Revitalised Perth aiming for Glory

Just two years ago Perth Glory suffered a record-breaking 11-0 defeat at the hands of a rampant Sydney FC.

Just two years ago Perth Glory suffered a record-breaking 11-0 defeat at the hands of a rampant Sydney FC.

With the likes of Kyah Simon, Leena Khamis, Kylie Ledbrook and Caitlin Foord in irresistible form, a tough away match turned from an against-the-odds battle to a one-sided avalanche. Recovery from such a scoreline seemed unlikely.

Perth Glory, however, are coached by one of the most combative players ever to lace on the boots in Australia; Jamie Harnwell.

Fast forward just 12 months and the Glory had somehow, almost miraculously, not only escaped the lower depths of the ladder, but found themselves looking down upon the rest of the league.

There were key additions with the likes of local stars Kate Gill and Lisa De Vanna, but the core of the squad from the previous year remained.

Ultimately, the Glory not only made the finals for the first time, but were just a penalty shoot-out victory away from an unlikely berth in the title decider.

The team finished as the league-s top-scorers, while Gill was crowned the Westfield W-League goalscoring queen with 11 goals.

Now Perth are aiming to take their achievements to another level in season six of the Westfield W-League.

“Last year was a breakout year for us and now the pressure is on us to maintain that level,” said Harnwell.

“It has been great to welcome back so many familiar faces again. We have built a good culture in the club now, with a group of girls driven to succeed.

A proud West Australian, Harnwell was a key figure during the era when Perth Glory was Australia-s leading light on and off the field, winning two National Soccer League titles.

His W-League squad this season includes 13 Sandgropers and Harnwell has supplemented the local talent with some carefully-selected imports.

The international flavour comes from goalkeeper Chantel Jones, a former USA youth international; Canada-s Sasha Andrews and Christina Julien, plus Denmark defender Cecilie Sandvej.

Despite their lack of historical success, Western Australia can match any state when it comes to producing attacking, creative players. The likes of Gill, Collette McCallum and Marianna Tabain would be a welcome addition to any squad.

They have, however, lost a home-grown star in Lisa De Vanna. The only other downside for the Glory is an injury to midfielder Aivi Luik, with last season-s club player of the year suffering a hamstring injury that will keep her out of action for indeterminate period.

Harnwell, though, remains ambitious about the rapidly-looming season.

“With the mix of youth and experience we possess, we are really looking to make the finals,” he said. “And then, as we know, anything can happen.”

Perth Glory begin their campaign away to Newcastle Jets on Saturday 9 November, before hosting perennial title challengers Brisbane Roar at Intiga Stadium on Saturday 16 November in a potentially epic first-up match in the west.

Ins: Chantel Jones (Washington Spirit, USA) Cecilie Sandvej (Brondby, Denmark) Jess Dillon (The Gap, Brisbane) Amy Knights (Northern Redbacks, Perth) Kathleen Waycott (Northern Redbacks, Perth) Christina Julien (Rossiyanka, Russia)

Outs: Carly Telford (Chelsea, England) Carys Hawkins (Sunnana, Sweden) Lisa De Vanna Liz Milne Jaymee Gibbons