Popovic defence school: Tratt becomes a pupil

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The opportunity this year to join Tony Popovic’s defence school at Perth Glory has been the main driver in Jacob Tratt’s move west.

Tratt has played 29 A-League games, mostly as a right-back, for the Wellington Phoenix and in two separate stints for Sydney FC but his recent career decision was inspired by his new head coach and a desire to improve the defensive aspects of his game.

“It seemed to me to be the right place to come because I knew I needed to work on the defensive side of the game and he’s the best in the competition,” he said.

“It was kind of an easy decision to better my football.”

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The defender joins a fresh defensive group at Glory alongside former Millwall full-back James Meredith, young Australian Dane Ingham and Swiss central defender Gregory Wuthrich.

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The 25-year-old said the new defenders have settled into their roles nicely ahead of Sunday’s season opener.

“The players around us like Rocket (Liam Reddy) and those other boys who were here last year understand the roles of each individual player and they’re able to help us out on the pitch, that’s really made a difference in the transition,” he said.

Popovic has an excellent track record in producing improvements in defenders and the defensive group was an important part of the club’s premiership season last summer.

Tratt took inspiration from the successful season had by Jason Davidson and teammate Ivan Franjic.

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“The best players are guided by world-class coaches and he does that, he brings the best out of each and every individual. He knows how to get the best out of them,” he said.

“It’s not just through his man-management but the little details that he’ll go into to improve your individual performance and then obviously as a collective, if the whole group is doing well it makes everyone’s job a bit easier.

“His detail and analysis is unbelievable.”

His first few months at the club have assured Tratt his move will pay dividends.

“I’ve only been here for a few months now but I’ve learnt so much defensively,” he said.

“It’s just small little details, whether it be body position or starting position, all those details make a big difference when it comes to defending and then obviously winning games as well.”

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Personally he said his goal was to enjoy as much game time as possible as the club looked to better last season’s grand final appearance.

“I just want to try and play as many games as I can and continue to learn for the boss and to apply that to the pitch,” Tratt said.

Minutes may be hard to come by at a club which has just loaded up on defensive talent but with a season under Popovic to come and a fan-base ready to get behind him, Tratt is sure to be better for the experience.

Feature image credit: Perth Glory

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