‘Don’t know how much more I can smile’ – Garcia eagerly anticipating Glory’s return home

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With Perth Glory’s return home now imminent, head coach Richard Garcia can hardly wait to get back to Western Australia.

The last time Perth played a game in Western Australia in the A-League Men’s competition was during round one of the season. That game occurred on November 20, 2021.

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After nearly four months, Perth have played the final game of an extended road-trip.

Glory’s 2-2 draw with Melbourne City brought to a close their 11-game run of playing A-League Men matches interstate.

Garcia was buzzing post-game, clearly thrilled with his young side’s performance at AAMI Park.

“I am very proud of the group. They have been through a lot,” Garcia said.

“They showed resilience to come back and I think they have shown resilience throughout the last four months.”

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In many ways the gritty performance against City epitomised Perth’s season.

The ability to fight back against the odds is especially admirable considering the proportion of young players within the Glory squad.

Garcia though refused to be drawn into the positives of the result and instead maintained his focus on the bigger picture.

“I think it is more about improving [than results],” he said.

“We have shown glimpses in games that we are capable of doing really well, but we have lacked consistency.

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“Hopefully now that we can play games more regularly the players can find some form and consistency.”

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Garcia will be hoping that the positive result away to the defending champions can springboard his side heading into the back-half of the season.

“Tonight’s performance is testament to the players and their resilience which is very encouraging going home,” he said.

When asked about his squad’s imminent return to Perth, Garcia did not hide his excitement at the prospect.

No doubt the extended period away, apart from a brief return over Christmas, has been taxing both physically and mentally for everyone involved with the team.

“I do not know how much more I can smile when you say we are going home,” Garcia said.

“It is a fantastic feeling to know that we are going to be back home with a little bit of normality.

“To be reunited with family is going to be very special.”

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To say Perth’s staff and players deserve the opportunity to return home and spend time with their families is an understatement.

The club, across both the men’s and women’s teams, have sacrificed an extraordinary amount for the benefit of Australia’s domestic competitions.

Whilst the A-League Women’s season is approaching its finale, the A-League Men’s campaign is only at the half-way point.

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Other teams in the competition will likely be wary of the threat posed by Glory on their home deck, who will no doubt be energised by the opportunity to play in front of their fans again.

Of course, the benefits of a return to Western Australia extend beyond Perth’s performances on the pitch.

Garcia believes that the personal growth of his players is perhaps the most rewarding aspect of the last few months.

“I think they will definitely benefit as people from the experience,” he said.

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“To have experienced a different type of environment will hold them in good stead.”

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Garcia’s post-match positivity was a refreshing sight following several dreary months.

The competition can only benefit from a revitalised Perth Glory in front of eager home crowds to end the season.

Finals is not yet out of the question, making the men in purple an intriguing prospect ahead of their run home.

Feature Image Credit: Vision Inspired Photography

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Oscar Rutherford
Oscar Rutherford
Sports tragic studying Law/Arts at Monash University. Second-best paid Oscar working in football who has been to China.

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