ALM Match Preview: RZ vows to stay on the front foot

Head Coach Ruben Zadkovich has vowed that his charges will retain their positive approach as they return to Macedonia Park for Saturday’s Round 15 clash with Newcastle Jets (kick-off at 7.30pm, tickets available HERE).

The men in purple will be out to extend an impressive six-game unbeaten run at their temporary home and in the process, avenge October’s last-gasp Round 2 defeat in the Hunter Valley.

And Zadkovich believes that the best way to do that is to take the game to the visitors.

View his full pre-match media conference HERE.

“The big thing for us as a group,” he said, “is that the Members and fans are great and Macedonia Park, in some way, brings that closer to us.

“They’re really like an extra man, so we’re really keen to stay on the front foot and keep putting in performances for those guys and make sure that they’re enjoying the games.”

The Jets’ squad is expected to contain a number of former Glory players including Daniel Stynes and Callum Timmins, but Zadkovich insisted that they have not been at the forefront of his pre-game thinking.

“I know a bit about nearly every player and coach in this competition, to be honest,” he said.

“Most of the players I’ve either played against or coached against and I certainly have no more focus on those type of players than I do anyone else.

“I’m more looking at Beka Mikeltadze, he’s a a top player for them, Angus Thurgate, who’s their best player and [Reno] Piscopo who’s another great player for them.

“They have a lot of key threats and my focus is on how we can be great and nullify those threats; that’s the same process for every team.”

Like Glory, Arthur Papas’ side have collected five points from their last three games, but Zadkovich has seen plenty of variance in their performances across the season as a whole.

“We’ve looked at them last week and in previous weeks as a whole from Round One all the way through,” he said.

“They’re a team that is hot and cold.

“Even last week [a 4-0 win v Brisbane Roar] there were periods when they were cold and periods when they were hot… the scoreline kind of blew out out of proportion to the way that game played out.

“But we do our analysis on an overall picture and not just last week’s snapshot.”

In terms of early team news, meanwhile, the Head Coach provided updates on both Adam Taggart and Salim Khelifi.

“Taggs is a chance,” he said.

“He’s progressed well and the medical team has been doing a fantastic job working with him.

“Taggs’ attitude has been first-class, he’s been doing everything he can and he’s got that little look in his eye like he wants to be there, which is always nice.

“We’ll see how he goes tomorrow morning and make a decision late.

“Salim is in a moonboot at the moment and he’ll stay like that for a couple of weeks.

“There’ll then be some reviews and more meetings with specialists.

“It’s a serious injury, but one which we can manage.

“It’s just going to take a little bit of time… he could potentially play again this season.”

Zadkovich also confirmed that there could be a further injection of youth into the squad this weekend off the back of what was a gruelling away fixture against Wellington Phoenix in Palmerston North.

“We’ve still got one more training session to go,” he said, “and there are a couple of boys who have pulled up with niggles from that trip, which is disappointing, but I think the effort from the boys on that trip and the way they went about their business was a real positive.

“We always speak about it taking the depth of our squad and that then delves into a lot of our homegrown younger ones and we’re pretty passionate about their development, so it might be an opportunity for a few of those guys to step into the fray.”

Although Glory are without a win in the last five meetings between the two sides, the Jets have secured maximum only three times in their 24 previous trips to WA.

This season, they recorded back-to-back wins in the opening two rounds before picking up just three points from their next six games.

Papas’ men have recaptured some of that early-season form since mid-January, however, picking up two draws and enjoying a resounding win over Brisbane Roar last time out.

Trent Buhagiar and Beka Mikeltadze are their leading scorers with three goals apiece, while Beka Dartsmelia, Reno Piscopo and Jaushua Sotirio have all contributed three assists.

Match Details

ISUZU UTE A-League 2022/23 Season Round 15

Perth Glory v Newcastle Jets

Macedonia Park

Saturday 4 February 2023

Kick-off: 7.30pm WST

Perth Glory squad: 2.John KOUTROUMBIS, 3.Jacob DOWSE, 4.Luke BODNAR, 5.Mark BEEVERS, 7.Ryan WILLIAMS, 8.Mustafa AMINI (c), 12.Luke IVANOVIC, 13.Cameron COOK (gk), 15.Jordan ELSEY, 16.Keegan JELACIC, 18.David WILLIAMS, 19.Zach DUNCAN, 20.Giordano COLLI, 21.Antonee BURKE-GILROY, 22.Adam TAGGART, 29.Darryl LACHMAN, 30.Pierce CLARK (gk), 36.Joseph FORDE, 37.Jacob MUIR, 43.Adam ZIMARINO

Ins: 12.Luke IVANOVIC, 22.Adam TAGGART

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 1.Brad JONES (gk) (injured), 6.Aaron MCENEFF (injured), 10.Salim KHELIFI (injured), 14.Jack CLISBY (suspended), 24.Adrian SARDINERO (injured)

Newcastle Jets squad: Jack DUNCAN (gk), 2. Dane INGHAM, 3. Jason HOFFMAN, 4. Manabu SAITO 5. Matthew JURMAN (co-captain), 7. Trent BUHAGIAR, 8. Beka DARTSMELIA, 9. Beka MKELTADZE, 10. Reno PISCOPO, 11. Jaushua SOTIRIO, 14. Mohamed AL-TAAY, 17. Kosta GROZOS, 18. Daniel STYNES, 19. Callum TIMMINS, 20. Michael WEIER (gk), 24. James McGARRY, 25. Carl JENKINSON (co-captain), Archie GOODWIN, 32. Angus THURGATE, 33. Mark NATTA

Ins: 4. Manabu SAITO

Outs: 6. Brandon O’NEILL, 30. Noah JAMES