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Perth Glory FC

Squad Update

Perth Glory can today confirm that Tomislav Mrcela has departed the club and that Nathaniel Atkinson and Andrew Nabbout will not now be joining the squad.

Defender Mrcela, who made 30 Hyundai A-League appearances after arriving in 2018, has been granted an early release from his contract in order to return to Croatia with his wife.

Atkinson and Nabbout, meanwhile, have had their contracts terminated by mutual consent due to the issues surrounding them relocating from Melbourne and in Nabbout’s case, his understandable reluctance to make the move without his family.

Mrcela was quick to thank the club’s Members and fans for their support during his time in the West.

“I had a great two years here which I think, overall, were two successful years for the club,” he said.

“I hope we gave the Members and fans some joy and I would like to thank them all.

“I’m taking many great memories away, leaving as a better man and a better player and who knows what the future brings?”

Perth Glory Chief Executive Officer Tony Pignata acknowledged Mrcela’s contribution to the club’s recent success and pointed out that circumstances beyond the club’s control had rendered the Atkinson and Nabbout deals unviable.

“Tomi has performed extremely well for the club over the past two years,” he said, “and we have granted him an early release for family reasons.

“On behalf of the club, I would like to thank him for his service and wish him all the very best for the future.

“In terms of Atkinson and Nabbout, meanwhile, we are obviously disappointed that two players of their quality will not now be joining us, but unfortunately the ongoing border restrictions have rendered their moves impossible at this time.

“The club is, however, continuing to implement a very aggressive recruitment policy and there are now additional opportunities for other players to join what we are confident will be a highly-competitive squad for the 2020-21 season.”

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Richard Garcia appointed new Glory Head Coach

Richard Garcia

Perth Glory is delighted to confirm that Richard Garcia has been appointed as the club’s new Head Coach for the next two seasons.

A former Glory skipper and Socceroo, Garcia has worked as an Assistant First Team Coach and Head Youth Coach of the PGFC Academy since hanging up his boots in 2017.

The 39-year-old enjoyed an illustrious playing career, during which he represented Hull City in the English Premier League, featured for the Socceroos at the 2010 World Cup, won 18 senior international caps and made over 50 Hyundai A-League appearances for Glory.

Now set to take charge of his hometown club, Garcia is hugely excited by the challenge ahead.

“I’m extremely happy to have been given this opportunity,” he said.

“Being a proud WA boy and having played for and captained Perth Glory, it’s a great honour to now be in a position to take the club forward.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our loyal Members and fans for their ongoing support during what has been a very testing year due to the issues caused by COVID-19 and I hope we will have them back at HBF Park roaring us on in the near future.”

Glory Owner and Chairman Tony Sage, meanwhile, believes that Garcia has all the qualities required to lead the club to further success.

“Richard is an outstanding young West Australian coach who has a deep understanding of our football club and what it represents within the WA football community,” he said.

“He served Perth Glory with distinction as a player and I know he will do likewise as Head Coach.

“Through his outstanding work as Head Youth Coach of our PGFC Academy he has acquired an in-depth knowledge of the talented young WA players we have within our system and I look forward to seeing those players continue their development into the senior ranks under Richard’s guidance.

“Richard has learned his trade working under and alongside a host of top-quality coaches both here in Australia and overseas and has all the qualities required to develop a team and a style of play that makes us all proud.

“This is an appointment that our Members and fans can feel genuinely excited about.”

The make-up of Garcia’s coaching support staff will be confirmed shortly.

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Perth Glory FC

Popovic departs to take up overseas opportunity

Perth Glory can confirm that Head Coach Tony Popovic has departed the club with immediate effect to take up an opportunity overseas.

The 47-year-old former Socceroo joined Glory in 2018 and guided the club to its maiden Hyundai A-League Premiership and second Grand Final in his debut season at the helm.

In his parting comments, Popovic confirmed his belief that Glory is well placed to build upon the success achieved over the past two seasons.

“I’d just like to thank the players, staff, members and fans and everyone involved with the club, as well as the owner, Tony Sage, for giving me the opportunity,” he said.

“I had a wonderful two years, winning the Premiers’ Plate being a fantastic highlight, along with playing in front of a sell-out crowd at Optus Stadium in the Grand Final and being a part of the club’s first foray into the AFC Champions League.

“Then in our second season, coming through a difficult COVID situation and being one game away from another Grand Final.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time in Perth, working with great people and living in the city.

“An opportunity has now come for me to pursue in Europe, but I’m very thankful to everyone for making my time in Perth so enjoyable.

