Road to the finals: Do Glory have the goods?

Are the Glory good enough to make a sustained finals run or will their somewhat suspect defence be a liability early on?

Perth Glory fans have endured a roller-coaster season. A blistering start, followed by an extended mid-season rut, topped off by an impressive run into finals contention and third place on the Hyundai A-League ladder.

The question remains, do Perth Glory have what it takes to go all the way in the finals series or will their inconsistencies return when it matters most?

Join the debate and have your say on the Glory in the comments section!

Yes, Perth can compete

Don-t be fooled by the thumping to Gold Coast. Yes, Glory were undone on the day by a group of kids - but those kids were playing with nothing to prove, under a new coach who has already taken them to two consecutive NYL championships and knows them inside out.

It was the classic sucker punch and it-s probably just what Perth need ahead of the finals series. Despite the loss, they-re still well-placed for a first A-League home final, with a home game to finish of the regular home-and-away season.

And this result is hardly nothing new for Glory. They remain gloriously inconsistent and you never quite know which Perth team is going turn up, especially on the road.

All that said, Perth Glory have an excellent team, packed with talent and experience. Shane Smeltz is back and firing, and their record in 2012 is defiantly impressive: W8 L3 D2.

If things stay as they are, Perth will have a home final against the Jets, who they beat 2-0 at nib Stadium less than a month ago. They would then get another home final, against Wellington or Heart, neither of whom will particularly fancy a trip across the continent at this stage of the season.

All of a sudden, it-s the grand final qualifying final and everything-s up for grabs.

And is their defence that bad? With 33 goals conceded, it-s no worse than Heart or the Jets, and they certainly have the firepower to counteract any weakness at the back. Make no mistake, Perth Glory can have a big impact on the finals.

No, Perth don-t have it takes

If Perth-s shocking capitulation to Gold Coast United proved anything, it is that they cannot win the A-League with their current defenders.

They are too slow, too unreliable and, in some cases, simply past it when it comes to matching it with the best or even the worst the league has to offer - like the 3-0 loss to a young Gold Coast side, who made them look slow, especially in defence and had a field day shooting past the immobile Danny Vukovic.

Vukovic is another issue altogether - it-s hard to tell what happened to the once-promising shot-stopper but he is now a far cry from the man Mariners fans once held dear. His reflexes appear to have slowed significantly in recent times and unless he is carrying an injury as an excuse there is no reason for his poor movement around the box.

Time after time he has been found wanting throughout the year and if you take a look at this highlights package you can see him rooted to the ground once and move slowly when James Brown nets his free-kick.

It wasn-t as if Vukovic was out of position - he simply couldn-t move at the required pace and none of the strikes were of the variety Carlos Hernandez routinely dishes out.

Vukovic is also the keeper who has made the second-least saves of the majority starting keepers in the league with 51. Mark Paston is behind him, but has only featured in 11 games compared to Vukovic-s 26, so the fact he is behind him is expected.

It-s not just Vukovic though none of Steve Pantelidis, Bas van den Brink or Dean Heffernan are getting any younger, nor are they getting any quicker with age and despite their experience are being caught out by speedy attackers when they are under the pump.

Their last three losses have seen Perth concede three against Gold Coast, three against the Roar and two against Sydney. Hardly the defensive record of a team who can contend.