Youth gunning for glory in grand final blockbuster

Perth’s National Youth League team will be out to claim glory in their blockbuster grand final clash against Gold Coast United at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Perth-s National Youth League team will be out to claim glory in their blockbuster grand final clash against Gold Coast United at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

In what has been glory-s most successful year in the competition, making it to the final match of the season was the ultimate reward for the young guns.

Gifted young defender Ryan Pearson says it feels great to be involved in grand final week and to have the team-s hard work and excellent form pay off.

“Getting into the finals was always the main goal for us but we-ve really just been taking it game by game and focussing on the matches each week.

“By doing that, sticking to our game plan and putting in the hard work we-ve managed to reach the finals and I think we deserve to be here,” Pearson said.

For most of the young squad, this is one of the biggest games of their budding careers but Pearson says it-s excitement rather than nerves building among the team.

“There are a bit of nerves but I think most of the lads are just really excited to be at this stage and we can-t wait for the game on the weekend; playing before the Hyundai A-League final.

“I think it-s going to be a massive buzz for all the lads.

“It-s definitely one of the biggest games I-ve ever played in and it-s such a good opportunity for people to have a look at the standard of the youth league,” Pearson said.

While Perth has been involved in some fantastic contests with Gold Coast United this season, they-ve come away with the points only once out of their three encounters.

Both losses however, occurred at a time during the season when an injury ravaged Perth Glory had 11 of their 16 contracted players sidelined and the team was mostly made up of replacement players from the National Training Centre.

At their last meeting, Perth presented a full-strength squad and after an intense 90 minutes, they came home with the points.

“The last time we played them we had a pretty strong squad out on the park and it was a tough game in the end.

“We managed to get away with the win but judging by that game I think it-s going to be a difficult battle on the weekend,” Pearson said.

Excelling at both left and right back this season, Pearson admits he has had a strong season personally, but says it-s the work ethic amid the whole team that has made them so successful.

“I think I-ve had a pretty steady season and been consistent so I-m happy with my season so far, but I think all the lads have had a good run his year.

“Hopefully a win this weekend will top it off for all of us,” Pearson said.

This final battle will be a defining moment for the glory youngsters who have dominated the league all year, and while Pearson concedes it will be no easy feat to bring the trophy home to Perth, he does believe the squad has what it takes to make their dream of winning the competition a reality.

“We-re pretty confident. We-ve been talking about it a lot and we know we-ve got a quality squad, it will just take a lot of hard work and focus on what we set out to achieve,” Pearson said.

National Youth League: Semi-Final

Perth Glory v Gold Coast United

Saturday, 20 March 2010 at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne

Local kick-off: 12:00pm (3:00pm AEDT) Referee: Jarred Gillett

Broadcast information: from 11:30am on 990am information radio

Perth Glory Youth squad: Tommy AMPHLETT, Ludovic BOI, Tim DOYLE (gk), Hayden DOYLE, Dean EVANS, Howard FONDYKE, Hanafi GHAZALI, Steve HESKETH (c), Mario MARCINKO, Sam MITCHINSON, Sebit OYET, Alex PEARSON (gk), Ryan PEARSON, Joshua RISDON, Glen TRIFIRO, Reece VITTIGLIA, Steve WALMSLEY *two to be omitted*

Unavailable: Million BUTSHIIRE (knee - 1 week), Cameron EDWARDS (foot - 10 weeks), Brent GRIFFTHS (hamstring - 3 weeks), Andrija JUKIC (groin - indefinite), Anthony SKORICH (foot - indefinite)

Gold Coast United Youth Squad: Jerrad TYSON (gk), Steven TOPALOVIC, James BROWN, Ben WEARING, Zac ANDERSON, Callum HARE, Steven LUSTICA (c), Chris HAROLD, Rueben WAY, Koh SATAKE, Ben HALLORAN, Mitchell BEVAN, Tahj MINNIECON, Josh BRILLANTE, Tim ANDERSON (gk)

Unavailable: Golgol MEBRAHTU (hamstring injury - indefinite)


Played 3: Perth Glory wins 1, Gold Coast United wins 2

Previous meeting

Perth Glory 1, Gold Coast United 0 at Southport Tigers, Southport Round 16, December 2009

Past five matches:

Perth Glory Youth:

Round 23: Sydney FC 0, Perth Glory 1, Parramatta Stadium Round 24: Perth Glory 2, Brisbane Roar 1, Clipsal Stadium Round 25: Adelaide United 0, Perth Glory 1, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 27: Perth Glory 2, Newcastle Jets, 3, Clipsal Stadium Semi-final: Perth Glory 1, Adelaide United 0, Clipsal Stadium

Gold Coast United Youth:

Round 24: AIS 1, Gold Coast United 1, AIS Athletics Track Round 25: Brisbane Roar 2, Gold Coast United 2, Spencer Park Round 26: Gold Coast United 5, AIS 0, Southport Tigers Round 27: Adelaide United 1, Gold Coast United 1, Hindmarsh Stadium Semi-final: Central Coast Mariners 1, Gold Coast United 3, Pluim Park