A-LEAGUE MEN: David Zdrilic offers Perth Glory something they’ve lacked for years – new ideas

Jamie Dunkin
The Nightly
David Zdrilic is the new Glory boss, and it should get fans excited again.
David Zdrilic is the new Glory boss, and it should get fans excited again. Credit: Getty Images

The second worst-kept secret in the A-League Men has finally been let out, with former Socceroo David Zdrilic confirmed as the new Perth Glory boss.

One of the many cogs of this off-season’s managerial merry-go-round, Zdrilic might be the most exciting move during the winter.

Zdrilic has spent his coaching career so far as an assistant at Red Bull Leipzig’s youth set-up, Chicago Fire, Genoa, K.V. Oostende, and most recently at Sydney FC, where he was part of a reinvigoration of a tired Sky Blues team.

Sign up to The Nightly's newsletters.

Get the first look at the digital newspaper, curated daily stories and breaking headlines delivered to your inbox.

Email Us
By continuing you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

His vision, alongside manager Ufuk Talay, saw the Sky Blues go from patient possession football to front-foot, high-pressing, and exciting football which put teams to the sword – including the Glory in a 7-1 demolition.

Glory parting ways with Alen Stajcic and bringing in Zdrilic could be a masterstroke, and is a real look into the future instead of years looking at the past with managerial appointments.

For the first time in a very long while, Glory will have a manager intent on playing football on the front foot and genuinely exciting ideas about what football can be.

If you’re looking for a way to reset, this is absolutely it. This is a massive show of intent from new owner Ross Pelligra and a sign of life which should bring fans back into the stands after some difficult years.

Zdrilic doesn’t begin his first gig as a first-team manager with the resources he would’ve been afforded at a Sydney or Melbourne club, and he also doesn’t begin it with an easy pre-season.

His first job is to get the Glory to qualify for the Australia Cup Round of 32. They head to Darwin at the end of July, and it can’t be stressed how crucial this will be to a successful rebuild.

If they fail to beat Brisbane Roar, they’re stuck in a mire of no meaningful matches or chances to play good opposition until very close to the season begins, again marooned on the West Coast to play NPL clubs.

The other issue Zdrilic will face is something Glory have seriously struggled with since the pandemic – away games. Finishing dead last is already bad, but winning one away game all year is abysmal.

Teams have managed the big travel times before, including the Glory themselves in 2018/19 when they won their first Premier’s Plate.

Should Zdrilic keep his preferred high-press style, it’ll take meaningful matches to get this to work - and plenty of patience. The implementation of this at Sydney took several months of the season, with results varying from fantastic to catastrophic.

The early signings this off-season are positive – Brandon O’Neill and Josh Risdon will bring stability to the starting XI and some crucial leadership in midfield and the back four respectively - and there are several visa spots open for Zdrilic to think about.

Best yet, Adam Taggart is still there for Glory. If Taggart can score 20 goals a season in a side finishing dead last and playing dull football, what is he capable of in an attacking, high-press side?

The ceiling is high for the new man in charge of Perth, but for it all to work, it’ll need to begin 3,845 kilometres away in the Northern Territory capital.

Latest Edition

Friday 19 July The Nightly.

Latest Edition

Edition Edition 19 July 202419 July 2024

Airlines, banks, major companies fall victim to the very system designed to protect our cybersecurity.