Sebastian Ryall believes his partnership with Nikola Petkovic could help solve Sydney FC's defensive woes.
They might have only played one competitive game together but Sebastian Ryall believes his partnership with Nikola Petkovic could help solve Sydney FC's defensive woes.
The Sky Blues possessed the worst defensive record in the A-League last season, shipping 51 goals from their 27 matches.
It was one area coach Frank Farina wanted to strengthen in the off-season, bringing in the likes of Petkovic, Pedj Bojic, Matt Jurman and Marc Warren to join Ryall, Pascal Bosschaart and Tiago Calvano.
Serbian star Petkovic is the most high-profile of those additions, joining the Sky Blues from Red Star Belgrade.
The 27-year-old and Ryall were given first crack at the vital central-defensive spots in the season-opening win over Newcastle Jets and the pair combined brilliantly in the 2-0 win.
"Nikola has come in just recently and I really enjoy playing with him," Ryall said.
"He's a really good player and has so much experience.
"Obviously it's just one match but we've shown some good signs the first match so we'll take that into the next one and hopefully get another win.
"It's a big test this week going up to Brisbane who are always good at home.
"It's step-by-step, we've been working really hard and off the back of a win you get a bit of confidence. We'll try and now back it up."
The Sky Blues' first-up win over Newcastle will have come as great relief for Farina and the side, who started the campaign under intense pressure after poor pre-season results.
Four straight defeats against A-League and NSW Premier League opposition heading into round one didn't make for pretty reading but Ryall believes too much was read into their results.
"I wouldn't say it (the pre-season) didn't go to plan....we did three months of work," the versatile defender said.
"We went to Italy, we went to Japan and we did a lot of hard work.
"The results may not have gone the right way but we thought we were ready and I think we showed on the weekend that we're ready to give this league a good crack."
One player who is giving it a good crack is Sydney's short-term signing Matt Thompson.
The most-capped A-League player is with the club until January on an injury-replacement deal but is hopeful of impressing enough in that time to earn a longer stay.
Thompson's contract was only approved a couple of hours before kick-off against the Jets before playing almost 70 minutes in the heart of midfield alongside Nicky Carle and Ali Abbas.
"I've fitted in straight away. It was an easy transition," the former Heart and Jets midfielder said.
"I've known Nicky for quite a while and played with Ali at Newcastle.
"I only met Alex (Alessandro Del Piero) two weeks prior but these are the sort of players that adapt to all situations and I'd like to think I can do the same. It was a good combination.
"I'm grateful for the fact they've (Sydney) given me a chance and I'm going to try to take it.
"It's not an ideal situation knowing you're finishing up before everyone else, but to be honest the plan is to play a lot more than 12 weeks."
Brett Emerton, who missed the Jets clash with a back injury, is expected to return to the squad for Saturday night's match with the Roar at Suncorp Stadium.