The heat is on in the west

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With Perth set to heat up over the next few months, Neil Sherwin looks at what it means for A-League games played there this season.

Summer is still some way off in Perth but already the weather conditions in the WA capital are being used to explain a lacklustre performance.

Melbourne Heart boss John Aloisi believes that the heat played a big role in his side’s loss to Perth Glory at NIB Stadium yesterday afternoon.

“We struggled with the conditions, we really struggled,” he said.

“We looked flat, fatigued, then the game became stretched and they started to outplay us in midfield, and it was a struggle for us.

“I know you can’t make excuses, but it’s been quite cool in Melbourne and coming over here and playing at two o’clock in the afternoon, it really affected us.”

The mercury hit 25 degrees at kick off, four degrees lower than the day’s peak which came at around 10.30am, but both sides seemed to run out of steam in the second half.

Glory boss Ian Ferguson echoed Aloisi’s sentiments.

“To be fair, it was a really hot day and I think both teams did (run out of steam),” he said.

“When you look at our players as well in the dressing room at the moment, they put in a massive shift in the heat and the conditions.

“It’s not ideal to play at two o’clock when it’s the warmest part of the day here.”

Of course, there isn’t anything that can be done about the weather, the A-League is played during the summer afterall, but playing at the hottest part of the day has never really made any sense.

Both NIB Stadium and Subiaco Oval, where Glory will play at least two more home games, suffer badly from the sun with the former largely uncovered and the latter having supporters facing west when set up for soccer.

Last season, the game between Glory and Central Coast saw the temperature push 40 degrees at kick off with a request from the Mariners to delay kick off by an hour declined by officials.

Then-Mariners captain Alex Wilkinson spoke strongly at the time, annoyed with having to play in such heat.

“It’s ridiculous; why if we’re the last game on a Sunday do we need to kick off at four o’clock?” he said.

“Why can’t we kick off at seven? I know it’s for the eastern states and it’s going to be late but who cares?”

He had a point and, looking through Glory’s home fixtures for the remainder of the season, it seems like the FFA actually listened.

The next home game for Glory is a 6.45pm kick off against the Jets even with a now three hour time difference between Perth and the east.

Indeed, there are 13 more games to be held in Perth with only two, Western Sydney on November 18 and Wellington on March 17, having kick off times of 4pm or earlier so while Aloisi may have had some cause for complaint yesterday, others will need to come up with different reasons for their defeats.

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Neil Sherwin
Neil has covered the Perth Glory and the Hyundai A-League for five years and is one of Western Australia's most knowledgeable football journalists.

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