Why Asia and Campbelltown could rejuvenate the Wanderers

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Western Sydney’s last venture into Asia failed to recapture their initial glory and also cemented their worst A-League season to date.

Yet the Wanderers’ return to a competition they remain the only A-League team to conquer could well spark them into life.

With more games to iron out issues in the team and a new home venue in Campbelltown Stadium to attract a new flock of followers, the Asian Champions League (ACL) could well awaken a champion Wanderers outfit.

It’s been a predictably slumberous start to the season for a team accustomed to finding their feet late in the season.

Depending on how the next few months progress for Western Sydney their third appearance in the ACL could well add the necessary polish to make them a team capable of not only making the finals, but capable of winning them.

It was, of course, in Asia where the Wanderers won their only Grand Final; a two legged tie with Al-Hilal they took out 1-0.

In the A-League, however, the red & black have stumbled at the final stage losing all three of their Grand Final appearances to date.

So perhaps a return to Asia will bring out a ruthless winning mentality that the Wanderers have been in desperate need of.

The extra games and travel associated with the competition does, however, have the potential to disrupt or indeed inspire the team, with Wanderers’ defender Brendan Hamill admitting it’s up to the team to make sure it has the right influence.

“No matter what, ACL is going to impact the A-League, it’s up to us to make sure it has a positive effect,” said Hamill.

“We’ve won the Champions League before, we know what it takes to go over there and be successful and be successful in the league as well, so we’ve got that in our back pocket.”

Their third appearance in the competition will bring with it a new home stadium as Campbelltown becomes the venue for the fixtures.

More South-West Sydney than simply Western Sydney, the choice may marginalise those accustomed to a shorter trek but should allow a new breed of football fans to develop as they watch Asian football for the first time.

While the grass may not yet be very green at Campbelltown, hosting a rather shocking pitch, the venue has been kind to the Wanderers. Western Sydney have won all four of their games there and the location could well turn the side’s form around when they play an A-League match there in January, before a likely ACL match a month later.

Considering how their season has started so far, it’s pretty safe to say a return to a competition they’ve had unprecedented success in cannot make the Wanderer’s A-League season much worse when the ACL gets underway early next year.

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Joshua Thomas
Joshua Thomas
A football fanatic and journalism student who won't leave you wondering about any Wanderers news this season as I cover all things Red and Black for The Football Sack.

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