ALW Match Preview: “It’s another final” – Epakis

Head Coach Alex Epakis believes that the stakes could hardly be higher as Glory head into Saturday’s Liberty A-League Pride Celebration clash with Brisbane Roar at Macedonia Park (kick-off at 4pm, tickets HERE).

The women in purple currently sit seven points off the Finals spots with two games in hand on fourth-placed Melbourne Victory having won their last three on the bounce.

And with confidence high, Epakis sees no reason they cannot continue their charge up the table with another crucial victory.

View his full pre-match media conference HERE.

“We’re in very good form… and have been training well, so as you can imagine, the mood in the group is upbeat and we’re very excited and optimistic about the next couple of weeks,” he said.

“We certainly turned a corner five or six weeks ago and haven’t looked back since.

“That hasn’t happened by chance; the players have been really putting their best foot forward, training really hard and being very aware of the game-plans and what it is we’re trying to do and competing internally for positions.

“That improves the quality of what we’re delivering.

“Every game is like a final now and we’ll play it with the intensity it deserves.

“We’ll certainly back ourselves to match it with anyone.”

While confident that his side have what it takes to secure maximum points at the weekend, Epakis is under no illusions as to the challenge that a Brisbane Roar side, which is expected to include Matildas star Katrina Gorry, will provide.

“You have two or three internationals in that team and as a result, you can’t write them off,” he said.

“They’ve had some really good performances and some where they weren’t at their best, so we’re aware of what they’re capable of and where we can exploit them, but again, the big focus is upon us putting in the big performance we need.

“If we do that, the rest should take care of itself.

“Credit to her [Gorry], she’s had some really solid performances in recent weeks for Australia.

“She’s a player that we’re aware of and will have to manage, but we also know what we’re capable of and that’s probably more what we’re setting our sights on.”

The Head Coach went on to outline how supportive the Glory players and staff are of the Pride Celebration component of Saturday’s game.

“It’s a really important week and the build-up has been great,” he said.

“What the week represents and what the match will represent is something that’s really important and something that myself and the team are looking forward to being a part of.

“I’m expecting a really great buzz… and it’s very exciting to be a part of it.”

In terms of team news, meanwhile, influential midfielder Ella Mastrantonio is poised to return having served her two-match suspension and Epakis will have a close-to-full-strength squad available from which to make his final selection.

Glory have won three of the last four meetings between the two clubs although, remarkably, neither team has ever won more than two consecutive games in the history of this fixture.

Roar’s best performers this term have included Gorry, who has claimed three goals and three assists in just eight starts, midfielder Hollie Palmer, who has created the second-highest number of scoring chances (29) in the competition this season and versatile US import Shea Connors who has scored twice and also provided one assist.

Match Details

Liberty A-League 2022/23 Season Round 15

Perth Glory v Brisbane Roar

Saturday 25 February 2023

Macedonia Park

Kick-off: 4.00pm WST

Perth Glory squad: 1.Morgan AQUINO (gk), 3.Kim CARROLL, 4.Natasha RIGBY (c), 6.Tijan MCKENNA, 7.Liz ANTON, 8.Hana LOWRY, 9.Demi KOULIZAKIS, 10.Susan PHONSONGKHAM, 12.Sofia SAKALIS, 13.Sarah CAIN, 14.Hannah BLAKE, 15.Cyera HINTZEN, 16.Isabella WALLHEAD, 17.Abbey GREEN, 18.Sadie LAWRENCE, 19.Izzy FOLETTA, 20.Sarah LANGMAN (gk), 21.Ella MASTRANTONIO, 23.Alana JANCEVSKI

Ins:  6.Tijan MCKENNA, 16.Isabella WALLHEAD, 20.Sarah LANGMAN (gk) 21.Ella MASTRANTONIO

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 11.Rylee BAISDEN (injured), 24.Milan HAMMOND (injured)

Brisbane Roar squad: 1.Isabella SHUTTLEWORTH (GK), 2.Annabel HAFFENDEN, 3.Jessie RASSCHAERT, 5.Jamilla RANKIN, 6.Holly MCQUEEN, 7.Ayesha NORRIE©, 9.Larissa CRUMMER, 10.Katrina GORRY, 11.Sharn FREIER, 12.Shea CONNORS, 13.Tamar LEVIN, 16.Zara KRUGER, 17.Talitha KRAMER, 19.Hollie PALMER, 20.Georgia BEAUMONT, 23.Kajsa LIND, 27.Indiah-Paige RILEY, 51.Hensley HANCUFF (GK),78.Margot ROBBINE


Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 8. Mariel HECHER, 31. Aleeah DAVERN, 21.Mia BAILEY (GK)