‘Academy players tried but there was a gap’: Things go from bad to worse for Western Sydney

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Any hope Western Sydney Wanderers head coach Mark Rudan’s return gave fans to turnaround the side’s season is dimming match by match, with the latest 1-0 blow exposing the gap for Academy players.

In what can only be described as a turbulent season thus far, Western Sydney copped another blow on Wednesday night in a 1-0 loss to the Newcastle Jets.

Not only was it a must-win game for the side, captain James Troisi did not return for the second half due to an injury concern, depleting their already underperforming squad.

Head coach Mark Rudan, who took the reins of the club after the sacking of Carl Robinson last month, had plenty to say on the state of his team and what needed to change in the post-match press conference.

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His side’s inability to convert chances into goals was a hotly contested topic, which fuelled Rudan’s disappointment in the night’s result.

“It’s a really disappointing result,” he said.

“We should have been at least a couple up at half time.

“I thought we were fantastic in the first half, but you have to take your chances and apply pressure and we’re not doing that at the moment.”

The Wanderers’ season has been plagued by controversy and whilst Rudan is a fresh face hoping to steer the club in the right direction, it’s not going to be smooth sailing.

Rudan also took issue with a goal to Keijiro Ogawa being ruled offside.

“I thought the goal they called for offside looked onside from the TV screen in front of us,” he said.

“They were very quick to raise the flag and it wasn’t even looked at again, so I was a little disappointed in that.

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“There’s more fight about us now but it’s frustrating because you can see just how many players I changed in the second half and in the frontline and you ask them to make a difference, and a lot of Academy players were given a chance as well and they tried but there is a gap there.

“It’s tough enough to come in the middle of a season and assess everything at the club, in particular your players and who can and who can’t do the things that you want them to do.”

The culture at Western Sydney was in shambles, and despite the history of the club and some big-name players in their squad, the results spoke for themselves.

Fans of the club have also had their say and their disappointment speaks volumes.

“It’s a big club, it’s a proud club and I know exactly what needs to be done moving forward because the fans don’t deserve it,” Rudan said.

“It used to be a really proud club full of force, full stadiums of fans and everything else and they don’t deserve it. The people running the club don’t deserve it.”

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When prodded on what he believed needed to be done to shift the culture of the club and steer it in the right direction, Rudan refused to enlighten the media.

With several big-name players on their side, many fans and critiques alike are questioning who exactly was to blame for the club’s poor form.

“I’m not going to discuss what needs to be done because it’s not for me to speak about,” he said.

“That’s an internal discussion that I’m going to have with the bosses.

“I’ve said this before, but I don’t care about names. You either shape up or ship out. It’s as simple as that.

“I’m not going to take anyone who’s just going through the motions to pick up a pay cheque because I’m not about that. For me it’s purely about performance and coming in with the right attitude and having a bit of pride in yourself and the club.”

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On top of their lacklustre performance, the Wanderers’ also left the field with an injury concern for their captain Triosi, after he was subbed off at halftime.

“Troisi will have a scan tomorrow,” Rudan explained.

“It makes it more difficult with two of your better players in Rodwell and Troisi missing games when you need those types particularly when you’re in the situation you’re in.”

Despite the controversy, disappointing performances, and faltering club culture, Rudan remains steadfast on his goal to reignite passion within his team.

“I made a promise when I came here and I’m going to uphold that promise and there’s going to be changes going forward,” he said.

“It’s personal for me. Being a guy from the area I understand what they’re about and I’ll do everything in my power to make sure that we turn things around.”

Passion will be needed when they face seventh placed Wellington Phoenix on Sunday.

Feature Image Credit: Steve Christo 

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Grace Clegg
Grace Clegg
Covering the Newcastle Jets for the 2021/22 season. Studying a Bachelor of Communication (News Media and PR) at the University of Newcastle. Coffee addict.

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