Perth Glory 2022/23 Season Preview

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After receiving the wooden spoon last season, Perth Glory have a lot to prove. Will the extensive changes to their squad, management and recruitment bring them success this season?

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Last season…

A-League Men: 12th

Finals: N/A

They’ll win the league if…

The rebuilding pays off. After a turbulent season and extensive changes, premiers this season is looking highly unlikely for the Glory. Rather, if they continue to focus on their rebuild and devolving team chemistry, hopefully they’ll avoid another wooden spoon.

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The previous season was a tumultuous one. From premiers in 2019 to last place in 2021, fans were left shocked. How did it go so wrong so suddenly?

The sacking of coach Richard Garcia mid-season was an expected yet brutal turn of events. However, when new and relatively inexperienced manager Ruben Zadkovich began making extensive changes to recruitment, staff and players, fans were left wondering whether it was all too much too quickly. Such a rampant turnover seems extreme, but is it necessary?

Despite playing for Sydney FC, captaining and playing for Newcastle Jets and playing internationally for QPR, Derby County and Notts County in the United Kingdom, Zadkovich’s coaching legacy is yet to be established. Before stepping up for the Glory academy, Zadkovich assisted coaching the Young Socceroos and was the head coach for Broadmeadow Magic between 2016-2019. During this period, he saw some success with Broadmeadow winning the Maso Cup and championship in 2018.

Where Zadkovich lacks in personal coaching experience, he gains in an experienced support system. Former Wolverhampton Wanderers, Miller and Portsmouth assistant Joe Gallen will be his senior assistant coach. Alongside playing legend Chris Coyne taking coaching responsibility for the Youth NPL. Former Perth Glory coach Mich d’Avray, who led the club to 2 NSL championships, is assisting as a technical consultant. In his corner too are legend’s Kenny Lowe as academy director, and former player Andy Keough appointed as head of recruitment. This experienced team surrounding Zadkovich should provide support for him to lean on, and maybe the answer to securing the premiership title.

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They’ll be cellar dweller because…

It’s too much too soon.

The aggressive changes made could go two ways for the Glory. It could work in their favour or result in bottoming the table back-to-back. Last year it was clear things didn’t gel. Conceding 43 goals and only scoring 20 for the season was one of the worst Glory performances to date.

Zadkovich had to be assertive in the rebuild but received criticism from many fans when key players for the side were delisted and transferred. Callum Timmins and Andy Keogh (despite taking a position in the managerial team) joined an additional 10 players on the outs.

It seems nothing can go right for the Glory, with their home ground at HBF Park being out for the season too with refurbishments for the Women’s World Cup. Substituting their home ground for Macedonia Park hopefully won’t be the final nail in Glory’s coffin.

Last season was one for the record books. The highest number of consecutive matches in the A-League Men without a win at 16. The fewest points scored in a season with eight in 26 matches. Will the Glory break yet another record by receiving the wooden spoon back-to-back?

Talk around the water coolers…. look smart in front of your colleagues with this valuable piece of information

Fourteen players in and 12 players out. Perth Glory’s rapid turnover is one of the largest we’ve seen in the A-League Men so far.

The off-season brought

Change, and a lot of it.

New manager, staff, recruitment, and players. Zadkovich has even expressed a change in playing style, utilising an attacking strategy. This was a focus area within recruitment for their next campaign. New signings Ben Azubel, Stefan Colakovski and Adam Zimarino all add talent and experience to Glory’s forward line. This strategy was put in place in Glory’s off-season friendly against the WA State Team, where Azubel (2), Zimarino (2), Keegan Jelacic and Giogio Colli aided the Glory to a 6-0 victory.

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Zadkovich runs a tight ship. Blood, sweat and tears have been put into a gruelling pre-season with the hopes of changing the outcome of the club this season.

Key players

With all the big names joining the side, there are a lot of players to keep your eye on.

Stefan Colakovski and Matt Hatch are big additions. They have both been given an opportunity for more game time and are coming into this season with a point to prove.

A huge international signing for the Glory is Mark Beevers. During Beevers’ time at Peterborough, he was named in the League One team and captained the team as they won promotion to championship. He has vast international experience and is a great addition to Glory’s defence.

Similarly, Aaron McEneff from Hearts, Ryan Williams, Ben Azubel and Keegan Jelacic, are all big international names to bring more experience to the side.  These signings are good news for Glory fans and offer a glimmer of hope to the outcomes of this season.

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One to watch

With so much change, space has opened up in the side providing an opportunity for anyone who wants it to step up.

Predicting Glory’s saviour this season is a tough one. But keep your eyes on the young WA talent. Giordano Colli shows promise. Colli won the NPL Player of the Year and NPL Youth Player of the Year in his debut season for the Perth Glory NPL side. Colli has already shown fight last season when many of Glory’s experienced players weren’t performing. This determination is an attribute which may be pivotal to Glory’s success this year. With so many experienced players in the midfield Colli could learn from, given the right environment he could excel as a player.

Learning from role models like McEneff, Jalaric, Hatch and Mustafa Amini will hopefully better him as a player and keep the experienced players on their toes. It will be a tough season, but the new additions and changes could work in Glory’s favour.

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Ins: Stefan Colakovski (Melbourne City), John Koutroumbis (Western Sydney), Luke Ivanovic (Brisbane Roar), Matt Hatch (Central Coast), David Williams (ATK Mohun Bagan – Indian Super League), Mustafa Amini (Sydney FC), Aaron McEneff (Hearts of Midlothian F.C. – Scottish Premier League), Mark Beevers (Peterborough – EFL League One), Ryan Williams (Oxford United – EFL League One), Ben Azubel (Hapoel Raanana – Israel), Keegan Jelacic (Olympic FC), Zachary Duncan (Aarhus GF – Denmark Superligaen), Adam Zimarino (PG U21), Jacob Muir (PG U21).

Outs: Brandon O’Neill, Joshua Rawlins, Jonathan Aspropotamitis, Darko Stanojevic, Osama Malik, Daniel Stynes, Callum Timmins, Carlo Armiento, Daniel Sturridge, Kosuke Ota, Nicholas Fitzgerald, Andy Keogh.

Full squad list

Goalkeepers: Brad Jones, Cameron Cook, Liam Reddy.

Defenders: Darryl Lachman, Jack Clisby, Jacob Muir, Jacob Young, John Koutroumbis, Joseph Forde, Luke Bodnar, Mark Beevers.

Midfielders: Aaron McEneff, Adrian Sardinero, Antonee Burke-Gilroy, Giordano Colli, Jacob Dowse, Keegan Jalaric, Matt Hatch, Mitch Oxborrow, Mustafa Amini, Pacifique Niyongabire, Ryan Williams, Trent Ostler, Zach Duncan.

Forwards: Adam Zimarino, Ben Azubel, Bruno Fornaroli, David Williams, Luke Ivanovic, Stafan Colakovski.

Feature Image Credit: Vince Caratozzolo

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Tylah Tully
Tylah Tully
Current journalism student in Perth. Fanatical sports fan. One of two writers covering the Perth Glory men and women’s teams for the 2022/23 season.

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