Preview: Perth Glory
Over the winter, Perth have built their campaign on gaining revenge, and going one better than last season. Whilst a healthy attitude to adopt, one has to be careful during the long A-League season. Perth hit form at the right end of the season in 2011/12, and will need to do the same this time around. They have built an impressive squad, and one that is definitely capable of going all the way.
The team has been built from the back this season, with Michael Thwaite and Adrian Zahra handy editions. But much will be reliant on the Kiwi magician Shane Smeltz, who has an uncanny knack for finding the back of the net. It will be a very exciting season for the Glory.
PREDICTION: Third. Predicting one worse than last year, but the shorter finals campaign may suit the Glory.
BEST FINISH: 2nd in 2011/12. Lost to Brisbane in Grand Final 2-1.
THE SIGNING: When Gold Coast folded last season, Michael Thwaite was the golden signature that all clubs should have pursued. Sure, there was much young talent to be had for various clubs around the league, but an experienced central defender is hard to find in Australia.
THE LOSS: No major losses, but the move of Scott Neville to Newcastle may upset some fans.
THE STAR: Who else but the league’s all-time goal scorer, Shane Smeltz. When he is in form there is no better scorer in the league. Smeltz is a defensive nightmare with his skill and ability on the ball. Perth will be hoping for a stack of goals once again this season, and maybe no stray elbows in important matches.
THE X FACTOR: Captain Jacob Burns is the heartbeat of Perth, and his performance in last season’s grand final was truly remarkable. One thing oppositions will try and take advantage of is his well publicised short temper. Opposition players will be looking to get under his skin any way possible, in an effort to bring the skipper undone. If Burns can stay on the park and out of trouble, he will be well on the way to a potential championship.
OFF THE PITCH: One only has to view the promotion for the Brisbane re-match this weekend to see how Perth is still hurting. Although there has been some cutting of the budget this season, the club has one soul focus – win the title.
GOLDEN BOOT: Shane Smeltz will win this.
THE MATCH: The opening grand final re-match against Brisbane. When Jarred Gillett awarded that penalty, he started a war between Brisbane and Perth. Hats off to the league who decided to play the clash at Perth in round one to create a hostile atmosphere for the visitors. All football fans in the country should tune into this match as it’s going to be a belter.
THE START: The much publicised clash against Brisbane is followed by a tough trip to the Central Coast. Perth should have an easier time of it against Melbourne Heart, before they finish off their first month against glamour club Sydney away.