History will be made on Saturday when the first regional PlayStation 4 NPL WA game will be played in Geraldton where Sorrento will take on Perth Glory in the inaugural PS4 NPL WA Regional Cup.
Aside from the historic flavour to the match, there is also a significant on-pitch battle to be had with the teams needing points at either end of the table.
The game will form part of the Geraldton Football Festival, with junior clinics and coaching and refereeing workshops also to be held.
Jamie Harnwell has more on his plate than most involved in the game, given his dual responsibilities as Sorrento coach and Football West’s Head of Development.
“This is an event that we have been working towards now for a couple of years, and both Sorrento and Perth Glory have been fantastic in their willingness to embrace this initiative,” he said.
“We hope that it’s something that becomes an annual event, be that in Geraldton or other parts of regional WA.
“Focusing on regional football has been a large part of my role at Football West, so it’s very satisfying to see the growth in the quality and the quantity of players that regional WA is producing,” he said.
The former Perth Glory defender said the weekend will be full of football activities for the locals.
“When the concept was discussed, we wanted to do more than just put on a game, and with the help of Department of Sport and Recreation funding, we have been able to provide a whole range of events throughout the weekend, culminating in the PS4 NPLWA game on Saturday evening,” he said.
“The Geraldton football community have really embraced this idea, and the work the volunteers up there have put in has helped this idea come to fruition.
“With bouncy castles, an inflatable pitch and face painting, it will be a great experience for the whole family.”
Harnwell is especially keen to take home the three points after Sorrento’s defeat to Bayswater City last weekend.
“We were desperately unlucky to be beaten last week, especially after a first half performance when we created so many chances,” he said. “But we didn’t take them and we were punished.
“We need to get back on an unbeaten run, to push up towards the top of the table again and put pressure on the teams above us.
“We know Glory will continue to play their brand of football and make things difficult for us, but we’re looking forward to the game and we want to put on a bit of a spectacle for the Geraldton public.”
Glory coach John Gibson is expecting a strong performance from his side.
“We’ve seriously competed against every top-four side this year, so we’ve done really well,” he said.
“Like every week we will be aggressive, we will have a lot of fun, we will work our backsides off and will continue to develop.
“Obviously we’ve got to balance performance and results, which is a challenge for us but we will continue to do that and continue to move forward.”
Gibson said his side will come away from the match with more experience.
“A lot of the boys haven’t had to travel like this so it will be good just getting them used to that process, understanding how we do things and learning protocols and procedures as they potentially move into the NYL (National Youth League),” he said.
“Coming back really late on Sunday morning is a great experience for the boys as well. Obviously they’ve got to look forward to the preparation in terms of sleep, hydration, nutrition, and other things.
“We’re looking forward to getting up there and obviously spreading the Glory brand and promoting football in the regions.”
In other round 19 matches, Armadale will take on Stirling Lions at Alfred Skeet Reserve, Bayswater City host Joondalup United at Finance 365 Stadium and Balcatta meet Floreat Athena at Grindleford Reserve.
Inglewood United will host Perth SC at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium, Subiaco take on ECU Joondalup at Rosalie Park, and Cockburn City will face Mandurah City at Dalmatinac Park.
Saturday, July 1
Armadale v Stirling Lions (Alfred Skeet Reserve, 3pm)
Bayswater City v Joondalup United (Finance 365 Stadium, 3pm)
Balcatta v Floreat Athena (Grindleford Reserve, 3pm)
Inglewood United v Perth SC (Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium, 3pm)
Subiaco v ECU Joondalup (Rosalie Park, 3pm)
Sorrento v Perth Glory (Wonthella Oval, 5:30pm)Cockburn City v Mandurah City (Dalmatinac Park, 3:00pm)