Tomorrow night’s FFA Cup quarter final clash at Dorrien Gardens is a much more important game for Perth Glory than many will realise.
Perth Glory will be desperate to progress through to the semi-final, because the club is still searching for its first trophy since the dawn of the Hyundai A-League. They lost in the final of the Pre-season Cup, The Grand Final and the inaugural FFA Cup Final.
However apart from wanting to lift the trophy this time around, this game is very important for the club as the FFA Cup is proving the only avenue for the coach and players to have any meaningful pre-season matches before the start of the coming A-League season.
A-League teams on the East coast can afford to fly inter-state and have a match against quality A-League opposition, as the air fares between East coast cities are far lower than they are from the most isolated city in the country. Not only that, but Melbourne and Sydney have the luxury of more than one team in their city.
Perth Glory has in the past headed to China; where one game was abandoned because the bus driver had no idea where the ground was. They have also headed to Malaysia in the past. They have even gone to South Africa, courtesy of Jason Brewer’s mining company, prior to him becoming CEO of the club. Yet with every cent that is being spent now being watched very closely in 2015, there was no budget for Kenny Lowe and his side to leave Western Australia and play.
Yes, there have been games against a NPL composite side, – labelled a “State team” – and also against selected NPL sides, but the truth is the standard of the top semi-professional league in Western Australia is according to many, currently at its nadir. Bayswater City are the sole shining light in the competition and that is why they have won the top competition for the past two seasons. This year they wrapped up the league title ten points clear of Perth who have been consigned to second place since the dawn of the NPL, and are a shadow of the side they were in the early 2000’s.
None of these sides now are going to truly stretch a full time professional side. So where can Perth Glory get meaningful games in which the coach can truly assess the fitness of his players and how certain combinations are gelling on the park? The FFA Cup is the only avenue.
So tomorrow night’s game against Western Sydney Wanderers is a must-win for more reasons than the Glory’s quest for a trophy, it assures them another hard match in their A-League preparation, and if they win that hopefully one more, that will also hopefully be played in Perth!
The situation in terms of pre-season games does not look like changing much in the near future, so the FFA Cup is a godsend for a club stuck on the other side of the country, watching its costs.