ALW Match Preview: Players driven to respond in Gosford – Epakis

Glory Head Coach Alex Epakis has backed his charges to respond positively to last weekend’s loss to Western United when they take on Central Coast Mariners in Gosford on New Year’s Eve (kick-off at 1.15pm WST).

View his full pre-match media conference HERE.

The women in purple tasted defeat for just the second time this season at a blustery City Vista Recreation Reserve in Round 9, with Matildas star Chloe Logarzo grabbing the only goal of the game.

But the Head Coach believes that they have what it takes to bounce straight back into the winners’ circle in this weekend’s ALW/ALM double-header at Industree Group Stadium.

“The reality is that if we want to be a serious, winning team week in, week out, we have to perform at our best every week,” he said.

“For us, that’s a mentality thing and we’re definitely capable of doing it.

“We have shown that we’re able to keep a high mental standard week in, week out, but we also can’t afford to take our foot off the pedal just for one game.

“We have to be at our best every game and if we do that, we give ourselves a chance to win every game.

“I think the disappointment of last week will still be fresh in the players’ minds and the opportunity to go and put that behind them is something that’s really going to drive the players further.

“We’re going to get a response and we’re relishing the chance to go and do it.”

Sunday will mark Glory’s first meeting with the Mariners since the NSW club dropped out of the old W-League in 2009 and Epakis is very aware of the threat that the hosts, who have conceded only nine goals in eight games this season, will pose.

“Central Coast have got players there that really want to compete hard with and without the ball,” he said.

“So I can understand why they haven’t given away many goals and big chances.

“They have a style of play which really suits the players that they have and they’re doing really well to compete with teams in their first season.

“But ultimately, it’s on us to really go there and produce the kind of performance we know we’re capable of.”

Ahead of his side’s final game of 2023, the Head Coach went on to reflect upon what has been an impressive period of growth for Perth Glory Women.

“As a whole, it has been a really strong year for the team and I’m really happy with the last 12 months,” he said.

“We’ve made some big inroads on and off the field, we’ve had a number of successful stories and we’ve had some really great performances from the back end of last season into the start of this year.

“So overall, I’m pleased with the direction we’re heading in as a group on a really broad scale, but again, it’s the week-to-week business that we need to focus upon.”

As for the Mariners, they are likely to be brimming with confidence this weekend having eased to a 3-0 away win over Canberra United last time out.

Chinese import Wuri Gumula took her tally for the season to three by scoring two of those goals at McKellar Park, while 21-year-old midfielder Isabel Gomez has made a similarly bright start to her maiden ALW campaign by contributing three assists.

The Mariners also have two former Glory goalkeepers on their books in the form of Courtney Newbon and Sarah Langman, plus ex-Everton defender Faye Bryson.

Match Details

Liberty A-League Season 2023/24 Round 10

Central Coast Mariners v Perth Glory

Industree Group Stadium

Sunday 31 December 2023

Kick-off: 1:15pm (WST), 4:15pm (Local)

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1. Sarah LANGMAN, 2. Faye BRYSON, 3. Ash IRWIN, 4. Paige HAYWARD, 5. Annabel MARTIN, 6. Isabel GOMEZ, 8. Bianca GALIC, 9. WURIGUMULA, 10. Rola BADAWIYA, 11. Annalise RASMUSSEN, 12. Jazmin WARDLOW, 13. Alexia KARRYS-STAHL, 14. Sophie NENADOVIC, 17. Kyah SIMON, 18. Taren KING, 19. Tiarna KARAMBASIS, 22. Peta TRIMIS, 27. Maya LOBO, 33. Tess QUILLIGAN, 92. Casey DUMONT

Ins: 5. Annabel MARTIN

Outs: 16. Briana WOODALL

Perth Glory squad: 1.Morgan AQUINO (GK), 3.Jessika COWART, 4.Natasha RIGBY (c), 7.Liz ANTON, 8.Hana LOWRY, 9.Millie FARROW, 10.Susan PHONSONGKHAM, 11.Grace JALE, 12.Sofia SAKALIS, 13.Sarah CAIN, 14.Tia STONEHILL, 17.Abbey GREEN, 18.Sadie LAWRENCE, 19.Izzy FOLETTA, 20.Quinley QUEZADA, 22.Claudia MIHOCIC, 23.Isobel DALTON, 24.Sally JAMES (GK), 25.Grace JOHNSTON, 27.Georgia CASSIDY

Four to be omitted

Ins: 13.Sarah CAIN, 14.Tia STONEHILL, 17.Abbey GREEN, 19.Izzy FOLETTA

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 16.Isabella WALLHEAD (injured), 28.Anika STAJCIC (injured)