Liberty A-League season preview: Perth Glory

The team from out west were building quietly through the off-season… then they signed Lisa De Vanna. 

The CommBank Matildas legend and reigning Liberty A-League Champion returns home to add her abundant experience to a side bruised from a winless campaign in 2020/21. Perth Glory look a different outfit after head coach Alex Epakis’ off-season signing spree – but will the squad overhaul amount to a rise up the table this season?

Major ins: Lisa De Vanna, Mie Leth Jans, Kim Carroll

Major outs: Lily Alfeld, Malia Steinmetz

Head coach: Alex Epakis

Glory record: 12 games, 0 wins, 1 draw, 11 losses.

Alex Epakis endured a baptism of fire in 2020/21, going winless from 12 games, with his side scoring just seven goals and conceding 32.

With the brutal experience banished to the history books, the Glory boss focussed his off-season recruitment strategy on the acquisition of young talent stuck on the fringes of squads elsewhere in the league. 

It was a signing spree which produced the signatures of the likes of Sofia Sakalis, Susan Phonsongkham, Aideen Keane and Sarah Cain joining the returning Morgan Aquino in committing to Epakis and the club ahead of the new campaign.

Epakis’ first season at the helm in Perth began in disarray, with pre-season preparations at a minimum after his late arrival. He’s since had the time to put his stamp on the club, with a new season offering fresh opportunities for his side to put his coaching philosophies into practice.

Yeoman-Dale’s Predicted XI

  • Channel 10/Paramount+ football analyst Georgia Yeoman-Dale gives her verdict on the Perth Glory squad.

Strength: “With Kim Carroll returning, the back four looks strong. A solid backline should provide the platform for Perth to secure more points this season.”

Weakness: “They’ve signed so many players with potential, picking up the 12th and 13th player from squads around the league. But will that potential reap rewards this year? Maybe not.”

Key player: “Gemma Craine was fantastic at the start of the 2020/21 season before getting injured. If she can stay fit throughout the season then she’ll be key for Perth moving forward. 

“The backline is full of quality but a fit Craine could be the difference up top for Perth this season.”

Verdict: “They’ll be in the lower half of the table – but they won’t finish on the bottom.”

Can’t take your eyes off: Hana Lowry

The 18-year-old attacking midfielder with an eye for goal has a big season ahead in Glory colours, and attention will be centred on how Epakis manages her development through the 2021/22 campaign.

Lowry is Perth’s brightest young star. She’s played 19 games for Glory thus far through her career, with wins coming at a premium (three). But through that challenging time Lowry has shown a resilient temperament and eagerness to get stuck in to every challenge presented to her. It’s a promising sign for a young Australian becoming one of the league’s most exciting prospects. 

Hana Lowry bears down on goal against Canberra United.

Reasons to be cheerful: Led by captain Tash Rigby, Perth’s backline will be difficult to penetrate this season. Kim Carroll returns from Brisbane Roar to bolster up Epakis’ centre-back stocks, joining reigning club MVP Elizabeth Anton, Deborah-Anne de la Harpe and Sarah Carroll as Perth’s impressive collection of defensive talent. 

Danish international Mie Leth Jans is a versatile defender likely to be deployed in a position ahead of the backline as Epakis assembles a squad less likely to concede than they are to score.

… and reasons to be fearful: Lisa De Vanna, Mie Leth Jans and Kim Carroll aside, Perth have largely recruited for the future. With some of the most exciting young talent in the country on their books, the club can build towards that future with genuine excitement – but it’s unlikely this squad will be able match it with the stronger Liberty A-League outfits of today on a consistent basis.

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Fans’ eye: Peter Wright

Why we believe: I originally started going to Glory games to see the Matildas in action, as you’d see a lot more than you would see Socceroos in action at A-League Men’s games. 

That was my core reasoning. It’s not like I was started out a Perth supporter, but if I went to those games I’d be going to see a lot of good quality women’s football. 

I saw Sam Kerr, I saw Alanna Kennedy score a great free-kick against us, I’ve seen Elise Kellond-Knight, Lydia Williams, Mackenzie Arnold, Clare Polkinghorne. I’ve got to see all these famous international players in action.

Who we believe: We’ve got a lot of new players this season, so it’s difficult to pick a standout. Most of the media coverage goes on Hana Lowry, but Tijan McKenna has grown a lot over the last season. She’s still really young, but she’s a better player and has grown in stature.

We’ve got the new generation coming through in Perth. Epakis has been quite successful at recruiting these young and very promising players to come here. 

The magic of matchday is: the community of other supporters at the game. You tend to sit in similar seats and recognise a few people sitting in the row or two in front of you, or the seats either side of you. 

Mostly I’m focussing on the football, I’m the sort of person who will be happy to clap and say ‘well done, that’s a great move’ when it’s the other team that’s doing it. I appreciate quality play, I’m not a one-eyed supporter (my one-eyedness for is this code of football above any other). 

If I could change one thing about my club: Encouraging more of the general public to attend. Of the thousands of families with kids playing junior football in this state, very few actually go to Glory games. I think the A-League Women’s is a good entry point to that.

It’s much cheaper than going to the A-League Men’s games, it’s a much more family-friendly environment in my opinion. You can encourage parents to come with their kids, watch some high quality football live, have a match day experience. I’d like to see the club encouraging junior players acting as mascots on the field, having a kick on the field at half-time. If the kids are happy, the parents will be happy. 


By Tom Smithies and Matt Comito

Adelaide United: Can Chelsie Dawber lead the Reds into the post-season?

Brisbane Roar: Gorry returns – but do departures take their toll?

Canberra United: Tune in to the Heyman and Sykes renaissance

Melbourne City: Another season of obscurity for the heavyweights?

Melbourne Victory: Can the champions go back-to-back?

Newcastle Jets: Do international arrivals boost Newcastle’s chances?

Sydney FC: Does club legend Polias’ absence take its toll on the premiers?

Perth Glory: De Vanna arrives eager bounce Perth back up the table

Wellington Phoenix: can the exuberance of youth help Wellington make a fast start?

Western Sydney Wanderers: Can coach Cannuli inspire a postseason charge?

LISTEN: Join Danny Townsend, Daniel Garb, Robbie Cornthwaite and Amy Chapman for a special edition of the Official A-Leagues Podcast. Listen here, or via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify.