Wanderers coming together
Behind the scenes at Wanderers FC training, Tony Popovic is bringing his squad together at an impressively rapid rate.
The message at Western Sydney Wanderers FC training is coming through loud and clear and Tony Popovic is getting what he wants.
We visited Wanderers FC training at Blacktown International Sportspark earlier this week, and watched from the sidelines as Popovic set about imprinting his philosophy on his new squad.
The players are being pushed hard, chugging down the fluids whenever they get a break in their intense on-field sessions and working hard on and off the ball.
While they are being worked hard, it-s easy to see the desire there from the contracted players, like Aaron Mooy, controlling the midfield or Nikolai Topor-Stanley, who seems to be being ridden by the coach on this particular day.
The former Newcastle Jets defender, who admits he hopes to learn as much as he can from one of Australia-s great centrebacks, is being constantly reminded of where he has to be by Popovic and responding well to a coach who looks to demand perfection throughout the session.
And while all the confirmed players are keen to impress, it is the trialists who are working overtime.
Confidentiality agreed to with the club means we can-t name them or talk about what looks to be an attacking style on the pitch, but there is some serious talent out west who are trying to break into Popovic-s 25-man squad for their inaugural tilt at the Hyundai A-League.
While the commitment is impressive, so is the passion from some players who would be regarded as journeymen in some circumstances.
For players like Topor-Stanley, Michael Beauchamp and Ante Covic, the challenge is to continue their careers at a new club that they want - some might say needs - to be an immediate success.
But, most importantly, no matter where the players have come from they already appear to be a tight-knit group.
Despite having only been together for two weeks the banter is already flying between the players - Kwabena Appiah, although quiet in interviews is quick to flash a cheeky grin and a cheeky comment; Tarek Elrich makes sure the youngster is looked after and Shannon Cole and Mark Bridge continue to go back and forth like they did at Sydney FC.
Overall the message seems to be together these boys can do anything, and if togetherness is the key then Wanderers FC might just go far in their debut season.