One of the best things about the A-League is how quickly teams can bounce back after a poor season.
The 2021-22 campaign for Perth Glory will be remembered for the ill-fated Daniel Sturridge experiment, scheduling chaos, playing several matches with a team full of teenagers, and ultimately finishing rock bottom.
However, after the usual off-season purge, there is room for optimism.
Kenny Keogh has taken a percentage stake in the club, which will alleviate some of the financial burden from long-time owner Tony Sage.
Keogh is a successful businessman, that has shown his acumen as the CEO of UON – where he oversees the commercial, financial, engineering and maintenance divisions.
Another Kenny, Lowe, has returned to the club as the head of the academy after being involved in the WA NPL as well as commentary on Glory home matches this past season.
Lowe has one of the sharpest minds when it comes to youth development in Australia and will be tasked with overhauling Perth’s underperforming youth setup.
Reuben Zadkovich has been confirmed as the new coach, while recently retired Glory legend Andy Keogh has taken over as head of recruitment.
Although Keough has no formal qualification in recruitment, he has already made multiple signings.
Stefan Colakovski has left the comforts of perennial title challengers Melbourne City to try his luck in the west.
With his family as day one City season ticket-holders, Colakovski climbed the ranks from a ball boy to youth team player and then first-team squad member.
Colakovski has been on the periphery of the starting 11 for the past few seasons, mainly coming on a substitute, but has been unable to get ahead of the regular three Socceroos that make up the star-studded forward line.
He has always been an undeniable talent, but due to a lack of minutes his progress has stalled.
At 22 years of age, a move interstate to partner veteran superstar Bruno Fornaroli is the right time to finally see the talent of Colakovski shine weekly.
Keegan Jelacic is a name many followers of the QNPL will be familiar with.
Much was expected of the talented midfielder, especially having played under Brisbane Roar coach Warren Moon at youth level, however with competition fierce in the young Roar squad and an injury-plagued campaign, Jelacic found himself surplus to requirements.
He has however been in blistering form with Olympic in the QNPL this season, scoring several goals as one of the best players in the competition. Perth pounced for his signature.
The energetic Matt Hatch is an underrated signing after a breakthrough season with the Central Coast – his ability to play multiple positions with a high-octane work rate will serve the Glory well.
Perth’s young engine room will be reinforced by the signing of former prodigy Mustafa Amini, who has returned to Australia after several injury-plagued seasons in Europe, playing in 17 matches for Sydney FC last season.
Although his time in the Harbour City was lukewarm, if the Glory can keep Amini fit they have another key addition.
Attacking options will be further strengthened with the return of Ryan Williams. It’s been over a decade since he left the city of his birth for a nomadic career through the divisions of England but at only 28, he has a lot of experience and knowledge.
While larger clubs are struggling to complete signings, the Glory did their business early, also tying down several talented, homegrown players to new contracts.
With key positions now filled in the back office, front office and playing group, Perth looks likely to go from pretender to contender in less than a season.