the Italian derby at the Home Group Stadium, Grindleford Reserve on Sunday afternoon. Balcatta coach, Peter Rakic, who coached Perth SC last season, was delighted with the way his side played. "I can't argue with my team’s performance overall, we came for nothing but three points and we are more than happy to walk away with it,” he explained. “Sometimes you have to win ugly and I felt that this was a game of such high stakes that it warranted a gritty defensive display. We had some key players out through Injury and work commitments as well, so we set up a little differently than usual and, in the end, I felt as though we executed the game plan tactically and walked away with a hard-earned win. I'm hoping this feeds the girls extra motivation now to keep on pushing and achieving these kinds of results against the big two at the top of the table.”

The visitors were coming off a huge win at RedStar last week, and they started well in this one, and Epril Nossent was denied by a last-ditch tackle from the lively Alyssa Van Heurck. But their early pressure was rewarded with the lead on 17 minutes, with Kim McCartney converting a trademark free kick. Balcatta responded, and were level on the half hour, former Perth midfielder Rachel Jarvis burst forward to finish past Stacey Cavill, for her first NPL goal. The Azzurri went close to the lead again moments later, Ella Lincoln unable to convert, but minutes later the hosts hit the front. Another former Perth player Liana Cook finishing from the edge of the box, much to the delight of the home faithful. It was an entertaining game with both sides having chances, Balcatta’s Jamie-Lee Gale shot from distance was straight at Cavill, while Jess Flannery’s curling effort drift just wide for Perth. Lincoln has been on fire in the last month, and she went close again, after being sent in on goal, but the outstanding Van Heurck got back to clear the danger.

Lucy Jerram came off the bench for the hosts, and fired wide, but it was Perth pressing for the equaliser, and they went close late on. McCartney free-kick was fumbled by Rebecca Bennett but Anika Stajcic’s follow-up was turned behind by the alert Van Heurck, with Balcatta holding firm to seal the points. “The win against Perth was a huge win for us. We knew how important this game was coming in, in terms of staying in touch with Redstar at the top, so we knew we needed a big performance,” Balcatta midfielder Abbey Meakins said. “It was a very physical game and the game came down to a few moments, which we were able to capitalise on. The girls know we now need to take the momentum into this weekend’s game against NTC, which will be another tough contest.”

League leaders Perth RedStar have bounced back from their first defeat of the season against Perth SC last week, beating UWA Nedlands 4-1 at the UWA Sports Park. “This week we were determined to bring home the three points after last week’s loss,” RedStar coach Carlos Vega Mena said. “It took a little while for us to settle into our game against a well organised rival, but it was a good win for the team.” The visitors were ahead on 18 minutes, Renee Leota lost her marker on the edge of the box, before curling the ball into the top corner. They added a second four minutes before half time, Leota racing clear from a Reina Kagami through ball, before rounding the keeper, and roll the ball home. UWA were back in the game in first half stoppage time, Emily Dinsdale made space down the right and found Andrea Preiato, who finished clinically into the bottom corner. RedStar restored their two-goal advantage after the break, Bronwyn Studman finding Caitlin Doeglas, who mazy run ended with a cool finish. They sealed the points nine minutes from time, Olivia Wood and Manami Arai combined to find Jayna Ridley, who made no mistake.

The round started on Saturday afternoon, with the NTC Hyundai losing ground on the leaders after a 0-2 loss against Fremantle City at the Sam Kerr Football Centre. “It felt strange to play NTC twice in a row, but we were able to take confidence from our win against them in the cup, and it was a game of two halves,” Fremantle defender Annabelle Leek explained. “I felt we started off slow and NTC had better possession than us in the first half. However, we were able to refine our structure at half time and implemented a more aggressive press in the second half. Our second goal came directly from this, which was a big positive after working on it during the week. We were really happy with the result as we knew it was a must win game for us in the fight for top four, and we really wanted to capitalise on the momentum we’ve had for the last few weeks.” After an even first half, when the best chance fell to Fremantle, with Maya Spatafore seeing her long-range effort crash off the post, it was Fremantle who opened the scoring early in the second half. Anna Powell’s cross shot came off the bar, but former NTC striker Tanika Lala was quickest to react to score from close-range. The points were wrapped up after the hour, Fremantle won the ball in the middle of the park, and Clara Hoarau found Lala, who finished clinically.

In the final game, a late goal from Monique Baiamonte has given Murdoch University Melville a 2-2 draw against Subiaco AFC at Rosalie Park. “The girls continue to build and their confidence is growing each week and we were pleased to come away with a draw. I thought our first half was extremely good and we created chances but needed to address our defensive shape at halftime,” MUMFC coach Steve Atkins explained. “We knew that Subiaco are very strong playing forward and this was our major concern to try and stem the flow. Second half to concede early was disappointing however the girls battled and we continued to create chances and deserved the late goal. Another tough game this Sunday but the girls were pleased yesterday and hopefully take some momentum into that game.” The hosts opened the scoring when Marianna Tabain’s defence-splitting pass sent Cass Harvey clear, and she lifted the ball over the oncoming Manon Gebauer. The hosts went close again, as they started to dictate terms, Frankie Murray-Hocking shot straight at Gebauer, before Marianna Tabain’s goal-bound shot was blocked by some desperate MUMFC defending. Then four minutes before the break the visitors levelled, Tiana Botha finding Emma Ylias, who made no mistake.

Subiaco regained their lead four minutes into the second half, they pounced on a mistake at the back, with Harvey seeing her long-range effort crash off the bar, but Stella Zampogna was quickest to react to head home. They went close to a third Murray-Hocking once again denied by Gebauer, but MUMFC weren’t finished and Ellis Glanfield shot whistled just the wrong side of the post. The hosts had plenty of chances to put the game to bed, but didn’t take them and their profligacy came back to haunt them late, when MUMFC found the equaliser. Baiamonte showed persistence against two Subiaco defenders and the goalkeeper, before finishing into an empty net. “We played very well in parts but didn’t do enough to win the game,” a disappointed Subiaco coach Greg Farrell said. “We need to be more clinical in front of goal, and show more game intelligence in possession and defensively. MUM have continued to improve and have recruited a few new players which has given them more stability and they played very well.”

15.6.2024

NPL-WA ROUND TWELVE - REVIEW

It’s been a tough week for Perth SC, knocked out of the cup at Olympic on Wednesday evening, and in the league, they have gone six games without a win, but that all changed on Saturday, and they are back in the winner’s circle after a hard fought 2-1 win against Western Knights in our week 12 ‘Match of the Round’ at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday afternoon. The hosts led at the break, with Sam Cook scoring his fifth goal of the season, while defender Franck Gamiz Quer added a second early in the second half. The Knights reduced the margin just after the hour with Kristian Santich scoring, but they couldn’t find the equaliser, the loss leaving them just outside the top four, but the win moved the Azzurri up to eighth. “It was a good win at home against a team who have been in good form this year, and it was important for us to start round two off on the right foot,” Perth midfielder David Ninkovich explained.

“It was a full team effort to fight and see the game out in the second half especially. Great to get the rewards for the effort over the last couple of weeks, when we have been so close but just not quite getting it across the line, so we can build from here and keep getting better and better.” Perth went ahead on 24 minutes, a poor pass by Jake Sardelic was pounced on by Gordon Perkins, who squared to Sam Cook, who made no mistake. The Azzurri doubled their lead six minutes into the second half, David Ninkovich’s corner to the back post was headed back across goal by substitute Harley Orr, and Franc Gamiz Quer powered a header home. The Knights were back in the game on 67 minutes, Gamiz Quer was caught in possession in his own box and former Perth midfielder Kristian Santich made him play finishing low past Joe Pollard. The Knights pressed for an equaliser, but Kenny Lowe’s side held firm to take the points.

Olympic Kingsway have opened a three-point gap at the top of the table, with a 3-0 win against Stirling Macedonia at Kingsway Reserve. “It’s been a huge couple of weeks for everyone involved at Olympic Kingsway and there was no better way to top off it off with a fully deserved 3-0 win at home in the derby,” Olympic midfielder Mitch Oxborrow explained. “We knew it was going to be a physical and tough game but we showed how to get the three points in a professional manner. The attitude and mentality of the group is really showing through and it’s great to see.” With new Stirling coach Ago Mujic taking control of his first game at the club, it was a tight first half, but it was the hosts who broke the deadlock in the final minute. The lively Joseph Hobson made space down the right, he crossed to Sasa Njegic who fired home. The hosts, who went into the game without the injured Liam Boland and Joe Knowles, doubled their advantage just after the hour mark, Taylor Garner pounced on a mistake by Shade Stewart, squaring the ball to Hobson who rolled the ball home. They sealed the three points three minutes from time, Garner was the provider again, this time crossing to Luke Hewings, who was on target in their cup semi-final win against Perth SC in midweek, and he finished with aplomb with a clever back heel.

Perth RedStar moved up to second after a Daryl Nicol hat-trick sealed a thrilling 4-3 win against Floreat Athena at E&D Litis Stadium. “I think that’s probably our biggest win of the season, given the fact we played 120 minutes on Wednesday in a semifinal,” the striker said. “We then had to get ourselves back up again against a Floreat team who are desperate for points, and then also come from behind, I thought the boys showed unbelievable character and quality in key moments.” It was a blistering start to this one, the hosts finding the opener on six minutes, Nicol and Theodore Leeming combined, and the Scottish striker made no mistake, firing low past Jason Saldaris. But the hosts were level four minutes later, Nick Ambrogio slipping Ethan Mom in on goal, and he finished low past Liam Reddy. The goals kept coming, and three minutes later Floreat were ahead, Kyle Murray curling a free kick around the wall and finding the bottom corner of the net.

It was end-to-end football, and RedStar restored parity ten minutes later, Cameron Murray’s wayward pass was picked off by Nicol, who played in Joel Chianese who finished with aplomb. RedStar hit the front again ten minutes into the second half, Nicol started the move playing Matthew George down the left, and his ball sent Nicol racing into the penalty area and he finished clinically past Saldaris. Floreat were given a helping hand when they levelled on 77 minutes. Cameron Murray’s pass hit referee Josh Mannella in the head, the game was restarted with a drop ball, and Murray’s lob caught the RedStar defenders out, and Chris Saldaris looped his header over Reddy. But four minutes from time RedStar won it, a long clearance from Reddy sent Nicol racing clear and he lobbed Saldaris to seal the game and complete his hat-trick, his 11th goal of the season.

Fremantle City have lost for the first time at home this season, going down 0-1 to Balcatta Etna at Hilton Park, a win that new midfielder Declan Hargreaves said is a big confidence boost for the players. “I’ve only been at the club for four weeks, but today the lads give everything for the club and Glen,” he said. “The first half our keeper kept us in the game, with some great saves, so we went in 0-0. At the break Glen changed a few things around and the second half we were on top and managed to get the goal near the end for three points we needed.” The only goal of the game came 19 minutes from time, Hargreaves found Jon Corness in the middle of the park, and his defence-splitting through ball sent substitute Ben Hinshelwood racing clear and he finished past Ryan Barker. The hosts pressed late looking for the equaliser but they couldn’t break down a tight Balcatta defence, and to make matters worse they were reduced to ten men in in the final minute, when Ollie La Galia was given a straight red card for a lunging tackle.

There was a six-goal thriller at Frank Drago Reserve, where Bayswater City came from behind three times to draw 3-3 with Armadale. “Disappointing for us as we were looking to get three points and put pressure on teams around and above us,” Bayswater skipper Gordon Smith said. “We can’t afford to start games the way we did and although we improved second half a draw was a fair result as both teams had chances in the closing stages of the match. We will train hard again this week and prepare for another tough game at Olympic.” It was a return to an old hunting ground for Armadale coach Alun Vernals, and his side opened the scoring on 11 minutes, Amir Ajan’s corner picked out Peter Jacobsz, who lost his marker to head home at the front post. But Bayswater levelled 12 minutes later, Joshua Anasmo raced down the right and pulled the ball back to Cameron Teece, who found former Armadale striker Chris Jackson, his shot was pushed onto the bar by Sam Hocking, the ball was adjudged to have bounced over the line by the assistant.

Armadale were back in front 11 minutes later, Jacobsz and Hamish van Dieken combining, before Jacobsz finished low past Lewis Italiano via the post. Once again, the hosts hit back and levelled on 53 minutes, Jon Stynes corner was cleared, but it was sent back into the box by substitute Thiak Kuel, and Jackson headed down to Gordon Smith, whose volley beat Hocking. This see-sawing encounter took another twist on 58 minutes, when Armadale hit the front for the third time in the game. Ajan bringing the ball down well, and his superb shot from distance flew past Italiano. Bayswater weren’t finished and levelled again seven minutes later, Anasmo’s cross picked out Jackson, who placed his header wide of Hocking and into the corner of the net. Both sides looked for the winner, and both had their chances, the best falling to Jackson, but he was denied by a fingertip save from the alert Hocking. “I thought we were unlucky not to get the three points in the end against Bayswater. We started the game well and really had them pinned down for majority of the game, but we didn’t convert the clear-cut opportunities we created and in the end that cost us like it has numerous times this season,” Armadale striker Hamish Van Dieken explained. “There was still a lot of positives to take from the game and at the end of the day we still managed to pick up a point away from home against an inform Bayswater side.”

Inglewood United have secured their first points of the season, and they did it in style beating a ten-man Perth Glory 6-1 at the Sam Kerr Football Centre. New Inglewood coach Alex Stanojevic said his players deserve a great deal of credit, as they look to get their season on track. “What can I say, a great result for the club, our first win of the season and the club are very proud of this team,” he said. “Three weeks ago, we embarked on a reset, consulting with the team to get buy-in on a vision and philosophy. We used the games against Fremantle and RedStar to establish a line in the sand guiding our training sessions, culminating with the win on the weekend. There is a big wall to climb, but we are focused on the great escape and taking one game at a time. The visitors went close to the opener on 17 minutes, Chad Nilson’s curling effort pushed around the post by Robert Cook. But from Matthew Ntoumenopoulos resulting corner they were ahead, the ball beat everyone but hit the far post, and was bundled over the line by Chris Tilson. Glory was reduced to ten-men seven minutes from half time when Tadiwanashe Kuzamba dragged down Yamamoto Kotaro, and he was correctly deemed to be the last man by referee Adrien Liechti, and shown a straight red card.

Then from the resulting free kick Bradley Viachy curled the ball home to double the visitor’s advantage. Then three minutes before the break it was 3-0, a long clearance from Nik Speca fell to Nilson, who took on his marker before firing low into the corner of the net. Inglewood looked like they had sealed their first points of the season in first half stoppage time, Nilson’s corner wasn’t dealt with and Jordan Brown pounced, his shot on the turn finding the net. Glory pulled one back on the hour, Jaylan Pearman’s long-range shot crashed off the post, and Joel Anasmo fired home the rebound. But that was as good as it got for the hosts, and nine minutes later Inglewood added a fifth, a stunning long-range strike by Thomas Abraham. Inglewood added a sixth goal nine minutes from time, Ryan Whicho’s cross was only cleared as far as substitute Rene Kisesa fired home from the edge of the box. “A hard-fought solid performance from the lads yesterday. We’ve been knocking on the door for a result the last few weeks now, it was only a matter of time before it was pieced together,” Inglewood defender Ciaran Salinger explained. “The boys were clinical in front of goal yesterday and we exploited the inexperience of the young Glory side who seemed very different from the first game we played them.”

15.6.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND ELEVEN REVIEW

Our week 11 State League Division One ‘Match of the Round’ saw UWA Nedlands score a penalty eight minutes from time to secure a 1-1 draw in the local derby against Subiaco AFC at the UWA Sports Park on Saturday afternoon. “It was a tough day, we went in to the game knowing how important the occasion was against the local rival, and the impact three points would make in creating a buffer in fourth spot at the midpoint of this season,” UWA midfielder David Molinari said. “Unfortunately, the game was quite scrappy and while only being able to settle for a draw, which wasn’t the favoured result prior to kick off. We have set ourselves up well at the midpoint of this season, and are in the top four, and are hoping to push on and place as high as we can for a promotion playoff spot come end of season.”

It was the visitors who opened the scoring in this one just after the half hour. A short corner caught UWA napping, and when the ball was delivered into the box it wasn’t dealt with and Moustafa Mohamed’s shot was blocked but skipper Phil Arnold bundled the ball over the line from close-range. The hosts were struggling to breakdown a tight Subiaco defence, but on 82 minutes they did, Jed Afenyo keeping his nerve from the spot for his eighth goal of the season, to give both sides a share of the spoils. “We were disappointed not getting all three points after an impressive performance from the boys,” Subiaco striker Phil Arnold said. “Still, we’ll take positives of a point away from home and against an inform side.”

League leaders Sorrento have bounced back from their narrow loss in the Australia Cup semifinal in midweek against Perth RedStar, beating Gosnells City 2-0 at Percy Doyle Reserve. “It was good to see the boys bounce back after a tough loss in the cup on Wednesday night,” Sorrento midfielder Keegan Chambers said. “It was good to keep our undefeated run in the league going, although Gosnells didn’t not make it easy for us, but we kept to our game and it got us the three points, going into the second half of the season.” The visitors were buoyed by their win last week against Joondalup, but it was the Gulls who were ahead on 20 minutes, Hamza Hina made space down the left and his cross to the back post was headed home Luke Salmon. They sealed the game early in the second half, Dario Ramella cross from the left found the unmarked Dean Cummings, who headed back across Duncan Lennon-Black, giving the Gosnells keeper no chance.

Dianella White Eagles are only one point behind the leaders, after thrashing Joondalup United 5-1 at Dianella Reserve on Saturday evening. “It was nice to finally hit the target more than twice in a game, as the last few weeks we had not been able to finish the game nice and early,” Dianella assistant coach Miguel Alvarenga Vega explained. “However yesterday it all change and we took control of the game, and won convincingly.” The hosts found the opener on 20 minutes, Shane Barnes sent Andy Keogh down the left, and his cross was fired home by Roberto Soares. They doubled their lead in the shadows of half time, Keogh’s one-two with Soares took a kind deflection, and Angel Andres Jnr, fired low past Todd Hoyle. It was 3-0 twenty minutes from time, Paul Zimarino’s corner was headed home by the unmarked Alen Patarov. They added a fourth nine minutes from time, Soares’ cross hit the arm of Danny O’Shea, and Keogh fired home the resulting penalty, and it soon became five, Soares playing in substitute Luke Mrdja to score. Joondalup scored a consolation goal late, substitutes Jude Baillie and Andrew Flint combined, the latter scoring at the back post.

Murdoch University Melville have lost ground on the top two after being held to a 2-2 draw by Gwelup Croatia at Besteam Stadium. “Unfortunately, it was a similar story for us, dominated the majority of the game but not taking our chances to kill teams off,” MUMFC coach Marc Anthony said. “It was an end-to-end game, where a draw was probably a fair result in the end.” The hosts, who were thrashed at home last week, were ahead on the half hour, Pat Sara ball sent Eddie Wynne-Willson into the penalty area, his cross from the by-line was turned home by Iljas Ahmedov. But Gwelup were level five minutes before half time, Reece Kral won possession in the middle of the park and raced forward before his long-range shot found the bottom corner of the net. The visitors were ahead early in the second half, Jeremie Mba cross from the left picked out Pierre Barilly at the back post, who headed back across goal and half-time substitute Robert Ferrante headed home.

MUMFC were level just after the hour, Sara and Godfrey Asimwe combined, to find Adrian Ciampini on the right and he cut inside his marker and finished clinically past Josiah Godfrey. The visitors almost won it late, but Ferrante’s effort was cleared off the line, with both sides sharing the spoils. “We knew it was going to be a tough game against a good side, as Murdoch have had a good start to their season, but the game played out evenly with both sides having chances,” Gwelup skipper Paul Grant explained. “We had a chance cleared off the line in the last minute of the game to stop us taking the three points. However, we will take the result and build on it. We’re looking forward to our next fixture as we look to climb the ladder.”

Mandurah City moved to sixth, only two points off the top four, after a 2-1 win in the Peel Derby against Rockingham City at Poolmart Stadium, Peelwood Parade. “It was a great win for the club in the local derby, and I thought we deserved the three points,” Mandurah midfielder Brian Patterson said. “So, we now move on to a huge game next week against Dianella and try building on getting into that play off place.” Mandurah’s early pressure was rewarded with the goal on 22 minutes, Patterson stung the palms of the keeper, the ball was recycled and John Baird’s ball into the box wasn’t dealt with and Chadley Edwards fired home. They doubled their lead nine minutes later, when Leigh Griffiths sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot. Rockingham were back in the game early in the second half, Christos Vaenas sent Shane Boyle racing down the left, his cross picked out Dylan Rogers who headed home.

The final game has seen Cockburn City and Kingsley Westside play out a scoreless draw at Beale Park. “A game that didn’t reach great heights on Saturday, although both teams had their moments of control on the game without impacting the goal,” Kingsley coach Steven Dimitrovich said. “Thankful to our keeper Pete who saved the penalty but we should’ve won it late with two good chances. “Overall, we take the point and clean sheet and we remain unbeaten in five and now get ready for second half of the season when we host Murdoch next Saturday.” The best chances in the game fell to the hosts, but Harry O’Brien saw his first half penalty saved by Peter Stewart, and they also hit the woodwork. The hosts went close again after the break, great work down the left by Oliver Palmer saw him cross Oliver Palmer, who dinked the ball over Stewart, but it was cleared off the line by a Kingsley defender. Kingsley could have won it late, Nick Koefler heading inches wide, while Jonny Hulme was sent one-on-one with Michael Craggs, but the Cockburn keeper stood tall to deny him. “It was a very physical contested battle, chances were hard to come by in the first half hour, but as the first half wore on, we started to get the better of Kingsley, and we hit the bar and the Kingsley stopper made a great save from Harry’s penalty,” Cockburn coach Steven McDonald said. “All in all, a draw was probably a fair result for both sides.”

15.6.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND TEN REVIEW

East Perth have moved up to third on the State League Division Two table, after a 5-2 win against Curtin University in our week ten ‘Match of the Round’ at Hudson Park on Saturday afternoon. “I’m honestly delighted for the lads, there were questions asked yesterday and they all stood up to the test,” East Perth coach Colm Costello said. “The scoreline flattered us a bit as I really thought Curtin were excellent in stages today, and their runners in middle caused us problems most of the afternoon. We changed things up at half time a bit and the lads wanted to go for it second half and they worked themselves into the ground and I’m happy they got the rewards. We had a tricky couple of weeks with results and losing some excellent coaches, but we all pulled together today on and off the pitch and thankfully got a result I really feel we all needed. Back to the grind now with training on Tues and another huge week ahead.”

It was a bright start from the visitors, creating a number of chances, and they had East Perth on the back foot, but against the run of play on 28 minutes. A cross from Jamie O’Connor found Ryan Murray who’s first attempt was blocked by Curtin keeper Daniel Marques, but he made no mistake with the rebound to make it 1-0. But Curtin were level ten minutes later, a well worked goal ending with Jai Coker, who raced into goal and finished clinically past Sean Hyland, to send the sides into the break all-square. The hosts were ahead again early in the second half, leading goalscorer Ryan McGready finishing well, after good work from Murray down the left. Curtin restored parity on the hour, a deep run from midfield by Coker, ended with Kiran Witt, who made no mistake. But three minutes later East Perth hit the front again, a great team move started by Liam Moore, who won possession and picked out Ryan McCormack, who played O’Connor down the flank, his cross found McGready who headed home his 12th goal of the season. There was no return this time for Curtin, with O’Conner making it 4-2 on 74 minutes, and six minutes later Murray sealed the deal, scoring directly from a corner.

League leaders Kalamunda City have extended their lead to three points after a 3-1 win against Canning City at Burrendah Park. Midfielder Gaston Bazet said it was an improved performance. “Our last game hadn't been good so it was important for us to win this one,” he said. “We started generating situations until we scored and we could have increased the difference before the first half but we missed our chances. In the second half we started a little sleepy until they tied us with a dubious penalty. After 1-1 we dominated the match again and were able to score two goals to seal the victory. We are very happy and strong as a group and we hope to continue on this path” Kalamunda sat two points clear at the top of the table at kick off, and made the best possible start with Bazet opening the scoring after only 17 minutes. But Canning, who have improved this season, and have won three of their four previous games, levelled just before the hour, with Tom Kinnane converting from the spot. The visitors regained the lead on 67 minutes, with Lal Cung on target, and they sealed the points in stoppage time, with skipper Jose Zuniga adding the third.

Joondalup City lost ground on Kalamunda, after being held to a 3-3 draw by Balga at Princess Road Reserve, but they needed a stoppage time equaliser from substitute Sam Rawlings to take home a point. “All the lads are disappointed with another result that we felt we let slip, similarly with the Shamrock game, we’re up at the break and we just couldn’t close it out,” Balga’s Nathan Scully explained. “It was a game that was very patchy, we owned the middle part of the game and they owned the start and finish. We will take the positives out of this though and focus on Curtin next week.” Joondalup were ahead on 20 minutes, neat build-up play ended with Eddie Wilcock, his cross to the back post was headed back across goal by Mason Gallagher, and Lucas Reid was on hand to score from close-range. Balga were seven minutes later, the referee spotted a tug on Scully and pointed to the spot, and Alessio Meschi made no mistake from the resulting penalty.

The hosts added a second before the break, a cross into the box caused confusion between keeper and defender, and the ball ended in the net for an own goal. The game looked over on the hour, when Balga added a third, a free kick wasn’t dealt with, Christian Lenz header found Scully, whose shot was parried by the keeper, the ball falling kindly for Luke Christie, who made no mistake. Joondalup weren’t finished, and pulled one back three minutes from time, Cameron Stratton getting on the end of a loose ball from a corner to score. City pressed late looking for the equaliser, and three minutes into stoppage time they found it. A long throw found Rawlings, who brought the ball down well and found the bottom corner to salvage a point. “I thought the lads showed great character today,” Joondalup’s Liam Peacock said. “To come back from behind late and salvage a valuable point, was a great effort, and we look forward to the big game at Forrestfield next week.”

Quinns have put a tough week behind them, to beat Forrestfield United 4-2 at Stylish Park, at Gumblossom Reserve. The club replaced coach Antony Benetti in midweek, with Karl Cherrie taking over, and the win moved them up to seventh. “It was important to get off to a positive start and a good performance after the changes that had occurred during the week,” Cherrie said. “The boys started the game well and created a few chances before going down, but we levelled and it lifted the team and we went into the break with the lead. We managed to add two more, but gave away a sloppy goal to let them back into the game, but we managed to see the game out. A good tough game against a good opponent, where the difference was only that we took our chances.”

Forrestfield found the opener on 17 minutes, with Alec Robinson on target. Then on the half hour Quinns levelled, the lively Magai Deng was brought down in the box, and Jason Petrie made no mistake from the resulting penalty. The hosts were ahead in the last minute of the first half, with Liam Hunt pouncing to send them into the sheds with the lead. The hosts broke the game open early in the second half, first Petrie added his second on 51 minutes, before Deng added a fourth moments later, racing clear and finishing well past the oncoming keeper. Robinson added his second for Forrestfield on the hour, and they created a number of chances late. The hosts had keeper Logan Muirhead sent off ten minutes from time, and with them having made all their subs, Alfie Wheeler went between the sticks, and made a number of saves late, as Quinns held firm for a good moral building win for the new coach.

Ashfield have won for the first time in three games, after a 4-0 win against Swan United at Paintseal Arena, Ashfield Reserve. “Proud of the effort from the lads today, and it is a really important three points for the club,” Ashfield coach James Sammut explained. “It was most pleasing to keep a clean sheet against a good side in Swan.” It was tight first half, but the hosts took control with two late goals. First on 42 minutes, Ravi Singh was played through, he beat his defender, before slotting the ball past the keeper from a slight angle. They added a second three minutes later, the ball fell to Tony Orobio who finished from five meters. Swan needed a good start to the second half to get back into the game, but they couldn’t find a way past a hard-working Ashfield defence, and fifteen minutes from time the hosts added a third. Jared Flavel cut inside, beat a couple of defenders and shot from distance found the bottom corner. They sealed the points three minutes from time, Hanani Ndebele was sent clear and slid the ball past Ben Parry.

In the final game, Wanneroo City have won for the first time this season, beating Carramar Shamrock Rovers 2-1 at Grandis Park. “Can’t be any prouder of the players today, in the face of adversity we’ve faced so far,” Wanneroo coach Howard Tweats explained. “We’ve lost half the squad mainly to season ending injuries through the start of the season, the remainder over the coming weeks have shown character, stood up to be counted and carried the gauntlet head on.” The visitors found the opener in the last minute of the first half, Montee Benjamin broke behind the Carramar defence and looped a shot from a tight angle over the keeper. But Rovers were level early in the second half, Daniel Airns converting from the spot. But the Roos won it just after the hour mark, Jordan Rowe drove into the box and cut a ball back to Boas Mtwale who slotted home.

14.6.2024

NPLWA – WOMEN’S – ROUND TEN PREVIEW

We head into week ten of the NPLWA – Women’s competition, and it’s second v third at Home Group Stadium at Grindleford Reserve, as Balcatta Etna welcome Perth SC in the Italian Derby. (3.00pm) The visitors sit just behind league leaders Perth RedStar, this after their win last week to close the gap to two points, while Balcatta are third, but their game against Fremantle was postponed due to the condition of the pitch at Wauhop Park.

Former Perth SC Peter Rakic, said Sunday’s game is vital, and a win will close the gap to Sunday’s opponents, but he is hoping for a better performance from his Balcatta side, to the one when they last met, when they were edged out at Dorrien Gardens in round three. “We know this is going to be a huge game for both sides, particularly with the first meeting against Perth where I thought we were well below our standards and I know the girls felt that too,” Rakic explained. “Taking this into account with the potential of stirring up the title race, there's a lot of excitement around this fixture and we are well up for the challenge.”

The round starts on Saturday afternoon, when the Hyundai NTC entertain Fremantle City at the Sam Kerr Football Centre. (1.00pm) The NTC youngsters have won back-to-back games to move up to fourth, while Fremantle sit sixth, but do a have a game in hand. Perth RedStar will look to bounce back from their first defeat of the season, when they visit the UWA Sports Park to take on UWA Nedlands. (1.00pm)

The final game sees Subiaco AFC host Murdoch University Melville at Rosalie Park (3.45) The hosts are fifth, and are coming off a win against UWA last week, and striker Frankie Murray-Hocking said they are hoping to continue from where they left off last time out. “We are looking for a repeat from a successful performance against UWA into another win on Sunday,” the striker said. “We have been working hard in different areas to really strengthen our game and are ready for a tough match at the weekend hopefully building on our momentum and taking the three points.”

MUMFC were edged out by the NTC last game, and coach Steve Atkins said his young group are improving with every game, and showed great signs against the NTC last week. “An important game for us this weekend against Subiaco. We continue to improve and the girls are working hard at training and we know that if we continue to stick together and build the confidence that results will come,” Atkins explained.

“Subiaco have some quality players, are quick in the attacking third and we know that we will need to be on our game to minimise their attacking threats. Against NTC last weekend we felt that we played well, and created good chances and were unlucky not to score a couple more, but some soft goals against hurt us and we know that we have to improve on that aspect. The return of some keys players this weekend will also bolster our squad. It will be a great challenge at Subiaco and the girls are confident of putting in a good performance and continue to build on our season.”

14.6.2024

BELT-UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION – ROUND EIGHT PREVIEW

In the Belt Up Amateur Premier League, all roads lead to Frye Park on Sunday afternoon when league leaders Wembley Downs travel to second placed Kelmscott Roos, in our week eight ‘Match of the Round’ (All games kick off at 3.00pm, unless stated) Wembley continued their winning start to the new season, with a win at Morley last week, while Kelmscott, who sit two points behind them on the ladder, came from behind to beat North Beach, so this should be a great game.

The last time the sides met at the venue was in round two last season, when the Kelmscott won 3-1. The hosts were ahead on four minutes, Alex Ekeze converting from the spot. But Wembley levelled 11 minutes later, with David Brownless also firing home a penalty. It was the hosts who regained the lead just after the hour. A free kick by Jonah Kuman was saved by the Wembley keeper Toby James, but the rebound fell to Ekeze who squared the ball across the box for Isaac Koomson to tap home. The hosts sealed the points five minutes from time. Koomson cut out a clearance from James, and squared the ball to Jonah Kuman, who scored from close-range.

Wembley coach Rob Jackson said it’s a huge game, and the tough fixture schedule have taken its toll, but they are ready for the challenge. “We’re all looking forward to what will obviously be a really tough game against a team who will be confident they can win the league this year,” he said. “It’s been a great start to the season for us so far which is credit to the players for their hard work and dedication. Three tough games last week have taken their toll on some of our boys, so we’ll have the opportunity to have a look at a few players who have been waiting for a chance to impress.”

Skipper Jack Mellor said the last time they met was in the semifinals of the night series, and it was a tight game, and he believes Sunday will be similar. “We got the better of them in the night series on penalties, but we have improved significantly as a group since then so we will be looking to stretch our lead at the top of the table,” he said. “We have a strong squad raring to go and looking forward to a high intensity game. We know Kelmscott are a strong side especially on home turf so we will need to improve on last week’s performance.”

Kelmscott coach Rhydeen Botha said Wembley are top of the league for a reason, but his team is confident they can get a positive result on Sunday. “They (Wembley) are a strong team and drilled outfit, and our team will be tested but we are confident we have the quality to overcome the challenge placed before us,’ he explained. “Our team has trained well through the week and ultimately, can’t wait for Sunday.”

Keeper Taylor Warwick said Sunday is their biggest test of the season, and with them having players back from injury can help them over the line. “We are very excited about the prospect of taking on Wembley this Sunday in a mammoth clash, and I believe it’s a game that can go along way into deciding a lot at the end of the season,” he said. “We have trained well through the week and have seen a lot of players coming back from injury which is a big positive. We know how important this game is, and with our form at home, we will be looking for nothing less than three points.”

In other games on Sunday, Emerald welcome North Beach to Fraser Park (1.00pm), South Perth United travel to Woodville Reserve to meet North Perth United (1.00pm), while Kingsley Westside entertain Joondalup United at Chichester Park. Jaguar entertain Morley Windmills to the Herb Graham Recreation Centre. In the final game Maccabi and Peel United will look to get back in the winner’s circle when they meet at the Maccabean Memorial Oval.

Peel have only won once this season, back in round two, but after conceding 12 goals in the last three games, they will need to tighten up at the back if they are to make it two on Sunday. Maccabi have lost back-to-back games, and coach Ricky Berelowitz said they are looking to get back to winning ways. “Yes, it’s been a tough couple of weeks for us, but we’re eager to bounce back and get things back on track, we know it’s a very difficult league with high standards and we’re still finding out feet and working with different combinations,” he explained. “We’ve looked better in training the last couple of weeks so hopefully we can take that into the game and Sunday and come away with the win.”

14.6.2024

NPL-WA ROUND TWELVE - PREVIEW

After the disappointment of missing out on a place in cup final in midweek, it’s back to league action for Perth SC, when they host Western Knights in our week 12 ‘Match of the Round’ at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday afternoon. (All games kick off at 3.00pm) The Azzurri suffered a narrow defeat in the semifinal at Olympic, but last time out in the league they looked on the cards for the three points, but conceded a stunning late equaliser to draw 3-3 with Perth Glory, leaving Kenny Lowe’s side in ninth place. Meanwhile the Knights will be looking to bounce back from their loss at Stirling last week, which saw them drop to fifth, so a win in this one is massive for both sides as we enter the second round of fixtures.

The last time the two sides met at the venue was in round nine in 2012, when the hosts ran out 5-1 winners. First half finishes from Andreas Oliveira, Greg Sharland and Adam Bachiller had Perth well in control by the break before Rory Grant gave the visitors a glimmer of hope. Unfortunately that was all it was as Perth captain David Onoforo and substitute Daniel Niederberger put the result beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Last week’s loss at Stirling last week was frustrating, with the Knights having plenty of chances to take the points, and coach Adam Kostrencic said if they had taken them, it could’ve been a different story, but he had his keeper to thank for keeping them in the game. “Disappointed not to come away with anything against Stirling, even though it was far from our best performance I felt we just were not clinical enough from the opportunities we had,” He explained. “Sam Reilly made some really good saves at crucial times for us and it took a great strike to beat him, but I felt we didn’t really test their keeper out from the moments we had in front of their goal.”

A visit to Dorrien Gardens this week, and Kostrencic said he’s been pleased with his sides start to life in the NPL, but he knows they need to improve, starting on Saturday. “Every match in the first half of the season has proven to be a tight contest and you definitely are made to earn each point in this league. There have been many positives to take forward but also improvements to be made as we aim better our position in the second half of the season,” he said. “It was a close encounter at our ground back in round one and we expect another tough challenge at Dorrien Gardens this weekend.”

Perth will have to lift after the cup exit, and assistant coach Stuart Banks said a strong start to the second half of the season is what required. “It’s obviously disappointing to go out of the cup but we have to put that behind us and quickly move on,” he said. “We’re at the halfway stage of the season and we’re not where we want to be as far as league position, so we need to focus on being strong in the second half of the season and picking up points quickly.”

Banks said they are starting to find their groove, and we’re unlucky against Glory last week, and hopes to put it right on Saturday against a Knights team who have impressed this season. “I thought we dominated in the Glory game and the stats were very one sided our way but as has been the story of our season. We have to take our chances and put games to bed and stop making simple errors and giving easy goals away,” he explained. “The Knights have had a good first half of the season and are a tough team to breakdown. However, once again we need to focus on ourselves, what we are good at and look to execute our own game plan and if we do that, we can beat anyone in this league.”

In other games this week, second placed Fremantle City will look to keep the pressure on the leaders, when they host Balcatta Etna at Hilton Park, while third placed Perth RedStar make the trip to E&D Litis Stadium to meet Floreat Athena, who will be looking to end a four run without a win. Bayswater City will aim to build on their win in the Italian derby at Balcatta last week, when they host Armadale at Frank Drago Reserve, while Perth Glory welcome Inglewood United to Sam Kerr Football Centre in a real six-pointer. In the final game league leaders Olympic Kingsway welcome Stirling Macedonia to Kingsway Reserve.

The hosts lead the league by one point, and reached the State League Cup Final in midweek, while new Stirling coach Ago Mujic will take charge of his first game, and he is delighted to be announced as the club head coach. “First of all, I’m very honoured and grateful to be head coach of such a big club like Stirling Macedonia with very huge fan base, in the same time I’m very excited and I’m very passionate about football and can’t wait to meet the all-boys and hit the ground working and preparing for our first game,” he said. “Working last few years at Glory NPL set up then first team (A league) with Ruben and Coyney was great experience and I learn a lot as a coach and person. I’m all about football and looking after players and my staff and I will give my all to all of them and I’m sure there is a very exciting journey for all of us (players, staff, club, fans) which we all will enjoy together, and it start against Olympic on Saturday.”

14.6.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND ELEVEN PREVIEW

It’s week 11 of the State League Division One, and in our ‘Match of the Round’ we head to the UWA Sports Park, where UWA Nedlands welcome Subiaco AFC in a local derby. (All games kick off at 3.00pm, unless stated) The visitors are coming off back-to-back defeats, the latest a 1-3 loss at home to Sorrento, which has seen drop to fifth, while UWA are coming off a big win at MUMFC last week, which saw them leapfrog Saturday’s opponents. Both sides are level on points, and need three in this one to stay in touch with the teams above them. The last time they met at the venue was in round three last season, with Subiaco winning a nine-goal thriller 6-3.

It was the hosts who found the opener on three minutes, with Toby Robertson firing home at the back post. But Subiaco levelled moments later Brendan Griffiths hitting the target, and Gavin Knight gave them the lead on eight minutes, racing on to a long ball and lobbing the keeper. Aaron McGruirk added a third three minutes later, and it was 4-1 on 14 minutes, McGuirk adding his second. But the hosts scored a second on 21 minutes, Zachary Brown’s long-range shot found the bottom corner, and just before half time Max Blackshaw added a third and it was game on. But an own goal from the unlucky Robertson with 11 minutes left gave Subiaco breathing room and Knight finish it with a sixth late to seal the points.

UWA coach Richard Abrams said the win at MUMFC last week, wasn’t your typical win, but he’ll take it. He also believes his squad is coming together nicely, but is well aware this league is so tight and you can jump four spots or drop four spots after one game, so consistency is the thing they are looking for. “You are right, it wasn’t a 5-1 game by any means. MUM had more possession and we got late goals so being 100% it wasn’t your typical 5-1 win, we hit them when they were chasing the game,” he explained. “This is a league where anyone can beat anyone so you can go from fourth to eighth in a weekend. We scored 30 goals last year and 29 so far in 10 games this term so hopefully we can keep that up in the winter months and keep knocking on the door of the top four.”

They host the improved Subiaco in the local derby on Saturday, and the Rosalie Park club were almost relegated last season so Abrams knows they will be another big challenge, but it’s just another game, and one he’s looking forward too. “This one is the same as any game really, Mark, Dale and the team have done an outstanding job since going to Subiaco and showing why they are NPL level coaches,” he explained. “I have massive respect for what they have done and what they are doing. Saying that we expect a full-on derby at 3pm Saturday, and both clubs being fourth and fifth respectively have earnt the right to go out and play and get at each other. I for one am very excited to see Luke Salas and Phil Arnold on the same pitch, two classy players and natural leaders.”

Subiaco had started the season well, but back-to-back defeats saw them drop to fifth, the latest a loss against league leaders Sorrento, and assistant coach Dale Wingell said it’s disappointing to lose their first home game of the season. “Yes, disappointing. We feel we can compete with any team in this league, but in saying that Steve McGarry has assembled a team with the clear intent of getting back up, so we knew it would be tough afternoon,” he explained. “I thought we were in the game for the most part but the difference was the quality in the main moments.”

The club have been on the up after only just missing out on relegation, a win in the Play off final against Curtin secured their status in Division One. Wingell said they have started to turn things around at the club, and he hopes they can continue it for the rest of the season, starting at UWA on Saturday. “Happy initially with the start, but we know we can be better and there is still a long way to go. Plenty of new players with an injection of youth have helped us create a competitive environment,” he said.

“Taking on this job has incorporated a significant cultural shift and behavioural change across the senior set up and we are slowly starting to see some benefits of that. First half of the season has been a good learning experience and we will be looking to build on that for the rest of the season and see where we land. On Saturday’s game, Richie and Simon have recruited well in the off season and their form is reflected in their position on the table. We expect a tough encounter at their home ground. There is opportunity for either team to make a push into the top four, so should be an entertaining game to watch.”

In other games this weekend league leaders Sorrento will look to put their cup semifinal defeat behind them, when they welcome Gosnells City to Percy Doyle Reserve, the visitors buoyed by their win against Joondalup last week. Dianella White Eagles host Joondalup United at Dianella Reserve on Saturday evening (5.00pm), looking to keep tags on the Gulls at the top, while Kingsley Westside take their four-game winning streak to Beale Park to take on Cockburn City. Mandurah City host Rockingham City in the Peel Derby at Poolmart Stadium, Peelwood Parade, while in the final game Melville University Melville host Gwelup Croatia at Besteam Stadium.

Gwelup moved up to eight with their win at Cockburn last week, while MUMFC were well beaten at home by UWA, and skipper Pat Sara said the scoreline didn’t reflect the game the sending off affected the game, but he hopes to put it right on Saturday. “It was disappointing for sure, I thought we were the better team for 90 minutes. They defend well, the keeper makes a lot of good saves, and they were lethal on the counter,” he said. “I don’t always like commenting on decisions in the game, but that was a massive one. The fact that the decision was rescinded within 48 hour says enough. On another day that doesn’t happen we stay in the game and the result is different. But that’s football, we are still happy with how we are going about our football and will continue to play the same way. Saturday is definitely a chance to bounce back, training has been really good all week and I think it’s a good opportunity for us to prove that we belong where we are on the table.”

14.6.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND TEN PREVIEW

It's been a roller coaster ride for newly-promoted East Perth, they sit fifth on the table, in their first season in state league football, and this week they welcome fourth placed Curtin University to Hudson Park, in our week ten State League Division Two ‘Match of the Round’. (All games kick off at 3.00pm) The hosts were beaten at Joondalup City last week in a tight encounter, while Curtin made it back-to-back wins with a narrow win at Carramar Shamrock Rovers. So, with both sides sitting on 15 points, only separated by goal difference, this one should be another tight game in their first ever meeting in the state league.

East Perth coach Colm Costello said his side played well at Joondalup, in a very entertaining game, but he was disappointed they didn’t come back with anything. “I thought las week was an absolute belter of a game, a great advert for this league,” he said. “We lost our skipper just after half time and it disrupted our shape and rhythm a little bit and the small margins in that spell cost us on the day. Obviously, we were disappointed not to get something out of the game, but that’s football, well done to Guy and Joondalup City.”

Costello said his players have made the transition to state league football well, and to be sitting fifth is a great achievement, but they are not finished yet. “The lads have been brilliant so far especially attitude and application and they are all working hard every week to improve as a group, we couldn’t have asked for more and they are learning and adapting to the step up every week,” he explained. “We are enjoying the weekly challenges so far and the lads are playing well but we feel we need to be more consistent and we have so much to improve on.

“If at start you said we be four points off top with nine played we would been happy with that. Big chance to get back to winning ways this week, but it will be a tough fixture against a Curtin side who are in flying form of late. This league is so tight and results so unpredictable so far, but we have a few home fixtures in a row now and we need to nail our home form and make it a tricky place to come. We know the games every week will be tough, especially as Curtin have got some great results lately, so we’ll need to be ready for another big test now at Hudson on Saturday.”

Back-to-back wins at Swan and Carramar has pleased Curtin coach Troy Reid, and he said every game has been a battle, and he knows it will continue for the rest of the season. “Very pleasing not just in the results, but the performances. We’ve gone away to two strong teams at home, had to tough it out in the first half and got the result in the second half,” he explained. “The resilience from the players to control the game and get the job done in the end has been the most pleasing,”

Reid is looking forward to the trip to East Perth, and knows it’s important to keep winning, with the league so tight this season. “I don’t think I’ve seen a season like it in a long time, where anyone can beat anyone on the day. You win a few games and you’re inside the Top four, and you lose a couple you’re in a relegation playoff position. It keeps you on your toes going in to every game as no team can be taken lightly, and if you don’t perform on the day, you go home empty handed. I’m excited to go to East Perth as they’ve proved they belong in the State League. They’ve started the season really well and having been on the wrong end of a 5-0 thumping preseason by them, we know how strong they are. So, whilst we may be pipping them just on the table because we’ve scored more goals, I definitely think we are going there with a point to prove on Saturday.”

In other games on Saturday, second placed Joondalup City travel to Princess Road Reserve to take on Balga, who are coming off two big away wins, Ashfield host Swan United at Paintseal Arean at Ashfield Reserve, while Quinns and Forrestfield will look to get back to winning ways when they meet at Stylish Park at Gumblossom Reserve. Carramar Shamrock Rovers entertain Wanneroo City at Grandis Park, the visitors still looking for the first win of the season, while in the final game Canning City welcome league leaders Kalamunda City to Burrendah Park.

Kalamunda leads the league by one point from the chasing pack, and with only nine points separate the top 11 teams, they can’t afford a slip up in this one. Canning are one of the form teams in the league, winning three out of their last four games, and after being perennial relegation candidates for the last few seasons, under new coach Lee Hayward they are starting to hit their straps, and currently sit seventh after their win at Quinns last week, only two points outside the top four.

Hayward praised his players, who have adapted well to his coaching style, and they are starting to get their rewards. “Yes, it's been a fantastic run for us lately, securing three wins out of the last four games is a testament to the lads, it’s been a difficult couple of weeks with waterlogged pitches and illness making it hard to train correctly,” he explained. “The win at Quinns was particularly satisfying, and it's always great to see the players executing the game plan effectively and coming out on top. We know there's still a lot of work to be done, and we'll keep pushing to maintain this momentum.

“Every game is a challenge in this league, teams are all beating each other, and the Kalamunda game is one we are looking forward, after a great 3-3 battle in the night series. These are the kinds of challenges that bring out the best in us as a team. We know they'll come at us with everything they've got, but we're ready for it. Our focus is on our own game, playing to our strengths, and giving it our all on the field. We have a lot of respect for Kalamunda, but we're not intimidated. We'll approach the game with confidence and hopefully come away with a positive result.”

13.6.2024

BIRIGHITTI IN TALKS WITH CENTRAL COAST

Goalkeeper Mark Birighitti's time at Scottish club Dundee United may be coming to an end after it was revealed he is in talks with Central Coast Mariners. The 33-year old endured a nightmare debut season with the Tangerines, who were relegated from the Premier League in 2022/23, and was deemed surplus to requirements for the most recent campaign.

With his contract expiring at the end of last month, Birighitti is now a free agent. And he has wasted no time by entering into discussions with former club Central Coast, with whom he was crowned A-League goalkeeper of the year in two successive campaigns.

“We’ve been talking and hopefully we can agree to something – let’s see how it goes,” said Birighitti, who started out locally with Perth SC. “We’re just playing the waiting game. I feel like I’m in my prime years as a keeper and it’s important to me to get back playing and enjoying the game again, because I feel like that’s when I’m at my best.”

13.6.2024

SOCCEROOS BOSS ARNOLD BACKS TAGGART IN WORLD CUP FIGHT

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has backed Adam Taggart to keep himself in the mix for World Cup selection as the countdown to North America in 2026 commences. And Arnold also heaped praise on young defender Alessandro Circati, hailing his ability after he started his first game for the national team in his hometown, helping the Socceroos to a 5-0 win over Palestine in front of 18,261 fans.

It was a night for the Sandgropers at Perth Oval, where Taggart celebrated his first international goal in five years and Circati partnered Cameron Burgess at centre-back as the Socceroos romped to victory over Palestine. Taggart had an eventful night, scoring his first goal for the Socceroos since 2019 and laying on an assist for Martin Boyle before going off with a minor injury in the second half.

Arnold backed the Perth Glory skipper to be in the mix for World Cup selection in two years’ time, having won his way back into the Socceroos squad after claining 20 goals in 25 games for the A-League wooden spooners. “There’s a certain couple of players in the squad that are 33 today and we still have two years to go,” Arnold commented after the game.

“They’re question marks and it’s up to them, how hard they work and how much they want it to still be involved. Tags is 31 and I think Tags has the capabilities to get through those two years with his experience; that’s why I started him next to (Yengi), I wanted his leadership out there. It’s so important, the older players’ leadership and coaching on the field it is crucial to help the young ones.”

Circati impressed in the heart of defence, the 20-year old playing a big role in foiling Palestine’s two biggest chances of the game. “Circati was incredible. He’s so mature for his age, but I think that’s the tip of the iceberg,” Arnold said of the Parma defender. “He’s going to next year be playing in Serie A in Italy against some incredible strikers, so he’s going to get better and better.

13.6.2024

OLYMPIC KINGSWAY AND PERTH REDSTAR INTO THE STATE CUP FINAL

Olympic Kingsway and Perth RedStar will meet in the State League Cup Final at the Sam Kerr Football Centre in September, and will also be in the draw for Australia Cup round of 32, after both won tight semifinals on Wednesday evening. First RedStar and Sorrento played out a thrilling local derby at Percy Doyle Reserve, with Callum Salmon’s side running out 2-1 winners after extra time. “Amazing night for RedStar, really enjoyed the game and it was a proper cup game. Far more entertaining for the neutrals rather than the fans, and Percy Doyle was immaculate condition credit to the people behind the scenes and also a great crowd in to watch,” RedStar coach Callum Salmon said.

“Sorrento played some decent football, and no surprise with Kilkenny running around like he could still be playing in the A League, while the Sorrento keeper had a great game also and made some huge saves. I don’t have words to describe how good our team and squad is. We were missing some of our best players, half strength actually and everyone stood up, rolled their sleeves up and worked hard for the win. Rocket, Blair and the boys were sensational, and we’re looking forward to another cup final and the round of 32. We now focus on Floreat on Saturday and look for the three points.”

It was the visitors who found the opener on the half hour, an attempted clearance from Ryan McLaughlin hit his teammate Andrew Maranta, the ball rebounded into the net giving David Keenan no chance. But Sorrento, who are unbeaten this season in Division One, hit back on 66 minutes. Clay Gibbs made space down the right, his low cross found Connor Simpson, his first effort hit the bar, but he pounced on the clearance to loop the ball over Liam Reddy, much to the delight of the home faithful. So, we were off to extra time, and in the second period Redstar regained their lead.

Denis Galan’s header was flicked back toward goal by a Sorrento defender and Daryl Nicol pounced, racing into goal and fired home via the post. His celebrations were cut short with the flag up for offside, but after a chat to his assistant, referee Steven Greogory awarded the goal. The drama wasn’t over there, and deep into the final minute Hamza Hina flick at the back post from a corner crashed off the bar, and in the scramble, Galan brought down Keegan Chambers, and the referee pointed straight to the spot. Dario Ramella stepped up to take the resulting penalty, but Reddy saved with his legs, and the final whistle was blown immediately after, sparking wild scenes of delight from the RedStar players and supporters alike.

“Tonight was a proper cup tie, chances at both ends, late drama and we are delighted to get through to the final. I thought we dominated the first half and were disappointed to only go in 1-0 up at half time, as we felt really comfortable and in control of the game,” RedStar striker Daryl Nicol said. “Credit to Sorrento in the second half they came out and had a go at us and we never really got going. The fact that we’ve been in those positions so many times over the last few years, we know how to get over the line and get the job done and I thought our experience and ruthlessness in both boxes was the difference. Another final to look forward to and a chance for the club to make its name on the national stage.”

In the other semi-final, Olympic Kingsway also edged out Perth Sc 2-1 at Kingsway Reserve. “It was an entertaining, end-to-end cup tie with a lot at stake, and both teams deserve credit for their efforts,” Olympic coach David Tough said. “We had enough chances to seal the game, but when you don't take them, it can lead to a tense end, but the effort the lads put in over the 90 minutes was immense.” It was a quick start to this one, and the hosts were ahead early. A sweeping team move down the right ended with Joe Hobson, who played Joe Knowles down the channel, he looked up and crossed to Tyler Garner, who laid it into the path of Luke Hewings, whose first shot was saved by Joe Pollard, but he fired home the rebound.

But the Azzurri were level moments later, Ethan Banks’ free kick out wide picked out Gordon Perkins, and he powered his header past Adrian Sinagra. Remarkably the hosts regained the lead on 12 minutes, Knowles’ free kick found Aryn Williams, who lost his marker to head home, and skipped off to celebrate with the supporters. The host lost Knowles to injury ten minutes later, and Tough re-shuffled the pack bringing on Lebib Lebib, and both sides had further chances, in a tense finish, but that was the final score. Olympic move through to the final, as the club go in search of their first ever cup final win. The draw for the Australia Cup Round of 32 will take place next Wednesday at 5pm AWST on 10 Play, Australia Cup Facebook and Football Australia YouTube.

13.6.2024

SOCCEROOS BOSS ARNOLD BACKS TAGGART IN WORLD CUP FIGHT

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has backed Adam Taggart to keep himself in the mix for World Cup selection as the countdown to North America in 2026 commences. And Arnold also heaped praise on young defender Alessandro Circati, hailing his ability after he started his first game for the national team in his hometown, helping the Socceroos to a 5-0 win over Palestine in front of 18,261 fans.

It was a night for the Sandgropers at Perth Oval, where Taggart celebrated his first international goal in five years and Circati partnered Cameron Burgess at centre-back as the Socceroos romped to victory over Palestine. Taggart had an eventful night, scoring his first goal for the Socceroos since 2019 and laying on an assist for Martin Boyle before going off with a minor injury in the second half.

Arnold backed the Perth Glory skipper to be in the mix for World Cup selection in two years’ time, having won his way back into the Socceroos squad after claining 20 goals in 25 games for the A-League wooden spooners. “There’s a certain couple of players in the squad that are 33 today and we still have two years to go,” Arnold commented after the game.

“They’re question marks and it’s up to them, how hard they work and how much they want it to still be involved. Tags is 31 and I think Tags has the capabilities to get through those two years with his experience; that’s why I started him next to (Yengi), I wanted his leadership out there. It’s so important, the older players’ leadership and coaching on the field it is crucial to help the young ones.”

Circati impressed in the heart of defence, the 20-year old playing a big role in foiling Palestine’s two biggest chances of the game. “Circati was incredible. He’s so mature for his age, but I think that’s the tip of the iceberg,” Arnold said of the Parma defender. “He’s going to next year be playing in Serie A in Italy against some incredible strikers, so he’s going to get better and better.”

13.6.2024

MATILDAS SKIPPER KERR SIGNS NEW CHELSEA DEAL

Matildas captain Samantha Kerr has re-signed with Chelsea until 2026 as she attempts to add more silverware to her trophy-laden time with the English powerhouse. The 30-year old striker had long been expected to re-commit to Chelsea, where she has played since 2019 and scored 99 goals in 128 matches.

Kerr has been sidelined since January after tearing her ACL on a training camp, with Chelsea going on to win the Women's Super League title without their star striker. She will hope to return to action either late this year or early in 2025 under new manager Sonia Bompastor, following Emma Hayes' departure to lead the United States.

In an unusual re-signing announcement, Chelsea first posted a video on their social media account in which a tearful Kerr appeared to be saying goodbye to the club. But less than 20 minutes, they posted another video of Kerr confirming she was actually staying. "I'm not leaving," Kerr said. "Did you guys really think I was going to end on 99 goals?"

Kerr has won five WSL titles, three FA Cups, two League Cups and a Community Shield at Chelsea, along with losing the Champions League final to Barcelona in 2020/21. "It's really exciting and a very proud moment for me," Kerr said in a statement after re-signing.

"Having the opportunity to stay at a club like Chelsea means a lot to me. I'm really excited to continue to push and to try to win trophies." Kerr is Australia's all-time record goalscorer, with 69 goals in 128 international games, but will miss the Paris Olympic Games due to her knee injury.

12.6.2024

CIRCATI DETAILS ‘DREAM’ SOCCEROOS CAP IN PERTH

Alessandro Circati secured his second cap for the Subway Socceroos in front of his home crowd in Perth on Tuesday night at Perth Oval against Palestine. The 20-year old former Perth SC junior started in the heart of defence for Australia and kept a clean sheet - but it was ability on the ball that earned plaudits in the 5-0 win.

Circati completed over 100 passes - including 11 into the final third - and 11 accurate long balls from 15 attempts. One of those high balls, a raked a pass out to the left, found Mathew Leckie, who chested it down to Behich to race into the box, where then was fouled and the subsequent penalty was converted by Kusini Yengi. “Before the game, I spoke with Lecks and Aziz,” Circati explained.

“We like to bring the left winger inside and, Aziz, it opens up a lot of space for him, whether it's him or even Lecks saying outside and him coming inside, it opens up a lot of space behind their fullbacks and their centre-backs. So as I stepped in, I just saw it was the right opportunity - even though it was only two or three minutes in - it was just the right time to hit the ball long, and it went well for me.”

Circati, 20, also showed his defensive quality, which was crucial to Parma’s promotion to Serie A this season. One such occasion was a block in the first half, which occurred while the game was still in the balance as Australia looked to snuff out Palestine’s attacking quality.

“I'm a defender, so that sort of thing comes second nature to me to see the striker about to charge and line up a shot, and you've just got to put your body on the line,” Circati said. “You know where the goal is, all you have to do is to get your body between the ball and the goal, and that's exactly what I did.”

It was only Circati's second appearance for Australia and his first in the state where he grew up. “(I'm) speechless,” he said. “The dream has come true. So thank you to everyone who did come because they did make my dream come true. It was great. It’s a second cap for the Socceroos, so right now, every cap still does have a lot of value to me being only the second one. It was great to see a lot of familiar faces who I haven't seen in a very long time.”

Circati was partnered by Ipswich Town defender Cameron Burgess, who was also playing in front of his home crowd. “To play with Cam, obviously, he's had a great season,” Circati said. “Being both West Australian, I think it holds a special place in our hearts playing together here as well and getting a great result against a good team - a team who can put a lot of teams under lots of pressure.” Burgess, like Circati, has been promoted to a European top flight - the English Premier League.

11.6.2024

SOCCEROOS THRASH PALESTINE IN A BIG NIGHT FOR WA FOOTBALL

International football returned to Western Australia on Tuesday evening, for the first time since 2016, and it was a huge night for the locals, with Perth Glory striker Adam Taggart leading the line, Perth-Born Gethin Jones, playing alongside former Perth Soccer Club defender Alessandro Circati, and ECU Joondalup’s Cameron Burgess. Taggart was amongst the scorers in the 5-0 win against Palestine in the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualification campaign at a packed HBF Park. It was the Glory striker’s first goal on home soil, with Portsmouth striker Kusini Yengi bagging a brace, and others to Hibernian striker Martin Boyle, while Bayern Munich bound Nestory Irankunda rounded off the scoring, with his first international goal.

Head Coach Graham Arnold was delighted for the youngster, but said he has a long way to go. “I have to say, Carl Veart, Adelaide and (Reds assistant coach) Mark Milligan have done a fantastic job with him,” Arnold said post-match. “I went away with the U17’s for their Asian Cup only probably 12 months ago, maybe a bit longer, and you could see he was a little bit immature there and wasn’t as disciplined as he should be. He’s not been late to one meeting, he’s done everything we’ve asked, the older boys have really looked after him.

“I think he’s had a great camp – I have to say, the camp has been fantastic. Now he goes to Bayern, and now it’s up to him, really. It’s a lot of hard work to do. I had a good sit-down chat with him the other day about going to Bayern and what that means. It’s just the start, it’s not the finish. “It’s not just because you’ve gone to Bayern it’s all done, this is the start. It’s all about hard work, passion and drive. Of course, he’s an exciting talent but there’s a long way to go.”

The last international game in Perth was when Ange Postecoglou’s side beat Iran 2-0 on route to the 2018 World Cup Finals in Russia. For this one, Arnold made eight changes to the side that beat Bangladesh last week, with Circati coming in for his second cap, while Taggart, Jones, Burgess, Martin Boyle, Mathew Leckie, Aziz Behich and Keanu Baccus all came into the starting line-up, showing the depth Arnold currently has at his disposal. It was a packed house at HBF Park, but many were still outside when the Socceroos opened the scoring on four minutes, after Behich was brought down in the box by Yaser Hamed. Replays showed there wasn’t much contact, but Yengi made no mistake from the resulting penalty.

It was 2-0 on 26 minutes, and it was hometown hero Taggart on target, finishing clinically from Boyle’s cross, to cap a great season for the Glory striker, who won the A-League Golden Boot with 20 goals. The big crowd were on their feet as one on 38 minutes, applauding in memory of former Stirling Lions, Perth SC, Socceroos and West Ham United striker Dylan Tombides, who sadly passed away in 2014 after a three-year battle with testicular cancer - DT38. The Green and Gold looked tight in defence, with Circati catching the eye with a composed performance, while the Palestine side, who had only conceded one goal in the group stage before the game, were breached again four minutes before the break, Boyle finding Yengi, whose shot on the turn beat Rami Hamada, and at the break the locals were happy, with the Socceroos leading 3-0.

