Zadkovich puts faith in youth as depleted Glory show some fight in Macarthur loss

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Sunday night’s thriller between Macarthur and Perth Glory is the latest in a lengthy list of heartbreaks for Ruben Zadkovich’s men.

Despite their fairytale start scoring the fastest goal of the A-League Men season and doubling their lead inside 20 minutes, they would leave Campbelltown Stadium with nothing. The sending off of Macarthur’s Charles M’Mombwa was too little to keep the Bulls at bay as they turned the match around to run out 4-2 victors.

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A constantly disadvantaged Perth Glory were perhaps at their most disadvantaged last night. Their injury list grew longer in the days leading up to their clash in Campbelltown.

“I’m super proud of their effort and their mentality to come here away from home with 12 or 13 players out injured. We even lost one back at the hotel before the game with tight hamstrings,” Zadkovich said.

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Well documented is the persistent absence of superstar Daniel Sturridge, but the depths of their injury woes run far deeper than advertised. Skipper Brandon O’Neill, Irishman Andy Keogh and Australian veteran Brad Jones top the list of those unavailable for the bottom-placed team in the division.

To make matters worse, long-standing Perth talisman Burno Fornaroli’s surprise inclusion in the Socceroo’s squad would end up compiling the misery for Zadkovich.

“We send away our leading goalscorer and he comes back unavailable with an ankle injury. Those are the type of things that happen when you’re down the bottom. Those types of knocks just keep coming,” Zadkovich said.

“When it rains it pours, eh?”

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The visitors fielded a team with eight players that featured in the National Premier League under Zidkovich’s watchful eye. Both goalscorers, Giordano Colli and Trent Ostler, are products of the club’s development system. The latter scored on his 20th birthday yesterday.

“We travel away again today after only one training session with eight or nine of my NPL boys mixed in with whatever’s left standing. They did well enough to get up 2-0 away from home and bar some accident handballs that get Macarthur back in the game, probably deserved to get something,” Glory’s new coach said.

“At the same time not going to give it easy to my players. For me, to lose from that position, that’s not good enough.

“No matter the age, no matter the experience, I’m not going to avoid coaching those moments. Those boys will have to sit there and watch that back and will have to learn quickly, and then we’ll move forwards.

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Opposition coach Ante Milicic was keen to applaud the work ongoing at Perth Glory amidst their misfortunes.

“If you look at the game against Wellington Phoenix, they lost that game off the back of a set-piece in the last minute, they had an excellent draw against Newcastle at home also,” he said.

“Ruben’s been around the club and he knows the players. These young guys that have come in for them, they give you that energy, they give you that freedom. In some ways they don’t understand the occasion and they can look so dangerous. Then when they score they get confidence.”

Glory needed to do little more than show up to earn themselves some praise for Sunday’s game, given the never ending challenges relentlessly stood opposite them. But their hearty, fearless and charmingly naive performance at Campbelltown Stadium highlighted the special story just beginning to unravel at the club.

“My focus is firmly on the long term of this club and trying to blood as many young players in as we can. I’m going to continue on that path resolutely and keep putting my belief into my young men,” Zadkovich said.

A young, aggressive coach with a strong relationship to his young players and a fixated, fervent, and stubborn passion on long-term success. There is a twinkle in the eye of this wounded tiger.

Glory will fly back to Perth in time to face Melbourne Victory on Wednesday.

Feature Image Credit: Perth Glory FC

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Tom Macrae
Tom Macraehttp://medium.com/@macraetomr23
Communications undergrad at Western Sydney University covering Macarthur FC in the 2021/22 season. Newcastle United. Jack Grealish fangirl.

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