A focus on WA talent is key to the club’s future
Having amassed almost 700 Perth Glory appearances between them, there are few people better qualified to discuss just how integral West Australian pride is to the very d.n.a. of the club than Jamie Harnwell, Scott Miller and Jason Petkovic.
And the legendary trio are confident that the two other club legends now in charge of first-team affairs, Alistair Edwards and Gareth Naven, can harness that pride and passion to drive Glory to future success.
“I definitely believe we need to have a WA focus,” said Petkovic who played more than 170 times for the club in two separate spells between 1999 and 2009.
“The WA crowd really got behind us when we had more local players in the side.
“The local football community could identify with the WA players having played against them or with them, so there was that association there.
“Hopefully Alistair and Gareth can help start to bring that feeling back.
“We are a WA team, that’s a really important part of our identity and I’d like to think we could make up the majority of our team with locally-based players.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Harnwell who scored more than 40 goals on his way to becoming Perth Glory’s record-appearance holder.
“If you look back to when we were a successful team,” he said, “we had a core within that team that were Perth-based players who wanted to play well because they’d either grown up supporting the club or it was the first professional club that they’d had a chance to play for.
“I don’t think you’re ever going to have a team with eleven Perth-born players in it, you’re always going to have to look for players from overseas or over east to fill the gaps and bring in that bit of quality.”
And the trio are similarly in agreement in their assessment of their former team-mates’ coaching abilities.
“Alistair and myself see the game in a very similar way,” said Miller who became a crowd favourite during a decade with the and currently coaches State League side Cockburn City.
“He’s been a great person to learn from and there aren’t many coaches more qualified than Alistair.
“I’ve known Gareth for twenty-odd years as well and he was a skipper, a leader, a very disciplined and focused player.
“With Gareth and Alistair, they’re both really professional and their personalities come through in the way that they coach.
“They’ve got a bit of the ying and yang going on there.
“I think it’s a great combination and with them both being WA legends, it’s great for the local young lads coming into the set-up.”
The latest local youngster to be brought into the Glory set-up is of course in-demand midfielder Daniel De Silva who signed professional terms last week.
And Petkovic and Harnwell both believe that with Edwards and Naven at the helm, the state’s rising stars will continue to view nib Stadium as the best place to continue their football education.
“Signing Daniel was fantastic,” said Petkovic.
“A number of people from over east were asking for my opinion of him more than a year ago, so he’s clearly been on the radar of a number of other clubs there and overseas and could easily have slipped through the club’s hands.”
“There are a lot of pathways for players now,” added Harnwell, “and Glory really needs to provide one of those pathways for local players.
“The young players have got to earn their place in the squad and the right to play, but they certainly need to be in and about the senior players in training every day if they are to make that breakthrough and under Alistair and Gareth, they’ll get the chance to do that.”