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Top Four Cup offers new shot at Glory

Football West News

It is a case of getting back on the bike for a bruised Perth Glory on Saturday when they play in the McInerney Ford Top Four Cup for the first time.

A trip to Perth SC might be the last place Glory would choose to visit, facing the team that snatched the NPL WA title from them in the final round and with the league trophy set to be on display.

But coach John Gibson insists he and his players are relishing the challenge of their cup semi-final at Dorrien Gardens.

“Fantastic, looking forward to it,” Gibson said.

“It’s another trophy to win. It’s also a little bit foreign to us as we’ve never been in this position before.

“They’ve been the best team in the competition. I’m pretty close with Ramon (Falzon, the Perth SC coach) and we’ve congratulated them, but he knows we’ll be gunning for them on the weekend.

“We’ll approach every game as we’ve done, with an aggressive mentality, and that won’t change.”

Gibson has spent time this week delivering to his young players the positives they should take from the season. But he didn’t try to play down the significance of not securing a first championship after their final-day defeat at Subiaco.

A photograph taken minutes after the final whistle last Saturday captured the Glory coach and his players in a huddle on the pitch at an otherwise deserted Rosalie Park. It contrasted sharply with the scenes at Percy Doyle Reserve, where the Azzurri were celebrating a 24th title.

What was Gibson saying to his players?

He said: “We were obviously fairly emotional. I was just trying to reinforce a positive season and speaking about how hard it is to win things in terms of titles and leagues. I was also just encouraging them to have a few days to chill out before we start to refocus.

“It was a heartbreaking way to lose the season … really difficult to take as a player, as a coach and as staff. It’s not a nice experience and pretty difficult to take with only 14 minutes to go. To look at the ladder, now and in the future, to lose by only one point is pretty cruel.

“But we’ll look to channel that energy into being positive this weekend. We’re looking forward to making amends.”

Glory must do without Luca Bodnar for the remainder of the season after the promising defender injured his neck in the loss at Subiaco.

The winners of Saturday afternoon’s game will go into the McInerney Ford Top Four Cup Final at Bayswater City’s Frank Drago Reserve on Saturday, September 8.

The format of the competition, which rewards the teams finishing in the top two in the NPL, means the losing side get a second bit of the cherry.

They will play the winners of the knockout semi-final between Cockburn City and Bayswater, which takes place at Dalmatinac Park on Saturday night.

Meanwhile Inglewood United have announced that Andy Keogh has stepped down as head coach.

Inglewood missed out on the Top Four Cup by two points following a last-round loss at Balcatta.

Fixtures
Saturday, September 1

Top Four Cup semi-finals

(1) Perth SC v (2) Perth Glory (Dorrien Gardens, 3pm)
(3) Cockburn City v (4) Bayswater City (Dalmatinac Park, 7pm)

Winners of Perth SC v Perth Glory head straight to final. Losers face the winners of Cockburn City v Bayswater City on Tuesday, September 4 for a place in the final.

Numbers in brackets indicate where teams finished on NPL WA ladder