The Socceroos maintained their pressure after the break and it was 4-0 eight minutes into the second half, Taggart the supplier this time picking out Boyle, who is rumoured to be in talks with the Glory for next season, who finished from close-range in front of the Shed. There was a scary moment for Taggart just after the hour, the Glory skipper limping off with an injury, replaced by Newcastle Jets striker Apostolos Stamatelopoulos, for his Socceroos debut. The large Palestine following were still in full voice and their best chance came 20 minutes from time, with Circati doing well to block Mustafa Zeidan’s first-time shot from the edge of the box.

Arnold made more changes, soon after, Irankunda coming on for his debut on Australian soil, replacing Boyle, while Jordy Bos and Cammy Devlin entering the fray for Yengi and Leckie respectively. The visitors were having their best spell of the game, and had plenty of sights at goal, but Socceroos keeper Joe Gauci was never troubled. Then three minutes from time referee Khalid Saleh Al Turais spotted a handball by Yaser Hamed, and pointed to the spot. Irankunda kept his cool to fire home the resulting penalty, to seal a great night for the Socceroos and send the 18,261 fans, well the ones in green and gold, home happy.

The result meant Australia ended this phase of qualifying with a perfect six wins from six outings, and a dominant 22-0 for-and-against goals record. Circati said he was grateful for the people who turned up to watch him play, his first time playing for the team in the state where he grew up. “The dream has come true, so thank you to everyone who did come because they did make my dream come true, I’m speechless,” he said post-match. “It was great, it’s my second cap for the Socceroos, so right now, every cap still does have a lot of value to me being only the second one. It was great to see a lot of familiar faces who I haven't seen in a very long time.”

Subway Socceroos: GK Joe Gauci, 2 Gethin Jones, 6 Martin Boyle (20 Nestory Irankunda 70’), 7 Mathew Leckie (14 Cameron Devlin 83’), 9 Adam Taggart (4 Apostolos Stamatelopoulos 65’), 11 Kusini Yengi (5 Jordan Bos 82’), 13 Alessandro Circati, 16 Aziz Behich, 17 Keanu Baccus (8 Connor Metcalfe 64’), 21 Cameron Burgess, 22 Jackson Irvine – Subs not used: RGK Paul Izzo, RGK Lawrence Thomas, 3 Ryan Strain, 10 Ajdin Hrustic, 15 Daniel Arzani, 19 Harry Souttar, 23 Joshua Nisbet.

Palestine: GK Rami Hamada, 3 Mohammed Rashid (10 Ameed Sawafta 59’), 4 Yaser Hamed, 5 Mohammed Saleh, 12 Camilio Saldana, 13 Omar Faraj (11 Oday Dabbagh 59’), 15 Michael Termanini, 17 Mousa Farawi, 18 Jonathan Zorrilla (8 Mustafa Zeidan 66’), 20 Ameed Mahajneh (23 Mohammed Darwish 66’), 21 Islam Batran (14 Samer Jondi 82’) – Subs not used: RGK Baraa Kharoub, RGK Mahdi Assi, 2 Mohammed Khalil, 7 Musab Battat, 9 Tamer Seyam, 19 Ali Rabei – Attendance: 18,261 – Referee: Khalid Saleh Al Turais (Saudi Arabia)

11.6.2024

AUSTRALIA CUP (WA) SEMI-FINAL PREVIEW

A place in the Australia Cup round of 32, and a spot in the WA State League Cup Final is on the line on Wednesday evening, with the semi-finals of the WA stage taking place. The four teams are 90 plus minutes away from the draw, which will include Isuzu Ute A-League sides, and the cup finalists from the other NPL leagues across the country. All four sides, Olympic Kingsway, Perth RedStar, Perth SC and Sorrento, all have A-League and Perth Glory connections, within their group. Olympic have former Glory trio Joe Knowles, Aryn Williams and Mitch Oxborrow, RedStar have former Glory duo Joel Chianese and Liam Reddy, Perth SC coach Kenny Lowe was a former coach at the club, while Sorrento coach Steven McGarry and his assistant Neil Kilkenny were both at the club, and that experience will be vital to whoever reaches the national stage.

In the first semi-final, Perth SC makes the trip to Kingsway Reserve, to take on NPLWA league leaders Olympic Kingsway. The Azzurri have won the cup on 11 occasions, but the last was back in 2005, a 1-0 win against Inglewood United in the Midland Brick Cup. They beat Stirling Macedonia 3-2 in the last round, defender Federico Achilli bagging a brace, with Sam Cook sealing the tie deep into stoppage time. Achilli said a good cup run is important, and the chance to showcase the club on the national stage is a huge push for the players. “It is a massive opportunity and one, every club dreams of, and it has been a few years since the club has been on the national stage and it would be a great honour to be able represent Perth and WA,” the skipper explained.

“Obviously, playing in that stage brings a lot of attention to the club but more importantly to the players who are looking to progress in their careers and performing well through the competition would hopefully help those players advance quicker. I think we have a great opportunity but first thing is to qualify for the Round of 32 which definitely won't be an easy task.” Perth assistant coach Stuart Banks said their last visit to the venue in the league was one they want to forget, losing 0-5, but he insists the players are focused to turn that result around. “Yes, last time out against Kingsway we had a very poor result, but I don’t think the performance from us matched that result,” he explained. “Kingsway are a strong side with some big game players and are certainly favourites going into the game, but we have to focus on ourselves, our own game plan and execute that plan well on the night. If we do that, we’ve every confidence in getting the result.”

Olympic sit on top of the NPL table, but are still searching for a cup final win, their last final appearance was in 1998, which ended in defeat against Joondalup City. They also scored late to win their quarter final against Western Knights, with Joe Hobson scoring the winner, his second on the night in the final minute, and coach David Tough said the players have worked extremely hard this season, and a cup final place would be a great reward for them. “It's an incredible opportunity for the club to reach the final and compete for a trophy,” he said. “Advancing to the last 32 of the Australia Cup would be an achievement for the club and the board, especially considering our rise from the amateur leagues in 2011. As a coach and for the players, the goal is always to compete at the highest level possible, and we’ll be doing everything possible to get there.”

Tough worked with Perth coach Kenny Lowe at ECU Joondalup, and was part of the coaching staff when they won the NPL in 2020, and he said they are starting to click under his former mentor, and he is expecting a huge cup-tie under lights on Wednesday, and he knows the recent league result goes out the window, as this is a cup semi-final. “Kenny hasn’t had the luxury of a preseason or night series to fully implement his playing style. His players will be learning every session, and you can see signs that things are starting to click with the squad,” Tough explained. “The last game will not be a indicator of the cup match, as they were still very early in their development when we last played. As always with cup games form can go out the window, we expect a tough, competitive match, and we need to be at our best to advance.”

The other semi-final takes us to Percy Doyle Reserve for the northern derby, between Division One league leaders Sorrento and Perth RedStar. (7.00pm) The Gulls last won the cup in 2015, a 2-0 win against Perth SC, and they have hit the ground running this season unbeaten in both league and cup, and coach Steven McGarry said the players deserve a great deal of credit. “The boys have done a tremendous job so far in reaching this stage of the cup and I guess for us at Sorrento it would be easy to get caught up in the hype of what is at stake,” he explained. “But the guys have been very level headed and focused through all competitions this year and reaping the rewards.

“I think the introduction of the Australia Cup has had a fantastic effect on Australian football over recent years in giving local clubs and players a platform to show their qualities on a national stage and it would be great if a WA team at some point could get to a semi or even a final at some point. We are looking forward to the challenge on Wednesday, and I’m sure there will be a big crowd down at the game with both teams in good league form and some good players on show. Obviously, the massive budget RedStar has been working with over the last few years it might be perceived as there being one clear favourite to go through, but with this group of players we have this year it should make for an interesting game and anything is possible.”

RedStar have won the cup twice as ECU Joondalup, the last in 2002 when they beat Future Glory 2-1 in the Boral Cup. Assistant coach Mark Scanlan said they haven’t been challenging for a spot in the national stage since the initiation of the competition, and this is a great chance to make it, but knows Sorrento will have something to say about that. “Yes, it’s something that we’d love to be involved in, we are closer than we’ve ever been since the club’s inception, but we know how difficult a game we will have ahead of us to get there in Sorrento on Wednesday,” he explained. “We’ve no doubt they’ll be up to it, they’ve put together a very strong side this season and I’m sure Stevey will have done his homework - they’ll be well prepared for the game so we need to make sure we can match that and earn the right to play our football.”

11.6.2024

SOCCEROOS PAY TRIBUTE TO TOMBIDES

The Socceroos honoured the memory of late West Ham United striker Dylan Tombides at tonight's World Cup qualifier with Palestine. The former Australian youth international was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011, following a random drug test taken while Tombides was representing his country at the Under-17 World Cup finals in Mexico. Subsequent tests uncovered a tumour in one of his testicles.

The young forward fought the illness bravely for three years, even managing to make his professional debut for West Ham during that period, but passed away with his family by his side in April 2014, aged just 20. The DT38 Foundation was established in memory of Dylan in both England and Australia, with a vision to change the way testicular cancer is diagnosed by implementing best practice diagnostic guidelines for patients who present with testicular symptoms.

The Socceroos, including Tombides’ one-time Under-17 World Cup teammate Adam Taggart, wore shirts bearing his number, 38, in the warm-up, while supporters paid tribute during the 38th minute of the game as his photo was shown on the big screens. A video featuring Taggart and Dylan’s mother, Tracy, was also shown on the big screens, and a number of match-worn shirts will be made available for auction as part of fundraising efforts in support of DT38 Australia.

10.6.2024

GLORY SECURE BELGIAN DEFENDER HAMZAOUI

Perth Glory have made their first overseas signing of their new era with former Belgian youth international Anas Hamzaoui inking a two-year deal with the A-League club. Previously on the books of Belgian powerhouses Anderlecht and Club Brugge as a junior, the left-back joins Glory having been clubless for the past year.

Hamzaoui was a regular in Belgium’s second-tier Challenger Pro League, making more than 50 appearances for Brussels-based Union Saint-Gilloise, which included promotion to the top flight in the 2020/21 season. After four seasons with Union, the 27-year old moved to Royal Excelsior Virton before playing the 2022/23 campaign for Belgian third-tier side RAAL La Louviere.

Hamzaoui fills Glory’s first overseas spot for next season. “When I was contacted by a club like Perth Glory, I was immediately open to a new challenge and I’m really excited about it,” he said. “I had a really good feeling when I saw the club. I hope we will achieve great things this season and I will certainly be working hard to make that happen.”

Glory football director Stan Lazaridis said Hamzaoui would have a vital role to play in the upcoming campaign. “Anas could be the biggest surprise package among all the players that we’re bringing in,” he said. “For me, his style is reminiscent of the French World Cup winner Bixente Lizarazu.”

“He has a great engine for getting up and down and a really cultured left foot with which he provides excellent delivery into the box. It’s difficult to find quality left-backs and acquiring the services of someone like Anas was one of my top priorities. I’m confident that he will be a really important addition to the squad and a big hit with our members and fans.”

9.6.2024

BELT-UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION – ROUND SEVEN REVIEW

It was the 2004 Belt Up round on Sunday, a Football West-Insurance Commission of Western Australia initiative that promotes the importance of motorists wearing a seatbelt, and in the Belt Up Amateur Premier Division, Wembley Downs have kept their lead at the top of the table, after coming home from Wotton Reserve with all three points, in a 2-0 win against Morley Windmills in our week seven ‘Match of the Round’. “A big win for us against a strong and well organised Morley side,” Wembley coach Rob Jackson said. “Our midweek game against North Perth took a lot out of us and we didn’t get going at all in the first half. We made a couple of changes at the break to get some fresh legs on and we improved a little bit. Morley pushed hard and I thought our back four and keeper were outstanding today, no doubt we’ll have to rotate quite a few for the game at Kelmscott next week but we’re confident the boys who step in will be up to the task.”

The visitors found the opener on three minutes, some nice interchange in the penalty area between Zac Archer and Noah Thavaseelan, before Josh Chalmers finished emphatically across the keeper from the angle. They added a second early in the second half, a great through ball from substitute Sam Mattock sent Halil Russo racing clear, and he was brought down in the box, and the referee pointed straight to the spot. Chalmers stepped up and cooly finished from the spot, to seal the win. “There were some tired legs out there as it was our third game of the week,” Wembley skipper Jack Mellor said. “Probably wasn’t our most complete performance, but we ground out another win which is all that matters. Look forward to our next test, next week away to Kelmscott.”

Kelmscott Roos are hot on their heels, after come from behind 2-1 win against North Beach at the Charles Riley Memorial Reserve, leaving them two points behind the leaders. “Once again, we were not at our best but still managing to get a result out of the game. The conditions were tough and we didn’t do ourselves any favours with the start we had,” Kelmscott keeper Taylore Warwick explained. “North Beach is a good side who have always been tough to play against, but we once again showed we have the grit and determination to push through for the win. We have a massive game next week which will have massive implications on the title run in and one we are very much looking forward too.” The hosts made the perfect start, finding the opener on four minutes, with Sam Richardson on target. North Beach held that lead until the hour mark, when the Roos levelled. A searching ball from Callum Husain found the feet of Issac Koomson, who raced through the middle of the park, before picking out substitute Benn Lewis on the edge of the box, and he curled home superbly. They found the winner nine minutes from time, Stephen Kirk was fouled on the edge of the penalty area, and he picked himself up and fired the resulting free kick into the top corner of the net.

Emerald have bounced back from last week’s loss to Kingsley, beating Peel United 4-0 at Bortolo Park, the win maintaining third spot for Paul Curran’s side. “Really happy to come back up the road with a solid win and a clean sheet. Going down to Peel you always expect a tough battle with yesterday being exactly that,” Curran explained. “We managed to get a few early goals yesterday which helped settle us, after a bit of a bad run of results, that we wanted to rectify yesterday, and all four goals were real quality.” The visitors burst the game open with three goals in the first half hour. First on 13 minutes Shane Young took on the fullback, cut in off the left and stuck a lovely strike into the top corner of the net. Shane Hickey, who was playing his first start for the first team, doubled the scoring on 22 minutes, with a neat finish past the keeper after a clever through ball from new signing Conor Gormley. Then seven minutes later it was 3-0, Shane Flynn eased past his marker and rifled an unstoppable shot, which went in off the crossbar from a tight angle. Emerald made sure of the points three minutes from time, Hickey got his second of the match slipping it past the keeper after another clever through ball from Conor Jordan.

In other games, Jaguar sit fourth, after a hard fought 1-0 win against South Perth United at Challenge Reserve, the only goal of the game coming after only eight minutes, with Mathew Sesay on target. North Perth have made it back-to-back wins, beating bottom of the table Joondalup United 4-0 at Forrest Park. “In tough weather conditions we kept the ball really well for 90 minutes, and we worked hard defensively, and conceding no shots on goal, which was our target today,” North Perth coach Chris Holland said. “Really pleased with the performance, and I thought my team completely controlled the game from start to finish.” Despite dominating, North Perth didn’t find the opener until the shadow half time, good build up play down the left from Gershom Rowland, who played in Joshua Cortes who made no mistake. Cortez returned the favour early in the second half, playing in Rowland who finished well. Then two quick goals from Tomas Carroll secured the game, first a sweeping cross from Morgan Walt found the striker to tap in, before he converted from the spot after he was brought down in the box.

In the final game, Kingsley Westside have continued their recent good form, beating Maccabi 4-1 at Maccabean Memorial Oval. “A huge result today in some tough conditions again on the road for us. This week we had a lot of interruptions with sickness, flooding at Chichester, but the boys really picked up where we left off at Emerald and we looked comfortable and in control for large periods of the game today,” Kingsley coach Brad Hayward explained. “We still have work to do to catch up on some of the teams above us, but the football is getting better and better each week and we hope to make it three wins in a row next weekend at home to Joondalup United.” They were ahead six minutes before half time, a well worked move down the right, ended with a low hard cross finding Ryan Fish in the box, and he finished well. But the hosts levelled early in the second half, with Dion Berman scoring. Kingsley regained the lead just after the hour, with an own goal, before James Callaghan volleyed home superbly after a swift break it make it 3-1. The visitors pressed late and found a fourth after some sustained pressure, with substitute Reece Lane finishing with aplomb.

9.6.2024

NPLWA – WOMEN’S – ROUND NINE REVIEW

Our week nine NPLWA - Women’s ‘Match of the Round’ didn’t disappoint, with Perth SC ending the winning run of leaders Perth RedStar, after a thrilling 4-3 win at the RedStar Arena a on Sunday afternoon, cutting the hosts lead at the top to just two points. The win, the first ever at the venue in the NPL, was a huge boost for the Azzurri, and assistant coach Federico Achilli said it was well overdue. “Last time we played RedStar we felt we should have got more out of the game, but today we got exactly what we deserved. We knew how important this game was and what it meant in terms of the title race and the girls played their roles superbly and played with a lot of courage and heart,” he explained. “With that being said we still have to play RedStar one more time and there is still a big job to do but the girls have given the Danielle and the coaching staff a lot of confidence going forward.”

The visitors made the best possible start, finding the opener after only three minutes, Daisy McAllister and Ruby Marshall combining down the right, before finding Ella Lincoln, and the inform striker fired home superbly from distance, like her father used to do for many years in WA football. But RedStar were level ten minutes later, Caitlin Doeglas pouncing on a mix up between keeper Stacey Cavill and Kim McCartney to score. Many thought the hosts would go on with it, but the Azzurri had other ideas and regained the lead five minutes later. McAllister’s perfectly weighted through ball found the busy Lincoln, who got to the byline and cut the ball back to Marshall who made no mistake past Gabby Dal Busco. Cavill then produced a smart save to deny the lively Manami Arai, and that proved vital, as just before half time Perth added a third. Lincoln, who trained with Perth Glory last season, was involved again, picking out Jess Flannery on the edge of the box, and she pulled the ball across the box to McAllister, who made no mistake.

RedStar coach Carlos Vega-Mena changed things up at half time, with Abbey Woolley and Jayna Ridley coming on for Aral and Leota, and they were back in the game eight minutes in. Doeglas racing clear and beating Cavill at the second attempt. But the visitors weren’t finished, and they almost found a fourth moments later, McAllister racing clear, but Dal Busco stood tall to deny her. But on 66 minutes Danielle Brogan’s side did increase their lead, when McCartney curled home a stunning free kick. Perth went for more, and RedStar custodian Dal Busco was called into action again, this time making a big save to thwart McAllister. Then six minutes from time RedStar reduced the margin, Reina Kagami on target, to set up a grandstand finish, but the Azzurri held firm to take the points, in a game which was a great advert for the league.

“It was a tough game and credit to RedStar for pushing us all the way to then end. Our team was extremely motivated to get something out of the game today and to keep our hand in the title race,” new Perth defender Baxter Thew explained. “To do this, we knew we needed to be up for a physical contest and be clinical in front of goal which I think we achieved today. I’m really proud of the girls for maintaining composure in moments when we conceded goals and for sticking to the task when emotions and pressure could have easily got the better of us. I’m super excited for what’s to come with the playing group and hope we can achieve what I believe we are capable of this season.”

In other games Hyundai NTC have made it back-to-back wins after a 4-2 win against Murdoch University Melville at Besteam Stadium. Theodora Mouithys opened the scoring early, before the speedy striker played a neat through ball to Sakura Leong, who made no mistake on the half hour to double their lead. The hosts reduced the margin two minutes later, Emmanuella Boadou pouncing on short back pass to score her first NPL goal. But in the shadows of half time the NTC regained their two-goal advantage, Mia Britton finding the net from a tight angle. Jessica Johnson made it 4-1 early in the second half, finishing off some neat lead up play, and despite Taylor Reid’s late goal for the hosts, the youngsters were worthy winning, to consolidate fourth spot.

Subiaco AFC are up to fifth after a 3-0 win against UWA Nedlands at Rosalie Park. “We knew UWA would be a tough opponent, they were very physical and well organised, and are improving which is great for the NPLW,” Subiaco coach Greg Farrell said. “We worked hard defensively, and were well disciplined. We caused ourselves some issues with giving possession away carelessly, but there was also a great deal of selfless and very good moments offensively which shows the unity within the group is very strong and we are building together.” The hosts opened brightly and were 2-0 up in the first 15 minutes. First on six minutes Marianna Tabain’s free-kick flew past Morgan Springer and into the top corner, before Cass Harvey raced clear from a Tayna Campos through ball, and finished past Springer. The hosts sealed the points 12 minutes from time, Frankie Murray-Hocking squared for Dakota Van Vugt to score from close-range. The final game of the round was on Friday evening between Fremantle City and Balcatta Etna at Wauhop Park. Unfortunately, the game was postponed with the pitch unfit to play on, much to the disappointment of both teams.

9.6.2024

NPL-WA ROUND ELEVEN - REVIEW

Olympic Kingsway have maintained their lead at the top of the NPLWA – Men’s table, after a come-from-behind 2-1 win against Armadale in our week 11 ‘Match of the Round’ at Alfred Skeet Reserve on Saturday afternoon. Hamish Van Dieken gave the hosts the lead just before half time, and Olympic were reduced to ten men early in the second half with skipper Mitch Oxborrow sent off. But the ten-men hit back with Luke Hewings levelling, before Joe Knowles gave them the lead. Armadale pressed for the equaliser late, but they had striker Chan Yelchan sent off nine minutes from time, and the visitors held firm to take the points.

“It was a tough game down at Armadale like it always is, they set up well and play to their strengths which made it difficult for us in the first half, and we ended up trying to play like them,” Olympic striker Joe Knowles explained post-match. “Second half we wanted to play our own game which we did, and even after going down to ten men early into the second half, we managed to keep the ball knock it around and create chances. It was another big shift from the boys, with a great result away from home, now we look forward to Wednesday night in the cup against Perth SC.”

The hosts, who were coming off their biggest win of the season against Stirling, had the better of the first half, and found the opener in the shadows of half time. Charlie Fleming’s ball sent Van Dieken in on goal, and the striker finished low past Adrain Sinagra at his near post. The visitors suffered another blow early in the second half when Oxborrow received a second yellow card three minutes in and was sent off. That seems to galvanise Olympic and four minutes later they were level.

Knowles’ deep cross found the unmarked Luke Hewings, who headed past Sam Hocking. Both sides had chances as the game opened up, but on 69 minutes it was the ten-men who hit the front. Knowles started the move, sending the overlapping Ayrn Williams down the right, and the defender cut the ball back to Knowles, and the former Perth Glory striker finished with aplomb. Armadale pressed for the equaliser, but were also reduced to ten men nine minutes from time with striker Yelchan sent off after receiving his second yellow card.

Armadale coach Alun Vernals said the sending off seemed to help Olympic, and his side lost their way. “I thought we started the game brightly, and had some great early chances, and we managed to get our noses in front just before the break and were good value for it,” Vernals said post-match. “We started the second half well, but the game changed when Mitch got sent off, and they found an extra gear and we started to force it, and we’re very sloppy in possession.”

Fremantle City kept the pressure on Olympic, after a narrow 2-1 win against a ten-man Floreat Athena at E&D Litis Stadium. “It was a tough game, they (Floreat) started off really well, for the first 20 minutes they found space in good areas of the park and scored a well worked goal,” Fremantle striker Ollie La Galia said. “However, we stuck to our plan, got a goal back and put pressure back on Floreat. The red card was unfortunate for them but a credit to them because they came out in the second half fired up. We didn’t panic and in the end our counterattacking seemed to get us a lot of joy with Pat getting the decisive goal.”

It was Floreat who opener the brighter, and they were ahead on eight minutes, Kyle Murray’s through ball found the overlapping Sean McManus, who’s neat backheel found Nick Ambrogio, who finished low past Luke Radonich via the post. Fremantle levelled just before the half hour mark, Pat Loughrey sent Dylan White down the left, his cross to the back post was headed home by Ollie La Galia. The game took another twist just before half time when Cherno Bah was sent off. The visitors made their numerical advantage count 20 minutes from time John Chalmers won possession in the middle of the park and played in Loughrey, his shot deflected to La Galia, whose shot fell kindly for Loughrey who finished low past Jason Saldaris to win it.

Former Floreat defender Jesse Fuller said it was a tough game as they knew it would be. “They started well, scored an early goal which gave us a kick in the backside to step things up and get control of the ball more. The first half was a bit scrappy, with only a few clearcut chances. The red card was a turning point and allowed us more time and space to get on the ball,” Fuller explained. “In the second half we took advantage of this and kept the ball better, stayed patient, and created much better chances, and eventually took two of them. We should have scored more to put the game to bed, but didn't manage to convert. I thought we defended well and kept our composure to secure a well-deserved win and another three points.’

Perth RedStar remains third, after a 2-0 win against bottom of the table Inglewood United at the RedStar Arena. “Inglewood turned up with a great attitude and gave us a bit of trouble but it was a tidy performance for our boys to get the three points,” RedStar midfielder Joel Chianese said. “At this stage of the season, one win can put you on top and with cup games mid-week, it’s important to manage the squad, so a lot of positives for us moving forward.” The hosts began well, and hit the front on seven minutes before the break, substitute Lewis Tucker’s through ball sent Daryl Nicol clear, and the Scottish striker made no mistake past debutant keeper Rocco Matovina. Nicol added his eighth goal of the season on the hour to seal the game. Nick Walsh and Bryce Bafford combined down the left, the latter crossing to Nicol, whose first touch was excellent, and the second hit the back of the net.

Bayswater City have come out on top in the Italian Derby, beating Balcatta Etna 2-0 at Home Group Stadium at Grindleford Reserve to move up to fourth. “Great to get the three points and a clean sheet away from home,” Bayswater skipper Gordon Smith said. “Balcatta made it difficult for us but we kept our shape and discipline and managed to get an important goal before half time. Second half we didn’t control the game as much as we’d like too but managed to get the second goal to make it a comfortable last ten minutes. It’s important we keep in contact with the top of the table, and we’re looking to push on in the second half of the season and turn more draws into wins.” The visitors found the opening goal two minutes before the break, Cameron Teece crossing to Chris Jackson, who made no mistake. Bayswater sealed the game four minutes from time Teece cross caused confusion in the Balcatta penalty, and the ball was only cleared as far as Smith, and the Scotsman rammed the ball home.

It’s been a difficult week for Stirling Macedonia, a big loss at Armadale and the departure of Ian Ferguson, but the players put that behind them to seal a 1-0 win against Western Knights at Macedonia Park on Saturday evening. “It’s been a roller coaster week for all of us at Stirling and under difficult circumstances, the boys dug deep and dominated the game in all aspects from start to finish,” Stirling skipper Dejan Spaseski said. “That one was for Fergie and John to thank them for everything they’ve done for us over the years. It’s been an honour to play for the both of them and we’ve loved every minute of it.” The hosts were on the front foot from the off and Sam Reilly produced a smart save early to deny Alex Tanevski early, but there was nothing the Knights custodian could do when the hosts found the opener on 26 minutes.

The Knights lost possession in the middle of the park, the ball finding Sam Wynne, whose long-range effort flew past Reilly to give interim coach Dean Nicolaou a perfect start. The Knights pressed forward late looking for the equaliser, Shay Donovan went close on two occasions. First his effort crashed off the post, before the striker fired straight at Stirling keeper James Bosdet. “Just a great result and I’m proud of how the boys reacted from last week’s game and the news that shocked us as well,” Bosdet said. “The boys defended really well and it was great to see us get a big win.” Meanwhile the club announced the appointed of former Perth Glory Academy head coach Ago Mujic as new coach at Macedonia Park.

In the final game, a goal two minutes from time by Perth Glory substitute William Freney has given them a share of the spoils in a 3-3 draw against Perth SC at Sam Kerr Football Stadium. “I thought it was a very intense game. We let ourselves down by conceding two goals early, but there is some fight within our group and our players never gave up,” Glory coach Ivan Zuvela explained. “We came up against such a well-structured and organised side. Perth was very impressive and it’s no surprise they play some very good football. I was proud of our players that they never gave up and they were rewarded with a very good late goal.”

The visitors made the best start, and hit the front on eight minutes, a cross from the right wasn’t claimed by Robert Cook, Sam Cook was on hand to score from close-range. It was 2-0 ten minutes later, Sean O’Connor was caught in possession by Josh Cala, the ball falling to Gordon Perkins on the edge of the box, and he finished low past Robert Cook. Glory found a lifeline on 28 minutes, Laat Mathiang received the ball in the middle of the park and strode forward, weaving his way into the box before finishing low past Joe Pollard. Then ten minutes later they were level, after referee Alex Novatsis spotted a foul and Seb Despotovski made no mistake from the resulting penalty.

Perth regained the lead early in the second half, Coby Sutton sending the overlapping David Ninkovich down the left, and his low cross was turned home at the back post by Sam Cook. It looked like that would win it, but Glory had other ideas, and on 88 minutes they levelled, a stunning strike from Freney to give both sides a share of the spoils. “I thought we played very well and our third goal was a perfect representation of how we want to play under Kenny,” Perth midfielder Josh Cala said. “Really disappointed to concede so late, but very pleased with the way we played on the night.”

9.6.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND TEN REVIEW

Kingsley Westside’s recent good form in the State League Division One has continued, after a 4-2 win against Mandurah City in our week ten ‘Match of the Round’ at Chichester Park on Saturday afternoon. “Another solid performance from the lads on Saturday against a well organised side. I thought both sides had their moments where we both controlled the game for periods, the only part of our game I felt we let ourselves down in was the two goals conceded, but fair play for their second goal world class,” Kingsley coach Steven Dimitrovich explained. “Again, we showed a resilience and desire to win the game and was absolutely rapt for Shane Hulgraine who has worked his socks off this season for little end result and for him to score a screamer to make it 4-2 put the biggest of smiles on all the lads faces as they know the work he puts in for the team. Now we get ready for a tough away game to Cockburn next weekend.”

The hosts made the best possible start, opening the scoring on seven minutes. Joel Gillespie’s corner was headed goalward by Adam O’Neill, and Hayden Lowe swept the ball home from close-range. But Mandurah were level eight minutes later, Robbie Galvin’s corner was headed home by Chadley Edwards. It was tight affair with both sides creating chances, but it was Kingsley who regained the lead 11 minutes from time, with Gillespie sending Alfie Brincat the wrong way from the spot.

Kingsley, who were on three game winning streak, added another five minutes later, with Callum Tryner on target. But Mandurah weren’t finished, and reduced the margin sixty seconds later, with one of the goals of the season. John Baird’s ball into the box from the left found Leigh Griffith’s and the former Celtic striker produced a stunning finish to beat Peter Stewart, and it was game on. But the home faithful were on their feet again in the final minute, as Kingsley added a fourth. Gillespie’s cross was only cleared as far as substitute Shane Hulgraine, whose powerful shot from the edge of the box flew past Brincat.

League leaders Sorrento remain one point clear of the chasing pack, after a 3-1 win against Subiaco AFC at Rosalie Park. “It was a hard game against a gritty Subiaco team with tough conditions, but we’re all buzzing to come out with three points maintaining our run of good form and on a personal level, happy to get a hat trick of assists,’ Sorrento winger Hamza Hana said. “We move on to a difficult mid-week, in the Australia Cup semifinal against RedStar, with the aim to keep our position in both competitions.” The Gulls found the opener on the half hour, when Keegan Chambers’ long-range shot went under the body of Subiaco keeper Conor Hogan.

But ten minutes later the hosts levelled, Charlie Breen burst into the penalty area, and squared the ball to Moustafa Mohamed, and his shot was turned into his own net by the unfortunate Benjamin Niles. Sorrento regained the lead early in the second half, Neil Kilkenny sent Hamza Hena down the left, he beat his marker and crossed to half time substitute Connor Simpson who finished clinically. The points were sealed just before the hour, a training ground corner routine, saw Hina’s corner pick out Kilkenny on the edge of the box, and the former Perth Glory midfielder shot found the corner of the net.

Dianella White Eagles have bounced back from defeat last week at Kingsley, with a 2-0 win against Rockingham City at Lark Hill Sportsplex. The visitors were ahead on 17 minutes, Andy Keogh laying the ball into the path of Shane Barnes, who found the corner of the net. They secured all three points nine minutes from time, Angel Andres Jnr raced into the box, and was brought down by Maxwell Worswick, and replays show the defender was unlucky, after taking the ball. But Keogh stepped up and found the bottom corner of the net with the resulting penalty.

UWA Nedlands are up to fourth after a 5-1 win against a ten-man Murdoch University Melville at the Besteam Stadium. “MUMFC is always a tough place to go and Mark has them playing good football, so to come away with a win was very pleasing. We asked for a good reaction following our poor performance last week and defiantly got that,” UWA coach Richard Abrams explained. “It was a typical third v fifth game and to be honest the scoreline flattered us as Ty O’Malley was outstanding in goal at vital times to keep us in the game at certain moments. We hope to get two or three back from injury and holidays next week and push on.”

The visitors made the breakthrough on 22 minutes, Luke Salas’ shot was saved by Paul Leask, but Seb Hooshangian was on hand to fire home the rebound. But the hosts were level two minutes later, Iljas Ahmedov’s shot was saved by Ty O’Malley, the rebound fell to Eddie Wynne-Willson, whose shot was blocked, but Feisal Zaw was on hand to turn the ball home from close-range. UWA regained the lead just before the break, quick feet from Salas saw him burst into the box, his shot was parried by Leask, but Pascal Sedgwick turned home the rebound.

The game spring to life late, and ten minutes from time UWA added a third, Salas the provider again, this time sending substitute Toby Robertson clear, and he held off his marker before scoring. The hosts were reduced to ten men after Kai Jones was given a straight red for an off the ball incident with Salas. UWA added two goals late to put the gloss on the win. First on 95 minutes, Robertson squared for skipper Hooshangian to score, and four minutes later Robertson raced clear and finished with aplomb to seal the big win.

Gosnells City have moved off the bottom of the table, holding off a fast-finishing Joondalup United, to runout 2-1 winners at Walter Padbury Reserve. “Over the moon for the lads, as the last couple of weeks our performances have been great, but with no reward, especially last week taking Dianella so close, so we used that as motivation to carry into this week, and the lads were outstanding and gave us everything,” a delighted Gosnells coach Peter Allen explained. “We knew it would be a tough old game, Joondalup are a very physical, direct team, but have a lot of quality, so I’m proud of the lad’s they dug in played some good football and two very well worked goals. Yes, it was a nervy end with Joondalup getting one back, but again credit to the lads they held on for the victory and we move on to a big clash at the league leaders next week.”

Gosnells were ahead on 76 minutes, Tony Chandler sent Wade Farmer racing down the right, his cross picked out Shawn Peppin, who finished low past Todd Hoyle. It was 2-0 nine minutes from time, substitute Deng Dut’s ball into the box found Tom Kennedy, he found Darren Francis, who neatly played it back to the midfielder who finished clinically. Joondalup found a life line four minutes later, Jackson Dongray’s long throw wasn’t dealt with, Jay Lang’s shot was was headed off the line by Luqman Sayyed, but substitute George McIlroy fired home the rebound. Joondalup pressed late looking for the equaliser, but Gosnells held firm for three vital points.

Cockburn City dropped to the foot of the table, after a 1-2 defeat by Gwelup Croatia at Dalmatinac Park, the win moving Gwelup to within five points of the top four. “We’re delighted to come away with a well needed three points. The lads have kept plugging away over the past few weeks despite injuries and suspensions disrupting us, but I think today we’ve got what we deserved,” Gwelup coach Ryan Cantello said. “I thought we played some good stuff at times today and probably the scoreline could have been more convincing. We have to immediately set our sights on MUMFC next week in another difficult away game.”

Gwelup were ahead on 26 minutes, after Jeremie Mba was brought down in the box, and the striker picked himself up to convert the resulting penalty. But two minutes later the Cockerels levelled, with Harry O’Brien heading home. Gwelup close to regaining the lead moments later, Reece Kral’s cross from the right was met by Mba, whose volley crashed off the crossbar. But Mba wasn’t to be denied, and he scored the winner on 64 minutes, racing down the left before cutting inside his marker and firing home, the ball seemed to deflect of skipper James Harmer, but it was on its way into the net.

9.6.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND NINE REVIEW

Kalamunda City remain top of the State League Division Two table, despite being held to a 2-2 draw by Ashfield in our week nine ‘Match of the Round’ at Maida Vale Reserve on Saturday afternoon. Ashfield coach James Sammut said they deserved their point. “It was a tough game against a great Kalamunda side who deserve to be where they are,’ he said. “We thought that our performance could have warranted more than a draw, but against teams like Kalamunda, they show why they're top of the league. We'll take the point and go back to work at training for a tough game against Swan this week.”

It was Ashfield who opened the scoring just before the half hour, Hanani Ndebele beat his defender and was bought down in the box, and the striker picked himself up and converted the penalty. Kalamunda levelled just before the hour mark, a ball into the box was spilt by Riley Stephenson under pressure, and substitute Jose Zuniga fired home from close-range. The hosts then hit the front six minutes later, Samir Ramos racing clear, rounding Stephenson to score into an empty net, and it looked like that would win it for Kalamunda, but deep into stoppage time Ashfield levelled. Ben Entwistle won the ball in the middle of the park, played a through ball that Ndebele got on the end of, and slid the ball past the keeper from the edge of the box, his tenth goal of the season and to give both sides a share of the spoils.

Joondalup City are one point behind the leaders after breaking a three-game losing streak with a hard fought 2-1 win against East Perth at Iluka District Open Space. “I have the upmost respect for Colm (Costello) and what he’s done in the local game over the last few years and knowing Ago well from my time at the Glory academy I knew we were in for our hardest game so far today,” Joondalup coach Guy McDonald explained. “I thought they were the better team in the first half and we took the second half. I think anyone that watched the game today would have enjoyed the football that was played and seeing two teams having a crack at each other, it was a great advertisement for Division Two.

“I’m proud of my boys today. We played like a team fighting our way out of a three-game losing streak in the first half. Then that brought us belief in the second half to grab hold of the game and play the best football we have all year.” The visitors made the best start and were ahead on ten minutes, some neat build up play down the left ended with Ryan McCready, who finished clinically, for his tenth goal of the season. The hosts levelled on 68 minutes, after some sustained pressure, clever lay on the edge of the box saw Harry Edwards unselfishly squaring the ball for substitute Mason Gallagher to score. Joondalup won it 16 minutes from time, Eddie Wilcock whipped a ball across the box for Gallagher, who volleyed home.

Forrestfield United lost ground on the leaders after they were beaten 1-0 by Balga at Crazy Domains Stadium, Hartfield Park. “Another great result away from home. There weren’t clear obvious chances for either team, but we managed to keep the pressure on even with ten men, and we were able to take our chance when it came and we got the win,” Balga striker Nathan Scully explained. “Sometimes you don’t play the style you would like to, but you still have to find a way to win, and that’s what we did.” Balga played most of the second half with ten men, after Christian Vest was sent off four minutes in. They held firm and scored the only goal of the game eight minutes from time, some neat build up play down the right ended with Christian Lenz, his cross was deflected to substitute Nick Pike, who fired low past the keeper, and was quickly mobbed by his teammate.

Balga coach Gerhard Janssen was delighted with his side determination, especially after going down to ten men. “Forrestfield is the favourite in our league, and my team had to perform at their very best to bring the victory home to Balga. When you down to ten men in the 49th minute and you score the winner late in the game, then this is a testament of fighting spirit and determination,” he explained. “The team never gave up and despite the fact that Forrestfield had most of the possession we had the better scoring opportunities when Albert Mombo and Karl Maluga only missed by a few centimetres. Overall, it was important to have the first back-to-back victories of the season.”

Canning City are up to seventh after a 4-1 win against Quinns at Stylish Park, Gumblossom Reserve. “It was a really pleasing performance, we knew the threat Quinn’s had up top with the pace of Magai Deng and Mou Marial,” Canning coach Lee Hayward said. “So, we started the game playing a little deeper than we would normally would play to nullify the threat the best we could, really happy with the win.” Both sides had chances in the first half, with George Stephens hitting the post for Canning, while Deng did likewise for Quinns. However, in the second half Canning took control of the game, and found the opener three minutes in.

Freeman Nyatsambo was put through by Tom Kinnane, and he finished well. It was 2-0 on the hour, with Mason Langham finishing from close range. It was soon 3-0, a great diagonal pass from Alex Guzman sent Kinnane in one-on-one with the keeper, and he kept his composer to finish well. Quinns midfielder Jason Petrie pulled one back for the hosts 11 minutes later, after he bundled home a corner from close range, but that was as good as it got for the hosts, and the game was wrapped up 86 minutes. A short corner from Guzman ended with a cross to the back post and Langham was on hand to fire home.

Curtin University are up to fourth after a 2-1 win against Carramar Shamrock Rovers at Grandis Park. “I thought we were second best in the first half, but after a few tweaks at half time we got the game on our terms in the second half and deserved the win,” Curtin coach Troy Reid said. “Carramar is one of the hardest away trips in this league, so happy to come away with three points.” Kieran Witt gave Curtin the lead early, getting on the end of a cut back from the byline from Mighael Muller. But Rovers levelled on 24 minutes, a cross from the right picked out the unmarked Daniel Airns who made no mistake. The visitors sealed the points on the hour, Rakan Ozrain raced down the left, before passing back to Ben Knight, his cross found Witt in the penalty area, who controlled well and finished well, his second on the day, to take his season tally to seven.

In the final game Swan United have returned to the winner’s circle after a hard fought 2-1 win against Wanneroo City at Wanneroo Reserve. “It was a really tough game against a Wanneroo side, who we knew would be fighting for their lives. The first 30 minutes I think we tried to be a bit too cute with the balls in conditions that really weren’t going to allow for it, and didn’t retain anywhere near enough possession,’ Swan coach Niall Hughes explained. “We got a bit of luck with their penalty hitting the post, although I didn’t think it was one to begin with, and sadly we didn’t use that as a wakeup call and concede a really bad goal within a couple of minutes.

“From there we lifted the tempo and the quality a little and got an equaliser right on the stroke of half time, which was a huge relief for us, and 60 seconds later we produced our best passage of play for the half and took the lead. To go in up at half time was undeserved but taking chances is something we haven’t done so well this season, so I’m glad to see us do that again. From there it was a case of matching Wanneroo’s intensity and look to get that third and kill off the game, their keeper made two or three really good saves to keep them alive and then we get the red card which puts more pressure on. Credit to the lads though they dug in and managed that last 15 really well and it’s good to see that we can win ugly.”

The hosts had the perfect opportunity to take the lead five minutes before half time, but Calvin Scolin saw his penalty hit the post. But that was forgotten two minutes later, with Asa Sippits on target. Swan hit back immediately a free kick was whipped deep in to the back post by Nick Burmej, which was headed back across goal by Brennan Borzecki for Rhys Loxley to head home from 10 meters. Swans hit the front in stoppage time, some neat play down the left found Ben Greaves in the middle of the park, who slipped through Cam Anderson in behind the defence, who’s low finish was saved well by Jordan Barbas but was followed up by Loxley who finished brilliantly from a tight angle. The black and whites had chances to seal the game in the second half, but found Barbas in fine form, the keeper making a number of fine saves.

9.6.2024

PERTH-BORN JONES WELCOMES BEING BACK IN PERTH

It has been almost two decades since Gethin Jones last spent time in Perth, but the West Australian-born, Welsh-raised full-back is making the most of his time back in his place of birth. Jones, who was catapulted into Graham Arnold’s Socceroos squad for January’s Asian Cup, was born in Perth but moved to Wales as a kid and was developed in the United Kingdom.

Jones, who plays his club football for English League One club Bolton Wanderers, has always been fond of his Australian heritage and links to Perth, and said he was excited to be back in his hometown. “It’s been a good 18, 19 years since I’ve been back to Perth. I was very young then and it was just a holiday, but it’s really good to be back to see the area,” he said.

“It was obviously a very difficult decision for the family to move back to Wales. Australia is such a beautiful country and they loved living in Perth, I loved growing up here. But the family was from Wales, my dad took over the family business at the time. In fairness, for me to go back to Wales has put me where I am today with football — going into Everton at 11, 12-years old and then growing up to play football and I’m very proud now to be representing the Socceroos.”

Jones has played just five games for the national team so far but said it had been an eye-opening experience and a different challenge to the rigors of club football. “Every game is very difficult, no matter who you play. The culture of the whole squad, we’ve got a really good bunch of boys and I’ve only been here six months, but it feels like I’ve been here for years already,” he said.

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has floated the idea of tactical changes in defence, such as moving from a back four to a three, and Jones said his versatility in being able to play at both right-back and centre-back could come in handy. “I’m more of a natural right-back, but the way I’ve been playing for Bolton the last two seasons, I’ve been on the right of a three. If Arnie is thinking of maybe changing things up, I’m more than comfortable playing there,” he said.

9.6.2024

TAGGART DETERMINED TO MAKE THE MOST OF PALESTINE CLASH IN PERTH

The last time the Socceroos came to Perth, Perth Glory skipper Adam Taggart was watching on in the stands. On Tuesday night, he might get a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity. After coming off the bench against Bangladesh, Taggart is hoping to represent his country in front of his home crowd against Palestine at Perth Oval.

“It’s amazing for me. I’ve never played for the national team in front of my friends and family, so this will be the first time,” he said. “It’s something as a young Perth boy you’d always dream of, games in Perth don’t come around too often, so it’s almost a bit of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Having returned from a stint in Asia to sign for the Glory in 2022, Taggart said he was confident he could maintain his spot in the squad through strong A-League Men’s form, as long as he was producing in Socceroos camp as well. “That’s always one of the challenges, because you have such a short amount of time in camp, so you need to hit the ground running every camp,” he said. “Being in Perth is a great opportunity to reignite that international career.”

The Socceroos have partnered with the DT38 Foundation to honour the legacy of Dylan Tombides during the match against Palestine, with players to wear a specially designed warm-up shirt and fans to pay tribute during the game. Taggart played alongside Tombides at the 2013 AFC Under-22 Championship, just months before the latter tragically passed away from testicular cancer just three months later.

“I was obviously lucky enough to be in camp with him once and see what a great human and fantastic talent he was. I’m looking forward to us representing him on Tuesday,” Taggart said. “A massive talent and I could see that in the short time that I had with him and looking back I’m grateful to have shared that camp with him and you could see how positive he was and what he was bringing to the team and we all bounced off him and took in that energy he had.”

9.6.2024

CIRCATI EAGER TO PLAY IN FRONT OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS

Socceroos young gun Alessandro Circati says winning his second international cap in front of friends and family in his hometown would be a dream come true. The defender is pressing for selection ahead of Australia’s World Cup qualifier against Palestine at Perth Oval on Tuesday and could potentially form an all-Perth centre-back pairing with fellow Sandgroper Cam Burgess.

20-year old Circati, a Perth SC junior and Perth Glory academy product, moved to Italian club Parma in 2021 and cemented his place in the back four the season just gone. Having returned home with a Serie B title under his belt and promotion to Italy’s top flight secured, Circati said he was dreaming of making his second appearance for the Socceroos back where it all began.

“To play for the Socceroos here would be a dream. Being only my second cap, it would be something that I couldn’t even write three, four years back,” Circati said. “It would be an absolute honour and pleasure to play in front of some family and friends who haven’t actually been able to see me play, other than playing down at Dorrien Gardens when I was 14, 15.”

Circati has been waiting patiently since making his Socceroos debut last October against New Zealand. “During those eight months it was a huge stage for me, obviously getting promotion into Serie A was a really important for me,” Circati commented. “And I think that played a huge part in my development as a player and as a person. I think that was obviously a big step for me.”

Coach Graham Arnold had promised the squad he would swing the changes for the Perth game following last week’s 2-0 win over Bangladesh. With Harry Souttar and Kye Rowles chosen against Bangladesh, it’s likely Circati and Burgess will both start in their home city. “I think me and Cam will do really well. I haven’t played with him yet, but we do have a connection: Perth,” said Circati.

With a few national team camps now under his belt, Circati said he was getting to grips with what travelling with the Socceroos entailed. “Traveling isn’t the easy part. The easy part is the more you get to know the guys, the more you get to know the coach, you understand what he wants,” he said. “The adapting is changing the way you play, changing styles, changing models of play. That’s just adaptation.”

The Socceroos only beat Palestine 1-0 when they met in November and Circati is expecting a similarly close encounter. “They’re actually a good team,” said Circati, who also noted Palestine’s particular circumstance at present due to the Israel-Gaza war. “They have some good players going forward, very physical team and a team that obviously has a lot to play for with what’s happening over there.”

7.6.2024

FLOREAT ATHENA CHARGED BY FOOTBALL WEST

Football took a step back to the bad old days in the round nine NPLWA – Men’s game between Floreat Athena and Olympic Kingsway, when so called spectators came on to the pitch and attacked Olympic officials. The scenes were disgraceful, and should never be repeated again.

Football West have completed its investigation into the incident and have applied significant sanctions to Floreat Athena including:

*A deduction of six NPLWA - Men’s competition points, part suspended, aligned to ensuring there is not a further breach of the Code of Conduct or Spectator Code of Behaviour by Floreat Athena
*A fine following the activation of a suspended sentence from 2023
*A first strike under the Football West Three-Strike Policy
*A commitment to increased security to be present at first-team home games for the remainder of the NPLWA – Men’s season, including all Top Four Cup games if applicable
*Floreat Athena have until 13 June to appeal against the sanctions. Separate sanctions will apply against individuals involved in the incident.

7.6.2024

BELT-UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION – ROUND SEVEN PREVIEW

It's the 2024 Belt-Up Round this weekend. Belt-Up Round is a Football West-Insurance Commission of Western Australia initiative that promotes the importance of motorists wearing a seatbelt. Wembley Downs moved to the top of the Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division table in midweek, after a narrow 1-0 win against North Perth United at Butlers Reserve on Wednesday evening. They will look to maintain their unbeaten start to the season, when they head to Wotton Reserve on Sunday, to take on Morley Windmills in our week seven ‘Match of the Round’ (All games kick off at 3.00pm) First to Wednesday’s round three catch up game, it was a tight encounter, with the only goal of the game coming five minutes before the break. A teasing free kick from Ryan Morris, was flicked on by Josh Chalmers, the ball going in off the unfortunate North Perth defender. The visitors ended the game with ten men after midfielder Barry Boggan was sent off after receiving a second yellow card.

Wembley skipper Jack Mellor said it was tough game, but they came out on top, and they will be looking for more of the same at Morley on Sunday. “We knew we would be in for a battle against North Perth and that’s exactly how it panned out, with plenty of physicality and strong challenges,” he explained. “They did their best to try disrupt our rhythm, but I think we more than matched them and, on another day, would have punished them with a bigger scoreline. We’ve had a strong start to the season but we know there is along way to go, and we play second to fifth in the next four weeks, so tough challenges await, starting with Morley, bring it on.”

Morley were held to a draw at South Perth last week, a game coach John O’Reilly thought they deserved more from, but he knows they will need to be at their best when the league leaders arrive. South Perth was a frustrating game, we had plenty of chances to kill the game off but we didn't finish them. They (South Perth) worked hard and deserved their goals, and we managed to claw our way back into the game with a late equaliser,” he explained. “We have worked hard over the last two weeks in preparation for Wembley. They are contenders for the title and will be a strong challenge to overcome, but I think the lads will be up for it, so should be a good game.”

In other games this weekend, South Perth United welcome Jaguar to Challenger Reserve, while Emerald makes the trip to Bortolo Park to take on Peel United. Joondalup United host North Perth United at Forrest Park, while Maccabi entertain Kingsley Westside at Maccabean Memorial Oval. In the final game second-placed Kelmscott Roos visits the Charles Riley Memorial Reserve to take on North Beach. The Roos are coming off a big win in the cup last week against Maccabi, and coach Rhydeen Botha said it was a good victory.

“It was a tough day in tough conditions, and with us nursing a few injured players through the week, we had to rotate the side a bit. We didn’t play as well as we could have and it showed throughout the game,” he explained. “I thought we controlled possession mostly throughout the game but still gave the ball away in important areas. It’s still nice to see that even when we are not at our best, we are still winning games, and that’s an important step to being successful, but we will be looking to step it up on Sunday at North Beach.”

7.6.2024

NPLWA – WOMEN’S – ROUND NINE PREVIEW

It’s round nine of the NPLWA – Women’s competition, and it kicks off on Friday evening, when Fremantle City entertain Balcatta Etna at Wauhop Park. (8.30pm) Both sides are coming off strong performances last week, the hosts drawing 1-1 with Perth SC, while Balcatta beat MUMFC 4-1. Balcatta coach Peter Rakic said tonight’s game is big for both sides, but he hopes his players can continue where they left off last week.

“It's a big game for both sides. Fremantle have some excellent individuals who can change the game within an instant so we have to be organised defensively if we hope to keep their chances to a minimum,” he said. “I've been pleased with our current form as of late though and how we've controlled the majority of our matches so our intentions won't change for tonight, but it's a must win situation to keep pressure on the top two."

Talking of the top two, they meet on Sunday afternoon, with league leaders Perth RedStar hosting Perth SC at the RedStar Arena. (3.15pm) The Azzurri lost ground on the leaders last week, after a draw at Fremantle, Ella Lincon’s opener was cancelled out by Sophie Meaden. Meanwhile, RedStar continued their winning run to eight games, when a Reina Kagami brace helped them to a 5-0 win at Subiaco.

RedStar skipper Sarah Carroll said all games against Perth are tough, and she is expecting the same on Sunday. “It’s a very important game, and a must win for us. Perth is a good side and we need to be at our best,’ Carroll said. “As a group, we’re in a good place and we’re confident, and if we play to our strengths and limit theirs, I believe we can get the job done. We’re looking to forward to it, it’s always a good battle with Perth and doubt it will be another one this weekend.”

In the other games on Sunday the Hyundai NTC will look to build on their win in the last round against UWA, when they travel to Besteam Stadium to meet Murdoch University Melville (3.00pm), while Subiaco AFC and UWA Nedlands will look bounce back from heavy defeats last week, when they meet at Rosalie Park. (3.45)

7.6.2024

SOCCEROOS TOO STRONG FOR BANGLADESH

The Socceroos recorded their fifth consecutive win, and clean sheet in FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches as they defeated Bangladesh 2-0 in Dhaka on Thursday evening. With the win Australia are top of group I and into the next round of qualifying, and take on Palestine at HBF Park in Perth on Tuesday evening. A win in that game and South Korea lose or draw against China, Graham Arnold’s side could leapfrog South Korea in the rankings and ensure better seeding for the next draw.

Head Coach Graham Arnold said the pitch was in poor condition and dangerous, and will be sweating on a couple of injuries from the game ahead of the Perth clash. "The pitch? Terrible. It's unacceptable," Arnold said post-match. “Because we talk about player welfare, and you're putting players on a field that players can get injured. It’s no shock to me that five or six players from Bangladesh went down with cramping, having cramps in calf muscles and hamstrings because that field is not good. I'm being honest … the field was dangerous. I'm not passing responsibility. That was a field that we only won 2-0, we had the chances to score five, six, seven, but some of the tackles, and the potential injuries was stressing me out last night."

Ajdin Hrustic opened the scoring in the first half with a deflected long-range effort, before Portsmouth striker Kusini Yengi headed home a great cross from Jordy Bos to make it 2-0 to Australia to wrap up the scoring at the Bashundhara Kings Arena. In team selection 18-year-old winger Nestory Irankunda became the 643rd Socceroo as he was handed a debut by Arnold. Joe Gauci started in goal for the injured Mat Ryan securing his second Aussie clean sheet, and Arnold deployed both Kusini Yengi and Mitch Duke up front for the second consecutive match, with Perth Glory’s Adam Taggart on the bench.

The green and gold dominated possession early, but wasted their opportunities, Irankunda firing wide of the target, before Duke’s header failed to trouble the Bangladesh keeper Mitul Marma. But that all changed on the half hour, Hrustic was given to much space and his long-range shot took a deflection off a defender and beat Marma. The Socceroos thought they had a penalty five minutes before the break when Bos was brought down by three Bangladeshi defenders, but the referee waved away his protests, replays showed he had a case.

Bangladesh started on the front foot after the break, but they never troubled Gauci, while the Socceroos pressed for a second, but some poor crosses into the box made it difficult for the strikers. But on the hour some quality from out wide set up the Socceroos second. Jordy Bos eased past his marker on the left, and supplied a pinpoint cross to Yengi, who headed past Marma. His reward for the goal was to replaced by Taggart. The Glory striker lively in his cameo of the bench, firing over the top late, while fellow substitute Daniel Arzani also looked lively and ran riot against a tiring Bangladesh defence, despite the waterlogged pitch.

Irankunda was happy on his debut, but knows he could have done better on the night. “I could have done better with my performance but I’m really proud to obviously cap for the nation, it’s a dream come true for me,” Irankunda said post-match. “We did well for the conditions, I don’t know how hot it is but it’s as humid as hell. I guess we struggled with the heat but we still got the result, and a clean sheet as well.”

Meanwhile, Arnold has stated that there will be nine players rotated for the Tuesday night fixture, thanks to the broad depth the Australia squad possesses. “We head straight back to the hotel now to have dinner and let the boys have a shower, and then we’re leaving the hotel at 10 o’clock to get on an 11:30 flight to Singapore, and then from Singapore, we’ll land in Perth tomorrow (today) at midday,” the coach said.

“So, it’s quite hectic, but it’s what we’ve got to do to get back and prepare for the Palestine game, and you’ll see a lot of changes again. Out of the starting eleven tonight probably nine won’t play - that’s why I left them on longer than I would’ve normally. I’ve got players here with good depth, and we’ll start nine new lads.”

Bangladesh: GK Mitul Marma, 4 Topu Barman, 18 Isa Faysal (3 Rahmat Mia 83’), 20 Mehedi Hasan, 10 Rakib Hossain, 14 Tariq Kazi (12 Sakil Hossain 71’), 7 Shekh Morsalin, 16 Mohammad Sohel Rana (6 Jamal Bhuyan 52’), 17 Sohel Rana (Chandon Roy 71’), 5 Mohammad Ridoy, 22 Mohammad Saad Uddin (2 Rimon Hossain 71’) – Subs not used: GK Mehdi Hasan Srabon, GK Sujon Hossain, 9 Sahariar Emon, 11 Rafiqul Islam, 15 Sushanto Tripura, 19 Rabby Rahul, 21 Syed Quazem Shah

Socceroos: GK Joe Gauci, 3 Ryan Strain, 4 Kye Rowles, 5 Jordy Bos, 8 Connor Metcalfe (16 Aziz Behich 77’), 10. Ajdin Hrustic (23 Joshua Nisbet 50’), 11 Kusini Yengi (9 Adam Taggart 63’), 15 Mitchell Duke, 19 Harry Souttar, 22 Jackson Irvine (14 Cameron Devlin 77’), 20 Nestory Irankunda (17 Daniel Arzani 63’) – Subs not used: GK Paul Izzo, GK Lawrence Thomas, 2 Gethin Jones, 6 Martin Boyle, 7 Mathew Leckie, 13 Alessandro Circati, 21 Cameron Burgess - Attendance: 5,227 – Referee: Jansen Foo Chuan Hui (Singapore)

7.6.2024

WA TRIO SELECTED IN JOEYS SQUAD

Three WA players have been selected in the Australian Joeys squad to play in the 2024 ASEAN U-16 Boys’ Championship held in Surakarta, Indonesia from 21 June – 4 July. Perth Glory midfielder Alex Bolton and defender Christian Pullella, and former Glory defender Alexander Garbowski, who currently plays for BK Hacken in Sweden, are in the 23-player squad. Bolton played his junior football at Bayswater City, Garbowski at Subiaco AFC and Pullella at Perth SC.

The tournament – formerly known as the AFF Championship – features 12 Members from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Football Federation. The Joeys have been drawn in Group C for the tournament, alongside Malaysia, Thailand and Timor-Leste and will play all their Group Stage fixtures out of Sriwedari Stadium. The 2024 edition of the Championship – which is also contested at U-19 level – will be Australia’s ninth appearance, having previously won the tournament in 2008 and 2016.

Head Coach, and former Perth Glory midfielder Brad Maloney’s squad is brimming with young talent from Isuzu UTE A-League club academy programs across the country, including brothers, Alexi and James Houridis (Melbourne Victory FC), Quinn MacNicol (Brisbane Roar FC) and Pullella and Bolton (Perth Glory FC). Garbowski and Noah Slunjski (Hadjuk Split, Croatia) have been selected from overseas leagues, while David Bolongi (Football QLD) and Jordan Graoroski (Football NSW) have earnt selection direct from their respective Member Federation club sides.

A large portion of the squad selected by Maloney for these Championships were part of his assembly in early-April 2024 for friendlies against U-16 Switzerland and U-17 Inter Milan FC. The camp – held at the Australian Institute of Sport European Training Centre in Varese, Italy – represented the beginning of a new cycle for this age group and their first taste of a national team environment. The squad will come together for a brief pre-camp in Indonesia prior to their first game on Sunday, 23 June against Thailand. Australia will then face Malaysia (26 June) and Timor-Leste (29 June), as they look to secure a spot in the tournament’s Semi Finals by topping their Group.

Maloney said the opportunity for his squad to be exposed to tournament football in foreign conditions would be an invaluable experience. “I’m really happy with the squad we’ve been able to put together, particularly off the back of a couple of strong showings in April,” Maloney said. “We saw some fantastic individual performances in Italy and players have been rewarded with selection as a result, but most importantly, we were able to begin to implement our principles of play. That camp was the perfect foundation to begin this cycle, and while our focus is on our Asian Cup Qualifiers in October and U-17 World Cup Qualification, success at this tournament will go a long way in helping us reach those goals.

“The players are excited for the challenge. They will be playing in new conditions, against a different style of opposition and I believe we've got a group that can do well in these Championships. They [the Championships] present a tough format with tight turnarounds between games, so we know recovery will be extremely important and the boys will be leaving no stone unturned to get the best out of themselves. It’s going to be a great experience for them and we’re all looking forward to getting started.”

Joeys Squad: GK Jai AJANOVIC (Central Coast Mariners FC), GK Noah ELLUL (Adelaide United), GK Jonty BENFIELD (Melbourne City), Nickolas ALFARO (Sydney FC), David BOLONGI (Gold Coast Knights), Alex BOLTON (Perth Glory), Anthony DIDULICA (Western United), Haine EAMES (Central Coast Mariners), Alexander GARBOWSKI (BK Häcken), Jordan GRAOROSKI (Sutherland Sharks), Alexander HOURIDIS (Melbourne Victory), James HOURIDIS (Melbourne Victory), Besian KUTLESHI (Melbourne City), Quinn MACNICOL (Brisbane Roar), Jay MALTZ (Sydney), Jayden NECOVSKI (Melbourne City), Malual NICHOLA (Adelaide United), Charlie PARKIN (Brisbane Roar), Christian PULLELLA (Perth Glory), Marco SANTANGELO (Sydney), Noah SLUNJSKI (Hadjuk Split), Amlani TATU (Adelaide United), Rhys WILLIAMS (Brisbane Roar).

7.6.2024

NPL-WA ROUND ELEVEN - PREVIEW

It’s been an outstanding start to the NPLWA – Men’s season for Olympic Kingsway, sitting top of the table and through to the semi-finals of the Australia Cup (WA), and this week they head south to Alfred Skeet Reserve in our week 11 ‘Match of the Round’ to take on an Armadale side who are coming off a big win against Stirling Macedonia last week. (All games kick off at 3.00pm, unless stated) Olympic are one point clear of Fremantle, and have scored the most goals in the league with 27, while Armadale maintained their unbeaten home record with a 5-0 victory last week, and they have scored 21 goals this campaign, so there should be plenty of goals in this one. Last time they meet at the venue was in round 15 last season, when they fought out a 2-2 draw.

The hosts made the breakthrough on seven minutes, heading home a corner Nathan Costello, and they added a second on 31 minutes, George Ballah sent Chris Jackson down the left, his crossfield ball found Amir Ajan, who raced into the box and beat David Keenan at his near post. But the visitors reduced the margin two minutes later, Liam Murray cutting the back to Byrne on the edge of the box, and the striker made no mistake. Both sides had chances in a see-sawing game, but five minutes from time Olympic found the equaliser. Murray dribbled into the box and he was brought down by Costello, and the referee pointed straight to the spot, and Ciaran Byrne stepped up and sent Joel Driscoll the wrong way to restore parity.

Olympic last won the Premier League in 1980, but they are in pole position this season, leading the league going into the last game of the first round of fixtures. Head Coach David Tough said it had been a challenge in recent weeks, with midweek cup games, but he has been delighted the way his side have hit the challenge head on. “We had a fantastic week with three massive victories in three games,” he said. “We went away to Floreat in a top-of-the-table clash and secured a win and clean sheet, then in the cup against Knight, we came back from being 2-0 down at halftime to win 3-2, before a solid 2-0 victory against a good Balcatta side. I thought our game management and work rate over the week was excellent.”

The Green Machine are also the top scorers in the league, bagging 27 goals, with defenders Aryn Williams and Calum O’Connell helping them out, scoring in the win against Balcatta, but Tough is well aware it is still early days, and his team need to improve in certain areas. “Over the cup and league fixtures this season we’ve already equalled the number of goals we scored last season, and we’re getting goals from all areas of the park and were a real threat at set pieces with great quality delivery into the box and players that attack the ball,” the coach explained. “Defensively I think were still a work in progress, but we have improved massively since the start of the season.”

Olympic head to Alfred Skeet in good form, but the coach is aware the quality they have in their side, and he said he’s watched most of their games this season. “I’ve seen Armadale more than any other side as they have been playing our next opponents the week before us. They are a great side and, in most games, they have been the best team by a long way, they just haven’t had the luck in front of goal,” Tough explained. “It came together for them last week, and they blew Stirling away, which is no mean task. AV has them playing an expansive, exciting brand of football. We are under no illusions and understand this is going to be one of the hardest games of the season.”

Armadale bounced back from their loss at Balcatta to thrash Stirling Macedonia, and coach Alun Vernals said the loss at Grindleford Reserve was a disappointing performance, but he was proud with the response from the group. “The loss at Balcatta was unacceptable, we weren’t at it and got what we deserved on the day, nothing,” he explained. “I asked the lads for a response last week against Stirling, and I got what I wanted, everyone playing their part in an excellent performance.”

A clean sheet was even more pleasing for Vernals, their second of the season, and he said that is something they have been working hard on at training, and it’s something he hopes continues. “Clean sheets are what we chase every week, and the lads have worked really hard at training, and sides don’t play through us very easily, which is pleasing,” he said. “But the fact we have conceded too many poor goals this season is not ideal, and it’s definitely something we are looking to tighten up on.”

Vernals said Saturday’s game against the league leaders is something he is looking forward to, and he hopes the Army faithful get out in their numbers to cheer the lads on. “I’m really looking forward to welcoming Toughy down to Alfred Skeet with his team, and hope there is a big crowd on hand to watch, what should be an entertaining game,” he said. “They (Olympic) are setting the pace and have brought in some top players, but we’ll look to continue where we left off last week. We will press from the off, and play our game, I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

In other games this weekend, second placed Fremantle City travel to E&D Litis Stadium to take on Floreat Athena, while third placed Perth RedStar welcome Inglewood United to the RedStar Arena. It’s the Italian Derby at the Home Group Stadium, Grindleford Reserve where Balcatta Etna host Bayswater City, while Dean Nicolaou will take charge of Stirling Macedonia against Western Knights at Macedonia Park (5.00pm), this after the club parted ways with Ian Ferguson in midweek.

In the final game we head to the Sam Kerr Football Centre, where Perth Glory welcome Perth SC, and their former coach Kenny Lowe. (7.00pm) Both sides have struggled in recent weeks and sit in tenth and eleventh respectively, and both are coming off heavy defeats. New Glory coach Ivan Zuvela said they were well in the game against the Knights, but the sending offs turned the game. “Last week was pretty tough to be honest given how we started the game. We thought we controlled the majority of the game against a very good Knights side. We played extremely well and then we lost our way with the two red cards which allowed Knights to take advantage,” he explained. “But we take accountability for what we do and we don’t look for any excuses. We know we let ourselves down, but we see everything as a learning experience here and we will get better.”

Zuvela who has been a successful coach at Western Knights, before leading the Glory 18’s and 20’s to success, and along the way he worked with the Azzurri coach Kenny Lowe, and he’s looking forward to going toe-to-toe with him on Saturday evening. “I think for this week’s game against Perth, we need to just focus on ourselves and what we feel our strengths are,” he said. “I was fortunate to work with Kenny (Lowe) the past two years and I have a huge amount of respect for him. He has helped me so much as a person and as a coach, and I will be forever grateful to him. Our playing group is fairly focused and there is such a positive feel around the place, there is a lot of optimism within the group and we are excited for the game this weekend.”

7.6.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND TEN PREVIEW

State League Division One side Kingsley Westside are on a three-game winning streak after a first win on the road for the season last week at Rockingham, and they will look to continue their unbeaten run when they host Mandurah City in our week ten ‘Match of the Round’ at Chichester Reserve on Saturday afternoon. (All games kick off at 3.00pm) The Dolphins are also coming off three points, after overcoming Gwelup in the second half, and both are closing in on the top four, so three points are a must in this one, in their first ever meeting in the league.

Kingsley coach Steven Dimitrovich said the win at Rockingham, got the monkey off their backs away from home, and he has been pleased the way his squad is growing into Division One football. “Yes, it was a very important win on the road last weekend to get our first away win in the manner we did was very pleasing and the result proved that the work the lads had been putting in is starting to produce results,” he explained.

“We couldn’t be happier with how the group have stayed connected especially through the early part of the season when we were really been tested on a football and mentality front with results not going our way. As a group we felt despite the result against Sorrento that there were some good signs that we had started to turn the corner and it gave the lads a heap of confidence that we were good enough to be at this level.”

Dimitrovich said Saturday is a huge game, against a side who only just missed out on promotion last season, and he said it’s been a surprise they haven’t got the results this season so far, but know the quality they have in their squad. “We’re all really looking forward to this week’s game against Mandurah and hopefully keep our momentum going,” he said. “I must admit I’ve been a bit surprised at their results considering the signings they made, but I have no doubt that they will be up for the game and we will prepare for their best.”

Mandurah coach John Baird, said their start to the season has been good, but haven’t turned their performances into points, so he was pleased with last week’s 4-2 win against Gwelup, and thought the character showed after the break was pleasing. “Yes, last week was a hard-fought win, but in my opinion a well deserved three points. We made hard work of it in the first half, but the team showed character which Mandurah City have in abundance,” he explained. “I suppose results have showed it has been a slow start to the season, but performances have been good, as long as the performances are good the results would change and they have.”

Baird, who was on score sheet last week in the win, said they are expecting a tough game at Kingsley, especially as they have turned their season around with three straight wins, so he knows it will a challenge, but he’s looking forward to the game. “Kingsley are new to the league, and they are going well and will be happy with their return so far,” he said. “Both teams are high in confidence, which should bring an entertaining game which we’ll be looking to come out on top.”

League leaders Sorrento will look to continue their unbeaten start to the season when they travel to Rosalie Park to take on fourth placed Subiaco AFC, who have won all their home games this season, while Dianella White Eagles will hope to bounce back from their first loss of the season at Kingsley last week, when they make the trip to the Lark Hill Sportsplex to take on Rockingham City. In other games this weekend, It’s the university challenge at Besteam Stadium, where Murdoch University host UWA Nedlands, Cockburn City will look to build on their win against UWA last week, when they host Gwelup Croatia at Dalmatinac Park, while bottom of the table Gosnells City entertain Joondalup United at Walter Padbury Reserve, the hosts looking for their first win on home soil this season.

City were two minutes away from a big win at Dianella last week, but two late goals saw them go down in a nine-goal thriller, and coach Peter Allen said it was a hard to take, and when you’re down the bottom of the table you don’t seem to get the decisions go your way. “Last week was a tough one to take, but I can’t fault the lads and they took it right up to dianella, and it was probably best we’ve played this season,” he explained. “So, to end up with nothing hurts it was really a game that could have gone either way.

“We’re just not getting the rub of the green at the moment, and I don’t want to sound like a sore loser, but that can happen when you’re down the bottom, but we take the positives out of it and move on to this week a home game against Joondalup. Again, it will be another test for the lads, they have found some form in recent weeks but we will be giving everything to try stop that come Saturday both myself and the lads are up for the fight.”

7.6.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND NINE PREVIEW

We head into week nine of the State League Division Two on Saturday, and our ‘Match of the Round’ takes us to Maida Vale Reserve, where league leaders Kalamunda City host Ashfield. (All games kick off at 3.00pm) The hosts moved to the top of the table after a big win at Wanneroo last week, while Ashfield were held to a draw by Quinns last week, the point leaving them in the relegation playoff zone, so the points are huge for both sides at opposite ends of the table.

The last time the two sides played at the venue was in round nine last season, when the hosts took the points in a 3-0 win. City were ahead five minutes into the second half, a quick counter attack saw Jose Zuniga and Andres Gonzalez combined, his cross was turned into his own net by Jake Melia. It was 2-0 on the hour, Zuniga finding Farruh Mavlonov, who made no mistake. The pair combined again five minutes later, with the same result, Mavlonov making it 3-0, and sealing the points. Ashfield finishing the game with ten men, with Jared Flavel given a straight red card.

Kalamunda are in red hot form, unbeaten in their last four games, and scoring 14 goals, and conceding only four, and keeper Rian Blauberg said despite the scoreline last week, they should have put the game to bed earlier. “Last week was a good team win, we played well in the first half and managed to score four goals,’ he said. But in the second half we should’ve killed the game better. It shows we have improved on our structure but sometimes we still concede silly goals. (Like against Wanneroo), so we need to keep that up if we want to win the league, which is our goal.”

Blauberg, who has only conceded 11 goals this season, said they are playing with confidence, and that’s something Ashfield have been doing recently, so he is expecting a tight encounter. “Ashfield is very dangerous side, and they have improved a lot last few weeks,” the keeper explained. “Winning against Inglewood in the cup, and beating Forrestfield showed that, and we know, last year we had hard games against them so we need to be up to our standards if we want to win this.”

The draw against Quinns was a disappointing result for Ashfield, but assistant coach Nathan Grostate said playing three games in a week probably took its toll on the players, but they need to kick start their season. “It’s always disappointing not to come away with the three points especially when we created enough opportunities to win the game,” he said. “We always knew it would be a tough couple weeks with three games in seven days but we just have to focus on the rest of the season now.”

Grostate said a trip to the league leaders is a huge challenge, but one they are embracing. A win is important in their current position, but he knows they have the players to come home with a positive result. “James and I are looking forward to travelling to Kalamunda this weekend, and we’ve had a good week on the track,’ he explained. “They’re a great side and have started the season well, but we are excited and prepared for the challenge.”

In other games this weekend, Forrestfield United welcome Balga to Crazy Domains Stadium, Hartfield Park, with both sides looking to build on big wins last week, likewise Carramar Shamrock Rovers and Curtin University who meet at Grandis Park. Swan United makes the trip to Wanneroo Reserve to take on bottom of the table Wanneroo City, while Quinns welcome Canning City to Stylish Park, Gumblossom Reserve. In the final game Joondalup City will be hoping to break a three-game losing streak when they host East Perth at Iluka District Open Space.

Both sides will be looking to get back in the winner’s circle, East Perth losing at home to Balga, and coach Colm Costello said they were well off it. “Huge game now after disappointing performance last week against Balga. We made a few individual errors and never recovered, the boys are an honest bunch and we had a good chat on Tuesday and a great session, so all we can do is make things right this week. At this level mistakes are badly punished and we know we can’t afford to make them, this league is relentless so every result will have to be earned, so it sets a cracker up this week at Joondalup City.

“I know Guy (McDonald) quite well he’s an excellent coach and he’s done a great job so far bar few recent results and they will be chomping to bounce back with a win on Saturday. Our away form has been good so we won’t be travelling up there to play for a draw, it’s important to keep points coming in. The step up has been a learning curve for us all and no easy games with Saturday definitely one of the most difficult tasks so we are looking forward to it.”

7.6.2024

GLORY SNAP UP TALENTED YOUNGSTER

Perth Glory have added 18-year-old central defender Zach Lisolajski to their squad for next season’s A-League campaign, the teenager signing a two-year deal with the club. The defender joins from A-League club Western United, and after making his debut for United early this year, he went on to make five more appearances for them. He also a member of the Young Socceroos squad and is expected to feature for Trevor Morgan’s side at July’s AFF Under-19 Youth Championship.

Lisolajski is excited to be part of a new era at Perth Glory, with the club under new owners, and he can’t wait to get started. “After speaking with Stan Lazaridis, whom I admired as a left-sided player, I was impressed with his belief in me,” he told the Glory website. “With a lot of hard work and the belief that I have in my ability, I hope to be a starting eleven player and develop more as a footballer with the support from the coaching staff and my teammates. I expect Perth Glory to be playing Finals football next year, which is a place where we know the club belongs.”

Before joining United on a youth development agreement in 2023, the talented defender was in the Newcastle Jets Academy and also played State League football for Sydneham Park in his native Victoria. Once again there was no words form Head Coach Alen Stajcic on the signing, with rumours rife he will be replaced prior to the season, which would be disappointing, after the turmoil he had to work with last season.

Glory Football Director Stan Lazaridis did talk, saying he is confident that Lisolajski will be an excellent addition to the squad. “Zach’s an absolute machine at the back, a no-nonsense defender,” he said. “He is someone that will need a little bit of developing, but with a bit of experience playing alongside him, he’s another one that I can see going on to play senior international football in the future. As a left-footer, Zach gives us another option and that extra bit of balance at the back and he’s another new recruit that I’m really excited about. Once he does a good pre-season and gets used to the style of play, I think he’s going to be great.”

The club announced in midweek eight players had re-signed, to add to Brandan O’Neill and Josh Risdon, who have also signed, meaning the squad for 2024/25 at present is as follows: Oli Sail, Cameron Cook, Robbie Cook, Josh Risdon, Riley Warland, Kaelan Majekodunmi, Andriano Lebib, Zach Lisolajski, Jacob Muir, Luke Bodnar, Jarrod Carluccio, Trent Ostler, Mustafa Amini, Brandon O’Neill, Jaylan Pearman, Khoa Ngo, Adam Zimarino, Adam Taggart, David Williams. Also contract negotiations are ongoing with a number of other first-team squad members, the club will make further announcements shortly, along with details of new player signings.

7.6.2024

BURGESS WRAPPING UP GOLDEN YEAR IN PERTH

After a a dizzying year which has improved with each passing month, Cameron Burgess says representing the Socceroos in front of friends and family would be the icing on the cake. The English Premier League-bound defender’s past 12 months have defied belief, to the point where celebrating with Ed Sheeran seems almost more believable than what his club side Ipswich Town have accomplished.

Burgess’ own personal stock has continued to climb after he helped Ipswich gain promotion from League One to the Championship in May last year, made his Socceroos debut in September and earned selection in their Asian Cup squad in January. He then played his part in Ipswich becoming the fifth team in history to earn consecutive promotions into the English Premier League, as his side finished second in the Championship to return to the top flight for the first time 22 years.

The 28-year old said donning the green and gold at Perth Oval next Tuesday would be a splendid way to wrap up a whirlwind year. “Honestly, it would top the best 12 months ever, top it off perfectly,” Burgess said. “The Socceroos haven’t had a chance to play in Perth for a long time now, to hopefully have a chance to be involved in that game would be amazing. I have a lot of friends and family that would be at a game, a lot of which I haven’t played in front of since I was a kid.”

Burgess’ past two league seasons have ended in pitch invasions and celebrations with music megastar Sheeran, a life-long Ipswich fan who has provided the front-of-shirt sponsorship for the past few seasons. While the entire 12 months have been full of ‘pinch yourself’ moments, Burgess said the pitch invasions and ensuing celebrations in the aftermath of Ipswich’s promotions had felt like a dream.

“It’s surreal really. You know (a pitch invasion) is going to happen because they’re all lined up around the pitch...you’re looking around, going ‘where am i going to get hit from first,’” he said. “It was a cool experience going to meet him (Sheeran) and I was struck by what a normal, nice, humble guy he is. Getting to hear him sing from about two yards in front of your face is pretty impressive - you’ve got to pinch yourself to say, ‘am I actually sitting here listening to you.’”

Burgess admitted Town’s success and the fact he was about to be a Premier League player was yet to sink in. “I’m kind of hoping it doesn’t. Maybe fixture day, when you see who you get first day of the season and last game of the season,” he admitted. “It’s going to be such hard work to first of all get myself into the team and to play well in that league. It’s probably not sunk in truly, but I’m just really excited to get going again and take on the challenge.”

The centre-back credited the culture within both Ipswich and the Socceroos for helping erase any thoughts of complacency. “Always the message is ‘let’s get better, let’s go one better next time’ and that keeps the complacency away, keeps you as consistent as you can be and that’s probably the reason why it hasn’t sunk in, because you always feel like you need to get better and improve,” he explained

And while Burgess said the last year had been a dream come true, he never felt it was beyond him. “I always thought I could play for the Socceroos, I could play in the Championship, there’s a lot of factors that go into that for it to fit and go well for you,” he said. “I always thought that’s where I could get to, but for it all to happen in a 12 month period and it to go so well both for the Socceroos and Ipswich, it’s been a crazy 12 months.”

5.6.2024

FERGUSON SACKED BY STIRLING

The coaching roundabout continues in the NPLWA – Men’s competition, and fresh from the departures of Taki Nicolaidis from Inglewood United and John Walmsley from Perth Glory, Ian Ferguson has parted ways with Stirling Macedonia. The Scottish coach had three and half seasons at Macedonia Park, taking them up as champions of Division One in 2021, and a third and second placed finishes in 2022 and 2023, so the decision of the club has taken everyone by surprise.

The club sent out a statement saying. The committee extends its heartfelt gratitude to Ian for his dedication to the club and his pivotal role in promoting the team back to the NPL. We wish Ian all the best in his future endeavours. In the interim, Dean Nicolaou will step in as acting head coach, the club is in the process on fin ding a suitable replacement – thank you. The decision shocked the players on Tuesday evening, when they were told of the departure of Ian, and his assistant John Lavery. The players are all disappointed, and like everyone else never saw this coming, but I’m sure they will be going out on Saturday against the Knights and winning it for Fergy.

5.6.2024

EMOTIONAL FAREWELL FOR MATILDAS GREAT WILLIAMS (courtesy waoveryonder.au)

Matildas veteran Lydia Williams has made an emotional farewell to international football. The 36-year old goalkeeper began her Australia career at 17, debuting in the July 2005 3-0 loss to Korea Republic, and earlier this week stood between the posts for the 104th time as the national team claimed a 2-0 win over China in Sydney.

Last month Williams announced she would bring the curtain down on her international career at the conclusion of Australia's Olympic Games campaign. The Katanning-born 'keeper will travel to Paris but only as cover should Mackenzie Arnold or Teagan Micah withdraw from the squad, meaning the friendly with China is likely to be her final appearance for the Matildas.

Before the game, Williams' teammates and coaching staff, friends and family gave the proud Noongar woman a guard of honour. Australian tennis legend Evonne Goolagong-Cawley then presented Williams a Booka, a kangaroo skin cloak traditionally worn by Noongar people, decorated with the story of Williams and her family.

"To receive that gift from Evonne was just incredible and I think that was probably the moment that tipped me over emotionally," said Williams, Australian football's longest-serving player. "That was kind of a cap off to the kid that grew up in the desert that fell in love with football."

"I don't know if it's like, game recognises game. It was a lovely moment. A lot of sporting women in Australia just want to leave the game better than when they first arrived in it and don't really realise the impact of how they have shaped the culture of not only women's sport, but just Australian sport."

Williams wore the captain's armband against China and was cheered enthusiastically by the 76,798-strong crowd every time she touched the ball. Substituted shortly before half-time for first choice 'keeper Arnold, Williams was given a standing ovation as she made her way from the field.

Across 104 international appearances, Williams featured in five World Cups, six women's Asian Cups - including the 2010 title triumph - and two Olympic Games. Off the field, she has been a crucial figure for women's football and in 2015 spearheaded the fight to improve working conditions for the national team.

4.6.2024

GUSTAVSSON NAME HIS 18-STRONG MATIDAS SQUAD FOR OLYMPICS

Matildas head coach Tony Gustavsson has named his 18-player squad for the 2024 Paris Olympics, and it was announced by the Australian Olympic Committee at Sydney Olympic Park today. “This has been an incredibly challenging squad to select with so many quality players competing fiercely for limited spots,” Gustavsson said. “It has been a methodical process over the past couple of years to reach to this point, and each of the players selected bring unique and beneficial qualities to our team that will be vital for our Paris 2024 campaign. I would like to congratulate all the players selected and the teammates, coaches, family and friends that have brought them to this moment. I know that this team will give everything for the coat of arms and will represent Australia to the best of their ability in the true Aussie way.”

With skipper Sam Kerr missing, Steph Catley will lead the side, and the team features eight players who will become the first Australian footballers to compete at three Olympic Games. Catley, vice-captain Emily Van Egmond, Ellie Carpenter, Clare Polkinghorne, Tameka Yallop, and former Perth Glory trio Mackenzie Arnold, Caitlin Foord and Alanna Kennedy will all become three-time Olympians in Paris. While, Kyra Cooney-Cross, Mary Fowler, Katrina Gorry, Michelle Heyman, Teagan Micah, and Hayley Raso all return for their second games, while Clare Hunt, Kaitlyn Torpey, Cortnee Vine and Clare Wheeler have been selected to make their Olympic debut.

With injury clouds hanging over Foord, who limped off the first game against China, and Gorry who missed both games against their Asian counterparts, the coach has gambled on their fitness, but they will have Sharn Freier, Charlotte Grant, Courtney Nevin and Lydia Williams available after they were named as the travelling reserves (known as Ap athletes under Games accreditation). The travelling reserves can be selected as a replacement athlete onto the Australian Olympic Team in case of injury or other withdrawal of one of the selected 18 players.

The Matildas enter Paris off the back of Australia’s best-ever finish in Olympic football with fourth in Tokyo. They have been drawn in a Pool B with former gold medallists USA and Germany along with Zambia, the team will open their campaign the day before the Opening ceremony, 25 July, against Germany in Marseille. The women’s football competition will be held in seven cities, however, with the draw complete, Australia can only play in four cities - Paris, Nantes, Lyon or Marseille.

Australian Olympic Team Chef de Mission Anna Meares said: “I am thrilled to announce the Matildas team for Paris 2024, this team is already full of trailblazers and record breakers, with eight players set to become the first three-time football Olympians for Australia. Thank you to the team at Football Australia, and everyone who has helped these 18 players grow from their first time having a go at football to becoming Paris Olympians. Congratulations to each of the players selected today, as well as to your families, friends, coaches and supporters who are all celebrating your Olympic achievement.”

4.6.2024

OXTOBY REVEALS DRIVE TO SET THE RIGHT EXAMPLE

‘Don’t ruin the session, just go over there’. The words hurt at the time, and more than 20 years later they still resonate. Without the mental fortitude to turn that rejection and use it as inspiration, Northern Ireland manager Tanya Oxotby may never have achieved what she has in football.

Fuelled by a determination to help ensure that other young girls weren’t also denied the opportunity to play football, Oxtoby is pleased to have made a contribution to what she believes is now a changing picture right across the globe. “It wasn’t common for girls to be playing football then, I was the only one,” said Oxtoby, who grew up in the Pilbara town of Wickham.

“My journey is probably very different to growing up in a city area. I was the only girl in my team the whole way through until I moved to Perth. Even then when I went to a football school, I was one of three in a boys’ Academy, and at times, we were given a ball and told, ‘Don’t ruin the session, just go over there’.”

“Times have changed, and I think that’s fantastic, but I am sure some of our senior players have been through similar experiences. I certainly didn’t take it lightly. By the time I went through the system at high school, my last two years we had an all-girls’ team. (But) It wasn’t just me, there was the three of us saying, ‘This isn’t right, we need more’.”

“Once you have been through that, you then have a responsibility as you go through your coaching and your playing career to make sure that you are opening doors for others so they don’t have to have that, and that’s really why I got into coaching because I never had a female coach. I wasn’t a very good coach, but I was an okay player, and I thought at least I can pass on some knowledge and be a role model for the younger ones.”

Had Oxtoby been born into a cooler climate than Western Australia, her football journey may never have even started in the first place. “My dad was actually the coach of my brother’s team. I wasn’t really that interested in football. I played all different sports – swimming, touch rugby, everything,” said Oxtoby, who went on to captain Northern Redbacks, Western Waves and Perth Glory.

“Where we grew up was really, really hot, like 44 degrees, and my dad said to me, ‘If you don’t want to join in, that’s cool, you can sit in the car; I’m not leaving the air-con on for you’. I had the usual attitude that you have when you are eight years old. I said I would stay and that was the first and last time I stayed in the car. It was roasting in there, so I got out and joined in, and the rest is history, really.”

Making more history with Northern Ireland is ultimately Oxtoby’s aim. Despite losing 4-0 to Portugal recently, qualification for a second successive European Championships is still within reach as the teams prepare to meet again today. Whatever she achieves in football, Oxtoby’s varied background away from the game will always be hugely important to her.

“I’ve got a psychology degree. I worked for the Government for a long time in child protective services and prisons,” said the 41-year old. “When I left, I was the manager of indigenous girls and women’s football within the Australian Football Federation. They were kind enough to give me a break to pursue my dream (of playing and coaching in England), and I had to tell them I wasn’t going back.”

“I loved it, it’s my heritage, my mum is Aboriginal, so for me to be able to have some influence from a top-down approach. I am on the National Advisory Group board with the Australian FA, providing some cultural guidance. It is something that I am really passionate about. We talk about females having accessibility, I want diverse communities to have accessibility, too, because it’s important because there’s not enough of it.”

4.6.2024

WILLIAMS LEADS LIST OF EIGHT PLAYERS TO COMMIT TO GLORY

Veteran attacker David Williams will return to Perth Glory next season, headlining a list of re-signings that also includes midfielder Trent Ostler, Jarrod Carluccio and Riley Warland. In total eight players have inked new deals with the club, the others being Kaelan Majekodunmi, Andriano Lebib and Khoa Ngo while Jaylan Pearman has had his scholarship extended.

It means Williams, a journeyman who first played A-League football in 2006, will extend his stint at the club into a third season. Glory football director Stan Lazaridis described the stalwart as one of the most skilful players in the competition’s history, but admitted the 36-year-old would need to be managed through next season.

“Technically, he’s one of the most gifted players that the A-League has seen and for us next season, he’s going to be that impact player,” Lazaridis said. “He may start some games, he may not, but he’s going to be one of those players that makes 15 or 20 appearances over the course of the year and we know he’ll make an impact in all of them because of the quality and experience he has.”

“Willo is up for it. His energy around the playing group is infectious, he gives so much to the club and to the game in general and we really need these kinds of characters around at Perth Glory, so re-signing him for another year was an absolute no-brainer.”

3.6.2024

MAYNARD-BREWER TO LEAVE CHARLTON?

The playing future Ashley Maynard-Brewer is up in the air with Charlton Athletic boss Nathan Jones reportedly looking to bring in two new goalkeepers during the summer transfer window. The Addicks have expressed an interest in signing Cambridge United's Will Mannion, while reports are the club are keen to bring in an experienced 'keeper to compete for the number one spot.

Should that eventuate, Maynard-Brewer and fellow shot-stopper Harry Isted are likely to move on. The duo featured prominently throughout the 2023/24 campaign, making 25 and 21 League One appearances respectively. However, the Addicks kept only five clean sheets during the entire campaign so it's not a huge surprise that Jones wants to bring in at least one new 'keeper.

Maynard-Brewer started the season in goal before being dropped for Isted after three defeats in the opening four games. The 24-year old West Australian regained his place in the side after injury ruled out Isted, who claimed the preferred 'keeper spot when Jones joined Charlton in February. Maynard-Brewer, who played juniors for ECU Joondalup, signed a new three-year contract with the London club in 2023.

3.6.2024

WA-BORN WILLIAMS BOWS OUT A WINNER

In front of another sell-out crowd at Accor Stadium in Sydney, the Matildas have wrapped up their Paris Olympics games preparations, with a 2-0 win against China on Monday evening. Roared on by 76,798 fans, second half goals from Clare Wheeler and Hayley Raso earned Tony Gustavsson's side a morale boosting win. It was also a night of emotions as WA-born keeper Lydia Williams was substituted just before half time, and she was given a standing ovation from everyone in the crowd, in her last international game on home soil, after she announced, she would retire following the Olympics.

Williams was shocked when she was presented a Booka by tennis legend Evonne Goolagong Cawley prior to the game, the honour was a representation of her journey from WA to the international stage. “It was all pretty emotional, to receive that gift from Evonne was just incredible. That was probably the moment that tipped me over emotion-wise,” Williams said post-match. “That was a cap off to the kid that grew up in the desert, that fell in love with football. A lot of sporting women in Australia just want to leave the game better than when they first arrived in it, and probably don’t realise their impact or how they have shaped the culture of not only women’s sport but just Australian sport.

“To share that moment [with Goolagong Cawley] as Indigenous women in front of a packed stadium of people that fell in love with football – yeah, that was pretty special. I’ll have to celebrate tonight with the girls and really spend the next little bit with them, and then really soak it all in, because it really is about the team. It’s about how we performed tonight. It’s about leaving the camp in a really good atmosphere and getting our break leading into what’s going to be a pretty tough next little bit. I’m feeling good, but I’m not there yet.”

Head Coach Tony Gustavsson said Williams has brought so much to the squad, on and off the pitch. “Seeing this reminds us that football can be so much more than a 90-minute football game or a goal or a clean sheet,” he explained. “Even though we did say, as a team in the last huddle before we went out, that the best way we can honour Lydia is to keep a clean sheet – make sure she’s not even touching the ball. This preparation helps ahead of the Olympics because we gain energy as a group and a family, we connect to the fans in that family and that circle as well. That gives us a lot of energy and belief when we go to the Olympics.”

On the performance Gustavsson outlined the reasons why he was happier in match two than in match one on Friday night. “We were very, very aggressive, very attacking-minded, and we should have been 2-0 up after 20 minutes,” he said. “We finished the first half a bit slow. We did some tactical tweaking at half-time, not just personnel-wise, but we did a change in rotation on the left-hand side, because we didn’t get Steph [Catley] and Mary [Fowler] included in the game enough and that caused a lot of problems for them to solve. I think we played three or four different shapes tonight in terms of attacking rotations and it paid off.”

The Matildas, who will be without WA striker Sam Kerr due to injury, and Gustavsson will be sweating on the fitness of striker Caitlin Foord and midfield ace Katrina Gorry, who both missed last nights win. It was the hosts who had the better chances in the first half, former Perth Glory defender Alanna Kennedy’s long-range shot flew over the top, before Raso was denied by China goalkeeper Xu Huan. China was disciplined and well organised as usual, but they were breached just before half time.

Michelle Heyman mazy run took her past two China players, before holding off the last defender in the penalty area, but the Canberra United striker curled her shot inches past the post. Then the whole stadium stood as one when Williams was replaced by Mackenzie Arnold, and the emotional keeper left the pitch for the last time on home soil for the Matildas, but at half time it was 0-0. Gustavsson turned to his bench at the start of the second half and it had an instant impact, Wheeler getting on the end of skipper Steph Catley free-kick three minutes in to head home, much to the delight of the home crowd.

They were on their feet again eight minutes later, fellow substitute Cortnee Vine, played a superb defence-splitting pass to the feet of Raso, who didn’t have to break stride and finishing under Xu, the Real Madrid midfielder was then swamped by her teammates. China pressed to get back into the game, but Arnold wasn’t called into action until late, pushing away striker Zhang Linyan effort, but it was a perfect end to their Olympic preparations, a win and a clean sheet, and the 18-player squad for the games will be announced today.

Matildas: GK Lydia Williams (RGK Mackenzie Arnold 43’), 7 Stephanie Catley, 10 Emily van Egmond (6 Clare Wheeler 46’), 11 Mary Fowler, 13 Tameka Yallop (8 Kaitlyn Torpey 65’), 14 Alanna Kennedy (4 Clare Polkinghorne 87’), 15 Clare Hunt, 16 Hayley Raso, 21 Ellie Carpenter (22 Charlotte Grant 87’), 23 Kyra Cooney-Cross, 32 Michelle Heyman (5 Cortnee Vine 46’) – Subs not used: RGK Jada Mathyssen-Whyman, RGK Teagan Micah, 2 Courtney Nevin, 9 Caitlin Foord, 24 Sharn Freier, 25 Winonah Heatley

China: GK Xu Huan, 2 Li Mengwen, 3 Chen Qiaozhu, 4 Dou Jiaxing, 5 Wu Haiyan, 7 Wang Shanshan (15 Cong Yuan 82’), 9 Shen Mengyu (22 Gao Chen 57’), 13 Yang Lina (20 Zhang Rui 82’) 17 Wu Chengshu (28 Tang Jial 57’)i, 19 Zhang Linyan (10 Wang Yanwen 67’), 23 Liu Yanqiu (18 Shen Menglu 67’) – Subs not used: 12 Shimeng Peng, 16 Liu Jing, 21 Yuxin Zhong, 26 Wurigumula, 27 Chen Liu - Attendance: 76,798 - Referee: Hyeon-Jeong Oh (South Korea)

2.6.2024

BELT-UP AMATEUR CUP THIRD ROUND REVIEW

The Premier Division sides have all come through tricky ties in the Amateur Cup third round on Sunday, the only one to bow out were Maccabi who were beaten 6-0 in the all-premier clash against Wembley Downs at Butlers Reserve. “Overall, a strong team performance, and to be 3-0 up at half time for the first time this season which was a nice feeling,” Wembley skipper Jack Mellor said. “I thought we showed good appetite to continue to create and score in the second half. It was a good day all round at Butlers with both reserves and first team progressing to the quarters.”

The hosts went into the game unbeaten in the league this season, and they were ahead in this one on the half hour, a net one-two between Josh Chalmers and Sam Mattock, who finished low across the keeper. It was soon two, Zac Archer pouncing on a mistake at the back from Maccabi and he finished emphatically. Just before half time they added a third, Archer adding another after an instinctive finish on the turn. Archer completed his hat trick early in the second half, firing home a free kick, before Mattock added a fifth, after good work from Stefan Hill. It was Hill who completed the scoring by getting on the end of a Halil Russo cross.

Premier Division leaders Kelmscott Roos also moved into the next round, after a hard fought 2-0 win against last season’s finalist Perth AFC at Frye Park. “Perth AFC gave us a real fight and they were up for the game and made it difficult for us in the opening minutes,” Kelmscott keeper Taylor Warwick said. “We began to take control of the game and created multiple chances but couldn’t put them away. The second half we forced them to defend deep and heap the pressure on them until they finally conceded late. It was a game where we knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but we found our way through with a squad of 11 rotated players. Back to the league this week against a tough North Beach.”

The hosts made the breakthrough ten minutes from time, some good work through the midfield ended with Amos Doegolia on the edge of the box, he took on his defender and his low shot found the corner of the net. They sealed the tie seven minutes later, Issac Koomson beating his defender, and cutting in from the bye line to find Justine Reeder, whose shot was blocked, and in the goalmouth scramble in the box was turned home by Stephen Kirk.

North Beach, were also made to work hard, before coming out narrow winners against Kwinana United, the visitors running out 1-0 winners at Kelly Park. “I'm very pleased with the result and to be heading into the quarter finals of the cup. The result didn't reflect how well the boys played and we felt in control throughout,” North Beach coach Nick Di Carlo said. “It was a great way to bounce back after a tough loss last week in the league and we head into training this week full of confidence heading into league proceedings against Kelmscott.” The only goal of the game came on the half hour, a cross from the left took a slight deflection, and fell to Alexander Kretowicz, and he finished emphatically with an overhead kick from five meters.

In the other games involving Premier Division sides, Jaguars were given a forfeit against Forrestfield United, due to players unavailability for United, while North Perth United beat Ellenbrook United 3-0, with goals from. Kyle Jackson, Barry Boggan and Zak Thomas. Alkimos eased through with a 7-1 win against Hamersley Rovers at Carine Open Space, with midfielder Bradley Everett scoring four, while Quinns beat Bayswater City 2-1 at Stylish Park, Gumblossom Reserve.

In the final game Ballajura AFC beat Swan Valley 5-2 at the Swan Valley Sporting Club. “In tricky conditions Swan Valley pushed us for most of the game,” Ballajura coach Wayne Culverwood said. “However, our fitness and quality shown as the game went on.” The visitors were ahead on 16 minutes, Roshann Frederic firing home a free kick. But the hosts levelled on the half hour, with Don Peter on target. Ballajura regained the lead two minutes before the break, Lucais King scoring from close-range.

Then in stoppage time they added a third, Yahya Azizi’s half volley from set-piece gave the Swan keeper Simon Hemus no chance. The Swans were back in the game eight minutes into the second half with Yann Foulon making it 2-3, but that was as good as it got for them. Three minutes later Brandon Rector beat his marker out wide, and cut inside the box to finish well. They added the fifth, seven minutes from time, Audie Trutwein eased past a couple of Swan defenders before squaring the ball to Rector, who made no mistake

2.6.2024

WOMEN’S STATE CUP QUARTER FINAL REVIEW

The Women’s State Cup semi-finalist have been decided after this weekend’s quarter-finals, with Perth RedStar, Perth SC, Balcatta Etna and Fremantle City all moving through. It’s been a disappointing tournament up to now, with many of the State League teams forfeiting, the only tie that was played in the last round was MUMFC 1-0 win against Perth AFC, which gave them a trip to the RedStar Arena to take on league leaders Perth RedStar on Saturday afternoon, where the hosts were too strong, running out 5-0 winners.

The home side found the opener when Caitlin Doeglas’ corner was turned home by Quyen Doan, and they led 2-0 at the break with Doeglas added the second. RedStar went on with it after the break, Reina Kagami adding the third, before Doeglas made it 4-0. The scoring was complete when a Jayna Ridley scored, with a cheeky back heel. “It was a dominant performance against a much-improved MUMFC side,” RedStar coach Carlos Vega Mena said. “Very pleased that the team was able to keep the consistency it has shown so far this season, and we are looking forward to the semi-finals.”

The other ties were on Sunday, and first up Perth SC beat Subiaco 6-0 at Dorrien Gardens. “It was a great performance and one that helps us get through to the semi-finals,” Perth assistant coach Federico Achilli said. “It was a bit disappointing that Subiaco had decided to rest their better players instead of providing a more competitive match but we move forward and we shift our focus onto our next couple of games against Redstar and Balcatta.”

The Azzurri were ahead early with Ella Lincoln continuing her good form in front of goal, and it was 2-0 on 18 minutes. A ball was played out to the left for Jessica Flannery, who drove into the penalty area and found Anika Stajcic, who made no mistake. Lincon added a third before the break, before Flannery made it 4-0 on the hour. It was 5-0 moments later, Kim McCartney stunning free kick going in via the bar. The hosts completed the scoring 12 minutes from time, Tamsyn Hannah raced clear from a Daisy McAllister through ball, and she finished clinically.

In the other games Balcatta Etna beat UWA Nedlands 4-2 at the Home Group Stadium, Grindleford Reserve, with Lucy Jerram bagging a brace, with others to Abbey Meakins and Nikayla Hughes, while Melina Franklin scored twice for the visitors. Meanwhile last season’s cup winner Hyundai NTC grip on the trophy ended at Hilton Park, when Fremantle City ran out 3-1 winners, with goals from Clara Hoarau, Tanika Lala and Mikayla Lyons.

“A good performance to move into the next round. Our first goal came off a short corner that we’d been practicing at training, so it was nice to convert that to a game,” Fremantle’s Abbey Green explained. “Scoring three quite different goals in terms of set pieces, open play and counterattacking as well as three different goal scorers really shows how well rounded are performances are starting to become, and we’ll take a lot of confidence from our last two games into our match with Balcatta this week.”

1.6.2024

NPL-WA ROUND TEN - REVIEW

Our NPLWA – Men’s week ten ‘Match of the Round’ was a close affair, with Bayswater City and Floreat Athena battling out a 1-1 at Frank Drago Reserve on Saturday afternoon. It looked like the visitors had sealed the points with Sean McManus scoring on 69 minutes, but ten minutes from time Chris Jackson found the equaliser, with both sides sharing the spoils. The draw means Floreat are fifth, with Bayswater sixth in a congested table, with only ten points separating the top eight clubs. “It was a tight game, and both teams had a lot of chances but I feel we could’ve finished the game in the later stages. We had a few chances to secure the three points but it wasn’t meant to be and any other day we convert they chances,” McManus explained. “Although we have a few injuries in the squad, we’ve had a few boys make their debuts and they have really stood up and showed they can do it. A special mention to Jethro Hass, he made his debut last week and has been a solid performer. We will keep on working on the structure we’ve implanted this season and the results will eventually come for us again as we continue to push for the top of the table.”

Only one point separated the two sides going into the game, and the hosts thought they had found the lead ten minutes in, Sam Mitchinson cross was flicked on by Jon Stynes, and Joshua Anasmo turned the ball home from close-range, but the flag was up for offside. Moments late Noah Shamaki’s shot from the edge of the box was saved by Lewis Italiano, before former Perth Glory striker Anasmo was a real handful and his deflected shot on 17 minutes was saved low by Jason Saldaris. It was end-to-end football. Murray heading inches wide from Alexander Christodoulakis’ cross three minutes later, and moments later a mistake by Chris Saldaris was pounced on by Jackson, but his shot smacked the post and a way to safety.

Both sides were forced into early changes due to injury, Christodoulakis was replaced by Ethan Mom, while Thomas Southgate came on for Anthony Bafobusha. Italiano then got down well to deny Murray, before Jackson shot was deflected wide, as the game continued to ebb and flow. Then from the resulting corner Cameron Teece’s header hit the base of the post, then in stoppage time Jason Saldaris made a smart save to thwart Jackson, before the Floreat custodian stuck out a leg to deny Teece again, but at the break it was all-square.

Floreat were on the front foot after the break, Shamaki crossing to Nick Ambrogio, but as the striker was about to score Jackson Stephens got back with a last-ditch block. Teece went close at the other end, his shot on the run flying over the top, before Mohammed Al-Zaidy long-range effort curing just wide of the post. But on 69 minutes the visitors found the opener, Murray finding McManus, who raced into the box before finishing past Italiano, for his third goal of the season. Guy Davies went close to a second, after being sent clear, but his low shot drifted wide of the far post. But moments later it was Bayswater who found the equaliser, Southgate’s deep cross found Anasmo back the back post, he squared the ball to Jackson, who headed home.

Teece went close to giving the hosts the lead seven minutes from time, but Jason Saldaris stood tall to deny him, and Jackson’s follow up shot was blocked, before Teece’s curling effort flew wide. Floreat hit back and Shamaki crossed to Davies in the box, but he couldn’t guide the ball home at full stretch. Chances continued to come and go, Anasmo curling shot was well saved by Jason Saldaris, then in stoppage time Ludovic Boi’s free kick was parried by Italiano, but the Bayswater keeper recovered well to save at the feet of Chris Saldaris.

It was City who would have the final chance, Teece’s free kick on the edge of the box was too high, and at the final whistle a frantic game ended 1-1. “We fought hard coming back from being 1-0 down, but I think a draw was a fair result in the end,’ Bayswater striker Chris Jackson said. “We worked hard should have put it to bed in the first half hitting the post twice and having a goal disallowed. Floreat created chances in the second half that should have been converted to goals too.”

League leaders Olympic Kingsway maintained their one-point lead, after a 2-0 win against Balcatta Etna at Kingsway Reserve. “It’s been a big week for the squad three games in seven days and to come away with a win in all is a testament to the character of the group,” Olympic defender Calum O’Connell explained. “Yesterday was always going to be a tough game against a dogged Balcatta. We felt first half we needed to get the first goal, but Balcatta made it difficult at times with their direct play.

“But defensively we stood tall all over the park and scored the second goal to secure the points, and it completed a big week for the club.” The hosts were ahead on 18 minutes, Mitch Oxborrow’s corner was headed back across goal by former Balcatta defender Calum O’Connell and Aryn Williams was on hand to fire home, despite Connor Campbell getting a hand to it. They made sure of the points twenty minutes from time, Oxborrow’s corner was headed home at the back post by O’Connell, despite Rostyn Griffiths effort to keep it out.

Perth RedStar consolidated third place after a comfortable 4-1 win against Perth SC at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday evening. “It was a good performance from us as a whole. We knew what we were going to be up against, Kenny’s teams always play great football but we had a good game plan which we executed very well,” RedStar skipper Blair Govan explained. “We took our chances well which is probably something that we’ve lacked a little this year so that was great to see and from then on we managed to control the game in the second half and limit their chances going forward, so it was a good team performance from start to finish.”

RedStar coach Callum Salmon missed the game due to the fuel shortage at Perth airport delayed his flight, but his side were ahead on the quarter hour, Declan Hughes’ corner wasn’t cleared, and the ball was sent back in by Govan to an unmarked Daryl Nicol at the back post who fired past Joe Pollard. They doubled their advantage on the half hour mark, a defence splitting through ball from Matthew George sent Bryce Bafford clear and he finished low past Pollard.

The hosts need a good start to the second half to get back into the game, but they found themselves 3-0 down early. A quickly taken free kick by Hughes caught the Azzurri napping, Nicol racing clear to score. Moments later it was 4-0, after some patient build up play, ended with George, who found Joel Chianese, and the former Perth Glory winger made no mistake. The visitors scored a consolation goal on 66 minutes, David Ninkovich sending Gordon Perkins racing away, and he finished low past Liam Reddy, but it was too little too late, David Butterfield’s side leaving with the points.

Fremantle City’s good form has continued after a 3-0 win against a ten-man Inglewood United at Inglewood Stadium. “It was a really good performance by the boys yesterday, and I felt we dominated and were in control for the entire game,” Inglewood keeper Luke Radonich said. “It was important we got the win to stay in touch with Kingsway, and hopefully we can keep this good run of form continuing next week against Floreat.” It wasn’t the start interim Inglewood coach Aleksandar Stanojevic was looking for, going down to ten men on 12 minutes. A long clearance from Luke Radonich wasn’t dealt with and Oliver La Galia was hacked down by Nic Speca, as the Inglewood keeper tried to clear the ball, and the referee decided it was a goalscoring situation and shown him a straight card.

The unfortunate Yamamoto Kotaro was sacrificed, with substitute keeper Rocco Matovina coming on. The first thing he had to do was pick the ball out of the net, with the resulting free kick from Charles Chechlacz finding the corner of the net. The ten men battled hard after the break, but conceded a second just after the hour. Inglewood lost possession in the middle of the park, Riley Woodcock sending Patrick Loughrey into the area, his shot crashed off the crossbar and it was adjudged to have bounced down over the line. Matthew Sparrow’s side sealed the points deep into stoppage time, Loughrey’s free kick from the right was heading into the net, but Oliver La Galia made sure, heading home from close-range.

Western Knights have ended a five-game run without a win, beating a nine-man Perth Glory 5-2 at Sam Kerr Football Centre. “It was a massive result for us after five weeks in a bit of a slump,” Knights striker Owen Goodliffe said. “Similar to most of this season our first half has been too slow, but it was important to grind out three points after a tough week with three really tough games. I thought was battled hard second half and to have five different goal scorers was a nice bonus for the boys as well.”

The visitors were ahead on 22 minutes, Kristian Santich’s cross from the left found Konstantinos Sparta, and the former Bayswater City midfielder fired home. But Glory, who replaced coach John Walmsley in midweek, hit back on 28 minutes, Jaylan Pearman’s long-range shot was pushed away by Sam Rielly, but Seb Despotovski fired home the rebound, for the first goal under new coach Ivan Zuvela. The hosts hit the front six minutes into the second half, with a great individual goal. Pearman picked the ball up on the half way line, and raced forward, he played a one-two with Santiago Flores, before finishing superbly with the outside of his foot.

The visitors were level on 72 minutes, Daniel Jankuloski bringing down Owen Goodliffe, and referee Steven Gregory pointed straight to the spot. Goodliffe picked himself up and sent Robert Cook the wrong way from the resulting penalty. Glory went down to ten men when Andriano Lebib collected a second yellow card for an off-ball incident, and from the resulting free-kick, Jay Sheridan curled superbly into the top corner. The hosts were down to nine, when Pearman received a second yellow card minutes, and the Knights went on with it, adding two more goals. First on 89 minutes Kristan Santich flick found substitute Asher Hwight, who finished well past Cook, before in stoppage time Alex Da Rocha firing home from just outside the penalty area to seal a comprehensive win.

Armadale were the big winners on the day, bouncing back from defeat at Balcatta last week, thrashing Stirling Macedonia 5-0 at Alfred Skeet Reserve. “I'm thrilled with the result and the way the team performed today, and going into the game we knew Stirling would be a tough opponent, but we were confident in our abilities and we were able to execute our game plan effectively,” Armadale midfielder Purvishna Appadoo explained post-game. “The 5-0 win is a great morale booster for us, especially after the narrow defeat at Balcatta last week, and we'll look to build on this momentum as we move forward.”

The hosts were ahead on 20 minutes, Hamish van Dieken sent Peter Jacobsz into the penalty area and he was brought down by James Bosdet, and referee Alex Novatsis pointed straight to the spot. Jacobsz picked himself up and sent Bosdet the wrong way from the resulting penalty. They doubled their advantage two minutes from half time, Stirling gave the ball away in the middle of the park and Amir Ajan sent Chad Yelchan in on goal and the striker finished clinically.

It got better for the hosts in stoppage time, when they added a third. Appadoo’s defence splitting pass sent Jacobsz racing down the left, he cut inside the box, but his shot was well saved by Bosdet, the rebound was fired home, to send the hosts into the break with a commanding lead. Armadale secured the points with a stunner on 65 minutes, Yelchan’s cross from the left picked out Jacobsz, whose acrobatic volley flew past Bosdet, for one of the goals of the season. They added a fifth 11 minutes from time, Ajan’s free kick from out wide on the left beat everyone and nestled in the corner of the net.

1.6.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND NINE REVIEW

Sorrento have maintained their spot at the top of the state League Division One table after a hard fought 2-0 win against Murdoch University Melville, in our week nine ‘Match of the Round’ at Percy Doyle Reserve. A goal in each half secured the win for Steven McGarry’s side, Connor Simpson giving them the lead before the break, before Dean Cumming’s penalty six minutes from time made the points save. “It was a fantastic three points against good MUMFC team,” McGarry said.

“Marko got his boys to come out of the blocks fast and pressed us really aggressively and it was a bit of an arm wrestle to get control of the game early on. In those moments when we had to defend, I thought we were excellent and big Gowzer (James McGowen) was immense in particular. We were always a threat going forward and was great to see Connor Simpson grab another goal. Really pleased how the boys backed up another performance after the midweek game at Ashfield and we have another tough fixture away to Subiaco next week that we now need to prepare for.”

The visitors were first to go close, Eddie Wynne-Willson corner was met by Daniel Tait, but he headed straight at David Keenan. Moments later Clay Gibbs sent Gulls skipper Dean Cummings racing clear, with the MUMFC players looking for the offside flag, that never came, but Jake Maley-Orr stood tall to deny him. Sorrento went close again on 23 minutes, Gibbs racing down the right, his cross was nodded back by Cummings, but Simpson’s shot on the turn was saved low by Maley-Orr.

The hosts thought they had the lead on the half hour, Cummings crossing to Simpson, who brought the ball down well and swept the ball home, but the referee had spotted a handball by the big striker. But he did open the scoring four minutes later, Andrew Maranta made space down the right, his cross was headed back across goal by Cummings, Simpson’s first shot crashed off the post, but he made no mistake from the rebound. MUMFC went close to the equaliser in the shadows of half time, Adam Field’s cross found Iljas Ahmedov, whose overhead kick was saved low by Keenan.

MUMFC started the second half well, Field’s curling effort was palmed away by Keenan early, before defender James McGowen got back with a vital header from Feisal Zaw’s teasing cross, with Ahmedov ready to pounce. Kai Jones then fired wide of the post, before heading inches over the top moments later. Pat Sara then saw a shot flash wide of the post, after the visitors pressed for the equaliser. McGowen, who was excellent all afternoon then got a back to block Zaw’s cross shot, the Scottish defender was keeping his side in the game.

But seven minutes from time, and against the run of play, Sorrento added a second, Keegan Chambers was sent clear by fellow substitute Shay Natalotto, and he was brought down by Maley-Orr, and Cummings sent the keeper the wrong way from the resulting penalty. MUMFC went close to a consolation goal in stoppage time, Zaw’s effort crashing off the post, and Tait’s follow up shot was superbly cleared off the line by the alert Maranta.

Dianella White Eagles remain second, but were given an almighty scare against Gosnells City, the hosts scoring two late goals to seal a 4-3 win at Dianella Reserve on Saturday evening. “I thought we started really well and dominated for long periods, and had a few chances, which we failed to take, but we did take the lead into the break,” Dianella’s Alen Patarov said. “The second half was unbelievable, and no one expected Gosnells to come out and score three goals in the second half, all three scored from set pieces, when we didn't follow our man to the end, and personally I thought the third goal for them was offside.

“The red card meant we had to play the last part of the game with ten, and when they scored, many thought the game was over, but not us. We pushed hard, we didn't give up till the end, the team believed the game was not finished, and they dropped deep in defence and I was delighted to score the equaliser, before our new wing back Issac scored the winner. Our supporters were supporting us till the end, and we are thankful to have such amazing fans giving us hope every game.”

It was Dianella who found the opening goal on the half hour, Kevin McEvoy found Andy Keogh who finished low past Duncan Lennon-Black. But Gosnells were level on the hour, Aden Hoddy’s corner wasn’t cleared and Blake Pritchard swept the ball home from close-range. The visitors hit the front seven minutes later, Hoddy’s long-throw caused confusion in the Dianella defence and Pritchard found the bottom corner of the net. But their lead only lasted seven minutes, Keogh’ flick found Isaac Ntow at the back post, and the former Inter Milan and Brescia junior winger made no mistake.

The game took another twist five minutes from time when Eagles player/coach Angel Andres was shown a straight red card. Gosnells made their man advantage count moments later Dang Dut’s free kick was headed home by fellow substitute Wade Farmer. It looked a shock was on the cards, but the hosts had other ideas and they levelled in the final minute, Paterov shot from the edge of the box found the top corner of the net. Then deep into stoppage time the home side won it, Ntow heading home from a corner, much to the delight of the home faithful, the loss leaving City bottom of the table.

Mandurah City have moved within four points of the top four, after a 4-2 win against Gwelup Croatia at Poolmart Stadium, Peelwood Parade. The hosts were coming off a loss against Sorrento last week, but they made a perfect start, taking the lead after only 13 minutes. Shaun Mukwevho sent Craig Barker down the right and his low cross was turned home by Leigh Griffiths at the back post. But Gwelup hit back and levelled seven minutes later, a quick free kick from Paul Grant found Jeremie Mba out on the left, he raced past a number of Mandurah defenders in to the box, before squeezing the ball home past Alfie Brincat from a tight angle.

The Dolphins regained the lead just after the half hour mark, Robbie Galvin raced down the left, before picking out John Baird on the edge of the box, and the player/coach made no mistake. But in the shadows of half time Gwelup restored parity, Ryan Johnson cross was turned into own net by the unfortunate Steven Hesketh. But Mandurah made sure of the points after the break, with a great team goal early in the second half. Baird picked out Griffiths who found Barker, his first-time ball sent Mukwevho clear and he finished past Josiah Godfrey via the post. They sealed the game on the hour, Galvin’s corner was met by Barker, whose header beat Godfrey.

Joondalup United are back in the winner’s circle after a 5-2 win against Subiaco AFC at Pentanet Stadium. “Obviously pleased with the result, however we didn’t really deserve to be two nil up after ten minutes if I am totally honest, that said it was disappointing to go in at half time conceding two goals shortly after being in front,” Joondalup assistant coach Steven Flint explained. “We know how improved Subiaco are this year and we needed to take every opportunity that came our way. The boys recalibrated at half time and we found some gears to go through and started to play with a bit more fluidity. Credit to the players though, we have a group who keep playing with a squad mentality and in such a tough and tight league that is really important.”

United, who were coming off 4-5 defeat at MUMFC last week, were out of the blocks early, and Jamie Gardiner finished low past Conor Hogan after only five minutes. They doubled their lead three minutes later, Ben Wyeth’s corner was headed goalward by Adrian Ciampini and Subiaco failed to clear the ball and Jay Lang fired home from close-range. The visitors reduced the margin ten minutes later, Ethan Johnson’s long throw found skipper Phil Arnold, who swept the ball home through a crowded penalty area. Subiaco were level just after the half hour, Moustafa Mohamed started the move finding Charles Breen, before racing into the box to finish clinically past Todd Hoyle, and it was all to play for after half time.

It was the hosts who broke the deadlock after the break, they were defending a corner, which was punched clear by Hoyle to Jamie Gardiner, who played a neat one-two with Ben Campbell, before racing clear and finishing with aplomb past Conor Hogan. It was 4-2 on 71 minutes, when Wyeth’s corner was headed home powerfully by Laurits Christophersen. Then six minutes from time they completed the scoring. Subiaco were chasing the game, leaving spaces at the back, and Sam McKearnen won possession in the middle of the park and sent substitute Tyler Holen racing away, he cut across the edge of the penalty area before finishing low past Hogan.

Kingsway Westside have moved clear of the relegation zone after a 3-1 win against Rockingham City at the Lark Hill Sportsplex. “A good win in very tough conditions down at Rockingham,” Kingsley coach Steven Dimitrovich said. “It was defiantly a game of two halves, where the team playing into the wind had the better of the game. Going 2-0 up into halftime playing into the wind felt we were well and truly on top of the game, but fair play to Rockingham came out second half and had the better of the game. We felt we needed a third goal to seal the game and thankfully we got it from Aston Montgomery whose screamer gave us the three points. Hopefully we can keep the momentum going next week when we welcome Mandurah to Chichester on Saturday.”

With the wind at their backs the visitors were ahead on 17 minutes, Josh Waldock’s long throw wasn’t dealt with the ball falling to Hayden Lowe whose shot deflected past Alec Radonich. They doubled their lead six minutes later, Daniel Harrison ball over the top was well controlled by Jon Hulme, he found Lowe, who made no mistake from the edge of the box. Rockingham were back in the game 19 minutes from time, substitute Jonah Madeira’s shot from just inside the penalty area, looped over Peter Stewart. But it was Kinglsey who secured the points deep into stoppage time. They won a corner on the right and from the short corner, Aston Montgomery burst away from his marker, raced into the box and finishing superbly past Radonich.

Cockburn City have moved off the bottom of the table after a 3-2 win against UWA Nedlands at Dalmatinac Park. “It was a great team performance against a very good UWA side,” Cockburn assistant coach Kris Donnell said. “I thought we showed a lot of character and determination to bring ourselves back into the game and in the second half really stepped it up. We have to take that level of performance into next week now.” The visitors were ahead on 15 minutes, Luke Salas’ cross found Jed Afenyo, who made no mistake from close-range. The hosts levelled on the half hour, a long free kick was misjudged by the UWA defence and Harry Lewis fired home from the angle past Tadgh O’Malley.

UWA regained the lead four minutes later, Samuel Ince was found on the edge of the box he held off his marker before finding the top corner of the net, giving Michael Craggs no chance. Steve McDonald’s side made a great start to the second half, and restored parity two minutes in, Lewis was the supplier this time, his cross to the back post was turned home by Harry O’Brien. The Cockerels won it ten minutes from time, Ryan Cox’s free kick was headed home by Harry Lewis, much to the delight of the home faithful and his team mates.

1.6.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND EIGHT REVIEW

Our week eight State League Division Two ‘Match of the Round’ has seen Balga come home from Hudson Park with the three points, after a 3-1 win. The hosts have struggled at home this season, and it was more of the same in this one, Luke Christie gave the visitor the lead early, but Ryan McCready levelled, but Christie added his, and Balga second just before half time. East Perth pressed after the break, but couldn’t breakdown a tight Balga defence, and in the final minute Albert Mombo sealed he points for Gerhard Janssen’s side.

“Overall, it was a deserved win for us, East Perth was the expected strong opponent playing in a clear structure with an enormous amount of intensity,” Balga coach Janssen said. “We managed to control the game and had several chances in the first and in the second half to finish the game of earlier. It is an important victory for us before we meet Forrestfield United on their home ground next week.” The hosts were in form after a big win at Forrestfield last week, while Balga were beaten at home by Shamrock, but it was the visitors who found the opener on 20 minutes. Christian Vest’s effort crashed off the crossbar, but Christie was on hand to volley home the rebound.

East Perth hit back and levelled on 38 minutes, Ryan Murray’s pass found McGready, who took a touch and turned his marker before finishing into the corner of the net, for his ninth goal of the season. But in the shadows of half time Balga regained the lead, a poor clearance from home keeper Sean Hyland fell to Christie, who looked up and sent it back over his head from distance. Colm Costello’s side pressed after the break, but they were off on the day and couldn’t find the equaliser, and pushing players forward late they conceded a third. Galey Zangpo picking out Mombo, who finished clinically past Hyland.

Forrestfield United have bounced back from back-to-back defeats to beat Canning City 3-2 at Burrendah Reserve. “That was the best we've been in a while but there are still a few little mistakes here and there we need to get rid of,” Forrestfield midfielder Mitch Crocker. “We had the chances to put that one away earlier in the game but Canning made us work for it.” The visitors scored the opener on the half hour, Sherwin Tucker converting from the spot. Daryl Platten’s side doubled their lead early in the second half, Sherwin raced on to a ball over the top, before finishing clinically from 18 meters. Canning reduced the margin on 53 minutes, with Mason Langham scoring, but 19 minutes later Forrestfield regained their two-goal lead, new signing Scott Witschge flicked on the ball to substitute Alfie Bryant, who made no mistake. Canning wasn’t finished and added a second six minutes later, with Tom Kinnane scoring from the spot, but Forrestfield held firm to claim the points.

Curtin University are up to fifth after a 3-0 win against Swan United at the Swan Italian Club, Francis Street. “Really happy to get the three points and put in a good 90-minute performance,” Curtin coach Troy Reid said. “We had to absorb a bit of pressure at times, but I thought we stuck to playing our style of football and were clinical in the second half.” All the goal action came late in this one, first Kieran Witt got behind the opposition defence down the left, then picked out Rowan Steed who headed home. They added a second moments later, Dane Meerally switched the ball to find Steed, who went one-on-one with Ben Parry, and finished clinically. The points were wrapped up seven minutes from time. Steed turned provider, crossing for Witt to head home at the back post.

