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Purple Haze

by Ashley Morrison on Jan 28, 2012

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Whether they came for Kewell or to reward the team for their fantastic start to 2012, there was no doubting that the 12,358 Perth Glory fans that turned up to watch them take on Melbourne Victory left having watched the best performance at Perth oval for many a year.

It was fitting that the players put in such an outstanding performance in front of the biggest crowd of the season as it will surely tempt many to venture back for the team’s next home game. If however the crowds return to around the six or seven thousand then there is little more the players can do.

Since the game against the Brisbane Roar at home in early January there has been a steel about Perth Glory that was previously missing. The team has learnt to fight from the opening whistle, and even if they find themselves a goal down, fight to the very end; An attitude that had appeared to be missing in recent seasons. Coach Ian Ferguson has stated that having so many players playing for new contracts has been the catalyst for this.

It is one thing to have attitude, it is another to play the style of football the team played against Melbourne Victory. They destroyed the former benchmark club. Right from the opening whistle they refused to allow any Victory player time on the ball. They hustled and harried them all over the park, and players not renowned for the defensive prowess were dropping back, closing down and often putting in telling tackles.

This was a true team performance. Van den Brink who has been Mr. Reliable at the back was ably assisted by the steel and vision of Steve Panetlidis, a player who when signed raised many an eyebrow. However his performance in this game showed that there is far more to his game than the rash challenges and off the ball aggression many like to remember.

Since the A-League started Glory have struggled to find a midfield that could win the battles and at the same time offer some flair in attack, and that has been a key contributor to their lower end of the table finishes.

Despite the favoured line ups at the start of the season it looks as if the combination of McGarry, Burns and Miller is the right mix. Burns has played within himself in recent weeks exuding a calm control in the centre of the park, simply going about his business effectively and by his standards quietly.

McGarry has been a revelation since winning a starting position in the side; the team has in fact not lost since he claimed a regular staring position! It is interesting to compare two seasons ago when Glory made the finals for the first time ever that it was his signing along with Daniel McBreen that gave Glory the impetus to climb into the six; Then the team only lost one of the six games he started in normal time.

Miller is undoubtedly a quality player, and he has paced himself through the hottest of conditions and lets the ball do the talking, saving his legs, yet he too works hard defensively.

The attacking options are endless now for the Glory with these two areas looking solid, Sterjovski is playing some of his best football since his return from Europe, Berger, now fit has shown his ability, and waiting in the wings are Travis Dodd, Andrezinho and Tommy Amphlett. While leading the line is Shane Smeltz who is reveling in the service he is currently receiving.

Perth Glory may not have set the world on fire at the start of the season, but as stated previously, it is the end of the season when it counts in Australia and you do not have to finish top to end up being Champion. Perth may not go all the way to the Grand Final but once in the top six they have shown that they will now be a team that many will be watching very carefully.

Hopefully the football public of Perth will come out again in their droves to support them.