Perth Glory on a road to nowhere

Vince Rugari Columnist

By Vince Rugari, Vince Rugari is a Roar Expert

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    Both Perth Glory and the Wanderers are looking to finish their season with a bit of pride. (AAP Image/Theron Kirkman)

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    Jesse Makarounas might just be remembered by Perth Glory fans as the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    Instead of becoming the lightning bolt from the youth team he should have been, the 18-year-old is the latest in a parade of Western Australian prospects who have headed east for first-team football.

    You just know Ange Postecoglou is going to use him at Melbourne Victory, and use him properly. And it will enrage the Glory diehards.

    Rightly so. Perth likes to preach it is a club that gives opportunities to young locals, but aside from Josh Risdon there is very little evidence of this.

    That’s despite the outcomes of that independent review commissioned by Tony Sage and headed by Ric Charlesworth a couple of years ago.

    Remember? It said they should aim to nurture Perth products with the end goal of filling the senior squad with WA-born, Glory-bred footballers. The opposite has happened.

    It’s maddening stuff because if anything, now is the time the Glory could do with a handful of new faces in attack to freshen up a side that has always looked more mechanical than majestic.

    This is a club with what is often described as the best squad on paper in the competition – a nice little back-handed compliment.

    It’s true though. Perth have one of the A-League’s all-time best strikers, Shane Smeltz, an assortment of competent midfielders headed by the still-criminally-underrated Liam Miller, and a defence marshalled by Michael Thwaite, who by rights would probably be a regular senior Socceroo but for a desire to keep his family in Australia.

    The ingredients are there. The pieces should fit. They should be playing smooth, flowing football as promised – and consistently, because the key players have all been there and done that.

    But under Ian Ferguson, Perth are the lowest-scoring team in the A-League, arguably the least exciting and – given the exodus of young WA-born players – the side with the bleakest future.

    There’s obviously plenty of concern over what’s happening over in Wellington with the club’s misguided attempt at introducing Kiwi tiki-taka, and also the meltdown at Brisbane Roar that Mike Mulvey seems incapable of halting.

    Were it not for the admittedly great run that got the Glory to a grand final last season, the torch would be on them too.

    The truth is they have gone backwards.

    Let’s be real – Perth are a very senior side. There are no valid excuses for why this team is wallowing in mediocrity.

    The current plan of attack – which is essentially give the ball to a wide player and cross to where Billy Mehmet used to be, instead of working it into the box with a bit of patience and care – is not working.

    It’s in the final third where a skilful kid like Makarounas, or even the lightning quick Chris Harold, would be handy – but Ferguson is so hesitant to use youngsters he has effectively forced the former out.

    You wonder what would have come of Tom Rogic had he ended up in Perth instead of Gosford?

    Predictably, it seems like the Glory are set to pin their hopes on some Argentinian No.10 pulled from obscurity in the hope he settles immediately and pulls some strings. Unlikely to happen.

    Tony Sage has been patient with his coach, which is to his credit given the propensity of mining oligarchs in football to fire first and think later. But when are the results going to come?

    Of course, they could make another run towards the finals as the annual game of top six musical chairs kicks off in earnest. But it seems far less likely this year than last.

    And anyway, should it have to come to that?

    Can anyone really say this current Perth Glory regime is capable of actually taking the A-League by storm, in the manner that Brisbane have in the past and like Central Coast, Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney currently are?

    Surely that is the goal. How far along are they, really?

    Vince Rugari
    Vince Rugari

    Vince Rugari is an Adelaide-born journalist who cut his teeth on the sporting graveyard of the Gold Coast. He fancies the round ball and the Sherrin, and used to be a handy leg-spin bowler before injury curtailed a baggy green push. A Port Adelaide fan by birth, he now is a sports reporter for Australian Associate Press

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    The Crowd Says (65)

    • January 25th 2013 @ 3:06am
      Johnno said | January 25th 2013 @ 3:06am | ! Report

      It’s funny Perth glory were the heart and soul of the old NSL at th least 5 years them and woolongong ,. But in the A-league they have fallen away. I would still argue Adealide haven’t caught the A-league by sight either . Yes they made a Asian champion’s league final, got thrashed in one of the grand finals, but most fans out there don’t get all hyped up for Adelaide United either.

      Adealide city and wesT adelaide captured the old NSL by storm far more, the fiercest local derby int he league, and bitter rivals of South Melbourne and Marconi.

      Perth glory have hope they just have to be marketed better by at times the sydney centric and Melbourne centric FFA.

