They may not generate the hype of the like of Victory, City or Sydney FC but there’s no doubt unbeaten Perth Glory should be in the conversation when discussing contenders for the Hyundai A-League championship.
Last Friday night the men from the West were outstanding.
At AAMI Park in their 3-2 win over City, we saw disciplined players, hard in the contest and incredibly quick and potent strikers on the counter.
Proven goalscorers and powerful leaders across the park, Glory look to have it all (they also won without Rhys Williams, Adam Taggart and Shane Lowry, underlining their depth this season).
Two wins, one draw, and outright second on the ladder; while it’s still early days with three rounds played, the manner of Friday night’s win gives you the feeling this could be Glory’s year.
City, coming off the back of their Derby demolition of Victory and with attacking stars like Fornaroli, Cahill, Kamau, Brandan and Brattan, were expected to have too much class for the visitors.
But Glory – inspired by the astute and passionate Lowe - had a game-plan which the players implemented perfectly.
Striker Andy Keogh might have taken the plaudits with his hat-trick, but this was a true ‘team’ victory.
They denied the hosts space, harried them into mistakes and – at times – bullied them in the one-on-one battle.
If Glory didn’t have the respect of the competition and pundits before last Friday night, they certainly do now.
You get the feeling there’s something special ready to break out in the west.
Glory – once a powerhouse of the old National Soccer League – haven’t replicated that success into the Hyundai A-League so far.
While there was a grand final appearance in 2012 – lost 2-1 against Brisbane Roar - and two Westfield FFA Cup deciders as well, silverware has eluded them in the A-League era.
Seemingly, they’ve just been unable to get it together when it mattered most. But they have arguably never been as strong as they are now.
Glory has come out the other side of the salary cap drama two seasons ago to be incredibly strong off the field, while Lowe has put together a squad full of quality, depth and – perhaps most importantly - with strong local ties.
There’s an excellent mesh of foreign stars like Diego Castro, Andy Keogh and Nebojsa Marinkovic to go with home-grown Caltex Socceroos like Adam Taggart, Rhys Williams and Josh Risdon.
Throw in the experience of skipper Rostyn Griffiths, Richie Garcia, Dino Djulbic and Shane Lowry, plus young talent like Chris Harold, Brandon Wilson, Joseph Mills and Kosta Petratos and you can see why optimism is high.
And what about Kenny? He lives every tackle, every shot, every header with his side. His passion is infectious and you know his troops love playing for him.
There’s is still plenty of football to be played in Hyundai A-League season 2016/17 but expect Glory to be right in the thick of it when the business end rolls around.
In the club’s 20th season, Perth may well have something big to celebrate come the end of the campaign.