Preview: Wellington Phoenix v Perth Glory

New season; new hope for two clubs with so much to prove. And with much improved squads expectations are high from the respective success-starved fans as they face off in the opening round of the Hyundai A-League Season 2014/15 in Wellington.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Wellington Phoenix v Perth Glory

Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Kick-off: 5:00pm local (3:00pm AEDT)

Referee: Alan Milliner

Assistant Referee 1: Mark Rule

Assistant Referee 2: Glen Lochrie

Fourth Official: Nick Waldron

TV Broadcast: Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX SPORTS 1HD & 1 from 3.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 2 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: 720 ABC Perth, Local Radio WA, Grandstand Digital Perth,  Online/A-League Live Mobile phone app 

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #WELvPER

To purchase tickets visit 

Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Glen MOSS (GK), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 4.Roly BONEVACIA, 5.Michael BOXALL, 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ, 9.Nathan BURNS, 10.Michael McGLINCHEY, 11.Jeremy BROCKIE, 12.Tyler BOYD, 13.Albert RIERA, 16 Louis FENTON, 17.Vince LIA, 18.Ben SIGMUND, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (GK), 21.Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 23.Matthew RIDENTON

***two to be omitted***

Ins: Not Applicable

Outs: Not Applicable

Unavailable: 7.Kenny CUNNINGHAM (suspended), 15 Jason HICKS (knee strain – 1-2 weeks)

Perth Glory squad: 1.Daniel Vukovic (GK)  2.Jack CLISBY, 3.Brandon O’NEILL, 5.Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 6.Dino Djulbic.7.Youssouf Hersi 9.Andy Keogh 10.Nebosja Marinkovic, 11.Richard Garcia, 13.Diogo Ferreira, 14.Chris Harold, 15.Jamie Maclaren, 17.Mitch Nichols,18.Jack Duncan (GK) 19.Josh Risdon, 21.Scott Jamieson 23.Michael Thwaite (C), 26.Harry O’Brien.

***two to be omitted***

Ins: Not Applicable

Outs: Not Applicable

Unavailable: 4.Riley Woodcock (international duty), 20.Daniel De Silva (international duty), 8.Ruben Zadkovich (back) 16.Sidnei Sciola (calf), 30.Jordan Thurtell (international duty)

Bluffer’s guide

In a bid to bring glory days back to Perth, coach Kenny Lowe has been very active in the transfer market, bringing in the likes of striker Andy Keogh, ex-Wanderers winger Youssouf Hersi, favourite son Dino Djulbic in defence and former Jets captain Ruben Zadkovich.

That squad overhaul has many fans in purple starting to dream but Glory will start with the longest away trip in a top division in world football by heading to New Zealand and another club that have made serious changes.

Wellington Phoenix boss Ernie Merrick has stacked his squad with attacking midfielders but the Kiwi club’s notoriously leaky defence could still be their undoing in 2014-15.

Opta Data stats

Unsurprisingly, in the 23 matches between Wellington and Perth, the travel-weary visiting side have only won four times with the hosts triumphing on 14 occasions.

That bodes well for the Phoenix – although Glory claimed their maiden win in Wellington last term – but Merrick will need to have done some work on his defence.

Albert Riera could be the difference for the home team as Wellington conceded an average of 1.2 goals per game in the defensive midfielder’s 13 starts last season before the Spaniard tore his groin with 10 matches remaining, during which time the Phoenix conceded 30 goals.

Route to goal

Expect goals in this match with both teams having packed their forward thirds with attacking talent since last season.

Merrick doesn’t have much depth in the lead striker’s role – Jeremy Brockie will be his preferred starter – but in attacking midfield the likes of Nathan Burns, Michael McGlinchey and Alex Rodriguez make Phoenix a very tasty proposition.

But Wellington’s defence, led by captain Andrew Durante, will have to step up when faced with former Wolves and Millwall striker Keogh, plus Hersi, Mitch Nichols and Richard Garcia.

Who’s been in the spotlight this week?

At 28 and with plenty of experience, some people think Keogh should be the Hyundai A-League’s prototype foreign signing rather than the likes of David Villa.

Did you know?

When Glory have played away from home in the opening round of the Hyundai A-League they have always lost – scoring just one goal in those four matches.


Result: Phoenix 1-1 Glory

These two are hard to split and Perth’s superior defence – Djulbic is a top signing and Danny Vukovic is arguably one of the Hyundai A-League’s leading goalkeepers – could give them the edge, although history suggests the trip will take its toll on Glory.

Plus Merrick looks to have assembled a very exciting group in Wellington this season and they’ll be worth at least one goal. If the Phoenix get on top and the home-town crowd is up and about, the hosts will be difficult to stop, however, a draw still seems likely.