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WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS VS WELLINGTON PHEONIX KICKOFF: SUNDAY 3.00PM @ WESTPAC STADIUM | TV: FOX SPORTS LIVE 3.00PM | RADIO: ABC LIVE 3.00PM
PREVIEW BY JUSTIN TODD
PHOTO: MELINDA JANE
Wanderers must respond I
T DOESN’T HAPPEN OFTEN, but the Wanderers will enter a round of the Hyundai A-League looking to bounce back after a defeat. It was going to take something special for an opposition to take maximum points against the Wanderers, and it took two candidates for goal of the season to clinch the three points for an impressive Brisbane Roar. An uncharacteristically slow start led to the Wanderers conceding early and in
Wanderers, given the fact the Phoenix have yet to win a game all season and there is currently an eleven-point gap between the two teams. Even though the positives point to an easy day out, the ﬁrst meeting between these two teams earlier in this season will have most Wanderers supporters expecting a strong Phoenix side with a point to prove. Wellington gave the Wanderers a real scare at Pirtek Stadium, and after early periods of dominance the Wanderers faded away
FC at Allianz Stadium. A goal a minute into added time by Kenny Cunningham looked to have earned Wellington a respectable point, until Ranko Despotovic broke their hearts and stole maximum points from a luckless Phoenix. It was a match they probably should have won, and to walk away without even a point would be hard to swallow and they will surely come out ﬁring this Sunday. The Wanderers have been extremely unlucky this season with injuries, and star
looks certain to return from injury, even narrowly missing the top of the table clash last round. It will be a welcome boost for the Wanderers if he does play, as they have been lacking a spark on the ﬂanks in recent matches. Both sides will be looking to bounce back from defeats, and last week’s narrow loss to Sydney FC will provide even more motivation for a Wellington side seeking their ﬁrst win of the season.
Earlier this year at Pirtek Stadium, the Wanderers and Wellington played out a 1-all draw in the opening game of the A-League season fairness they struggled to recover. The Roar pressed the Wanderers and bullied them off the ball, showing real determination and obviously driven by their defeat last week against Newcastle. The focus and determination Brisbane showed after defeat is exactly what the Wanderers must replicate in their upcoming match when they cross the Tasman to face the Wellington Phoenix. On paper this looks promising for the
due to the Phoenix’s high pressure tactics and continuously forced the home side into errors in their own half. Phoenix equalised through Jeremy Brockie in the second half, and on the balance of play deserved their point in very intimidating surroundings. The Phoenix will be back home in Wellington to meet the Wanderers for the second time, and can draw positives from their narrow loss last round against Sydney
man Shinji Ono’s injury against Brisbane is exactly what they didn’t need at this time. Wanderers coach Tony Popovic has rated the Japanese star a 50-50 chance for the away clash at Westpac Stadium, but insisted the injury was not serious. Popovic also added that he did not expect the star man to return, and the Wanderers will need someone to ﬁll the large hole that will be left in his absence. That man could be Youssouf Hersi, who
With their ﬁrst loss now on the board, some of the pressure is now off the Wanderers and they can go about their season with not as many eyes on them waiting for them to fall. Those eyes may however stay on coach Popovic, as fans eagerly wait to see if Michael Beauchamp will be included in the side this Sunday. Now that he’s been left out for three games, questions are being asked. WANDERWORLD | 3
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F E AT U R E S T O R Y
STORY BY NATHAN TAYLOR
PHOTO: MELINDA JANE
O-no! Shinji hurt in big loss WANDERERS STAR SHINJI ONO’S GROIN INJURY IS NOT AS BAD AS FIRST THOUGHT BUT HE’S STILL UNLIKELY TO MAKE THE TRIP TO WELLINGTON THIS WEEKEND...
ESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS COACH Tony Popovic has conﬁrmed star mid-ﬁelder Shinji Ono will most likely miss this Sunday’s clash against the Wellington Phoenix after injuring his groin during last Friday night’s loss to Brisbane. If Ono does miss the trip to New Zealand as is expected, it’ll be the ﬁrst time the Wanderers will be without the Japanese
superstar all season, dealing the side a huge blow as they try and bounce back after last week’s 3-1 thrashing to the Roar. “We’re not expecting him to play,” Popovic told the media before Monday’s training session. “It’s not a serious injury, which is great. At best he’s 50/50 for that match but at the moment we don’t expect him to be out there.
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“Shinji’s got a slight groin strain. We’re happy it’s not a bad one but he would have to have a great recovery by Thursday or Friday to have any chance.” Wanderers defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley admitted while losing the 34-year-old would be a huge blow, it will allow another deserved player to come in and show what he’s got. “Shinji’s vital, he’s a very important part of what we do but now there’s an opportunity for someone else to step up and stake a claim,” he said. This will be the second meeting between the Wanderers and the still winless Phoenix
already this season. In Round 2, the Wanderers surprisingly shared the points with the Kiwis following a dramatic 1-1 result at Pirtek Stadium. “We learnt from that game and we realised that we can’t take anyone easy,” ToporStanley said. “Wellington are a good side and a capable side. They have match winners in Carlos Hernandez who is a very dangerous player.” Popovic agreed with his centre-back saying the Phoenix weren’t far off from recording their ﬁrst victory. “They’re playing good football in every single match,” he said.
