24/05/2024

It was season to forget for the Perth Glory. (Image: Perth Glory FC; Design: Will Cuckson)

Having received the wooden-spoon for the first time in their A-League Men's history, it was a season pain for Perth Glory.

Having missed the finals for the second consecutive season and taken out their first wooden spoon, it was a disastrous season for the Perth Glory.

Having made several exciting key signings during the offseason and starting the season losing just one of their opening three games, the Glory looked poised to contend for a spot in the finals. However, due to a plethora of reasons, the Glory would instead embark on their worst season in A-League Men’s history, winning just four games for the entire season.

Though there were bright spots, the 2021-22 season was a campaign the Glory will be looking to quickly put behind them as they continue to rebuild.

The Highs

In a season in which Perth didn’t have much to celebrate, the emergence of its youngsters was a bright spot of the season.

Callum Timmins especially was influential, after breaking into the first team last year he followed up with an equally impressive second season at senior level. He ended the season with three goals and finished as the Glory’s second-leading goal scorer despite playing largely in central midfield.

Meanwhile, defender Joshua Rawlins was also a standout, securing a move to Dutch-outfit FC Utrecht in the process. Midfielders Giordano Colli and Daniel Stynes also showed encouraging signs, as did striker Ciaran Bramwell.

The other two notable highlights were their victories over both Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory, with the Glory scalping both sides during the regular season.

In what turned out to be their best performance of the season, the Glory travelled to AAMI Park in Round 3 and stunned the Victory 3-0. Fielding a fair share of youngsters in the side, the youthful Glory looked clinical and showed signs of promise.

Their aforementioned win against 2021-22 premiers City came in their final game of the season, winning 2-0 at home. The Glory finished their season on a high, ending their run of 16 games without a win.

The Lows

Despite recording their first bottom place finish in A-League Men’s history, the Glory’s biggest lowlight will be getting just six matches out of their marquee signing Daniel Sturridge.

Having been out of the game for nearly two years, the Englishman’s signing to Perth came with much fanfare. Many were hopeful the 32-year-old would be able to recapture the form of his Liverpool days.

However it wouldn’t eventuate due to injuries and COVID, the striker made just a handful of appearances. Sturridge finished the year playing 139 total minutes across the six games he played, averaging 23 minutes per game.

Before the season ended club CEO Tony Pignata publicly came out and stated they wouldn’t be offering the striker a contract extension.

Sturridge was one of many Glory players to be struck down with injury. Goalkeeper Brad Jones in his first season with the club made just five appearances due to a calf injury. Bruno Fornaroli was sidelined in the back end of the season with an ankle injury and Luke Bodnar fractured his foot.

In addition to injuries, the club would also be majorly impacted by COVID, with the club not playing a competitive fixture between December 8 and January 19.

Due to poor performances, coach Richard Garcia wouldn’t even last the entire season with him and assistant Steve McGarry sacked in March. Though performances would slightly improve when Ruben Zadkovich took the reins, the side ultimately still finished last.

Another blow for the Glory would be Western Australia closing its border with other states until March 2022. Unable to play in front of its faithful home crowd for 80 days, Perth would be forced once again to play a fair chunk of consecutive games on the road for a second straight season.

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MVP

Though playing just the 16 games this season, it’s hard to look past Bruno Fornaroli as the best player of the season for the Glory.

Before having his season ended prematurely due to injury, Fornaroli was in fine form scoring eight goals and being the most dangerous player for the Glory in attack. His form at club level would even be rewarded with being called up to the Socceroos.

In a side comprised mostly of players under 23-years-old, Fornaroli was one of the few experienced heads in the side and was the main source of goals for the side. No other attacking player for Perth registered more shots per game, successful dribbles or created more chances per game than the 34-year-old.

Bruno Fornaroli enjoyed an impressive season with the Glory in 2021/22. (Image: MyFootball)

Breakout player

Having not registered an appearance in the A-League Men’s competition last year despite impressing in the NPL side, Giordano Colli got his chance this season.

Making 20 appearances this season being deployed as either a central midfielder or attacking midfielder, Colli looked comfortable at senior level. And despite making just the one goal contribution the entire season, Colli was still a valuable member of the side.

The 22-year-old was a dangerous attacking threat, finishing the season ranked second for chances created this season for the Glory, equal with Fornaroli.

Giordano Colli showed promising signs in his first full season at senior level. (Image: Perth Glory)

Final Word

The 2021-22 season will be a campaign the Glory will be eager to quickly put behind them. With a mixture of on-field performances, injuries and issues which arose off-field, it was a season in which everything that could’ve gone wrong, did go wrong.

Though struggling for most of the 2021-22 season, it’s not all doom and gloom for Perth as it prepares for next season.

The squad has a lot of exciting young talent coming through the ranks with the aforementioned Timmins turning into a dangerous midfielder. With key players set to return from injury, Stefan Colakovski and Patrick Wood expected to join in the offseason, the club are building an exciting team that could challenge for a title in the coming seasons.

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