Perth SC coach Ramon Falzon expects his side to rise to the challenge when they meet Sorrento in a top-of-the-table PS4 NPLWA clash at Percy Doyle Reserve on Saturday.
Sorrento knocked Perth SC off top spot last week and will be looking to stretch their lead with a victory over the defending champions.
Despite a draw with Armadale last week, Falzon is confident his team, who beat Sorrento in the final round of last season to claim the league title, can revisit that winning feeling against the Gulls.
“Against Armadale we played really well, we just couldn’t convert our chances,” Falzon said. “My expectation this week is definitely for another good, consistent performance and hopefully we take the chances we create.
“We know how hard it is to beat Sorrento when they are playing at home, but we did it last year when both teams had much more pressure than right now, so I’m expecting my team to rise up to the occasion once again.
“With the way Sorrento play, you need 11 players to fight hard, play well and defend well, because they’ve been a goal-scoring team. So, for us, every piece of the puzzle needs to do the job this week.”
Sorrento coach Jamie Harnwell, who felt his team were hard done-by not to win against Perth last year, was looking forward to another tough contest.
“We know Perth and Sorrento have developed a special rivalry over the years and I don’t think this weekend will be any different,” he said.
“I expect a reaction from Perth after the last few matches they have played.
“They missed a number of chances at goal in round 6 so we know they will be energetic and well-drilled going into round seven.”
Harnwell can turn to some fresh legs this week in Ryan Pearson and Sean Canham, who have missed the last few rounds.
“Jack Salter has also been key for us,” Harnwell said. “And Alex Morgan will have his chance to secure a spot in the starting 11 after coming on as a substitute and scoring last weekend.”
In other games on Saturday, Perth Glory host Stirling Lions at Ashfield Arena, Cockburn City battle it out against ECU Joondalup at Dalmatinac Park, Balcatta take on Bayswater at Grindleford Reserve and Subiaco meet Floreat Athena at Rosalie Park.
On Sunday, Inglewood United take on Joondalup United at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium, before Mandurah City face Armadale at the newly re-named Securitas Protect Stadium.
Saturday, April 1
Perth Glory v Stirling Lions (Ashfield Arena, 3pm)
Cockburn City v ECU Joondalup (Dalmatinac Park, 3pm)
Balcatta v Bayswater City (Grindleford Reserve, 3pm)
Perth SC v Sorrento (Percy Doyle Reserve, 3pm)
Subiaco v Floreat Athena (Rosalie Park, 3pm)
Sunday, April 2
Inglewood United v Joondalup United (Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium, 3pm)
Mandurah City v Armadale (Securitas Protect Stadium, 3pm)