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Nov 17, 2022   |  2:04PM AET

Match Preview: “There’s a fantastic energy and vibe about what we’re doing” – Epakis

Match Preview: “There’s a fantastic energy and vibe about what we’re doing” – Epakis

Glory Head Coach Alex Epakis believes his squad could be in no better place ahead of Saturday’s Liberty A-League season-opener against old rivals Canberra United at McKellar Park (kick-off at 12.00pm WST).

Following an intense, six-week pre-season campaign, the women in purple are raring to go and fired up to secure what would be the club’s first ever win in the nation’s capital.

And the Head Coach is quietly confident that they can do exactly that.

View his full pre-match media conference HERE.

“I don’t say this lightly, but this is the best team environment that I’ve had the opportunity to work in,” he said.

“Every single player is committed to what we’re doing and every single player is putting the team above themselves and it’s a real joy to come in and be a part of it.

“There’s a fantastic energy and vibe about what we’re doing and I enjoy every day.

“I think this season, all the games are going to have fine-margin results, so we’ve got to make sure we’re doing the best that we can in every game for 90 minutes.

“We can put some value into what the opposition are doing, but we’re really focusing on what we’re doing and our job at hand.

“I think if we do that, anything is possible.”

In terms of his aims for the season overall, meanwhile, Epakis also feels his charges have the capacity to make a major impact as they seek to improve upon last year when they secured a fifth-place finish made all the more impressive by the fact that they were forced to play every game, bar one, away from home.

“We’ve got a fantastic group and I really believe in what we’re doing and I really believe in the players,” he said.

“Last season we did really well… and hopefully this season we can continue to grow and progress as a team.

“I wouldn’t be silly enough to put some outrageous claims out there, but what I do believe is that if we’re at our best every game and we stick to what we’re trying to achieve internally, I don’t want to put a limit on what that might look like.”

“The two games that we drew late on [last season]; one being Canberra with a 3-1 lead and the other being Newcastle when we led with five or six minutes to go and weren’t able to see out either of those games out.

“We’ve had a look at how we can manage things to work in our favour and use the momentum when it’s not with us, but we’re in the lead.

“It’s just about developing game intelligence and experience.”

That experience within the group has been bolstered by a number of the off-season recruits, including US import Rylee Baisden, Matildas midfielder Ella Mastrantonio and goalkeeper Sarah Langman, all of whom are expected to feature at McKellar Park.

American forward Gabriella Coleman is also in line to make her debut for the club, while the only confirmed in jury absentees are Claudia Mihocic and Milan Hammond.

Glory have won just two of their previous 23 meetings with Canberra, but last season’s two fixtures both ended all square.

Njegosh Popovich will take charge of the home side for the first time having succeeded Vicki Linton following the end of her two-season tenure.

Match Details

Liberty A-League 2022/23 Season Round 1

Canberra United v Perth Glory

Saturday 20 November 2022

McKellar Park

Kick-off: 12.00pm WST (3.00pm Local)

TV: Live and free on 10Play

Canberra United squad: 1. Keeley RICHARDS (GK), 2. Emily ROACH, 3. Grace TARANTO, 4. Holly MURRAY, 5. Emma ILIJOSKI, 6. Laura HUGHES, 8. Sasha GROVE, 9. Chengshu WU, 10. Grace MAHER, 11. Grace JALE, 13. Sophia CHRISTOPHERSON, 14. Chloe MIDDLETON, 15. Madison McCOMASKY, 16. Kennedy FAULKNOR, 17. Vesna MILIVOJECIV, 18. Chloe LINCOLN, 19. Nickoletta FLANNERY, 23. Michelle HEYMAN, 24. Ellen GETT

Unavailable: Ellie BRUSH, Hayley TAYLOR-YOUNG

Perth Glory Squad: 1.Morgan AQUINO (gk), 3.Kim CARROLL, 4.Natasha RIGBY (c), 6.Tijan MCKENNA, 7.Liz ANTON, 8.Hana LOWRY, 9.Demi KOULIZAKIS, 10.Susan PHONSONGKHAM, 11.Rylee BAISDEN, 12.Sofia SAKALIS, 13.Sarah CAIN, 15.Cyera HINTZEN, 16.Isabella WALLHEAD, 17.Abbey GREEN, 18.Sadie LAWRENCE, 20.Sarah LANGMAN (gk), 21.Ella MASTRANTONIO, 23.Alana JANCEVSKI, 42.Gabriella COLEMAN

Unavailable: 22.Claudia MIHOCIC (injured), 24.Milan HAMMOND (injured)

(picture courtesy of Estybs Photo)