“I wish the club all the very best and it is definitely in good hands.

“There are wonderful players in the squad and it’s been a great pleasure to watch them perform and grow both as players and as young men during my time there.

“The template has been set for Glory being a consistently successful club having challenged for honours in two consecutive seasons and I’m sure the players and staff can now build on that and maintain that consistency in years to come.”

Glory Chief Executive Officer Tony Pignata acknowledged the contribution made by Popovic and stated that he leaves with the club’s best wishes.

“On behalf of everyone associated with Perth Glory, I would like to thank Tony for his efforts over the past two seasons,” he said.

“He has made a lasting and significant impact and we wish him all the very best in his future coaching endeavours.

“The club will now initiate a thorough and wide-ranging process to identify and appoint his successor as the club’s new Head Coach.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Glory Football Director, Jacob Burns.

“At a personal level, I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every day working alongside Tony,” he said, “and wish him the very best of luck in his next role.

“A legacy of players and coaches being successful is that they attract interest from elsewhere, but the template and structures that Tony has helped to develop will remain in place and stand the club in good stead as we continue our bid for sustained success.”

The club will not be issuing any further comment at this time.

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Glory swoop for exciting duo

Andrew Nabbout and Nathaniel Atkinson

Perth Glory is delighted to confirm that Andrew Nabbout and Nathaniel Atkinson have both signed for the club.

27-year-old Socceroos forward Nabbout arrives in the West having scored 31 goals in 108 Hyundai A-League appearances during two spells with Melbourne Victory and one with Newcastle Jets.

Atkinson, meanwhile, is regarded as one of the brightest young defenders in Australia having represented his country at both Under-20 and Under-23 level and already played nearly 60 A-League games for Melbourne City.

Both players have penned two-year deals and Glory Football Director Jacob Burns believes that the double signing represents a massive coup for the club.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have secured the services of two of the A-League’s very best players in their respective positions,” he said.

“A host of clubs both in Australia in overseas were vying to sign them and it is a testament to what we have built here at Glory in recent times that they have opted to come to us and be a part of our future.

“Nabbout is a proven goalscorer with World Cup experience whose pace and power excites fans.

“He also brings a strong mentality and work ethic which will fit perfectly into our club dynamic.

“Atkinson is a similarly exciting and explosive talent who has just enjoyed a breakout year with Melbourne City.

“He can operate equally effectively on either side of the defence and given that he is still only 21, will continue to improve in the coming seasons.”

The arrival of Nabbout and Atkinson takes the number of players currently contracted to 15 and Glory Chief Executive Officer Tony Pignata is confident that the squad is shaping up well ahead of the Hyundai A-League 2020/21 season.

“These two latest signings illustrate in no uncertain terms our determination to build upon the success the club has enjoyed over the past couple of years,” he said.

“We are assembling a squad which we are confident will enable us to be extremely competitive both domestically and in the AFC Champions League.”

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Perth Glory FC

Squad Update

Perth Glory can confirm that a number of changes have been made to its playing roster ahead of the Hyundai A-League 2020/21 season.

As a result of those changes, the players listed below have parted company with the club following the expiration of their contracts:

Joel Chianese, Dino Djulbic, Ivan Franjic, Vince Lia and Tando Velaphi.

“The club would like to sincerely thank each of the players for their service and wish them all the very best in the next chapter of their football careers,” said Glory Chief Executive Officer Tony Pignata.

Djulbic's departure brings to an end his third spell at the club, during which the hugely-popular defender took his number of Hyundai A-League games in purple to 118, placing him fifth on Glory's all-time A-League appearances list.

Velaphi, meanwhile, had also returned to the club having featured on 74 occasions during his earlier stint here in the West.

Chianese moves on after spending the last four seasons with Glory, chalking up 87 appearances and scoring 14 goals along the way, including the winning penalty in last year's memorable Semi-Final shootout victory over Adelaide United.

Franjic was also a key part of the side which reached last year's Grand Final, scoring the goal against Newcastle Jets that sealed the Premiers' Plate and missing only a handful of games after arriving from Brisbane Roar.

Lia completes the departing quintet having been signed on a short-term deal earlier this year.

Further squad announcements will be made in the near future.

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A well-taken first-half goal from Joel Chianese proved enough to secure Glory a hard-fought victory over Wellington Phoenix in a pulsating Elimination Final at Bankwest Stadium.

