End of 2021/22 season report card: Perth Glory

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Just like that, the 2021/22 regular A-League Men season has come to its end.

At The Football Sack we like to investigate each and every squad’s performance throughout the season so let us take a look at how the guys way out west at Perth Glory ended up this season.

Season Summary

In the lead up to the season, the expectations were high after announcing promising and high-profile signings. But it turned out to be Glory’s worst ever season in their 25-year history, claiming their first wooden spoon following a haunting campaign.

The side finished in ninth-place last season, but as COVID-19 persisted, the horror only continued for Perth.

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Glory were finally gifted their run of home games and desperately pleaded it was what they needed to return to winning ways but still proved unable to produce a result or display signs of improvement. At this point, Glory sacked head coach Richard Garcia with only two months left of the regular season to go.

Academy coach Ruben Zadkovich took his place in the hot seat, bringing with him half of the academy players as he tried to make do with Garcia’s selection. Under Zadkovich, the side bought a new energy shift, however, managed only one, late win against premiers Melbourne City.

Areas of Excellence: Youngsters get a chance

We could hardly say excellence and Glory this season should be used in the same sentence, but one positive element to take away from their most recent campaign has to be the promotion of Glory’s academy players.

We saw Aidan Coyne, Jacob Muir, Joseph Forde, Adam Zimarino, Aidan Edwards, Chris Donnell, Trent Ostler, Tyler Vecchio, Ciaran Bramwell, Jayden Gorman and Joshua Anasmo graduate from academy to A-League Men debutants, while some continuously outdid the older players to pinch a spot in the starting line-ups.

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Yes, that is a full starting team in itself. Zadkovich placed a lot of trust in a youthful side and there was more than one occasion where the youngsters were pulling more than their fair share to get Glory over the line.

It was refreshing to see some West Australian talent showcased in the big league, but it was only through the extreme circumstances which the youngsters were able to get a look in.

Areas in need of improvement: Too many to list

Essentially, everything, everywhere.

Glory were perhaps prematurely dubbed as one of the best defensive sides in the ALM only for their season to end conceding a total of 43 goals. However, it was not the worst in the league, sixth-placed Wellington Phoenix owned that with 49 goals.

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After injuries took a majority of their senior players out this season, mostly born through the tight fixtures, Glory will need their top comrades in fine form if they are to carry on to the next.

Whether it be a series of bad luck, Glory seriously struggled to get the ball into the back of the net. Bruno Fornaroli was once again their top scorer with eight goals and Callum Timmins was the second highest with three goals to his name. A disappointingly low result for Perth, who despite this outcome did have their share of opportunities throughout the season.

Glory should consider a strategic recruitment refresh to spruce up the depleted squad.

Top Student: Darryl Lachman

Easy pickings for the defender who featured in every game for Glory this season. It was his first season in Perth’s purple and so far, he has shown nothing but green flags.

Most fans were won over by Lachman as he demonstrated his worth and endurance, playing each game without fail along with stepping up to lead while other senior players were ruled out.

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Luckily for Glory, the defender has agreed to a contract extension which Lachman confirmed is a two-year deal. With Glory’s awards night nearing, it will be a surprise to many if Lachman isn’t crowned this season’s most Glorious.

While it is rare for fans to sway to favour a defender over an attacker, Lachman deservedly remains as the top student considering his efforts and loyalty despite Glory’s shocker of a season.

Class Clown: Daniel Sturridge

While it has probably gone past the point of laughter to straight feelings of hurt, the hype that what once was around Sturridge will be associated as the biggest failure of a marquee signing as opposed to his performances.

The man whose name once sold out HBF Park featured in 138 minutes over only six ALM games. A groin injury wiped out the majority of his season and that excludes the five occasions he was not included in the squad.

Although his first half performance against Western Sydney Wanderers left fans considering what Glory could have been under a fit Sturridge, it was not to be for this marquee.

It is unlikely the ex-Liverpool star will be offered a second chance, although after he braved three quarantine periods, if the offer ever was on the table – it would be one for him to decide.

Grade: F

Outlook

Glory have already confirmed their rebuild process is underway and players have already left the 2021/22 season behind to focus on better things next season.

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Glory are set to announce who will take charge as head coach during their awards night on Friday May 20, but it is likely interim will turn permanent.

If so, Zadkovich has expressed his desire to play his style of football and what the Glory fans have seen under his management to date is still far from what he has in mind for the squad.

It will not come as a surprise if Zadkovich decides to cut dead weight and rebuild a squad which can best meet his high standards.

In conjunction with the assistance of Andy Keogh in a recruiting capacity, their chances of building something great, or at least something better than this season, is certainly on the horizon.

Feature Image credit: Vision Inspired Photography

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Ash Ramos
Journalism student at Curtin University covering Perth Glory for the 2021/22 A-leagues season. Siuuu

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