The West

Glory focus on here, now
Ian Ferguson. Pic: Getty Images

The referee embroiled in last season's A-League grand final controversy will take charge of Perth Glory's clash with Central Coast Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium tomorrow.

Jarred Gillett, who awarded a dubious last-minute penalty to Besart Berisha and was later revealed to be in a relationship with a Brisbane Roar staff member, will be the man in the middle for what Glory coach Ian Ferguson believes will be a pivotal match.

Ferguson has no concerns with Gillett despite believing the whistle blower was wrong in awarding the grand final penalty, which was converted by Berisha for a 2-1 win.

He has consistently rejected suggestions Gillett's decision had been influenced by his personal circumstances and the Glory boss is focused only on ensuring his side builds on last Sunday's opening-round win over Roar.

"I think this is a massive, massive game for us. It's a huge game for everybody at the club," Ferguson said. "There's no use going out and beating Brisbane Roar then going up to Central Coast Mariners and getting rolled. But I can see a determination with these boys and I can feel it when I'm talking to them. We're going to be up for this challenge.

"Last year there was a lot of apprehension and nervousness and this year there's a totally different feel about the club. There's a confidence around the place. But we've got to be consistent."

Last weekend's match winner, Billy Mehmet, has been promoted to the starting line-up in Shane Smeltz's absence. He is on international duty with New Zealand.

In the only other squad change, Japanese import Ryo Nagai could make his Glory debut after missing the season opener with a hamstring problem. The Cerezo Osaka midfielder, who is on loan at Glory, will take his place on the bench.

The Mariners, who won the premier's plate last season but were knocked out of the championship race by Glory in the preliminary final, have since signed former Perth attacker Mile Sterjovski. After leaving Glory in March, the 33-year-old joined Chinese club Dalian Aerbin, before returning to Australia and being snapped up by Mariners boss Graham Arnold.

"I know what Mile is like when he's on song, so we need to make sure we don't give him too much room in there where he can really hurt us," Ferguson said.

- Adelaide United import Jeronimo Neumann secured a 1-0 home win over Western Sydney Wanderers last night. After being played into space by Iain Ramsay in the 69th minute, Argentinian Jeronimo deftly finished for the Reds to bank consecutive wins for 2012-2013.

"I think this is a massive, massive game for us … We're going to be up for this challenge.""Glory coach *Ian Ferguson *

The West Australian

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