      The FFA I still think it was shameful how the Fury were treated. The Mariners have been mucked around at times too, and Gold Coast United just wasn’t well planned by anyone old clive palmer or the FFA, both mismanaged , when the coast had so much potential too.

      Perth Glory have potential to be like the old NSL days, big crowds at Subiaco etc, just need to be marketed better.

      • February 3rd 2013 @ 10:29pm
        tony said | February 3rd 2013 @ 10:29pm | ! Report

        perth glory will never get any where until tony sage gets rid of the existing caoching staff and replace them with a proper coach at the moment NO coach would be better than the poor quality coaching staff at present at the glory as 11 players take the field but ther is NO team the fault lies with ferguson and his inability to get the players to gel

    • January 25th 2013 @ 6:48am
      Stevo said | January 25th 2013 @ 6:48am | ! Report

      Vince, add Eli Babalj to the talent let slip by the Glory brains trust.

      • January 25th 2013 @ 9:48am
        Brick Tamlin of the Pants Party said | January 25th 2013 @ 9:48am | ! Report

        And when a local kid snubs you maybe its time you had a good look at your youth programme.

    • January 25th 2013 @ 7:15am
      Robert said | January 25th 2013 @ 7:15am | ! Report

      The Glory seem to be still angry about last seasons GF.Let it go.And Ferguson’s record before arriving in Perth was poor.Begs the question why he was signed in the first place

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [].

      • January 25th 2013 @ 9:05am
        Brick Tamlin of the Pants Party said | January 25th 2013 @ 9:05am | ! Report

        Yes Robert the GF is the reason for Glory fans being angry about where the club is headed,nothing to do with the talent drain or uninspiring football at all.

        • January 25th 2013 @ 10:44am
          Nathan of Perth said | January 25th 2013 @ 10:44am | ! Report

          Or the club backbiting its members.

    • January 25th 2013 @ 8:19am
      Bondy said | January 25th 2013 @ 8:19am | ! Report

      Vince , The philosophy you hold here should be the benchmark for all A League clubs build from within your junior base but not only that it gives locals and local media the opportunity to promote local talent to the public.

      I dont hold anything personal about Ferguson but ask yourself this have they improved under his tenure ,do they look like there on an upward spiral, where would the glory be now coached by Postecoglou ?.

      This is a mentality issue with the glory, they want big strong tuff men with experience playing for them and they will probaly be overseas players,what if they cant really play that well or at all. If clubs cannot develop their youth then the FFA should step in,why cant all clubs have four youth team players involved in the squad travelling and getting game time occasionally,the mariners appear to be a production line of youth the unfrotunate element to that is though almost none are from the local region. Confusing and disjointed.

    • Roar Guru

      January 25th 2013 @ 9:00am
      Fussball ist unser leben said | January 25th 2013 @ 9:00am | ! Report

      I’m not a big fan of Ian Ferguson and I’m sure he’ll be gone at the end of the year. In truth, he would have been gone last year had Perth not turned the season around spectacularly after Christmas 2011.

      On paper, Perth’s starting XI is as good as any in the ALeague and, in the 2 matches MVFC has played Perth, they’ve proved to be very difficult opposition.

      In 12 months, MVFC has managed to reinvent itself with new coach & hand-picked players. Perth Glory, NIX … every team can do the same.

      • January 25th 2013 @ 9:21am
        Realfootball said | January 25th 2013 @ 9:21am | ! Report

        You signed possibly the only coach in the A-League talented enough to do that, mind you. I doubt even Arnie could pull it off in that short a time frame. AP is a one out of the box.

        • Roar Guru

          January 25th 2013 @ 9:28am
          Fussball ist unser leben said | January 25th 2013 @ 9:28am | ! Report

          Popovic & Aloisi have shown that we have many good football minds & managers in AUS.

          Let’s not forget PER are only 1 point behind SydneyFC and, from what I’m reading today, the SydneyFC fans & SydneyFC fanboys in the media are suggesting SydneyFC are currently one of the best teams in the A-League!

          Additionally, I should add PER has not lost a single match this season by more than 1 goal … so, they’re not far off the mark.

          Smeltzy has been a huge disappointment this year – he’s the one guy in the A-League (before ADP hit our shores) I’d normally bet my house to score when he’s inside the box, but he’s missed some sitters. Can’t blame Ferguson for Smeltz’s poor form.

          • January 25th 2013 @ 10:25am
            Realfootball said | January 25th 2013 @ 10:25am | ! Report

            True – Popovic has shown he can do it.

            Jury is still very much out on Aloisi for my money.

            Smeltz is up against Jurman this weekend and Donachie this weekend. Could be ugly for the Roar.

