26/05/2024

A near-full squad turnover will see a very different Perth Glory in 2021/22. (Photo: Perth Glory)

Perth Glory have a mix of exciting talent, youth and experience. The wooden spooners from last season are a sneaky chance of making finals.

In response to thier lowest ever finish, Perth Glory has assembled an exciting team to attack the 2021/2022 season. They have the talent, the youth, and the experience to be one of the league’s most dangerous teams and are a sneaky chance of making the finals.

Last season: Ninth (one point, zero wins, one draw, 11 losses)

Biggest in:

Perth has undergone an almost complete rebuild of last season’s squad.  For his second season in charge, Alex Epakis has kept many of the key performers from last season. On top of this, he has added some exciting and outstanding talent from around the country.

Topping the list of these recruits is NSW NPLW star Susan Phonsongkham.

The former Western Sydney Wanderer has only one goal to her name so far at A-League level, but what a goal it was.

After picking up the ball deep, the then 16-year-old raced toward goal and cut down the middle of the pitch. Faced with a packed penalty box and an organised Melbourne Victory defence, she unleashed a left foot rocket to give the Wanderers the lead.

In the two years since, she has made an impact for the Young Matildas and won the Golden Boot in the NPLW with a 20 goal season at Sydney Olympic.

Phonsongkham is a quick, direct, and powerful forward. She is capable of playing on the flank but is most dangerous through the middle.

Perth Glory could possibly field an attack featuring any of Gemma Craine, Hana Lowry, Alana Jancevski and Phonsongkham. On paper, that looks to be a very dangerous and exciting line-up.

Experienced American striker Cyera Hintzen will add more firepower to the side. Phonsongkham will have space and support to show what she can do.

Phonsongkham struggled with injuries last season but if fit, she will make a huge impact. This could turn out to be one of the best signings of the season.

Biggest out:

Lily Alfeld was one of the best goalkeepers last season. 53 saves only tells part of the story. She played every minute of the season in a brilliant individual campaign for the club.

Glory was well organised and brave in possession last season. But their young team was able to play with significant input from their star goalkeeper.

Alfeld has moved to Wellington Phoenix for their inaugural season. She has been replaced by Courtney Newbon, but remains the most significant departure.

All things considered, even though they lost an excellent goalkeeper, Perth had a very productive off-season.

More A-League Women Season Previews:

2021/22 A-League Women Season Preview: Newcastle Jets fueling up for better-placed season

2021/22 A-League Women Season Preview: Western Sydney building up a new Wanderland

2021/22 A-League Women Season Preview: Wellington Phoenix are the new kids in the comp

What to expect:

Despite last season’s finish, Perth Glory is a sneaky chance of making the top four.

They have Kim Carroll and Tash Rigby in defence with the pair supported by FV Emerging captain, Claudia Mihocic.

In midfield, Tijan Mckenna, and Hana Lowry make up a young but potentially deadly midfield. A new signing from Europe will provide them with the support they need.

Danish international Mie Leth Jans is able to play in defence or midfield. Her experience and versatility will provide options for Epakis and support for the young team.

Sofia Sakalis provides another option in midfield. Whether she starts or comes off the bench, she has the ability and and class to influence games. Perth has depth this season.

Cyera Hintzen joins from a season in Iceland with Valur. The American has been described by Epakis as a “blockbuster talent” and an “explosive poacher”. If goals were scarce at Glory last season, that is unlikely to be the case this year.

Alex Epakis was given the full backing of the club to recruit strong and early. He has done so with a clear strategy in mind, and few clubs have had as impressive an off-season.

In his debut year in Perth, his squad was largely assembled before his arrival and he had no time with them prior to the season commencing.

Possibly the most significant issue-facing Perth is another season plagued by border restrictions and delayed matches.

In 2020/21, any momentum was hamstrung by matches being delayed by weeks and then coming in a flurry in the final month. Especially with a young squad, this was an impossible hurdle for the coach and his new team.

There remains a threat of that occurring again. If that happens, Perth will be better prepared having survived last season.

What can be expected is that Perth Glory will be one of the most interesting and exciting teams to watch this season.

If the players adapt to the league and their new teammates, this could be a season to remember.

Predicted XI:

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