It comes as no surprise that the standout performers of Saturday’s National Youth League grand final between Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne City FC all shared a common trait: regular A-League exposure.

Following their thrilling extra time victory Wanderers coach Arthur Diles had nothing but praise for his squad but was in particular admiration of those playing who had made a shift to the A-League this season.

“Kosta Grozos just got a first grade contract and Marc Tokich is on one, they showed their quality” he said.

“Our goalkeeper is only seventeen, third choice for the first team; he’s only seventeen and showed his quality.”

With this season’s A-League roster stacked with talented youngsters Saturday’s grand final highlighted the world of difference that training alongside experienced A-League campaigners can make on an upcoming youngster.

Wanderers forward Lachlan Scott certainly proved this with his 120 minute powerhouse performance. The twenty year old levelled the scores for the Wanderers with a skillful finish and cut his way past the Melbourne City defence to supply Mark Tokich with the second.

Diles believes the transition between the two grades for players like Scott is all about having the right mentality and being willing to balance time at either level.

“They can come down here and take the piss or they can come and do what they did,” he said.

“They haven’t turned up with a long face; they haven’t turned up with attitude.

“You get some players from first grade and they destroy you, not because they’re not good players but because mentally they’re not there.”

Diles expressed that the grand final was the result of similar trust being put into the development of players through the Wanderers academy.

“The club deserves this; they’ve put a lot of time and money in promoting younger players, more than other clubs normally do.

“This is a reward for them, this is the best way we can pay them back.”

Josep Gombau was in attendance in Newcastle to see the Wanderers take out their maiden Y-League championship and we may see youngsters like Scott, Tokich, Grozos and Jonathan Aspropotamitis earn more minutes in coming A-League fixtures.

 

Feature image credit: Western Sydney Wanderers FC

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Second year bachelor of Journalism student at the University of Wollongong. Aspiring Journalist, looking forward to the coming season!