Paper Talk: New era begins for Sydney FC

Sydney FC return to the training pitch for the first time today (Wednesday) as they begin life under new boss Steve Corica.

A Newcastle Jets star is targeting Hyundai A-League glory as the club embarks on their tour of China while a former Adelaide man embarks on a new journey in Germany

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All that and a little more in this week's Hyundai A-League Paper Talk.

CORICA’S FIRST DAY ON THE PITCH

The Sky Blues hit the training pitch for the first time under new boss Steve Corica on Wednesday as they begin preparations for the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Season.

While the players officially returned on Monday for medicals and other testing, today is the first time they’ll put the boots on and train at their Macquarie University base.

It’s a huge moment for club legend Corica, who is heading into his first season as the head coach coming off the back of two remarkably successful campaigns under now-Caltex Socceroos boss Graham Arnold.

Along with new assistant Ufuk Talay, the pair will hope to hit the ground running as they aim to keep the Sky Blues at the summit of the Hyundai A-League.

While fitness and preparation for the new season while be Corica’s main focus, he’ll also hope to quickly sort out the futures of some of his star imports, including Bobo and Adrian Mierzejewski.

Sydney FC’s first competitive game comes in the FFA Cup with a clash against Rockdale City Suns in August.

ADLUNG RETURNS TO HOMETOWN CLUB AS PLAYER-COACH

Former Adelaide United midfielder Daniel Adlung has joined German club Greuther Fürth in a role that will see him assume a playing assistant coach role for the U23 side.

Adlung spent seven years of his youth career at the German second division outfit and eventually made his senior debut in 2005, making 78 appearances for the club in total.

The move sees Adlung return to his place of birth after inspiring Adelaide to a semi-final finish in last year’s Hyundai A-League.

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The 30-year-old will continue his playing career for the U23 team while supporting the Shamrocks’ youth coaching staff off the pitch.

"It's nice to return home,” Adlung told the club’s official site.

“I want to help promote young talents so that they have a similar career as I was allowed to.

“It's an exciting job and I'm looking forward to tackling it on and off the pitch.”

JETS KEEN TO GO ONE BETTER

As they embark on an historic pre-season tour to China, Newcastle Jets midfielder Steven Ugarkovic admits the focus is already on atoning for last season’s defeat in the Hyundai A-League Grand Final.

Ernie Merrick is taking a relatively young squad to the four-team invitational tournament in China, which sees the Jets play Beijing Goan, Shanghai Shenhua and a second-string Sydney FC team.

Ugarkovic is one of a handful of more experienced players to make the trip and is delighted to be able to get some games under his belt so early in the pre-season.

But the main goal is Hyundai A-League glory, and making up for the disappointment of the grand final loss to Melbourne Victory.

“The atmosphere around is great at the moment and I think it will stay like that,” Ugarkovic, who played every match in 2017/18, said.

“It’s continued on from last year. There was a disappointing ending to the year but I think the team morale and atmosphere is great.

“There’s a big bulk of the squad that’s stayed, so we’re looking to continue of what we did last year stick together and do one better.”

It was another excellent midfield display from Steven Ugarkovic against Wellington.

 

MARINERS' YOUNGEST MEMBER

Central Coast Mariners welcomed their newest member to the club this week, and she's easily their youngest.

One of the Gosford club's Membership staff Dan and his wife Shelley celebrated the birth of their daughter  Rivah Mae Challinor, immediately signing her up as a Mariners member.