It was a groundbreaking moment when Glory signed West Australian Socceroo Rhys Williams from Middlesborough, so how is he adjusting to life back home in Perth?
Here is our full interview with the 14-time Socceroo!
PG: So Rhys, how does it feel to be back home in Perth?
RW: It’s great, it’s great to see my family, and it’s great to be home. I haven’t spent this much time at home for eleven and a half years now, so it’s good to come back and it’s exciting as well watching what the boys did last year. I know a lot of them; so hopefully this season we can go that one step further.
PG: You put the purple kit on for the first time today, how did it feel to put the Perth Glory colours on?
RW: I’ve had that on when I was I think I was about 5 or 6 years old, so it wasn’t the first time. I used to be a season ticket holder. My Mum and Dad use to take me to every game. Bobby was a big hero of mine and friend of my dad’s as well; I used to love going into his shop as well. I’m no stranger to the history of the Glory and I’ve always been a fan, so it’s great to play for my home town club, as I love this club and that’s what made me come back.
PG: What do you make of Glory’s other signings this season with Chris Herd and Joe Mills coming on board?
RW: It’s obviously great, me Shano (Lowry) and (Chris) Herdy played in the same team when we were 10, so it’s nice to be back and to be able to play football with them again, and Herdy’s a great signing for the club. I don’t know much about Joe (Mills) just yet, I know he’s got a good pedigree, but I haven’t met him yet, so it’s exciting and competition for places is always the best thing to have in the team and it makes everyone push that little bit harder.
PG: That under 10s team must have been pretty awesome back in the day!
RW: Yeah it’s great you know, it’s great to be back with them and seeing what Shane did last year with my brother here and Tags. It’s got a real good homely feel about it and it’s exciting because we want to prove that Perth has the best people in the league and hopefully with the squad that Kenny and Peter are building then we can go ahead.
PG: Have you worked with Kenny Lowe before and if so what do you make of him, of Kenny when you signed?
RW: I’ve never worked with him before but he’s actually a family friend from when he first moved to Australia. I think he actually stayed with my parents for a little bit. I don’t know if I’m bending the truth a bit, but he does go a way back and I consider him as a family friend and now he’s my manager, so I look forward to working with him. He’s the one who actually got me my trial at Middlesbrough, eleven and a half, twelve years ago, so I feel like I want to repay him for giving me that chance over there and for giving me another chance now, so I don’t want let him down.
PG: Fantastic, and you’re linking up with existing Perth Glory players like Keogh, Nebo, and Rizzo, so what do you know about these guys?
RW: Every single game is on TV in England so I’ve been watching them a lot. Obviously Rizzo played for ECU as well, back in the day, I think he’s a year older than my brother, so I’ve known him for a long time as well. It’s a great squad and I’ve played against Andy Keogh a few times back in England and I look forward to playing with him this time.
PG: Awesome, and you’ve reunited with your little brother Aryn, how’s that shaping up?
RW: We’ll soon see, I don’t know if we’ll argue more or get along better, but I’m looking forward to it. I hope I can help him out, I can teach him a bit more, I feel like I’ve got a lot of experience and hopefully I can pass that on to the young boys here and push them on to make the squad hopefully that little bit more confident, that little bit more football smart. Like I said, we want to go the next step this year with the squad with the manger and with Burnsy up there as well I think we’ve got great experience and great players, so hopefully we can keep going.
PG: You’ve obviously seen your little brother Aryn break through the ranks and make it in the first team last season, have you tracked his development and how proud of a big brother are you?
RW: It’s amazing, I mean, we always thought he was going to come back to England, he was booked to actually come back to England on the Monday and the Friday before Kenny gave him a call and said we’re offering you something, so that’s how close he was to going back to England and trying again. But all fair play to him, he’s stuck at it, he’s kept going and he’s got himself an injury replacement contract then signed a proper contract so it’s unbelievable for him. I’m so happy for him and I can’t wait to hopefully play alongside him and teach him a few things hopefully or he might teach me a few things as well.
PG: So your parents, Eric and Audrey, have a huge influence here in football, in W.A, explain that for us?
RW: My dad was professional at Queens Park Rangers in England, played for England schoolboys and then came over to Australia. I think he’s actually in the West Australian Hall of Fame for his coaching as well as his playing, and I think him and Kenny played together. My mum played for the state team, she played up front I think so it’s great to look up to them two and hopefully just do them proud.
PG: Lastly, what is your predictions this year for yourself and for Perth Glory?
RW: First things first, I need to fight my way and get in the team. That’s first and foremost, so the start of my off-season program is now to get me in the best shape as possible. It’s a big season for not only myself but for the club. I feel like with the club we can go that one step further. And who knows, you’ve seen what Brisbane and Adelaide have done this year and it’s great. I have a feeling we could be good enough to win the league, I know it’s a bold statement but you always have to be positive and look upwards, so I don’t think it’s an unrealistic goal after seeing what the boys did last year and we’re all looking forward to it.