Today is a special occasion for the Perth Glory Football Club, with the 10th anniversary of one of the clubs proudest moments in their short history in Australian football.


Today is a special occasion for the Perth Glory Football Club, with the 10th anniversary of one of the clubs proudest moments in their short history in Australian football.

All our loyal supporters will have happy memories of that Nik Mrdja goal in the pouring rain, which handed Mich D-Avray and his Glory side, a 1-0 win against Parramatta Power at Parramatta Stadium, to take out the 2003-04, and last National Soccer League Grand Final.

The hundreds of Glory supporters in the ground that day were singing in the rain when Brad Hassell and Mrdja combined to send Damian Mori clear down the left. The striker cut inside the last defender and picked out Mrdja who fired low past Clint Bolton from the edge of the penalty area, for a golden goal winner, to set off celebrations in players and supporters alike.

Current Glory midfielder Travis Dodd was in the Parramatta side on the day, also ex-Glory stars in Andre Gumprecht and Simon Colosimo. While in the Glory line up were current Bayswater City players Adrian Caceres and Jamie Coyne, new Sorrento Coach Jamie Harnwell, along Perth Glory NPL-WA under 20-s coach Bobby Despotovski and NPL-WA under 12s Coach Brad Hassell.

Harnwell was superb on the day at the heart of defence with skipper Shaun Murphy and the win was a highlight in his career. “It was a huge occasion for us. The last ever game of the NSL, and we were playing the glamour side of that year in Parramatta Power,” said Harnwell.

“The weather was horrendous and I think for any other game in any other year it would’ve been called off. I remember the support we got from the Glory fans, standing in the rain all game was fantastic.”

“The game was a real scrap, and in a way I was lucky the pitch was as bad, because I had badly injured my ankle in the first half and couldn’t turn on it, but because of the conditions no one else could turn quickly either.”

The game looked like going to penalties, as the Glory missed a number of chances but Harnwell was pleased with the late winner and the celebrations after. “We had a couple if great chances through Damian Mori that didn’t go in, and as it went to golden goal there was a real tenseness around the stadium,” he said.

“Then Nik (Mrdja) scored early in extra time and the celebrations were big. The best part of the night was meeting up with the traveling supporters, including my mum and dad, to celebrate. We didn’t buy a drink all night, and for us it was a great deal of satisfaction to end the NSL era as champions.”

Dodd, who played only one season with the Power, agrees with Harnwell, and said the game was almost switched to WA in the week before the Final. “I do wonder what would have happened if they weather wasn-t so bad that day. The whole week leading up to the final there was nothing but sunshine, then on game day there was nothing but rain. By kick off, the pitch was basically under water and virtually unplayable, but the game proceeded,” he explained.

“During the week leading up to the final, our players voted on whether we would be willing to change the venue to Perth to host the final….presumably because we had poor attendance numbers all season.”

“But after playing so well in the lead up to the final, we couldn-t reproduce that form, maybe we would have had a better chance had we taken the game to WA, but that game was the start of my Grand Final curse which has continued on through another four finals.”

Hassell had only been on the pitch for three minutes replacing Jamie Coyne, and after announcing his retirement earlier in the season, the midfielder was heavily involved in the goal in his final game.

“Yes you could say I made an immediate impact,” he said.

“I don-t recall it as a ‘classic- match, but then most finals aren’t and the weather didn’t help. Being my last game at that level and playing with a fantastic group of players, it was a great way to finish my career, by collecting another winner-s medal, and celebrating with our loyal supporters.”

The win in the that final made it back-to-back NSL Championships for the Purple army, we now push on, and look ahead to the next one, which is just around the corner – Remember ‘No Guts No Glory-