ALW Match Preview: “We still have plenty to play for” – Epakis

Glory Head Coach Alex Epakis believes that motivation levels in his playing group remain high ahead of Sunday’s Liberty A-League Round 21 clash with Brisbane Roar at Perry Park (kick-off at 1pm WST, watch live and FREE on 10Play).

View his full pre-match interview HERE.

Last weekend’s narrow defeat to Western Sydney Wanderers ended Glory’s Finals hopes with two games of the regular season still to play.

But Epakis is adamant that the campaign is far from over.

“We’re really fixated on finishing as strongly as we can,” he said.

“We don’t want to sugarcoat it; we’re disappointed that we’re not playing for a play-off finish.

“That really hurts and we need to be aware of that, but more so in the present, we need to make sure we’re putting out performances which allow us to finish the season as strongly as we can.

“Training this week has been excellent.

“I think everyone is on board with the fact that we’re working towards finishing the season the best we can.

“These games are certainly not dead rubbers by any stretch of the imagination.

“We’ve got plenty to play for.”

The Head Coach went on to suggest that despite the 1-0 scoreline, there were positives to be taken from the Western Sydney Wanderers game.

“There was certainly a level of disappointment as we didn’t get anything in terms of points, but there was also a level of optimism around that performance,” he said.

“It was a lot more competitive, a lot more structured and there was a lot more of us across that performance.

“We’re taking satisfaction knowing that we were able to perform at a high level over a longer period of time and we’re using that as a motivation this week.”

January’s meeting between Glory and Roar ended in a 0-0 draw at Macedonia Park and Epakis is expecting the Queenslanders to be a similarly difficult nut to crack this time around.

“It was a tight fixture and Brisbane are a well-rounded team,” he said.

“They have a lot of experience, there are Matildas in that team and some players that are in good form at the moment.

“We certainly can’t take them lightly.

“We’re very close at the moment in terms of the standings and we need to make sure we put out a performance that enables us to stay above them.

“Tactically they’re pretty sound and play in a shape which can cause some troubles for teams, but we’re aware of that and we just want to build on the things that we did really well in our performance against Western Sydney.

“I’ll select the team and squad that I believe gives us the best chance of winning and the players that are most motivated and ready to put their best foot forward.

“Whether that’s a player who hasn’t had an opportunity yet or a player who has played every game, ultimately that will be determined in the week at training.”

Sunday’s opponents come into the game in mixed form having won two and lost two of their last four games to leave them sitting one point and one place below Glory.

Among their standout performers this term have been American import Mia Corbin who has scored eight goals and added four assists, vastly-experienced Matildas midfielder Tameka Yallop who has scored five times and contributed the same number of assists and defensive lynchpin Jenna McCormick who has played every minute of every game.

Glory have dominated this fixture in recent years, winning on each of their last two trips to the Sunshine State and not tasting defeat away or at home since February 2021.

Match Details

Liberty A-League 2023/24 Season Round 21

Brisbane Roar v Perth Glory

Perry Park

Saturday 23 March 2024

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

Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Keeley RICHARDS, 2. Rebecca KIRKUP, 3. Deborah-Anne DE LA HARPE, 4. Kijah STEPHENSON, 5. Jenna MCCORMICK, 6. Holly MCQUEEN, 7. Ayesha NORRIE (C) 8. Mariel HECHER, 9. Mia CORBIN, 11. Sharn FREIER, 12. Tamar LEVIN, 13. Tameka YALLOP, 14. Sarah O’DONOGHUE, 17. Leah SCARPELLI, 18. Teagan THOMPSON, 19. Hollie PALMER, 20. Bonnie DAVIES, 21. Isabella SHUTTLEWORTH, 23. Ashlee BRODIGAN, 32. Alicia WOODS

Ins: Nil

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 10. Grace KUILAMU 15. Hannah HOLGERSEN 16. Chelsea BLISSETT 22. Ruby CUTHBERT

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, 13.Sarah CAIN, 17.Abbey GREEN, 18.Sadie LAWRENCE, 19.Izzy FOLETTA, 20.Quinley QUEZADA, 22.Claudia MIHOCIC, 23.Isobel DALTON, 24.Sally JAMES (GK), 26.Tanika LALA, 27.Georgia CASSIDY, 30.Mischa ANDERSON, 31.Clara HOARAU

Four to be omitted

Ins: 17.Abbey GREEN, 22.Claudia MIHOCIC, 27.Georgia CASSIDY (returns from international duty), 30.Mischa ANDERSON

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 16.Isabella WALLHEAD (injured), 25.Grace JOHNSTON (injured)

(photo courtesy of Chris Andrawes)