In other games Kalamunda City are the new leaders, after a 5-2 win against bottom of the table Wanneroo City at Wanneroo Reserve. The visitors were dominant on the scoreboard early, racing to a 3-0 goal lead in the first half hour. First Fernando Albornoz opened the scoring, before a quickfire brace from Nicolas Roca had Kalamunda well in control. It was four just before half time, Lai Cung on target, and at the break they were in total control. The hosts pulled one back seven minutes into the second half, with Jordan Rowe converting from the spot, and when Asa Sippits added another 12 minutes from time, was a comeback brewing. That was quashed in stoppage time when Kalamunda added a fifth with Farruh Mavlonov scoring his sixth goal of the season.

Meanwhile Carramar Shamrock Rovers have won back-to-back games for the first time this season, beating top of the table Joondalup City 1-0 at Grandis Park, the only goal coming on the hour by substitute Drew Johnston. In the final game Ashfield and Quinns have fought out a 2-2 draw at Paintseal Arena at Ashfield Reserve. “Disappointing not to come away with the three points. As a club we have had a big week and we were far from our best today,” Ashfield player/coach James Sammut said. “I Thought we created enough chances in the game, but ultimately mistakes and poor decision making in the final third cost us.” Quinns found the opener after only four minutes, Matt Cherrie getting into the box and delivering a ball for Mou Marial to finish past Riley Stephenson. But Ashfield levelled ten minutes later, cross came in from Rob MacDonald and keeper Jake Lumpkin misjudged it and fumbled it into the net.

Quinns regained the lead midway through the half, Cherrie’s through ball sent Liam Hunt clear, and he chipped the on-coming keeper. Ashfield restored parity on 32 minutes, the referee spotting a hand ball in the box after Charlie Watt’s shot on goal, and Hanani Ndebele made no mistake from the resulting penalty. “All in all, a bit disappointed. We felt that we had control of the game and then lapses in concentration hurt us,” Quinns coach Antony Benetti said. “Consistency over the 90 minutes is a real focus for us and the boys will feel they deserved more but have to sometimes earn it. Some questionable decisions maybe rattled our rhythm but we need to rise above that.”

31.5.2024

MATILDAS LEAVE IT LATE AGAINST CHINA

The Matildas' preparations for the Paris Olympics have got off to a stuttering start, after they needed a stoppage time equaliser from veteran striker Michelle Heyman to salvage a 1-1 draw against reigning Asian Cup champions China in front of a packed house at Adelaide Oval on Friday evening. Head coach Tony Gustavsson switched things up for this one, fielded an experimental line-up for the opening hour, with Steph Catley, Caitlin Foord, Hayley Raso, Kyra Cooney-Cross, and Ellie Carpenter all on the bench.

But they came up against a well-organised and disciplined China line up, with former Matildas boss Ante Milicic in his debut as coach for the visitors, and they kept the Matildas shotless for the first half, and were behind at the break after Zhang Linyan opening the scoring on the half hour, but Heyman made sure the fans went home happy, finishing from close range. It was another sell-out crowd, with nearly 53,000 fans paced into the house, but they were silenced on 30 minutes when the visitors opened the scoring. A quick break down the right by Central Coast Mariners Wurigumula, her cross fell kindly for Zhange, who made no mistake volleying past Mackenzie Arnold, despite Charlotte Grant attempted clearance off the line.

It was a different story after the break, the Matildas on the front foot, and went close to the equaliser on 56 minutes, Courtnee Vine’s cross found Mary Fowler, and the Manchester City striker was denied by the alert XU Huan in the China goal. Gustavsson rang the changes just after the hour mark, making five, and it made an immediate impact as wave after wave of attacks by the Matildas in search of the equaliser, but one of them Foord lasted just 15 minutes, leaving the field with injury, which is a concern.

But it looked like it was in vain, with the visitors scrambling defence keeping them at bay, that was until five minutes into stoppage time their resistance was finally broken. The Matildas were awarded a free kick by referee Yu-Jeong Kim after China custodian Huan slid out to collect a pass, but handled the ball outside the penalty area. Fowler took the resulting free kick, which was parried by the keeper and Heyman was on hand to poke the ball home, much to the relief of the Matildas faithful.

Gustavsson said he was proud of his side’s resilience in the second half, but he acknowledged early concerns regarding the Matildas sluggish start to the match, while he remains hopeful the injury to Foord is not too serious. "It was DNA of this team, the never say die attitude. The crowd didn't give up on them as well and it is also classic Michelle Heyman," he said. "What was delivered today is controlling the tempo but made it too slow, that is not us.

“We want to go from so divisive that we can withdraw them, now changing the tempo and then we do not see enough change of tempo tonight. Caitlin’s injury, I don't know but she said she felt something and at this point you do not push through. It is all about getting ready. Get out healthy and work on a plan to come back fit into life so we did not want to take a risk. That is one of the reasons we kept them on the bench to minimise the minutes but also to minimise the risk.” The Matildas meet China again in Sydney on Monday night and Gustavsson will announce his Olympic squad the following day.

Matildas: GK Mackenzie Arnold, 5 Cortnee Vine (16 Hayley Raso 62’), 6 Clare Wheeler 99 Caitlin Foord 62’)(24 Sharn Freier 77’), 8 Kaitlyn Torpey (7 Stephanie Catley 62’), 10 Emily van Egmond, 11 Mary Fowler, 13 Tameka Yallop (23 Kyra Cooney-Cross 62’), 14 Alanna Kennedy, 15 Clare Hunt, 22 Charlotte Grant (21 Ellie Carpenter 62’), 32 Michelle Heyman – Subs not used: GK Lydia Williams, GK Jada Mathyssen-Whyman, 2 Courtney Nevin, 4 Clare Polkinghorne, 25 Winonah Heatley

China: GK Xu Huan, 2 Li Mengwen (9 Shen Mengyu 86’), 3 Chen Qiaozhu, 4 Dou Jiaxing, 5 Wu Haiyan, 7 Wang Shanshan (15 Cong Yuan 86’), 10 Wang Yanwen (28 Jiali Tang 86’),19 Zhang Linyan (23 Liu Yanqiu 75’), 20 Zhang Rui (17 Wu Chengshu 67’), 22 Gao Chen, 26 Wurigumula (16 Liu Jing 67’) – Subs not used: 12 Shimeng Peng, 18 Shen Menglu, 21 Yuxin Zhong, 27 Chen Liu - Attendance: 52,912 - Referee: Yu-Jeong Kim

31.5.2024

BRANO RETURNS HOME

Brandon O’Neill will play for Perth Glory for a third time, after the midfielder signed a two-year deal at the A-League club today. The 30-year-old had three years at the club (2012-2015) as a youngster, and returned for a second spell in 2021, but things didn’t work out, after only ten games. O’Neill, who started his football journey at ECU Joondalup, is extremely grateful to be returning to Perth with his young family and is determined to play his part in driving the club forward.

“I really want to thank the club for allowing myself and my family the chance to come home, represent the club and play football, which is something I never thought would be possible again,” he told the Glory website. “I appreciate that my previous spell at the club did not end well and that my actions were viewed negatively from the outside by some of our members and fans.

“I acknowledge and understand that perception and am keenly aware of the need to rebuild my relationship with those members and fans. The best way for me to do that is via my actions on and off the field and I will be doing everything I can to help bring success back to Perth Glory. Sharing that success with the Members and fans and my family and friends would mean everything to me and I can’t wait to start work on making that happen.”

The midfielder sent a heart filled message to the Glory faithful on social media regarding his departure in 2022. “I’m writing this in the hope it gives you a little bit of clarity. I acknowledge and completely understand how you all feel. If I was in your situation and from the outside looking in, I would feel the exact same way. My previous period with the club didn’t end harmoniously as you all know. If I had my time again both from a personal and professional standpoint, things would have been done and communicated differently. Because of that, I know my word is irrelevant, and so it should be.

The only way I can build back that relationship with you all is through my actions. Over time I’m hoping to have a relationship with you all, because it is you that is the driving force behind everything about Perth Glory Football Club. I also hope we enjoy success in the future. It would be amazing to experience it with you, family and friends back home in Perth. Again, I appreciate and acknowledge your feeling and how they currently sit. I hope to make it right in many years to come.

Surprisingly there was no comments from Head coach Alen Stajic on the signing, but Glory Football Director Stan Lazaridis believes that O’Neill will prove to be a key signing for the club. “Brandon is a top professional, a top human being and a great leader,” he said. “Of course, we know that his previous departure from the club was an acrimonious one, but he’s determined to make things right. We want him to lead again in that midfield, help the players around him in their development and be a catalyst for really driving the club forward both on and off the pitch. We’re absolutely thrilled to have him back at Perth Glory.”

O’Neill joined the Glory youth system in 2010 from ECU Joondalup, and made his A-League debut against Gold Coast United two years later. After a further 15 senior appearances, he moved on to Sydney FC and immediately became an integral part of the Sky Blues’ side, and played five seasons, playing over 100 games, scoring eight goals as they secured two Championships and two Premierships, one against the Glory at Optus Stadium in 2019, and lifted the FFA Cup.

He then headed overseas with K-League side Pohang Steelers and following a year in Korea, he spent a season in the Thai top flight with Buriram United. The midfielder returned to Australia in 2021 and played ten times during a second spell at Glory before Newcastle Jets became his third A-League club a year later. At international level, meanwhile, he was capped by Australia at Under-23 level ahead of a Socceroos debut against South Korea in June 2019. ‘Welcome home Brano’.

31.5.2024

BELT-UP AMATEUR CUP THIRD ROUND PREVIEW

The amateur leagues take a break this week, with the third round of the Amateur Cup taking centre stage on Sunday afternoon. Cup holders Wembley Downs are involved in the only all-premier league clash against Maccabi at Butlers Reserves. (All games kick off at 2.30pm) The hosts beat Perth AFC in last seasons final, and coach Bob Jackson said it’s another challenge, like all games have been this season. “Looking forward to what will be yet another really tough game. It’s the first of three games in a week for us again so hopefully we’ll have all the boys fit and available,” he explained. “Maccabi are up around the top of the table and look as though they’re going to stay there, so it will be a good test for us.”

Maccabi coach Ricky Berelowitz said Wembley have been the form team this season, and his side will look to bounce back from the league defeat at North Perth last week. “The lads are looking forward to it, hoping to bounce back from the weekend where we were far from our best,’ he said. “We know it’s going to be a very tough game, they’d be favourites having won the night series and every one of their league games so far, so we’ll have to be at our very best to get through the next round.”

Last season’s beaten finalists Perth AFC sit top of the Division One table, and make the trip to Frye Park, to take on current Premier League leaders Kelmscott Roos. AFC coach Nathan Thorp said it’s been a good start to the season for them, and Sunday will be a good test. “We’ve been ticking along nicely in the league and are very happy with the start we’ve made after five games, but still a lot of football to be played,” he said. “It’s nice to have a break from the league this week as we look to progress into the next round of the cup. We are looking forward to the Kelmscott game, another good test for us against a premier side. They’ve been flying in the league so far, so we will have to be focused from start to finish to get a result and go through.”

In other games Kwinana United welcome North Beach to Kelly Park, and coach George Mann said it should be a good game. “We are under no illusion and respect that North Beach will be a tough test,” he said. “We are excited for the challenge and I’m sure it’ll be great game.” North Perth United welcome Ellenbrook United to Woodville Reserve, the visitors have started well under new coach Matt Debarro and he said it’s a challenge they are looking forward too. “It's always nice having a break from league football and playing in a cup with no pressure, but we’re looking forward to the challenge,” he said. “We will use it as an opportunity to give some of our reserve boys an opportunity at first team level. With that being said we still have every intention of giving North Perth a good game.”

Quinns welcome Bayswater City to Stylish Park, Gumblossom Reserve, while Hamersley Rover welcome Alkimos to Carine Open Space. Ballajura AFC make the trip to Swan Valley Sporting Club to take on Swan Valley the hosts have already beaten a premier league side, a 4-1 win against Joondalup United in round one, so Ballajura coach Scott Urquhart said it should be a good game. “We look forward to the cup challenge, and we know that Swan Valley have already beaten a premier league side in the first round,” he explained. “So, we are well aware of the qualities they possess, it should be a great game.” The game between Forrestfield United and Jaguar at Crazy Domains Stadium, Hartfield Park is off, with the hosts forfeiting due to players unavailability.

31.5.2024

WOMEN’S STATE CUP QUARTER FINAL PREVIEW

It’s the Quarter-Finals of the Hyundai Women’s State Cup this weekend, with all the NPL sides competing for a place in next month’s semi-finals. First up, last season’s beaten finalists Murdoch University Melville make the trip to the RedStar Arena on Saturday afternoon to take on Perth RedStar. (3.00pm) MUMFC midfielder Emma Ylias was on target in last weeks league game at Balcatta, and she said they are looking forward to the cup game at the champions.

“This Saturday should be a good challenge for us as we have a lot of young players at MUM FC that are dedicated to the game and are developing more and more each week, and are driven to just keep learning,” Ylias explained. “It will be a good challenge taking on the reigning champions being the underdogs and we won’t give up until the final whistle, so best of luck to both teams and let’s make it a good one.”

RedStar won most competitions last season, but were beaten in the quarter-finals of the State Cup by Perth SC, and midfielder Sarah Carroll said they hope to change that this season, starting with MUMFC on Saturday. “The girls are looking forward to the game, it’s another opportunity for us to keep building, so it’s an important game, we need to be at our best,” Carroll said. “We were disappointed to have not progressed in the cup last year, so we want to make up for that.”

Cup holders Hyundai NTC travel to Hilton Park on Sunday to meet Fremantle City. (3.00pm) It’s been a tough season for the NTC youngster, but they go into Sunday’s game on the back of a win against UWA Nedlands, and striker Theodora Mouithys, who opened the scoring last week in their first win first win in four games, said losing games isn’t fun. “It’s never a good feeling too loose especially after the great start to the season that we had,” Mouithys explained.

“I think we are a strong and young team with so much potential, so hopefully the 4-1 win on Saturday gives us motivation for the second round of the season and in the cup, to start fresh and show what our team is capable of.” In the other ties on Sunday, UWA Nedlands entertain Balcatta Etna at the UWA Sports Park (1.00pm), while Subiaco AFC welcome Perth SC to Rosalie Park. (2.00pm)

31.5.2024

NPL-WA ROUND TEN - PREVIEW

After the midweek Australia Cup games, we’re back into NPLWA – Men’s action on Saturday, and our week ten ‘Match of the Round’ takes us to Frank Drago Reserve, where Bayswater City entertain Floreat Athena. (All games kick off at 3.00pm, unless stated) Only one points separates the two sides on the ladder, Floreat sit fourth, but are coming off back-to-back defeats, while Bayswater are unbeaten in four, but they have drawn two of those to keep them in fifth, so three points will be vital in this one.

The last time they played at the venue was in round seven last season, when City ran out 2-0 winners, which moved them to the top of the table. Jon Stynes came off the bench on the hour and opened the scoring four minutes later finishing from Ndumba Makeche low cross. Bayswater sealed the points eight minutes from time, Declan Hargreaves won possession in the middle of the park, and his ball over the top sent Stynes in on goal, his first touch took him past Saldaris, and with his second he rolled the ball into an empty net.

The 3-0 win at Inglewood was important for City, and assistant coach Stewart Moses said it’s important to turn their good performances into wins. “I thought we controlled the game from start to finish, and three points were important after back-to-back draws, but it was also nice to get a clean sheet,” he explained. “To be fair the scoreline should have been more, with the chances we created, so we need to be more clinical in the final third.”

With only six points separating the top seven sides, Moses knows three points are important, so consistency is the key heading into Saturday’s game. “Yes, it’s very tight up there, and with us dropping six points in the three games this year (Armadale, Western Knights and Perth), in the final minutes of the games when we’ve been leading,” Moses said. “It shows we need to manage games better, with the experience we have we need to hold on to the lead, if we had done that, we would be one point clear at the top. It’s a big game this week, we need to win to keep in touch of the teams ahead of us. It’s always an arm wrestle again Floreat, so we need to be on our A game and I’m sure the boys are up for the challenge.”

Back-to-back defeats for Floreat, has seen them drop to fourth, which including a narrow loss against league leaders Olympic, and assistant coach Miki Vujacic said he thought they deserved a point after good performance. “I thought it was a really tight game, worthy of a traditional old school derby, and I thought we set up really well and had control for large portions of the game,” he explained. “We were proud of our performance, and I thought we were worthy for at least a point, if not more. In saying that, we can have no arguments about the result, Kingsway are a tough team full of quality players and deserve to be where they are.”

Like his Bayswater counterpart, Vujacic said the league continues to challenge every team, and the former Floreat, Future Glory, Stirling Lions, Inglewood United and Swan IC midfielder knows you have to on your game from the first minute. “Totally agree with Stewy, week to week you have to turn up, you can’t have lapses and expect to be at the top end of the table, not in this league,” he said. “It's something that we've been working really hard at, giving a consistent message about the way we want to play and how to break teams down. “I feel we still have more levels to us as a squad, but it starts with a bit of discipline and consistency to give us a solid platform to move forward. As for Saturday, like Kingsway, Bayswater are another squad full of talent, and will be a tough test for us. They've got damaging players across the park, so we have to be ready to go from the first minute. We've got a hard-working group of guys who on their day can beat anyone, hopefully Saturday is one of those days.”

In other games in week ten, Western Knights will look to break a five-game winless streak when they travel to the Sam Kerr Football Centre to meet Perth Glory, who have also not won in five, and changed coaches in midweek, former Knights coach Ivan Zuvela taking over from John Walmsley. Armadale will aim to bounce back from defeat last week at Balcatta, when they host Stirling Macedonia at Alfred Skeet Reserve, Perth SC welcome Perth RedStar to Dorrien Gardens (6.00pm). The pair both winning in the cup in midweek, while new Perth coach Kenny Lowe is still looking for his first league win at the club, and it would be nice to get it against his former club Second placed Fremantle City make the trip to Inglewood Stadium to take on bottom of the table Inglewood United, who are still looking for their first point of the season, and who parted company with coach Taki Nicolaidis in midweek, while in the final game league leaders Olympic Kingsway entertain Balcatta Etna at Kingsway Reserve.

The hosts have been in great form, only one defeat and they have scored 25 goals, the most in the competition, while Balcatta will be buoyed by their second win of the season against Armadale last week and Adam Buckingham said it was an important win for the club, and they will be looking for another on Saturday. “We were very happy and relieved to get the win against Armadale, and I thought we played quite well from a defensive perspective,” the defender explained. “It was nice to see it come to fruition picking up the clean sheet after focusing on that all week. On Saturday, I think if we are play well and take our performance against Armadale into the game, then I’m confident we can cause them a lot of problems and get a result.”

31.5.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND NINE PREVIEW

Our week nine State League Division One ‘Match of the Round’ takes us to Percy Doyle Reserve, where league leaders Sorrento welcome third placed Murdoch University Melville. (All games kick off at 3.00pm, unless stated) The hosts moved top after a narrow win at Cockburn last week, while MUMFC kept the pressure on them with a hard-fought 5-4 win against Joondalup United. The Gulls are the only team in the league unbeaten, with MUMFC only losing once, and they sit one point behind Saturday’s opponents, while both sides have been in good scoring form, bagging 27 and 22 respectively, the best two in the league, so there should be plenty of goals in this one, in their first ever meeting in the league.

The Gulls have had a good week, topping the table after the win at Cockburn, then reaching the Australia Cup semi-final with a win at Ashfield, and defender James McGowan said it’s good to continue their winning form. “Yes, it’s been a great week for the club, we knew Cockburn were going to make it a difficult for us on Saturday, and I thought we played well, we had a lot of possession and created a lot of chances but fair play to Cockburn for keeping themselves in the game for as long as they did,” he explained. “It was also a good win for us in the cup, the gaffer brought in a handful of reserve players, and I thought all of them did exceptionally well was a good professional performance and nice to keep another clean sheet.”

McGowan joined Sorrento from NPL side Stirling this season, and he believes the club has what it takes on and off the park, to bounce back to the NPL next season. “Sorrento is a great club and unfortunately they got relegated from the top flight last year, but the gaffer and Neil Kilkenny have made a lot of good changes this year,” he said. “The club is very professional and they are making sure the standards are high on everything we do, one of the reasons I signed for the club this year is because I thought they were really ambitious to get back into the top flight and so far, we’ve done really well. We’re in a good place but we’re all fully focused on the next game and not looking too far ahead. We play MUMFC on Saturday, and I think every game will be tough for us this year, but we’re not really focused on how well other clubs are doing. I believe if we just focus on ourselves and make sure we do everything right then the results will take care of themselves.”

Murdoch University Melville have started life under new coach Marc Anthony well, and they sit third, just one point behind Sorrento, and last week they played out a nine-goal thriller with Joondalup and the skipper Pat Sara said it was a cracking game. “It was a good win against a side in good form, we know what to expect from them, and I think for the most part of the game dealt with it well,” the midfielder explained. “We switched off at a few crucial stages and they made us pay each time. When we were focused though, we were the better side, and we had chances to put the game to bed long before it became a nine-goal affair. The good thing is we had lots to take from the game and our mistakes are easy fixes.”

They head to Sorrento in good form, and the skipper is looking forward to the challenge at Percy Doyle Reserve, especially after missing the night series game against them. “The start to the season has been fantastic, and the lads have really bought in to what Marc has to offer. We are playing with a lot of confidence and the vibe in the dressing room is first class as well. As for Saturday, I know for myself, I am really looking forward to this game, as I was away when we played in them in the Night Series, so I am excited to get to the weekend and see why they are still unbeaten. On our day, I think we are good enough to beat anyone, so we will go into the game with full confidence that we can get a result.”

In other games on Saturday, Subiaco AFC, who bounced back from their first loss of the season in week seven at Dianella to beat Gosnells, head north to take on Joondalup United at Pentanet Stadium, while Mandurah City welcome Gwelup Croatia to the Poolmart Stadium, Peelwood Parade. Kingsley Westside will be on a high after defeating Dianella last week, and they head to Lark Hill Sportsplex to take on Rockingham City, who are on a four-game losing streak. Meanwhile Dianella White Eagles will look to bounce back from their first defeat of the season at Kingsley, when they host Gosnells City at Dianella Reserve. (5.00pm) In the final game Cockburn City welcome UWA Nedlands to Dalmatinac Park.

It’s been a difficult start to life on and off the park in State League since relegation for Cockburn, the club sitting on the bottom of the table with only one win, and a change at the helm with President Heidi Lazzaro stepping down, and replaced by resident Paul McVittie and a new committee. But they will be hoping for a second win on Saturday when they host UWA, and keeper Michael Craggs hopes to build on their performance against Sorrento. “It was a very close game that we are disappointed that we didn't get anything from, but we were very happy with the performance,” he said. “We need to have performances like that week out from now on, there are no real excuses.

“It’s always tough for a new president and committee to take over from Heidi who has been so integral to the club for so long. They are saying all the right things and really want to help return Cockburn to where we know we should be in the top flight. If the committee and the team both play our parts there's no reason why that can't happen in the very near future. This week take on UWA, and they have started quite well, but as last week showed there should be no reason why we shouldn't be able to take maximum points of them. As long as we play to the same standard as we did against Sorrento, I'm confident we can take the three points.”

31.5.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND EIGHT PREVIEW

East Perth have made a great start to State League football, Colm Costello’s side are joint leaders, and sit fourth on goal difference, and this week they host Balga at Hudson Park, in our week eight State League Division Two ‘Match of the Round’ (All games kick off at 3.00pm, unless stated) The hosts beat Forrestfield last week, to make it four wins on the road this season, while Balga slipped up at home to Carramar Shamrock Rovers, which let them ninth on the ladder, and in their first meeting ever in the league, both will be searching for the points at either end of the table.

The win at Forrestfield made it back-to-back wins for East Perth, and coach Colm Costello said it was a good response from his players after the loss against Swan in round five. “Our defeat against Swan was a huge wakeup call on and off pitch, we were missing some players in key areas especially our keeper but as a whole it thought us a huge lesson,” he explained. “You switch off in any moments in this league you will be punished as Swan showed on the day, but it’s how you react as group is what’s important in football.

“The lads took responsibility and have been excellent in training every night since then and the results have shown with not just six points on the board, but two excellent performances so they take credit for that. The club are taking great strides on and off the pitch and I think on both sides learning as we go, you go to places like Carramar, Ashfield and Forrestfield, the set-up, the pitch the hospitality shown is brilliant and we see how established big clubs operate, and we are aiming to do that.”

It's not just the first team, all three sides are performing well, and Costello said it’s important to get the foundations right in their first season in state league football. “Yes, all three sides are doing well. Warren Mitchell, who was involved with first team last year, took the 18s which is a brand-new team and already a number of the players have stepped up to first and reserves squad, so it’s great to see and there is a good buzz around the club,” he said. “But it’s still early on and it’s important to keep good performances weekly coming in with both 18s and reserves. I actually only said to Gary Morrell the club founder last week, we will have good days and bad days at this level but it’s important we enjoy it all.

The first team have been very good so far and every player is there for the right reasons and working hard, all the coaches (Jason and Ago) are putting a lot of time and effort planning the sessions weekly and although we are mindful of every opponent, we are trying to play good football and work hard to get results. I think last season we had intense games nearly all year to keep at the top whereas this year after promotion we can play more freely and without as much pressure, as our plan this year was always to consolidate and find our feet in our first year at this level and see we’re it takes us. I feel we have to prove each week we have a right to be in this league and can only do that but concentrating on us as team firstly, so it’s going well so far.”

Costello said they will be looking for a better performance than their last home game against Swan, but he is well aware there is no easy games. “Yes, there all hard games in this league, and Balga is no different. The lads enjoyed the win and Saturday but that’s gone and our preparation is well underway,” he said. “Also, they beat a team that hammered us only a few weeks back, so we are well aware of what will happen if we switch off or too many players have an off day. The league so far is very enjoyable and results each week are not guarantee for anybody.”

It's been a stuttering start for Balga, a big win at Swan in week six, was followed by a loss at home to Shamrock, and skipper Nathan Scully said they couldn’t get their game going in the second half. “Very disappointed with the result last week, especially going 1-0 up into the break,” he said. “A few decisions didn’t go our way, but that’s no excuse, we have to be better to not leave it to chance whether a decision goes your way to win the game. We have to be on the front foot and play your way, and unfortunately, we couldn’t get our game going to finish the job.”

Scully hopes they can turn their form around on Saturday, against a side who have started life well in the state league, but he knows Balga have a squad that can do it, they just need consistency. “Yes, that’s the frustrating part, we know we have the squad to compete with any team. But being able to back it up each week at the same level and churn out results is what I think most teams in the league struggle with,” he explained. “On Saturday we take on the new side in the league, and I don’t know a whole heap about, but that works in our favour, as we can put more emphasis on our style and the way we want to play. The team is eager to make amends for the slip up last weekend, and we are expecting a very tough and competitive battle against East Perth, so we will be ready to go.”

In other games this weekend, second placed Kalamunda City travel to Wanneroo Reserve to meet bottom of the table Wanneroo City, while Swan United welcome Curtin University to the Swan Italian Club, Francis Street. Forrestfield United will look to bounce back from back-to-back defeats when they visit Burrendah Reserve, to take on Canning City, who will be buoyed by back-to-back wins, while Ashfield welcome Quinns to Paintseal Arena at Ashfield Reserve. In the final game Carramar Shamrock Rovers welcome league leaders Joondalup City to Grandis Park.

Joondalup have lost their last two games, but lead the league on goal difference, while Rovers won for the second time this season at Balga last week, and coach Gerry McEwan said it was an improved performance. “I thought we started well and were the better side but our pressure wasn't providing any goals, and against the run of play they scored. But we came out second half and turned things around, and on the balance of play, I thought we were worthy winners, it was a very welcome three points in what is a very competitive league this season,” he said.

“Joondalup City appear to be going well under the guidance of Guy McDonald, who I've known since he was 12 and he was always a player who understood what his role was in the team and I'm sure he'll be attempting to pass on that knowledge to his players now that he's the boss. I can't say the game will be any more of a challenge than any other game, as it's my belief that every game in this division is tough. Losing four games in a row wasn't a nice experience, so now that we've broken that streak with our win over Balga, I'm looking for our lads to give everything towards getting another three points this weekend.”

31.5.2024

GLORY YOUNGSTER SIGNS FOR THE HOOPS

Perth Glory winger Daniel Bennie will be become another Australian player in the English Championship next season, after completed a move to Queens Park Rangers for an undisclosed fee. The Championship is one step below the Premier League, and there are many plying their trade there, the likes of Riley McGee at Middlesborugh, and Harry Soutter and Cameron Burgess at Leicester and Ipswich, although they have both been promoted to the EPL for next season.

The 18-year-old, who played his junior football at Sorrento in the northern suburbs, before progressing through the ranks of the Glory Academy, before making his senior debut in last year’s friendly against West Ham United at Optus Stadium and impressing. He became a mainstay in Alen Stajcic’s side last season, making 25 A-League appearance, and scoring his maiden senior goal against Melbourne Victory in Round 22.

The Australia Under-17 international has been trialling at the Loftus Road club, and has impressed them, and it was also reported he had been watched by several European clubs in recent months. He was expected to stay with Perth for another season but has decided to make the move this summer. “I am very excited to join QPR,” he said. “Coming from Australia to Europe has always been my dream and I think this is the perfect move for me. QPR is a good, family club and they really showed they want me which makes me and my family feel secure about coming here.”

The youngster was quick to acknowledge the role that Glory has played in his football development. “I would like to thank everyone at Perth Glory for making my first professional season so enjoyable,” he told the Glory website. “To all the coaching staff and players, thank you all for the way you have treated me. I have come along in leaps and bounds learning from you all this season., and I’d also like to thank the fans for sticking with us all season. “It’s been an honour playing in front of you and I wish the club all the best for next season. Thank you again.”

Glory CEO Anthony Radich, praised the way Bennie conducted himself during his spell at the club and wished the youngster good luck in his football career. “This is a great opportunity for Daniel and one that he deserves for all the hard work that he has put in during his time with us,” he said. “He is a very impressive young man with maturity beyond his years and we’re very proud of the role that our PGFC Academy has played in his development. We thank Daniel for his service to Perth Glory and wish him all the very best as he continues his football journey in England.”

Photo courtesy of Queens Park Rangers FC

31.5.2024

O'NEILL RETURNS TO GLORY AFTER PREVIOUS CONTROVERSIAL EXIT

Perth Glory have confirmed the long-speculated return of Brandon O'Neill with the central midfielder re-joining his hometown club for a third stint on a two-year deal. The dual A-League championship and premiership winner has spent the past two seasons with Newcastle Jets following his controversial departure from Glory.

O'Neill, 30, was captain of the club during 2021/22 but left at season's end after requesting an early release from his three-year contract. The former Sydney FC fan favourite expressed his gratitude to the club for allowing him to return and said he was eager to right the wrongs of his previous departure.

"I really want to thank the club for allowing myself and my family the chance to come home, represent the club and play football, which is something I never thought would be possible again," O'Neill said. "I appreciate that my previous spell at the club did not end well and that my actions were viewed negatively from the outside by some of our members and fans."

"I acknowledge and understand that perception and am keenly aware of the need to rebuild my relationship with those members and fans. The best way for me to do that is via my actions on and off the field and I will be doing everything I can to help bring success back to Perth Glory."

Glory Football Director Stan Lazaridis, said O'Neill will prove to be a key signing for the club. "Brandon is a top professional, a top human being and a great leader," he said. "We want him to lead again in that midfield, help the players around him in their development and be a catalyst for really driving the club forward both on and off the pitch."

Having played the bulk of his junior days with ECU Joondalup, O'Neill entered the Glory youth system in 2010 and two years later made his A-League debut against Gold Coast United. After a further 15 appearances, he moved on to Sydney and immediately became an integral part of the Sky Blues' midfield, winning plenty of silverware under Graham Arnold.

O'Neill gained his senior Australia debut by starting the June 2029 friendly against South Korea. The talented midfielder moved to K-League side Pohang Steelers before spending a season in Thailand's top flight with Buriram United before returning to Glory in 2021.

30.5.2024

MILAN AND ROMA PROMISE TO PUT ON A SHOW

AC Milan and AS Roma have vowed fans will not go home disappointed from Friday night’s all-Italian blockbuster at Optus Stadium, promising star-power and encouraging a vibrant atmosphere. The pair of giants have both arrived in Perth just days after the conclusion of their Serie A season and more than 50,000 fans are expected to turn out for the friendly.

Despite the brief period of time between the end of the Italian season and the Perth friendly, both sides have named big names for the game. Chief among them are two world Cup winners in Milan striker and Frenchman Olivier Giroud and Roma star Paulo Dybala, who scored a spot-kick in Argentina’s 2022 World Cup final victory.

Roma defender Chris Smalling is no stranger to Perth, having visited the city with Manchester United in 2019, and said he was expecting a high-quality game and hailed the talents of Dybala. “His name is synonymous around the world because of his quality,” he said. “As someone on his team, you just want to give him the ball as early as possible, because there are very few players in the world who have that magic.”

The game will be Giroud’s final game for the club before he heads to play for Los Angeles FC in Major League Soccer, and Milan captain Davide Calabria said they hoped to send him off on the right foot. “He’s an important leader on and off the field, particular off the field. Supporters love him a lot, they’re going to miss him a lot, and we’re happy to have these few days together to celebrate his departure,” Calabria said via an interpreter.

Interim Milan coach Daniele Bonera is looking forward to the club’s legions of fans painting Optus Stadium red and black tommorow night. “I’m very pleased to be here because of the strong Italian population and I hope to be able to honor the invitation with a good game on Friday night,” he said. “We want to have a very loud stadium, a lot of activity,” she said.

The two sides will both wear a patch on their shirt dedicated to former player Agostino Di Bartolomei, who played for both clubs, to mark the 30th anniversary of his passing. “He left the example, a real reminder of what a Romanista needs to be, so it’s important for us to keep on remembering him every year,” commented Roma coach Daniele de Rossi.

30.5.2024

RISING STAR BENNIE SIGNS WITH QUEENS PARK RANGERS

Perth Glory young gun Daniel Bennie has jetted off to the English Championship, completing a move with Queens Park Rangers following a successful trial with the London club. After a whirlwind 12 months, the 18-year old attacker has signed with the English Championshsip side for an undisclosed fee upon completion of his first senior season.

Bennie, a Glory Academy graduate, scored in his first senior game - Glory’s friendly against West Ham United in July 2023 - before going on to make 25 A-League appearances. He won the club’s DT38 under-23 player of the season award at the Most Glorious Player awards, and scored for Australia at last year’s under-17 Asian Cup in June.

“I am very excited to join QPR,” Bennie said of his move to England's second tier. “Coming from Australia to Europe has always been my dream and I think this is the perfect move for me. QPR is a good, family club and they really showed they want me which makes me and my family feel secure about coming here.”

Bennie, who earlier this week was named in the Young Socceroos squad for next month's tour of South America, paid tribute to Glory and thanked his hometown club for their role in his development. “I would like to thank everyone at Perth Glory for making my first professional season so enjoyable,” he commented.

“To all the coaching staff and players, thank you all for the way you have treated me. I have come along in leaps and bounds learning from you all this season and I’d also like to thank the fans for sticking with us all season. It’s been a honour playing in front of you and I wish the club all the best for next season.”

Bennie's departure continues a significant overhaul at Glory where the departure list includes Darryl Lachman, Mark Beevers, Aleksandar Susnjar, Bruce Kamau, Antonis Martis, Jayden Gorman, Jaylan Pearman, Stefan Colakovski, John Koutroumbis and Josh Rawlins.

30.5.2024

JONES AND IREDALE MISS OUT ON PROMOTION

It was a disappointing end to the season for WA duo Gethin Jones and Jack Iredale, as their English club Bolton Wanderers were beaten in the League One play-off final by Oxford United. The Socceroos defender played 90-minutes in the 0-2 loss, while Iredale came on just after the hour, and Jones admits accusations that Wanderers have failed to deliver in the big games are painfully accurate, and they now must put a plan for their next assault on League One.

Though Ian Evatt’s side spent just four weeks outside the top four this season, their record against their direct promotion rivals cost them their ultimate target. Not including the play-offs, Bolton won just two of 10 games against the top six, averaging 1.2 points per outing, bettered by both Derby County (1.4) and Portsmouth (2.20). Concerns over the team’s ‘big game mentality’ were only amplified with the disappointment at Wembley, and vice-captain Jones says the players can give little argument to the evidence against them.

“We said to each other after the game, I don’t know if it is a mentality issue, but I have been here now for four years and I can think of only a few times where we have really come up with a performance when the pressure was really on,” Jones told the Bolton News. “Crawley, Papa John’s Final last year, Blackpool, Derby – they are the sort of games you need to win, but other than those it has been poor. So, 100 per cent the criticism we have had is fair on that, we just haven’t come up to standard in the big games. Collectively, we have to be better than that, we can’t drop that many points and expect to get promotion.”

Evatt said in the aftermath of the final that there would be a period of change this summer and it remains to be seen what form that takes. The club have announced their retained list, with both Jones and Iredale remaining at the Trotters, and Jones believes the core of the squad which was 90 minutes away from the Championship can recover and rebuild to go one better next season.

“The most important thing is that we look at ourselves and what more we can all do, it can’t be a case of pointing fingers and blaming each other,” he said. “Every game you lose, people tend to point their finger at a certain player. And we do it as players as well, we’re no better. But to a man, not one of us played to our best (at Wembley). Every one of us has more to give than that and, honestly, I don’t think any of us can tell you why we didn’t do it on the day. As for what changes, we will see what happens in the future.”

Jones, alongside Ricardo Santos and George Thomason, has turned out in every season under Evatt, each seeing an improvement in the league position. Summing up the personal disappointment of missing out on promotion, the Perth-born defender said: “This club has done everything for me, and it has been a platform for me to keep going again. After signing in League Two it was a massive dream of mine to help this club into League One and then to the Championship. To miss out on that, I am just devastated, it is hard to put into words just how bad I feel.”

For the former Perth Glory and ECU Joondalup defender the loss to Oxford was a huge disappointment, but after a short break to recharge his batteries he is determined to make emends next season. “The Wembley final was a day to forget for us, we just didn’t turn up really and after everything we’d gone through in that season it’s just so frustrating that we didn’t manage to get the job done for everyone,” Iredale explained. “We will be looking to make emends next season for our loyal supporters, that the goal. Everyone’s still hurting from the final I think, but we’ve got to dust off and come back as strong as possible and even improve aswell.”

29.5.2024

FALZON TAKES OVER AT VICTORIA NPL SIDE

Former Perth Soccer Club head coach Ramon Falzon has been appointed as the coach of NPL Victoria club Green Gully, after the club parted ways with Stephen Downes, who departed the club by mutual agreement after Round 13. The 40-year-old had a successful stint at Dorrien Gardens, helping the Azzurri to four NPLWA titles, three Top Four trophies and one Night Series title, while the Maltese-born coach was also awarded the NPL WA Coach of the Year in both 2018 and 2019.

Falzon said he’s delighted to be back in the game, and looking forward to the challenge of lifting the club up from their tenth spot at the moment. “The appointment happened very quickly and it was easy to hit the ground running as everyone at the club has welcomed and is supportive of the new coaching staff,” he explained. “We are trying to make it a very smooth transition for the players, as our target is very simply to maintain the good qualities that we have and try to strengthen on it. Although we are currently sitting tenth on the table, we believe that we have the foundations in the current squad to start building momentum to push higher up the league table.”

After previous roles as the head coach of Malta’s Under 17 junior men’s national team, along with being part of Perth Glory’s youth team coaching staff, and Falzon is looking forward to working with the squad along with the new coaching team, Adrian Mazzarella and Steven Pavlidis. Mazzarella arrives at Green Gully with a vast array of coaching experience, including as an academy and junior coach at the likes of Chelsea and Crystal Palace, as well as a coach of Victorian Junior Teams and within Football Australia’s Future Matildas Program.

There is a WA contention in the Green Gully side with former Bayswater City keeper Liam Driscoll at the club, and Falzon said he’s looking to working the squad, and getting them up the table. “It’s a good bunch of players,” he said. “Most of the games I’ve seen, we’ve taken the lead but maybe missed that opportunity to get 2-0 up and then dropped points. For me, there’s a solid foundation to build on, and from our side, that’s the objective: take what we have and work with the players to build and push up the standings.”

No stranger to winning games and trophies, Falzon said his success in Australian football had been built on being adaptable to the unique challenges of each opponent, and that won’t change. “I think people come to games hoping to see their team win, so my philosophy is to ensure our team has the maximum opportunities to win,” he said. “In terms of a style, that might vary game to game, but the objective is to try and collect the three points on game day. That’s our ultimate objective.” Falzon will take charge of his first game on Saturday against Manningham United on the road at Pettys Reserve.

29.5.2024

RISDON BACK FOR MORE GLORY

After a week Perth Glory cut 11 players from their squad, there was some good news on Wednesday after the brought former defender Josh Risdon back to the west on a two-year contract. The 31-year-old Bunbury-born defender, previously made over 140 A-League appearances and played in one Grand Final and two FFA Cup Finals for Glory between 2010 and 2017, picking up the Most Glorious Player Award in 2012.

He has spent the last five years at Western United and was the club’s vice-captain when they claimed the A-League Championship in 2022. Risdon also won the first five of his 14 Socceroos caps while at Glory and was a key member of Bert van Marwijk’s squad at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He is now relishing the prospect of representing his home-state club once again.

“I’m so excited to announce my return to Perth Glory, the club where my football journey began,” he told the Glory website. “As someone born and bred in WA, it’s an incredible honour to come back home with my family and represent Glory once again. With the new ownership steering the club into an exciting era, I am fully committed to working tirelessly to bring back the glory and success that our members and fans deserve.”

New Glory Football Director Stan Lazaridis is thrilled to welcome Risdon back to the club. “Josh is such a consistent performer and he’s so tough,” he said. “I loved him from the first time I saw him and I remember telling him that he was good enough to play for Australia at right-back. He’s like a pit bull that keeps going at you, he’s got a great engine and he’s a good leader who will have a key role to play in helping our young players to develop. “Our members and fans regard Josh as one of their own and he is very much what the club is all about. I know how much Perth Glory means to him and I can’t tell you how delighted we are that he’s back with us.”

It’s been a journey, filled with many highs for the defender, and he has made a total of 260 A-League appearances. It began in 2008 when he entered the club’s youth set-up having previously impressed while at ECU Joondalup (now Perth RedStar) and the NTC. His senior debut for the Glory arrived during the 2010/11 campaign and he would go on to make the right-back spot his own for the next six seasons, playing 142 games to move into fourth place in Glory’s all-time A-League appearances list.

Senior international recognition arrived in 2015 with a debut against Bangladesh at HBF Park and he would go on to feature in each of the Socceroos’ three group games at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. The defender spent two seasons with Western Sydney Wanderers after leaving Glory in 2017 before moving on to Western United where he subsequently became club captain. Risdon played 20 or more games in four of his five seasons with the Victorian side and was a key figure in their surprise 2022 A-League Championship triumph.

29.5.2024

TWO COACHES DEPART NPL CLUBS

Inglewood United and Perth Glory sit in the bottom two in the NPLWA – Men’s table, and both clubs have decided to change coaches, with the league reaching round ten this weekend. The biggest surprise was the departure of John Walmsley at Glory, who has been successful in his role, and he has brought on many youngsters who went on to play A-League football last season. The club announced he would leave along with his brother, and assistant coach Stephen, calling it a restructuring of the PGFC Academy which is effective immediately.

This means Dom Gangemi has been appointed Academy Director and Ivan Zuvela, who is the under 20’s coach, will take over as First Team Head Coach. Gangemi is an UEFA “A” Licence- accredited coach who was trained at the famous and prestigious Coverciano Technical Centre in Florence, the home of the Italian national teams and has worked extensively as the head coach of pro and semi-pro senior and junior teams in Italy and in Australia. He was also formerly a Technical Director of clubs in both NPL Victoria and NPL WA and has been employed as an Academy Coach, Scout and club representative by prominent Italian Serie A side, Atalanta.

Zuvela, meanwhile, has worked extensively within the PGFC Academy for a number of years, guiding the Under-18s and Under-20s to regular silverware in both league and cup competitions. A WA State Team and Melbourne Knights representative during his playing days, Zuvela was Head Coach of Western Knights prior to joining the PGFC Academy and in 2020, was named Football West State League Coach of the Year. They will facilitate the alignment of the Academy’s playing and coaching philosophy with the overarching Perth Glory club strategy under the guidance of the Football Director and the A-League Men’s Head Coach. Zuvela’s first game will be against his former club Western Knights on Saturday.

Meanwhile Inglewood United has parted company with Taki Nicolaidis, after a poor start to the season has seen them rooted to the bottom of the table. The club put out the following statement on their decision. “This has been a very difficult decision, and not one that the Executive Committee has taken lightly. However, after lengthy consideration it was decided, a change is needed to give the Club the opportunity to improve performances and results for the remainder of this season. The Executive Committee would like to put on record its sincere thanks to Taki for the hard work, honesty and integrity he brought to the role, particularly during a challenging time for the club, on and off the field.

“Taki is someone who is held in high regard in WA football and by this Club, and we wish him nothing but success for the future. He will always be welcome at the Club. Alex Stanojevic has agreed to step in as Acting Head Coach to allow the executive time to assess options. We have 13 NPLWA games remaining for the season. Everyone at the Club has to now step up to ensure the highest possible finish in the table. From everyone at Footballwa we would like to thank John, Stephen and Taki for their help in their tenure, and wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

29.5.2024

ARNOLD IMPRESSED BY TAGGART’S GROWTH

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has lauded Perth Glory captain Adam Taggart’s leadership skills and says the striker will be part of his leadership group for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers. Taggart, along with fellow West Australians Cam Burgess, Alessandro Circati and Gethin Jones, will get the chance to play in front of their home crowd when the Socceroos play Palenstine in Perth on June 11

The absence of Australia captain Matt Ryan opens the door for Taggart, who scored 20 goals in 25 games for Glory this season, to be one of the squad’s leaders. Arnold heaping praise on the striker’s development in that area. “That’s been the thing that’s impressed me a lot with him at Perth Glory, his leadership,” said the Socceroos boss.

“He’s not a big talker, and you don’t need to be; it’s about action and that’s the way he leads, with action and how he inspires the rest of the boys. With the tough year at Perth, you could see him leading by example up the front and whether it’s just one bit of action and then scoring to lift the rest of the players, he did that many times at Perth.”

Arnold said the impressive from of Taggart, Burgess and Circati made them impressive inclusions for the squad. “Tags, you can see it in his body, his demeanor, the energy he’s bringing, he’s very happy being back in Western Australia around the family and mates and Perth Glory, and that’s important,” he said.

“The fact that we’re playing Palestine in Perth is a great thing for Tags and let’s not forget Alessandro Circati is born and bred in Perth and Cam Burgess, we’ve got a number of boys that have grown up in Perth. I know they’re extremely excited to finally have a Socceroos game in Perth and they’re looking forward to that occasion.”

29.5.2024

TAGGART, BURGESS, CIRCATI AND JONES NAMED IN SOCCEROOS

There will be a strong West Australian flavour to the Socceroos’ first game in Perth since 2016, with three local products named in Graham Arnold’s side to face Bangladesh and Palestine. Perth Glory captain Adam Taggart, Ipswich Town defender Cam Burgess and Parma young gun Alessandro Circati have been named alongside Perth-born but Welsh-raised Gethin Jones.

Arnold has gone for a mix of new blood and experience. Bundesliga-bound FC St. Pauli duo Jackson Irvine and Connor Metcalfe have made the cut along with A-League stars Daniel Arzani and Josh Nisbet, this seasons Johnny Warren Medalist. With regular goalkeeper Matt Ryan injured, Aston Villa’s Joe Gauci looms as favourite to take the gloves.

Australia have already secured safe passage through to the next round of World Cup qualifying, but Arnold is chasing two wins from two to try and secure the highest possible seed for the next phase. A top-two finish in the third round would guarantee Australia direct qualification to the 2026 tournament in North America.

The Australia squad to play Bangladesh (June 6) and Palestine (June 11) is Joe Gauci, Paul Izzo, Lawrence Thomas, Aziz Behich, Jordy Bos, Cam Burgess, Alessandro Circati, Gethin Jones, Kye Rowles, Harry Souttar, Ryan Strain, Keanu Baccus, Cameron Devlin, Ajdin Hrustic, Jackson Irvine, Connor Metcalfe, Josh Nisbet, Daniel Arzani, Martin Boyle, Mitch Duke, Nestory Irankunda, Mathew Leckie, Apostolos Stamatelopoulos, Adam Taggart and Kusini Yengi.

28.5.2024

AUSTRALIA CUP (WA) QUARTER-FINAL REVIEW

The Australia Cup (WA) final four have been decided after Tuesday’s quarter finals, with Division One side Sorrento hosting local rivals Perth RedStar, Olympic Kingsway entertaining Perth SC the games to be played on between 11-13 June with the winners advancing to the national Round of 32 of the Australia Cup as well as meeting in the State Cup final. In Tuesday’s ties, Olympic Kingsway produced a stunning come back to beat Western Knights 3-2 at Kingsway Reserve. “That was a proper cup tie with a great atmosphere,” Olympic coach David Tough said post-match. “We definitely started slowly and conceded a couple of poor goals, so we were rightly down 2-0 at halftime. In the second half, we played with more intensity, and the one thing this year’s team has is goals. The boys showed great character to get us the victory.”

The hosts, who were searching for a first cup final in their history, found themselves behind after only 13 minutes, Kristian Santich slipping in Justin Tang, who fired low past Adrian Sinagra. The Knights doubled their lead seven minutes before the break, neat build up play ended with Jack Bardsley, who curled home from the edge of the box. The Knights thought they should have had a penalty in the second half, when Tang closed down Olympic keeper Sinagra, who seemed to clip his heel as he raced into the box, but referee Michal Jasinski was well placed to wave away their protests. The Knights held their lead until 19 minutes from time, when Olympic struck. Mitch Oxborrow’s ball sent Joe Knowles racing clear to fire past Knights custodian Sam Reilly.

The hosts levelled five minutes from time, Knowles turned provider, the former Perth Glory striker crossing for Joe Hobson, whose cushioned shot found the net. The pair combined again four minute later to win it, Sinagra’s clearance sent Knowles down the right, and his cross was swept home by Hobson at the back post, much to the delight of the home faithful. “It was a massive win for us, to be 2-0 down at half time and for the lads to show that kind of character was brilliant. I’m not sure we win that game six weeks ago but that just shows the culture we are building now,” Olympic striker Liam Boland explained. “We really lifted in the second half, and once we got that first goal, we knew we were a chance. It was great to see Joe (Hobson) get the equalizer and the winner off the back off two great assists from Joe (Knowles).”

Perth RedStar was made to work hard for their 2-0 win against Division One side Rockingham City at Percy Doyle Reserve. “We’re delighted to be through to the semifinals of the cup after a very hard-fought win in difficult conditions against a well organised and hard-working Rockingham side,” RedStar striker Daryl Nicol said. “We made quite a few changes to the line up and struggled in the first half to find any sort of fluidity to our game. The second half was a bit better and we were able to get a bit more control of the game and secure our place in the last four.”

Rockingham gave as good as they got in the first half, with the RedStar struggling to break down their tight defence, but they found the breakthrough in the shadows of half time. A well worked move ended with Bryce Bafford, who made no mistake past Alec Radonich. That goal took the pressure of Callum Salmon’s side, and they made sure of their progression seven minutes from time. Good work down the left by Bafford, saw his low cross turned into his own by the unfortunate Max Snelson. Rockingham coach was proud of his players performance on the night.

“Obviously, we are disappointed to lose the game and exit the cup competition, however I'm really proud of the playing group for their display against a top side,” he said. “We caused RedStar real problems in the first half, and with a bit more luck/composure, we could have taken the lead on several occasions. In the second half, RedStar showed their quality and gained control for large periods.”

Perth SC also left it late to seal a 3-2 win against Stirling Macedonia at Dorrien Gardens. “The boys performed well last night but we were getting a little frustrated and concerned about the number of chances we were missing as we could’ve easily put the result to bed in the first half,” Perth assistant coach Stuart Banks explained. “This meant Stirling were always in the game to the very end and looked like it was going to head to extra time until we scored stoppage time winner.”

The game ebbed and flowed all night, and it was the hosts who found the opener midway through the first half, with defender Federico Achilli heading home Ethan Banks’ corner. But two minutes from half time the visitors levelled, Sam Wynne’s stunning strike from outside the box going in via the post giving Joe Pollard no chance. But two minutes later Kenny Lowe’s regained the lead, a corner was only cleared as far as Judd McDougall on the edge of the box, his shot fell to Achilli, who spun and finished past Liam Price, to send the hosts in to the break with a narrow lead. Ian Ferguson’s side restored parity again on 68 minutes, Alex Tanevski pouncing after Pollard had saved the first effort.

It looked like going to extra time but in stoppage time the Azzurri won it, Gordon Perkins shot was parried by Price, and Cook was quickest to react to poke the ball home and was swamped by his team mates. “It was a big result for us and one that we needed and deserved. We had players missing due to suspension and international duties but the boys stepped up and played their roles perfectly,” Perth goalscorer Federico Achilli said. “Despite the game being a very close encounter, we can definitely say it was very enjoyable and it gives us a lot of confidence going forward.”

In the final game Division One side Sorrento will be flying the flag for the State League in next months semi-final, after they proved too strong for Division Two side Ashfield, running out 4-0 winners at Paintseal Arena, Ashfield Reserve. The visitors were on the front foot early and raced to a two-goal lead in the opening ten minutes, with James McGowen and Keegan Chambers on target. Luke Salmon added a third on the half hour, to all but put the game to bed, and substitute Rhys Thompson made sure with a fourth, two minutes from time.

28.5.2024

GLORY CONFIRM THE EXITS OF A NUMBER OF PLAYERS

Perth Glory have confirmed the departure of a host of players, including captain Mark Beevers and fan favourite Stefan Colokovski. Beevers, Glory’s co-captain alongside star striker Adam Taggart for the 2023/24 season, headlines a list of eleven players who won’t be returning to the club.

Centre-back Darryl Lachman will leave after a successful five-year stint, while Aleksander Susnjar, Bruce Kamau, Antonis Martis, Jayden Gorman and Jaylan Pearman are also heading for the exit. Colokovski and John Koutroumbis will pursue opportunities overseas, Josh Rawlins returns to Dutch club FC Utrecht after a one-season loan and Salim Khelifi’s contract has been “terminated by mutual consent”.

“Perth Glory would like to extend its heartfelt thanks to all the players who are moving on for their valuable contribution to the club and wish them all the very best in the next stage of their respective football journeys,” a club statement read.

Coach Alen Stajcic revealed after Glory’s last game of the season that loanee Jarrod Carluccio would remain at the club, while David Williams has also been locked in. Giordano Colli, Riley Warland and Trent Ostler are still yet to sign fresh deals to stay with Glory, who are in negotiations with a number of players.

28.5.2024

CIRCATI WANTS SOCCEROOS STARTING ROLE

Alessandro Circati already has a spot in Serie A in his back pocket; now he wants to make a Socceroos starting place his own. Confident and classy, one-cap Australia international Circati is fresh off helping to secure club side Parma's promotion to Italy's top flight.

Circati is expected to receive a recall for World Cup qualifiers against Bangladesh - in Dhaka on June 6 - and Palestine in his home city of Perth five days later, when Graham Arnold announces his squad this week. the central defender will jostle with Harry Souttar, Kye Rowles and Cameron Burgess for a starting berth. Having been a consistent starter for Parma, Circati feels ready to stake his claim.

"I've been given one chance, and I think I've done alright," 20-year old Circati said of his fledgling international career. "If I get given another chance, I'd want to do even better. I have full faith in myself and my ability. It's a dream to be a starting player for the Socceroos (but) whatever the coach decides then that's when it will happen. But I feel like I'm ready for the next level."

Circati was left out of the Asian Cup squad at the beginning of this year, with Arnold hoping that would pave the way for Parma to release the defender for Olyroos duties that fell outside a recognised international window. That didn't happen, and without him Australia fluffed their chance to qualify for the Paris Olympics via the U23 Asian Cup.

"(The Asian Cup) was a situation of Arnie picked the players he thought were better for him - in my situation it was difficult," Circati said. "But that's just how it went. And Arnie, I've had a chat with him many times and he's always supported me. Everyone wants to go to the Olympics. I would have loved to go. We didn't qualify, so that's it. Hopefully the next Olympics maybe I can go as an overage (player)."

Circati is still recovering from Parma's promotion to Serie A. "We arrived in Parma and there were tens of thousands of people sitting in the piazza," he said. "When I was in my last week there after we got promotion, I was walking and people were just saying, 'Thank you very much - you know what you did for us? Thank you'. It's a great feeling to know I've made people happy."

The Perth SC junior and Perth Glory academy product is quick to acknowledge how far he has come in the past 12 months. "It was my third season as a professional, so I haven't had much experience but this year, I'd like to think I gained the respect, the trust to be able to play and show I'm capable of playing in the starting eleven," he said.

Circati linked up with Parma in early 2021 and played 20 games in his first two seasons combined. This season he has been a regular fixture of the backline, making 31 appearances across all competitions. "Playing a couple games in, a couple of games out is not the same as playing consistently," he commented.

"You have more control of yourself and people are forced to put their trust in you because if you're there week in week out, you're one of the players to be relied on so there's more pressure. But there's also a lot more enjoyment because when you've done everything and you've reached your objective, you know you've played a role, done your part and helped many fans and made everyone happy."

Circati is excited for the coming season, but also what it means for the Socceroos to have St. Pauli pair Jackson Irvine and Connor Metcalfe in the Bundesliga and Ipswich Town duo Burgess and Massimo Luongo in the English Premier League. "Everyone will be playing against the best of the best," he said. "It'll be better for everyone individually, and better for Australia as a national team."

28.5.2024

AUSTRALIA CUP (WA) QUARTER-FINAL PREVIEW

The quarter finals of the Australia Cup WA take place on Tuesday evening, with five NPL clubs, two Division One clubs, and one from Division Two still in the competition. The lowest ranked side is Ashfield, who sit tenth in Division Two, are they welcome Division One league leaders Sorrento to Paintseal Arena at Ashfield Reserve. (7.30pm) The hosts were beaten in the 2013 State Cup final, going down 0-1 to Bayswater City, while Sorrento last won the cup in 2015, beating Perth SC 2-0. Sorrento upset NPL side Fremantle City last round, with Keegan Chambers bagging a brace, and skipper Dean Cummings said they are determined to keep their good form going, and reaching the last four. “The boys are pumped, and really up for it, and looking to keep our unbeaten run going all the way back from the start of night series,” Cummings said. “We’ve got strength and depth in our squad this year so hopefully we have enough to progress to the semifinal.”

Ashfield also upset NPL opposition in the last round, beating Inglewood United 6-5 on penalties, and last season they lost to the Gulls in the fourth round of the competition, and coach James Sammut is hoping to reverse that scoreline on Tuesday. “It’s another big game and the whole club is excited for the opportunity. We’ve had some up and down results recently, but we’re hoping that we can be at our best to try and compete against a very good Sorrento side,” he explained. “We lost to Sorrento in the cup last year, so it would be nice to return the favour this time around.”

The other Division One side, Rockingham City, face a tough tie, travelling north to Percy Doyle Reserve to take on Perth RedStar. (7.15pm) Rockingham have reached two State Cup Finals, the latest was in the 1990 D'Orsogna Cup, when they were beaten 4-3 by Perth SC, while RedStar have won two finals (ECU Joondalup), the last time was the 2002 Boral Cup, when they beat Future Glory 2-1. RedStar beat Gwelup in the last round, with a brace from Daryl Nicol and one from Bryce Bafford, and defender Blair Govan said they won’t be taking Rockingham lightly. “We’re ready for a tough game, Rockingham has always been a tough game so we are not taking it lightly,” he said. “We are on a good run at the minute and the performances have been good, so we will be looking to continue that and hopefully get ourselves into the next round of the cup.”

Rockingham moved into the next round with a 3-0 win against Wembley Downs, with goals from Cory McNelis, Shane Boyle and Matthew Evans, but have struggled recently in the league, and coach Rob Crerar said he hopes they can lift again for the cup. “It's been a disappointing run of results for us in the league, but with two good cup wins in amongst that run,” he said. “Our win and performance against MUMFC in the earlier round, was one of our better showings this season, so we need to get back to that level. We are well aware of the challenge ahead of us, RedStar is one of, if not the top club side, in WA over recent years. There won't be many tipping us to advance on Tuesday evening, but we will go in with a plan, and the playing group will be looking forward to the challenge.”

The other two ties are all NPL clashes, and first Olympic Kingsway welcome Western Knights to Kingsway Reserve. (7.00pm) The hosts are still searching for a cup final success, having reached three, the latest was in 1998, when they were beaten 1-0 by Joondalup City, while the Knights have won three cup finals, the latest in 2017, a 1-0 win against Sorrento. Western Knights beat NPL opposition in the last round, with goals from Jesse Lazzaro and Kristian Santich giving them a 2-1 win against Bayswater City, and striker Owen Goodliffe said they will be looking to bounce back after Saturday narrow league defeat at RedStar. “Kingsway have really hit the straps since we last played them and their quality has started to click as we all knew it would,” he said. “It will be a great test for us after a tough couple of weeks, but anything can happen in the cup so we are all looking forward to trying to bounce back from a disappointing weekend.”

Olympic Kingsway faced a tricky tie in the last round at Mandurah City, but came home with a 5-1 win, with Joe Knowles scoring a hat-trick and Joseph Hobson bagging a brace. Assistant Coach Ross Edwards said it will be a challenge under lights at Kingsway against a good Knights side. “We’re all excited to have the game at home and look forward to a big crowd (hoping the weather holds out) as we look to continue are good form,” he said. “Tonight is an opportunity for us to keep the momentum going, and we know there is also a good prize at the end for the players and the clubs involved. Western Knights have been fantastic this season, in fact they have been very strong I’d say for the last four or five years maybe more, so we know it will be a tight game, but one we’re really looking forward too.”

In the final game, Stirling Macedonia make the trip to Dorrien Gardens to take on Perth SC. (7.00pm) Stirling have won the cup on six occasions, the last time was in 2010 when they beat Floreat Athena 2-1, while Perth have won 11, the last time was in the 2005 Midland Brick Cup, when they beat Inglewood United 2-1. Perth SC eased through the last round, with Sam Cook scoring a brace, with others to Franc Gamiz Quer, Gordon Perkins, Josh Cala and Judd MacDougall. Perth midfielder Josh Cala said they are looking for a cup run, and their form is starting to turn. “We’re looking to go the whole way in the cup and I believe the bunch of boys we have are capable of doing so,” he said. “The football we are playing is great and the results should follow, so we are looking forward to the tie, it should be a great game.”

Stirling edged out local rivals Balcatta Etna in the last round, with Joshua Bilaloski scoring the only goal and skipper Calvin Whitney said all games against Perth are tough, and he is expecting more of the same on Tuesday. “Always an exciting game playing a solid side like Perth, and we are coming off some good performances and wins, in recent weeks,” Stirling midfielder Calvin Whitney said. “They (Perth) have a very structured and footballing style of play and we need to be aggressive to break them down, so it will be a great game to watch and boys will be firing to get the win and move into the semi-finals.”