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P R O U D LY B R O U G H T T O Y O U B Y Y O U R L O C A L M C D O N A L D ’ S S T O R E S
Human error can’t be avoided ADAM Peacock is a respected sports journalist who is currently part of the Fox Sports team covering the 2013/14 A-League season
E ARE OFTEN REMINDED to worry about ourselves, and not others when assessing failure. With that in mind, are our referee’s all that bad? Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory are the latest two clubs to be jumping up and down about officialdom. Glory were bemused about the general performance in the loss to Central Coast, and Victory boss Kevin Muscat was annoyed Adelaide got a penalty because he thought Jeronimo dived (no pun intended). I can understand each argument, but can’t agree. Perth got a few calls as well – notably Jacob Burns; he was lucky the ref didn’t see his one legged stand on John Hutchison,
while Jeronimo didn’t dive, Pablo Contreras needlessly clipped him. Anyway, next week it’ll be someone else, the week after, someone else etc etc. Before the season, we at Fox had a visit from ref’s boss Ben Wilson who was seeking improvement from his officials this season, most notably a rise in correct calls from assistants. Has he got it? Probably not. Has it plunged to depths of despair? Probably not. Somewhere in between, so that has led to calls for officials to go full time. Firstly, the game can’t afford that yet. And secondly, will it ensure a 100 per cent success rate? No chance. Just look to England. The most ﬂush with
cash league in the world. They have a full time squad – not just a few – a squad of 16 referees. Last weekend in the Premier League, three big decisions were wrong. Wayne Rooney should have gone for a stupid kick out against Cardiff, Kevin Miralles had to go for his late, high knee bash of Luis Suarez in the Merseyside Derby and Sunderland’s Wes Brown was wrongly banished for a perfectly legit tackle on Charlie Adam. All wrong, all affected the result. It will continue to happen, regardless of where it is and how many full time refs a certain competition has. Human error can’t be avoided.
The Hyundai A-League kicks off LIVE tonight at 6.30pm on FOX SPORTS 1HD & FOX SPORTS 1
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Behind the scenes
E ALL LOVE WATCHING the Wanderers on the ﬁeld, but there’s always hard work to be done off the ﬁeld too. From training sessions to corporate functions, fan days and more, playing for the Wanderers is about more than just 90 minutes each weekend. Our photographers have captured some of the off-ﬁeld action involving the Wanderers this year.
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KEEPING UP WITH COVIC
Taking it personally GOAL keeper ANTE Covic gives us a player’s perspective on the Western Sydney Wanderers
T WASN’T A GREAT start against Brisbane last Friday night. We are usually solid especially in the beginning but we didn’t react well to them coming out as hard and aggressive as they did. That ﬁrst 20 minutes we got punished before we woke up but, in the end, we could’ve got something out of it but when you’re two goals down you don’t want to rely on always having to ﬁght back. I believe we played some good football for the remaining 70 minutes but we just couldn’t put the ball through the back of the net. Suffering our ﬁrst regular season loss since January was a strange feeling, I must admit. When you’re not used to having a loss in a while and when it comes around, you’re a little bit gobsmacked. I’m sure if the rest of the team is feeling like I did after the game we won’t be letting that happen too often again. I, personally, was quite frustrated after the game because Brisbane didn’t have a shot
on target apart from the three goals they scored. As a goalkeeper you feel helpless in a way because you cop three goals and you feel like you haven’t done much in a game, it’s a hard one to swallow. Brisbane had three quality ﬁnishes and sometimes there’s not much you can do about it but you’d like to be a bit more involved in the game. It’s never nice conceding three goals and it’s the ﬁrst time we’ve conceded more than two since we formed last year. We travel to New Zealand this weekend to take on the unlucky Wellington Phoenix. Games over in Wellington are always tricky because of the travel, time difference and it can catch up on you. Popa keeps us on Sydney time while we are away to minimise us being affected by the time difference. The conditions on the ﬁeld can be tough over there as well with the wind and cold and damp temperatures. Wellington are a pretty solid team.
