ALW Match Preview: Table-topping Glory excited for next major test

Glory Head Coach Alex Epakis has confirmed that his charges are relishing the prospect of meeting another major Liberty A-League challenge in the form of Sydney FC who visit Macedonia Park on Sunday (kick-off is at 7pm, tickets available HERE).

View his full pre-match media conference HERE.

The women in purple surged back to the top of the table off the back of an eye-catching away win over traditional competition heavyweights Melbourne City at Genis Steel Stadium last time out.

And Epakis believes that they are ready to make another statement against the reigning Champions and Premiers this weekend.

“When you go away to Melbourne City and play the way we did, that’s a huge confidence boost for everything it is that we’re doing and the players that contributed to that,” he said.

“It’s a performance that we can hold in high regard and it’s really going to set the platform for what I want us to achieve in the next couple of weeks.

“It’s another opportunity for us to play against a big and successful team which is what they have been for the last few years.

“We’re in a position where we’re ready to compete with anyone.

“We’re aware that if we play and perform at our level, we give ourselves every opportunity to get the result and that’s what we’re going to focus towards.

“We’re aware of what their strengths are.

“They have some really great players, they have Matildas in their team, past Matildas, future Matildas, so we’re coming up against a very good squad and a very well-coached team.

“But we just need to make sure that we’re performing at the same level as our most recent performance or higher.

“We’re starting to see that we are a serious outfit ourselves and we can play with the best and beat the best now, so that internal belief is really strong and we just need to continue to harness that over the next few fixtures.”

With Grace Jale, Georgia Cassidy and Grace Johnston all being used off the bench last week after returning from international duty overseas, Epakis conceded that he has some tough selection decisions to make for Sunday.

“All the players that came in did a sensational job and certainly contributed to the performance and the outcome,” he said.

“That’s the level we’re all operating at at the moment.

“The players are training so hard, the internal competition is very strong and it’s healthy.

“That’s the position I’m in where I have to make these decisions and assessments and pick the squad that I think is going to help us win the game.

“It’s not always easy, but I’ve got clarity and I will have clarity around that.

“The squad is very aware that we have strength in our depth and that that is going to be a key part of our success and has been a key part of our success.

“Everyone is really open-minded in terms of putting their best foot forward to contribute to the team this weekend.”

Last month’s draw with Melbourne Victory drew a bumper crowd to Macedonia Park and with an even larger turnout expected for the visit of the Sky Blues, the Head Coach believes that the Members and fans can provide his side with an extra edge.

“They have played a really significant part to date,” he said.

“This calendar year, we’ve had really strong numbers coming out to watch and it has a huge impact on us and in particular, the players.

“They play an important role in giving us energy in key moments, so I really hope that continues to be the case this weekend.

“It’s going to be a fantastic game of football with two great sets of players, so I really hope everyone gets down there and they’ll be treated to a great match.”

Due to their AFC Women’s Club Championship commitments, Sydney FC have only played five A-League games thus far this season, collecting three wins in the process.

Former Adelaide United striker Fiona Worts has made an immediate impact at her new club, scoring three goals, ex-Glory winger Aideen Keane has seen plenty of game time off the bench and livewire Matildas forward Cortnee Vine has recently returned from injury.

Head Coach Ante Juric will, however, be denied the services of injured duo Nat Tobin and Lucy Johnson.

Sydney have held the wood over Glory in recent years, winning each of the last five meetings between the two teams, but the WA side have won six of the 14 overall fixtures played here in the West.

Match Details

Liberty A-League 2023/24 Season Round 8

Perth Glory v Sydney FC

Macedonia Park

Sunday 17 December 2023

Kick-off: 7:00pm WST

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: 14.Tia STONEHILL, 17.Abbey GREEN, 22.Claudia MIHOCIC, 19.Izzy FOLETTA

Outs: Nil

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

Sydney FC Squad: 1.Jada WHYMAN (GK), 2. Margaux CHAUVET, 3. Charlotte MCLEAN, 4. Tori TUMETH, 5. Kirsty FENTON, 7. Teigan COLLISTER, 9. Shea CONNORS, 10. Sienna SAVESKA, 11. Cortnee VINE, 13. Aideen KEANE, 14. Abbey LEMON, 16. Jordan THOMPSON, 18. Taylor RAY, 19. Zara KRUGER, 20. Princess IBINI ©, 21. Shay HOLLMAN, 22. Indiana DOS SANTOS, 23. Fiona WORTS, 26. Madeleine CASPERS, 30. Tahlia FRANCO (GK)

Four to be omitted

Ins: 7. Teigan COLLISTER (promoted), 10. Sienna SAVESKA (promoted), 14. Abbey LEMON (promoted), 22. Indiana DOS SANTOS (promoted).

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 6. Lucy JOHNSON (injured), 12. Nat TOBIN (injured).