NPL WA heads to Goldfields
Report by Edward Nixon
The NPL WA hits the road this weekend as Perth Glory and Sorrento clash in Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
Saturday’s Round Eight fixture is the highlight of Football West’s week-long Goldfields Football Festival and the second successive season the sides have met in the regions.
Sorrento got the better of Glory 2-0 in Geraldton last year and Seagulls coach Jamie Harnwell is enthusiastic about the prospect of a repeat at Ray Finlayson Sporting Complex.
“It was a great experience. We were well received by the crowd in Geraldton and we’re expecting the same in Kalgoorlie,” Harnwell said.
“The boys will travel out on the Friday and prepare overnight, which is probably something they’re not used to.
“Our players are usually working on the Saturday mornings in the lead-up to the games, so they’ll get a bit of a lie-in and get treated like professionals.
“We’ll go out with a plan and hopefully the travel won’t have an impact.”
While the change of surroundings provides extra excitement to the match, Harnwell won’t want his players distracted from the task in hand.
Last weekend’s agonising late loss to Subiaco left Sorrento eight points off leaders Bayswater City and they face another tough challenge against Glory, who are three points and one place above them in fifth.
“We should have won comfortably last week but we weren’t ruthless enough and we paid for it,” Harnwell said.
“We’ll go out with a plan this week and try and get the three points.”
Glory will also be desperate not to lose further ground after their 2-0 defeat to Bayswater in Round Seven - a game in which they dominated possession but lacked a cutting edge.
“I think we’re both hurting,” Glory coach John Gibson said.
Looking at the wider picture, Gibson says the Regional Cup round is a great chance to take the game around WA.
In addition to the NPL match, there are school clinics and coach, player and referee workshops, and Gibson said: “We’re looking forward to it and it’s a great way to promote the game.
“The boys will be well looked after and it’s a great experience.”
While Glory and Sorrento do battle in the Goldfields, back in Perth Bayswater face Perth SC in a top-of-the-table clash on Sunday.
Bayswater hold a two-point lead over the second-place Sky Blues, who had won five in a row before last weekend’s draw with Cockburn.
Also on Sunday third-bottom Floreat Athena host Inglewood United.
The other Round Eight fixtures take place on Saturday.
ECU Joondalup, in third, put their unbeaten record on the line against an Armadale outfit who haven’t won since Round One; Joondalup United will look to build on earning their first point of the season when they travel to Balcatta; Subiaco host Stirling Lions; while Forrestfield United face a tough task against Cockburn City in the late game.
Saturday, April 14
ECU Joondalup v Armadale (3pm, ECU Joondalup Football Stadium)
Balcatta v Joondalup United (3pm, Grindleford Reserve)
Subiaco v Stirling Lions (3pm, Rosalie Park)
Perth Glory v Sorrento (5pm, Ray Finlayson Sporting Complex, Kalgoorlie)
Forrestfield United v Cockburn City (7pm, Wildlife Safari Stadium)
Sunday, April 15
Floreat Athena v Inglewood United (3pm, E&D Litis Stadium)
Bayswater City v Perth SC (3pm, Frank Drago Reserve)