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A-LEAGUE LADDER POS
Western Sydney Wanderers
Central Coast Mariners
LEGEND W Wins A Points Against
D Draws GD Goal Difference
L Losses Pts Ladder Points
F Points For
MATCHES Wanderers vs Melbourne Heart
PIRTEK STADIUM SAT, DECEMBER 7 @ 7.45PM
HUNTER STADIUM SAT, DECEMBER 14 @ 7.45PM
Central Coast Mariners PIRTEK STADIUM MON, DECEMBER 23 @ 7.00PM
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LAST WEEKâ€™S ACTION
Roar topples WSW BRISBANE ROAR 3 WANDERERS 1
SHINJI ONO PHOTO: MELINDA JANE
REVIEW BY NATHAN TAYLOR
WO GOALS IN THE opening 20 minutes was all it took to rattle the Western Sydney Wanderers who went down for the ďŹ rst time this season last Friday. The now competition-leading Brisbane Roar also became the ďŹ rst team in A-League history to score three goals against the Wanderers in what was an unlucky night for the visitors early on. In his ďŹ rst game back after a month on the sidelines, Roar striker Besart Berisha returned to the ďŹ eld in sensational fashion scoring the opener in the ďŹ rst ďŹ ve minutes off a deďŹ‚ection shot. 15 minutes later the Roar were in again when right-back Ivan Franjic struck a spectacular 20-yard volley from the top of the penalty area and into the back of the net, deafening the Red and Black supporters who made the 10-hour trek up the F3. But in true Wanderers style they werenâ€™t done with yet with Brendan Santalab the man to get Western Sydney back into the contest. Following a great intercept by Mark Bridge, Santalab took care of the rest with a
nice 28th minute chip shot into the back of the net to reduce Brisbaneâ€™s lead. From then on the Wanderers and Roar continued to trade blows for the rest of the contest with Labinot Haliti coming agonisingly close to an equaliser late in the game if it werenâ€™t for the dreaded woodwork. Brisbaneâ€™s Kwame Yeboah ďŹ nished off his sideâ€™s trifecta a minute into injury time scoring another classic goal to send the score out further than it deserved to be. â€œI think we didnâ€™t deal particularly well with the start of the game,â€? Nikolai ToporStanley admitted. â€œThe ďŹ rst 20 minutes Brisbane came at us, we were a bit soft defensively and before we knew it, we were down 2-0. â€œWeâ€™ll deďŹ nitely learn from it. We always take the positives and negatives out of every game no matter win, lose or draw. Whether itâ€™s a game we had to lose? No, deďŹ nitely not. We go out to win every game, thatâ€™s our aim every week.â€? Despite conceding two goals uncharacteristically early, Wanderers coach Tony Popovic said he was proud of the way his troops responded.
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W A N D E R B I T S W I T H W A L LY T H E W A N D E R E R
Not all bad news last weekend WALLY the Wanderer has all the gossip on the Western Sydney Wanderers
T MAY HAVE BEEN an unhappy weekend for the Wanderers A-League side, but their National Youth League team were red hot in their game against the Melbourne Heart. Last Saturday the young Wanderers claimed their ﬁrst win of the season defeating the visiting Heart 3-1 at Marconi Stadium. The Heart stunned the home side early with a goal in the opening two minutes of the game. But that’s where the scoring ended for the Heart with the Wanderers piling on three goals off the boot of Lawrence Hanna (‘18), Joshua Barresi (‘62) and Jaushua Sortirio (‘80). The ninth-placed Western Sydney will now meet the third-placed Australian Institute of Sport on Saturday at 3pm. The Wanderers women’s team enjoyed a bye round in the W-League last week and will return to play the fourth-placed Brisbane Roar this Sunday afternoon at Marconi Stadium. After the news Youssouf Hersi is being targeted by Sydney FC for next season (please Youssouf stay), I’m hearing the Dutchman may not be the only original Wanderer to leave Wanderland next year. After falling out of favour with coach Tony Popovic a few weeks ago, I’ve been told Michael Beauchamp could also be on the way out too when his contract expires at the end of the year. The Wanderers have a huge list of stars off-contract at the end of the season and officials are currently keeping a keen eye
on players both on and off the ﬁeld to see if they’re worthy of an extension. The current list of players unsigned for next year includes: Beauchamp, Hersi, Shannon Cole, Ante Covic, Adam D’Apuzzo, Joey Gibbs, Labinot Haliti, Dean Heffernan, Aaron Mooy, Shinji Ono, Jerome Polenz, Matthew Spiranovic, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Jason Triﬁro and Jerrad Tyson. My old mate Phil “Buzz” Rothﬁeld at the Daily Telegraph claims to be a huge A-League fan all of sudden but the controversial rugby league writer is struggling in the A-League tipping comp over at the Telegraph. It seems old Buzz can’t tip a winner for the life of him despite being such a staunch supporter of football of late. If you ever need any tips from the great Wally, Buzz, you know where to ﬁnd me. Meanwhile, we hear there’s plenty of NRL fans who are happy that Buzz has made the switch to football. This week’s Wanderers super fan is Keira Borg! How awesome does Keira look in her Wanderers gear? I’m hearing the Wanderers need a mascot, maybe you should apply, Keira! If you would like to be pictured in my column, simply send a pic of yourself in your Wanderers gear to news@westernweekender. com.au. Have you heard any Wanderers gossip? Email it to email@example.com.
If the Wanderers WIN
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