The West

NPL - Balcatta defender keen on new challenge
NPL - Balcatta defender keen on new challenge

Balcatta's Scottish defender Kieron Stallard is relishing his first traditional derby on Saturday, when Perth SC visits Grindleford Reserve in round five of the National Premier Leagues WA.

The fixture is highly anticipated on the local football calendar, by players and supporters alike, but Stallard is good friends with a number of Perth players.

However, that friendship will be put on hold, come 3 o’clock Saturday afternoon. “It's a bit weird for me, as I know it’s a massive game for both clubs, but all the Perth boys are our good mates,” Stallard said.

“Obviously everyone will be giving their all for the win, and I’m sure there will be a lot of banter flying about during the game. There has been a number of players moving between both clubs, and recently Mark Doninger left us to join Perth, which will add a bit of spice into it.”

The 24-year-old, who came through the ranks at Scottish First Division side Falkirk, before two seasons with Airdrie, headed to Australia in 2012 and joined Cockburn City.

He joined A-League side Central Coast Mariners Academy side in the NSW Premier League last season and enjoyed the challenge.

“The Mariners experience was amazing for me, and they have unbelievable facilities and a very professional set up,” he said.

“The standard of the league is great, and I made some good mates over there and still keep in contact with a lot of them and people from the club, including their former coach Lawrie McKinna.”

Balcatta won for the first time in the NPL WA at Armadale in round four, and Stallard is looking to make it back-to-back this week.

“Our season opened with tough games against Sorrento and Bayswater, but we got back on track with a good win at Armadale, and a good 5-0 win in the cup last week,” he said.

“The club have had a huge turnover of players this season, but we’re gelling well as a team under new coach Ramon Falzon, and we know a win on Saturday will set up our season.”

The round kicks off on Friday evening with Sorrento hosting Stirling Lions at Percy Doyle Reserve, with an 8pm kick off.

In Saturday’s games, league leaders Bayswater City entertain ECU Joondalup at Frank Drago Reserve, Subiaco travel to E&D Litis Stadium to take on Floreat Athena, Armadale and Inglewood United do battle at Alfred Skeet Reserve, while Perth Glory host coach Scott Miller’s former club Cockburn City at Intiga Stadium. All games on Saturday kick off at 3pm.

The West Australian

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