Wanderers need a miracle

Photo: Megan Dunn

When the Western Sydney Wanderers run out on Sunday afternoon for their game against the Wellington Phoenix, they’ll know whether or not they still have a shot at winning the coveted Premier’s Plate.

The equation is simple: the Wanderers need Brisbane and Adelaide to either lose or draw during this weekend’s matches for them to still have a chance of finishing first past the post.

If those results do happen and Western Sydney defeat the Phoenix on Sunday, they will be crowned A-League Premiers for the second time in their short history.

The Wanderers were able to get back into Premier’s Plate contention last Friday following a comfortable 4-1 win over the Central Coast Mariners at Pirtek Stadium.

Brendon Santalab’s brace and goals to Romeo Castelen and Mitch Nichols earned the Wanderers a much-needed three points heading into the final round of the regular season.

It was a dominant display from the very first minute for the home side, who spent almost the entire match exclusively in the attacking half.

Photo: Megan Dunn
Photo: Megan Dunn

Speaking after the game, Wanderers coach Tony Popovic said he was pleased with his side’s focus and discipline.

“We had control for large parts, there was a period in the first half where we got a bit casual and sloppy on the ball and we were punished for it. That was a good wake up call for us, but apart from that there weren’t too many concerns,” he said.

Popovic was also delighted with his side’s attack, scoring four goals for just the second time this season.

“It was a great reward and four goals, you’re always pleased when you see them go in,” he said.

Last Friday night’s clash against the Mariners was the final regular season game for the Wanderers at Pirtek Stadium.

If the Wanderers fail to win this Sunday, and other results don’t go their way, it could be the final time for a number of years that the Wanderers play in Parramatta.

Popovic reflected on the club’s four seasons at ‘Wanderland’.

“We’ve been on a great journey these last four years, the fans have been with us from day one and have experienced some fantastic moments here,” he said.

It was announced last week that the Wanderers will temporarily be relocated to Sydney Olympic Park during construction of Parramatta’s new multi-million dollar stadium.

The Wanderers battle the Wellington Phoenix this Sunday at 3pm.

Photo: Megan Dunn
Photo: Megan Dunn
Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is the Western Weekender’s award-winning sports journalist. Nathan is also the Weekender’s Deputy Editor.