Analysis: Rhys sparks revival at Perth Glory

To think Sydney FC might have got their hands on Rhys Williams.

In January, Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold issued a public ‘come-play-for-us-if-you’re not-wanted-at-Glory’ pitch shortly after he lost classy central defender Matt Jurman to the K-League. 

It didn’t go down too well in Perth. 

Thankfully for Glory, there was no window move to the Harbour City for the Glory man after a spell out of the first team sparked speculation about his future. 

His last start had been on December 10 in the 2-1 loss to Newcastle at nib. 

Perth Glory has responded to claims defender Rhys Williams wants to leave the club.

It became a saga as Kenny Lowe repeatedly played a straight bat to questions about the former Middlesbrough captain and why he wasn’t in the first team squad (injury was the official line). 

But that’s in the past now.

In February, Perth have been sparked by a rampant Diego Castro, and with the 28-year-old Williams in equally strong form at the other end of the park, they have gone on a winning run that has them firmly in sight of third and a home final.  

The month began when Williams returned as a sub just before half time in the 3-2 win over Jets on February 4.

A week later he was in the starting XI – and looked immediately at home – when he helped Glory smash the Reds 5-0 at Coopers (one sliding, defensive block to shut out a Reds shot in the box really caught the eye). 

Suddenly, Glory’s backline had that look about it. 

Rhys Williams plays the ball during Glory's Round 1 clash against the Mariners.

And this was followed by a starting berth against Roar (2-2) and Saturday’s 2-0 win over the Wanderers.

Glory rise to third after downing Wanderers

Glory are unbeaten in four since he returned to the side this month, taking 10 points from 12. 

With Castro on fire at one end, and Williams at the other, there’s an awesome look to Glory as the finals approach.

And Williams showed his customary versatility this weekend by slotting into midfield and barnstorming his way through the Wanderers’ lines.

The former ECU Joondalup player’s stats reflect his influence with 71.4% of tackles won, a passing accuracy of just over 82% and 85.7% of aerial duels won this season.

Rhys Williams congratulates Diego Castro after he scores one of his two goals against the Reds. 

Sydney FC and Victory will finish top two. That we know.

But with Glory lurking around third spot – and with a home final as the reward – this is a side that could easily win a home Elimination Final and push Victory or Sydney all the way in the semi final. 

The one-time Socceroo is a charismatic, talented leader who returned to where it all began in WA to kick-start his career.

And you sense he will want to make up for lost time with Perth when the business end of the season comes around.