W-League: Glory still have plenty to prove

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Perth Glory made a statement when they upset Brisbane Roar last weekend, but coach Jamie Harnwell has warned his new-look side they still have plenty more to prove this season.

Expectations were high on Glory heading into last Sunday’s opening round of the Westfield W-League after Harnwell bolstered his young squad with the addition of four Matildas players during the off-season.

All four players – Sam Kerr, Caitlin Foord, Mackenzie Arnold and Alanna Kennedy – played vital roles in their new team’s shock 2-1 win over last season’s grand finalists at Ashfield Sports Club.

Harnwell acknowledged expectations were always going to be high for his side to improve on last season’s fifth placing.

“A lot of people are putting us up there as one of the better teams, but we’ve got to actually prove that on the park,” Harnwell said.

“We did that (last Sunday) but we’ve got another 11 games now where we’ve got to continue to prove it.

“There’s still room for improvement. We probably gave the ball away a little bit sloppily at times and we tried to overplay a little bit as well when they were set, but we’ve beaten Brisbane 2-1 and they were last year’s grand finalists.”

Glory stalwart Kate Gill scored a brace in last Sunday’s win over the Roar, combining with the returning Kerr to create a formidable attacking partnership that will no doubt trouble many other W-League teams this season.

“It was something I was really excited about when we managed to secure Sam,” Harnwell said.

“They complement each other so well – Sammy with great pace and Kate such a great thinker of the game – so we’re expecting a lot from those two.”

The improving Marianna Tabain played an important role behind the front pair and received plenty of midfield support from Foord and veterans Collette McCallum and Elisa D’Ovidio.

Brisbane struggled to break the centre back paring Kennedy and Canadian defender Shelina Zadorsky despite the new recruits only meeting each other for the first time less than a month ago.

“They’re both good players, they’re both internationals and they complement each other well,” Harnwell said.

“I’m really proud of the whole back four and also Collette as well, who sat in front and broke up a lot of attacks.”

The only blemish for Glory was an injury time goal to Brisbane’s Emily Gielnik, who capitalised on a defensive blunder to deny Arnold a clean sheet.

Perth will now travel to Magic Park on Saturday to take on the resurgent Newcastle Jets, who also scored an upset over defending champions Melbourne Victory last weekend.

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