It’s the time of year when clubs look towards the home stretch of the season and The Football Sack critiques each club’s progress so far.

Do you agree with our assessments made in the return of our January report cards?

Semester Summary: After a disappointing 2017/18 campaign, Bobby Despotovski has the Glory back in their usual habitat near the top of the W-League table, as one of the strongest teams in the competition. Some key personnel changes in the off-season have paid off so far for Glory, and when they get their best team on the park they’ve proven hard to stop.

Despite being undefeated and in second position at the halfway point of the season, Glory are nowhere near the finished article. A handful of frustrating draws have highlighted key areas which need improvement if they are to oust Melbourne Victory atop the table and push on to claim the W-League title.

Areas of excellence: Impossible to ignore and even more impossible to stop, the ability for Glory to score at will has been the standout strength of their game so far this season. Glory lead the league in goals (27) and conversion rate (22%) which speaks volumes of the danger posed by their deadly strike force.

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What’s most eye-catching about their attacking threat is the speed in which they operate. Kerr and Hill are particularly devastating off counter attacks, heaping immense pressure on the opposition to remain focused and not concede the ball cheaply. When they do and the ball breaks into the path of Glory’s on-rushing attackers, it’s all over. It’s Glory’s ability to punish mistakes which has been a hallmark of their strong start to the season.

Areas in need of improvement: Defending and killing off games have been the main downfalls of Glory’s campaign so far. It’s clear that if Glory can keep their opposition from scoring they will win, as scoring goals is a given. But in many games that has not been the case, and some disappointing results have come from their leaky defence.

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In all four of Glory’s draws this season, they’ve thrown away winning positions. Even in their crazy contest with Canberra, in which they came from 4-1 down with 10 minutes to play to draw 4-4, they were leading that contest 1-0. Glory’s inability to hold leads and keep clean sheets has turned potential wins into draws and caused Glory to squander valuable points.

Currently in second position with two wins, four draws and no losses, if Glory were able to keep their lead in at least two of those draws they would be on top of the table, and be the best team in the league by far. It’s their defensive frailty that has let them down to this point and may cost them the title if it’s not addressed by the end of the season.

Top student: If Sam Kerr and Rachel Hill weren’t enough for defenders to handle last season, the threat of Glory’s attacking play has evolved with the arrival of Alyssa Mautz in the heart of Perth’s midfield. Amongst the headlines, skills, pace and trickery offered by Kerr and Hill, Mautz has given Glory an extra gear in attack this season, scoring four goals.

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Mautz spends each game covering the pitch, showing incredible endurance and a powerful engine while performing her box-to-box role in the side. Her importance to the team was highlighted when Glory hosted Newcastle on Saturday evening. With Mautz suspended Glory seemed to lack a dimension in that game, struggling to break down the Jets who were down one player for the majority of the match.

An unexpected phenomenon, Mautz has kept pace with Hill and Kerr as the standout performers for Glory this season, and has proved a terrific off-season acquisition.

Class clown(s): The kids on the naughty step. The Glory have received the second most yellow cards (nine) and the most red cards (two) in the league over just seven matches so far. Sarah Carroll and Alyssa Mautz are the prime offenders; Carroll seeing red for her second yellow card in Glory’s epic 4-4 encounter with Canberra, and Mautz in Adelaide last week, when two yellow cards in the space of seven minutes meant she was sent to the stands.

Glory have aggressively toed the line in the first half of the season, exemplified in the amount of yellow and red cards they’ve received so far. While leading positive categories such as goals scored and conversion rate, these are the statistics they’d hope to avoid for the rest of the season.

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Grade: A-

Outlook: If Glory can improve defensively, their A- grade will turn into an A+. That attacking force coupled with a stingy defence would prove an unstoppable force in the league, one that not even the high-flying Victory would be able to handle. Despotovski has remained positive but cautious in all of his post-match interviews this season, as he is aware his team are a way off performing at their best.

If Glory can avoid serious injuries to their starting 11 and become more assured at the back they could well be on for their first ever W-League title. In second place with only two wins at the halfway mark of the season, the ceiling for improvement is high. This is not a championship team by any means, but a very strong side with obvious quality. With improvements made in the right places this team could turn from challengers to champions by the seasons end.

Feature image credit: Vision Inspired Photography 

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Football nut, student journalist and firm believer that Berisha dived in the 2012 A-League Grand Final. Covering Perth Glory for the 2018/19 season.