In amongst the Perth Glory’s pre-season fixtures are two games listed against a WA State Team, a fixture that has become a regular one in recent years. A fixture that although it may not be popular with the Perth Glory coaches as State League players try and prove a point is a game that is important to the game as a whole.
The timing of these games is however not the best. The first game scheduled for August 21st comes in between round 20 and 21 of the State Premier League, a competition that has a total of 22 fixtures before the finals series.
It is going to put both players and clubs in a very awkward position. Clubs will suffer criticism if they do not allow a player to have the honour of representing his state, and the players will be torn between staying with their club and ensuring they make the finals, or avoid relegation, and will know that this could actually be a distraction. Also with the game being played on a Tuesday night training evening, it will again put unnecessary pressure on all concerned as to what is the right thing to do.
As the home and away season finishes on the 8th of September and the second game is to be played on Wednesday 12th, one wonders if Football West is planning a week off before the finals for this game, if not again the top sides will be loathe to release players, and it creates an awkward situation. if so why not play the game on the Saturday?
These issues aside, one that needs to be addressed is whether this team is going to be a legitimate State team, or is it in fact going to be a State League Team; an issue Not the Footy Show raised a year ago.
Last year the side was made up of almost 50% visa players and therefore should have been a State League side. To play for Western Australia the criteria always was that you had to be an Australian citizen or at least have permanent residency. It is a huge honour to play for Western Australia and this honour in respect of those who have gone before should not be diluted.
The other reason why it should be a State team with no imports is this game is supposed to be the chance for the best players in the state to show the Perth Glory coaching staff that they have what it takes to be given a chance in the Hyundai A league. With a limit on visa spots in the A league; a foreign player playing in a State competition is going to have to be an absolute stand out or a low cost option for an A League coach to sign them. Most would rather sign talented local players and rely on filling the visa spots with players with proven track records.
Tradition in sport is essential, history is what the future is built on, and we must protect that past to safeguard the future. It is therefore important that the difference as to whether this is a State Team or a State League team comprising of the best players in the League should be made clear early on and when the game is played.