It had everything. Powerful, high-tech lights, large enough to be pulled on a trailer behind a small truck, music and an excitable ground announcer.

And what a party at half-time. There was the silly competition where groups of people carried large balloons around the ground (someone spent far too much time thinking up that one); skydivers who descended to the middle of the pitch; a polished rendition of the club’s slick theme song; and a parade of several WA Olympians.

The ground was full. Not to capacity but full enough.

It was the first home game of the season, the first of many under lights. It was a Saturday night and the opposition was Victorian.

No wonder 14,000 people turned up for the Perth Glory match on Saturday.

Luckily, shrouded in the razzamatazz and hoop-la was a genuine product.

Yet it threatened to turn ugly before the game started. A handful of people attempting to sell tickets to thousands has the potential to end in tears. The queues were long, patience was short.

But, like the match, the day was saved.

Another gate was opened and people desperate not to miss the start gushed in. They encountered a wonderful sight – a small, suburban sporting oval bathed in light and the atmosphere and collective sense of anticipation generated by a full house.

The Glory didn’t disappoint. An early goal. The “Shed” erupted.

There would be plenty to sing about tonight. Players were sent off, both sides squandered penalties.

South Melbourne, the opposition, kept attacking, creating chances.

If the Glory could clone keeper Jason Petkovic the side would play in bigger stadiums than East Perth, for bigger trophies than the NSL premiership.

His reactions were quicker than the trips to the toilets by the members of the Shed (yep, he’s that fast).

But it wasn’t a night for skill. Damian Mori, Perth’s celebrated new signing, missed chances he should have taken. It is what he is paid to do, has done so often, for club and country. His 150th goal will have to wait for another stage.

It was a scrappy affair.

Yet it was the second match for the season; still time to improve. It was harder to find an excuse for the referee. As one fan lamented: “This ref will decide this game”.

Fortunately, he didn’t.

The crowd was a constant enemy for South, but it did not go home friendless. The visitors could have pinched the match at the death, but for Petkovic’s heroics.

Perth Glory won. So did WA.

The State’s latest glamour side has started the season well, hinting it bears no emotional scares from last season’s devastating grand final loss.

WA has another sporting powerhouse to cheer.

The 14,000 people at the match caught taxis, buses and trains to the ground, or filled the car with fuel, drank lager at the local, paid for drink and food at the ground, bought tickets and programs from the casually-employed ground staff and wore their club colours bought from sports stores.

It helps keep the economy moving.

There is nothing better than a

successful team to make a community, city – indeed a State – feel good about itself. It engenders spirit; something positive to talk about.

Saturday night was a chance to forget the Business Activity Statement or the tech stocks no longer worth a cracker … though the price of fuel may have come up on the way home.

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