Expectation is high this weekend with Perth Glory ready to secure a first National Premier Leagues WA championship.
John Gibson’s side have stayed the course superbly this season and victory at home against Cockburn City on Saturday afternoon will put them out of reach of their only rivals for the title, Perth SC.
With a four-point buffer, even a draw at Ashfield Arena will be enough for Glory if the Azzurri are unable to beat ECU Joondalup at Dorrien Gardens in the NPL WA’s penultimate round.
Glory, for all intents and purposes a youth team, are the league’s top scorers with 69 goals from 24 matches. They are unbeaten in 14 matches, a sequence which includes 10 wins, and Gibson is now keen to take the final step.
“I think the last few weeks have gone pretty slow in terms of getting the job done,” he said.
“We have been consistent and mature about that and for now we are just concentrating on the next 95 to 100 minutes. If we complete the job it’s going to be a fantastic experience for the club. But we want to wrap it up before we go into what it means [for the club].”
Perth SC will be relying on Cockburn doing them a favour, although the third-placed Cockerels’ recent form isn’t encouraging. Last week they were turned over 3-0 at home by Floreat Athena and they have won only one of their past five league games.
ECU will be no pushovers for Perth SC either. Their last loss was in Round 18 and the Jacks are in the mix for a top-four finish. They also have Daryl Nicol vying for the Golden Boot with Armadale’s Chris Jackson, with both men on 23 goals.
The other teams in the hunt for top four have home matches against sides in the bottom two – Bayswater City take on Forrestfield United while Inglewood United meet Joondalup United.
Floreat’s hot streak could spell bad news for Subiaco, who are third from bottom and just a point better off than Forrestfield whom they beat last week thanks to Adam Carlino’s dramatic injury-time strike.
Balcatta and Stirling Lions clash at Grindleford Reserve, with both teams sitting three points above the drop zone. Victory for either could be enough to guarantee their NPL berth for 2019.
The round’s other match is a mid-table encounter between Sorrento and Armadale.
Saturday, August 18 (all 3pm)
Perth Glory v Cockburn City (Ashfield Arena)
Perth SC v ECU Joondalup (Dorrien Gardens)
Floreat Athena v Subiaco (E&D Litis Stadium)
Bayswater City v Forrestfield United (Frank Drago Reserve)
Balcatta v Stirling Lions (Grindleford Reserve)
Sorrento v Armadale (Percy Doyle Reserve)
Inglewood United v Joondalup United (Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium)