ABC football commentator Francis Leach reflects on the blockbuster between Victory and Glory and says Kenny Lowe's blue-collar mentality has the boys from the west steeled for success.
Perth Glory are made of tough stuff.
And those like me who thought the men from the west were set to drop away in this year’s title race need to think again.
Their credentials were underlined yet again last Saturday night with a determined 1-1 draw at Melbourne Victory.
In a game with all the intensity and controversy of a final, Glory stared down Kevin Muscat’s team for the fourth time this season across all competitions and went back to the top of the Hyundai A League table.
For Melbourne Victory their record against the Glory has become a burden, one that will need to be faced again if they are to claim the title.
You got the sense Saturday night that these two teams are destined to duke it out one more time in the finals. If they do Muscat’s men will need something to change.
Right now the Glory have their number.
Perth have shown enormous resilience in recent weeks. It speaks of a mentality that reflects the philosophy of the coach. Put in a shift, honour your team-mates and the fans and never take success for granted.
That attitude has held them in good stead.
Since defeating Melbourne Victory at Simmonds Stadium in Geelong just after New Year, Glory have lost twice - to fellow contenders Adelaide United and Sydney FC - and drawn fve times, including twice against Melbourne Victory.
I suggested to Kenny Lowe that it was a form line of a team running out of gas but he insists that his side is still in peak form
“I think we are playing at our best. We are what we are and we’re still at the top of the table.
“In the last ten games Melbourne Victory have only taken one more point than us. That’s the nature of it at the moment. Everybody’s beating everybody. It’s a really tight league.
The stakes have been raised right across the board.”
This week’s fixture at home against Wellington Phoenix is suddenly a contest for top spot on the Hyundai A-League table.
Who would’ve picked that at the start of the campaign?
Ernie Merrick’s men continue to build their case as contenders after a magnificent week which included a smash and grab raid against Victory in Melbourne and two late goals to see off Adelaide United at home.
The arrival of Joel Griffiths to play alongside Nathan Burns just might be the missing piece in the puzzle for Merrick.
Kenny Lowe knows that this game may well decide the direction both teams take in the run to the finals.
“I really enjoy watching Wellington Phoenix. They’re pragmatic defensively but attacking wise they’re a great side to watch.
“t’s great seeing Ernie back in the game doing what he did previously.
“I just hope he doesn’t win the title again like he did last time!”
Saturday’s clash will tell us a lot about whether that will unfold.
For Lowe and his team it’s time to start winning again. As good as they’ve been, these are the games that determine whether all that hard work translates to success.
Having come this far, it’d be a shame if it didn’t.