There is also Quarter-Finals of the State League under 18’s and reserves cup this week. In the reserves Dianella White Eagles host Floreat Athena at Dianella Reserve tonight (7.30pm), meanwhile on Wednesday evening Canning City meet Rockingham City at Coker Park (7.30pm), Perth SC welcome Armadale to Dorrien Gardens (8.00pm), while UWA Nedlands takes on Perth Glory at Dalmatinac Park. (8.00pm)

The Under 18’s quarter finals are all on Wednesday evening. First Perth SC entertain Balcatta Etna at Dorrien Gardens (6.00pm), Inglewood United meet Perth Glory at Dalmatinac Park (6.00pm), Olympic Kingsway host Bayswater City at Kingsway Reserve (7.00pm), while Perth RedStar takes on Murdoch University Melville at Percy Doyle Reserve. (7.15pm)

27.5.2024

JONES ADDRESSES BOLTON'S 'BIG GAME MENTALITY' PROBLEM

Gethin Jones admits accusations that Bolton Wanderers have failed to deliver in the big games are painfully accurate. After coming up short in the play-off final against Oxford United, Bolton are now piecing together a plan for their next assault on League One.

Though Ian Evatt’s side spent just four weeks outside the top four this season, their record against their direct promotion rivals cost them their ultimate target. Not including the play-offs, Bolton won just two of 10 games against the top six, averaging 1.2 points per outing, bettered by both Derby County (1.4) and Portsmouth (2.20).

Concerns over the team’s ‘big game mentality’ were only amplified with the disappointment at Wembley, and vice-captain Jones says the players can give little argument to the evidence against them. “I don’t know if it is a mentality issue, but I have been here now for four years and I can think of only a few times where we have really come up with a performance when the pressure was really on,” Jones told theboltonnews.co.uk

“Crawley, Papa Johns final last year, Blackpool, Derby – they are the sort of games you need to win, but other than those it has been poor. And 100 per cent the criticism we have had is fair on that, we just haven’t come up to standard in the big games. Collectively, we have to be better than that, we can’t drop that many points and expect to get promotion.”

Evatt said in the aftermath of the final that there would be a period of change this summer and it remains to be seen what form that takes. Jones believes the core of the squad which was 90 minutes away from the Championship can recover and rebuild to go one better next season.

“The most important thing is that we look at ourselves and what more we can all do, it can’t be a case of pointing fingers and blaming each other,” he said. “Every game you lose, people tend to point their finger at a certain player. And we do it as players as well, we’re no better.”

“But to a man, not one of us played to our best (in the play-off decider against Oxford). Every one of us has more to give than that and, honestly, I don’t think any of us can tell you why we didn’t do it on the day. As for what changes, we will see what happens in the future.”

26.5.2024

BELT-UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION – ROUND SIX REVIEW

North Perth United are back in the winner’s circle after a 2-0 win against Maccabi at Woodville Reserve in our week six Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division ‘Match of the Round’ on Sunday afternoon. The hosts had lost heavily in back-to-back games, but a goal in each half from Kyle Jackson secured the three points, which keeps them in touch of leaders. “Overall, the game I felt we dominated and limited Maccabi playing the style they wanted to play,” North Perth coach Chris Holland said. “We controlled the game completely putting their keeper under massive pressure throughout the 90 minutes, meanwhile our keeper who unfortunately had to play two games didn’t have a save to make other than one in the last five mins of the game, so very happy with the performance of the lads.”

With keeper Lendell Stoffels unavailable, Cian Flynn came in, after playing in the reserves win earlier in the day, and the hosts were on the front foot from the first whistle, and found the opener on 18 minutes. A well weighted through ball from Thomas Carroll found Jackson, who made no mistake past Maccabi keeper Steven Kaye. North Perth sealed the points eight minutes into the second half, Jackson started the move, his diagonal pass found Ollie Bradley, whose shot was parried by Kaye, but Jackson, who had continued his run, fired home the rebound. “It was certainly nice getting on scoresheet, but a lot happier bagging the win,” Jackson said. “The previous two games weren’t an accurate reflection of the team and how we view ourselves, but we made sure we learnt from those games to then put our best foot forward for Maccabi who certainly came into the game in good form, but we showed that our best will no doubt hold up against any team in the competition.”

The biggest shock of the round came at Fraser Park, where Kingsley Westside came home with the points after a 2-1 win against last season’s champion Emerald, and coach Brad Hayward was delighted with his side’s performance. “A big and well-deserved result on the road for us, and I’ve been really proud of the boys over the past few weeks,” he said. “We pushed Wembley all the way in the cup, we gave Kelmscott some trouble last weekend, and today we rose to the challenge and gave last year’s league winners a defeat on their home turf. There’s talk that we are struggling, but I think we are just getting started. Our structure, discipline and desire were absolutely superb today and we fully deserved the victory.”

Kingsley were ahead on 25 minutes Bailey Salmon’s free kick picked out Ryan Fish, and the striker rose highest to head home powerfully. Then just before half time they doubled their advantage, an Emerald back pass was picked up by the keeper outside the penalty area, and from the resulting free kick skipper Sam Church curled it into the top corner of the net. The hosts need a good start to the second half to get back into the game and they found it two minutes in, with Ronan Flaherty halving the deficit. They pressed for the equaliser late, but Kingsley held firm to take the points.

Kelmscott Roos have kept their lead at the top of the table after a 3-0 win against Peel United at Frye Park. Roos keeper Taylor Warwick was pleased with three points and the clean sheet. “It was a gritty performance today from the boys, Peel gave us a different sort of challenge and made it difficult,” he said. “We got an important goal in the first half which allowed us to control a lot of the tempo of the game. It’s good to see that even when we aren’t at our best, we are still getting really important results, and on a personal note it’s always nice to keep a clean sheet.”

The hosts were unbeaten at home this season, and they were ahead in this on the quarter hour. A ball over the top from Jared Lange found Kriss Radivojsa, who flicked the ball on to Isaac Koomson, and the winger sent Radivojsa one-on-one with the Peel keeper Daryl Willmott, and he finished clinically. It was tight game, with Peel giving as good as they got, but their hopes of taking anything from the game disappeared on 65 minutes when Josh Crooks was sent off for a crude challenge on Adrian Koios. The hosts took advantage of their numerical advantage and doubled their lead seven minutes from time. Ralph Mawire was brought down near the corner flag, Stephen Kirk took the resulting free kick, and found the net, despite Willmott getting a hand to it. They completed the scoring four minutes later, a quick counter attack found Mawire who sent Koomson clear and he rounded Willmott and rolled the ball home.

Wembley Downs are hot on their heels, winning their fifth consecutive game, with a 3-0 win against North beach at Butlers Reserve. Skipper Jack Mellor said the win continues their good start to the season. “Overall, we’re happy with our performance today against a side who have picked up some good results recently,” he explained. “I thought we played some good football and felt in control of the game from the first whistle, so we now look forward to next week in the cup against Maccabi.” Wembley found the opening goal in the shadows of half time, after the referee spotted a handball, and Josh Chalmers coolly converted the resulting penalty. They added a second five minutes into the second half, Sam Mattock brought down inside the box, and Chalmers stepped up again to score from the spot. They made sure of the points nine minutes from time with a third, a corner was only cleared to Mattock, his cross took a slight deflection and fell kindly into the path of Mellor, and the skipper’s glancing header found the net from five meters.

Jaguar were the big winners on the weekend, thrashing Joondalup United 7-0 at Herb Graham Recreation Centre. Kuol Riak and new signing Roy Kimutai scored two apiece in the first half, before Riak completed his hat trick from the spot just after the hour, while two late goals from Mathew Sesay finished the rout. “I thought it was a balanced game in terms of fair play especially in the early stages of the game as Joondalup were more disciplined with their approach playing deeper and more compact. We tried several times to break the lines and knocked on them but to no avail they made it difficult for us to penetrate the final third,” Jaguar coach Josam Muwowo explained. “However, we told the boys to continue applying pressure and luckily we managed to break them down. Overall, as the technical bench we were impressed with the boy's performance and character through the response they exhibited to our game plan. We are doing our best to improve in various departments and we are getting better in every game. These plenty of room for improvement as we are taking one step at a time.”

In the final game South Perth and Morley Windmills have fought out a 2-2 draw at Challenge Reserve, with a late penalty from Gavin Knight securing a point for the visitors. “It was a disappointing day for us as we were particularly wasteful in front of goals,” Morley coach Dan Evans said. “We missed eight clear cut chances before going 1-0 down before the half, then conceding a second with a fantastic strike. But credit to our boys for coming back from 0-2 down, and we showed a great deal of character to come from behind, but we feel it was two points dropped on the day.” South Perth, who were coming off a big win at Joondalup last week and they lead at the break, with Ayela Santa scoring on 36 minutes. They doubled their lead five minutes into the second half, with a stunning strike from Wellington Muvunduke. Morley had a mountain to climb, but they found a lifeline on 67 minutes, with Faustin Machochi racing clear to score. Then three minutes from time Morley found the equaliser, after the referee spotted a handball, and Knight made no mistake from the resulting penalty.

26.5.2024

NPLWA – WOMEN’S – ROUND EIGHT REVIEW

Balcatta Etna have proved too strong for Murdoch University Melville in our week eight NPLWA - Women’s ‘Match of the Round’ running out 4-1 winners at Home Group Stadium at Grindleford Reserve on Sunday afternoon. The visitors did open the scoring early through midfielder Emma Ylias, and they had Balcatta on the back foot. But Abbey Meakins was the star for the hosts, bagging a hat-trick, with Lucy Jerram adding the other to seal the win. “We came up against a really improved MUMFC side on the weekend, they really looked to play and we didn’t start the game at the intensity they did so a big credit to them. At half time we had a clear plan as to what we needed to change to get the game back on our terms which I thought we did extremely well,” Meakins said. “The girls came out firing in the second half and we were able to execute our game plan with great success. It’s been nice to get on the score sheet a lot this season, it was a goal of mine at the start of the year to become a more consistent goal scorer especially in important games. I think a slight formation change has really helped my game this season. It’s allowed me to find myself higher up the park and get into the box to support, especially with how dangerous are wide players are.”

MUFC arrived on the back of a good performance last week, losing narrowly against Fremantle, and they took that form into this one and were ahead on seven minutes, Emily Dewar’s corner was headed against the woodwork by Emma Ylias, but the midfielder was on hand to head home the rebound. They held the lead until nine minutes before half time, when Tia Stonehill was brought down in the penalty area, and Meakins made no mistake from the resulting penalty. Balcatta hit the front before the break, Lucy Jerram racing into the area and finishing clinically into the roof of the net for her tenth goal of the season. The hosts extended their lead on the hour, Meakins free kick giving MUMFC keeper Manon Gebauer no chance. The excellent Meakins completed her hat-trick two minutes later, getting on the end of Jerram’s cross, to move to the top of the goalscoring charts, with 11 goals. “We started off slower than we would have liked and was struggling to play out of our half,” Jerram explained. “Conceding early wasn’t great but still managing to get two goals back in before half time was a positive. After going over things at half time we had a clearer understanding of what we needed to fix and it made the play a lot more free-flowing in the second half. Always things to improve on which again gives us focal points for the coming weeks in training.”

Perth RedStar continues to lead the league, after a comprehensive 5-0 win against Subiaco AFC at Rosalie Park. The leaders were out of the blocks early and were ahead on eight minutes, Reina Kagami racing clear from Andrea Teixiera’s pass to score. It soon became 2-0, Kagami then played a neat one-two with Renee Leota, before the Japanese import curled home past Monique Todd. The RedStar didn’t take their foot of the gas, and added a third just after the half hour, defender Quyen Doan firing home from a corner. The game was all but over in the shadows of half time, with Caitlin Doeglas volleying in Leota’s cross from the right. The heavens opened at half time, making conditions difficult for both sides, but it didn’t stop RedStar adding their fifth on the hour, Kagami turning provider sending substitute Manami Arai in on goal to seal a comprehensive win.

Perth SC have lost ground on the leaders, held to a 1-1 draw by Fremantle City at Hilton Park. “I thought it was a well hard-fought game,” Perth striker Ella Lincoln said. “Obviously it’s not the result we wanted, but we knew that it was going to be a tough game, especially going down to ten players, but the players fought to the very end nevertheless.” The hosts started the game well, buoyed by their win at MUMFC last week, and had several chances, which they failed to take. First Sophie Meaden’s shot hit the post, but the best chance came when Sophia Papalia fouled Anna Powell and the referee pointed to the spot. Annabelle Leek stepped up, but sent the resulting penalty over the top. Lincoln was a constant threat for Fremantle, and she had Perth’s best chance moments before the break, but fired straight at Fremantle custodian Dayle Schroeder. But the Azzurri were then reduced to ten, Georgia Cassidy was shown a second yellow card for an off-the-ball tangle with Janice Kiama. But the ten men struck first ten minutes into the second half, Charli Wainwright finding Lincoln, and the striker finished clinically, for her ninth of the season.

But Fremantle found the equaliser 19 minutes from time, with Meaden bagging her first goal of the season. She combined down the left with Abbey Green, and the ball broke to Meaden, who made no mistake finishing past Lily Bailey. Both sides pressed late to find a winner, Schroeder producing a fine double save to deny new Perth recruit Tijan McKenna and Lincoln, while Meaden fired straight at Bailey, as the game ended 1-1. “We knew heading into the game that it would be tough, particularly as Perth have been in great form and have bolstered their squad recently with a number of Glory players. Having said that, our focus remained on being fearless and playing our style of football, which I think we did very well in the first half, and were unfortunate not to go ahead,” Fremantle defender Annabelle Leek explained. “To go 1-0 down was frustrating but we didn’t drop and kept working hard for the goal we knew we deserved. Sophie Meaden scored an unbelievable goal for us to make it level. There were opportunities at both ends so I felt 1-1 was a fair result but our performance and resilience to bounce back from a goal down against a strong side has given us confidence going into the next games.”

In the final game the Hyundai NTC have bounced back from four straight defeats, after a 4-1 win against UWA Nedlands at the Sam Kerr Football Centre on Saturday afternoon. The home side were ahead on 28 minutes, Theodora Mouithys beat UWA keeper Morgan Springer to a loose ball, before round her to score. Their lead only lasted three minutes, Chloe Rodrigo played a one-two with new UWA signing Andrea Preiato, before curling a shot past keeper Jess Skinner. The NTC youngster restored their lead on eight minutes into the second half, with Nelli Johnson curling into the bottom corner from long-range. UWA weren’t finished, and Skinner saved well to deny Alexandra Lyons, and the save from Junior Matildas custodian was vital, as moments later the NTC added a third. Lacey Heys crossed from the right for Cate McAuliffe to finish from close range. They added a fourth late, Mia Britton scoring after good approach work from McAuliffe and Jessica Johnson.

25.5.2024

NPL-WA ROUND NINE - REVIEW

Our week nine NPLWA – Men’s ‘Match of the Round’ has seen East Fremantle Tricolore (Fremantle City) beat Perth Azzurri (Perth SC) 4-3 at Hilton Park. It was a huge day for the hosts, as they celebrated their 70th anniversary, and it looked like they were on course for a comfortable victory, with Oliver La Galia bagging a brace, and others to Taj Bingwa and Charles Chechlacz giving them a four-goal lead. But Kenny Lowe’s side hit back with late goals from Jamie McNelis, Ethan Banks and Abdul Osman, which made it a nervy ending for the Fremantle supporters, and in the final action Ben Stroud headed narrowly wide, with the hosts holding on to take the points. “It was a great day for Fremantle as a club, celebrating 70 years since Tricolore, with a win adding to the celebrations,” two goal hero Oliver La Galia said. “Perth is a great footballing side and definitely gave us a scare towards the end but I think we did really well for 75-80 minutes of the game. Even when we didn’t have the ball, we looked in control and looked like scoring whenever we went forward. In the end we took our chances and got over the line, but we need to have better game management and shouldn’t let teams come back into the game.”

The first rains of the season hit at kick off, and it was frantic opening, with both sides going close. First on two minutes Sam Cook found Gordon Perkins, but his shot from the angle flew over the top. Moments later Perth custodian Joe Pollard got down well to deny Patrick Loughrey. It was the visitors creating the better chances, Osman curling just wide of the target, before Luke Radonich saved well to deny Joshua Cala’s shot from the edge of the box. Banks went close again on 20 minutes, bursting into the penalty area, but George Festa blocked well, and from the resulting corner Federico Achilli header flashed just over the top. Fremantle settled and they thought they had found the opener eight minutes later, a quick break saw Bingwa flick the ball on to La Galia, whose shot beat Pollard, but the ball crashed off the bar, bouncing on the line and away to safety. Perth was also denied by the woodwork three minutes later, great work down the right by Osman, his shot was saved by Radonich, the rebound fell to Cook, who header crashed off the post.

But the home side burst the game wide open with two goals in as many minutes. First on 33 minutes Fremantle skipper Riley Woodcock sent La Galia in on goal, and he finished low past Pollard. It was 2-0 moments later, Loughrey pounced on a mistake at the back and raced into the box on the left, and his low cross found Bingwa, who made no mistake, and the hosts were in command on the scoreboard at the break. Perth were on the front foot after the break and Banks’ header was tipped over the top by the alert Radonich, before David Ninkovich stung the palms of the Fremantle custodian. The chances continued at both ends, and after great work down the eft by Woodcock, saw him cut the ball back to John Chalmers, but he couldn’t keep his shot down, before the lively Ninkovich’s long-range shot dipped inches over the top. La Galia was constant threat up top and his shot was well saved by Pollard, and Loughrey’s follow up shot over the top.

The hosts then found a third on the hour, a under hit back pass was pounced on by La Galia, and he was upended by Pollard, and referee Michal Jasinski pointed to the spot. The Fremantle striker picked himself up and found the bottom corner of the net despite Pollard guessing the right way. It looked game over nine minutes later when they added a fourth, Perth gave the ball away in the middle of the park and Charles Chechlacz strode forward and picked out the bottom corner of the net. The Fremantle supporters were in a party mood, as they began their anniversary celebrations early, but Perth had other ideas. They pulled one back on 83 minutes, Banks picking out substitute Jamie McNelis who fired home, and they added a second five minutes later, Ninkovich slipping in Banks, who finished with aplomb past Radonich. The margin was further reduced three minutes into stoppage time, Ninkovich was the supplier again, sending Osman clear, his shot crashed off the bar, but the midfielder reacted quickest to the rebound and fired home. The Azzurri went within inches of the equaliser three minutes later, in the final action of the game, Banks; free kick found substitute Stroud, but the defenders header flashed inches wide of the far post.

Olympic Kingsway continue to league the league, after a hard fought 1-0 win against Floreat Athena at E&D Litis Stadium. “It was a very good and hard-fought game from the boys, we knew Floreat were a very structured team, who defended well and tried to catch us out on the counter attack,” Olympic striker Sasa Njegic explained. “We stuck to our game plan and played some good football, and we had our fair share of chances to score a few but only got the one. At the end we defended really well as a team and kept a clean sheet which was ultimately our goal - keeping us top of the table.” The only goal of the game came in first half stoppage time, Joe Knowles’ cross was punched clear by Joshua Hunter, only to Mitch Oxborrow on the edge of the box, and he raced in side, and was adjudged to have been impeded by Ethan Mom, and referee Davud Bruce pointed straight to the spot, even though Sasa Njegic fired home the rebound. Knowles stepped up to take the resulting penalty, but it was straight at Hunter who saved, but Liam Boland was quickest to react, his diving header finding the net.

Perth RedStar moved up to third, after a late goal from substitute Dennis Galan gave them a 2-1 win against Western Knights at the RedStar Arena. The hosts were ahead on the quarter hour, a quick free kick from Declan Hughes sent Daryl Nicol clear, and the Scottish striker finished low past Sam Reilly. The visitors levelled early in the second half, when Liam Reddy was caught in possession Owen Goodliffe, and the striker got a bit of luck when the ball bounced back to him off the corner flag, he crossed into the box and Justin Tang headed home at the back post. It looked like the points would be shared, but one minutes from time RedStar won it. Joel Chianese’s cross found Nicol, who first time shot was blocked, the rebound falling to Galan, who powered home via the crossbar, before being mobbed by his teammates.

Bayswater City have returned to the winners’ circle after back-to-back draws, beating bottom of the table Inglewood United 3-0 at Inglewood Stadium. “I thought the players put in a thoroughly professional performance. We had talked about conceding late goals which cost us dearly in the last two games and today we scored three and kept a clean sheet and I felt we dominated from start finish,” Bayswater coach Gary Williams explained. “There were some very good individual performances, but collectively as a team and as a unit we were excellent. We need to follow this up next week with a win against Floreat.” The visitors found the opener on five minutes, Joshua Anasmo made space down the right and crossed to Cameron Teece, whose shot on the turn beat Nic Speca. They doubled their lead on the half hour, former Inglewood midfielder Thiak Kuel sent Anasmo away down the right, he crossed to Jon Stynes, who controlled the ball well before finding the corner of the net. The lively Anasmo was rewarded for a good performance, added the third 20 minutes from time. Substitute Sam Dweh raced down the left, his cross was flicked on by Teece and Anasmo finished from close-range.

In the other games, Stirling Macedonia are up to sixth, after a narrow 1-0 win against Perth Glory at Sam Kerr Football Centre. The only goal came on the half hour, after Gyles Davies was brought down by Seb Despotovski, and former Perth Glory Youth midfielder Calvin Whitney fired home the resulting free kick. Meanwhile Balcatta Etna have broken a two-games losing streak, beating Armadale 1-0 at Home Group Stadium, Grindleford Reserve. It looked like this one was going to be a scoreless draw, but three minutes from time the hosts won it. New signing Declan Hargreaves’ corner was headed home by Ben Hinshelwood, much to the delight of the home faithful.

25.5.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND EIGHT REVIEW

We have a new leader in the State League Division One, with Sorrento leapfrogging Dianella White Eagles, after they were beaten 2-1 by Kingsley Westside at Chichester Park in our ‘Match of the Round’ on Saturday evening. Daniel Harrison gave the host the lead from the spot early, before player/coach Angel Andres levelled in the shadows of half time. But the home side won it on the half hour, with Harrison adding his second, to move Kingsley clear of the drop zone. “A fantastic win for my boys tonight, I felt we were the better team all night the way we set up the lads stuck to the plan all game,” Kingsley coach steven Dimitrovich said. “The character and resilience we showed in the last 10/15 mins with ten men was outstanding from the lads as Dianella threw everything at us, but couldn’t break us down and had to resort to long balls to try catch us out. I told the lads to enjoy the night but come Tuesday we reset for another big game away to Rockingham on Saturday.”

The hosts went into this game unbeaten for far this season, and they went close early in this one, Isaac Toah Ntow sending Paul Zimarino in on goal on five minutes, his shot beat Peter Stewart, but Alex got back to clear the ball off the line. But four minutes later it was the hosts who opened the scoring, Jonathan Hulme’s corner from the right hit the arm of Eoin Massey, and the referee pointed straight to the spot, and Harrison made no mistake from the resulting penalty. It was Dianella who ended the half the better, and Stewart saved well to deny Andy Keogh’s header, and four minutes from half time Angel Andres’ glancing header was tipped over by the alert Kingsley custodian. Kingsley should have doubled their lead moments later, a quick break from Chad Samuels, saw him send Hulme racing clear, but his shot on the run flashed just wide of the far post. That miss soon came back to haunt the hosts, as sixty seconds later Dianella levelled. A long ball from Mitchell Byrne caught out the Kingsley defence, Andres controlled the ball well and finished with aplomb, much to the delight of the big away following. They almost hit the front in stoppage time, another Byrne pass sent Zimarino in on goal, but his shot across Stewart drifted wide of the target.

The hosts went close early in the second half, Hayden Lowe denied by Peter Pilkadaris, but on 59 minutes they did hit the front. The referee spotted a foul by Alen Patarov on Lowe on the edge of the box, and Harrison went through the wall and into the corner of the net, which had the home supporters dancing in the rain. They went close to a third moments later, Joshua Waldock’s shot flashing just wide of the near post. Stewart then saved well to deny Andres’ header, as the game went from end-to-end, as the rain got heavier. Kingsley were defending desperately, and hitting on the counter attack, and 74 minutes Pilkadaris produced a stunning save low to his left to deny substitute Jayden Drummond’s long-range shot. Then eight minutes later Kingsley were reduced to ten men after Nick Koefler deliberately tipped Kevin McEvoy, and was shown a straight red card. Dianella pressed late, Keogh headed wide, before substitute Angel Andres Jn was denied by a smart save by Stewart. Kingsley defenders were putting their bodies on the line, blocking shots and defending deep, but they held firm to take the points. “Great to get back-to-back wins for the first time this season, especially against quality opposition,” Kingsley striker Hayden Lowe said. “We’re starting to play the way we know we can and working hard for each other, which is proving difficult for teams to break us down. Hopefully we can go on a bit of a run and keep climbing the ladder.”

Sorrento moved to the top of the ladder after a 1-0 win against Cockburn City at Beale Park. “Cockburn were a tough team to play, we had a few opportunities but to be fair to Cockburn though, they defended really well. Another week with quite a few questionable decisions from the officiating, but I won’t go there, but the longer the game goes on at 1-0 Cockburn gained confidence, but then we had to defend well towards the end the game luckily, we held out.” The hosts, coached by former Sorrento legend Steven McDonald, sat bottom of the table at kick off, and despite an improved performance they were beaten by the only goal of game four minutes before half time. Dario Tettamanti’s free kick wasn’t dealt with Dean Cummings knocking the ball back across goal and Connor Simpson fired home. “We knew it was going to be a battle as it always is against Cockburn especially on the smaller pitch,” Sorrento striker Keegan Chambers explained. “I thought we started off a bit slow and not how we would have liked too, but after getting up 1-0 we really showed our resilience to not be beaten and keep our unbeaten streak alive.”

Murdoch University Melville are up to third after winning a nine-goal thriller against Joondalup United at Besteam Stadium. Add details. “It was a crazy game actually, and to be honest we should have managed the game better both times we took the lead,” MUMFC winger Feisal Zaw explained. “Fair play to Joondalup they kept coming and didn't stop for the whole 90-plus minutes. It’s always tough playing against them but these were definitely the type of games we would draw or lose last season, hopefully this result is a reflection of where our season is going.” The hosts were ahead early, with Daniel Tait firing home on 12 minutes, after Pat Sara’s shot had crashed off the woodwork. But Joondalup were level seven minutes later, Ben Wyeth’s corner was flicked home by Jay Lang from close-range. The goals kept coming, and ten minutes later MUMFC regained the lead, Brodie Langan sending Ishmael Dawson down the left channel, and he finished with aplomb past Luke Martino.

Joondalup restored parity early in the second half, Sam McKearnen sending Andrew Flint clear and he lobbed the oncoming Jake Maley-Orr, and they were ahead on 69 minutes, Lang firing home from the edge of the box. It looked like MUFC were on course for their first loss at home this season, but Marc Anthony’s side had other ideas and were level on 78 minutes, Sara was brought down by Laurits Christophersen, and Zaw sent Martino the wrong way from the resulting penalty. Then six minutes later the hosts hit the front, Sara crossing to substitute Paul McCormack to score, and Zaw scored another penalty moments later to seal the game, after he was collected by Franklin. Joondalup scored a consolation goal in stoppage time, with McKearnen sweeping in Taylor Holden’s cross from the right, but there wasn’t enough time to find the equaliser.

Subiaco AFC remain fourth, after a 2-0 win against Gosnells City at Rosalie Park. “It was good to get back to winning ways today, although Gosnells worked hard and made it tough for us,” Subiaco skipper Phil Arnold said. “But we put in a good team performance and ground out the result.” It was a tight first half with both sides having chances, and the visitors who probably edge it. But it was the hosts who broke the deadlock just before the hour mark, Oscar Barry wasn’t closed down, and he raced forward and fired home superbly from long-range. They were then reduced to ten men on 67 minutes, after Martin Coughlan reacted to a none free kick, and said something referee Alex Novatsis didn’t like, and he was shown a straight red card. But the ten men sealed the game two minutes later, Barry this time curling home a long-range free kick past Jack Adams.

In the other games UWA Nedlands and Mandurah City have fought a 1-1 draw at UWA Sports Park, both sides remaining in fifth and sixth placed respectively on the ladder. UWA were ahead early in the second half, Luke Salas’ free kick was turned home by Jed Afenyo. But Mandurah hit back to take a share of the spoils, Robbie Galvin’s cross from the left was headed goalward by Leigh Griffiths, and the unfortunate Jacob Tuner turned the ball into his own net. Meanwhile, Gwelup Croatia are back in the winner’s circle, after a 3-1 win against Rockingham City at the Croatian Sporting Complex, Wishart Street. Rockingham were ahead midway through the first half, with Cory McNelis racing clear and finishing from the angle. The hosts were then reduced to ten men after a crude challenge by Jamie Johnstone on McNelis, saw him shown a red card. But a second half revival saw the hosts win the game. First on 70 minutes skipper Paul Grant headed home Pierre Barilly free kick, and seven minutes from time Miklos Imre scored from close-range after Rockingham failed to clear another Barilly free kick. Then in stoppage time they added a third, Reece Kral firing home from the edge of the box.

25.5.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND SEVEN REVIEW

State League Division Two leaders Joondalup City have lost back-to-back games, after Swan United came home from the Iluka District Open Space with a 2-1 win in our ‘Match of the Round’ on Saturday afternoon. Callum Stocks had given the hosts the lead at the break, before Rhys Loxley levelled from the spot for Swan. Both sides had chances to win it, but it was the black and whites who found it with defender Luke Ross on target. “A really strong win away from home and a really pleasing performance for us after last week,” Swan coach Niall Hughes said. “We knew it was going to be a tough game, average sides don’t win five in a row to start a season. So, we knew it would be a challenge against a hardworking and good footballing side but we have confidence in this team to beat anyone.

“First half I think we had plenty of the ball and the lads tried to play without panic but I think our execution just wasn’t there in the first half. We missed two good chances and we were punished to be 1-0 down but heads didn’t drop and after half time we came out with the same purpose but started to make things stick. We needed an early goal and we got one from the penalty spot, which was also enjoyable for Rhys on his return to the club. Then to top it off, a deadly counter attack for that second goal. Extra enjoyable, given we had worked on our transitions through the week, although having our centre back being the overlap for the tap in probably wasn’t what Colin and I had drawn up. From there it was a case of give everything to defend what we have and look for a 3rd if we could. We knew Joondalup would fight until the final whistle but fortunately our lads did exactly what was needed, including Ben Parry pulling off a great save to secure the points. Now we need to kick on and get a run of results going and that starts next week against Curtin.”

The hosts who were beaten at Kalamunda last week, were on the front foot early, and Stocks made no mistake on 13 minutes, and they went into the sheds with that lead. But Swan levelled two minutes into the second half, Ben Greaves’ shot hit the hand of Joondalup defender and Loxley calmy scored from the resulting penalty. Both teams went for the win, with chances at both ends, but it was the visitors who found it on 68 minutes. A swift counter attack saw the ball played out to Cameron Anderson, who rolled his marker and played in Loxley one-on-one with Brett Corey, but he unselfishly squared the ball across to centre back Ross who has ran the length of the pitch to roll the ball home in to an empty net. “Coming off the loss to Balga we knew we needed to start picking up points, and playing the league leaders is the best place to start,” midfielder Brennan Borzecki said. “Joondalup certainly didn’t make it easy but we did start off pretty slow, conceding from some overall poor decision making and mistakes with the ball. But after a half time team talk, we came out firing and was rewarded in the second half.”

Forrestfield United have also lost two games on the bounce, losing 2-1 against East Perth at Crazy Domains Stadium. The lads were relentless today, we knew coming here we would have to be at our best to get a result and the lads didn’t disappoint, it was an excellent all-round performance and I thought we kept possession very well and got at Forrestfield from the first whistle,” East Perth coach Colm Costello said. “Great away victory in a tough place to come, the facilities and pitch were excellent today, and the lads will enjoy tonight and then it’s all about Balga next week and back working hard in training.” The visitors started brightly, and were rewarded with the lead on 35 minutes. A corner was met by skipper Chris Smith who headed home unmarked at the back post. But Forrestfield, who lost for the first time at Ashfield last week, hit back and levelled on the hour, Lukas Johansson long-range free kick found the top corner. The game then opened up with both sides having chances, but on 77 minutes it was East Perth who won it. Keeper Sean Hyland collecting the ball from a Forrestfield corner quickly found Winger Ryan Murray on a quick counter attack, he found substitute Miguel De Oliveira, who laid it off to Ryan McCormack who finished well to seal the three points.

Canning City and Ashfield have played out an eight-goal thriller, with the hosts winning 5-3 at Burrendah Reserve. “It was a good performance and nice from back to front, and the boys showed great character to get back into the game and take control after going behind early,” Canning coach lee Hayward said. “We moved the ball around well and a couple of the goals were really well worked. Great to see George Stephens score a hattrick on his home debut and it was good to see Bill Orr get on the score sheet on his first start for the club after being injured for most of the season. As we have seen from recent results, it’s a though league this season with most teams able to beat each other. We now look forward to playing Forrestfield, and really looking to push on.”

The visitors, who ended league leaders Joondalup City’s run of wins last week, made a perfect start, with Hanani Ndebele opening the scoring on six minutes, racing one-on-one with the keeper to score. But Canning, who were coming off a big win at Wanneroo last week, levelled moments later, Tom Kinnane curling home from just inside the penalty area. Then in the shadows of half time Canning hit the front, George Stephens finishing off some good link up play. Early in the second half Ashfield restored parity, Ndebele adding his second from the penalty spot. Canning responded instantly, with two goals in an eight-minute spell. First on 52 minutes, Alex Guzman played a great through ball for Stephens, and the striker completed his hat-trick, and he had his fourth on the hour, Bill Orr heading on to him, and he made no mistake. It was 5-2 five minutes later, Freeman Nyatsambo beating a couple of players and firing across goal for Orr to finish. Ashfield reduced the margin 15 minutes from time, with Ndebele completing his hat-trick, with his second penalty.

In other games Kalamunda City are up to second after a 3-1 win against Curtin University at Maida Vale Reserve. City were ahead in first half stoppage time, with Curtin scoring an own goal, then 11 minutes into the second half Farruh Mavlonov doubled their advantage. The points were wrapped up ten minutes from time, with midfielder Lal Cung added a third. Curtin scored a consolation goal deep into stoppage time, with substitute Rowan Steed on target. Carramar Shamrock Rovers have won for the second time this season, beating Balga 3-1 at Princess Road Reserve, with second half goals from Warren Wadawu, Phil O’Callaghan and Daniel Airns, cancelling out Christian Vest’s opener for the hosts. In the final game Wanneroo City and Quinns have played out a 0-0 draw at Stylish Park, Gumblossom Reserve.

24.5.2024

BELT-UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION – ROUND SIX PREVIEW

We head into week six of the Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division and in our ‘Match of the Round’ we head to Butlers Reserve where second placed Wembley Downs hosts sixth placed North Beach. (All games kick off a 3.00pm unless stated) Both sides are coming off wins on the road last week, North Beach beating Morley, while Wembley continued their perfect start to the season with a big win at Peel.

The last time the sides met at the venue was in round 18 last season, when the hosts prevailed 3-1. The home side were ahead on 14 minutes, Josh Chalmers picked up a ball about 20 meters out and hit an unstoppable shot past North Beach keeper Aaron Persse. They added a second on 39 minutes, good work by Ben Swinnerton down the right, who found Tom Bish in the box who turned his marker and fired home at the far post.

They made it 3-0 moments later, a through ball to Dave Brownlees sent him clear, his shot on the run crashed of the cross bar, the rebound falling to Bish just inside the box, and he took a touch and delicately placed a curling shot into the corner of the net. North Beach scored a consolation goal on 68 minutes, with Keiran Moores converting from the spot, but it was too little too late.

Wembley coach Rob Jackson said the players deserve a great deal of credit, playing in the Australia Cup and catch-up games in midweek but it took its toll. “It was a great effort by the boys to take six points from the two games last week. Thursday night’s win against Kingsley took a bit out of us and that was obvious to see in the first half against Peel on Sunday,’ he explained. “Credit to the boys though for digging in and seeing out the game in the second half.

“Our little run in the Australia Cup was great but it has meant we have a couple of midweek league fixtures to fit in which just adds to the workload. We’re well aware that every team in the Amateur Premier Division are capable of beating each other on any given day so you have to be ready and focused for every single game. It’s a really high standard again this year. Next up for us is North Beach who are coming off two really impressive wins so it’s another really tough game for us to look forward to.”

Noth Beach are on the rise, after a slow start to the season, back-to-back wins, including a hard-fought win against Morley last week, has seen them rise up the table and coach Nick Di Carlo said some harsh words helped. “We've had a really solid turn around in the last three weeks after a disappointing start to the league season, and to be fair we had some really honest conversations and have really seen the change in mentality and effort on the pitch as a result and last weekend was a really hard-fought win,” he explained. “This league is ridiculously tight and if you look at the opening five rounds you can tell that every team is fighting for three points every weekend.”

Di Carlo knows there are more challengers ahead of them, starting with Sunday’s trip to Wembley. “We face the current top four in the next four which is a huge challenge but one we are very much looking forward too as we have starting hitting form at the right time but realise the consistency that is needed to take something from each of these fixtures,” he said. “Wembley have had a remarkable start to the season and we witnessed that first hand in our final night series game in preseason. They always play on the front foot and with intensity so we are looking forward to playing against the benchmark team this weekend in which I’m sure will be another hard-fought contest.”

In other games this weekend league leaders Kelmscott Roos welcome Peel United to Frye Park, while third placed Emerald entertain Kingsley Westside at Fraser Park (1.00pm). Bottom of the table Joondalup United travel to Herb Graham Recreation Centre to meet Jaguar, while South Perth United host Morley Windmills at Challenger Reserve. In the final game North Perth United will look to bounce back from two straight defeats when they host the inform Maccabi at Woodville Reserve (1.00pm)

Maccabi sit in fourth spot on the ladder, and have won the last four games, including last weeks win against Jaguar, but North Perth have suffered big losses in their last two games, but coach Chris Holland said players missing has affected them, but he is not making excuses for conceding so many goals. “The Premier league is tough however we have been missing 12 players from our first team over the last two games, so not overly surprised at losing, but the number of goals conceded is not good enough, and we’ve worked hard this week at training ahead of a tough game against Maccabi,” he explained. “Our focus this week is getting back to winning ways, and with a few of the missing players back this will be more achievable. We look forward to playing them, as they are one team in the league that like to play good football similar to us so should be a great game.”

24.5.2024

NPLWA – WOMEN’S – ROUND EIGHT PREVIEW

Balcatta Etna were back to winning ways in the NPLWA – Women’s competition last week, with a big win at UWA Nedlands, this coming after a loss to leaders Perth RedStar the previous week, which has left them sitting third on the table, six points adrift from the leaders. They will look to continue their winning ways when they host Murdoch University Melville in week eight at Home Group Stadium, Grindleford Reserve on Sunday afternoon. (All games kick off at 3.00pm, unless stated) Last time they met at the venue, the hosts ran out 2-0 winners, with two first half goals from the Tia Stonehill, was the difference between the two sides. Her first was a volley from Kim McCartney’s corner, before she added a second after racing through a number of MUMFC players, and finding the bottom corner for her 23rd goal of the season.

Balcatta coach Peter Rakic said it was good to bounce back, and good to score seven against a well-organised UWA side, and on Sunday they come up against another much improved side. “I was pleased with the performance overall and showcasing our ability to score goals when we are on the front foot, but I think the red card in the game played a huge part in the scoreline as well,” he explained. “UWA are very organised defensively so it would have been tough for them to endure 60 minutes with a player down, but I gave full praise to my girls for taking advantage of the circumstances. On Sunday we take on MUMFC, who look a much-improved side to when we faced them in round one. So, we have to treat every game like it's a final, we won't be expecting an easy three points, but we are definitely hoping to continue a winning run and keep pressure on the top two.”

MUMFC coach Steve Atkins said last week’s performance against Fremantle was impressive, as the squad continues to grow, and the yare looking forward to the clash against Balcatta. “As a squad we are continuing to learn and develop, the girls have remained upbeat each week at training and working hard and trying to implement this positivity and work rate in our games,” he said. “Fremantle, we saw as a great opportunity, however two goals down in the first seven minutes made this difficult for us and we understand how we need to be on our game from the first to last whistle.

“We pulled a goal back in the first half, regrouped at half time and I felt the girls certainly improved in the second half and the last fifteen minutes we certainly created some great chances. I was proud of their second half performance in particular and we are really starting to understand the standards of this competition, I have no doubt we will continue to improve. It is exciting to be involved with a young squad and we are looking forward to the challenges ahead.”

Atkins said Balcatta will be a challenge, but it’s one they are looking forward too. “Balcatta is certainly a tough game for us, they have quality throughout and we know that we have to be at our very best for the entire game,” he explained. “Our first game against Balcatta a few weeks ago, we showed some great spirit in the first half, but inexperience and defensive errors cost us dearly, we learnt from that and I feel our improvement since is a great sign that we can be more competitive this time. The girls are excited, as they are each week whoever we play, as they can see the improvements, how the squad is starting to gel and playing some good football as a result. We know however we can’t have a repeat of Fremantle and need to be switched on from the first whistle. Regardless of result, the girls are up for the challenge, and if we can show the endeavour, intensity and willingness to work hard then that will be a pleasing day out for us.”

The round starts on Saturday afternoon when the Hyundai NTC welcome UWA Nedlands to the Sam Kerr Football Centre (1.00pm). Both sides will be looking to bounce back from heavy defeats last week, the host are on a four-game losing streak, including last weeks 1-7 loss against Perth RedStar in Geraldton, while UWA were also beaten by the same scoreline by Balcatta, this after Mackenzie Rastatter was sent off on the half hour. Fremantle City welcome second placed Perth SC to Hilton Park, on a weekend the hosts celebrate their 70th anniversary as a club. Both sides were in the winner’s circle last week, Fremantle beating MUMFC, while the Azzurri beat Subiaco. League Leaders Perth RedStar, who made it seven straight wins last week, make the trip to Rosalie Park to take on Subiaco AFC. (3.45pm)

24.5.2024

NPL-WA ROUND NINE - PREVIEW

Our week nine NPLWA - Men’s ‘Match of the Round’ takes us to Hilton Park, where Fremantle City host Perth SC. (All games kick off at 3pm) Perth sit ninth on the table, and scored late last week to draw at home to Bayswater, with new coach Kenny Lowe looking for his first win in the road at the club. Meanwhile Fremantle are third on the ladder after a big win against the Knights last week, so three points are vital for both sides. It will be first time the clubs will play in the top flight of WA football since 1987. David Harrison was the coach that season, and the Azzurri finished second, while East Fremantle Tricolore, after a tremendous start, faded away in the middle of the year and finished in seventh position. Frank Schafer, their coach, resigned in July and Peter Koulizos took over, but the damage was done and he had little opportunity to improve on their position, but they did beat the Azzurri that season at home, with Steve Huckstable scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win.

It’s a special day for Fremantle, (Fremantle Tricolore) who will celebrate their 70th anniversary against their nemesis Perth Azzurri and current club President Mr Tony Estrano said it is going to be a massive day as they celebrate their history. “This Saturday we will celebrate the 70th anniversary of East Fremantle Tricolore SC, and we have an open invitation to all past and present players, members, and families to join us. Our NPL teams will wear a special 70th Anniversary kit for the day which I’m sure the fans will love,” he said. “We will also have a heap of old photographs and trophies on display that I’m sure will bring back some great memories and conversations. With the support of our friends at Perth SC, our 1st teams will battle it out for the prestigious Annual ‘EF Tricolore and Perth Azzurri Cup’. It is going to be an amazing day and from all of us at Fremantle City FC we look forward to welcoming you on Saturday to help us celebrate a wonderful occasion. Forza Freo.”

On the pitch Fremantle have impressed in their first season in the NPL, and have surprised many of the pundits out there, but skipper Riley Woodcock said a good pre-season and some quality recruits has seen them ground running and playing some good football, and that was on show at the Knights last week. “We were really happy to go there and keep a clean sheet and get the win considering they hadn’t lost yet. They’re a good side with dangerous players but I felt we were very organised and controlled the game and were worthy of the 3-0 to be honest,” the skipper explained. “I think as a newly promoted team it’s probably fair to expect that we may struggle, however I think the club recruited really well to add to the quality they already had and we have always been confident as a group that we’re here to compete and not be in a relegation battle. We have a lot of experience in the side and we’re happy with how we’re going.”

Woodcock, who played 14 games for Perth Glory, and also had a spell at Sydney FC as a youngster, said Saturday will be a great day for the club to celebrate their anniversary off the pitch, but he knows they face a tough test on it against a Perth side looking for their first away win of the season. “Yes, everyone at the club is very excited for this weekend to host the Azzurri and hopefully welcome some club legends down to the game,” he said. “It’s always a tough game against Perth, being such a successful club over the years with good young players, and particularly with Kenny (Lowe) now at the helm, but we’re confident that our unbeaten run in the league at home can continue and hope to pick up the three points.”

Perth goes into the game on the back of late fight back to draw with Bayswater in a six-goal thriller, with Abdul Osman, who has been selected in the Somalia squad for next month's World Cup Qualifiers, levelling in stoppage time, and defender Federico Achilli thought they deserved more. We felt we should have got more out the game, but to show that resilience to keep pushing and find the late equaliser was a big positive for us,” he said. “Another positive for us is that we are improving each week and even though the result did not reflect it, we felt that our football dominated on the night and we hopefully we can continue our growth and start getting some results.”

A change of coach mid-season is never easy, and Achilli said the players have had to work on a new system, but he believes they are getting better with every game. “Yes, it is always tough when a new coach comes in, especially when you don't get to have a preseason with them but hats off to the boys,” the defender explained. “From the start with Kenny (Lowe) it has always been about trusting the system, being positive and enjoying the game and I think we have done exactly that and our performances have shown that progress. We do still have a quite a bit to learn from Kenny, but with every session and every game we have improved, so hopefully we can start making a charge for the top four.”

It's a busy time for Achilli, who is also an assistant coach for the Perth SC NPLWA – Women’s side, but he said a trip to Fremantle is a tough prospect, especially with them celebrating 70-years, but they go there looking for the three points to push them up the table. “Fremantle have definitely been a surprise to the league alongside Western Knights and I feel this weekend the crowd is going to be in for a very entertaining match,” he said. “Obviously they are going to be looking to take the three points to help celebrate their 70th anniversary, but we are also starting to find our groove and have a lot of belief and confidence that we can go there and take the points home with us.”

In other games this weekend league leaders Olympic Kingsway head to E&D Litis Stadium, to take on second placed Floreat Athena. David Tough’s side leapfrogged Floreat last week with a win against Inglewood, because Floreat were beaten at Armadale, and they will be without skipper Jason Saldaris for this one, after he was sent off in the 0-3 defeat. Western Knights will also look to bounce back from their first defeat of the season, when they head north to meet Perth RedStar at the RedStar Arena. Balcatta Etna welcome Armadale to Home Group Stadium, Grindleford Reserve, the visitors looking to add to their back-to-back wins, and both sides need the points to move away from the foot of the table, likewise Perth Glory who entertain Stirling Macedonia at Sam Kerr Football Centre.

In the final game Bayswater City visit Inglewood Stadium, to take on the winless Inglewood United. City have drawn their last two games which has left them sixth on the ladder, while Inglewood’s poor start to the season continued with an eighth straight loss at Olympic, and defender Ciaran Salinger said the players are working hard to turn things around and there were some good signed in the loss last week. “I don’t think they would have walked away from Friday night's game and thought that it was a comfortable three points,” The defender explained. “I think we recognised the quality they had all over the park and tried to implement a strategy to nullify some of their threats, which I thought we did quite well for majority of the game. A little bit of luck helped them with their goals and we had a few half chances that could have been converted.”

Inglewood have been in most games this season, but missed opportunities have hurt them, and an error has allowed the opposition to score. Salinger said it is frustrating, but they hope to turn it around on Saturday. “I think everyone is aware that if you don’t score goals, you put yourself in a position that keeps the opposition teams in games, we have adjusted a few things going forward and that was evident on Friday night,” he said. “But fundamentally, we cannot be conceding the number of goals we have done, especially as a defender it's unacceptable and is something that as a team we are trying to mitigate. We know that we can compete and score goals against any team in this league. For us it's only a matter of time before we do get those first point of the season and we are confident that it can happen on Saturday.”

24.5.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND EIGHT PREVIEW

Dianella White Eagles have kept their two-point lead at the top of the State League Division One, and in week eight they head to Chichester Park on Saturday evening, to take on Kingsley Westside in our ‘Match of the Round’ (6.00pm) The hosts, who are playing in the division for the first time, secured their second win of the season last round against Gwelup, while Dianella good start continued, beating Subiaco 2-0, and in their first meeting in the state league, so both will be aiming to pick up the points in this one. The last time the two sides meet at the venue was in Division Two, in round 11 2021, when the Eagles flew home with a 3-2 win on their way to the title that season under coach Stewart Moses.

The win for Kingsley against Gwelup gave the club a great lift, and assistant coach Stuart Montgomery said it showed the character they have in the squad. “Yes, it was a good win by the boys and yes they showed great character to keep going after letting the lead slip twice and shows we are gaining confidence throughout our side cause earlier in the season we would have lost that game,” he explained. “The game was played at a fast pace all game and was a credit to both teams that the pace of the game lasted all game, but we felt we were in control of the game and created chances all game and we fully deserved to win the game.”

Going into their first season ever in Division One, the club knew it would be a challenge, but Montgomery believes the players are coming to terms with it, and the performances are improving. “The first few games in the new league were an eye opener for us, the league is a tough league to play in and all the teams can beat anyone on their day and if you are just off a few per cent you can get beaten badly, there is so much quality in the league,” the former Western Knights striker explained. “But over the last few games Steven and I feel we are coming to grips with the pace of the league and realising that any small mistakes will get punished. But we are really pleased with the boys in the way they have attacked the last few games and our performances have improved.”

Montgomery said Saturday will be a huge game for both sides, and he is expecting a big crowd on had to watch it. “This week against a stacked Dianella side, who are playing really well will be a tough assignment, but the boys are really looking forward to it and we seem to save our best performances for when everyone is righting us off and we have no doubt the boys will be up for a tough game and take it to very good dianella side,” he said. “There should be a good crowd down there on Saturday night and when we played them a few years ago when we were in Division Two together it was one of the best atmosphere’s the club has had. So, I expect a good crowd to turn up and see a good game with both teams going at each other for the win.”

Dianella however have made a perfect start to the season, unbeaten and with Andy Keogh leading the way with six goals, but defender Kevin Ashwood said it’s been a great team effort, but there is still room for improvement. “Obviously pleasing to be top after a good start, however we are under no illusions that a good start is all it is at the moment. While we are picking up results the boys have actually been frustrated lately as we don’t actually think we are firing on all cylinders yet,” he explained. “That shows the attitudes and character within the squad. It’s a really tough and competitive league so all we can do is focus on ourselves and go game by game, if we do that then hopefully, we will be in contention come the business end of the season.”

The defender missed a few games recently, but his return has bolstered the squad, and he said starting places are up for grabs, which helps with intensity at training. “Yes, I was unfortunate to miss a few games but good to be back at it. If anyone looks at our squad on paper there’s no denying it’s full of quality, but probably more importantly it’s full of good attitudes and lads with a desire to win. You should see some of our training sessions, especially when we make losers of games stick a few dollars in the fines tin,” Ashwood joked.

“On top of that you look at our bench last weekend or those missing and there’s lads who would walk into most state league side and many NPL ones. That’s not mentioning the obvious lads who add that professional experience which is invaluable when setting standards, game management etc. There’s also a great atmosphere amongst the boys and as long as we all stick together off and on the pitch that in itself is worth a few points over the course of the season.”

Ashwood, who skipper Armadale in the NPL in 2022, said Saturday’s game will be a tough one, like all games are in the league, but he said they will be looking to continue their good start to the season. “It’s the old adage there’s no easy games in football,” he said. “They (Kingsley) are coming off the back of a successful season and although they may have wished to have a few more points at this stage, that probably only adds to their motivation. However, we will apply ourselves properly and prepare for a tough game and hopefully come back with the three points and keep our successful season going.”

In other games this weekend, in form Sorrento head to Beale Park to take on bottom of the table Cockburn City. (All games kick off at 3.00pm) The Gulls have bagged 26 goals so far this season, including three at Mandurah last week, while the hosts have struggled so far back in the state league and sit bottom of the table, but will go in search of their second win of the season. Gwelup Croatia host Rockingham City at Croatian Sporting Complex, Wishart Street, while Murdoch University Melville welcome Joondalup United to Besteam Stadium, with both sides looking to continue their winning ways from last week.

In the final game UWA Nedlands entertain Mandurah City at UWA Sports Park. The visitors two-game winning streak came to an end against Sorrento last week, while the hosts made it back-to-back wins after a win at Rockingham, and coach Richard Abrams said the squad is getting stronger and improving each game. “We’ve won both games since the defeat at Gwelup which is very pleasing. To be fair we have had a good start and to be where we are we are happy but know we have to keep tracking forward as there are some big games on the horizon,” he explained.

“The squad is coming together nicely, centre back Jacob Turner returned last week from the USA and along with Max Blackshaw back from six months in the UK, our spine has strengthened. With 18 fit and available players, the group know every Tuesday and Thursday now counts along with their gameday performances. The intensity and attitude, has certainly lifted with a stronger squad available. It’s a headache but a nice one to have, and next week Joey Roscoe who has been unreal for us returns from suspension adding to that selection dilemma.”

Abrams said Mandurah, who only just missed out on promotion last season, have a great squad and are well coached, so he knows they are in for a tough game. “For me it’s the game I look for when the fixtures come out as it’s a huge one. I respect John (Baird) and the way he sets up and I believe they will be top two or three come the end of the season so a massive test for us on Saturday,” the coach explained. “They have a long list of very talented players, so we need to start well and hopefully win our individual battles and be in the contest at the end. Our oversees players have been spot on so far, and will need to match theirs for 90 minutes. The table may read we are ahead of them however, we defiantly enter this game as the underdogs.”

24.5.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND SEVEN PREVIEW

State League Division Two leader’s Joondalup City dropped their first points of the season after a loss at Kalamunda last week, and they will look to bounce back when they host Swan United in our week seven ‘Match the Round’ at Iluka District Open Space on Saturday afternoon. (All games kick off at 3pm, unless stated) United will also look to get back to winning ways, after they were beaten by Balga, a disappointing result after they had upset East Perth in week five, and they head to this one sitting just above the relegation zone.

Last time the two sides met at the venue was in round 12 last season, when the hosts ran out 2-0 winners. The visitors, who were in action in midweek in the Australia Cup, were slow out of the blocks with City finding the opener on 16 minutes, a delivery from the right by Nathan Rhodes, was finished well at an awkward height by Jason Petrie. Swan pressed for the equaliser, but couldn’t find one, and nine minutes from time Joondalup sealed the points, a neat finish from the edge of the box from by Sam McCracken.

The loss at Ashfield ended Joondalup’s winning start to the season and coach Guy McDonald said they will learn from it. “The game was lost in a couple of five minute spells at the start of the first and second half other than that the boys played well,” he explained. “So we will just continue to do what we do, but we also know we have to keep getting better every week.”

McDonald missed the game last week but returns for the visitors of Swan, and he knows every game in the league is tough, and Saturday will be no different. “The league is very competitive where anyone can beat anyone, so you have to turn up every week and be prepared to give it your best shot or else you’re in for a tough afternoon,” the coach said. “We will not underestimating Swan, they have had some great results so the boys will be prepared for another tough game.”

Swan coach Colin Morgan said it was just one of them days. “Very disappointed in our performance against Balga. To be fair to Balga, they were organised and disciplined, and unfortunately, we just were not at the races,” he explained. “That's football, some days just aren't your day and we now switch focus to Joondalup. The league does seem very open, anyone can beat anyone on any given day, and last week was an excellent example of that with Joondalup and Forrestfield both losing.”

Morgan believes both teams will be desperate to bounce on Saturday, but he knows they have a tough job on their hands, after Joondalup’s good start to the season. “They (Joondalup) have made had an excellent start to the season and Guy has done a great job their early doors,” he said. “We are expecting to be in for a tough game up there as it always is, but we will be looking to bounce back after the disappointment of last week, as I'm sure they will be, so it's set to be a cracker.”

Forrestfield United were also beaten for the first-time last week at Ashfield, and this week they host East Perth at Crazy Domains Stadium, Hartfield Park. East Perth is coming off a win in the Irish Derby against Shamrock to keep them fourth on the ladder, so this one should also be an entertaining encounter. In other games third placed Kalamunda United will look to back up their big win against Joondalup last week when they welcome Curtin University to Maida Vale Reserve, while Quinns host Wanneroo City in the northern derby at Stylish Park, Gumblossom Park. Balga will look to build on last week’s win at Swan when they entertain Carramar Shamrock Rovers at Princess Road Reserve, while in the final game Canning City host Ashfield at Burrendah Park.

Both sides are coming off big wins, Ashfield knocking off the unbeaten Forrestfield, while Canning were too strong for Wanneroo, their second win of the season, and skipper Mason Langham said he hopes it can kick start their season. “It was a much better team performance last week, probably should have capitalised and put away more but a strong performance to kickstart our season,” the defender said. “We’re looking forward to the challenge this week, we’ve proven we can challenge big teams but consistency has been our biggest issue. We’re excited to put some consecutive performances together and show our worth.”

21.5.2024

KERR OFFICIALLY OUT OF OLYMPIC CONTENTION

Australia captain Samantha Kerr has officially been ruled out of the upcoming Olympic Games, with Football Australia confirming striker's knee injury will keep her out of the Matildas squad. Kerr's Olympic hopes have been in doubt since she suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury while playing club football for Chelsea in January.

"We want Sam to be as fit and healthy as she can, and for her that's taking her time with this injury. It's a major injury," veteran Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams said this morning as the Matildas unveiled their 23-player squad for an upcoming friendly series with China.

"(Sam's) in rehab right now and that's the most important thing that she focuses on. The Matildas fever (means) that we all really support each other ... (and) that's what we're doing now - supporting her in the best way that we can but making sure that the whole squad is in a good way going forward."

Attacking midfielder Amy Sayer has also been ruled out of the Olympic because of an ACL injury. Midfield dynamo Katrina Gorry, who is recovering from an ankle injury, will miss the two games against China but will "most likely" be available for Olympic selection.

The Australia squad to play China is Steph Catley, Mackenzie Arnold, Ellie Carpenter, Kyra Cooney-Cross, Caitlin Foord, Mary Fowler, Sharn Freier, Charlotte Grant, Winonah Heatley, Michelle Heyman, Clare Hunt, Alanna Kennedy, Teagan Micah, Courtney Nevin, Clare Polkinghorne, Hayley Raso, Kaitlyn Torpey, Emily van Egmond, Cortnee Vine, Clare Wheeler, Jada Whyman, Lydia Williams and Tameka Yallop.

20.5.2024

JONES APOLOGY AFTER BOLTON LOSE TO OXFORD IN PLAY-OFF

Gethin Jones apologised to the Bolton Wanderers faithful after their promotion hopes went up in smoke at the weekend. Emotion was very much at the surface as the defender spoke to the local press post-game, with Oxford United’s players still celebrating in their dressing room just yards away.

Jones found it difficult to express how the performance levels had dropped so severely on the biggest day of the season. “I’m speechless,” he said. “Honestly, we are all devastated. We don’t know what has happened. We didn’t work the normal gameplan, do the patterns we’d normally do, we were slow.”

“We are devastated for the fans, the whole club. Honestly, we were trying to put our finger on it in the changing room and we all said the same, it was just the worst performance of the season. For that to be in the play-off final is bizarre. I don’t even know what to say.”

“Thank you (to our supporters) for absolutely everything through the season, even today they were in top voice and pushed us to the end but it wasn’t to be. We apologise to them and we just have to look ourselves in the mirror now. It will be a very difficult five or six weeks.”

Oxford United raced into a two-goal lead by half time and should have widened the lead in the second half after creating a handful of presentable chances. Jones felt preparations for the game were positive but was at a loss to explain why the plan failed so miserably on the day.

“We were expecting it, we had done a lot of prep this week and knew their form,” he said. “We knew what to expect (but) we didn’t do what we’d worked on all week. We all need to look at ourselves, to a man. Every single person on that pitch were not up to standard. We will have some time now to look at what went wrong, how to improve, and go again.”

19.5.2024

BELT-UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION – ROUND FIVE REVIEW

Maccabi have continued their good start to the Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division season, after a come from behind 2-1 win against Jaguar in our week five ‘Match of the Round at Maccabean Memorial Oval on Sunday afternoon. “It was a really great game of football, played at a high intensity from start to end and honestly could have gone either way. They were on top in the first half but we managed to go in at 0-0 and reset, and came out much better in the second half,” Maccabi coach Ricky Berelowitz. “So, I’m very pleased with the result and the resilience we showed, we know there’ll be lots of tough games that are decided in the last five or ten minutes, so I was glad to see us not give up and turn it around.”

Both sides went into the game after wins last week, the hosts beating South Perth while the Jags beat champions Emerald. But it was the visitors who opened well, creating a number of chances, but failed to take them and at the break it was scoreless. But it was Jaguar who found the opener 15 minutes from time, a long throw wasn’t dealt with and Mathew Sesay found the net. But Maccabi hit back and levelled four minutes later, Aamon Zothner meeting a Jared Dimbleby cross to head home. It looked like the points would be shared, but deep into stoppage time the hosts won it. Zothner was deemed to have been fouled in the box, and Dion Berman stepped up and kept his cool from the resulting penalty to seal the win.

“It was a hard-fought game, as always happens against the Jags, and I thought they had better opportunities in the first half because we were slightly off our game, but our hard work kept us in it,” Maccabi defender Dean Gordon explained. “We came out much stronger in the second half, and even though we conceded first, our energy and positivity never wavered, and we soon scored a well-deserved equaliser. To top it off, we earned a penalty near the end of the game, securing the three points.”

League leaders Kelmscott Roos have maintained their lead at the top of table, following a 3-2 win against Kingsley Westside at Chichester Park. “It was a tough game, but I thought we controlled the ball for the majority of it and created some great chances but struggled to put them away,” Kelmscott keeper Tylor Warwick said. “It’s one of those games that could have got away from us, but we came out in the second half with the motivation needed and finished off the job, it’s another win in the bag and into Peel United next week.” The Roos were ahead eight minutes from half time, Issac Koomson shot hit the hand of a Kingsley defender, and Koomson colly dispatched the resulting penalty. But in the shadows of half time Kingsley levelled, James Callaghan on target. Kelmscott regained the lead just after the hour mark, Koomson took on his marker, and his shot took a deflection past Ben Partridge. The visitors sealed the points 13 minutes from time, a neat one-two between Koomson and Kriss Radivojsa, sent Koomson in on goal, and he squared the ball to Radivojsa, who had continued his run, and he finished first time past Partridge.

Wembley Downs remains the only side in the league to have won all their games this season, after coming home from Bortolo Park with. 5-2 win against Peel United. “I thought we were a bit sluggish in the first half, perhaps some tired legs from Thursday night’s game,” Wembley skipper Jack Mellor explained. “Second half we were more in control and scored three good goals Overall, we are happy to come away with the win but we know we need to lift our levels in the coming weeks with tough fixtures coming thick and fast.”

