Season Four was a season to forget for the Perth Glory and first time coach Jamie Harnwell. What started off so promising degenerated quickly before the WA side ended in their lowest position in W-League era.
However, strong off-season recruitment from Harnwell and Football West sees Perth enter Season Five with arguably their strongest squad yet. The key inclusions are the Matildas quartet; Collette McCallum, Kate Gill, Lisa De Vanna and Aivi Luik.
Big names with big game experience.
Just what Harnwell was missing last season with his young and locally accumulated squad. Defensively the Glory have also made a number of big signings with Chelsea and England international Carly Telford lining up between the sticks, Canadian international, and 2012 USL W-League All Star, defender Sasha Andrews, New Zealand international Liz Milne and W-League vet Brownyn Studman set to form the nucleus.
“Getting players of that calibre, you just know they are class acts all round and they bring up the standard of the other girls in the squad.”
“We have looked to improve this area [the defence] and we probably have a lot more depth in defence than we had last season.”
The headline acts are complemented by a host of talented WA footballers including former Matilda Ella Mastrantonio, Young Matildas winger Mariana Tabain, Shannon May, Carys Hawkins, Jaymee Gibbons and the emerging Sarah Carroll.
With more depth and versatility on offer, Harnwell believes there will be little predictability about the Perth game plan.
“We are going to be a very attacking team as we have some great players going forward.” “It will be a mix of different styles that will be used.”
“That may mean using Kate Gill’s height but we also want to get the ball down and play with the highly skilled footballers we have.”
All in all, the team assembled has raised expectations amongst Perth fans that the West Australian side might feature in the first finals series.
With the additions to the team, Perth’s front six suddenly looks very, very good. A midfield comprising of Luik, McCallum, Mastrantonio and Tabain is set to hook up with a forward line led by De Vanna and Gill. If Harnwell can get the front third clicking, and with enough assistance from a young supporting cast, then Perth could be ones delivering hammerings this season.
The defence has always been Perth Glory’s Achilles heel. Although three experienced defenders in Andrews, Telford and Milne have been added, it remains to be seen if they can meld in time. Harnwell‘s defensive structures and the Glory’s defensive performance will be integral whether they can finally claim a Top Four spot.