A crowd of well over 1000 flooded into Medina’s Kelly Park on Saturday afternoon to watch Glory begin its pre-season campaign with a 3-0 victory over local amateur side, Kwinana United.

A crowd of well over 1000 flooded into Medina’s Kelly Park on Saturday afternoon to watch Glory begin its pre-season campaign with a 3-0 victory over local amateur side, Kwinana United.

Brazilian triallist Sidnei Sciola Moraes gave the visitors the lead, with Steven McGarry and Shane Smeltz also finding the net in the second-half against a spirited and well-drilled Kwinana side.
But the on-field action was only part of a hugely memorable event that was enthusiastically embraced by the local community.
For two hours prior to kick-off, Glory’s players were involved in coaching local youngsters through a series of short-sided games, as well as posing for photos and signing autographs as they mingled with the growing crowd.
And once the final whistle brought the friendly clash to an end, there was another opportunity for the locals to get up close and personal with their favourite players and also with Head Coach Alistair Edwards who was delighted to be back at the club where his illustrious football career began.

“It was like a reunion of sorts for me,” he said, “seeing people I haven’t seen for over 20 years.
“But in terms of what happened with the festival in the morning, I was really proud of our Glory players who mingled and spent a lot of time with the kids.
“The weather has been fantastic, everyone’s buzzing and it’s been a perfect day really.
“I’m just thrilled to bits with the way it’s gone.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Kwinana President Luke Higgins who was hugely encouraged to see so many members of the local community enjoying the festival of football at the southern suburbs club.

“Today has exceeded all of our expectations,” he said.
“I think we had 500 hot dogs and 500 hamburgers and they’ve all been sold, so we’ve definitely had some numbers here.
“It’s been fantastic to see all the kids down here and the way the Glory players mingled with them before the game was great.
“I didn’t expect as many people and it’s just been unbelievable.”

In terms of the game itself, meanwhile, Glory enjoyed a solid workout against a United side which acquitted itself extremely well and boasted the man of the match in goalkeeper Chad Freund.
The talented shot-stopper kept the A-Leaguers at bay with a string of stunning saves, the best of which came after just eight minutes when he went full-length to keep out a Smeltz penalty after Chris Harold had been upended in the box.
Freund foiled the New Zealand international in similarly spectacular style again just before the half-hour, but by then Glory had got their noses in front courtesy of Moraes who certainly caught the eye on what was his first outing for the club.
The former Boavista man enjoyed plenty of success down the left and broke the deadlock on 16 minutes after cutting infield, outpacing the defence and sliding the ball into the far corner of the net.
United managed to restrict the visitors to that single-goal advantage until half-time, but three minutes into the second period, McGarry pounced to make it 2-0 from close range having been picked out by the lively Smeltz.
And it was the A-League’s record goalscorer who made amends for his earlier penalty miss by completing the scoring in some style shortly before the final whistle.
Picking the ball up just outside the box, Glory’s marquee man showed great close control to dance his way past a cluster of Kwinana defenders and calmly beat the advancing ‘keeper, much to the delight of the local youngsters gathered behind the goal.
The performance left coach Edwards generally satisfied and he was quick to praise the contribution made by both Moraes and opposition stand-out Freund.

“We’ve only had three training sessions,” he said, “and the players got two sets of 40 minutes today which made this a really important part of our pre-season.
“I thought the boys really enjoyed it.
“Sidnei (Moraes) did well.
“He’s just arrived from Brazil, showed a few flashes of brilliance and he looks like he’s going well.
“As for their ‘keeper, I think we might have to have a look at him!
“He was outstanding.
“You could tell how good he was by the fact that he got a standing ovation when he was substituted late in the game.
“They (Kwinana) were really well organised, so it was a very useful exercise to play against them and hopefully we’ll have more of the same at Gosnells next weekend.”

Kwinana United 0-3 Perth Glory (Half-time 0-1)
Kelly Park
Saturday 6th July 2013
Referee: Trent Fleskens
Assistant Referees: Joshua Nixon and Nico Hoyle
Attendance: Approximately 1200

Perth Glory: Neil Young, Josh Risdon, Jack Clisby, Brandon O’Neill, Matthew Davies, Jacob Burns, Cameron Edwards, Steven McGarry, Chris Harold, Sidnei Sciola Moraes, Shane Smeltz

Substitute used: Ryo Nagai
Scorers: Moraes 16′, McGarry 48′, Smeltz 75′

Kwinana United: Chad Freund, Chris Atkins, Dale Joy-Hacking, Colin Smyth, Daniel Sheaf, Cameron Harvey, Anthony Harris, David Smyth, Glen Smith, Thomas Walsh, Chris Smith
Substitutes: Paul Johnson, Luke Collins, Luke Rennie, Liam Harvey, Daniel Willars, Tim Smith

Gareth Morgan