The home side found the opener early, when a long ball wasn’t dealt with and Mitchell Kelman made Wembley pay. But they levelled on ten minutes, with Halil Russo converting from the spot. But Peel hit the front again on 27 minutes, with Sergej Gluhovic, also scoring from the spot, only for Wembley to level again three minutes later with Peel scoring an own goal after a goalmouth scramble. Wembley made the game safe after the break, first Sam Mattock headed home a corner just after the hour, before Callum McLeod made it 4-2 getting on the end of cross on 70 minutes. They completed the scoring eight minutes later with Zac Archer scoring.

In other games, Emerald have bounced back from defeat at Jags last week, when they beat North Perth United 5-2 at Fraser Park. Early goals from Shane Flynn and Tim Broderick had the hosts in control, before Mark Ruddy reduced the margin for the visitors. But three minutes before half time North Perth were reduced to ten men with Barry Boggan sent off, and Broderick added his second in stoppage time, to send the hosts into the break with a 3-1 lead. Connor Engelbrecht reduced the margin for North Perth on the hour, but goals from Shane Young and a late effort from Ronan Flaherty goal gave the hosts a comfortable win.

North Beach have won back-to-back games for the first time this season, after a hard fought 1-0 win against Morley Windmills at Wotton Park. The only goal of the game came on 35 minutes, Ben Reynolds corner into the box caused some chaos and ended up in the net, and looked like it came off a Morley player last. Morley pressed for the equaliser but it wasn’t their day, and to make matter worse Shane Burke was sent off late, after receiving a second yellow card. “Amazing hard-fought result today over a dogged Morley outfit. We anticipated some changes to their lineup after our recent cup fixture which came to fruition,” Noth Beach coach Nick Di Carlo explained.

“So, we were prepared for a high intensity and physical game today. We stayed mentally strong for 90 minutes despite some chaotic final minutes to bag another big three points. In recent weeks we have become the team we want to be as opposed to 11 individuals and the results are starting to show. The next month doesn't get easier facing the current top four teams, but we'll keep focusing on ourselves and what we can control on the pitch.”

In the final game South Perth United have secured their first win of the season, beating Joondalup United 4-1 at Forrest Park. South Perth found the opener on the half hour, James Santa crossed from the right and Aron Tesfaldte made no mistake. It was 2-0 just before the break, with Santa on target. The hosts were back in the game early in the second half, with Luke Crawford scoring, but that’s as good as it got for the hosts. Wellington Muvunduke added a third for South Perth 17 minutes from time, and nine minutes later Joe Lim raced past three Joondalup defenders before firing home. South Perth keeper James Erzay also saved a penalty, with the visitors leaving after their first points of the campaign. “We scored some good goals today, and deserved the three points,” Aron Tesfaldte said. “To get our first win this season feels good, and it gives us hope into the coming games to build from here.”

19.5.2024

NPLWA – WOMEN’S – ROUND SEVEN REVIEW

Our NPLWA - Women’s week seven ‘Match of the Round’ turned out to be a one-sided game, with league leaders Perth RedStar maintaining their perfect start to the season, after a 7-1 win against Hyundai NTC at Wonthella Oval in Geraldton, in the Football West Festival of Football on Saturday afternoon. “A really enjoyable weekend in Geraldton, especially after coming away with three points. We had a very slow start to the game and NTC capitalised on that. All credit goes to the girls who came on at half time, they bought the energy we needed and we worked hard to get the goals,” RedStar forward Caitlin Doeglas said. “The pitch wasn’t in the best conditions, but Football West did well with location and there was a good turnout of Geraldton locals to watch both games. Very grateful to be a part of such an important festival of football.”

There looked like being a surprise on the cards, with the NTC taking the lead on 13 minutes, after Klaudia Houlis was picked out by Angelique Clayton and her shot on the run deflected over RedStar keeper Gabby Dal Busco and into the net. But on the stroke of half time the champions levelled, Olivia Wood was brought down in the box by goalscorer Houlis, and Doeglas made no mistake from the resulting penalty. RedStar coach Carlos Vega-Mena wasn’t impressed with the first half performance and made a triple change at the break, and ten minutes into the second half they hit the front. Doeglas played a one-two with one of the replacements Jayna Ridley, before racing into goal and finishing clinically.

It soon became 3-1, substitute Queyan Doan getting on the end of Doeglas’ corner to head home, before Ridley added a fourth, finishing from close-range, from man of the match Doeglas’ cross. got on the scoresheet for a second successive week with a close-range finish from Doeglas’ cross. They made it 4-1 on 71 minutes Momoko Sakairi’s shot crashed off the post, and bounced back into the goal of the back of the unfortunate Phillips. It was soon six, Carla Bennett, who was making her first start after a knee injury last season, sending Manami Arai clear, and she lobbed the oncoming keeper. The icing was added to the cake in stoppage time with a seventh, with Ridley adding her second from five meters.

“We were slow to get started in the first half and it took us a little while to settle into our game. We were caught off guard when NTC scored the first goal, and knew we had to fix a few things. After the halftime talk and a few tweaks on the pitch, we were able to take control of the game and get back to playing our style of football. Very happy to bring home the three points and the Regional Trophy,” RedStar coach Carlos Vega-Mena explained.

“Travelling to Geraldton and taking part in the regional match is a great experience for the players. It is a privilege for them to be able to showcase their talent and promote football at the same time in this environment. It was especially good for the club this year as we had both the men’s and women’s teams present and it was an awesome bonding opportunity for them both. As always, it was a pleasure to be involved in another really well organised event from Football West.”

Also on Saturday Perth SC, who are three points behind the leaders, beat Subiaco AFC 4-0 at Dorrien Gardens. “It was good performance from the team all round,” Perth striker Jessica Flannery said. “Also to keep a clean sheet and get a convincing win was a nice way to finish the round for us.” The host were ahead early, Ella Lincoln capitalizing on a slip from Carla Biegun and finishing with aplomb. It was 2-0 on 19 minutes, Flannery, who was celebrating her birthday, fired home at the second attempt. Then just after the half hour it 3-0, Flannery added her second, rolling her marker before finding the bottom corner of the net. Second half substitute Anika Stajcic completed the scoring late, racing clear, and curling home superbly from the edge of the box.

In other games in week seven, Balcatta Etna have brought UWA Nedlands back down to earth with a 7-1 win at the UWA Sports Park. The hosts won their first game in the NPL last week against Fremantle, but the visitors were in no mood to make it two on the bounce, and the hosts weren’t helped when Mackenzie Rastatter was sent off on the half hour. The visitors then took control, and opened the scoring nine minutes later, Monique Prinsloo getting on the end of Jamie-Lee Gales cross, and it was 2-0 in the shadows of half time, Prinsloo in again, heading home at the back post from Lucy Jerram’s cross. It was 3-0 early in the second half, Meakins getting on the end of another Gale cross, and it was 4-0 on 53 minutes, Prinsloo sending Jerram clear, and she finished clinically.

Meakins made it 5-0 on the hour, and the midfielder completed her hat-trick on 76 minutes, with shot on the turn, after being found by Kat Jukic. UWA pulled one back moments later, with Emily Dinsdale on target, but the visitors had the final word, with Jerram adding a seventh, her ninth goal of the campaign, and takes her to the top of the top goalscorer ladder. “Again, it was a pretty slow start for us on the weekend, but once we started to build into the game, we were able to capitalize on our chances,” Balcatta skipper Abbey Meakins said. “Really happy with the way the girls finished out the game, and it’s nice to see a few new players getting some minutes in the side. We are looking forward to taking the momentum from the game into next week against MUMFC.”

In the final game on Sunday, Fremantle City have bounced back from the defeat at UWA, beating Murdoch University Melville 2-1 in a hard-fought game at Besteam Stadium. “We had an unbelievable start to the game, scoring within the first 27 seconds and then again not long after. We felt we very much had the momentum as we created a lot of chances and could have gone into half time with a comfortable lead,” Fremantle defender Annabelle Leek explained. “However, we were caught out later in the first half and Murdoch did well to finish their chance. Credit to our opposition, they set up in a very high press and continued to push for a goal using the pace of their attackers. We knew it was messy at times and definitely below our best, but securing the three points was ultimately the main goal, and it puts us in a better place moving into the second rotation of fixtures.”

Fremantle made a fantastic start to this one, Abbey Green’s cross was volleyed home by Matilda Boyle inside the first minute. They doubled their advantage eight minutes later, Green’s ball into the box was only cleared as far as Tanika Lala, and the former NTC striker finished clinically from the edge of the box. MUMFC were back in the game on the half hour, Taylor Reid sending Tiana Botha clear, and she finished well past Dayle Schroeder. Both sides had chances after the break, but no other goals were scored the visitors leaving with the three points.

18.5.2024

NPL-WA ROUND EIGHT - REVIEW

Armadale have won their first home game of the season after beating a ten-man Floreat Athena 2-0 at Alfred Skeet Reserve on Saturday afternoon, in our NPLM week eight ‘Match of the Round’. The visitors were top of the table before the round, but had keeper Jason Saldaris sent off after 25 minutes, and Luke Collins fired home from the resulting free kick. The hosts added a second in the shadows of half time through Hamish van Dieken, and after the break substitute Amir Ajan added a third to seal a comprehensive win.

“A good all-round performance today, we have been building in recent weeks and we are delighted to get back-to-back wins,” Armadale coach Alun Vernals said post-match. “Yes, the sending off was a turning point, but we had been on top before then and Jason (Saldaris) had made three good saves before he was shown a red card. We managed the second half well and had plenty of chances to add a few more and 23 shots on the day showed our dominance. So, we’re really pleased to get our first home win of the season in front of our fantastic supporters.”

It was a tight opening, with both sides having early chances, Nick Ambrogio firing over the top on ten minutes, before Callum Dobbs long-range volley was well saved by Saldaris. The Floreat keeper was keeping his side in the game with a number of fine saves, the best a superb one-handed save low to his left to deny Chan Yelchan. But the game took a twist on 25 minutes when the visitors were reduced to ten men. A long ball from Ryley Wishart-Stephen sent Yelchan racing away, and Saldaris came outside his area and handled the ball, and after consulting with his assistant referee Tom Glavovic showed him a red card.

Floreat had to make a change, with Joshua Hunter coming on in goal, with Guy Davies having to make way. The first thing Hunter had to do was pick the ball out of the net, with Luke Collins superbly curling the resulting free kick into the net. Hunter then got well to save George Ballah’s shot from the edge of the box, and Yelchan fired straight at the Floreat keeper when clear through, as Armadale looked for a second. Then in stoppage time they found it, the referee played a good advantage after Yelchan was brought down in the middle of the park, but the big striker played the ball forward and Van Dieken raced clear and finished with aplomb.

Both sides had chances early in the second half, Kyle Murray’s corner was met by Ben Steele, the ball was cleared away, and from that corner, Murray’s inswinger was punched clear by Sam Hocking, under pressure from Chris Saldaris. Down the other end Lachlan Collins spotted Hunter off his line, but his audacious long-range shot drifted just over the top. Armadale substitute Amir Ajan was then denied by Hunter, before he saved well to deny Peiter Jacobsz moments later. But on 79 minutes the hosts added a third. A short corner caught Floreat napping and Amir’s cross shot beat everyone and found the bottom corner of the net.

Ajan went close to the fourth racing into the box, but Hunter got down well to save at his near post, then from the resulting corner Luke Collins fired wide at the back post. Armadale were pressing for more, and Jayden Leader low shot from the edge of the box was pushed around the post by Hunter, before Ajan stung the palms, of the overworked Floreat custodian. The loss sees Floreat lose top spot to Olympic, while Armadale move up to eighth, and skipper Luke Collins hopes it will kick start their season. “Pleased with the three points and a clean sheet, I thought we dominated the game from the kick off and was happy the team were creating so many chances again,” he explained. “It’s great to have finally kick started our season now, and can hopefully keep pushing on from here.”

Fremantle City are up to third after an impressive 3-0 win against Western Knights at Nash Field, a result which pleased coach Matthew Sparrow. “I thought the boys were outstanding from start to finish, we knew going away to knights would be a difficult challenge, they work hard as a team and cause you problems but I thought our game plan today paid off, defensively we looked really solid and organised, won our battles in the middle of the park and took our goals extremely well up top,” Sparrow explained. “Another really pleasing away day, three goals and a clean sheet against the leaders the boys can be proud of themselves today. Now we’ll prepare again this week re access everyone and then look to go again next weekend when we face a tough test at home to Perth.”

The hosts thought they had found the opener early, when Owen Goodliffe fired home, but the flag was up for offside. They then suffered a blow with influential midfielder Jesse Lazzaro limping off, replaced by Noah Lummert. Jay Sheridan then curled a free kick just over the top, as the Knights pressed for the opener. Fremantle settled and went close themselves on the half hour mark, Oliver LaGalia header from a corner was saved low by Sam Reilly. Shay Donovan then headed wide from Jay Sheridan cross five minutes from half time.

Fremantle ended the half the better and Charles Chechlacz saw his shot well saved by Reilly, and in stoppage time the visitors found the opener. A great tackle in the middle of the park by La Galia fell to Chechlacz whose diagonal pass sent Patrick Loughrey racing down the left, and his shot on the run flew into the corner of the net. The Knights were convinced they should have had a penalty early in the second half when Goodliffe’s goalbound shot was blocked by George Festa, the rebound looked to have come off his arm, but referee Steven Gregory waved away their protests.

Things went from bad to worse for the hosts, and moments later Fremantle found a second. Chechlacz’s pass sent Loughrey racing down the left, he cut inside his marker and found the bottom corner of the net. The hosts went close to reducing the margin moments later, Goodliffe’s in-swinging corner was cleared off the line by La Galia. The big striker went close at the other end on the hour, his shot on the run tipped over the top by the alert Reilly, and from the resulting corner Jesse Fuller headed wide at the back post. Fremantle sealed the points in the final minute, a quick break saw Taj Bingwa send La Galia racing clear, he rounded the keeper and fired home from the angle.

In other games, Perth RedStar moved up to fifth on the table after a 1-0 win against Perth Glory at Wonthella Oval in Geraldton, in the Football West Regional Festival of Football. “Very proud of the team playing excellent football on a difficult field against a decent Glory youth team,” RedStar coach Callum Salmon said. “No easy feat for the players to juggle work and family to get up to Geraldton and I thought we performed well and, on another day, could’ve had a few more goals. Tough game, and if Glory play like that every week I can easily see them being a top four side. Delighted for Matty Bowen to debut, and we had a super young forward line with Theo Leeming, Bryce Bafford and Matty George. Fantastic finish from Tommy Hough and I thought him, Blair Govan, Finnie and the whole team were good value.”

It was a tight game with the Glory opening brightly, with Sam Barry racing down the right, his dangerous low cross was deflected behind, and from the resulting corner Liam Reddy got down well to save Khoa Ngo’s effort. Blair Govan headed wide at the back post for the RedStar, before Jaylan Pearman crossed to Seb Despotovski, who couldn’t keep his shot down. The chances kept coming at both ends, Royie Rahamim fired straight at Reddy, after he was found by Barry, before Daryl Nicol headed Ryan Finnie’s cross into the side netting. The best chance fell to RedStar, Andrew Palmer sent Matthew George into the penalty area, but Glory custodian Robert Cook saved well to deny him, and at the break it was scoreless. Both struggled on a bumpy pitch after the break, with Cook and Reddy really troubled, but 11 minutes from time it was RedStar who hit the front, and what a goal it was. Glory failed to clear their lines, and Bryce Bafford’s shot was cleared off the line, and the ball fell to Tom Hough just outside the box, who beat two defenders before a powerful shot flew past Cook.

Glory pressed for the equaliser, and Sam Byrne fired over the top after being set up by Santiago Flores, and late on Tadiwanashe Kuzamba’s effort was saved well by Reddy at his near post late. Then from the resulting corner Louis Sollitt’s header was tipped around the post by the former Glory custodian to seal the win for RedStar. “The win against Glory was probably our best this season, as we were playing on a really terrible pitch, a long way from home against a very good side who caused us a lot of problems in the first half,” RedStar striker Daryl Nicol said. “Once we got to grips with that though I thought we dominated them and should’ve won the game by more.”

The final game took us to Home Group Stadium, Grindleford Reserve, for the local derby between Balcatta Etna and Stirling Macedonia, and it was the visitors who left with the points after a 3-0 win. It was a first game back for Stirling keeper James Bosdet, who returned from the UK last month, and he was delighted to get the win and a clean sheet. “A big win for us, the boys dug deep at times and we knew Balcatta would always be a threat with their direct play and set pieces,” he explained. “But we defended really well whilst the game was 1-0, but as soon as we got the second it was comfortable to see out, and personally it was great to get a clean sheet.”

The visitors led on seven minutes, Kade Fearnall’s corner from the right was headed goalward by David Stokoe, and Alex Tanevski found the net with a glancing header from close range, and they lead at the break. They doubled their advantage ten minutes into the second half, Calvin Whitney’s free kick was only cleared to the edge of the box and Gyles Davies volleyed home via a deflection. The points were sealed for Stirling, 17 minutes from time with a third. Ciaran Byrne sent substitute Sam Wynne down the left, and he raced into the box and the ball rebounded back to Byrne, and his shot took a wicked deflection off the unfortunate Adam Buckingham which deceived Balcatta keeper Connor Campbell.

18.5.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND SEVEN REVIEW

Sorrento have continued their unbeaten start to the season, after a 3-0 win against Mandurah City in our week seven State League Division One ‘Match of the Round’ at Poolmart Stadium, Peelwood Parade on Saturday afternoon. “It was three excellent points against a tough opponent away from home, Sorrento coach Steven McGarry said. “We knew Mandurah would come out right from the off and Bairdy would have been looking for a reaction from his boys after their defeat to Kingsway in the cup and they really came at us for the first 30 minutes. The most pleasing things for me regarding the performance was a well-earned clean sheet and I thought the back line and Davy Keenan were excellent. We also finished the game very strong with two goals in the latter part of the game with the subs again making a great impact. I think that’s us 16 games unbeaten now in all competitions but with a tough run of games coming up we will need to keep improving.”

It was a tight opening to this one, with both sides having chances, but it was the visitors who broke the deadlock four minutes before the break. A long clearance by James McGowan wasn’t deal with by Charles Parry, and Hamza Hina pounced and rounded Alfie Brincat and fired home. The game continued to ebb and flow, but its was the Gulls who would fly home with the points with two late goals. First on 84 minutes, a cross from the right by Jake Nicholson picked out Connor Simpson, his shot was well saved by Brincat, but Dean Cummings was quickest to react to head home from five meters. The points were wrapped up four minutes later when Sorrento added a fourth. Neil Kilkenny pinched the ball in the middle of the park, and drove to the edge of the box, and slid in Simpson, whose initial shot was blocked by a defender, but he slotted in the bottom opposite corner from the rebound.

“I knew Saturday was going to be a tough game and a battle as Mandurah have a strong team and some quality players and the long drive didn’t help the legs certainly in the first half,” Sorrento defender James McGowan explained. “I think first half was tough as we were playing into the sun, but I knew if we could go in at half time without conceding we would likely go on to win the match. Which we did the boys dug in when we had to and the quality of our squad was shown in the second half as we played some decent stuff. Also the subs that came on did a great job and made a real impact. So overall we were really happy with the performance and nice to take the three points up the road and carry on with our unbeaten run.”

Dianella White Eagles remain two points clear at the top of the table after a 2-0 win against Subiaco AFC at Dianella Reserve on Saturday evening. “Delighted with the three points, I felt we showed a real togetherness today and desire to defend as a unit. Subiaco have been on a decent run and fair play to them they gave it a right go in the second half,” Eagles defender Kevin Ashwood explained. “Although looking back I think we created the better chances later on in the game and could’ve made it 2-0 a bit earlier but to defend and stay together like we did is probably the most pleasing thing. As the table starts to take shape we are obviously pleased with our start and happy to retain top spot, so we bank the three points and move onto a tough away game up at Kingsley next weekend.”

Subiaco went close to the opener on 20 minutes, a back pass from Kevin McEvoy was left short, and 9S raced into goal but Peter Pilkadaris was out bravely to clear the danger. That save was vital for the hosts, and two minutes later they found the opener. Mitchell Byrne made space down the right and he wasn’t closed down, and burst into the box and finished low past Subiaco keeper Conor Hogan. Subiaco pressed for the equaliser, but failed to find one, the closest came late with Moustafa Mohamed heading just wide of the target. But deep into stoppage time at the end of the game Angel Andres Rivera’s side added a second to secure the points. A clearance from Pilkadaris was flicked on by Andy Keogh, and Roberto Soares controlled the ball on the run, and finished with aplomb past Hogan.

Murdoch University Melville are up to third, after a 3-1 win against Gosnells City at Walter Padbury Reserve. It was a return to Gosnells for Marc Anthony, and he was delighted to leave with the three points. “It was a great win, and we got out the blocks real early and went two goals up, which was really pleasing,” Anthony said. “We were made to fight all the way once Gosnells scored, but happy to take the three points at a tough ground to go to.” It was a perfect start for Anthony’s side and they were ahead on four minutes, Alan Carroll’s pass found Ismael Dawson, who cut inside the box and fired low past Jack Adams. They doubled their lead five minutes later, skipper Pat Sara slipping in Ed Wynne-Willson, and the former Gosnells striker made no mistake. The hosts found a lifeline 20 minutes from time, Deng Dut’s free kick was headed home by Darren Francis. But five minutes later MUMFC sealed the points, Wynne Willson ball over the top sent Godfrey Asimwe in on goal, and he finished calmly past Adams.

Joondalup United have bounced back from their loss at Mandurah last week, beating Cockburn City 3-1 at Pentanet Stadium. “To be honest in the first half we weren’t at the races, but after sorting a few things out at half time,” Joondalup coach Nick Jennings said. “The boys came out and took the game to Cockburn and were rewarded with three superb goals.” Cockburn, who picked up their first qin of the season last week against Gosnells, hit the ground running and were ahead on four minutes, a poor back pass from Emmanuel Kankpeyeng, was pounced on by Harry O’Brien, and the former Perth Glory winger raced into the box and finished low past Todd Hoyle, and they led at the break.

But whatever Jennings and the coaching staff said at half time worked, and ten minutes in they found the equaliser. The referee gave a foul on the edge of the box by Henry Curtis on Tyler Holden, and skipper Jay Lang’s resulting free kick went straight into the wall, but he fired home the rebound via the post. Joondalup hit the front 20 minutes from time, Lang was the provider this time, picking out substitute Ben Campbell, whose first time shot found the bottom corner of the net past Michael Craggs. They sealed the victory six minutes later, Campbell’s cross from the right was headed home by fellow substitute Billy Quinncroft.

UWA Nedlands remain fifth after a 3-0 win against Rockingham City at Lark Hill Sportsplex. “Rockingham is aways a tough place to go, so to come away with a win and a clean sheet is pleasing. Also, two goals from players off the bench shows our current depth and with Jacob Turner and Max Blackshaw both having returned from oversees this week we looked stronger through our spine. Playing against 10 men for a half can be difficult and we have been the team with 10 of late so we know how hard that can be. The lads polished second half perfomance was very pleasing.”

The hosts were coming off a disappointing loss at Sorrento last week, while UWA were looking for back to back wins, after a win against Kingsley last time out. It was tight first half with both sides having their chances, but failed to take them. But on the stroke of half time Rockingham were reduced to ten men when Joseph Moss was shown a straight red card for a poor tackle on Seb Hoosangian. UWA made their numerical advantage count, with the lead on the hour, with Sam Ince firing low past Alec Radonich. They were in again 14 minutes later substitute Harry Ford racing clear and although Radonich saved his initial shot, the striker made no mistake from the rebound, his first goal since his move from Exeter City in the UK. The points were sealed two minutes from time, with a stunning long-range strike from Canadian import Rohan Goulbourne, his first goal for the club, the defeat leaving Rockingham just clear of the relegation zone.

In the final game Kingsley Westside have won their second game of the season, beating Gwelup Croatia 3-2 in an entertaining game at Chichester Park on Saturday evening. “A win full of character tonight to be pegged back twice and to have the desire to keep going was unreal from the lads,” Kingsley coach Steven Dimitrovich said. “I have to give a shout out to Noah Leasor in a three v one fast break from Gwelup, he handled himself brilliantly and then to our keeper Peter Stewart for a good save to keep it at 2-2. I always felt we’ve been in games this season but just haven’t been finishing opportunities and have been punished for it, but tonight we scored from three different scenarios which was very pleasing. But as we know enjoy the win but need to move on quickly for a massive game against Dianella next weekend.”

The hosts took the lead into the break, after Jon Hulme’s corner was headed in by Aston Montgomery on 18 minutes. The game was delayed for 12 minutes in the first half, when the floodlights went out, but after the break Gwelup hit back and found the equaliser on the hour, Robert Ferrante’s curling home from the edge of the box. They were only level for three minutes, as Kingsley regained the lead. The visitors thought there was a foul on Emmanuel Langoya, but the referee waved play on, and Joshua Waldock cut the ball across the box and Chad Samuels found the bottom corner of the net. Gwelup weren’t finished and they restored parity 13 minutes from time, Miklos Imre flick found James Harmer at the back post, and the skipper made no mistake. But six minutes later the hosts found the winner, the referee pointing to the spot after Jai Rawling hauled down Montgomery, and Daniel Harrison found the bottom corner with the resulting penalty.

18.5.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND SIX REVIEW

It was a weekend od shocks in the State League Division Two, with the two unbeaten teams both losing. First in our week six ‘Match of the Round’, Ashfield have beaten Forrestfield United 5-2 at Paintseal Arena Ashfield on Saturday afternoon. “Very pleased to come away with the three points and back up from our result in the cup last week,” Ashfield player/coach James Sammut said. “The lads were very good today, particularly in the first half and it showed in the score line. We have a big couple of weeks coming up so this result and performance gives us more to build on.”

The hosts, who stunned NPLM side Inglewood in the cup at the venue last week, found the opener on nine minutes, Jared Flavel cutting the ball back to Hanani Ndebele, who made no mistake from eight meters. They doubled their advantage on 22 minutes, Flavel’s first-time shot was well saved by Charlie Bayliss, but the striker was quickest to the rebound to score from close-range. Forrestfield were reduced to ten men three minutes later, Justin Onek shown a second yellow card for a late challenge on Ravi Raj Singh. Things got worse for the visitors 14 minutes later, when Ashfield added a third, Ndebele find space behind the Forrestfield defence and finished low past the keeper from a tight angle.

The visitors reduced the margin just after the hour mark, with Sherwin Tucker bagging his fifth goal of the season. Ashfield continued to create chances, and they found a fourth on 72 minutes, Ndebele was brought down in the box, and he picked himself up to convert the resulting penalty to complete his hat-trick. James Oliver pulled another one back for the ten-man Forrestfield 11 minutes from time, but nine minutes later the hosts completed the scoring and a 5-2 victory, after Flavel played substitute Tony Orobio clear one-on-one with Bayliss, and he finished clinically.

Meanwhile Joondalup City’s perfect start to the season also came undone, beaten 4-2 by Kalamunda City at Maida Vale Reserve. The home side made the best possible start, scoring in the first minute, with Gaston Bazet on target. They doubled their lead moments later, Farruh Mavlonov firing home from long-range, and they lead 2-0 at the break. Joondalup needed a good start after the break to get back into the game, but two minutes in Kalamunda added a third, with Mavlonov adding his second. It was 4-0 on 50 minutes, Lal Cung cut in from the left and finished well. Harry Edwards pulled one back three minutes later, turning home a corner, but it was too little too late. “A great win for us today, and it was the best we’ve played as a team this season,” Mavlonov said. “We had a lapse in concentration and conceded a goal from a corner, but we move on keep pushing up the table.”

East Perth have bounced back from their heavy loss against Swan last week, with a 2-0 win in the Irish Derby against Carramar Shamrock Rovers at Grandis Park. It was a tight first half with both sides creating chances, but it was the visitors who broke the deadlock on 70 minutes. A great run from Gavin Dillon found debutant Daniel Whelan, he picked the ball up turned his man and buried the ball home much to the delight of his team mates and East Perth supporters. They sealed the points five minutes from time, Ryan McGready pounced on a mix up between defender and keeper, rounding the keeper before rolling home his eighth goal of the season.

“I thought we deserved the victory today, we played some good football and we created a few great chances in the first half but failed to convert,” East Perth coach Colm Costello said. “Our message at half time was to remain patient and keep trying to keep the ball and be more clinical final third, and we did that late. It was a brilliant response for the lads after a poor display last time out. We needed to win the battle today in the Irish Derby, firstly against a very well organised Rovers side and I think the lads did that very well today. With results going our way today, it shows the importance of the win, today and every week we know we have to earn every point in a tough league. A huge week ahead now for us with another tough fixture away at Forrestfield.”

Quinns are up to fifth, after a 2-1 win against Curtin University at Edinburgh Oval.– “We wanted to be go out positive today and it was a good start helped by some early goals. I feel we dominated the first half and were able to put forward pressure on and win most moments,” Quinns coach Antony Benetti. “We were disappointed with our second half. we lost our discipline at times and good teams like Curtin can make you pay. Credit to the boys for getting the job done and we're an honest group that will reflect and work hard on the track next week.” Quinns were ahead on six minutes, a corner from Magai Deng was met by Cole Hadfield, whose glancing header was deflected past Daniel Marques, by Simone Sichel. They doubled their lead two minutes later, some neat build up play in the middle of the park ended with Mou Marial, who beat his marker and squared the ball to Dylan Morrison who made no mistake. Curtin pulled one back on the hour, with Nathan Smith scoring, but that was as good as it got for the hosts. .

Balga have moved up to seventh, after a 2-0 win against Swan United at the Swan Italian Club, Francis Street. “I thought we controlled the game very early but missed chances,” Balga coach Gerhard Janssen said. “But overall, it was a deserved win against a very well fighting Swan United team who stayed in the game. This week we took our chances and are very happy about our third win on the road this year.” The hosts were coming off a huge win at East Perth last week, but were lucky not to concede early, with Christian Vest and Nathan Scully both going close. But in the shadows of half time Balga found the opener, Vest cross to the back post found Christian Lenz headed home his first goal for the club. The points were made safe on 68 minutes, Albert Victor, found Sam Kent, who in turn volleyed past Ben Parry, giving the Swan custodian no chance.

In the final game Canning City have won for the second time this season, beating Wanneroo City 3-0 at Wanneroo Reserve. “All the boys trained really well on Thursday, and we switched things up a little for this game, with George Stephens came in for his debut and Brayden Burton was handed his first start for the club also. Both players had been with me at South Perth for a few seasons, so I knew what I would get from them,” Canning coach Lee Hayward explained. “I’ve said it before we are a young team and that showed last game out against Curtin when we went 1-0 down early. Brayden brings a mature voice into the middle and George a big target up top.

“It was pleasing to keep a clean sheet as a lot of the goals we have conceded so far have come from errors so it was pleasing to not have to reflect on any this week.” Canning hit the ground running in this one and were ahead on four minutes, Freeman Nyatsambo racing clear on a poor back pass, before rounding the keeper to score his first goal of the season. Hayward’s side doubled their lead two minutes before the break, a well worked corner was headed home by debutant George Stephens. It was 3-0 in first half stoppage time, Tom Kinnane running through and finishing well from out wide, which sealed the points.

18.5.2024

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17.5.2024

NPL-WA ROUND EIGHT - FRIDAY NIGHT REVIEW

Olympic Kingsway have moved to the top of the NPLM -WA table after a 3-1 win against Inglewood United at Kingsway Reserve on Friday evening. Liam Boland gave the hosts the lead early, but Dhuors Chol levelled soon after. Taylor Garner regained the lead for David Tough’s side before half time, before an own goal 17 minutes from time sealed the win for the hosts. “It was a different game than most people probably thought. Inglewood made it tough to break them down there were set up quite well behind the ball defensively and worked well as a unit but we knew we had to be patient and the goals would come,” Olympic striker Joe Knowles said. “We worked hard and created a couple of good goals and think it was well deserved win, from a hard-working performance from us.”

The hosts found the opener on 19 minutes, Knowles sending Garner down the right, and the midfielder picked out Boland in the penalty area. A great first touch gave the striker time, and he finished with aplomb past Nik Speca. Inglewood, who arrived at the ground at the bottom of the table, hit back and levelled four minutes later. Benson Nsegetse pounced on a defensive mistake and raced into the penalty area, before cutting the ball back to Chol, who found the bottom corner past Adrian Sinagra. Inglewood went close to the lead moments later, Charlie Garnham’s shot from the edge of the box flashed just wide of the post. However, the hosts regained the lead on 35 minutes, Knowles made space down the right and his cross made its way to Garner, who headed home, despite Speca getting a hand to it.

The hosts chased a third to seal the game after the break and it duly arrived on 73 minutes. Knowles’ ball into the box was flicked towards goal by Inglewood defender Jordan Brown, Speca made a great save, palming the ball onto the bar, but in the goalmouth scramble it looked like William Formston turned the ball into the net, although Sasa Njegic was also claiming the goal. “All credit to our lads, we weren’t at our best but we continued to work hard and came away with the three points,” Olympic coach David Tough said. “Taki had his side defensively well organised and they made it very difficult for us to find space.”

In the other Friday night game, a goal deep into injury time from Abdul Osman has given Perth SC a share of the spoils in an entertaining 3-3 draw in the Italian Derby against Bayswater City at Dorrien Gardens. The hosts led at the break with Franc Gamiz Quer scoring, but Cameron Teece levelled for Bayswater early in the second. Osman regained the lead for Kenny Lowe’s side on the hour, only for Teece to restore parity on the hour. It looked like City had won it when substitute Joshua Anasmo scored in the last minute, but Osman had other ideas, finding the equaliser at the death.

“It was a frustrating game because I felt we played well and dominated for the majority of the game,” Perth assistant coach Stuart Banks said. “But when you keep gifting teams goals and need to score four to win, you’re going to drop points, so we have to be better in those moments.” The game burst into life on eight minutes with the hosts taking the lead, defender Gamiz Quer striding forward and hitting a long-range strike that arrowed into the bottom corner of Lewis Italiano’s net. Bayswater hit back and Perth custodian Joe Pollard produced a stunning save to deny Teece moments later. Italiano did likewise at the other end, getting a hand to Ethan Banks overhead kick, but at the break the hosts held a 1-0 lead.

Bayswater were back in the game eight minutes into the second half, a wayward back pass was pounced on by Gordon Smith, his shot was palmed away by Pollard, but Teece was quickest to the rebound to score. The Azzurri regained the lead seven minutes later, Gamiz Quer finding Osman, who curled home past Italiano. But Bayswater hit back moments later, Thiak Kuel finding Teece, whose shot on the turn flew into the net. It was a typical derby with both sides pressing for the winner, and it looked like Bayswater had found it on 89 minutes when they hit the front for the first time. Anasmo received the ball on the right and his pace took him clear, he held off his marker before finishing low past Pollard. It was a bitter blow for the home side, but five minutes into stoppage time they found the equaliser. Substitute Jamie McNelis played the ball out to Banks, and his deep cross found an unmarked Osman who headed home, much to the delight of the big home crowd.

17.5.2024

BELT-UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION – ROUND FIVE PREVIEW

It’s been a great start to life in the Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division for debutant club Maccabi and they sit third on the table and in week five they host Jaguar at Maccabean Memorial Oval on Sunday afternoon in our ‘Match of the Round’. (All games kick off at 3pm unless stated) Both sides are coming off big wins last round, Maccabi coming home from South Perth United with a 3-0 win, while Jaguar beat last season’s champions Emerald 1-0 to kick start their season.

Jaguar keeper Micheal Dudek said after a slow start to the season they are starting to hit their straps, and back-to-back wins against Emerald in the league and cup has given them a huge boost going into Sunday’s trip to Maccabi. “In the league game it was good to hold out for the win, especially after a couple of losses,” he said. “We were disappointed to lose against Wembley at home for the first time since I've been at the club, we just need to make sure that we keep it as the fortress it's been for so many years.

“To get clean sheets two weeks in a row against Emerald, in the cup and the league, with two different keepers, is a testament to the fact our backline is starting to jell together. Everyone's been working hard at training and we're hopeful that it translates into consistent results going forward. Maccabi are a good team, and their rise through the divisions so quickly, show that they can match it with the best, as well as their solid start this season. But our goal is to rock up to Maccabean Memorial Oval and make it as hard as possible for them to continue their momentum in the Premier League.”

Maccabi coach Ricky Berelowitz has been pleased with their start to the season, and many have been surprised by their good start, but he is taking it one game at a time, said the three games in a week took its toll on the players last week. “Yes, very happy with the start, however we know it’s still very early days and we are still to play some very strong sides, so we’re just going one week at a time and see where we end up,” he explained. “We were okay against South Perth, we had some very tired legs after three games in a week, so we’re just glad to get through with the three points and move on.”

Berelowitz said Jags have been in good form recently, beating the champions twice in as many weeks, and he knows it will be another tough game, but one he is looking forward too. “Jags will be tough this week, we had a very hard game against them in night series and know they have some very talented players,” he said. “So, we’ll need to be at our best again to have a chance of coming away with the win, but we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

There was a round four catch up game on Thursday evening with Wembley downs maintaining their unbeaten start to the season with a 4-0 win against Kingsley Westside at Butlers Reserve. The hosts were ahead just before half time, Sam Mattock driving run into the box and firing into bottom corner. They doubled their lead with Halil Russo converting from the spot early in the second half, before Josh Chalmers rounded the keeper two minutes later to make it 3-0. Another penalty ten minutes from time from substitute Matt Giudicatti rounded out the scoring.

“We were very slow to get started, and Kingsley were the better team for most of the first half and were probably unlucky to go in one down,” Wembley coach Rob Jackson said. “In the second half we were much better and finally started to play with a bit of intensity. It was a big three points for us and we need to make sure we're rested and ready for another tough game on Sunday."

They are back in action on Sunday when they visit Bortolo Park to take on Peel United, the hosts will look to continue their unbeaten home record, but they are coming off back-to-back defeats on the road, while Wembley head into the game hoping to continue their winning run. In other games, Emerald and North Perth United will look to get back to winning ways when they meet in the early game at Fraser Park. (1.00pm)

The champions were beaten at Jaguar, while North Perth were surprisingly well beaten at Kelmscott. The Roos will be aiming to build on that big win when they travel to Chichester Park to take on Kingsley Westside, Morley Windmills host North Beach at Wotton Reserve, while the bottom two teams meet at Forrest Park, with Joondalup United hosting South Perth United.

17.5.2024

NPLWA – WOMEN’S – ROUND SEVEN PREVIEW

The NPLW hits the road this weekend, with league leaders Perth RedStar and the Hyundai NTC making the trip to Wonthella Oval in Geraldton in week seven, when they play in the Football West Festival of Football. (3.00pm) The annual game takes the league to the regions and spreads the world game to the locals, and with the growth of women’s football at the moment, a big crowd is expected on Saturday. The game will be a double header with the NPLM game between Perth Glory and Perth RedStar taking place after it. RedStar coach Carlos Vega Mena said it’s a great opportunity to promote the game.

“The regional week is a great initiative from Football West and it’s great to see football promoted in the country regions. It’s a fantastic experience for the players and being able to participate gives them an extra bit of professionalism,” “The NTC is always a difficult team as they have young energetic quality players who look to play good football. We will have to stay focussed for the 90 minutes if we are to get a good result this week.”

The leaders are coming off a hard-fought win against Balcatta, and Vega Mena said it was a good all-round team performance from his side. “It was a very good performance from the team last week, the players showed maturity on the pitch and we’re solid on all lines against a very good team,” he said. “We created several good goal opportunities and were able to convert on the day. I'm very proud and happy with the team’s performance so far this season.”

The round kicks off on Saturday evening when second placed Perth SC host Subiaco at Dorrien Gardens (5.00pm) Both sides are coming off good wins last week, against MUMFC and NTC respectively, and both will look for a repeat in this one. In other games on Sunday, UWA Nedlands will be buoyed after their first NPL win, when they entertain Balcatta Etna at the UWA Sports Park, while in the final game Murdoch University Melville and Fremantle City will aim to get back to winning ways when they meet at Besteam Stadium.

17.5.2024

NPL-WA ROUND EIGHT - PREVIEW

Floreat Athena sit on top of the NPLWA – Men’s table going into week eight, and in our ‘Match of the Round’ they head to Alfred Skeet Reserve to take on Armadale. (All games kick off at 3pm, unless stated) Floreat moved to the top of the competition ladder after a hard fought 2-1 win against Balcatta in in round seven, while Armadale secured their first win of the season, after coming home from Inglewood with a 4-1 win, which moved them up to ninth, so both sides will be pushing for three points on Saturday.

Vas Vujacic’s side have fond memories of the venue, securing the 2022 title, with a last-minute goal from Bayley Montgomery-Brown, while Alun Vernal’s side will go in search of their first home win of the season, and looking for a repeat of the game last season against Athena. In that game the hosts won 3-1, completing the league double against them. It was Vernals’ first game in charge at Armadale, and his side took control early with Peter Jacobsz scoring, and he added a second on 34 minutes, heading home Amir Ajan’s cross. Chris Jackson converted from the spot to make it 3-0 five minutes later, and despite Nick Ambrogio pulling one back late for Floreat, it was too little too late.

Floreat striker Guy Davies has had to patient to get his starting spot, after returning after a stint at Perth Glory, but he made an immediate impact last week in his first start, scoring in the clubs win against Balcatta. “The game against Balcatta was definitely a challenge for us as a team, as they were very organised,” he said. “But we showed what we were about, took our chances, displayed grit and were difficult to break down, which in the end, earned us a result.” The club were in the relegation mix last season, but head coach Vas Vujacic has turned things around, and Davies said they have worked hard to get back to the top of the table. “To be fair, I wasn’t involved much last season so it’s difficult for me to comment on what’s been the change. But some key factors that have worked well for us this season is that there is a good togetherness in the group,” Davies explained. “Also, following the plan for each game and all individuals knowing their roles, how to contribute each week and executing on that, and long may it continue.”

A trip to Armadale is never easy, but Davies said they head there full of confidence and looking to maintain their good start to the season. “Alfred Skeet is a tough place to go away, and it has a great fan presence for a ground in our league,” the striker said. “That being said, we as a team will be focused on ourselves and what we need to do. We will stick to our plan and aim to continue our good league form.”

Armadale keeper Joel Driscoll returned between the sticks in their win against Inglewood in round seven, and he said he hopes it kick starts their season. “It’s been disappointing in terms of results although we know our performances have been good. It’s still early in the season, so if we can put a couple of wins together, we know we’ll be right back in the mix going into the second half of the season,” he explained. “The game at Inglewood was a well-rounded performance from the team and hopefully a few goals will help us find confidence and convert more of our chances. We know we create a lot as a team, once we find the finishing touch our season will turn around.”

Driscoll said they return home on Saturday, in front of their loyal supporters, and they will be doing all they can to get a positives result. “The fans have been fantastic this season, and we owe them a win on Saturday,” he said. “Floreat have surprised everyone this year and pose a tricky task, but we welcome back a number of players this week which adds good competition back into the squad. If we continue from where we finished against Inglewood it’ll be a great contest and hopefully end with us getting the three points.’

The round starts on Friday evening with two games, and first it’s the Italian Derby between Perth SC and Bayswater City at Dorrien Gardens (7.00pm) This one should be a great game under lights, but Kenny Lowe’s tenure at the Azzurri hasn’t got off to the best of starts, sitting tenth on the table, and they are coming off a big loss at Olympic in the last round, while Bayswater consolidated fifth place with a hard fought draw at the Knights, and three points are must to keep the pressure on the top four.

The other game takes us to Kingsway Reserve, where third placed Olympic Kingsway host bottom of the table Inglewood United. (7.00pm) The hosts are on fire in front of goal, with David Tough’s side scoring five in their last two games, against Perth in the league, and at Mandurah in the cup. Meanwhile Inglewood have had a horrid start to the season, losing all their games and were bundled out of the cup by Division Two side Ashfield last week, and Taki Nicolaidis’ side need to turn their fortunes around, sooner rather than later.

In Saturday other games, we have two local derbies, the first is at Macedonia Park, where Striling Macedonia entertain Balcatta Etna. The two sides met in the cup last week, with Stirling prevailing 1-0, but with only four points separating them on the table, and both coming off defeat in the last round, this one will once again be tense affair. In the other local clash, second placed Western Knights host fourth placed Fremantle City at Nash Field. Both sides have started the season well, the Knights are coming off a draw against Bayswater, while Fremantle edged out Glory. The final game takes us to Wonthella Oval in Geraldton, where Perth Glory takes on Perth RedStar in the Football West’s Regional Festival of Football. (5.00pm)

Former Glory midfielder Matthew George has been outstanding this season, and despite a slow start for the reigning champions, they were delighted to come home from Stirling with the points in the last round. “It’s not the ideal start we would’ve wished for, but the league this season is very tight and it’s still early days, and we just need to stay consistent as every game in the league matters,” he explained. “The win at Stirling was massive for us, especially as both teams needed the points. We fought hard and made it hard for them to create chances and in the end, we came away with the three points.”

George, who played his junior football at RedStar, before playing for eight years in the Glory academy, said Saturday’s trip is a great way to showpiece the NPLWA in regions, but they will focus on themselves, and if they play their game, he is confident they can come home with the points. “Geraldton trip is always a challenge as it’s different having to travel five hours and stay the night before the game, but it will be great for the locals to see some quality football,” he explained. “But at the end of the day we just need to go there and play our normal football and try get the three points, and I’m sure it will be an entertaining game against a motivated Glory team.”

Glory head coach John Walmsley said his side have performed well this season, but he was disappointed last time out against Bayswater, and he will be looking for a response from his players, but he is aware many of them have not much first team experience. “The major positives are that it’s a new group again, with so many players going up to the A-League squad last season, and a lot of the group didn’t have First Team experience and they’ve come in and acquitted themselves really well,” Walmsley told the Glory website.

“The next phase of that for the boys is them being really consistent with the performance and making sure that it’s not just potential that they’ve got, but consistency in their approach and performance every week. In the last couple of weeks, especially the games against Kingsway and Bayswater, there were some good parts of the game, but then there were ups and downs and dips in the performance which we need to minimise, we need to be consistent in all moments in order to get the results.”

Walmsley said the league is very competitive, and Saturday’s opponents are one of the best, but he is looking forward to the challenge. “Teams who you’d expect to be challenging for the title at the end of the season, the likes of RedStar and Stirling [Macedonia], aren’t necessarily where they’d like to be or where you’d expect them to be, but that’s not to say they’re not going to be there at the end. It’s a league where every game is competitive, there’s a lot on it and anyone can beat anyone on the day.

“They [RedStar] won the league last year and have probably got the best squad on paper along with [Olympic] Kingsway, so we’re expecting a tough test against them and it’s always a good game when we play them because they have good footballers which means they want to play a certain type of football. We’re looking forward to the contest and it should be a good game for the neutrals as well.”

17.5.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND SEVEN PREVIEW

After last week’s Australia Cup exploits, Sorrento are back in league action on Saturday, when they visit Poolmart Stadium, Peelwood Parade to take on Mandurah City in our State League Division One ’Match of the Round’. (All games kick off at 3.00pm, unless stated). The Gulls stunned NPL side Fremantle last week to move into the last eight of the competition, and have started the season well and are unbeaten in the league and sit second on the table. The Dolphins also played NPL opposition last week but were well beaten by Olympic, and after a stuttering start to the season they have won back-to-back games and will be looking for a third on Saturday.

Last time they played each other at the venue, was in round 16 in season 2017 in the PS4 NPLWA, when the Gulls flew home with the points after a 1-0 win. It was an emotional day for Mandurah, and pre-game both clubs observed a touching tribute to Mandurah City young fan Chris Chandler, who passed away that week, releasing black and white balloons into the air while wearing white caps. The only goal of the game came six minutes from time when Tim Hill’s long-range shot came back of the post and deflecting into the net off the unfortunate Cyril Sharrock.

Sorrento’s win at Fremantle was a huge boost for the club, and skipper Dean Cummings said their form has been building, and the 9-2 win against Rockingham in the last league shows that, with the skipper bagging four on the day. “It was a great win down in Fremantle, and with them being a league below didn’t faze the boys at all,” he said. “We know on our day we have the players and the quality to beat any team in the state, and the last few weeks the team has ramped up the standard. The hard work in training, our shape and the way we want to play has been clicking on a Saturday.”

The Gulls head to Mandurah unbeaten, but the skipper knows they will be in for a battle, but he is confident they can come home with a positive result. “Another big game for us, against a side who only just missed out on promotion last season, so we are expecting a very tough game down in Mandurah,” Cummings explained. “They are a physical side and play direct football, so definitely not a fixture we will be taking lightly.”

After a slow start to the season, the Dolphins are on the up, and winger Craig Barker, who joined the club from the American college system, said their new look side took time to jell, but they are now starting to find their feet. “Of course, it been tough with the introduction of so many players, weather that’s younger lads coming up or new lads coming in is going to be a challenge,” he said. “But back-to-back wins in the league definitely gives us confidence and hopefully the wins keep coming.”

They are coming off a hard-fought win against Joondalup in the last round, and Barker knows they will need another good performance to keep their winning run going, but he is confident they can. “I felt we were very comfortable for long spells of the game against Joondalup, and had a lot of good chances to get further ahead. But they (Joondalup) are a team that’ll always push to the end, and they managed to claw one back at the end which is frustrating not getting the clean sheet, but it’s about getting the three points and we definitely deserved them,” Barker explained. “We’re all aware that Sorrento is a good side, and we know it is going to be tough game, but unbeaten or not it’s just another game for us. We’re Going to go out and try and win, and it will make it that little bit better being in front of the pod.”

The other two unbeaten sides this season are league leaders Dianella White Eagles and third placed Subiaco AFC, and they meet in the late game at Dianella Reserve (5.00pm) The visitors were held to a draw at MUMFC in the last round, leaving them two points behind Saturday’s opponents, while Dianella beat Gwelup to maintain their lead, so this one should be a cracker under lights. In other games Marc Anthony returns to Walter Padbury Reserve with Murdoch University Melville, to take on Gosnells City, Cockburn City, who won for the first-time last week head north to the Pentanet Stadium to meet Joondalup United, while UWA Nedlands head south to play Rockingham City at Larkhill Sportsplex.

In the final game, Kingsley Westside entertain Gwelup Croatia under lights at Chichester Park. (6.00pm) Gwelup sit three points ahead of Kingsley, and will be searching for a second away win of the season, while Kingsley, who were promoted to the division for the first time in their history, will look for a second win of the season. Kingsley coach Steven Dimitrovich said it’s been a huge learning curve for the club, but they showed some good signs last week at UWA, and hope to take it further against Gwelup.

“Yes, a massive learning experience for all of the club this year in Division One. The old cliche if you don’t take your chances in games eventually you get punished and that’s what’s been happening in the opening part of the season. We feel as a group we’ve started to take some good steps forward and have been more consistent in our performances just need to put the full game together and hopefully results start to go our way,” he explained.

“The lads are really looking forward to the game this week against Gwelup and have come back with some good energy after giving them some time off last week with it been cup round last weekend. We know as a group where we are at, and what this game can do for our season. So just hoping that we continue to take the good steps forward and be on the right end of the result at the end of the 90 minutes.”

17.5.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND SIX PREVIEW

Ashfield produced a huge upset in the Australia Cup last weekend, knocking out NPLWA side Inglewood, but it’s back to league action on Saturday when they welcome joint league leaders Forrestfield United to the Paintseal Arena, Ashfield Reserve in our week six State League Division Two ‘Match of the Round. (All games kick off 3.00pm). James Sammut’s side will be searching for their first home win of the season, while Daryl Platten’s side will be aiming to continue their winning start to the campaign.

The last time the two sides met in the league at the venue was back in round six in Division One in 2020, when Forrestfield secured a narrow 2-1 win. Oliver Parry gave Graham Normanton’s side the lead in first half stoppage time, before Mitch Crocker doubled their advantage ten minutes from time curing in direct from a corner. Ashfield did pull one back from the penalty spot late through skipper Evans Maranga, but they couldn’t find the equaliser.

Forrestfield coach Daryl Platten has been pleased how his side has responded this season after relegation to Division Two for the first time since 2015, but he knows there is a long way to go. “Yes, very pleased with how the season is panning out so far, especially after the disappointment of relegated last season,’ he said. “We needed to build up a winning mentality, so to start with five on the bounce is great, we can definitely improve however and will take one game at a time as there are some very good teams in this league. “

Last week Forrestfield showed great character to come from behind to beat Shamrock in a had fought game, on an emotional day for the club, and Platten was thrilled to get the win for the Oliver family. “Carramar came last week with a game plan and stuck to it, but once we learned how to deal with that then I think we created some good chances and were a little more clinical than they were,” Platten explained. “It was great to get the win under such sad circumstances, it's been an emotional couple of weeks for the club, and I'm just pleased and proud of the club for how we paid tribute to Scarlett and the Oliver family. We raised a good amount of money for the kid’s cancer support group and I urge everyone to make a donation if they can as it helps families who are suffering to no end.”

They head up the Tonkin Highway to take on neighbours Ashfield, and Platten said they will be on high after their cup win, but he knows they can’t take any team lightly. “We will definitely head to Ashfield in a confident mood, but Ashfield will be confident also coming off their impressive cup win over Inglewood,” the coach said. “We won't be taking anyone in this league lightly, and if we can match teams for work rate, I'm sure we can continue our good form.”

Ashfield assistant coach Nathan Grostate said the cup win was great for the club, and he said it was well-deserved on the day. “James and I were proud of the lads, we dominated most of the game and stuck to our game plan, unfortunately going down to ten men threw a little spanner in the works but the boys dug in and fought to hold on to a draw in extra time,” he explained. “We were more than confident that if we got it to penalties, we would win, so huge props to our squad, it was a well-deserved victory.”

The club have started the season well, but haven’t turned good performance into wins, and Grostate hopes the cup win will give them the confidence to change that on Saturday. “Our season so far has been frustrating for everyone at the club, week in week out we control possession and play the best football but lack that killer instinct in front of goal. It’s been the difference in a few games this year but it’s something we have been working on constantly,” he said. “We’re looking forward to hosting Forrestfield this weekend, and coming off our performance against NPL side Inglewood, we believe that we can beat anyone if we prepare properly and focus on what we have been working on.”

Joondalup City lead the league on goal difference, and this week they head to Maida Vale Reserve to take on third placed Kalamunda City. The hosts bounced back from defeat in week four, with a win at Balga last time out, while Joondalup continued their great start to the season, winning a seven-goal thriller against Quinns in the local derby, so with both sides in good form, this one should be a great contest. In other games on Saturday, Canning City make the trip to Wanneroo Reserve to take on Wanneroo City, East Perth will look to bounce back from a heavy loss last week against Swan when they take on Carramar Shamrock Rovers at Grandis Park, while Swan United will look to kick on from that win when they host Balga at Swan Italian Club, Francs Street.

In the final game Curtin University will aim to make it four straight wins, when they host Quinns at Edinburgh Oval. The visitors were unlucky not to take anything from their local derby against Joondalup last round, losing by the odd goal in a seven-goal thriller, while after losing their opening two games, Curtin have been on fire, and made it four straight wins with a 4-0 defeat of Canning last time out. Curtin coach Troy Reid said the players have been fantastic after back-to-back defeats to start the season, and he knows they need to be at their best against a good Quinns side.

“Yes, the season didn’t start the greatest, but credit to the playing group for how they’ve responded. What’s most pleasing thing is the football is getting better every week which will hopefully translate into a few more wins,” Reid explained. “Quinns are always a tough opponent, and I wasn’t surprised by their competitive result against Joondalup City. Antony has recruited well with some talented attacking players, and they’ll be a dangerous opponent. We just need to focus on limiting their scoring chances and continuing our goal-scoring run and I’m confident we can get the job done.”

16.5.2024

AQUINO AND LOWRY EARN NATIONAL CALL-UP

Perth Glory's Morgan Aquino and Hana Lowry have been selected in the national Under-23 team for an upcoming friendly tournament. The clubmates will don the green and gold when the Australian youth team travels to Sweden (May 30) to take part in the Four Nations tournament along with Germany (June 1) and Poland (June 4).

It's a just reward for the Glory pair who stood tall throughout a difficult 2023/24 campaign. Aquino's efforts between the posts saw her named the A-League Women’s best goalkeeper award while 21-year old rising star Lowry scooped the clubs Most Glorious Player award.

Coach Melissa Andreatta said the tournament will be a perfect place for players to stake a claim to become a future Matilda. "This is a squad of players that have put their hand up for this fantastic opportunity to play high-quality nations through their performances in the recent A-League Women and European football seasons," Andreatta said.

"It is about taking this opportunity to challenge and test themselves against some of the best in Europe. We hope through the hard work of the staff and the players themselves, we can give more players the opportunity to perform at a high level and to earn future senior national team recognition down the track."

15.5.2024

EXPERIENCED DEFENDER ROUX HAILS TREBLE-CHASING MARINERS

Defender Storm Roux says this season’s Central Coast Mariners side deserves to be regarded among the “greatest A-League teams of all-time” regardless of whether they complete the treble by successfully defending their championship. Having already won the A-League premiership and the AFC Cup, the Mariners are just a game away from a second successive A-League Grand Final appearance.

Up 2-1 after a semi-final first leg win over Sydney FC, the Mariners only need a draw in Saturday night’s return fixture to not only qualify for the following weekend’s decider but host it. Roux, who has made 245 appearances for three clubs in an A-League career dating back to 2013, said the Mariners’ achievements this season were already undeniable.

“It’s got to be up there,” the 31-year-old New Zealand international said. “Not only have we won the AFC Cup, won the premiership, we’re doing it at the same time. I don’t think anyone really understands how hard it is with the travel, backing up for games, getting results and playing under pressure. We’ve got to be up there with one of the greatest A-League teams of all-time.”

Roux said the Mariners were “full of confidence” ahead of Saturday night’s battle with the Sky Blues. “It should be a close game, we’re both in the semi finals for a reason, we’re both really good footballing teams. We’re going to come up with a game plan to nullify them and get the result,” commented the defender who played juniors with Sorrento.

“Experience is valuable, we have a young team and for a lot of them (last season) was their first semi-final and to go and win the Grand Final, the boys who were here last season have that experience and know what to expect, how to play in front of a big crowd and having the pressure of being at home and getting the job done, it’s only good experience for the young boys.”

“It helps with game planning, they’re going to be a lot more attacking so we need to deal with that and work out how they’re going to come at us. We are a great attacking team but our defensive structure has been unbelievable this season and the results show that. It should be a great game and great game for the neutral as well so hopefully we get the job done.”

“We’ve won two trophies in the last week and a half so we’re full of confidence. If you told us at the start of the season that we’d be in this position we wouldn’t have believed you but we kept the confidence and the belief and we deserve to be where we are. We’re fully confident in ourselves that we’re the best team in the league so we need to prove that now by getting to and winning the Grand Final.”

14.5.2024

RISING STAR BENNIE LINKED TO OVERSEAS MOVE

Perth Glory young gun Daniel Bennie has been linked with a move to England after an action packed 12 months for club and country. The 18-year old’s promising debut was one of the bright spots in a gloomy season for Glory, with Bennie not looking out of place in the national league. And it appears the talented teenager’s performances have not gone unnoticed overseas either.

Bennie, who left Perth following Glory’s awards night last Monday, is understood to be trialing with a side in the English Championship. His departure would be a blow for Glory, with fellow forwards David Williams and Stefan Colakovski also off-contract, although the club have held talks with the latter about staying.

It has come after a whirlwind year for Bennie, which culminated in him winning the DT38 Under-23 Player of the Season at last Monday’s Most Glorious Player Awards. Having enjoyed a strong 2023 National Premier Leagues season, Bennie earned a call-up to the Australian under-17 side for their Asian Cup competition in June, scoring a vital goal against Tajikistan.

Before he had even kicked a ball in a competitive game for Glory, Bennie came off the bench in the marquee friendly against West Ham United at Optus Stadium and scored against the English Premier League opposition. Despite being only 17 at the start of the season, Bennie quickly earned the trust of new coach Alen Stajcic, who started the teenager in 22 games this season.

14.5.2024

GOING UP! ALESSANDRO CIRCATI WINS PROMOTION WITH PARMA (courtesy waoveryonder.au)

Serie A is set to become home to defender Alessandro Circati after Parma secured promotion back to Italy’s top flight. Parma completed their Serie B campaign on the weekend with a 1-1 draw away to Reggiana, a result which saw them finish top of the table by three points over second-placed Como.

A championship medal with Parma is the icing on the cake of a memorable 12 months for Circati. A regular fixture for I Crociati at centre back, Circati made 31 appearances across all competitions while in October – little over a week after celebrating his 20th birthday – he won his first Socceroos cap in the 2-0 friendly win over New Zealand.

Circati, who played juniors with Perth SC, moved to Parma in early 2021 following a breakout season with Perth Glory, where he was crowned the Most Glorious Youth Player of season 2020. After impressing in the youth ranks, he made his senior debut in February 2022 and quickly cemented his place in manager Fabio Pecchia’s line-up.

Pecchia’s side dominated this seasons’ Serie B, losing just four times and conceding only 35 goals in 38 games. Returning to Serie A caps a dramatic decade for Parma, who found themselves in Serie D as recently as 2016 due to financial issues, with fans taking to the street to celebrate promotion back to the top flight.

Serie A has been no stranger to Australians over the years with the likes of Frank Farina, John Aloisi, Paul Okon, Vince Grella, Mark Bresciano and Zeljko Kalac calling the competition home. Circati is poised to become the second West Australian to play in Italy’s top flight after Trent Sainsbury, who spent the second half of 2016/17 with Inter Milan.

13.5.2024

JUNIOR MATILDAS LOSE TO THAILAND IN FINAL GAME

The Junior Matildas have finished bottom of Group A, after Thailand ended their AFC U17 Women’s Asian Cup Indonesia 2024 campaign on a high winning 3-1 in the final group game at the Bali United Training Centre, Bali on Monday evening. Lily Punch had given Australia the lead on the half hour, but missed chances cost them, with Kurisara Limpawanich levelling before the break. Rinyaphat Moondong put Thailand ahead midway through the second half, and with Australia chasing the game they conceded a third deep into stoppage time with Chutikan Kitikhun sealing the tie.

“We didn’t write that script before the tournament but if you look back over the three games, that’s how it has been for us,” Australia coach Rae Dower said post-match. “Today we were camped in Thailand's half - it’s just the last pass, last decision, the kind of cross or shots were lacking - but it’s a great learning lesson for the players going forward. We need to continue to develop that final third product, we need to be more clinical. The Asian Cup is where the best teams are here and it’s something we need to be better at and work on. We have a large majority of players involved in Round One and Two of the qualifying who are injured, it means a big jump up for new players without that experience and this was their first dance at international level”.

Both sides had chances early, Emma Dundas’ shot from outside the penalty box was saved by Thailand keeper Benyapa Singsai, before a long-range shot from Phatcharaphorn Khuchuea almost squirmed in underneath Caoimhe Bray. The deadlock was finally broken on 31 minutes, Talia Younis' header crashed against the bar with Indiana Dos Santos’ follow-up hitting the post, before Punch fired home. Thailand responded seven minutes later when Limpawanich used her pace to good effect, bursting in between Annabelle Yates and Sian Dewey before slotting past the advancing Bray.

