Perth Glory: Into 2016
Report by Jonathan Cook
Infographics: Adrian Petrilli
If the badge doesn’t scare the opposition, then the attitude of Perth Glory in the 2016 PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues WA season certainly should.
Glory’s focus on using the competition as a vehicle for talent development may have contributed to rollercoaster results over the years but there is a distinctly different feel this year.
Coach John Gibson doesn’t hesitate when asked about the side’s aims.
“We are looking to be seriously competitive,” he said. “The aim is to win as many games as we can and to perform to the best of our ability in every game.
“I think all teams will be aiming to be in the Top Four. That series has given all teams extra impetus. It’s a big carrot and we want to be involved.
“We’re quietly confident this year that we can do a few things. Apart from having the badge of being Perth Glory I think we will be hunted as well and there’ll be some cracking good challenges.”
In past seasons, rival clubs may have dismissed Glory, given the age restrictions applied to the Hyundai A-League clubs PS4 NPLWA squad, as a team that could be physically subdued.
But during their first appearances in the Night Series they sounded an early warning of a change in attitude, ambition and performance level.
Glory were competitive in all of their Night Series matches, losing narrowly to Floreat Athena and Subiaco, drawing with Cockburn and scoring victories over eventual winners Bayswater City and Inglewood United – a 5-2 crushing in their last match.
“I think everybody’s starting to understand the importance of being able to play at both ends of the pitch – offensively and defensively – and that’s been a big mindset for the whole group,” Gibson said.
“We’ve spoken about being ruthless at both ends of the pitch.”
The departure of players such as Jacob Collard, Cameron Teese and Slobodan Vulin has opened the door for others to make an impression.
Attacking midfielder Daniel Stynes could make an impression on the competition this season, while the attacking prowess of Joe Knowles and Nic Talimdzioski is already known to Glory’s rivals. An added bonus for Gibson is the return from injury of Jack Iredale.
“Defending has been a bit of our nemesis over the years, conceding silly goals and soft goals, and that will be one of our focuses,” Gibson said. “That will be a springboard for us to score goals, and we will score goals.”