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The 30-year-old found the bottom corner in the 18th minute and Tony Popovic's men then held firm in the face of a late onslaught from the Kiwi side to set up a Grand Final rematch with Sydney FC in Wednesday's Semi-Finals.

In a breathless game littered with chances at either end, Liam Reddy produced several key saves to preserve Glory's lead, notably from Ulises Davila just before the break, while David Ball struck the woodwork as Phoenix maintained their desperate search for an equaliser right up to the final whistle.

Unsurprisingly, Popovic was quick to hail his side's character in his post-match comments.

"It was a fantastic defensive display," he said.

"We lost Alex Grant to an ankle injury in training yesterday, unfortunately, so we had to readjust the line-up and I thought the players were excellent.

"It was everything you could ask for from a playing group in a Finals game and I think that just shows the belief the players have had throughout this whole hub.

"Results aside, I've always believed in these players and what they showed today may surprise many people outside the hub, but certainly no-one within the hub.

"Now we focus on Sydney FC.

"You have to beat the best to win the Championship and they've been the best this year, so we know what we're up against.

"But we're a game away from the Grand Final, so we'll go and give it everything we have, as we did tonight and we know we're a chance."

Any notion of a cagey Finals contest unfolding was dispelled as early as the second minute when Tomislav Mrcela rose highest to meet Neil Kilkenny's inswinging free-kick but couldn't keep his header down.

And it was from another Kilkenny corner soon that Glory came agonisingly close to opening the scoring, Bruno Fornaroli trying to force the loose ball over the line, Stefan Marinovic somehow managing to push the Uruguayan's effort onto the bar and David Ball clearing Chianese's follow-up effort off the line.

Glory and Chianese were not to be denied moments later, however, Jake Brimmer's pinpoint through-ball releasing the pacy attacker who showed no hesitation in bagging his fifth goal of the season with a crisp left-foot strike.

Stung by that setback, Phoenix proceeded to test out the Glory defence and they found Reddy in fine form.

The man who starred for Wellington when they defeated Glory on penalties in the 2010 Finals produced a smart stop at the near post to foil Jaushua Sotirio, before repeating the feat to keep out both a free-kick and a 20m strike from Davila.

Ivan Franjic then did well to block Liberato Cacace's goalbound effort right at the start of the second half ahead of another strike from Davila which drew a regulation save from Reddy.

Piscopo was next to try his luck for Phoenix, fizzing a shot narrowly wide from just outside the box and it was the lively attacking midfielder's free-kick that was volleyed over by Steven Taylor seconds later.

Reddy was called into action once again in the 70th minute, getting down well to keep out Sotirio's shot across the face of goal and the Wellington forward threatened again almost immediately, contriving to blaze wide from 10m out having been teed up by Callan Elliot.

The Glory 'keeper continued to excel, blocking Ball's angled shot and yet another long-distance effort from Davila, before Ball struck the top of the bar with a hooked volley in what proved to be the final chance of a memorable encounter.

Hyundai A-League 2020 Elimination Final 1

Wellington Phoenix 0 Perth Glory 1 (Chianese 18')

Half-Time: 0-1

Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta

Referee: Alex King

Assistant Referee 1: Owen Goldrick

Assistant Referee 2: James Cleal

Fourth Official: Kurt Ams

VAR: Kris Griffiths-Jones

Wellington Phoenix: 1.Stefan MARINOVIC (gk), 4.Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI, 5.Matti STEINMANN (14.Alex RUFER 86'), 7.Reno PISCOPO, 8.Cameron DEVLIN (21.Callum McCOWATT 74'), 9.David BALL, 10.Ulises DAVILA, 11.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 13.Liberato CACACE, 17.Callan ELLIOT, 27.Steven TAYLOR (c)

Substitutes not used: 2.Liam McGING, 12.Brandon WILSON, 30.Zac JONES (gk), 31.Ben WAINE, 32.Sam SUTTON

Yellow Cards: Devlin

Red Cards: None

Perth Glory : 33.Liam REDDY (gk), 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 7.Joel CHIANESE, 9.Bruno FORNAROLI (c), 16.Tomislav MRCELA, 20.Jake BRIMMER (22.Vince LIA 87'), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 23.Dane INGHAM, 27.JUANDE, 29.Kristian POPOVIC (13.Osama MALIK 80'), 88.Neil KILKENNY

Substitutes not used: 8.James MEREDITH, 25.Carlo ARMIENTO, 28.Gabriel POPOVIC, 50.Daniel MARGUSH (gk), 61.Yianni PERKATIS

Yellow Cards: Mrcela, Juande

Red Cards: None

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