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ISSUE 05 NOVEMBER 08

magazine

ANTE

COVIC

EXCLUSIVE COLUMN INSIDE

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WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS VS MELBOURNE HEART KICKOFF: FRIDAY 7.30PM @ AAMI PARK | TV: FOX SPORTS & SBS 2 LIVE 7.30PM | RADIO: ABC LIVE 7.30PM

PREVIEW BY ELISHA PEARCE

PHOTO: MELINDA JANE

Beware the broken Heart T

HE WANDERERS TRAVEL TO Melbourne for a second Friday night match in a row, this time against the very beatable Melbourne Heart. Tony Popovic will have circled this match in the calendar as a crucial chance to bag the full three points on the road. After four rounds of the A-League season completed Heart have only scored two goals, both in the one match they drew 2-all. That lack lustre start sees them on the bottom of the ladder with only two points,

needed for the men in black and red. Tomi Juric scored a second half double as the strong focal point to the Wanderers direct approach Tony Popovic was looking for when he signed the young star this offseason. An increase in team pressing was first rewarded when a swift counter-attack was finished by a stunning goal. Juric gathered the ball some 30 metres out and dribbled at his defender before unleashing a poisonous shot outside the box

fans a comeback win and a reason to get rowdy – something this crowd won’t pass up. Two late goals in front of the passionate Red and Black Bloc as Wanderers overran United is a perfect way to reward the supporters group for their raucous start to the season. Going into this week the aim will be to score that early goal so they are able to play their natural tight defensive game without the risk of a fluke putting them behind on

matches but they have been extremely vulnerable in the second half. They have leaked six goals in the last stanza of their previous three matches. Wanderers will need to stay compact and vigilant as the home side will be getting desperate to give their fans a strong performance and a reason to hope. Heart are in a similar position to the Wanderers by virtue of having a decorated ex-Socceroo who played in Europe at the helm of the team. Heart coach, John Aloisi,

Not one goal has been scored in the first half of the last three matches involving the Melbourne Heart, pointing to a tight clash on Friday night the second point coming from a nil-all draw. In contrast the Wanderers are sliding to the top of the scale after a lukewarm first two rounds. Last week a deflected shot that was thighed into the Wanderers’ goal by Adelaide United’s Marcello Carrusca put the Wanderers behind and cast doubt about an important victory at home at Pirtek Stadium. But the thought of going down a goal at home seemed to be the adrenalin shot

into the far bottom corner leaving United custodian Eugene Galekovic no chance. With the job half done the Wanderers continued to pour forward and use the most direct route to the goal-mouth available. Another good goal was the result of that strong pressure. An early cross was sent into the box and Juric out-muscled United defender Tarek Elrich, perhaps too easily, to nod home the ball from close-range and give the home

the score sheet. Heart, despite lacking goals, have actually created a lot of scoring chances, particularly in the last two weeks. At some point those chances will turn into goals. Wanderers will be aware of that and will aim to contain Heart higher up the pitch and not play with the ball at the back. The trend for Heart games this year is a very tight first half. No goals have been scored – by either side – in their last three

has been given a lot of rope by the club and supporters to build something strong but there are quiet noises amongst supporters now that he might not be the man for the job after an extended period without an uptick in results. Heart are a team playing with their backs to the walls now and that makes them a tough prospect at home. The Wanderers might do well to sneak away with a one goal win or draw this week. WANDERWORLD | 3


W-LEAGUE

W-League launches THE WANDERERS ARE HOPING FOR BIG CROWDS AND GREAT RESULTS IN THIS YEAR’S W-LEAGUE, WHICH WAS LAUNCHED IN SYDNEY ON MONDAY AND KICKS OFF THIS WEEKEND...

