With the 2013/14 A-League season kicking off in just over 2 weeks, Perth Glory will be aiming for a strong presence in this ever improving competition. With a full pre-season under the guidence of Alistair Edwards’ new coaching staff and philosophy it is an exciting time for fans in purple.
Edwards who took over the reigns from Ian Ferguson with seven games to go last season, turned Glory’s season around quite remarkably. He catapulted the team from rock bottom into the top six and qualified for a finals clash between Melbourne Victory, one of now two controversial finals involving Glory. With the signs of Edwards’s philosophy and way he wanted to play evident – along with the results in such a short period, he then signed a 3 year contract with the club.
Five months later Perth Glory are at the business end of their first full pre season under Edwards. Successful international tours in South Africa and Malaysia and a bulk of friendly (and not so friendly) games has seen Glory come out with positive results: a 2-0 win against Johor in Malaysia, various wins against Perth State League teams and most recently a 1-0 win against Melbourne Heart and a feisty 1-1 draw days later. Along with the positive pre season results, most importantly came a positive and attractive style of play.
The fans have had the chance to see their new recruits and new playing style up close and personal with a string of localised friendlies to promote and engage within the communities. With Brazilian Sidnei Sciola, Ryan Edwards, Cameron Edwarda, Jamie Maclaren, Dean Evans and Harry O’Brien all joining the Perth side, Glory will have a great balance of youth and senior players.
The new found blueprint for Glory is to develop a pathway for Australia’s talented players. The likes of Cameron Edwards, Dean Evans, Harry O’Brien, Ryan Edwards, Brandon O’Neill, Riley Woodcock, Ndumba Makeche, Matt Davies, Jack Clisby, Jack Duncan, Jamie Maclaren and Danny De Silva are all young WA & interstate players who have been provided with the opportunity to develop at Perth Glory.
With Marquee striker Shane Smeltz sidelined for reportedly the first month of the season, it will give former Blackburn and current Young Socceroos player Jamie Maclaren a great opportunity to make a name for himself in the A-League. The 20 year old has been on fire in his first pre season in Australia having scored four goals in the last four games. The exceptionally quick and talented striker will be looking to link up with Young Socceroos Ryan Edwards and Danny De Silva who will be fighting for that illustrious “number 10″ position.
Other young boys Cameron Edwards, Brandon O’Neill, Jack Clisby, Matty Davies and Riley Woodcock have all had an exceptional pre season and will be putting continuous pressure on the experienced players for a starting position. Edwards appears to have a fair few headaches trying to choose a starting 11 each week with competition for places being so fierce.
At his disposal Edwards will have forward players Ryo Nagai, Sidnei Sciola, Jamie Maclaren, Adrian Zahra, Chris Harold, Ryan Edwards, Shane Smeltz and Danny De Silva, Glory will boast one of the most exciting attacking line ups within the A-League. With Danny Vukovic or the ‘Rhino’ as he is nicknamed by the glory faithful, recently signing a 3 year extension to his contract, Captain Jacob Burns and last season’s PG MGP, Steve McGarry calling the shots in midfield, Glory will be a strong side with more than a touch of flare.
Perth capped off their local pre season campaign with a 2-1 win against the WA State Amateurs. Top goal scorer for the third consecutive year in the WA State League and triallist Gustavo Maralunda and Steven McGarry getting on the score sheet while a cracker from 35 yards rewarded the Amateurs.
Glory will have one more pre season game against A-League opposition, Sydney FC in Sydney to finalise their preparation for what is promising to be the best one yet with the tactical and technical battles between coaches and the players being of the highest quality. One thing is for sure, the Glory boys will be out there to go that one step further!