          • January 25th 2013 @ 10:53am
            Nathan of Perth said | January 25th 2013 @ 10:53am | ! Report

            It’s been our forward third that’s killed us – we have scored the fewest, but we’ve conceded very few goals as well.

            It was had a more appropriate level of productivity out of Smeltz and co… another .5 goals per game (say an extra 4 from Smeltz and Mehmet apiece) and all of a sudden the points table looks very different indeed.

            Rather depressing – I was getting quite happy and accustomed with Perth Oval being a fortress! But we haven’t had a home win since mid-December and it is now almost February, having lost to Victory and drawn both Sydney teams.

      • January 25th 2013 @ 10:40am
        clayts said | January 25th 2013 @ 10:40am | ! Report

        That’s just it though, Perth are difficult opposition to play, but they don’t threaten the opposition’s goal anywhere near enough. Just look at their shots on target this season. Woefully low. I’m sure if you took away the shots from long range, it would be next to nothing. Perth win their games by hanging in there all game and defending well, and then trying to snag the odd header from Mehmet (gone) or Smeltz (not nearly in as good form as he was lin years gone by).

        • January 25th 2013 @ 10:54am
          Nathan of Perth said | January 25th 2013 @ 10:54am | ! Report

          Although the second goal against Sydney was an absolute peach – would have been a deserved winner if Vuko hadn’t dropped the ball seconds later.

          Need to have much for of Nagai, and much less going straight to the wide play.

          • January 25th 2013 @ 11:05am
            Bondy said | January 25th 2013 @ 11:05am | ! Report

            Nathan O P.

            That ws a shocking attempted save by Danny.

            • January 25th 2013 @ 12:45pm
              Nathan of Perth said | January 25th 2013 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

              That one hurt my soul, it really did.

    • January 25th 2013 @ 9:25am
      Realfootball said | January 25th 2013 @ 9:25am | ! Report

      Ferguson has certainly had a lot of rope. I can’t imagine him still being there at any other club in the A-League – apart from the Nix, possibly.

      The Brisbane rumour mill says that Thwaite is unhappy and wants to come back east to Brisbane (why the Roar never signed him is beyond me). The Glory don’t look like a happy bunch on the park.

      Sage has been very loyal to his coaches, but in football friendships have to come second to the interests of the club, and Ferguson just isn’t cutting the mustard.

      • January 25th 2013 @ 10:55am
        Nathan of Perth said | January 25th 2013 @ 10:55am | ! Report

        The Brisbane rumour mill reckons we’re going to swap him for Jurman, which says to me that the Brisbane rumour mill is talking squarely out of its hindquarters 🙂

        • January 25th 2013 @ 11:30am
          Realfootball said | January 25th 2013 @ 11:30am | ! Report

          Agree!!!! Jurman for Thwaite. Well, sure, I’d love that as Roar supporter, but it really is lalaland stuff. Jurman will be very hard pressed to stay at A League level. Course he can turn that around by performing while North and Smith are out.

          What do you think? Why don’t we swap Jurman and Thwaite tomorrow and see how it pans out?

          • January 25th 2013 @ 12:02pm
            Ian said | January 25th 2013 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

            and i second the motion to swap jurman for thwaite………..motion is passed!


            nathan – you mentioned above perth glory backbiting its members…..what did you mean by that?

            • January 25th 2013 @ 12:15pm
              Nathan of Perth said | January 25th 2013 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

              There was some stuff that went on with security that came to a head in the last match, though I’ve just read that we’ve had a resolution between the supporters and club, so I probably shouldn’t drag it up again.

          • January 25th 2013 @ 12:16pm
            Nathan of Perth said | January 25th 2013 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

            There would be a no-joke riot if that swap happened! Thwaite with a legitimate claim to be #1 defender in the league, vs Jurman who has probably cost Brisbane about 10 premiership points this year on his lonesome.

            • January 25th 2013 @ 12:27pm
              Realfootball said | January 25th 2013 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

              Aw comeon, give the kid a break. He might thrive at Perth.

              Plus think of how much drama it will add to your home games to have Jurms giving away penalities every week!

              • January 25th 2013 @ 12:36pm
                Brick Tamlin of the Pants Party said | January 25th 2013 @ 12:36pm | ! Report


              • January 25th 2013 @ 1:01pm
                Nathan of Perth said | January 25th 2013 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

                Maybe if we’re lucky Jurman can give us a sneak preview tomorrow!

                But generally, though I could do with a few more goals in Glory games, that’s not exactly what I had in mind…

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