E

STORY BY BASIL NAIMET

BUSHFIRE APPEAL

THE W-LEAGUE TROPHY PHOTO: BASIL NAIMET

XPECTATIONS ARE HIGH FOR women’s football after the launch of the W-League in Sydney on Monday. Now in its sixth season, the W-League promises to showcase an exciting brand of football with the addition of a number of international players in this year’s competition. All eight teams were represented with the two Sydney teams confident they were in for a good showing this season. Sydney FC striker and Young Matildas U20’s captain Chloe Logarzo, who is playing in her third season, said this year will be tougher than last. “Last season it was pretty hard and it was a good hit out, this season sounds like it’s even better and so I’m looking forward to it with every team being equal,” she said. She said the feeling of fans screaming and supporting the team is overwhelming, but spurs them on to play better. “When you walk out onto that field, and

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you have a crowd that’s behind you and encouraging you all the way through the game even if you’re doing bad, there’s an adrenalin rush to do better,” she said. There are hopes the women’s game will be part of the bigger picture to establish it as a leading sport in Australia. “Football is a game for women just as much as it is for men. It’s our clear point of difference against all the other footy brands in this country,” FFA CEO David Gallop said. Western Sydney Wanderers captain Heather Garriock said having played in front of large crowds in Europe and America, she was looking forward to playing in front of large crowds especially with the RBB in full song. “I’m challenging fans to break the record which stands at 4,500,” she said. This weekend’s season opener for the Wanderers is at Marconi Stadium against Adelaide United with kick off at 2pm on Sunday.

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F E AT U R E S T O R Y

BRENDAN SANTALAB PHOTO: MELINDA JANE

STORY BY NATHAN TAYLOR

Wanderers weary of Kewell WESTERN SYDNEY IS ON HIGH ALERT FOR THE POSSIBLE RETURN OF HARRY KEWELL FOR THE MELBOURNE HEART IN TONIGHT’S CLASH AT AAMI PARK...

N

EW WANDERERS RECRUIT BRENDAN Santalab and coach Tony Popovic have declared they won’t be taking the winless Melbourne Heart lightly this Friday night especially after the news that Heart captain Harry Kewell will likely return from injury. The former Socceroos superstar hasn’t been seen in Heart colours since leaving the field with whiplash in his side’s opening

round draw to cross-town rivals Melbourne Victory. Santalab, who joined the Wanderers in the off-season from Chinese club Chongqing Lifan, said Kewell’s return will give the struggling Heart a much-needed boost. “It’s great for them but we’ll see how he goes,” he said. “Harry’s a special player but we’ve got to focus on the whole Heart team.“

Coach Popovic agreed with his striker’s summation of Kewell’s impending return on Friday night at Melbourne’s AAMI Park. “Harry’s a class player but I don’t know what kind of shape he’s in,” he said. “We don’t know if he’ll play or not but if he does we’ll expect to see his quality on the field and we’ll be prepared for that.” Last week the Wanderers cemented themselves in second spot on the A-League ladder after they came from behind to beat Adelaide United 2-1 at Pirtek Stadium. The win was also a momentous occasion for Santalab who started in his first game of the season.

“Playing under Popa’s been great and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here so far,” he said. “It was great to get a start last weekend and whatever happens this week, if I’m starting again, I’ll be ready. “We’ve all got our feet on the ground and our heads are in a good space. We’ve just got to keep ticking along and keep getting the points to stay up at the top of the table.” Meanwhile, Dutchman Youssouf Hersi, who missed Western Sydney’s clash against Adelaide through injury, could make a surprise return against the Heart. His injury remains a day-to-day proposition.

