Glory women have potential

Australian coach Tom Sermanni believes the Perth Glory women's team contains the star potential that could fire up the Matildas' 2011 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Australian coach Tom Sermanni believes the Perth Glory women's team contains the star potential that could fire up the Matildas' 2011 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Sermanni, in Perth this week to visit the Western Australian Institute of Sport, said WA certainly exceeded expectation when it came to producing Matildas' players.

And, he added that Glory young guns Samantha Kerr, Ella Mastrantonio, Marianna Tabain and Dani Calautti all had the talent and potential to join Perth team-mates Lisa de Vanna and Collette McCallum as established members of the Australian side.

"There's a terrific little group of highly skilled players from here," Sermanni said.

"When you consider that in football terms, Western Australia, like several of our states, isn't huge on numbers of players, it's really punching above its weight with our national team."

"At the moment we regularly have Marianna and Mastrantonio and Sam Kerr. Dani was in our last national team camp and is coming into the next one."

"If I take them individually, Marianna is now physically developed; she's got terrific football skills and is probably one of our best finishers, a most composed player around the penalty area."

"Ella is a bit like a younger version of Collette with a terrific passing range."

"Dani's a bit of a bolter. She's got great physical qualities, good speed (but) we're trying to just refine and slow her down a little bit."

"And Sam Kerr is kind of a carefree 15 or 16 year old who just loves to go out and play football. But, every time she's on the football field, whether it's at the senior level for the Matildas or one of our younger levels, she makes an impact," he said.

After a rocky start to the inaugural Westfield W-League season, the Glory came home with a wet sail and was still in contention for a finals' berth up until the last round, despite finishing seventh on the table.

Sermanni said that for all their talent, the young Glory girls probably didn't quite have the maturity to hold onto leads late in games against more experienced opponents like the dominant premiers Queensland, a bruising match the Glory led 3-1 before losing 5-3.

But he said the team will have benefitted greatly from their initial year in the competition and felt the Glory had great potential for next season.

He added that the league itself was a tremendous boost for Australian women's football, giving him great insight into the players ahead of qualifying for the 2011 women's World Cup.

"Qualifiers are May 2010, so all the things that we're focusing on with our national team at the moment is geared to those qualifiers," Sermanni said.

"The W-League plays an integral role in that, it gives me a chance to see players playing against each other, to see how consistent players are, how they do when things aren't going so well and basically how they go week in and week out in a tough competition."

"I think you'll (also) see a more mature Glory team coming into the League next year, a more complete team in a lot of senses and players who will have benefitted from the one year in the W-League," he said.