Perth Glory has wrapped up its tour of the Philippines with a 2-0 victory over the Azkals (Philippines National team) on Tuesday night, maintaining its undefeated pre-season run.
Youngster and man-of-the match Joe Knowles opened the scoring in the 67th minute while veteran Richard Garcia sealed the result in the dying moments of the game.
The unbeaten campaign began with a tough goalless draw against top United Football League side Global FC, followed by a 2-1 victory over the UFL All-Stars before last night’s triumph over the Azkals rounded out the pre-season camp.
Twenty year old striker Knowles, played in all three games and hopes to have shown Coach Kenny Lowe what he’s capable of, coming off the bench to open the scoring against the Azkals with a superb drive.
“I started the first two games, so I was really pleased with that and I wanted to start the last game but I knew that even though I didn’t, I could still come on and make an impact”.
“I’ve really enjoyed my experience throughout the camp. It’s been a learning curve playing in different conditions on astro-turf and I’ve been able to play with the older boys, who are more experienced than I am.”
Knowles bunked with some of the more experienced heads over in Manila and was able to utilise this time to his benefit.
“I was rooming with Liam Reddy and Rostyn Griffiths. They really helped my game as I could talk to them about their experience within the game and they helped give me an insight into what I want.”
“It’s good to hear what they’ve done and what I want to do.”
When quizzed about who the toughest opponents of the tour were, there was no hesitation.
“Global FC. I’m not sure if it was because we hadn’t adjusted to the humidity or that we had a lot of the younger boys in the starting line-up but they were definitely the toughest. Once the experienced players came onto the pitch, it changed the match.”
The Perth Glory apprentice continued to elaborate on what he’s taken away from his experience in Southeast Asia.
“I’ve been able to gain some confidence this tour, it’s allowed everyone to get to know each other and understand how we all play, the team is much fitter because of the harsh conditions we’ve been playing in and players who haven’t had much game time have played, which is good for them.”
“The coach is happy with the way the boys have played. It’s been a good pre-season.”
Young striker Jamal Reiners also enjoyed his experience overseas, echoing his teammate’s thoughts.
“I’m buzzing. It’s been a really good team bonding session for us. Everyone’s been able to get to know each other away from football, so it’s been unbelievable.”
The boys return home from Manila on Thursday morning and head straight back into the thick of things with training on Friday morning.
Glory will play its first game of the season on home soil against Brisbane Roar FC in the RD 32 Westfield FFA Cup against Brisbane Roar at Ballymore Stadium in Queensland on August 10.