W-League | Despotovski on the cusp of completing fairy-tale for Perth

After annihilating Sydney FC to advance to a home W-League Grand Final, the stars are beginning to align perfectly for Bobby Despotovski and his high-flying Perth Glory side.

Boasting a squad with arguably the league’s best player in Samantha Kerr, as well as stellar American imports Alyssa Mautz, Nicole Stanton and Vanessa Di Bernardo, Perth have seemingly hit their straps at the perfect time of the season.

However, this time 12 months ago it was impossible to imagine that Glory would be fighting for a championship so soon.

What a difference a year can make.

Perth had just battled their way through a brutal W-League campaign where they managed just 10 league goals and three wins from 12 games, on their way to a horrendous eighth placed finish.

The club had lost their way after their first placed finish a season earlier and it was clear a full internal review was required to get the club on the right path once again.

Perth Glory icon and coach Bobby Despotovski was at the forefront of the transformation, acknowledging the turn around in fortunes is down to the improvement of all personnel involved at the club, across the board.

“We as a club got ourselves into gear and we improved a hell of a lot from last year,” Despotovski said.

“That’s from an administration point of view, from the coaching point of view and the player’s point of view – the whole lot.

“And now it’s shown out there. The girls are happy and there is no animosity amongst the players.

“They love coming to training, whether it’s two or five training sessions or a gym session – whatever it is.”

It is clear the camaraderie amongst the Perth side stems from the leadership of Despotovski.

When asked about superstar Vanessa Di Bernardo, the ex-NSL legend refused to credit only the American, quickly highlighting all squad players as the reason for team’s success.

“You know what, it’s not only Vanessa. It’s Gabby Dal Basco. It’s Rosie Sutton. It’s Tash Rigby – the kid from Margaret River,” he said.

“Three to four months ago she (Rigby) was playing for Queens and didn’t know where she was with football. But now she’s in the Grand Final of women’s football in Australia. These are the stories you dream of.

“In saying that – it’s every single one of them. It’s Nikki Stanton stopping every single opposition attack. They are sort of the un-sung heroes for us.”

So it is Melbourne City who stand in the way of Bobby Despotovski from completing a remarkable fairy-tale story for Perth Glory.

Despotovski elaborated on what his words were prior to the semi-final match against Sydney FC, confirming he will echo the same sentiments this weekend.

“I told them before the semi-final: ‘what worse can happen? You’re healthy, you’re fit and you’re playing a game of football. There is 1500 people here and it’s the best pitch in Australia,” he said smiling.

“It will be the same for next week. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”

Perth Glory and Melbourne City will battle it out on Sunday 12th February at NIB Stadium. Kick off is 7:30pm AEDT.

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Football lover so feeling lucky to be following Perth Glory for season 16/17.