A hot and cold 2017-18 for Perth Glory culminated in an eighth-placed finish as they fell agonisingly short of a third consecutive finals appearance, with a loss on the last day of the season condemning their fate, and that of their manager Kenny Lowe.
What went right
Not a great deal went ideally well for the Glory in this campaign, without very much going drastically wrong at the same time. Perth were hovering around the top six for the entirety of the season and were primed for a late push to the finals, as they finished strong and won four of their last six fixtures heading into the last clash of the season.
Diego Castro was once again a key player and bagged seven goals for the season, while after a slow start, Adam Taggart blossomed into an excellent striker – netting eight times.
What went wrong
Inconsistency plagued the Glory throughout the campaign, as they struggled to keep a sustained run of positive results throughout any given period. A poor start, in which they were defeated four times in the first seven weeks of the season, set Perth off on the wrong foot from the outset.
A run of five consecutive losses and seven defeats in eight through January and February proved fatal to the Glory’s hopes of playing finals football, as although they stepped up in the closing weeks of the season, they were always playing catch up to their top six rivals. Defence was the weak spot for Kenny Lowe, as only the Central Coast Mariners (55) leaked more goals than his team (50), which ultimately attributed to his demise and dismissal as coach.
Since his arrival on Australian shores, Castro has lit up the competition and has been a revelation in the west. The 2015-16 Johnny Warren medalist was again the important to what his team aimed to achieve in this season, and without his contributions the Glory may have been in an even more precarious position throughout the campaign.
Notching another seven goals and adding six assists to the mix – placing him in the top 10 in the combined goals and assists statistic – Castro stepped up when the likes of Andy Keogh and Taggart struggled to make an impact around him. Keeping the Spaniard will be vital for Perth, as they look to return to the finals and build upon the season that was.
Two departures are already confirmed for the Glory, with Lowe losing his job following the completion of the regular season, and Taggart set to ply his trade in Brisbane with the Roar. All is set for a big offseason at nib Stadium as they search for a new head coach, while they will need to battle to keep a number of key players whose contracts are set to expire.
Castro, Shane Lowry, Xavi Torres and Joel Chianese are but a few stars that the Glory risk losing in the offseason, and securing their signatures could be key to their hopes of launching back into the finals.
“Popa (Tony Popovic) will know the club and what goes on here … as far as the options go, I think he probably ticks more boxes than he doesn’t,” The Far Post Perth‘s Neil Sherwin said.
Grade – C
A topsy-turvy season for the team in purple ultimately ended in disappointment as they missed out on another trip to the finals by a measly three points. They were in the fold right until the final round, but were made to rue their shortcomings in the bulk of the campaign. A fresh start beckons for Perth, with a new leader on the sidelines to hopefully fast track their return to the postseason. The signs are there, and if the Glory can keep hold of their influential players and appoint the right coach, they will be back in the top six in no time.