National Premier League twilight clash tipped for Wonthella

Justin FrisGeraldton Guardian
Jamie Harnwell.
Camera IconJamie Harnwell. Credit: Sharon Smith, The West Australian

Football West head of development Jamie Harnwell is excited about a WA National Premier League fixture coming to Geraldton.

Harnwell was in Geraldton on Wednesday, where he was briefed by the City of Greater Geraldton on current progress regarding the round 19 WA NPL fixture between Sorrento and Perth Glory Reserves, which will be held at Wonthella Oval on Saturday, July 1.

Kick-off is tipped to be about 5.30pm.

“I met with the City this morning (Wednesday) to firm up proposals from them, so we’re hoping for something in the next couple of weeks — just to lock in all of the details,” Harnwell said.

“We spent some time out at Wonthella Oval today and the surface looks immaculate.

“And we are really excited on how we can promote (soccer — although) being an AFL ground, we believe we have a real opportunity to create a great atmosphere out of the ground, with inflatable pitches and a real community (and) family feel, while also catering to the more corporate side of things.

“We’ve been able to bring the pitch quite far over towards the grandstand as well (15m away from the sideline fence), so people will be close to the action on that side; but then also having the pitch in close, they can stand up on the far side and be right on the fence.”

Unlike the recent restrictions at last month’s JLT Community Series fixture, spectators will be able to bring in prams and chairs, as FW is keen to create an inclusive atmosphere for families.

Harnwell, who also coaches Sorrento outside of his FW commitments, said FW had received some great feedback from both clubs, which were fully committed to showcasing a polished product of Australian soccer.

“With Perth Glory, we’ve had some great feedback from them in terms of the game,” he said.

“They are really excited to be coming up and promoting their brand. They’ve got some fantastic young players in their youth team and hopefully one or two A-League stars, who will hopefully be flying up to do some promotional work at some school clinics.”

A “festival of football” is being planned in the lead-up to the game.

“Clinics for players, coaches and referees — we are really trying to give everyone as much access as possible to football, get them pumped up for the game,” Harnwell said.

“For myself as Sorrento head coach, the buzz around the players is: ‘When’s the Geraldton game? We’re looking forward to that one’.”

“Being a very metro-based league, the chance to get away for an away trip is huge for the players.

“It builds a camaraderie and character in the team.”

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