Ella Mastrantonio: Experiencing a “bresh of fresh air” back at Perth

In the latest of our weekly Midweek Dub series of interviews with A-League Women players, Perth Glory’s Ella Mastrantonio (EM) speaks to Ben Gilby (BG) about being back in Western Australia, the priorities to further grow the league and the state of the game in WA (21/12/22).

Above: Ella Mastrantonio pointing the way forward for Perth Glory. Photo: Tom McCarthy.

BG: How are you settling back into life at Perth Glory? How do you assess both yourself and the club’s start to the season?

EM: It is both great and strange being back home. We haven’t had the best start to the season but we have also been there or thereabouts in nearly all of our games. The next few weeks are crucial in defining which way we want our season to go. We are ready for the challenge. 

BG: You’ve played under many different head coaches during your career, how does Alex Epakis compare? What are his strengths?

EM: Alex is a breath of fresh air compared to my most recent coaching experiences. He’s young, ambitious and you can see he is really invested in both the project at Perth Glory and the players as individuals. He has great qualities. 

Above: Ella Mastrantonio looks to escape from close attention against Melbourne Victory. Photo: Tom McCarthy.

BG: Perth have a mix of experienced players and some exciting young talent – what do you make of the team the club has put together this season?

EM: As you said the mix of young and experience is quite a new experience for me. This is the first time I’ve really been one of the senior players in a team before, so I am hopeful that I can pass on my knowledge and experience to the younger players. We have real potential this season. 

BG: After being away from the competition for a few years, what major differences have you noticed already? How has the W/A-League Women improved in that time? What specific areas do you think still need to get better?

Obviously, the addition of extra games and as of next year being a full home and away season has been the main much-welcomed and overdue change to the league.

“I think we still need to get better in marketing the league in a much better and mainstream way, as I’m not entirely sure people outside the football world really know what’s going on with our game and league. If we can add that and make our games much more accessible and attend-able – ie most of our home games this season are 4pm on Sunday afternoons, quite a tough ask for people who have young families and work the next day.”

Ella Mastrantonio on improvements that she believes the A-League Women need to prioritise.

BG: Prior to coming back to Perth Glory, you had a few months at Subiaco in the NPLW. How was that?

EM: It was a good experience getting down and helping out Subiaco back on the NPLWA map. They’re a great club with a huge ambition for women’s football so they deserve to be in the limelight. 

Above: Ella Mastrantonio (right) in action for Subiaco against her Perth Glory team-mate Tash Rigby for Fremantle City in the NPLWA. Photo: Denyse McCulloch.

BG: There’s been a lot of talk about WA’s young talent going to the East coast to play their NPL football. What do you think the NPL in WA needs to do to keep the best players in the state to ensure the quality of the local comp keeps growing?

EM: Unfortunately I don’t think the NPLWA stands a chance against the eastern states. There is just far more money, a higher standard of players, and professionalism that will attract the best talent there. How do we improve that over here? More investment. 

BG: Having been back in the Matildas camp under Tony Gustavsson, how do you think the team has developed in the build-up to the World Cup?

EM: The team has picked up some really important wins over the last few months so I think that’s important with the World Cup only seven or eight months away. 

BG: What would a good season for both yourself and Perth Glory look like this season?

EM: Making finals with Glory is definitely my main goal being back here and then anything is possible. For myself just having a positive impact with the squad to help us achieve our goals and then again anything is possible. 

Above: Ella Mastrantonio takes on Adelaide United’s Dylan Holmes at Macedonia Park this season. Photo: Tom McCarthy.

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