What they said: Popovic, Reddy and Chianese celebrate Perth Glory's Premiership victory
A proud Tony Popovic hailed his Perth Glory side’s consistency after the West Australian club clinched the Premiers Plate with a 1-0 win over Newcastle Jets on Sunday night.
Ivan Franjic scored the decisive goal for Glory, ending the club’s 15-year wait for a Hyundai A-League trophy.
The Premiership win crowns a sensational debut season for 45-year-old taskmaster Popovic, who also clinched the Premiers Plate in his maiden season at Western Sydney Wanderers, in the club's inaugural 2012/13 campaign.
“I’m just delighted at the moment and very proud coach,” Popovic told FOX Sports during Perth’s post-match celebrations.
“I’m proud to lead this group of players who have been magnificent all season, with a lot of support from the owner, Tony Sage, who I saw shedding a tear tonight.
“He’s waited for something like this. I’m very pleased for him, his family and for all the people who have supported the club over the years during difficult times.
“We were in an unfamiliar position, even tonight. You could sense the fans getting a little bit anxious in the first half, possibly the players as well. But week after week, you can’t fault their performance.
“We played very well and we deserved this. That consistency is what’s pleased me the most and hopefully there’s more of that to come for the rest of the season.”
Reddy: ‘It’s been worth the wait’
For a player whose longevity at the top of Australian national league football is rivalled by few, it is hard to believe Perth’s 2018/19 Premiership win is Liam Reddy’s first ever trophy.
The 37-year-old goalkeeper, who played in the Hyundai A-League’s inaugural match for Newcastle Jets against Adelaide United back in 2005, has been the bedrock of Glory’s run to silverware.
Tonight’s 1-0 shutout against the Jets was Reddy’s 11th clean sheet of the campaign.
“It's fantastic. Eighteen years I’ve been playing and it’s the first trophy I've won,” Reddy told FOX Sports.
“It's been a long wait but it’s been well worth it.
"I'm very happy for the group of players and happy for Tony Sage the owner who’s put a lot of money into the club.
“The fans all deserve it here and hopefully now we can regroup, have a good night tonight, enjoy it and we've got one more to win, one more trophy to win."
Chianese: ‘We threw everything at that game’
If there is one player symbolic of both Perth’s remarkable 2018/19 transformation and the ruthless consistency coach Popovic has cultivated in Glory’s run to the Premiership, it is forward Joel Chianese.
The ex-Sydney FC man, 29, has been a true unsung hero in the club’s title assault, scoring five goals and embodying the tireless work-ethic and hunger the Glory boss values so highly from his charges.
Chianese believes the club’s turnaround this season has been nothing short of spectacular.
“It’s massive. We have no energy left. We threw everything into that game, it was an awesome crowd again,” Chianese told FOX Sports post-match.
“It’s just an awesome feeling at this club, the turnaround from the last couple of years to this year has been amazing.
“The fans have been asking for that for a while now, we’ve had a lot of quality in the team but not been able to produce week in, week out. The feeling is just amazing now.”