Mrcela’s subtle Perth Glory swipe as he soars at the Wanderers

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Tomislav Mrcela re-entered the A-League Men during the backend of the 2021/22 season, though he chose to sign with Western Sydney Wanderers as he felt that the club was on a “much higher level” than his previous club, Perth Glory.

Mrcela played for Perth Glory during the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons, but left the club due to family reasons. He then played for SC East Bengal in the Indian Super League 2021/22 season, before moving to Wanderers as an injury replacement for Rhys Williams in February this year.

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The Wanderers had always stood out to the 32-year-old defender during his time with Perth Glory.

“I played for Perth Glory for two years and whenever I played against Western Sydney Wanderers, especially in Sydney, [I could] feel the pressure they had and how big of a club it is,” he said.

“As a footballer, you always want to be in that kind of environment – in a big club with great fans and where the expectations are always high and the pressure is there.”

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The impressive history and committed fanbase of the Wanderers convinced Mrcela that the club was superior to Perth Glory.

“I think Western Sydney Wanderers are on a much higher level with the success they had at the beginning of their era with the Asian Champions League and the fanbase they have,” he said.

It’s not hard to see the appeal of Western Sydney Wanderers to Mrcela.

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The Wanderers are still the only Australian team to have ever won the AFC Champions League title, and the Red and Black Bloc (RBB) consistently have some of the highest average attendance rates to matches each season.

As a result, when Wanderers coach, Mark Rudan, called the experienced player to offer an injury-replacement deal, it was an easy decision for him.

“When the boss called me and talked about what he wants to achieve in the near future, it was a no-brainer for me and I really wanted to join,” Mrcela explained.

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The move has already been highly valuable for the defender.

“I had one of the best pre-seasons of my career,” Mrcela remarked.

“The boss has big belief in me and it gives me a lot of confidence that drives me to perform.”

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In addition to the coaching staff, Mrcela also credits his teammates for his rapid progression on the field.

“If you have players around you that push you to be better, then you improve much faster,” he said.

“Pre-season was really hard but we all enjoyed it – working together, working hard and pushing each other.”

This hard work has paid dividends in their performance so far, with the team having won both their matches in round one and two against Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory.

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Despite this success though, the sharp defender is quick to ground himself and his team.

“We have started well. I think we showed in the first two games that we’re a pretty serious team,” he said.

“We have good momentum now, and we’re full of confidence. Now, it’s all about managing that confidence.

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“Overconfidence doesn’t work well. So we just need to be focused and go game by game so that we can have a really successful year.”

Fans will have to wait for Saturday’s match against Brisbane Roar to see if Western Sydney Wanderers can continue their winning streak and earn a third victory.

Featured Image Credit: Steve Christo

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Jasmine Singh
Jasmine Singh
One of the two journalists covering the Western Sydney Wanderers and the Central Coast Mariners for the 2022/23 season. Studying a Bachelor of Media (Communications and Journalism) / Bachelor of International Studies at the University of New South Wales. A true crime addict and dog lover.

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