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WANDERWORLD | 5


ADAM PEACOCK

Romance lives on ADAM Peacock is a respected sports journalist who is currently part of the Fox Sports team covering the 2013/14 A-League season

F

RIDAY NIGHT, FREE NIGHT, date night. Babysitter organised to look after the kids. There’s three of them so this doesn’t happen that often. So where else would a romantic guy like yours truly take his long-suffering, remote control deprived, forced to be a sport-lover wife? The football, of course. She’s never been to an A-League game, so what better way to start than a trip to Wanderland. The car trip is a 45 minute history lesson in the Western Sydney Wanderers, with the terms “Poznan”, “Popovic” and “pressing” entering a conversation between us for the very first time. See, football, it’s a conversation starter,

even between two people who thought they knew everything about each other. Another 10 minutes is spent explaining who the visitors are, Adelaide, so the term “tiki taka” gets a run, similar sounding but entirely different to the time we had to explain to our eldest that Blu Tack would mean a Sickie Taka if he kept eating it. The journey slows as the stadium nears and more and more red and black jerseys are spotted on the sidewalk. My wife isn’t a football novice. With family from Manchester, she’s been to some pokey little joint they reckon is the “Theatre of Dreams”, or something (nothing on St James’). Opposite the entrance, she observes: “far

out, look at them all, this is like Old Trafford”. Once the game starts, the wall of noise from the RBB hits us and the look on her face is similar to when I told her that two days after we got married, I would be off to Melbourne, solo, for two weeks of “work” on the horse racing. Surprise! Yes darling, those two gents in front of the RBB don’t get to see much of the match. They have very important matters to take care of. Sorry, I couldn’t bring myself to do the Poznan – neutrality must remain. Not sure if she did it, I was too busy looking at it take place, and it never gets tired. Romance lives on.

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A-LEAGUE LADDER POS

CLUB

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A

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Brisbane Roar

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1

9

2

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79

2

Western Sydney Wanderers

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Melbourne Victory

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LEGEND W Wins A Points Against

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UPCOMING

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F Points For

Wellington Phoenix WESTPAC STADIUM SUN, DEC 1 @ 3.00PM

Wanderworld issue 5 Printed by:

Spot Press Pty Ltd

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KEEPING UP WITH COVIC

We’ll keep going no matter what GOAL keeper ANTE Covic gives us a player’s perspective on the Western Sydney Wanderers with an exclusive column every single week

I

T WAS A TOUGH game against Adelaide United last Friday night. We had a few chances to score early on in the game through Shinji and La Rocca but we just couldn’t capitalise on them. I think the win is very big in terms of our character. We’ve talked about this since day one that we keep going for 90 minutes regardless of what happens. We’re going to take knocks and we’re going to take hits but it’s how we react to them afterwards. The Adelaide match was one of those games that makes you feel really good afterwards and I think Popa said it perfectly when he said “these are the games that win you championships, the ones that you keep going, you know you’re doing things right, you’re working to one goal and you get the rewards”. One of my teammates I’d like to praise is

12 | WANDERWORLD

young Tomi Juric, who’s fitting in really well. Tomi’s a great guy first and foremost and on the field he has all the attributes to be a fantastic striker for us and, hopefully for his sake, in the national team one day. He’s still quite raw, sometimes he can get frustrated and his emotions get the better of him but he’s got all the attributes to be one of the most feared strikers in the A-League. It’s still early days for him and I think he can improve a lot more but three goals from four games is what you want from your striker. We head down to Melbourne on Friday night to play the Heart and if we’re not switched on, they could really hurt us. Popa is making sure we are focused and not slacking off at any stage because we did that against Wellington at home and paid the price for it. We will be making sure our performance and discipline is on track and we believe we

can win the game. I expect Harry Kewell to play against us on Friday night and in my opinion he’s been Australia’s best player for a very long time. I still know Harry well and he’s got just as much hunger as he ever did and is still a fantastic player, one that can hurt you. Harry’s a player we’ll have to keep our eye on. Thank you again to all the Wanderers fans who keep making plenty of noise and spur us on even when the chips are down. They’re the best fans in the league.

Do you have a question you would like to ask Ante Covic? We’re opening up the floor to you to ask him the questions you’ve always wanted to know about the Wanderers. Email news@westernweekender.com.au or post your question to Ask Ante, Suite 2, 4244 Abel Street Jamisontown NSW 2750.


