Junior team mates now on opposite sides of the fence

They first crossed paths as youngsters in the same junior rep team in the harbour city but will this weekend go head-to-head in the Sydney Derby at Allianz Stadium.

They first crossed paths as youngsters in the same junior rep team in the harbour city but will this weekend go head-to-head in the Sydney Derby at Allianz Stadium.

It has been some journey for Sydney FC's Terry Antonis and Western Sydney Wanderers striker Tomi Juric, and the pair caught up ahead of the vital clash between the two fierce rivals.

Those junior days: While they are currently on opposite sides of the Sydney divide, Antonis and Juric were actually team-mates not long after starting out on their young football careers. They played one season together as kids before taking rather different paths to get where they are now.

Tomi Juric (TJ): "Me and Terry go back to under-13s at Sydney Olympic where we played together. He was actually 11-years-old so he was stepping up a bit. We played a season there together, there was some good combinations and goals.”

Terry Antonis (TA): "I set a few up for him I'm pretty sure. It was good fun back in the day. We had (Sydney FC midfielder) Peter Triantis as well so it was a good little team we had there. Growing up we probably wouldn't have thought we would be playing against each other in a Sydney derby but it's exciting. We're all looking forward to it."

Injury woes: Unfortunately both of them have endured injury-disrupted 2013/14 Hyundai A-League campaigns. Antonis missed the first 18 rounds of the season before returning for the last three games, while Juric has been in and out of the Wanderers side. The young striker has missed Western Sydney's last two matches but is desperate for a return against his ex-teammate and his club's biggest rivals.

TJ: "It (chance of playing) is still 50-50 at the moment. We'll see how I pull up (on Thursday). I had my first session back (on Wednesday) and I got through it with no problems so hopefully if I pull up ok I'll be right for the derby. I'm not too sure how ready I am. But being a derby I definitely want to be out there.”

TA (on his own injury problems): "I feel great. I've been back for three games so I feel good. My fitness is good and the injury hasn't bothered me, I don't feel anything anymore."

Derby importance: Saturday night is the sixth instalment of the Sydney derby but arguably the most important. The Wanderers can't afford another slip-up if they hope to chase down Brisbane for the Premiers Plate, while the Sky Blues will most likely drop out of the top six if they don't get all three points. And history points to a win for the Red and Black part of Sydney, with the Wanderers unbeaten in the last four clashes, winning both previous matches at Allianz Stadium.

TJ: "I think you could say that (we have the wood over Sydney FC). We've won the past two derbies so we have the bragging rights. It's a real positive thing for us. They are kind of catching on form as well so it's going to be difficult for us."

TA: "We want to make the semis and every game at home you need to win. This weekend is a big game, it's a derby and everyone wants to win it. It's going to be tough. They are a good side but we're at home so hopefully we get the points and we go out there and win it."

A few derby stats:

  • There have been five previous clashes, with the Wanderers winning three and Sydney just the one (with one draw)
  • Sydney have scored just twice in those five matches, with both of those goals scored by Alessandro Del Piero
  • The Sky Blues have not scored against the Wanderers at Allianz Stadium
  • The Wanderers have five players in their squad who have played for the Sky Blues, three of which have scored against their former club in this fixture (Michael Beauchamp, Shannon Cole and Brendon Santalab)