WS Wanderers 2013/2014 Season Preview

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On everyone’s lips this season will be whether the Wanderers can back up their stunning entry into the Hyundai A-League with either another premiership or the ultimate prize – the championship. The squad hasn’t changed too much but the movements that have been made are significant. 

Last season:
A-League: 1st
Finals: Runners-up

They’ll win the league because…

…they’re the same. Western Sydney have made the fewest player signings out of all A-League clubs, and that is because they’ve retained most of last year’s squad. It’s this consistency that will see Wanderers again reach high. Unfortunately crowd favourite Dino Kresinger has been shown the door, but like-for-like Brendon Santalab is his replacement, who has been known to score the odd spectacular goal to win the match. Despite a poor preseason result last week against Melbourne Victory the Wanderers are one of the teams to beat in season nine.

They’ll be cellar dwellars because…

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…they’ve been figured out. Too much of the same thing could mean that coaches around the country will watch back the tapes and uncover weaknesses. Popovic will have to work hard with his players to either reinforce his defensive playing style, or tweak it slightly to surprise opponents. If this fails, Wanderers could find themselves at the bottom of the table.

Talk around the water cooler… look smart in front of your colleagues with this valuable piece of information.

Between the squad there are over 100 national team caps. That’s a lot of caps. The breakdown is as follows: Ono (56) Beauchamp (22) Spiranovic (12) Juric (3) Bridge (2) Topor-Stanley (3) Mooy (2) Santalab (2) Heffernan (2) Covic (2) Cole (1)

The off-season brought…

…Spiranovic. The 25 year old has a decent resume, having spent three seasons at arguably Japan’s biggest club, Urawa Red Diamonds. Whilst the chanting at Saitama is on a different level, the atmosphere at Parramatta should make Spiranovic feel at home. This experience in Asia will certainly help the Wanderers upcoming AFC Champions League campaign.

The off-season also brought sixteen thousand members to the Wanderers family, selling out the membership packages completely. FFA are very keen for extra seating banks to be build at Wanderland so that more of the general public can attend. It’s a beautiful thing.

Key player…

…Aaron Mooy. He had a terrific first year with the Wanderers and is always improving his game. If he does as expected, fueled by the motivation to make the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Mooy will be one of the most influential players on the pitch.

One to watch…

Nick Olsen. Popovic has always spoken highly of Olsen from the get go. He played fantastic in the NPL New South Wales competition this year for Sutherland Sharks and now trains with the Wanderers senior squad. Expect Olsen to get some game time this year but also keep your eye on up and comers Josh Barassi and Yianni Perkatis.

Full squad list…
1. Ante COVIC, 2. Shannon COLE, 3. Adam D’APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 5. Michael BEAUCHAMP, 6. Jerome POLENZ, 7. Labino HALITI, 8. Maeto POLJAK, 9. Tomi JURIC, 10. Aaron MOOY, 11. Brendon Santalab, 12. Tahj MINNICON, 14. Kwabena APPIAH-KUBI, 15. Yianni PERKATIS, 16. Joshua BARRESI, 17. YOUSSOUF (VAN) HERSI, Iacopo LA ROCCA, 19. Mark BRIDGE, 20. Jerrad TYSON, 21. Shinji ONO, 22. Dean HEFFERNAN, Jason TRIFIRO

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Matt Greenlaw
Editor of The Football Sack for three years, Matthew now spends his time sipping merlot whilst watching the reruns of Thursday FC.