LAST WEEK’S ACTION

Juric gets us home WANDERERS 2 - ADELAIDE UNITED 1

F

TOMI JURIC IS HAVING A STRONG SEASON PHOTO: MELINDA JANE

REVIEW BY JUSTIN TODD

RIDAY NIGHT SAW THE visit of Adelaide United to Pirtek Stadium with the Wanderers looking to continue where they left off in the derby and walk away with their first home win of the season. The Wanderers did just that when after just 35 seconds Shinji Ono’s inch-perfect free kick found the tall figure of Nikolai Topor-Stanley, who forced a fine save from Galekovic with a powerful header aimed toward the bottom corner. As is the case with the majority of matches at Pirtek Stadium, the Wanderers used the adrenalin of the 16,279-strong crowd to push on further and ensure the visitors were under the pump. There were strong signs that Adelaide United were about to crack, and Tarek Elrich was very lucky to escape a second yellow for a challenge on Mark Bridge which then led to derby hero Iacopo La Rocca hitting the side net from the free kick. Although, as was the case in the last home match against Wellington Phoenix, the Wanderers seemed to drop off in the

final stages of the first half and allowed Adelaide to get a foot hold on proceedings. Adelaide held at least 80 per cent of the ball in the final 15 minutes of the half, though as hard as they tried the Wanderers’ stubborn defence just wouldn’t give in. The half time whistle could not have come at a better time, as it gave the Wanderers a much needed chance to regroup in the sheds and attempt to regain composure and retain authority on their home pitch. Much to the shock of the packed Pirtek Stadium, Adelaide picked up where they left off and took the lead barely 10 minutes into the half. Neumann’s long-range strike took a wicked deflection and Carrusca capitalised to deceive Covic with a deft glance into the net. Adelaide continued to threaten until the man for the big moment stepped up once again for the Wanderers. After receiving the ball from a decent way out, Tomi Juric rifled the ball into the back of the net to level the scores. The Wanderers would have taken a point on the balance of play, however Juric had other ideas, smashing home a header with 10 minutes remaining for the win.

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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

All Stars fixture to return to ANZ Stadium in 2014 WALLY the Wanderer has all the gossip on the Western Sydney Wanderers LUKE PRIDDIS

T

HE FFA HAVE CONFIRMED the hugely successful A-League All Stars fixture will return next year. Set to grace our shores and take on the All Stars this time will be the most successful club in Italian football history, Juventus. Next year’s match is again likely to be played at ANZ Stadium in mid-August, well after the FIFA World Cup finishes in mid-July. Juventus has won 29 League titles, two Champions League trophies, three UEFA Cups, and feature some of football’s biggest names including Carlos Tevez, Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo. This year’s fixture between the All Stars and Manchester United was one of the highest rating sporting programs of the year and saw sell-out crowds at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.

The Western Sydney Wanderers are finally on the board after a 1-1 draw with Adelaide United during Round 2 of the National Youth League competition last week. The lone goal scorer for the Wanderers was Laurens Hanna in the 59th minute. The Wanderers now sit in seventh spot on the NYL ladder following their 1-0 defeat by Sydney FC in Round 1. Following the success of the recent Sydney Derby between the Wanderers and the Sky Blues, the FFA are considering shifting games between the two clubs to ANZ Stadium next season to accommodate the huge crowd. I had the opportunity to get out of the Red and Black Bloc last Friday night and sit in one

of the Wanderers’ brand new outdoor boxes in the Eastern Grandstand. I must say my voice thanked me for it because I didn’t have to sing for 90 straight minutes. One thing that did bug me though was that I wasn’t able to hear the ground announcements very well… no, not because I’m deaf after 18 months in the Red and Black Bloc, but because I think the speaker system needs to be turned up. So, I’m hoping that issue gets sorted out for our next home game. This week’s pictured Wanderers fan is perhaps the club’s newest. His name is Nikolai James Sayle, and yes he was named after Western Sydney defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley according to his parents Grahame and Emma. The pair are foundation members of the Wanderers.

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Wanderworld November 8