Perth Are Primed For Return To WA Soil

Impetus’ Ben Gilby reports on Perth Glory’s media event to mark their first match in Western Australia in almost 12 months (25/11/22).

Above: Perth Glory captain Tash Rigby and head coach Alex Epakis speak to the media today at Macedonia Park. Image: Perth Glory.

It’s a big weekend in Western Australia as Perth Glory’s A-League Women side will play their first home game since 4th December 2021 when Adelaide United visit Macedonia Park in the city of Stirling on Sunday.

The match will be only the sixth W/A-League Women to be staged on Western Australian soil since the commencement of the 2020/21 season after strict border controls during the pandemic, and with the Glory squad looking to be stronger than it’s been since they last made the Grand Final in 2019, excitement is building.

Perth captain Tash Rigby reflected on last week’s opening game in Canberra when the team came from behind twice to earn a point, identifying the major challenge that they needed to overcome in the match.

“We struggled with maintaining possession in the first half, but I thought the second half was a lot better. Look, Canberra is a really tough fixture for us, we don’t have the best record against them, so for us to not drop (three) points over there was awesome and we’re really proud of that.”

The impact of Perth Glory finally being able to play a home game after so long on the road cannot be understated, and Rigby explained what that boost can bring her team.

Above: Perth Glory fans at last season’s only home game, which was also played at Macedonia Park, Balcatta, in the City of Stirling. Photo: Perth Glory.

“It means so much to be able to play at home. I was just persuading the lady at the petrol station to come down to the game. We haven’t been able to play in front of our fans and our friends and family for a long time, so it’s really special for us. Home fans really lift the team up.”

Head coach Alex Epakis described his team’s performance last weekend in Canberra as “…a foundation performance. Very Round One. There were elements in the game that we were strong in and elements that we need to do better.

“We spent this week addressing those. We need to tighten up our control in the match. We had a large amount of possession, we just need to be more effective with it. We’re really positive about how we’ll do in the match (on Sunday).”

Focusing specifically on this weekend’s opponents, the Glory head coach recognised that his team face one of the competition’s leading lights based on their campaign last year and their superb opening round win over a Sydney FC side who have made five consecutive Grand Finals.

“Ultimately, they are a team that are coming off of making Finals for the first time in their history. That’s a credit to them and how they have developed as a squad. We’ve identified areas that we can capitalise on, so it will be an even contest.

“Adelaide have players who have progressed at overseas clubs during the winter and they’ve come back to build that side more. They are a well-structured team. They have players in the transitions, in their front three who can really hurt us, but if we keep the ball better we won’t have to worry about the transitions.”

Alex Epakis, Perth Glory head coach on the threat posed by Adelaide United.

Going into Sunday’s match, Epakis addressed several injury concerns hanging over his squad, with both Claudia Mihocic and Milan Hammond missing last weekend saying: “We’re hoping that they will be more medium concerns than longer term, but we have some locally based players training with us who can step up if needed to and I’d be confident.

“We have a good group from the NTC and young Ischia Brooking was with us today. As time progresses, we want to blood those players, and when they are ready, they will play for Perth Glory.”

Above: The hugely talented Ischia Brooking in possession against Fremantle City in the NPLW WA Finals. She is now training with Perth Glory as a potential injury-replacement signing. Photo: Denyse McCulloch.

A big crowd well into four figures is expected in the City of Stirling tomorrow, and Epakis knows that the potential that his team has this season can make Macedonia Park a cauldron as the season progresses.

“The match we had here last year was incredible, one of my most vivid footballing memories and credit to the playing group who have generated the amount of interest they have with a big crowd expected. We need to keep playing well to make the crowd come back.”

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