Australia had a chance to retake the lead in first half stoppage time, Tiana Fuller shot was superbly saved by Benyapa, the Thai custodian reflexes was on show, tipping the ball over the top. Chances were few and far between early in the second half, the best falling to Rinyaphat, whose free-kick flashed over the top. But on 67 minutes Thailand hit the front, Limpawanich was brought down by Bray just outside the penalty area, and the keeper was shown a yellow card, and midfielder Rinyaphat curled the resulting free kick past Bray into the bottom corner.

The closest Australia came to forcing the equaliser was with five minutes left to play when Kiera Meyers broke down the left to cross to Talia Younis but the midfielder’s effort went straight at Benyapa. With Australia pushing more players forward, Thailand broke free in the sixth minute of stoppage with Rinyaphat cleverly finding Chutikan Kitkhun who made no mistake to seal the tie.

Thailand: GK Benyapa Singsai, 5 Manita Noyvach, 6 Pinyaphat Klinklai, 8 Rinyaphat Moondong, 9 Achiraya Yingsakul, 10 Madison Casteen, 11 Phatcharaphorn Khuchuea (2 Napatsawan Suebsuan 46?'?), 13 Chirarak Khamtan (23 Methini Bupphahao 78?'), 14 Julaiporn Jaimulwong (?4 Siriwimon Mukdasakulpibal 88?'?), 15 Prichakorn Kruechuenchom (12 Matika Thaprik 38?'?) 19 Kurisara Limpawanich (20 Chutikan Kitikhun 79?') - ?Subs not used: RGK Pimlapat Aeewong, RGK Atima Boonprakanpai, 3 Alissada Yuttakas, 7 Rasita Taobao, 16 Nachanok Kosonsaksakun, 17 Aunchidtha Homtago, 21 Porntita Sitthisan

Australia: GK Caoimhe Bray, 2 Amelia Tartaglia (22 Christina Kiceec 55'), 5 Kiera Meyers, 7 Sian Dewey, 8 Talia Younis, 10 Indiana Dos Santos, 11 Tiana Fuller (13 Mikayla Duong 46'), 14 Lily Punch (6 Amelia Bennett 72'), 17 Annabelle Yates (16 Ehva Gutszmit 89'), 20 Alvina Khoshaba, 21 Emma Dundas -Subs not used: RGK Layla Adams, RGK Jessica Skinner, 15 Isabela Hoyos, 19 Danella Butrus, 23 Alice Francou - Referee: Bui Thi Thu Trang (Vietnam)

12.5.2024

BELT-UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION – ROUND FOUR REVIEW

Our week four Belt up Amateur Premier Division ‘Match of the Round’ was a one-sided game with Kelmscott Roos moving to the top of table after a 7-2 win against North Perth United at Frye Park on Sunday afternoon, the loss dropping North Perth to sixth. “It was an overall great performance, and everyone played their part and couldn’t be happier with the result,” Kelmscott coach Rhydeen Botha said. “The crowd was a huge factor in our win yesterday as well, they were loud and proud the whole game and gave us the extra edge on the pitch, so on to Kingsley Westside next week”. The hosts were out of the blocks early, and ahead on three minutes, Kingsley Nteng found space in the middle of the park and played a pin point ball through and sent Dennis Saydee one-on-one with North Perth keeper Cian Flynn and finished well. They doubled their lead moments later, Ralph Mawire sent Dennis Reeder through on goal, and he unselfishly squared the ball to Isaac Koomson for a simple tap in. It was 3-0 on 32 minutes, Saydee was sent through on goal again, this time by Koomson, and he finished low past Fylnn.

North Perth found a lifeline five minutes later, with Gershom Rowland on target, but the hosts took a two-goal advantage into the sheds. The visitors need a good start to the second half to get back into the game, but they found themselves 4-1 down four minutes in. Jared Lange played a wonderfully first-time ball over the top of the defence, and Lemeo Reece finished clinically. The visitors weren’t finished and reduced the margin 17 minutes from time, with Rowland adding his second. But that was as good as it got for Chris Holland’s side, with Kelmscott firing home three more goals late. First on 78 minutes Nteng picked the ball up in his own half before taking the ball past two defenders, rounding the keeper, before firing home superbly over the last defender from a tight angle, for a goal of the season contender. It was soon six, the lively Nteng sending Koomson clear, and the former Armadale winger chipped the onrushing keeper. In the final minute Koomson completed his hat-trick, rounding the keeper and rolling the ball into an empty net. “It was a seriously good performance, one that I will remember for a while,” Kelmscott keeper Taylor Warwick said. “Everyone played their absolute best football and it showed today, and it is a serious statement that we mean business this season, and is an important win for us. We party tonight and then back to work on Tuesday for the next match against Kingsley Westside”.

Morley Windmills moved into second spot, after also scoring seven, after 7-1 against Joondalup United at Forest Park. “Dan and I are delighted with the performance today, the lads played very well as a collective,” Morley coach John O’Reilly said. “We were moving the ball well, winning our one-on-one battles and more clinical in front of goal. Now we must build on this and aim to be more consistent in our game management over the following weeks”. Morley were ahead on eight minutes, Johan Pubill volleying home from the edge of the box. It was 2-0 eight minutes later, Gavin Knight getting on the end of a cut back to score. Joondalup found themselves three down on the half hour, Travis Taylor cutting in from the right and finishing well. Morley led 4-0 at the break, after Knight added his second on the stroke of halftime. Alex Wheelhouse gave Joondalup hope early in the second half, but Morley hit back, with Taylor curling home his second moments later, before Pubill made it 6-1 after bursting into the box and finishing well, before Joseph Juma wrapped up the scoring with a good finish.

Jaguar have secured their second win of the season, and inflicted Emerald’s first defeat of the season, with a narrow 1-0 win at Herb Graham Recreation Centre. The only goal of the game came just after the hour mark, with Paul Sopp on target. The visitors throw everything at the home side late but couldn’t find the equaliser. “It was another tough contest today, I may say as both teams showed some quality of play and character in the entire phases of the game,” Jags coach Josam Muwowo said. “I thought we controlled the game in some moments but Emerald was good to absorb pressure and play with high intensity. We went at half time goalless and came back second half and managed to score the winner. What a fair game on both sides with so much talent with quality, so overall, we are slowly getting the moment but still these a lot of room for improvement”.

Maccabi are up to third, after coming home from Challenger Reserve with a 3-0 win against South Perth. “I thought we worked very hard to grind out the result today,” Maccabi coach Ricky Berelowitz said. “I thought we dug deep this week after a tough week, with three games in seven days, but we managed to come through with the third win”. Maccabi found the opener early, after Jonah Froman was played in behind the South Perth defence to score. Second half substitute Dion Berman made an immediate impact after coming off the bench on 57 minutes, pouncing on a wayward pass to score three minutes later, and he wrapped up the points with the third moments later.

North Beach have won for the first time this season, overcoming Peel United 2-0 at Charles Riley Memorial Reserve. “I'm very pleased we were able to back up our great performance in the cup last week today and take our first points of the season,” North Beach coach Nick Di Carlo explained. “We've been improving weekly and looking much more organised and putting more chances away. Peel caused us some headaches in patches today with the game in the balance, but the resilience was present again and we go in with confidence returning to Wotton Reserve next weekend”.

The hosts were ahead on 14 minutes, Ben Reynolds won back possession out wide and combined with Alex Kretowicz who slipped the ball into Luke Jones who was taken down, and the referee pointed straight to the spot, and skipper Brodie Martin converted the resulting penalty. They made sure of the points 18 minutes from time, substitute Kane Graves won the ball at the half way line, made a strong run down the right before crossing to Jones who found the bottom corner. The game between Wembley Downs and Kingsley Westside was rescheduled for Thursday evening at Butlers Reserve (7pm) with the hosts in Australia Cup action on the weekend.

12.5.2024

NPLWA – WOMEN’S – ROUND SIX REVIEW

UWA Nedlands have won their first ever NPLWA - Women’s game, and kick started their season after a 3-2 win against Fremantle City at Hilton Park on Sunday. “It is great to get our first NPL victory, the squad worked super hard in preparation for the game and the result showed,” UWA coach Lawrence Lewis explained. “Freo have some quality players and making sure they weren’t in the game as much as possible was key. We now look to next week against a strong Balcatta side”. UWA were ahead just before the half hour, Michaela Thawley’s corner wasn’t dealt with, and Alexandra Lyons shot was deflected past Indiana Antunes. They doubled their lead on the hour mark, Lyons’ long-range shot caught out Antunes, the ball going in off the post.

The home side hit back and reduced the margin seven minutes later, Tanika Lala’s cross was turned home by Amma Powell. Fremantle looked for the equaliser, but 16 minutes from time it was UWA who added a third. Amy Hartley raced down the right, and her cross was palmed away by Antunes, but only as far as Erin Armstrong, who fired home from close-range. Fremantle scored a consolation goal in the final minute, Kate Nolan was brought down by Mackenzie Rastatter, and Anna Powell converted the penalty, but it came to late for the hosts.

Alexandra Lyons said all their hard work is starting to pay off. “We're absolutely stoked with how we've bounced back this week and really taken it to a team with quality players and an established history, and getting our first NPLW win,” Lyons said. “It was really nice to prove it to ourselves that we deserve to be here, our hard work is paying off - and to work for each other for 90 minutes. It's a long season and we still have a lot to work on - but we'll savour this and take the energy into next week against Balcatta”.

Perth RedStar have continued their winning start to the season after an entertaining 4-2 win against Balcatta Etna. “It was a big three points for us, we knew the importance of the game going in,” RedStar skipper Sarah Carroll said. “Balcatta are a good team and it’s always a competitive game against them, but I thought we were excellent without the ball, the intensity in our press from the front made it difficult for them to play through and forced turnovers as a result. I’m really proud of the girls too see the game out in the way we did, we were under a little bit of pressure towards the end and struggled to maintain possession as fatigue kicked in but everyone played their part and our experience showed”.

Carlos Vega-Mena’s side were ahead early, with Reina Kagami scoring, but the visitors were level on 24 minutes, with referee Michal Jasinski pointing to the spot after Bronwyn Studman pushed Abbey Meakins in the back, and Meakins picked herself up and beat Gabby Dal Busco from the resulting penalty. But in the shadows of half time, RedStar regained the lead. Balcatta gave the ball away playing out of defence, and Renee Leota played in Momoko Sakairi, and the Japanese striker finished with aplomb from the edge of the box. It was 3-1 early in the second half, Caitlin Douglas winning possession out on the left, and her cross found the unmarked Leota, and the New Zealand striker made no mistake.

Balcatta were back in the game twenty minutes from time, Lucy Jerram’s cross from the left was fumbled by Dal Busco, and Monique Godding fired home the rebound. Balcatta went in search of the equaliser, but it was hosts who added a fourth late. Douglas raced into goal, but was denied by Rebecca Bennett, but the winger was quick to react, and her cross to the edge of the box was fired home superbly by substitute Jayna Ridley, with a contender for goal of the season. “I thought it was a well-rounded performance today, and we managed to control possession majority of the time,” RedStar assistant coach Shawn Billam said. “We created plenty of chances we failed to execute at times, but delighted we continued our good start to the season”.

Subiaco AFC moved up to fifth on the table after a 3-1 win against Hyundai NTC at Rosalie Park on Sunday. “We dealt well with pressure from the NTC for the first 15-20 minutes or so, and then began to settle into the match, and we created some good chances and went 2-0 up into half-time.” Subiaco coach Greg Farrell explained. “After the break the game was quite even, the NTC scored ten minutes from time, off the back of a mistake from us, but we quickly regained the two-goal lead and saw out the game well. It was a good performance against a very dangerous side”. The hosts were ahead on 28 minutes, Tayna Campos playing in Stella Zampogna, who found the bottom corner of the net.

They doubled their advantage moments later, Marianna Tabain and Frankie Murray-Hocking combined to find Campos, whose curling long-range shot looped over the stranded NTC keeper Megan Phillips. NTC reduced the margin ten minutes from time, with Mia Britton crossing for fellow substitute Theodora Mouithys to score at the back post. Subiaco made sure of the points moments later, Murray-Hocking finishing well from a long throw, and the striker was delighted with the win. “It was a very solid performance from the whole team, we were sharp on the ball and created chances from quick touches and great ball movement, a little bit more composure in front of goal is still needed but we pressured well and managed to get the win,” Subiaco striker Frankie Murray-Hocking said. “It’s a stepping stone in the season, but a great three points to give us some momentum into next week”.

In the final game Perth SC kept the pressure on the leaders after a 4-1 win against Murdoch University Melville at Besteam Stadium. The visitors were on the front foot, and were ahead on 25 minutes, Epril Nossent’s cross was headed in by Anika Stajcic, and it was 2-0 just before the interval when Ella Lincoln’s great start to the season continued with a close-range finish. The hosts reduced the deficit five minutes after the break, Taylor Reid’s low shot beating Stacey Cavill. The Azzurri’s two-goal margin was restored soon after, Lincoln the supplier this time, sending Jessica Flannery clear to score, before sealing the three points with a fourth on the hour mark, Daisy McAllister’s lob beating Manon Gebauer.

11.5.2024

AUSTRALIA CUP WA - ROUND FIVE REVIEW

State League Division Two Ashfield have caused a massive upset in the Australia Cup (WA) fifth round, by beating NPLWA side Inglewood United 6-5 on penalties after the tie ended 1-1 after extra time at Paintseal Arena. “The lads showed a lot of character today and put in a complete performance,” a delighted Ashfield coach James Sammut said. “Going down to ten men and then having to go to extra time, it was good to see how hard the lads worked for each other and wanted to win. We created a number of chances even with a man short which was pleasing, and everyone at the club is happy to get through to the next round”.

Inglewood arrived bottom of the NPLWA, without a win in the league this season, and they found themselves behind on the half hour, Ravi Singh sent Hanani through one-on-one with Nik Speca, and he slipped the ball past him from the edge of the box. It looked like that would be the winner, but Inglewood pressed late and they were helped when Ashfield defender Conor McCann was sent off with nine minutes to go, and deep into stoppage time Inglewood found the equaliser. Rene Kisesa received the ball out wide on the edge of the box, and he cut it back to Chris Tilson who bundled the ball home. It went into extra time, and both sides had chances to win it, but failed to take them, and it was off to the dreaded penalty shoot-out, and it was Jared Flavel who scored the winning penalty, much to the delight of the home faithful.

Division One club Sorrento also produced an upset, beating NPLWA side Fremantle City 4-1 at Hilton Park. “I’m very proud of how the boys played today, it was a really mature performance from start to finish,” Sorrento coach Steven McGarry said. “I thought our energy and intensity in the early part of the game set the tone and we created some really good opportunities from good footballing moments but also through our press and we made it difficult for Fremantle to get any rhythm and should have possibly added three or four more in the first half. The boys then shown great character after conceding a penalty and never dropped their levels and eventually got their rewards with three second half goals”.

The visitors, who arrived into the game unbeaten in the league this season, made a perfect start and were ahead on eight minutes. Tim Hill found Hamza Hina on the left, who beat his marker and found Keegan Chambers who made no mistake. It was a strong start from the Gulls, but eight minutes before the break Fremantle levelled, with Patrick Loughrey converted from the spot after a handball in the box, and it was 1-1 at the break. But McGarry’s side regained the lead just before the hour mark, Dario Ramella and Hina combined down the left, with Hina’s low cross was turned home by Chambers.

Fremantle pressed for the equaliser and pushed players forward, and the longer the game went the more gaps and spaces started to appear in the home sides defence, and in the final minute Sorrento found a third, Ramella’s shot was saved by Luke Radonich, but Andrew Maranta fired home the rebound. The icing was put on the cake in stoppage time when the Gulls added a fourth, Neil Kilkenny won the ball deep in his own half, and ran the full length of the pitch, and unselfishly squared the ball to Ramella in the box for an easy finish.

Former Fremantle winger Hamza Hina was delighted to secure a place in the next round. “For me personally this game had a bit more of a meaning having played at Fremantle for the last two seasons, and having nothing but good memories,” he explained. “After seeking a new challenge with Sorrento this year, I didn't think I'd be playing at Hilton Park, but the stars aligned for me to go back once more and feel the amazing atmosphere and support from both sets of fans, although it also didn't hurt that I got to be a part of knocking the old team out the cup”.

There was no upset at the Croatian Sporting Complex, Wishart Street, with Perth RedStar beating Gwelup Croatia 3-0. “Hard and competitive game on a very rough surface and a tight field at Gwelup,” RedStar coach Callum Salmon said. “The boys played some great football, got the game over early and allowed us to get minutes into many of our younger players. Now we are looking forward to Glory next week and happy to progress in the cup”. The visitors found the opener after only three minutes, with Lewis Tucker on target. Nicol added a second six minutes before half time, after good work from Tucker, before Nicol sent Byrce Bafford in to make it 3-0 in the shadows of half time, to seal the tie. “It was a very good performance from the team on a difficult pitch against a team who were desperate to cause an upset,” RedStar striker Daryl Nicol said. “We did exactly what needs to be done in these sorts of games, got ourselves in front early and put the game to bed before the break”.

Perth SC are also through to the next round, after 7-2 win against Division Two side Wanneroo City at Wanneroo Reserve. “I felt we controlled the game from start to finish and the only disappointing thing from us is that we missed quite a few chances to score more goals,” Perth assistant coach Stuart Banks said. “But we’re happy with the performance and we look forward to the next round of the cup”. The Azzurri made a fast start and were ahead on seven minutes, Ethan Banks latched onto a through ball and slotted past Wanneroo keeper Jordan Barbas. But the home side levelled on 22 minutes, Sebastian Munoz converting from the spot after Coby Sutton had dragged him down in the box.

But Perth took control with two quick goals, first on 26 minutes some great work out wide by Gordon Perkins saw him cut the ball back to Sam Cook for a tap in, and two minutes later Perkins fired home the third. The visitors added a fourth on the hour, Banks sent Cook one-on-one with Barbas, who finished well. The home side were awarded another penalty late, when Alex Lazov was brought down by Judd McDougall, and Kane Fitch made no mistake from the resulting penalty. Perth finished the game well, and added three more goals. Josh Cala followed up a shot that was initially well saved by Barbas to smash in the rebound to make it 5-2, Franc Gamiz Quer headed home from a corner for six, before Gamiz Quer completed the scoring, with another header from a corner in the final minute.

Belt Up Amateur Premier Division side Wembley Downs’ cup run as come to an end, after they were beaten 3-0 by Rockingham City at Lark Hill Sportsplex. “Wembley made it difficult for us, especially in the first half,” Rockingham coach Rob Crerar said. “But I was pleased with our reaction in the second half, we now look forward to the draw”. The hosts made a great start and were ahead on four minutes, Shane Boyle racing clear and rounding the keeper to score. Wembley really took it up to their hosts and had chances to level, the best falling to Halil Russo who hit the woodwork.

The hosts had the opportunity to double their lead early in the second half when Boyle was brought down for a penalty, but Christos Vaenas saw his spot kick well saved by Ciaran Macca. They did make it 2-0 on the hour, Vaenas played in Cory McNelis who finished past the keeper from close-range. Russo hit the bar again midway through the second half, and Noah Thavaseelan and Sam Mattock both had chances to reduce the deficit. But the hosts sealed tie with a third 11 minutes from time, with Matt Evans getting on the end of a Taylor Carter cross to score from close range. Rockingham did end the game with ten men after keeper Kieran Shail was sent off in stoppage time for dissent.

“Those not at the game might think it was comfortable for Rockingham, but the scoreline wasn’t a fair reflection of the game. We more than matched them for large parts and as a group will take a lot of confidence from that,” Wembley skipper Jack Mellor explained. “It took us ten minutes or so to adapt to the tempo and conceding early was the worst possible start, but we reacted well and got a handle on the game. We conceded a second early in the second half, but again we showed good character and on another day the game could have gone the other way. Overall, I felt like we won the midfield battle and moved the ball really well so plenty to be proud of, we turn our focus to the league and look to get back to winning ways this week”.

Olympic Kingsway eased through, after a hat-trick from striker Joe Knowles helped them to 5-1 win against Mandurah City at Poolmart Stadium, Peelwood Parade. “It was a solid performance by us, and we started well getting a couple of early goals,” Knowles said. “We then went a man down, but stuck to the game plan and got another two goals within five minutes of the red card. Second half we defended really well as a unit and worked hard together as a team and topped off a great team performance with the win”.

The visitors made a great start, with a brace from Joe Hobson giving them a 2-0 lead after only 24 minutes. But moments later the forward was sent off, but that didn’t stop the Green Machine, with Knowles adding two more. Knowles made it 5-0 on the hour to complete his hat-trick, and despite a consolation goal from Mandurah substitute Fionn Faherty, David Tough’s side moved into the last eight. “I thought it was a game that we controlled well, even when down to ten men, we kept playing and pushing to get the extra goals,” midfielder Joshua Samson said. “Mandurah had a short spell, which I thought we dealt with well, so overall a good performance and really happy to be into the next round of the cup”.

In the all-NPLWA clashes, Striling Macedonia and Western Knights moved through, after wins against Balcatta Etna and Bayswater City respectively. First at Macedonia Park the local derby was decided by a goal on 22 minutes, with midfielder Joshua Bilaloski scoring. Balcatta throw everything at the hosts late, but couldn’t find the equaliser, and the hosts ended the game with ten men after defender Brent Quick was shown a second yellow card and sent off. Meanwhile at Frank Drago Reserve the Knights came from behind to beat Bayswater 2-1. The hosts were ahead seven minutes before the break, a corner was headed past Sam Reilly by Joshua Anasmo. The visitors levelled ten minutes into the second half, a swift counter attack ended with Jesse Lazzaro, whose shot was saved by Lewis Italiano, but Kristian Santich fired home the rebound.

The Knights won it on 75 minutes, Jack Bardsley made an overlapping run, and his low cross was turned home by Lazzaro. “We looked really sharp on the break and even at 1-0 down felt we were going to get a result. Bayswater are really effective on the break and I think playing them last week helped us gauge what they try to do and we handled it for the most part really well,” Knights striker Owen Goodliffe explained. “I think this is our fifth or sixth game coming from behind to get a result in nine games, it’s not a habit we want to get into but it’s a great attribute to have. The whole club is buzzing to be in the final eight and will be looking forward to an exciting game whoever we play in the next round”.

11.5.2024

STATE LEAGUE CUP RESERVES AND UNDER 18'S - SECOND ROUND

In the State League Reserves Cup round three games Perth Glory were the big winners, beating Quinns, who had beaten Fremantle City in the last round, 18-0 at Hilton Park, with Louis Sollitt scoring eight, while Santiago Flores bagged five for the Glory. Canning City, who knocked out Perth RedStar in the last round, beat Gwelup Croatia 1-0 at the Croatian Sporting Complex, while Tomas Despotovski scored four as Dianella White Eagles beat Subiaco AFC 7-2 at the Poolmart Stadium, Mandurah. A ten-man Floreat Athena has beaten Bayswater City 3-1 at Frank Drago Reserve, while Armadale beat Stirling Macedonia 4-3 on penalties after the game ended 3-3 at Macedonia Park. In other games, Perth SC beat Kalamunda City 4-0, with Jack Sprigg scoring a brace at Wanneroo Reserve, UWA Nedlands edged out Ashfield 3-2 at Paintseal Arena, while Rockingham City won a penalty shoot-out 8-7 against East Perth, after the game ended 3-3 at Larkhill Sportsplex.

In the State League Under 18’s Cup round three, league leaders Perth RedStar moved into the last eight, after a 5-1 win against local rivals Joondalup United at the Croatian Sporting Complex, while Perth SC were too strong for Wanneroo City running out 6-0 winners at Wanneroo Reserve with Clarence Musa scoring a hat-trick. A brace from Max Naylor has helped Perth Glory beat Fremantle City at Hilton Park, Hadi Hussaini scored a double as Bayswater City beat Western Knights at Frank Drago Reserve, while Balcatta Etna edged out Forrestfield United 4-3 on penalties, after the game ended 2-2 at full time. In other games, a hat-trick from Loukas Baiardo helped Inglewood United beat Carramar Shamrock Rovers 3-1 at Paintseal Arena, Ashfield, Billy Baker also scored a hat-trick, as Olympic Kingsway beat Subiaco AFC 8-1 at Poolmart Stadium, Mandurah, while Murdoch University ran out 4-2 winners against Swan United at Larkhill Sportsplex.

11.5.2024

GLORY YOUNGSTER SELECTED IN YOUNG SOCCEROOS SQUAD

Perth Glory teenage defender Andriano Lebib has been named in the Young Socceroos squad for a domestic training camp to be held in Western Sydney later this month, and he will now head east to participate in what is a three-day camp based out of the Blacktown Exercise, Sports & Technology Hub. The 18-year-old, who has impressed in the clubs NPLWA side for the last few seasons, and was handed his Isuzu UTE A-League debut when he came off the bench during last month’s Round 26 clash with Sydney FC.

Lebib said it’s been a huge season for him, earning an A-League appearance, and being selected for your country is an honour. “It’s always a great feeling to get a call up for your country and it shows that your hard work at club level is being recognised, so I’m really buzzing about the call up and can’t wait,” the defender said. “After all the hard work and patiently waiting I finally got my debut in the A-League, and I know the result didn’t go our way, but me getting those minutes has driven me to work even harder during preseason to solidify a spot for next season and get more game time”.

The former Cockburn City, Murdoch University Melville and Dianella White Eagles junior said the club’s academy continues to grow, and the youngsters have impressed in the league over the last couple of seasons. “The youth team started off really well this season, despite having some players missing due to being called up for A-league commitments,” Lebib explained. “I feel like people are surprised on this year’s youth team because of their young age. But this year’s team has something different and I don’t know what it is but John and Steve (coaches) are doing a great job with them, I can’t wait to see how they do this season”.

The camp marks the first assembly for the U-20 cohort ahead of a series of activity throughout the remainder of 2024, including the AFF U-19 Youth Championship in July and AFC U-20 Asian Cup 2025 Qualifiers in September. Young Socceroos Head Coach Trevor Morgan is excited by what lies ahead for the group. “This is the beginning of a busy schedule of activity and it’s important we lay the groundwork now on some key elements of our program,” he said. “Players selected will get the opportunity to show what they can bring to the squad in a competitive, internal match which will be valuable in building connections on the pitch.

“We identified this period at the end of the domestic season as the best opportunity to assemble players from this age group currently plying their trade in the A-League Men. We’ve seen many of these boys begin to get regular minutes in senior football and it’s exciting to see them continue to develop – their involvement in the national team pathway is an extension of that. There are also several eligible players in European leagues, so we’re really pleased with the depth of players we have available in this cycle. This age group had some great performances in Europe last year as we looked to build their confidence and international experience, now begins an exciting period for the Young Socceroos.”

Full Squad: GK Taiga HARPER (Western Sydney Wanderers), GK Alexander ROBINSON (Macarthur Bulls), Alexander BADOLATO (Western Sydney Wanderers), Nathan BARRIE (Western Sydney Wanderers), Linus BOURKE (Melbourne Victory), Adam BUGARIJA (Western Sydney Wanderers), Max CAPUTO (Melbourne City), Zachary DE JESUS (Sydney), Frans DELI (Macarthur), Emin DURAKOVIC (Melbourne City), Jesse HOEY (Melbourne Victory), Riley HOLLINGDALE (Western Sydney Wanderers)

Joshua INSERRA (Melbourne Victory), Luka JOVANOVIC (Adelaide United), Andriano LEBIB (Perth Glory), Zach LISOLAJSKI (Western United), Jake NAJDOVSKI (Western United), Tiago QUINTAL (Sydney), Kane RAZMOVSKI (Melbourne Victory), Zane SCHREIBER (Melbourne City), Arion SULEMANI (Melbourne City), Fabian TALLADIRA (Adelaide United), Musa TOURE (Adelaide United), Ben VAN DORSSEN (Newcastle Jets), Luke VICKERY (Western United), Thomas WADDINGHAM (Brisbane Roar), Marcus YOUNIS (Western Sydney Wanderers), Jonny YULL (Adelaide United)

11.5.2024

JUNIOR MATILDAS ELIMINATED FROM AFC U17 WOMENS ASIAN CUP

The Junior Matildas have been eliminated from the AFC U17 Women’s Asian Cup in Indonesia, losing 4-1 against reigning champions Japan in their Group B tie at the Wayan Dipta Stadium, Bali, Indonesia on Friday evening. The win secured Japan’s place in the semi-final, along with China PR from the group, while DRA Korea qualified from Group A. The last semi-finalist will be decided between Korea Republic and the Philippines in their Group A match on Sunday.

With only pride to play for against Thailand on Monday, head coach Rae Dower saw improvement compared to their first game. “I’m happy that it was a much better performance than our first game and that was what we wanted,” she said. “We wanted to be here and show everyone that we have the potential to play. There were opportunities in the first half for us and if one or two had gone in, it could have changed the momentum very quickly. But we’re not taking anything away from Japan. They were absolutely superb tonight, and the gap between them and some of the other countries here is very wide. Their passing was very good and their finishing very clinical.”

The Junior Matildas were looking to bounce back from their first up loss to China PR, and Head Coach Rae Dower made three changes to her starting side, and rewarded Indiana Dos Santos for her strong domestic campaign, with the captaincy for Friday's match. The changes included a start for Ruby Cuthbert in the backline, Dos Santos was promoted following a short appearance against China, while Annabelle Yates was rewarded for her tireless effort in the middle of the park, after being introduced late on Tuesday.

The Green and Gold needed a good start in this one, but found themselves behind after only three minutes. Sato Momo Saruang received a long ball from Mitsuki Ota, turned a defender and finished well past keeper Caoimhe Bray. The lively Saruang added a second on 11 minutes, when she received a pass from Kikuchi Hana on the left and with only Bray to beat, finished with aplomb.

Australia went close to reducing the margin on 27 minutes, Sienna Dale, who scored six goals in Australia’s qualifying campaign, was sent clear by a defence-splitting pass from Indiana Dos Santos with only keeper Sakata Korin to beat, but she couldn’t keep her shot down. Australian custodian Bray made a number of fine saves to keep Japan at bay, and at the break the Junior Matildas had it all to do.

Play continued in the same vein after the break, and Bray was called upon early in the second half, with a point-blank stop to her right, denying the strong near-post shot from forward Shinjo. Coach Dower brought on her reinforcements to help change the momentum, Danella Butrus at half-time, then a double change 15 minutes later, with attackers Mikayla Duong and Alice Francou introduced.

But there was little Bray could do when Japan added a third just after the hour. Japanese captain Shinjo Miharu picked up a long pass from Mitsuki Oto, left two defenders on her heels, dribbled past Bray and sent the ball into an empty net. Japan grabbed their fourth goal through midfielder Hirakawa Hina ten minutes from time, curling home from outside the box. Australia scored a consolation goal deep into stoppage time, when Butrus was brought down in the penalty area by Yuna Aoki, and Dos Santos made no mistake from the resulting penalty.

Japan head coach Sadayoshi Shirai believes his side can improve further. “The players performed the best they could do today, but I know that they can do better in future matches,” he said. “The quality of attack and how we played close to the goal area was better than the first game. But we also need to improve and develop our players’ skills in kicking, stopping and delivering the ball.” The Junior Matildas move forward, with their final group game against Thailand taking place on Monday evening.

Japan: GK Korin Sakata, 2 Yuna Aoki, 3 Yuka Makiguchi, 4 Mitsuki Ota, 7 Haruko Kikuchi (13 Chihiro Suguwara 83?'?), 9 Momo Sato (?10 Asako Furuta 83?'). 11 Ririka Nezu (8 Hinako Kinoshita 69?'), 14 Miharu Shinjo, 15 Momoka Honda (5 Manaka Sakaki 69?'?), 17 Tamami Aso, 22 Hina Hirakawa, Subs not used: RGK Airi Nagai, RGK Mao Fukuda 6 Haruko Suzuki, 12 Anon Tsuda, 16 Noa Fukushima, 19 Amiru Tsuji, 20 Mel Hanashiro, 23 Meiko Matsuura

Australia: GK Caoimhe Bray, 2 Amelia Tartaglia, 4 Ruby Cuthbert (22 Christina Kiceec 28'), 5 Kiera Meyers (6 Amelia Bennett 83'), 8 Talia Younis (23 Alice Francou 64'), 9 Sienna Dale (13 Mikayla Duong 64'), 10 Indiana Dos Santos, 11 Tiana Fuller (19 Danella Butrus 46'), 17 Annabelle Yates, 20 Alvina Khoshaba, 21 Emma Dundas – Subs not used: RGK Layla Adams, RGK Jessica Skinner, (GK), 3. Chloe Parker, 7. Sian Dewey, (GK), 14. Lily Punch, 15. Isabela Hoyos, 16. Ehva Gutszmit

11.5.2024

HELL OF A STEP UP: BURGESS ON JOINING THE PREMIER LEAGUE

Ipswich Town defender Cameron Burgess knows all about fairy-tales. But the Perth-raised centre back concedes survival in the English Premier League might stretch the Hans Christian Andersen theme to the limits of credulity, admitting elevation to the world’s most competitive league is “a hell of a step up”.

With last seasons three promoted clubs - Sheffield United, Burnley and Luton - all heading straight back down, Burgess, amid the euphoria over the Tractor Boys’ incredible journey, acknowledges staying up next season would be seismic for a club which has spent the last 22 years toiling outside the top flight.

With Harry Souttar’s Leicester City going up as champions there are suddenly three Australians in England’s top flight, midfielder Massimo Luongo the other Antipodean cog in Ipswich’s promotion machine. “It’s a while since we’ve seen any number of Aussies in the Premier League and as far as we’re concerned as a club, it’s a hell of a step up,” Burgess said.

“We’ll have to wait and see what happens - we’ll certainly attack it and give it our best shot. We’ll have to tweak and change a few things, work incredibly hard and see how we get on. At that level you have take each game on its merits and can’t afford to be naive (in the way you play).”

“The boss (Kieran McKenna) will be across all that - the most experience he’s got is in the Premier League (former Manchester United assistant and Tottenham youth coach), so if there’s ever a league to be involved in with him it’s this one. He’ll be well prepared that’s for sure.”

“From day one of him arriving at the club you knew we were going places - everything with him is gospel really. We believe in him 100 per cent, and are grateful to have him here. The culture he has created is amazing - we’ll run through brick walls for him.”

Burgess, 28, was pivotal in Ipswich’s surge to automatic promotion, playing in 39 of their 46 Championship fixtures. But after a career plying his trade in the lower divisions with likes of Salford, Scunthorpe United, Accrington Stanley and Oldham Athletic, the former ECU Joondalup junior knows he’s stepping into a very different kind of colosseum.

“I’m under no illusions it’s going to be difficult to get a starting spot in the team,” added Burgess, who moved to England in 2011 to accept a spot in Fulham’s academy system. “I’ll enjoy the celebrations for now but when the dust settles get back to preparing to go again. I’m sure we’ll make a few signings as we did when we came up from League One.

“We had a lot of belief in ourselves and that’s what got us over the line. There’s great togetherness in our squad. On my side of things, I never gave up on the dream of playing in the top division because stranger things have happened in football and you always believe the chance might come. It’s been a hell of a journey.”

Despite breaking through at international level, Burgess faces intense competition from the likes of Souttar, Kye Rowles and Parma’s promotion star Alessandro Circati to start for his country in next month’s World Cup qualifiers against Bangladesh and Palestine, the second of which is in his home town.

“The competition is only good for the team and the country - we have big ambitions and the more guys on top form and chasing places the better,” he said. “Being around the national team is a breath of fresh air, a special feeling. I’d like to stick around and play as many games as I possibly can and help the team achieve good things.”

10.5.2024

BURGESS REFLECTS ON HIS JOURNEY FROM ECU JOONDALUP TO THE EPL

Cameron Burgess will play English Premier League football next season, after Ipswich Town won promotion from the Championship last weekend, and he has spoken how all his hard work has paid off. The 28-year-old Socceroos defender said the old Australian cliches of never give up, keep working hard, believe in yourself and never throw in the towel, and for most they are just words, but the Scottish-born, Western Australia-raised footballer is living proof that dreams can come true. he Tractor Boys promotion comes just 12 months after they were promoted from League One into the Championship, and now it’s back-to-back promotions, a great success story for the club. “It’s been pretty surreal to be fair, I won’t lie,” Burgess says. “It’s been a mad journey so there’s not been a lot of time to reflect. It’s been pretty special. To go back-to- back is something crazy that I probably wouldn’t even think about until the day I hang up my boots.”

Burgess, who switched his allegiance permanently to Australia, after being courted by Scotland, where he played for the countries under 18’s and 19’s sides, has made an astonishing rise, making 71 appearances over the past two seasons at Portman Road. But it hasn’t been plain sailing for the defender, four years ago his career was at a crossroad, languishing in the fourth tier and on loan at Salford City when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. After nine years playing in the lower leagues in England and Scotland, from Cheltenham Town to Bury to Scunthorpe United after first arriving at Fulham’s academy as a 15-year-old, he strongly considered a move back to the A-League.

But Burgess stayed true to his Premier League dream, and spent the next two years with Accrington Stanley before he eventually landed at Ipswich. He was forced to wait for an opportunity to get back into the first team due to Covid and then had to recover from a horrific fractured cheekbone and broken eye socket in 2022, but the rest as they say, is history. “I had to just work hard and get myself in the team,” he says. “It’s just been a case of belief in what the club is trying to achieve, belief in the manager and how he goes about things.

“And probably for the first time in a while being able to actually go, ‘you know what, when I get the chance to show it, this is the style of playing that gets the best out of me as a player. When you ask anyone that comes to watch the games, they probably attest to that. They’ll say I’ve improved a lot, which is the same for everyone in the team, but to show that I can do it in a style of football and in a way that suits me down to the ground… it’s been perfect for me.”

Burgess said Ipswich coach Kieran McKenna has had a huge part to play in his return to form, and he is now being touted for jobs at Brighton and West Ham, but the defender said his attention to detail will get him noticed. “Honestly, he’s incredible,” Burgess says. “There are too many words to use I suppose. First of all, I’m forever grateful that our paths have crossed and the job he’s done for me personally and for the for the rest of the boys has been nothing short of amazing. But as a manager, just the attention to detail… the way he works and how dedicated he is, he’s definitely shown with the results he knows what he’s doing and all the boys in that dressing room trust him 100%”.

From Celtic as a boy, to the ECU Joondalup academy in Perth, to a Socceroos debut eight months ago and now headed to the Premier League, and with the 2026 World Cup on the horizon, there is plenty to look forward to for the defender. “I don’t know what’s happened there, it’s all come at the same time,” Burgess joked. “But I guess, it’s just a part of the environment that you work under. Everything’s working out and I’ve just worked really hard and knuckled down, and everyone around me has helped me get to where I’ve got to, which is a big part. “I owe a lot to the people around me, my friends, family, coaches, the club as well. That’s helped me to get into the national team and obviously we have a really strong group there. It was similar to what we have at Ipswich. I guess the culture in both teams has been has been amazing. And it’s great to be part of both groups.”

10.5.2024

WILLIAMS ANNOUCES HER RETIREMENT FROM INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL

WA-Born Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams has announced she will hang up the gloves at international level after the Paris Olympics. Currently with 103 senior caps to her name, Australian football’s longest-serving player will bring an end to her distinguished career in green and gold hoping to win a first Olympic medal later this year. The 35-year-old Melbourne Victory shot stopper, who has played at five World Cups and was part of the 2010 Asian Cup title triumph, made her announcement on social media on Thursday night.

“It’s been a wonderful ride over the last 19 years and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to not only wear the crest and perform for my country, but also to the wonderful memories and fantastic people that I’ve met along the way,” said Williams. “I love the team and I love the girls and I’m going to miss them so much and I just hope that the level of support and love shown to the Matildas and to each and every single player continues”.

Just the second Indigenous footballer to make 100 international appearances, Williams will bring down the curtain on her international career that began on July 28, 2005. “It has been an absolute honour and privilege to represent my country, my heritage, my sport, my family, and many teammates over the past 19 years,” the Katanning born keeper said.

“Playing for the Matildas across FIFA Women’s World Cups, Olympics and Asian Cups has provided me with memories and friendships that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I started in this team as a teenager from Canberra and across almost two decades I never imagine that I would be afforded the opportunity to learn, grow, experience life’s challenges and joys, fight against injustices and be shaped into the person I am today.

“ I would like to thank all those who have cared for me and supported me all these years; from my family, to close friends, the head coaches, goalkeeping coaches, team managers, my incredible teammates, and the Matildas fans. This team is truly special, and I am proud of what it stands for, what it represents for a whole generation of women and girls. It’s just getting started and I can’t wait to cheer on the team from the sidelines when the next chapter of my life begins.”

Williams, who has played for clubs in Australia, USA, Sweden, England and France, is one of only two footballers to represent Australia at senior FIFA tournaments on five occasions (2007, 2011, 2015, 2019, 2023). The CommBank Matildas veteran has also donned the gloves at six AFC Women’s Asian Cups (2006, 2008, 2010, 2014, 2018, 2022) and two Olympic Games, with Paris set to be her swan song.

She made history as the first Australian female goalkeeper and only the second Indigenous footballer after Kyah Simon to surpass 100 international caps. Football Australia chief executive James Johnson said Williams left an “indelible legacy” on Australian football. “Lydia’s remarkable career has significantly shaped women’s football in Australia, blending exceptional skill with a passion for progress in the sport. She leaves an indelible legacy that will inspire future generations of indigenous and non-indigenous backgrounds.

“It has not only been through her efforts between the posts, with goal-saving dives and vibrant leadership on the pitch, but also in her passion to make the sport better through her role as vice-president of the Professional Footballers Australia. Lydia’s Matildas’ career is truly iconic spanning continents and playing generations. She has given so much to this team and to Australian football and will be long remembered as a legend of the modern game. She has influenced the women’s game in a way that will be felt for generations to come.”

Tony Gustavsson’s Matildas have been drawn in Group B with the world No 4 United States, world No 5 Germany and Zambia. It will be Australia’s fifth appearance in the women’s Olympic football tournament (2000, 2004, 2016, 2020, 2024), with their best-ever finish of fourth coming in Tokyo. The Matildas will play their group stage matches in Marseille and Nice and open their campaign against the Europeans on 25 July.

10.5.2024

NPLWA – WOMEN’S – ROUND SIX PREVIEW

NPLWA – Women’s league leaders Perth RedStar, are the only team to have won all five games this season, and they will look to continue that on Sunday when they host third placed Balcatta Etna at the RedStar Arena (All games kick off at 3pm, unless stated) Both sides are coming off wins last week, Renee Leota’s brace helping them to a 4-2 win against Fremantle, while a double from Faye Phillips, helped secure a 3-1 home win against Subiaco, and with only three points separating the two sides this one should be a great game.

Despite the win against Subiaco, Balcatta coach Peter Rakic said there is plenty of room for improvement from his side. "I personally thought we looked quite vulnerable in our win against Subiaco, but it gave us a lot to work on moving forward, and most importantly we took the three points which I can't really argue about,” he explained. “We had quite a number of our central players missing which lead to a few tweaks in the way we set up, but it's a credit to the girls for adopting the changes and getting on with the performance that was enough for us to get the victory".

Rakic said Sunday is a huge game, and they are ready for the challenge. "As always we know what's at stake against RedStar but we will approach the game with less pressure on the result and aim to be as tough as we can throughout the 90 minutes,” he said. “We've had two very different games against them already this season in the night series and we've seen what can happen in any game of football. The girls have trained really well on top of that, so if we can come out and potentially cause another twist in the race for the top then I think we'll have an exciting match on our hands".

RedStar coach Carlos Vega-Mena said last week showed the league is getting stronger, and he is expecting another challenging game against Balcatta on Sunday. “It’s good to see the competition building within the league every week, and we are expecting another tough game this week,” he said. “Our focus is one game at a time, and we know that every game is important. We will be looking to play our football and put forward an entertaining game”.

Perth SC sit in second place, and they travel to Besteam Stadium to take on Murdoch University Melville. The hosts will be buoyed, after their first win of the season at UWA last week, while Perth stunned the NTC, and assistant coach Federico Achilli said it has given them a huge boost. “The game against the NTC was a surprising scoreline and not one us coaches were expecting but definitely one we are very proud of,” he explained. “The girls played their roles superbly and were very clinical, which has been evident over the last couple weeks. This result definitely gives us a big confidence boost knowing we can compete and put pressure on top of the table and hopefully these performances continue”.

The Azzurri will be hoping to continue their form at MUMFC, and Achilli said they are looking to continue their momentum. “We know playing away to MUMFC is always difficult and the girls will need to be ready for that challenge, however they have been working hard on the training ground and we believe that we are ready for that challenge,” he said. “The biggest thing for us will be to maintain our good standards and our intensity that we have shown over the last few weeks and hopefully continue our momentum and putting pressure on the league leaders”.

In the other games this week, UWA Nedlands head to Hilton Park to meet Fremantle City. Both sides are coming off defeats last week, the hosts at RedStar, while a late goals from MUMFC secured the points against UWA. UWA coach Lawrence Lewis said he was disappointed to not come away with any points in that game. “Considering we started the game really well as these are the games that will ultimately decide the fate of clubs. We are still not through round one yet and plenty of time to go, so we will regroup and hit hard next time,” he said. “The squad has been working really hard in preparation for Sunday’s game against Fremantle, and we want to be able to start strong against a rejuvenated Freo side”.

In the final game Subiaco AFC welcome Hyundai NTC to Rosalie Park (3.45pm). Both of these sides are also coming off defeats, the NTC youngsters have lost back-to-back games including a heavy loss at Perth last week, while Subiaco were beaten at Balcatta. Subiaco’s Frankie Murray said it was a positive performance last week at Balcatta, and despite the loss they took a great deal from the game. “I thought we had a good performance against Balcatta, we moved the ball well and created chances but fell short to a few counter attacks,” the striker said. “It was a positive performance, but not the result we wanted, so looking to put in a hard graft against NTC and get a good result on the board”.

In Hyundai Women’s Division One, league leaders Fremantle City travel to the UWA Sports Park on Sunday to meet UWA Nedlands (3pm), while the other unbeaten team in the league Subiaco AFC host Murdoch University Melville at Rosalie Park (1pm). The round starts on Saturday evening, when last season’s league winners Hamersley Rovers travel to the Poolmart Stadium, Peelwood Parade, to take on Mandurah City, while the final game takes us to Percy Doyle Reserve, where Sorrento entertain Perth AFC. (3pm)

10.5.2024

AUSTRALIA CUP WA - ROUND FIVE PREVIEW

The fifth round of the Australia Cup takes place this weekend, and we have two All-NPLWA ties, with Bayswater City hosting Western Knights at Frank Drago Reserve (5.00pm), while there is a local derby at Macedonia Park, as Stirling Macedonia entertain Balcatta Etna (3.00pm). Some NPL sides also face tricky ties against lower opposition, while Wembley Downs will be flying the flag for the Belt-Up Amateur Division, when they travel to Lark Hill Sportsplex to take on Rockingham City. (5.00pm)

Bayswater and the Knights fought out a 1-1 draw in the league last weekend at Nash Field, with Knights’ Justin Tang scoring late to cancel out Sam Dweh’s goal for City. The Knights beat fellow NPL side Floreat Athena 4-2 in the last round, while Bayswater overcame a gallant Kingsley Westside 1-0. Bayswater defender Jackson Stephens said they hope to use their home ground advantage to move into the last eight. “They (Knights) have proven to be a difficult team to beat this year and fight to the end, although the game on the weekend was a bit scrappy, we felt unlucky not to hold on to our advantage late,” he explained. “This week’s game will be interesting having just played each other, but we hope to use our home-ground advantage in what will likely be another close game”.

Knights’ striker Owen Goodliffe both sides will be desperate to go into the hat for the next round, and is expecting a cracker of a game. “Yes, Saturday will be a pearler of a game, I don’t think anything separated both of us last week and it took fresh legs from both sides to get the goals. The depth they have in their side is immense and Frank Drago is always a difficult place to go,” he explained. “I think from a personal perspective as well, a few members of the squad, last week wasn’t up to the standards of previous weeks. We have had time to reflect on that and are looking forward to a second bite of the cherry and hoping to progress into the quarters with a much better performance this week.”

The other all-NPL game is the local derby at Macedonia Park. Balcatta Etna, who overcame NPL opposition in the last round, returning from Armadale with a 2-1 win, while Striling were too strong for Forrestfield United. Stirling defender Brent Quick said Saturday isa huge game for both clubs, and a win would give them a boost as they play each other in the league the week after. “Very excited for our local derby match against Balcatta. Things haven’t gone our way recently and we are looking to have our response this week,” he said. “We know the weapons that Balcatta have, but we are confident that our performance will show character and hopefully composure. We are looking forward to the weekend and the league bout the following week”.

Balcatta striker Ben Hinshelwood leads the way in the goalscoring ladder with six goals, along with Olympics’ Liam Boland, and he said a local derby is fantastic for the supporters, and with them playing in the league next week, a win in the cup is what they are aiming for. “Stirling aren’t a side you can underestimate especially in a cup round which as we know can be so unpredictable. Considering we’re neighbours there should be a decent atmosphere which hopefully we can capitalise on as a team,” he explained. “Both teams will be out to prove a point due to our back-to-back fixtures with each other both in the league and the cup. I expect that we will go out and put on a display of the attractive football we’ve been working towards in training to prepare for this game. As I alluded to, game management will be a critical factor in this game so we need to collectively remain switched on, we’re all really looking forward to the game”.

It’s been a successful season so far for Wembley Downs, winning the Night Series title, unbeaten in the league and progressing to the next round of the Amateur Cup, but they will have their biggest test of the season when they take Rockingham City on the road. The visitors beat Joondanna Blues in the last round, while the hosts beat MUMFC, but are coming off a big loss at Sorrento last week in the league, Rob Crerar’s side losing 9-2, and they will be looking to bounce back in this one. For Wembley it’s a chance to test themselves against higher opposition, and coach Rob Jackson said it’s a challenge they are relishing. “We’ve done well in the cup competitions recently, winning the Amateur Cup at the end of last season and the Night Series at the beginning of this one, so we’re looking forward to another big cup game,” the coach said. “Rockingham are obviously playing a couple of divisions higher than us so they’ll be expected to progress pretty comfortably. We’re really looking forward to the game and to making sure we give a good account of ourselves”.

Olympic Kingsway head down the freeway to Poolmart Stadium, Peelwood Parade to take on Mandurah City. (2.30pm) David Tough’s side were on the road in the last round, beating Dianella White Eagles 4-0, while Mandurah beat Subiaco AFC at home. These two sides have built up a great rivalry in recent seasons when they were in Division One, and assistant coach Pete Taylor said Saturday will be more of the same, but they are taking it one game at a time. “We’re looking forward to hosting some excellent players, but it’s just another game for us,” he said. “It’s the old cliche of one game at a time from our perspective and we’ll set up and respect them no differently to anyone else. Our intentions are to win every game and this isn’t any different. A couple of regulars are missing so opportunities for some of our energetic young team to take their chances”.

Sorrento are unbeaten in Division One this season, and hit the road in the cup, a trip to Hilton Park to take on NPL side Fremantle City (2.30pm) Fremantle had to come from behind to beat Quinns in the last round, while Steven McGarry’s side were big winners against Maccabi with Dean Cummings scoring four, and the former Perth Glory midfielder said Saturday is a challenge they are looking forward too. “We are all definitely looking forward to the game this weekend, the build up to a cup game always brings a different feeling and this week is no different, especially with our opponents being in a different league,” McGarry explained. “Fremantle have started off life in the NPL with some good results and we will obviously respect them and will prepare accordingly. Our lads have been getting stronger week by week and competition for places is fierce at the moment, so that gives me a good headache in terms of selection”.

Perth SC will look to bounce back from a heavy defeat at Olympic last week, when they make the trip to Wanneroo Reserve, to take on Wanneroo City (3.00pm) Perth beat Cockburn in the last round, while Wanneroo overcame Kalamunda City at home, but are yet to win in the league, and keeper Jordan Barbas said last week’s draw at Ashfield showed they are improving, and Saturday will be a free hit for them. “Aside from the current form, there can't be a better example of an elite club in this state than Perth SC. Their team, on paper and history, is of quality and will be a great challenge for our squad,” the former Fremantle City keeper said. “Funnily enough, since we last chatted, we’ve been at our most depleted with injuries; however, the desire to get results and put in better performances has definitely been there and we’re building which is important with the position we’ve found ourselves in. Under Kenny, Perth is definitely a different beast compared to the teams we’ve played so far this year. We can’t afford for them to get any rhythm in the game, or we’re in for a long afternoon. Hopefully, there's still a little magic of the game lingering for us this round, and we’ll be sure to rock up ready to compete”.

There is another NPL v State League clash at the Croatian Sporting Complex, Wishart Street, where Gwelup Croatia welcome Perth RedStar. (2.30pm) RedStar were the big winners last round, thrashing Baldivis 13-0 with Daryl Nicol bagging five, while Gwelup needed an extra time goal from skipper James Harmer to beat Joondalup United. Gwelup coach Ryan Cantello said when the draw was made his players were excited about taking on one of the best sides in WA, and he is looking forward to the challenge. “The lads were really excited with the draw last week, and it doesn’t get much better than hosting the NPL champions at home in the cup,” he said. “We know the difficult task we face, but if we turn up and perform for 90 minutes on the day, we feel we can cause a big upset”.

In the final game, Ashfield welcome Inglewood United to the Paintseal Arena, Ashfield Reserve. (2.30pm) Both sides have struggled in their respective leagues this season, and will be hoping a cup run can turn their seasons around. United beat UWA in the last round, while Ashfield overcame Alkimos 5-1 with a hat trick from Ravi Singh. Ashfield player/coach James Sammut, who once played for Inglewood, said they will aim to cause an upset. “The cup is always exciting anywhere around the world, and last round we were favourites against Alkimos and this time no doubt we will go in as underdogs against an NPL side in Inglewood,” he said. “The whole club is excited at the opportunity and everyone is focused on giving ourselves the best chance to compete. The league table paints an unfair reflection on Inglewood right now, and they'll obviously be keen to get on track, so we're going to have to be at our absolute best. We look forward to welcoming Taki and Inglewood to Paintseal Arena this weekend and hopefully can put on a good show for everyone”.

10.5.2024

BELT-UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION – ROUND FOUR PREVIEW

It’s week four of the Belt-Up Premier Division on Sunday, and our ‘Match of the Round’ takes us to Frye Park for the top of the table clash between the unbeaten Kelmscott Roos and North Perth United. (all games kick off at 3.00pm) The hosts sit second on the ladder, one point ahead of North Perth in third, but they do have a game in hand. Kelmscott are coming off a big win against Jaguar last time with a brace from Amos Doegolia and another from Kingsley Nteng, securing a 3-0 win, and Benn Lewis said it was a huge win for them, and they will need more of the same against the unbeaten United on Sunday.

“It was a great game and performance last time out against Jaguar, and it has filled the boys with confidence for the upcoming games. We set out with a game plan to disrupt their play and take our chances and we did exactly that and got our reward of a 3-0 win,” the midfielder explained. “The boys have been working hard and we’ve started off the season strong, we all know we have another level to go still and we will hopefully show that this weekend against another great outfit. We have had some great games in the past against North Perth and I have no doubt this weekend will be any different. We look forward to the challenge and hope to maintain our unbeaten run and play some good football”.

North Perth had round three off, with Wembley involved in the Australia Cup, but goals from Eamonn Kelly and Kyle Jackson gave them a 2-0 win at North Beach in round two, and defender Luke Woodard said it continued their unbeaten start in the league, and they hope to extend it at Kelmscott on Sunday. “It has been a great start to the season for us as a team and as a club, we knew that North Beach would be a tough team to play, they are a good side our team fought hard, kept our momentum and stuck our game plan which got us a good win away from home,” he said. “This week its going be another tough game, knowing Kelmscott are also unbeaten. We have to stick our game plan, play with a lot of energy and perform the way we know we can, and hopefully come away with a result”.

There was a round three catch-up game on Wednesday evening, with Maccabi beating Joondalup United 4-1 at Percy Doyle Reserve. Maccabi raced to a 2-0 lead within three minutes, with Jacob Wemyss and Hif Hayazi scoring, and Wemyss added his second to make it 3-0. Joondalup found a lifeline before half time, with Craig Harrison cross shot finding the net. But Maccabi sealed the game after the break when substitute Dion Berman was brought down in the box, and although Wemyss spot kick crashed off the post, Jonah Froman was quickest to react to fire home the rebound. Maccabi are back in action on Sunday when they travel to Challenger Reserve to take on South Perth United, who are still searching for their first points of the season.

Maccabi coach Ricky Berlowitz said they will take confidence out of the win at Joondalup, and with it being their third game in a week, Sunday will test his squad. “Very happy with the win but especially happy with the performance, started perfectly scoring two goals so early and then managed the game well from there. They had a spell where we needed to absorb pressure and we did it well. Maybe made it a bit harder for ourselves by not taking all our chances but happy to get the three points,” he explained. “It will be a tough test on Sunday against South Perth, third game in the week will test our depth and fitness, hopefully we can put in a good performance and give ourselves a chance to finish the week off perfectly”.

League leaders Emerald will look to make it four straight wins when they travel to the Herb Graham Recreation Centre to take on Jaguar. It’s been a slow start for Jaguar, with only one win for the season, but they did beat Emarald last weekend in the Amateur Cup with Brian Kiruja scoring the only goal in the 1-0 win, which will give them a boost going into the game. For Emerald skipper Stephen Kinsella the loss in the cup was a tough one to take, and they will look to reverse the result on Sunday. “I feel like we had the better of the chances but just lacked that little bit of luck, although performances have been improving every week and I feel like we’re close to hitting our stride now,” he explained. “Sunday is a great opportunity to right some wrongs but we know it is always a tough game against Jags, but the most important thing is walking away with three points”.

The game between Wembley Downs and Kingsley Westside has been re-scheduled for Thursday May 16 at Butlers Reserve (7pm) with Wembley in Australia Cup action at Rockingham City, while in the final game Peel United head to Charles Memorial Reserve to take on the North Beach. The hosts are still searching for their first win in the league this season, but will be buoyed by the win at Moley in the cup last week. Peel will go in search of their first points on the road, and in the last round were beaten at Morley, and coach Daryl Willmott said it was not an accurate representation of how well they can play.

“We have a few niggles and injuries in the first team lads right now so it was a tough game to take on. Morley clearly are a very well drilled side and held the ball very well through the midfield third but I think all coaches and managers across the league can tell anyone can beat anyone in this league. It's been like that in amateur prem for some years now so we are refreshed and focusing on North Beach,” Willmott explained. “They (North Beach) haven't had a great start to the year, but obviously won Night Series last season and have progressed another round in the cup which again suggests nobody has a guaranteed chance of winning against anyone in the league. We will prepare for what we expect to be a very fit and challenging North Beach side”.

8.5.2024

CHINA PR BEAT JUNIOR MATILDAS IN U17 ASIAN CUP OPENER

The Junior Matildas have begun the AFC U17 Women’s Asian Cup Indonesia 2024, with a 3-0 defeat by China PR at the Bali United Training Centre, Gianyar. An early goal from Zhou Xinyi had China in control, before second half goal from Xiao Jiaqi and Zhang Kecan were enough to secure the three points to start the tournament.

Australia never really got going with Junior Matildas head coach Rae Dower believing that their real quality didn’t show against China PR, and they were missing clinical touches with Dower putting that down to first match jitters. “Disappointed but not distraught because we know that this performance is not reflective of us as a team as we had a really good preparation,” Dower said post-match.

“Today perhaps the nerves and conditions got the better of us. When we were 1-0 down, we had some opportunities. We changed it up to try to get something and that left us exposed at the end. I thought our forwards worked really well together but we probably didn’t strike the ball, the final action, final pass just wasn’t on today.”

The match started with Football West NTC keeper Jessica Skinner on the bench, but early running came from China PR, and the pace and trickery of Li Yuhan down the left giving Isabella Hoyos a torrid time. China PR’s first shot on target came after two minutes when Li dribbled past Hoyos to set up Zhang Kecan, but 14-year-old Caoimhe Bray in Australia’s goal managed to block the effort.

From a similar move three minutes later, they took the lead after Li again got away from Hoyos and this time her low cross was finished off expertly by Zhou Xinyi. Australia tried to make use of the windy conditions with shots from distance via Kiera Meyers and Sienna Dale but on both occasions, China PR custodian Hou Shumei was assured with her handling of the ball. After the first half cooling break, Rae Dower took out Hoyos and brought on Anabella Yates, a move that also saw the Australians switch from a back three system to a back four, looking to temper the influence of Li.

The Australians began the second half the better side, forcing China PR on the backfoot with Dale’s driving run from the left being the pick of the bunch but Tiana Fuller was unable to connect to the cross. However, China PR soon rediscovered their tempo and doubled their lead in the 63rd minute, Li struck the bar but substitute Xiao Jiayi managed to control the rebound before unleashing a rasping shot into the top corner.

The instrumental Li struck the bar from another move in the 72nd minute but China PR weren’t to be denied five minutes later as Zhang ran through bravely to nod the ball past the advancing Bray and Chloe Parker before slotting home. Sadly, for Australia, the defeat also came at a cost as the concession of the third goal also saw a heavy collision between Parker and Bray with the former needing lengthy medical treatment, forcing her out of the game. Dower’s side now shift focus to the Japan game on Friday at the Kapten I Wayan Dipta Stadium, Bali, 7.00pm WA Time)

China PR head coach Gary van Egmond was delighted to see his plans work perfectly. “We created good chances and took them well,” the former Matildas assistant coach said post-match. “It was good that the opponent didn’t score and that’s down to the good transition work that we do. We had a lot of success on the wings, we kept our width well. Made it difficult for them when they had a back three so they had to change to a four. But we adapted to this because we’ve played a lot of games and been together for a long time. Overall pleased, now it’s down to recovery because it’s very difficult conditions for the girls here with the heat.”

China: GK Hou Shumei, 2 Zhang Jie (13 Liu Zeyu 65?'), 4 Song Yu, 5 Yuan Chenjie, 8 Chen Rui, 9 Li Yuhan, 16 Zhang Kecan, 18 Liu Jingwen (11 Wang Dantong 56?'), 19 Yang Yifan (7 Wei Xuanxuan 46?'?), 21 Zhou Xinyi (10 Xiao Jiaq ?56?'), 22 Zhong Yuxin (14 Lin Yuya 85?') Subs not used: 3 Wu Zhe, 6 Cheng Haitang, 12 You Yaxin, 15 Sun Mengyue, 17 Dong Yujie, 20 Chen Ziyi, 23 Ruan Xiuyu Sub

Junior Matildas: GK Caolmhe Bray, 2 Amelia Tartaglia, 5 Kiera Meyers, 6 Amelia Bennett (22 Christina Kiceec 85?'), 8 Talia Younis, 9 Sienna Dale (19 Danella Butrus 62?'), 11 Tiana Fuller, 13 Mikayla Duong (3 Chloe Parker 46?') (7 Sian Dewey 85’), 15 Isabela Hoyos (17 Annabelle Yates 33?'), 20 Alvina Khoshaba, 21 Emma Dundas – Subs not used: RGK Layla Adams, RGK Jessica Skinner, 4 Ruby Cuthbert, 10 Indiana dos Santos, 14 Lily Punch, 16 Ehva Gutszmit, 23 Alice Francou

8.5.2024

TAGGART AND LOWRY TAKE OUT GLORY MGP

After a season of many ups, but mostly downs, Perth Glory capped off their 2023-24 season with the club’s awards night at the State Theatre Centre of WA on Monday evening, with skipper Adam Taggart taking out the men’s and Hana Lowry taking out the women’s Most Glorious Player Awards. Both players performed well in inconsistent seasons, Lowry a dominance in the middle of the park and pinpoint set-pieces, while Taggart lead the line superbly, and was a worthy winner of a number of awards on the club’s annual end-of-season event.

