Big season ahead for Glory's Tabain

Perth Glory midfielder Marianna Tabain looks set for big things in a Westfield Matildas' shirt but first and foremost she has plenty to focus on at home as a rebuilding Glory side adapt to a new coach and some big pre-season injuries.

Perth Glory midfielder Marianna Tabain looks set for big things in a Westfield Matildas' shirt but first and foremost she has plenty to focus on at home as a rebuilding Glory side adapt to a new coach and some big pre-season injuries.

Losing three players is a blow to any side, but when you lose three Australian internationals of the calibre of strikers Katie Gill (knee) and Samantha Kerr (knee), along with midfield prime mover Collette McCallum (taking a year off), then your team is going to struggle to adjust.

That's been the task facing first-year coach Jamie Harnwell, the recently retired men's veteran who has taken over Perth's Westfield W-League team for this season.

Already Harnwell has discovered some future stars in new striker Emma Kete and fearless 17-year-old goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold at either end of the park.

But the task of moving the ball through the midfield, especially in McCallum's absence, has fallen on youngsters Tabain, Ella Mastrantonio, Shannon May and Elisa D'Ovidio, with the midfield group impressing so far this season even though Perth have only achieved the one win from four matches so far.

Playing on the left, fringe Westfield Matilda Tabain has scored two goals this season but it's been her incisive passes through to the forwards that's really stood out as her skills have exposed opposition sides on the counter several times.

But at 19 and with several years in the Westfield W-League under her belt, she's more than aware it's her time to stand up, especially in the absence of her international team-mates.

"You sort of want to step up for everyone else and set an example," said Tabain as she enjoyed a rare day off at the beach while Perth sizzles through an unseasonably early heat wave.

"It hasn't been easy but we've all got the same responsibilities and just because they're gone doesn't mean that no one else does what's needed."

"I'm probably expected to step up more than I have in other years but it's still pretty much every other player too."

"There's 11 on the field at the same time and we've all got to take part in the win."

Having just completed the first year of a sport and recreation degree at university, Tabain is entitled to a few hours R'n'R.

But her coach Harnwell has backed his star midfielder to keep on producing the goods and make a real impression on Westfield Matildas' coach Tom Sermanni, who was present at Perth's last home game.

"You know Marianna and Ella, its big seasons for them both," Harnwell said.

"They're just getting to the age when they're coming out of the young Matildas and wanting to break through into the Matildas' team and I think both of them are fantastic talents and will really go far."

Tabain, herself, has been thrilled to have Harnwell as coach, especially as the 33-year-old former Glory captain only retired at the end of last season.

"He's been able to pass on his knowledge as a player to the defenders and also the strikers 'cause he's played in both positions," Tabain said.

"We've tried to take advantage of that as we move forward as a team and it's been really good."

Harnwell, for his part, admits the coaching caper has surprised him somewhat with its complexity.

"I've really enjoyed the start of my coaching," he said. "It's a different mentality worrying about 18-20 players rather than just your own performance week in, week out."

"It definitely takes a different mindset but in the first game when we played away against Melbourne (in a 2-0 loss) I was trying to be nice and calm and collected and just sit and observe it."

"But you know, it's a pretty difficult thing for me to do, you know I enjoy my football and I really enjoy that competitive side of it and get very excited about it so I've probably been a little bit too vocal in the last couple of games when it was getting quite close."