2018-19 Australian A League, Regular Season
  • Ivan Franjic (65')

Ivan Franjic the hero as Perth Glory end 15-year wait for silverware to clinch Premiers Plate

Perth Glory's 15-year silverware drought is over after Tony Popovic's men secured the A-League's Premiers Plate with a 1-0 win over Newcastle.

Glory, who started Sunday's match five points clear of nearest rivals Sydney FC, knew a victory over the Jets would be enough to guarantee top spot with two rounds to spare.

Ivan Franjic's 65th-minute strike gave Glory all they needed in front of 11,349 fans at HBF Park, delivering the club their first piece of silverware since winning the 2004 Championship in the now-defunct NSL. It also guaranteed Glory a berth in next season's Asian Champions League.

"I'm just really proud," Popovic said.

"Just to see the joy on the players' faces, the staff, the owners, the fans -- you can just see they've been waiting to have success for a long time.

"The club's had some fantastic times, it's had some tough times, and this is a special time. They're the best team in the league. That's a fact."

The Jets started as rank underdogs, but gave Glory two massive early scares. Striker Roy O'Donovan almost produced a goal-of-the-season contender with an audacious long range dipping volley that looped over goalkeeper Liam Reddy before crashing on to the bar.

A few minutes later, O'Donovan hit the back of the net after latching on to a cross from Ivan Vujica. Glory players were adamant O'Donovan was offside, and referee Kurt Ams decided to send it to the VAR. Replays showed O'Donovan was slightly offside, with the goal disallowed. VAR was again brought into action in the 20th minute when Glory speedster Joel Chianese was brought down in the box, but the penalty appeal was denied.

Both sides had plenty of chances during a fast-paced opening half, with Glory's best opportunity coming in the 40th minute when Andy Keogh slammed his close-range shot on to the bar.

Glory midfielder Juande limped off with a knee injury in the 30th minute, forcing Popovic to introduce young gun Jake Brimmer to the fray.

Perth had goals ruled out for offside in the 58th and 62nd minutes, before Franjic finally broke the drought after latching on to a beautiful through pass from Diego Castro.

The Jets pushed hard for an equaliser, but Glory wouldn't be denied their moment in the sun.