The MGP was one of four awards Taggart earned on the night, as the recently-recalled Socceroos striker also won members’ player of the season, players’ player of the season and golden boot awards. He also won the Isuzu Ute A-League Men’s golden boot, scoring 20 goals in 25 games. Meanwhile, 21-year-old Lowry, who made her debut at just 16 years-old, becoming a mainstay for Alex Epakis’ side, became the youngster player to win the women’s MGP, replacing Sam Kerr, after the midfielder played every minute of all 22 games in the Liberty A-League season.

In other awards on the night, fresh from being voted Professional Football Australia’s goalkeeper of the season and winning the A-League Women’s goalkeeper of the year award, Morgan Aquino scooped the women’s members’ player and players’ player of the year awards. The Glory custodian led the league with 126 saves - 35 more than second-placed Izzy Nino - and recorded a save percentage of 81.1 per cent, while also saving two of the three penalties she faced, while Millie Farrow capped an impressive season by claiming the golden boot award with seven goals.

Daniel Bennie claimed the DT38 under-23 player of the season award, the 18-year-old how came through the clubs NPL side, and announced himself to Glory fans with a goal against West Ham United in the friendly game against the EPL side in July, and went on to have an impressive debut season for the club. Another 18-year-old, Georgia Cassidy, won the Glory’s women’s best youth player of the season award after a season which saw her claim October’s nomination for the A-League Women’s young footballer of the year and called up to the Young Matildas for their under-20 Women’s Asian Cup tournament.

Stefan Colakovski’s superb solo effort against Central Coast Mariners in round ten, and Isobel Dalton’s long-range equaliser against Canberra United in round 16 won the men’s and women’s goal of the season respectively. Finally, tributes were paid to long-serving Glory women’s skipper Tash Rigby who announced her retirement from professional football last week after 117 matches with the club.

8.5.2024

RISDON LEAVES WESTERN UNITED AFTER FIVE YEARS

Western United captain and inaugural player Josh Risdon has parted ways with the A-League Men club after five seasons. Risdon, who was the expansion club's first Australian signing, captained United to their one and only championship in 2021/22, amid Alessandro Diamanti's injury.

The former Socceroo, who played at the 2018 World Cup, departs after 90 games and four goals. "My time here has been great and I've loved every minute of it," Risdon said. "I've been here from the very start, and to see where this club has come in such a short space of time has been incredible."

"From playing at different venues, training out at Georgies at the start to finally being at our home in Tarneit, slowly everything's being built around us. Our first win over in Wellington, the Grand Final, being able to captain this club ... all those things will mean a lot.

"To be able to say I had a part in helping build what's going on here makes me very proud, and is one I'll be able to tell the grandkids." Risdon has been linked to a return to hometown club Perth Glory, where he played 142 games between 2010 and 2017.

6.5.2024

TAGGART AND LOWRY CLAIM MOST GLORIOUS PLAYER AWARDS

Perth Glory men’s captain Adam Taggart has predictably walked away with a swathe of awards, while rising women’s star Hana Lowry made history at the club’s Most Glorious Player Awards. The homegrown pair took out the respective men’s and women’s Most Glorious Player gongs at the club’s annual end-of-season event at the State Theatre Centre tonight.

The Most Glorious Player was one of four awards Taggart went home with. The recently-recalled Socceroos striker also won the Members’ Player of the Season, the Players’ Player of the eason and the Golden Boot awards. It comes after he won the A-League Men Golden Boot last week with 20 goals from just 25 games.

21-year old Lowry achieved an admirable feat, replacing Samantha Kerr as the youngest player ever to win the women’s Most Glorious Player after she played every minute of all 22 games for Glory. Lowry made her debut at just 16 years of age and has barely missed a game since then, becoming a mainstay for Alex Epakis’ side.

Fresh from being voted Professional Football Australia’s Goalkeeper of the Season and winning the A-League Women’s Goalkeeper of the Year award, Morgan Aquino scooped the women’s Members’ Player and Players’ Player awards. Aquino led the league with 126 saves - 35 more than second-placed Izzy Nino - and recorded a save percentage of 81.1 per cent.

Millie Farrow capped an impressive season for the women’s side as she claimed their Golden Boot award with seven goals, as the Englishwoman quickly won over fans and teammates alike in her first season in Perth. Tributes were paid to long-serving Glory women’s captain Tash Rigby who recently announced her retirement 117 appearances.

Daniel Bennie, 18, was rewarded with the DT38 Under-23 Player of the Season award while Georgia Cassidy, 18, won the women’s Best Youth Player of the Season. Stefan Colakovski’s solo effort against Central Coast Mariners and Isobel Dalton’s long-range equaliser against Canberra United won men’s and women’s Goal of the Season respectively.

6.5.2024

BURGESS HELPS IPSWICH INTO ENGLAND’S TOP FLIGHT (courtesy waoveryonder.au)

Socceroo Cameron Burgess is set to become the eighth West Australian to reach the dizzy heights of the English Premier League. Burgess’ club, Ipswich Town, completed a remarkable return to the world’s biggest football league by securing their second successive promotion on the weekend.

After finishing as League One runners-up in 2022/23, Ipswich claimed back-to-back promotions by placing second in the Championship. Ipswich secured their place in next seasons' Premier League with a final day 2-0 win over Huddersfield United which triggered a pitch invasion.

It came just days after Burgess bundled in a close-range header to earn Ipswich a 2-1 win over Coventry City, a result which put them on the verge of promotion. The former ECU Joondalup junior featured in 39 of his teams 46 league games this season as the Tractor Boys ended a 22-year absence from England’s top flight.

Should Burgess, who comes out of contract in August, remain with Ipswich for the 2024/25 campaign he will follow in the footsteps of goalkeeper Andy Petterson, Stan Lazaridis, Chris Coyne, Richard Garcia, Brad Jones, Chris Herd and Jordan Lyden as West Australians to have played in the English Premier League.

Aberdeen-born Burgess started out locally with Joondalup before linking with Fulham, where he made his professional debut in August 2014. He has since chalked up close to 350 senior outings through spells with Cheltenham Town, Oldham Athletic, Bury, Scunthorpe United, Salford City, Accrington Stanley and Ipswich, who he joined in mid-2021.

The towering centre back gained his 100th Ipswich appearance in April’s derby loss to Norwich City. Burgess represented both Australia and Scotland at youth levels but had to wait until he was 28 before making his senior debut in the Socceroos draw with Mexico in September 2023. He currently has seven caps to his name.

5.5.2024

AMATEUR CUP ROUND TWO - REVIEW

It was round two of the Belt-Up Amateur Cup on Sunday, and we had four all-premier division ties, and the current holders Wembley Downs have made it through to the next round, but only just, securing a 4-2 win on penalties, after it had finished 1-1 at full time against Kingsley Westside at Butlers Reserve. “Really pleased to get into the next round after a really tough game against a top Kingsley side. There was very little in it from start to finish and we’re obviously delighted to sneak through via the penalty shootout,” Wembley coach Rob Jackson explained. “I’m really proud of the effort the boys are putting in week in week out and I’m sure they’re looking forward to making Rockingham work hard next week in the Australia Cup tie”.

Halil Russo gave the hosts the lead early, before Ryan Fish levelled before the break, and in the shoot-out, Josh Chalmers fired home the decisive penalty to seal the tie. Wembley skipper Jack Mellor said it was a battle. “It was a tough game against a fired-up Kingsley side. We failed to convert our chances and overall, very wasteful in the final third,” he said. “Kingsley made us work hard for the win. we weren’t at our best but I thought we were the deserved winners on the day. It’s not going to be an easy ride trying to defend the title but we like having the silverware around so will keep the fight”.

Champions Emerald have bowed out, after a 0-1 loss against Jaguar at Fraser Park. The only goal of the game came from Brian Kiruja in the first half. “The game was tough for us as we knew we were playing against a good team that is in top form in the league, we just told the boys to stay calm and absorb pressure,” Jaguar coach Josam Muwowo said. “We knew Emerald will come on us, and we just told the boys to play according to our approach. We missed a couple of chances, until our new signee Brian scored the lone goal for us to win on the day. Overall, the boys showed some positive signs this week coming from two consecutive defeats in the league it wasn't easy for us to revive ourselves”.

North Beach moved through with a big 5-2 win against Morley Windmills at Wotton Reserve. “Really satisfying result to progress into the next stage of the cup competition. We knew were coming into a tough fixture off the back of a poor start to the league. We had an honest talk as a group last week about where we are at currently, and what we need to improve on,” North Beach coach Nick Di Carlo explained. “We certainly implemented that throughout the week on the track and today and started looking like the team we want to be. We hope to continue our form into the league next week”. The visitors raced to a two-goal lead at half time, with goals from Luke Randazzo and Luke Jones, and Alex Kretowicz added a third on the hour. Ali Gholami pulled one back for Morley three minutes later, and when he added a second moments later it was game on. But it was the visitors who sealed the tie, with Kretowicz grabbing a late double, to complete his hat-trick and win the tie 5-2.

In the other all-premier division tie North Perth United scored in extra time to seal a 3-2 win against Peel United at Woodville Reserve. It was Peel who would find the opener on 12 minutes with Tristan Sullivan scoring, but a goal in the shadows of half time from Eamonn Kelly, sent the sides into the break all-square. The hosts hit the front through Gershom Rowland, but moments later Mitchell Kelman restored parity for Peel. It looked like heading to penalties but in extra time a goal from Tomas Carroll sent North Perth into the next round. “A great win for the club to maintain an unbeaten home run since the season started, Peel where like a new team this time around and were very impressive,” North Perth coach Chris Holland said. “The game was played with high intensity and in all honesty could of went either way, so happy for our lads to be in the quarter finals of the cup”.

In other ties, Ballajura AFC caused the biggest upset of the day, after beating Premier Division South Perth United 2-0 at Challenger Reserve. Brandon Rector gave the visitors the lead early, and a penalty ten minutes from time from Roshann Frederic secured Ballajura’s passage into the next round. “I’m really pleased to get through this round of the cup against a good team,” Ballajura coach Scott Urquhart said. “We had to work hard to stay in the game at times in the first half but in the second we managed the game great. All boys have been working really hard and more than deserved the win today”.

Kelmscott Roos beat Mindarie 5-1 at Frye Park. First half goals from Amos Doegolia Jnr, Kingsley Nteng, Ralph Mawire and Isaac Koomson gave the hosts a great start. Ian Cookland pulled one back for the visitors, but a late goal from substitute Lemeo Wordu completed a comprehensive win for the Roos. “It’s great to get started in the cup, we were unsure on what Mindarie would bring to the game and so we had to make sure that we were switched on from the start,” Kelmscott’s Taylor Warwick said. “I thought we controlled the game completely from start to finish, and with this win, it allows us to go into the game against North Perth full of confidence”.

Goals from Jacob Wemyss and Jonah Froman gave Maccabi a perfect start against Queens Park at Maccabean Memorial Oval. Wemyss added a third on the hour, before late goals from Jared Dimbleby and Liam Fyfe secured the 5-0 win. Last season’s beaten finalist Perth AFC scored two late goals to beat Spearwood Dalmatinac 3-2 at Len Packham Park. Jack Beech gave the visitors the lead at half time, before Ryan Fielder levelled for the host ten minutes into the second half. Giulio Del Dosso regained the lead for Spearwood 12 minutes from time, but Spiro Nenadic restored parity seven minutes from time. It looked like going to penalties, but five minutes later Lucas Pickering scored the winner. “Really happy to progress to the next round and against a good Spearwood side, I thought we controlled most of the game and played some great football, we conceded from a great strike and went in to halftime 1-0 down,” Perth AFC coach Nathan Thorp said. “Second half message was to keep playing as we’d created so many chances in the first half and we took our chances after the break to send us through”.

In the other games a brace from Grant Mowatt, and others to Nick Papa and Scott Wrightson has seen Bayswater City beat Northern City 4-1 at Dryandra Reserve, Kwinana United beat Stirling Panthers 2-0 at Yuluma Park, and Hamersley Rovers edged out Fremantle 2-1 at Hilton Park. A brace from Kori Weetch helped Alkimos beat Joondanna Blues 5-1, while goals from Stuart Fryers and Aref Nazary gave Forrestfield United a 2-0 win against Port Kennedy at Crazy Domain Stadium, Hartfield Park. A hat-trick from Raynell Edmonds has helped Swan Valley to a 5-2 win against Woodvale at Timberlane Park, while a hat-trick from Fabrice Feruz and another from John Monterosso has seen Ellenbrook United beat Olympic Kingsway 4-2. In the final game Quinns were given a forfeit against Perth Hills.

5.5.2024

NPLWA – WOMEN’S – ROUND FIVE REVIEW

Perth SC have moved up to second on the NPLWA – Women’s table on goal difference after a superb 6-1 win against Hyundai NTC at Dorrien Gardens on Friday evening. The hosts made the perfect start on 13 minutes, Jessica Flannery earning a penalty, and the striker picking herself up to convert it. It was 2-0 when the inform Ella Lincon pounced on a mistake to fire past Meagan Phillips in the NTC goal. It soon became three with Daisy McAllister’s long-range strike on the half hour, and just before the break Lincoln added her second with a fine finish, to send the Azzurri into the sheds well in command. The NTC youngsters pulled one back on the hour mark, with Maja Archibald on target, but that’s as good as it got for them. Perth completed the rout, with substitute Anika Stajcic bagging a quick-fire brace to secure a huge win for Danielle Brogan’s side.

Perth RedStar continued their perfect start to the season, but were made to work for their 4-2 win against Fremantle City at the RedStar Arena on Sunday. It looked business as usual for Carlos Vaga Mena’s side, when Renee Leota scored the opener on 36 minutes, firing home on the turn from Andrea Teixera’s free kick. But Fremantle, who secured the first win of the season last week, hit back and levelled on the stroke of half time, Clara Hoarau’s shot from the edge of the box beat RedStar custodian Gabby Dal Busco.

The hosts restored their lead early in the second half, with Leota added her second. Momoko Sakairi getting to the byline and crossing for the striker to head home from close range. It was 3-1 on 75 minutes, Reina Kagami collected Manami Arai’s pass and finished clinically, for her seventh goal of the season. Fremantle weren’t finished and pulled one back when Alex Poad sent Tanika Lala to net her first goal since joining City to set up a grandstand finish. The visitors pushed for the equaliser, and Dal Busco saved well to deny Janice Kiama’s shot but in stoppage time the hosts sealed the points. Caitlin Doeglas found Arai who made no mistake.

Balcatta are third after three first-half goals saw them beat Subiaco AFC 3-1 at Home Group Stadium, Grindleford Reserve. “The game was one of moments, and we struggled to be consistent over the whole 90 minutes. There were a number of players slightly out of position today due to player availability but I think we did the best we could in that circumstance,” Balcatta’s Lucy Jerram said. “The moments where we did well were exceptional and we took advantage which put goals on the board. We came away with the points but took a lot of learning curves out of the game which also isn’t a terrible thing. Everyone being aware of room for improvement is really positive. It is still early days and doing the best we could with what we had shown the strength in depth and the versatility we have.”

The hosts were ahead on 12 minutes, some neat build up down the right from Jerram and Monique Prinsloo, ended with Faye Phillips, who applied the finish touch. Phillips was in again on the half hour, linking up well with Jerram, before finding the top corner. Peter Rakic’s side had a third just before half time, Alyssa Van Heurck run ended with a pass to Jerram, who finished clinically past Ashleigh Riddle, her seventh goal of the season. Subiaco did score a consolation goal late with Marianna Tabain beating Rebecca Bennett, but it was too little too late.

In the final game Murdoch University Melville have come from behind to beat UWA Nedlands 2-1 at the UWA Sports Park, and claim their first points of the season. “Pleasing to see the girls secure a win after what has been a tough start to the season for us. We are under no illusions that every game in this league is extremely hard and we need to be on our game each week and ensure that we do not lose concentration and try to stick to our game plan,” MUMFC coach Steve Atkins explained. “This result is a real credit to the girls and their work rate at training, that willingness to stay positive and keep trying to develop, given we have a very young and new squad.

“UWA certainly pushed us hard and to go down early in the game was unfortunate however a regroup at halftime and some reinforcement of our game strategy enabled us to go into the second half with more drive and determination. This was rewarded with a goal for us early on and then we were lucky to secure the points five minutes from time with a great strike from Tiana Botha. Overall, the girls showed they can compete at this level, and I was super proud of the effort and attitude of them all yesterday”.

The hosts were ahead early, Michaela Thawley spotted Manon Gebauer off her line and lobbed the goalkeeper from distance. UWA were in control, and went close to a second when Emily Dinsdale’s effort came back off the crossbar. It was a different story after the break, and the visitors levelled early, substitute Luana Ascenzo-Cabello’s free kick was turned into her own net by the unfortunate Franca Dobbin. Both sides had chances to win it, the best falling to Mackenzie Rastatter, whose header crashed off the bar. But three minutes from time it was MUMFC who won it, Botha held off her marker, before finishing well past Springer.

In round six next Sunday, leaders Perth RedStar welcome third placed Balcatta Etna to the RedStar Arena, while second placed Perth SC make the trip to the Besteam Stadium to take on the rejuvenated Murdoch University Melville. Fremantle City entertain UWA Nedlands at Hilton Park, while in the final game the Hyundai NTC and Subiaco AFC will both look to bounce back from defeat this week, when they meet at Rosalie Park.

4.5.2024

NPL-WA ROUND SEVEN - REVIEW

Fremantle City have moved into fourth spot on the NPLWA – Men’s table after a hard fought 2-1 win against Perth Glory at Hilton Park on Saturday afternoon, in our week seven ‘Match of the Round’. An early goal from Pat Loughrey had the hosts in control, but Glory dominated the rest of the half and deservedly levelled mid-way through the first half with Jaylan Pearman on target. In a see-sawing second half it was Fremantle who secured the points with Cameron Edwards heading home, and although Glory pressed for the equaliser late, Fremantle held firm to maintain their winning run at home. “This was going to be one of our tougher tests for the year, playing glory at our place on a big pitch we knew we’d have to defend well and take our chances when they come,” Fremantle skipper Hayden Stevens explained. “The lads put in a massive shift against a young but energetic Glory side. Both sides had chances and dominated possession at times throughout the game, but in the end, I think a little bit of experience and physicality got us over the line. We now look forward to Sorrento in the cup next week”.

Fremantle made the perfect start, after finding the opener on eight minutes. Referee Liam Howgate spotted a foul on Alex McLean by Manolo Veneracion on the edge of the box, and Pat Loughrey curled the resulting free kick around the wall and into the bottom of the net past Robert Cook. Glory looked for an immediate response, and Seb Despotovski’s snap shot was deflected wide, before Sam Barry fired over the top moments later. The visitors were causing problems on transition and Royle Rahamim fired high and wide from the edge of the box, after Despotovski had squared the ball to him. The lively Despotovski went close himself with a long-range strike, which was well held by Luke Radonich, before the Fremantle custodian got down well to save Rahamim’s shot on the run. But on 27 minutes Glory’s pressure was rewarded with the equaliser, Despotovski laying the ball into the path of Jaylan Pearman, whose long-range shot flew past Radonich. Despotovski was then denied by a great save by Radonich, as the Glory youngsters continued to dominant, before and unmarked Sean O’Connor fired inches over the top shortly after. The host steadied and went close themselves seven minutes before the break, but McLean couldn’t direct his header on target from Oliver La Galia’s cross from the left, and at the break it was all-square, but it was the visitors who were creating the better chances.

Whatever head coach Matthew Sparrow said at half time worked, as six minutes into the second half the hosts regained the lead. Loughrey’s corner from the right, found Jesse Fuller, whose looping header looked like it was going in, but Cameron Edwards made sure, heading home from close-range. Charles Chechlacz shot from distance flashed over the top, as they looked for a third, and they thought they had found it moments later, Riley Woodcock’s cross finding McLean at the back stick, who fired home, but the flag was up for offside. There were chances at both ends as the game opened up, first Pearman curled one inches over the top for Glory on 72 minutes, and eight minutes later Fremantle substitute Taj Bingwa’s shot was saved low by Cook. Glory pressed late to find the equaliser, Laat Mathiang header was deflected wide of the post, before fellow substitute Alfie Knight couldn’t keep his shot down moments later, but Fremantle held firm to move up to fourth on the ladder, while Glory sit eighth.

“Our home form has been extremely good so far and yesterday’s performance wasn’t pretty but picking up another three points was all that mattered in the end,” Fremantle head coach Matthew Sparrow explained. “We started off really well, I thought our movement, passing and some of our football was superb for the first 20 minutes then we seemed to stop playing and take our foot of the gas especially after they equalised. We regrouped at half time spoke about a few things that we weren’t happy with and got the vital second goal from another set piece and held firm against the wind second half. All in all, we weren’t at our best so it was important we defended together as a team which I thought the boys did brilliantly and winning ugly is sometimes a good trait to have in football”.

Floreat Athena are the new leaders after a had fought 2-1 win against Balcatta Etna at E&D Litis Stadium. “We knew it was going to be a tough game and with last week's disappointing cup result we had to keep our finger on the pulse in the league,” Floreat skipper Jason Saldaris said. “First half was end to end with no team really out playing another, equal chances at both sides but Guy (Davies) found the opener for us. We doubled our lead with a tidy finish from Mohammed, but conceded a penalty, which turned the game on its head especially when a late Balcatta goal was cancelled for offside. The squad dug deep and ground out the remainder of the game. It's was a huge result and just a different type of win the squad showed that they can soak up pressure and grind games out, which sees us now at the head of the table”.

The visitors were on the front foot early and went close to the opener when American Hasani Sinclair raced clear, and rounded Floreat skipper Jason Saldaris, but Ben Steele got back to clear the ball off the line. But on the half hour mark, it was Floreat who found the breakthrough. Former Armadale midfielder Cherno Bah played in Guy Davies, who made no mistake, his fourth goal in as many games in all competitions. Balcatta hit back, and former Perth Glory midfielder Rostyn Griffiths rattled the bar with header, before Sinclair fired just wide, but Etna had it all to do after the break.

Things became more difficult for Balcatta, when Floreat doubled their advantage on 68 minutes. Mohamed Al-Zaidy was found by Ajang Yuot, and the young midfielder had time to pick his spot and fire low past Balcatta custodian Connor Cambell. The visitors were quick to respond, and reduced the deficit two minutes later, after Liam Hudson was clipped by Ali Mohamed inside the box and Michal Jasinski pointed to the spot. Ben Hinshelwood stepped up and scored from the resulting penalty, his sixth goal of the season. They thought they had found an equaliser when Sinclair headed home Shogo Osawa’s cross, but their celebrations were halted by the offside flag. “The win against Balcatta felt like an Athena win of old,” striker Nick Ambrogio said. “There were moments where our backs were against the wall, but we stayed disciplined, organised and found a way to win”.

Western Knights have lost top spot on the table, after being held to a 1-1 draw by Bayswater City at Nash Field. Both sides had chances in this one, but Sam Reilly and Lewis Italiano were determined not to be beaten. But that all changed six minutes from time, when the visitors found the opener. Alex Ishida-Livings made space and squared for Samuel Dweh to bundle home from close range. It looked like the first defeat of the season for the hosts, but in the final minute they found the equaliser. Jack Bardsley’s throw was met by substitute Justin Tang, who volleyed home, much to the delight of the home faithful. “I was delighted with the players application and effort today, Western Knights is a tough place to visit and as a team they are performing to a high level,” Bayswater head coach Gary Williams said. “We managed to score a very good goal late in the game and way we had been defending I thought it would have been the winning goal. Unfortunately, they scored into injury time from a throwing which was very disappointing. Overall, I am taking the positives out of the game of which there were many. We face them at home in the cup next week which will be another tough fixture”.

The biggest win of the day came at Kingsway Reserve, where Olympic Kingsway thrashed Perth SC 5-0. “We’re really happy to get the three points and a clean sheet against a well-organised Perth side,” Olympic head coach David Tough said. “In the first half I didn’t feel we had the right intensity but there was a vast improvement in the second half which showed with the goals we scored. We’ll now focus on a tough away cup tie against our good friends at Mandurah”. It was a tight first half, but it was the hosts who lead at the break, after an own goal from Josh Cala on 33 minutes. It was Olympic who took control after half time, and they added a second six minutes in, Aryn Williams’ crunching tackle in the middle of the park won possession, and Mitch Oxborrow’s diagonal ball sent Joe Knowles down the right, he crossed to Liam Boland, who guided his header past Rocco Liberti. It was 3-0 five minutes later, a poor pass from Liberti went straight to Liam Murray, who found Boland, who swept the ball home. The floodgates opened, and it was 4-0 moments later, Ryan Lowry’s ball over the top catch the Azzurri napping, and Knowles raced into goal and finished low past Liberti.

They added the fifth on 67 minutes, Abdul Osman was caught in possession in his own box, after receiving a hospital ball from Liberti, and Oxborrow punished him, by finding the bottom corner of the net. The only downside to the win was the sending off of substitute Luke Hewings on 79 minutes, after he was shown a straight red card by referee Alex Novatsis for a lunging tackle on Judd MacDougall, only four minutes after coming on. “It was great to get back to winning ways in the league, the team put in a shift, particularly in the second half where we ran away with the game,” Olympic striker Liam Boland said. “It was great for us to get a clean sheet as well. We have had a tough start to the season, but are sitting in a good position to make a push now which is exciting”.

Perth RedStar bounced back from defeat last time out against Fremantle, after a narrow 1-0 win against Stirling Macedonia at Macedonia Park. “It was a close game as it always is against Stirling, but I thought today we worked so hard for each other, defended really aggressively from front to back,” RedStar defender Blair Govan explained. “We said at half time it was going to be either a mistake from us or them that would win the game. We put the pressure or second half which ultimately led to a mistake on their behalf then we managed the rest out really well to finally come away from there with three points.” The game’s only goal was scored seven minutes into the second half, Nick Walsh’s cut back was turned into his own net by the unfortunate former ECU junior Danny Douglas. “It was a tough game, very competitive from start to finish with some great football from both sides and happy to come away with a win and a clean sheet,” RedStar head coach Callum Salmon said. “Stirling are one of the best sides in the competition and are extremely well coached, so delighted to take the points and we now look forward to the cup game at Gwelup”.

Armadale have won for the first time this season, and condemned Inglewood United to a seventh consecutive defeat after a 4-1 win at Inglewood Stadium. “We knew it was only a matter of time, our performances haven’t reflected the results through the start of the season,” Armadale keeper Joel Driscoll said. “Today’s performance was well rounded, despite going a goal down we managed to pull through and dominate large periods of the game and got the result we deserved. Our focus now is to continue this on into the next league games and try get a good run going into the halfway point of the season”. Both sides went into this game still searching for their first wins of the season, and it was the hosts who made the better start and they were ahead on eight minutes. Charlie Garnham corner from the right was headed back across goal by Ciaran Salinger, and Jordan Brown headed home from close-range. But their lead only lasted six minutes, Ryley Wishart-Stephen’s ball into the box was chested down by Purvishna Appadoo to Chan Yelchan, who was tripped by keeper Nik Speca, and referee Shane Skinner pointed straight to the spot. Wishart-Stephen stepped up and sent the Inglewood custodian the wrong way from the resulting penalty.

The visitors hit the front six minutes later, a corner was only cleared as far as Amir Ajan on the edge of the box, he sent Callum Dobbs down the right, and his cross was finished low past Speca by Luke Collins. They increased their lead five minutes before half time, Yelchan sent Wishart-Stephen racing clear, with the Inglewood defenders looking for the offside flag, that never came, and his low cross was turned home by Pieter Jacobsz at the back post. Inglewood couldn’t find a way back into the game after the break, and it was Armadale who sealed the points four minutes from time. Amir and Jacobsz combined down the right, the former raced away, his shot on the run hit the base of the post, and the rebound was tucked home by Lucas Cook, to secure their first win of 2024. “We’re all pleased to get off the mark for the season, and the players deserve a great deal of credit, we could have crumbled after conceding early, but they lifted and got the rewards today,” Armadale coach Alun Vernals said. “I thought after the slow start we really grew into the game, and it was a fairly convincing win in the end”.

4.5.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND SIX REVIEW

Our State League Division One ‘Match of the Round’ was the top of the table clash between Murdoch University Melville and Subiaco AFC at the Besteam Stadium, and the hosts had to come from two-goals down to earn a 2-2 draw. “I thought it was a good game, disappointed with the goals we conceded, and the penalty decision for the second goal which was baffling,” MUMFC head coach Marc Anthony said. “But we are happy with the reaction of coming from two goals down, and our second half was excellent”. It was Subiaco who found the opener on 18 minutes, a short corner routine from the training track worked superbly for the visitors, with Jonty Pearson firing home from the edge of the box. They doubled their lead moments later, Phil Arnold was brought down by Daniel Tait, and referee Jasmine Bremmer was well placed and pointed straight to the spot, and Arnold picked himself up and converted the penalty.

The home side were back in the game nine minutes before the break, Adam Fields intercept a clearance and fired home a powerful shot from just inside the box. MUMFC pressed for the equaliser and it finally came eight minutes from time, Field’s picked out Feisal Zaw, who got to the byline and crossed to fellow substitute Declan Tanna who headed home. “MUMFC have been at the top of the league for the first month, so we knew that Marc Anthony’s team would be a tough encounter at their ground. We were good in the first half but didn’t really come to terms with the pitch over the 90 minutes,” Subiaco assistant coach Dale Wingell explained. “Some individual errors allowed them back in the game and both teams had chances to win it in the second half, so both teams would argue that a draw was a fair result in the end. Still a lot of football to play this season so we just keep rolling and don’t get ahead of ourselves. With no cup game next week, it allows us the opportunity to reinvigorate the squad and manage some injuries in the lead up to another tough game against Dianella”.

Dianella White Eagles remain top of the table after a 2-1 win against Gwelup Croatia at the Croatian Sporting Complex, Wishart Street. The Eagles, who went into the game unbeaten, were ahead on 24 minutes, a long free kick sent Angel Andres Jnr inside the penalty area and he squared the ball to Andy Keogh, and the former Perth Glory striker made no mistake. They added a second on the half hour, Paul Zimarino’s free kick picked out Keogh, his header was well saved by Josiah Godfrey, Kevin McEvoy’s follow up shot was turned home by Ryan Hogan on the line. The hosts found a lifeline ten minutes from time, Jeremie Mba’s defence splitting ball sent substitute Pierre Barilly in on goal, and he finished well past Peter Pilkadaris. Gwelup pressed for the equaliser, and the best chance came deep into stoppage time when Barilly’s goalbound shot hit one of his own players.

Sorrento were the big winners on the day, thrashing Rockingham City 9-2 at Percy Doyle Reserve. “I thought we were great today,” Sorrento midfielder Tim Hill said. “We’ve spoken about it for a few weeks that we need to start making Percy Doyle a place teams hate coming and put teams to the sword and we managed to do that today”. The Gulls flew out of the blocks and were 4-0 up after only 34 minutes, Keegan Chambers opening the scoring on 18 minutes, before a quick-fire brace from skipper Dean Cummings and another from Scott Robertson had the hosts in complete control at the break. Cory McNelis pulled one back for City on the hour, but when Cummings completed his hat-trick three minutes later the game was over. Cummings added his fourth, and Clay Gibbs made it 7-1 on 75 minutes. Shane Boyle pulled one back for the visitor’s moments later, but late goals from substitutes Jaxon Temata and Jake Nicholson, rounded off a comprehensive win for Steve McGarry’s side.

UWA Nedlands remain just outside the top four, after a 2-1 win against Kingsley Westside at the UWA Sports Park. “We dominated the first half, and should have been further ahead entering the break, but the official’s decision to send Joey Roscoe off early in the second half with a straight red card changed the game and put us on the back foot for the next 40 minutes,” UWA head coach Richard Abrams explained. “Despite having a man down for so long we created by far the better chances including two one on ones which we failed to convert, but the lads dug in deep and came away with three deserved points on the day”. The hosts were ahead on 18 minutes, with Seb Hooshanigan on target, and they doubled their lead just after the half hour, Sam Ince’s cross was turned home by Pascel Sedgwick at the front post. It wasn’t the best start for UWA after the break with Roscoe sent off by referee Steven Gregory, after a tangle with Adam O’Neill two minutes in. The visitors were back in the game five minutes later, when Aston Montgomery’s cross shot found the bottom corner. Kingsley pressed for the equaliser, but the hosts held on to claim the points.

Mandurah City are sixth, after a 2-1 win against Joondalup United at the Poolmart Stadium, Peelwood Parade, and player coach John Baird was pleased with the performance. “Delighted with the result, against a big physical side,” he said. “We had to move the ball about and be confident in our demands which the team was, maybe we could’ve been quicker, but created massive chances. To be honest Joondalup also created two or three chances themselves against the run of play, but we defended well in the end, it was a big performance from the players”. It was a tight game throughout, but it was the hosts who opening the scoring on the hour mark. A diagonal ball from Jordan Callaghan sent Craig Barker racing down the right, and his low cross was turned home by Shaun Mukwevho. They doubled their advantage shortly after, John Baird’s corner from the left was headed home at the back post by Brian Patterson. Joondalup pulled one back deep into stoppage time. A long-throw wasn’t dealt with and Ben Campbell fired home to set up a tense last few minutes, but the hosts held firm to seal the win.

In the final game Cockburn City have won for the first time this season, after a narrow 1-0 win against Gosnells City at Dalmatinac Park. “Delighted for Steven, Scott and the players, there has obviously been a huge overhaul of players preseason and it’s been a big turnaround, so it was always going to take a bit of time to gel the new group of players,” Cockburn assistant coach Kris Donnell explained. “The changing room has stayed strong and deserved the victory today they are a very tight knit group. It was nice to get a result for the new president and committee who have come in through the week. “We will take it one game at a time but it’s all positive and we go again in a couple of weeks against Joondalup”. The only goal of the game came on 25 minutes, after Blake Pritchard brought down Frank Kinnen and the referee pointed to the spot. Harry O’Brien stepped up and found the bottom corner of the net from the resulting penalty. Gosnells pressed late looking for the equaliser, but they found Michael Craggs in fine form to deny them.

3.5.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND FIVE REVIEW

Our State League Division Two game turned into a seven-goal thriller, with league leaders Joondalup City scoring a last-minute winner to beat host Quinns 4-3 at Stylish Park, Gumblossom Park in the northern derby on Saturday afternoon. “That was some game for the neutral today., and there were boys from both teams out on their feet by the end of the game,” Joondalup City head coach Guy McDonald explained. “Quinns were definitely the best team in the first half, but we made some slight tactical tweaks at halftime which I thought resulted in us dominating the game and deservedly taking three points. We talk about never stopping and the boys showed a lot of character to pull that one back in the second half”.

City made the best possible start, taking the lead after only three minutes, Callum Stocks dribble through three Quinns defenders before slotting the ball calmly past the keeper. But Quinns hit back two minutes later with Liam Hunt on target. The visitors regained the lead on 13 minutes, Mason Gallagher squeezing the ball home, but the home side hit back on the half hour, with Magai Deng restoring parity. Then in the shadows of half time Quinns hit the front for the first time, with Deng adding his second. McDonald made a change at the break with Harry Edwards replacing Noel Disha, and he had an immediate impact levelling five minutes in. Some clever work from Stocks, saw him cut the ball back Edwards, and the substitute finished calmly. It looked like the points would be shared, but in the final minute Joondalup won it. Tom Hunt won the ball back after putting pressure on their defence, which resulted in fellow substitute Sam Rawlings finishing clinically.

Forrestfield United have also continued their winning start to the season, after a 3-1 win against Carramar Shamrock Rovers at Crazy Domain Stadium, Hartfield Park. It was an emotional day for the club, after the sad passing of Scarlett Oliver, daughter of coach Paul, and niece of defender James, and he said it was hard day. “It was a really emotional and important day as we celebrated the life of our Scarlett. Everyone involved did an amazing job,” James Oliver explained. “I'm really proud of the lads. They showed a lot of grit to get another three points and keep our winning run going. We are showing a lot of character to dig deep when needed this season”.

Forrestfield were in all pink as a tribute to Scarlett, but it was the visitors who opened the scoring on 22 minutes, Phil O’Callaghan finishing clinically after Forrestfield failed to deal with a free kick. The host hit back and levelled four minutes later, Joshua Gardner winning possession in the middle of the park and his long-range strike found the net. United hit the front before the break, a long-throw from Austin Reynolds was volleyed home by Alec Robinson. Rovers should have levelled early in the second half when they were awarded a penalty, but Charlie Bayliss saved O’Callaghan’s spot kick.

The game was still up for grabs, with both sides hitting the woodwork, and having chances had their chances, but it was Forrestfield who won it in the final minute, debutant midfielder Lukas Johansson was brought down in the box, and substitute Sherwin Tucker made no mistake from the spot kick. “We came into the game knowing they would play direct football, and then to go behind in the first half was disappointing, we should have dealt with it better,” Oliver added. “The boys rallied well, and we drew level, and went into half time with the lead. Both sides had chances, and we had Charlie to thank for the penalty save, and Sherwin sealed it, after great work from ‘Man of the Match’ Lukas on his debut”.

Forrestfield coach Daryl Platten said after a slow start it was another good performance, to continue their unbeaten start to the season. “Great to get another three points on the board, it's been a great start to the season for us,” he said. “We didn't start the game great and maybe the emotion of the day got to us a bit, and we switched off for their goal. Carramar didn't make it easy for us at all and had some good chances, thankfully we have a great young keeper in Charlie Bayliss who has been excellent so far this year”.

Kalamunda City are up to third after a 2-0 win against Balga at Princess Road Reserve. “It was a good game against a stronger Balga side than last year,” City striker Farruh Mavlonov said. “We bounced back from two defeats in a row and are looking forward to playing against top of the table Joondalup City next”. Mavlonov was the hero for Kalamunda, opening the scoring on 21 minutes, his long-range shot beating the keeper. He added the second on the half hour, volleying home a free kick. Balga pressed in the second half but they couldn’t find a way back into the game.

Swan United were the big winners on the day, returning from Hudson Park with a 5-1 win against East Perth. “A really good result and a pleasing performance today against a good side in East Perth, who we expect to see up there this season,” Swan coach Niall Hughes said. “We have been steadily improving since half time against Kalamunda and the fight and intensity in the side is now where it needs to be to get results. We weren’t quite at our best with the ball for the first ten minutes and East Perth had come out with a lot of energy to make it hard for us.

“After that we finally got our foot on the ball and moved it quickly which allowed us create plenty of chances. I think we probably had three good chances to score prior to our first goal and once the first goal went in, I think we went up a gear and really showed what a threat we are when we are on our game. Defensively we were really solid too which is something we have been working hard on since preseason, as we were leaking goals so all credit to the lads for going out there and getting the job done”.

The visitors burst the game open with three late goals in the first half. First on 38 minutes, Nick Burmej won the ball just inside our own half and drove forward before smashing a long-range shot past Luke Green. They added a second, four minutes later, some neat work down the right allowed Amro Atta to get free on the right of the box and deliver a cross to the back post for Jake Fritchley to head home. It was 3-0 in stoppage time, Atta picked up the ball on the left and drove at the East Perth defence, before slipping the ball into Jordy Lyall, who finished clinically.

Swan added a fourth early in the second half, a loose ball midway through the East Perth half was pounced on by the lively Atta, who drove through a number of challenges, raced into the box and finished low past Green. East Perth pulled one back just the hour mark, Ryan McCready heading home his seventh goal of the season, but Swan had the final say, adding a fifth in the final minute. Fritchley was brought down by Green, and he picked himself up to score the resulting penalty.

Curtin University also bagged five, beating Canning City 5-0 at Edinburgh Oval. “Really happy with the well-rounded performance on Saturday. Whilst scoring five goals in such a clinical manner is great, I’m happy that we got a clean sheet and limited Canning to only a handful of chances,” Curtin coach Troy Reid explained. “After a sluggish start to the season, it’s great to see the boys getting reward for the effort they are putting in every week”.

Curtin were out of the blocks early, and were ahead on seven minutes, Rowen Steed raced into the box and cut the ball back and it was flicked on by Nathan Smith and Simone Sichel tapped home at the back post. They doubled their lead three minutes later, Steed again cutting the ball back to Sichel, who finished well. They added a third on 23 minutes, a pass in behind by Kevin Beattie found Sichel down the left, who crossed for Steed to head over the keeper. They went on with it after the break, quick transition found Nayan Brown beat an advancing keeper and found Steed to slot home in an empty net. It was 5-0 in the final minute, a fast break down the left by Jordan Valentini, who slipped the ball to Rakan Ozrain, who finished calmly from the angle.

The final game saw Ashfield and Wanneroo City play out a 2-2 draw at Paintseal Arena, the hosts fighting back from two goals down at half time to earn the point. “Very pleased with how the lads come out in the second half and the number of chances we created after going down 2-0 early,” Ashfield player coach James Sammut said. “We need to now build on that and continue to work on putting together a consistent 90 minutes”. Ben Wantee gave the visitors the lead after only four minutes, before Aleks Lazov added a second seven minutes before the break. Ashfield found a lifeline just after the hour, Dean Kezurer flicked on a corner and Jared Flavel scored from close-range. They equalised deep into stoppage time, Flavel beat his defender and cut the ball back to Ravi Singh who made no mistake to give both sides a share of the spoils.

3.5.2024

NPL-WA ROUND SEVEN - PREVIEW

After last week’s Australia Cup break, we are back in league action this weekend, with the NPLWA – Men’s week seven games, and our ‘Match of the Round takes us to Hilton Park where Fremantle City host Perth Glory. (All games kick off at 3.00pm, unless stated) Fremantle were in action last week, beating Quinns to move into the fifth round of the cup, while Glory had the weekend off, but last time in the league Glory lost at Bayswater, to drop to eighth on the ladder, and they were leapfrogged by Fremantle, who surprised defending champions Perth RedStar on the road. Only two points separate the two teams in the standings, so three points are vital in this clash, in the first-ever league meeting of the two sides.

Fremantle head coach Matthew Sparrow was pleased with the performance at RedStar in the last round, and knows they can compete with any team on their day. “Yes, it was very good away day for us as a club, to set up and play the way we did with and without the ball was really pleasing, we showed great energy and the intensity from start to finish was what we spoke about before the game,” he said. “They (RedStar) have a lot of dangerous players and they are champions for a reason.

“We knew it was hugely important we stayed in the game and yet again we got off to the perfect start, but even at 2-1 down a lot of teams would have collapsed, but we showed fantastic character to get ourselves back into the game within the space of ten minutes, and then to see the game out and to come away with three points was extremely satisfying. When we are all at it, we know we can beat any team on our day, it’s just finding the consistency week in week out that will be key to any team’s success this season in this league.”

Sparrow has been delighted with his sides start to life in the NPL, but he knows it’s a learning curve for them, but they are heading in the right direction. The coach knows they face a difficult game against a Glory side who will be looking to bounce back having lost the last two games heavily. “Six games gone and we find ourselves in a respectable position, am I surprised, no because I believe in my squad and the players and I know what they are capable of individually and collectively,” he explained.

“Each game is a learning curve and we are finding out very quickly that if you switch off in this league you will get punished so it’s really important, we stay focused for 95 minutes. Glory is always a very tricky fixture, we all know they have a lot of bright young footballers who like to play, results haven’t been going their way of late but I’m sure they will be keen to put that right against us so we will prepare this week as normal to make sure we will be ready come 3pm Saturday”.

Perth Glory head coach John Walmsley said it had been a positive start to the season for the new look side, and the young group continue to develop. “The nature of the youth team at Perth Glory is always a side which consistently changes, and this current group is also having to deal with a lot of uncertainty at the club. Since myself and Ste have been in the role there has been a lot of difficult circumstances for both players and staff to deal with,” he explained.

“For those who have been playing regularly this season it is important to learn from each game, to continue to develop and improve: There have been some really positive performances from a playing group which prior to this season had limited first team experience. The context we find ourselves in is an opportunity to show greater consistency week in week out, minimise distractions and help the players focus purely on performance”.

The loss at Bayswater, made it back-to-back defeats for Glory, and Walmsley said after leading at half time the second half was poor. “The second half was our worst performance of the season, and fell far below expectations. Regardless of changes to the team, we lacked character and performed poorly when we went a goal behind. It was a reminder that we must remain structured and disciplined in all moments of the match,” Walmsley said. “We are looking forward to the game against Fremantle, who we expect to be direct and aggressive in their approach. It’s another opportunity for the players available to perform this weekend”.

League leaders Western Knights welcome fourth placed Bayswater City to Nash Field, looking to continue their unbeaten start to the season. They had to settle for a share of the spoils against Olympic last time out, while Bayswater bounced back from a loss at home against RedStar to beat Glory in the league, while both moved into the next round of the cup last week. Second placed Floreat Athena host Balcatta Etna at E&D Litis Stadium. The hosts have only lost once this season, and are in fine form, while Balcatta will be buoyed by their cup win at Armadale last week, and their first win of the season in the previous round.

In other games, third placed Olympic Kingsway host Perth SC to Kingsway Reserve, with the visitors looking for back-to-back wins for new head coach Kenny Lowe, while Stirling Macedonia and Perth RedStar will aim to get back to winning ways when they meet at Macedonia Park. The final games see’s Inglewood United hosting Armadale at Inglewood Stadium. The two bottom sides will be desperate for the three points, to kick start their season, with the hosted lifted with their first win of the season in the cup last week, while Armadale will go in search of their first win of 2024.

“We weren’t at our best against Perth, but we fought back to earn a point late, but once again we didn’t take our chances when we had created them, so we need to improve,” Armadale head coach Alun Vernals said. “Like I’ve said before, if we weren’t creating chances, I would be worried, but we have, and we've worked hard at training this week, and hope to turn it around, sooner rather than later. We have been in all the games this season, but need to put in a 90-minute performance, so we head to Inglewood, and will play our game, and I’m confident we can secure a positive result.”

3.5.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND SIX PREVIEW

It’s week six of the State League Division One, and in our ‘Match of the Round’ sees the unbeaten Subiaco AFC make the trip to Besteam Stadium, to take on Murdoch University Melville, in a top of the table clash. (All games kick off at 3.00pm) The hosts, who sit third on the table, were beaten for the first time this season at Dianella in round five, while second placed Subiaco were made to work hard to beat Cockburn, so with both sides starting the season well, this one should be a cracker.

Subiaco defender Christian Miraudo said it’s been a positive start to the season, but they need to keep their performances up, especially after the slip up in the cup last week. “We’ve had a really good start to the year and the atmosphere around the squad’s been great, we are eager to keep it going as long as we can,” he said. “We dropped the ball against Mandurah in the cup last weekend, so that brought us back down to earth a little bit so we’ll have to try make it right on Saturday.”

They beat Cockburn last time out in the league, and Miraudo said it wasn’t their best performance, and they will need to be better on Saturday against a strong MUMFC. “We got away with one against Cockburn, I thought overall it wasn’t our best game and we got a bit lucky with the sending off which allowed us to play our game with a bit less pressure, luckily we came away with the win and we’ll have to be better against Murdoch,” he explained. “It is probably our hardest game of the season, they look like a very strong side and have had a great start to the year, so we know we’ll have to be at our best to come away with something”.

The hosts were beaten for the first time this season at Dianella in the last round, and Ishmael Dawson it was a tough game, but there is a great atmosphere at the club and he is enjoying playing for new coach Marc Anthony again. “Yes, it has been a great start to the new season, and it’s been a pleasure playing for Marco again and playing with all the lads,” he explained. We have great vibe at the club, and our togetherness has granted us great results so far.

Dawson believes the red card of defender Daniel Tait at Dianella changed the game, but they have moved on and are ready for the challenge of Subiaco on Saturday. “Due to the atmosphere of the game and the competitive challenges from both teams, but I do believe it was an unfair and unfortunate red card, which ultimately changed the game,” he said. “The lads worked extremely hard nevertheless throughout the game and the result didn’t match the performance of the game. We are looking forward to Saturday’s game, it will be a good challenge for both teams. We’ve been preparing all week and excited to get out and play”.

League leaders Dianella White Eagles head north to take on Gwelup Croatia at the Croatian Sporting Complex, Wishart Street. Angel Andres’ side moved to the top of the table last time out with a win against MUMFC, and it continued their unbeaten start to the season, while Gwelup picked up their second win of the season, coming from two-goals down to beat UWA, so these traditional rivals will both look to continue their winning run this Saturday.

In other games on Saturday, Sorrento are the other only unbeaten side in the league, and they welcome Rockingham City to Percy Doyle Reserve, while UWA Nedlands will look to break a two-game losing streak, when they host Kingsley Westside at the UWA Sports Park. Joondalup United make the long trip to the Poolmart Stadium, Peelwood Parade to take on Mandurah City, who ended a two-game losing streak at Gosnells last week.

The final game of the round takes us to Dalmatinac Park, when Cockburn City host Gosnells City. It’s been a tough start for the Cockerels, losing all their opening games, and this week President Heidi Lazzaro stepped down, and defender Daniel Dols said they are working hard to turn their form around. “What Heidi has done for Cockburn over the past 24 years is absolutely immeasurable, particularly in terms of the junior and senior lives she’s impacted and opportunities she has created,” he explained.

“She created a family/community culture at a club that competed at the top flight of WA football for the best part of 20 years and produced and exported so many great talents. We won’t be able to replace the hours, effort and love that Heidi has put into the club, but as players we realise that we have a big job to do on the park and are also excited for the new ideas and opportunities that will come with change, starting with a win this weekend.”

Cockburn showed signed against the unbeaten Subiaco last week, and Dols said they took a great deal from the game. “It definitely hasn’t been the start to the season we expected, particularly with the quality of players we have in the group, however what’s positive is that we’ve built on our performances each week and we believe that the results are not far away,” he said. “I felt we started strong against Subiaco and an unlucky red card derailed our momentum, but again we took a lot of positives out of that game and we will take that into this week”.

3.5.2024

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND FIVE PREVIEW

Joondalup City have started the State League Division Two season well, winning all of their four games, and sitting top of the table on goal difference, and this week they make the trip to Stylish Park, Gumblossom Park to take on Quinns in our week five ‘Match of the Round’. Guy McDonald’s side have scored 14 goals and only conceded one so far this season, and are coming off a hard-fought win against Canning last time out. Quinns moved up to fourth, after a big win against Balga in round four, their first home win of the season, and Antony Benetti’s side will be looking to make it back-to-back on Saturday.

Quinns skipper Matthew Cherrie said the win against Balga was a confidence boost for the side, after back-to-back defeats. “After a couple losses on the bounce, we changed a few things up with our shape and intensity in training,” he said. “So, it was a great way to get some instant recognition for the extra work we’d been putting in and goes to show that we have goals in us, just about finding the consistency.”

They were in cup action last week and really took it up NPL side Fremantle, and Cherrie said despite the loss it was another positive performance. “It’s the first time I’d ever not been disappointed after a loss to be honest, there were a few disappointing areas for improvement for us but was great to go out there and give a good account of ourselves,” he explained. “We spoke about going out firing, getting in their face and making it hard for them which I think we did. To take the lead was huge for us but unfortunately just got over run late on against a very good opposition.”

Cherrie said this northern derby against Joondalup, is a game he’s been looking forward too. It’s their biggest test of the season, and with a few old team mates in their side, it should make it more interesting. “I’ve had this game marked since the fixtures were released. Joondalup are a good side and I always knew they’d be up there so if that’s where we want to be then we have to be winning these sorts of games,” he explained. “They have a couple lads from our team last season too which I think will add a bit more intensity to the game. We’ll be looking to put a marker down in the league and come out with the win, but it’s still early doors in the season and no doubt it’ll be a great game for those involved”.

Joondalup skipper Liam Peacock said it has been a positive start to the season, but they had to work hard against Canning, who sat in and made it difficult for them, and he is expecting another stern test at Quinns on Saturday. “Yes, it’s been a great start to the season, and the changes at the club have been noticeable on and off the pitch, but as a team our focus is one game at a time,” he said.

“Against Canning, it was a great win from the lads, probably one of our best performances of the season, as they stuck 11 players behind the ball and we stuck to our game plan and got rewarded with the goal. As for Saturday it’s a local derby, and any game against a local side is a tense affair, and never an easy game, and Quinn’s is always a tough place to go, so we expect it to be a battle but we are well prepared”.

In other games this weekend third placed East Perth host Swan United at Hudson Park, who will be buoyed by their first win of the season in week four, while bottom of the table Wanneroo City go in search of their first points of the season when they visit Paintseal Arena to take on Ashfield. Curtin University welcome Canning City to Edinburgh Oval in the local derby, and Kalamunda City make the trip to Princess Road Reserve to meet Balga. In the final game, joint leaders Forrestfield United host Carramar Shamrock Rovers at Crazy Domains Stadium, Hartfield Park.

Rovers have struggled so far this season, winning just one game, and are coming off a heavy defeat at Swan last week, while United have won all four games. It’s been a sad week for Forrestfield, with passing off assistant coach Paul Oliver’s daughter Scarlett. The youngster fought with such bravery and she touched the hearts of so many people around the world, and from everyone at Footballwa and the WA football family we pass on our condolences to the Oliver family. Forrestfield striker Alec Robinson bagged a hat-trick in their win at Wanneroo last round, but his first thoughts were for Scarlett and the Oliver family.

“Yes, it is a horrible loss for Paul, Jimmy and the family, Scarlett made it down to several of the games and it’s just an impossible situation,” he explained. “At times like this football pales into insignificance, but it can help to have that escape and get into the game. It has been a good start after the way things were for the club last year, winning can be a habit but it’s very early days. It’s never easy against Shamrock, they play a very particular style, but it’s easy to criticize, but hard to stop. We’ve only played four games, we don’t know a thing about how the league will even out, so we read nothing into a couple results”.

3.5.2024

FOOTBALL WEST SNAP UP FORMER GLORY SKIPPER

Football West have appointed former Perth Glory A-League Women’s skipper Tash Rigby as their new Manager of Female Football and Advocacy, after the defender retired from professional football. The 31-year-old made 117 ALW appearances across eight seasons at the club and featured in both the 2017 and 2019 Grand Finals. Having been handed the captain’s armband in 2019, she led the side for five seasons and became just the third player in Glory ALW history to reach the milestone of 100 appearances for the club in November 2023.

The defender admitted that the decision to hang up her boots had not been an easy one. “It is with a full heart that I announce my retirement from professional football,” she said. “The club, the team and the staff have been home for me for a long time and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to live out a dream I never thought possible. I am grateful to the club for the opportunity to represent my home city with pride, my coaches for their belief, development and teachings and my incredible team mates, who I absolutely adore and wouldn’t be here without. Thank you so much to my wonderful family and friends who have been so supportive throughout my career.

“Finally, to the Members and fans that have supported us along the way, they are our beating heart and I’ll be forever grateful for their support. There are a multitude of variables that have led to this decision however the driving variable is the financial insecurity that comes with being a female footballer and the need for me to focus on building a sustainable and stable future for myself. I am very excited to be stepping into a role where I can continue to advocate for Women and Girls in football and promise that I will continue to influence change and push for a more equal future. I still have so much love for the game, the club, our staff and my girls and can’t wait to be their biggest cheerleader.”

The defender’s role will see her heavily involved in all areas of female football in Western Australia, including working with clubs and associations, local government and Football Australia, and she is thrilled to be appointed to the role and can’t wait to get started. “I am in a great position to advocate for what I believe many girls deserve, from a playing, refereeing, coaching and governance perspective, both in grassroots and the elite,” she told the Football West website. “It is important to have females in decision-making roles and positions of influence, but we also need to give them the tools to do that and celebrate their achievements.”

As part of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Rigby was named one of Football West’s four female football Legacy Ambassadors, and she has consistently used her position as a player to promote the advancement of women and girls in football, and she knows there are so many positives in the game. “The registration figures post-World Cup are fantastic and in WA we have 3,000 more girls playing at the competition level than previously. That's massive, and we just have to make sure that the experience we are providing for these girls is positive and helps keep them in the game,” she explained.

“I have been involved in football for a long time and know a lot of people on the ground in different positions. One of my first priorities is to go and build that relationship and rapport with the main women and girls contacts in each club. I think it’s about looking at those leading clubs in regards to women and girls, what are they doing well, and then empowering and educating other clubs about the importance of it. I will listen to the people at those clubs at the community level because they're the ones on the ground and they see the day-to-day.

“The impact the World Cup has had in terms of participation and spectators coming to our games is outstanding. But we still have a long way to go. “We must stress this isn’t a boys-versus-girls issue. Not at all. It is just that football has been so highly participated in by men and boys for a long time, and we want to show how beneficial investing in women and girls can be, both for the clubs and the female game.

“You have your players that aspire to be the next Sam Kerr, the next Mary Fowler, and there will be more and more of that as the game grows. But you also have girls who are just playing because they love it and it’s fun, and it doesn't necessarily mean they want to be the best of the best, so we need to make sure we are providing inclusive opportunities for all.”

It’s a second stint at Football West for the Glory skipper, after working there in 2018, when the organisation was spread across three offices in Maylands. It is not lost on her that it now operates at a state-of-the-art complex in Queens Park named after her former Glory teammate and the country’s greatest female player. “The Sam Kerr Football Centre is phenomenal and how good to be named after a female football icon,” Rigby said. “We were lucky enough to play a pre-season match with Glory against the Gold Fields State team and that was my first experience of the facility. As a player, that was amazing, and now seeing the office, it is just incredible. There are a lot of familiar faces around the place, so it's been nice. It feels like it's kind of coming home.”

Football West Chief Executive Officer Jamie Harnwell said the organisation are delighted to welcome back Rigby and he cannot think of anyone more suited to this position. “Tash has a wealth of experience and is hugely respected in the game. She is also hugely passionate about taking women and girls football forward and she will bring so much to the role,” he said. “This reiterates Football West’s continued commitment to developing female football in line with our Strategic Plan 2023-2026. With the recent announcement of Western Australia hosting games for the 2026 Women’s Asian World Cup, we have a unique opportunity to support the incredible increase in female football participation by building the capacity and capability of our clubs and female leaders off the park.”

3.5.2024

AUSTRALIA CUP WA ROUND FIVE DRAW

The draw for Australia Cup WA round five was made on Tuesday afternoon at Football West headquarters, and it has set-up two mouthwatering all-NPL ties. First, current league leaders Western Knights, who knocked out holders Floreat Athena on the weekend, face another tough test against Bayswater City at Frank Drago Reserve, who edged out Kingsley Westside in the last round. The other tie is a local derby at Macedonia Park, where Stirling Macedonia host local rivals Balcatta Etna, who knocked out fellow NPL club Armadale in the last round.

Wembley Downs are the sole representative from the Belt Up Amateur Premier Division, and after winning this seasons Night Series, they will look for more cup success when they travel to State League Division One outfit Rockingham City. There are two matches between teams from the NPL and State League Division Two, last year’s beaten finalists Inglewood United travel to the Paintseal Arena to take on Ashfield while 11-times cup winners Perth SC travel to Wanneroo City.

The three other fixtures see Division One sides taking on NPL opposition. Sorrento make the trip to Hilton Park to meet Fremantle City, Mandurah City host Olympic Kingsway at Poolmart Stadium, while 2023 NPL champions Perth RedStar head to the Croatian Sporting Complex, Wishart Street to face Gwelup Croatia. The matches will take place on the weekend of 10-12 May. The last two teams left in the competition will represent WA in the national Round of 32 and compete against each other in the State Cup final.

In the Reserves Cup, the fixtures are as follows: Ashfield v UWA Nedlands, Quinns v Perth Glory, Gwelup Croatia v Canning City, Subiaco AFC v Dianella White Eagles, Striling Macedonia v Armadale, Kalamunda City v Perth SC, Bayswater City v Floreat Athena and Rockingham City v East Perth. In the under 18’s Cup, the fixtures are, Carramar Shamrock Rovers v Inglewood United, Fremantle City v Perth Glory, Joondalup United v Perth RedStar, Subiaco AFC v Olympic Kingsway, Forrestfield United v Balcatta Etna, Wanneroo City v Perth SC, Bayswater City v Western Knights, Murdoch University v Swan United.

2.5.2024

GLORY'S AQUINO VOTED INTO A-LEAGUE TEAM OF THE SEASON

Perth Glory goalkeeper Morgan Aquino’s breakout A-League Women’s campaign been rewarded after she was voted the league’s best shot-stopper by her peers. The 22-year old was named in the Professional Footballers Australia 2023/24 A-League Women’s Team of the Season, which features several Matildas and seven players from this weekend’s Grand Final.

Aquino’s position as Glory’s first-choice ‘keeper appeared to be under threat due to the off-season arrival of Young Matildas custodian Sally James, but the local product held the No.1 spot all season. She played all 22 games, led the league with 126 saves - 35 more than second-placed Izzy Nino - and recorded a save percentage of 81.1 per cent, while also saving two of the three penalties she faced.

Cortnee Vine, Alex Chidiac, Charlotte McLean (Sydney FC), Kayla Morrison, Jamilla Rankin (Melbourne Victory), Rebekah Stott, Rhianna Pollicina (Melbourne City), Golden Boot winner Michelle Heyman, Vesna Milivojevic (Canberra) and Sarina Bolden (Newcastle Jets) made up the starting eleven. Named on the bench were Mackenzie Hawkesby, Jada Whyman (Sydney), Taylor Otto (City), Grace Maher (Western Sydney United), Macey Fraser (Wellington Phoenix) and Emily Gielnik (Victory).

2.5.2024

RISING SOCCEROO CIRCATI SEALS SERIE A PROMOTION

Socceroo Alessandro Circati will hope to become the latest Australian to have an impact in Serie A after securing promotion with Parma to Italy's top flight. The 20-year old defender played the entire game as Parma sealed promotion with two rounds to spare with a 1-1 draw at Bari. Parma lead Serie B, three points ahead of Como and seven points ahead of Venezia.

Circati will hope to win Serie B then continue his career in Italy's top flight, though he will have no shortage of suitors on the transfer market. The centre-back, christened "il muro" (the wall) by Parma's social media team earlier in the season, should also return to the Socceroos fold off the back of his club success.

Circati has one Socceroos cap to his name but was left out of the Asian Cup squad earlier this year as coach Graham Arnold hoped to convince Parma to let him play for the Olyroos. Parma ultimately wouldn't let him join the Olyroos in their unsuccessful Under-23 Asian Cup tilt, as he was such a crucial part of their promotion bid.

1.5.2024

BURGESS PUTS IPSWICH ON BRINK OF PREMIER LEAGUE

Socceroo Cameron Burgess has put Ipswich Town within touching distance of the English Premier League after a 2-1 win over Coventry City. The 28-year old squeezed his second half effort through a crowd of bodies to put the Tractor Boys three points clear of third-placed Leeds United in the Championship with only a final day outing with all-but-relegated Huddersfield Town ahead of them.

A point from the home game against Huddersfield will secure Ipswich a Premier League berth for the first time since they were relegated in 2002. Should that happen, Ipswich will become just the fourth side in the Premier League era to secure consecutive promotions from the third tier after Watford (1999), rivals Norwich City (2011) and Southampton (2012).

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This page was last updated on the 1st May, 2024