Floreat Athena will be out to show their first win of the NPL WA season was no flash in the pan when they head to in-form Perth SC on Sunday.
Goals from captain Dean Evans and Philip Arnold gave Athena a 2-0 victory over Balcatta last Saturday. And after collecting just one point in the opening two rounds, they are now looking up the table.
This weekend’s match at Dorrien Gardens will be a true test of character but midfielder Calvin Whitney promises Athena are up to it.
“It was good to get a win on the weekend and I thought it was a dominant performance against Balcatta,” Whitney said.
“We had a good Night Series but we’ve had a lot of injuries and suspensions and now that’s behind us we are looking to kick on.”
Floreat beat Perth on penalties in the pre-season semi-final so Whitney knows Ramon Falzon’s side will have a score to settle.
“We’re all looking forward to the game as Perth will be coming for us after beating them,” he said.
“Believe me it will be tough as they are always competitive, especially at home, but I feel the boys are up for it and hopefully we can come away with the three points.”
After a number of years in the Perth Glory Youth set-up, Whitney had a season in the NPL with Cockburn last year. Now he’s enjoying his football with Athena.
“I’ve got quite a lot of freedom at Floreat, so I’m not restricted to a holding position that I’ve played at other clubs,” he said.
“The club have been great to me and all welcomed me, and it’s good to be playing with some experienced players.”
After an opening day upset loss to Perth Glory, Perth SC have recovered with two wins. Last week they put five past Armadale and Sky Blues keeper Francis Soale pointed to their mix of youth and experience this season.
“We probably took a little longer than we would’ve liked to get going against Armadale but credit to them, they started quite well,” Soale said.
“Once we got going I thought we looked pretty sharp moving the ball forward quickly and it was good for the confidence of the group to be able to hit the scoreboard five times.
“There is a good balance amongst our boys, we’re all great mates and the new guys we’ve brought in have managed to fit in seamlessly. There’s also a real battle for spots in the starting 11, which is keeping everyone one on their toes even more so than in previous years.”
Soale said despite Floreat’s indifferent start to the season, he is expecting a cracking encounter.
“Sunday is a big game, we know we probably should’ve had them during the 90 minutes in our Night Series fixture,” he said.
“Our mindset doesn’t change too much, though, we’ll come out and attack them, be relentless and hopefully finish the weekend with another three points on the board.”
The other National Premier Leagues WA games this weekend take place on Saturday.
Early frontrunners Bayswater City entertain Inglewood United at Frank Drago Reserve, while second-placed Perth Glory make the trip to the Wildlife Safari Stadium to face Forrestfield United.
Cockburn City head north to take on ECU Joondalup, Stirling Lions are at home to Armadale, Balcatta host Sorrento, while Joondalup United welcome Subiaco to Percy Doyle Reserve.
Saturday, March 17
ECU Joondalup v Cockburn City (ECU Joondalup Football Stadium, 3pm)
Bayswater City v Inglewood United (Frank Drago Reserve, 3pm)
Balcatta v Sorrento (Grindleford Reserve, 3pm)
Stirling Lions v Armadale (Macedonia Park, 3pm)
Joondalup United v Subiaco (Percy Doyle Reserve, 7pm)
Forrestfield United v Perth Glory (Wildlife Safari Stadium, 7pm)
Sunday, March 18
Perth SC v Floreat Athena (Dorrien Gardens, 7pm)