NPL Preview: More thrills on the cards at Macedonia Park

PGFC Academy First Team Head Coach John Walmsley is expecting another 90 minutes of drama and excitement when his side take on Stirling Macedonia at Macedonia Park on Saturday (kick-off at 3pm).

The youngsters were involved in yet another incident-packed game last weekend, eventually going down 2-1 to Olympic Kingsway having lost key defender Kaelen Majekodunmi to a contentious red card in the second half.

And with their eight NPL WA matches this season yielding a remarkable aggregate of 42 goals, Walmsley is expecting more fireworks when they tackle a Stirling side sitting one place above them in the table.

“Judging by the season so far, I think it probably will be another thriller,” he said.

“Stirling are a good side, they’re organised and disciplined and keep things tight, so it’ll be a good test for us to try and get in behind and score goals.

“I think it’ll be a different challenge against a different type of team, but if we do the things we know we can do more consistently and more often, we know we have a very good chance of getting something out of the game.”

The Head Coach went on to outline what he thought were a number of positives which emerged from the defeat at the hands of Kingsway.

“I thought it was a good performance from us,” he said.

“I thought we looked threatening going forward and in the first half, controlled the game.

“I just think that with it being senior football, we need to get better at controlling certain aspects of the match and make sure that when we do go ahead, we can stay in that position.

“There were a couple of big calls that didn’t go our way and sometimes when you’re playing against good teams and the games are tight, you need them to go in your favour.

“But there were plenty of things we did well and can learn from and take into next weekend’s game.”

One of those big calls at Kingsway Reserve was the red card received by Majekodunmi, a decision which means he will miss the trip to Stirling through suspension and Trent Ostler is also set to be unavailable after picking up a hamstring injury in the first half against Kingsway.

Saturday’s game will come at the end of a memorable week for the PGFC Academy in which no fewer than six of its players were named in an extended Joeys (Australia Under-17s) squad ahead of the AFC U-17 Asian Cup Thailand 2023.

And Walmsley was understandably delighted to see goalkeeper Robert Cook, defensive duo Andriano Lebib and Jonathon Leithead, midfielders Giovanni De Abreu and Corey Sutherland and forward Daniel Bennie being given the opportunity to shine on the international stage.

“It’s a huge boost for everyone,” he said.

“It’s a reward for all the hard work and effort that the lads put in day in, day out.

“We’ve got some really talented youngsters at the club, it’s a great honour to represent your country and for those lads to get those accolades and awards, it’s a great achievement.

“Hopefully it’s the first of many for these lads and for others in the program as well.”

Ahead of the First Team game on Saturday, the Under-18s will be in action at 11am, followed by the Under-20s at 1pm.

Do get along and support the lads if you can!

(picture courtesy of Tom McCarthy)