The Best and Worst of Wanderers vs Brisbane Roar (Rd 21)

A-League 2018/19 Round 21 vs Brisbane Roar 09/03/2019 Suncorp Stadium
4-1 Win

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Best – Back on The Bandwagon
This column has been absent for a number of weeks due to a bunch of reasons, some being time constraints, real life and on field performances. But we’re unbeaten in four games since Newcastle embarrassed us at home and I’m back on the bandwagon here to sing the praise of the team just like Homer Simpson being a long time loyal fan of the Springfield Isotopes.

Best/Worst – AB10 Dropped
AB10 was noticeably absent on the team sheet this week despite have 2 weeks between games and featuring prominently in all the training pics from the club. When asked why he wasn’t even on the bench, Babbel responded honestly saying AB10 was complacent in training and didn’t show enough to be selected.

This is worrying because it could spell the end of his time nearing at WSW – despite my praise of his potential that he could light this league up, we haven’t seen enough of it. I know the team around him have been poor and he has been injured enough. But if he can’t motivate himself to be selected, that is worrying.

This is also a positive in that guys that Babbel has brought in – Yeboah, Duke – are pushing the rest of the team to up their game. We can see the difference immediately since Duke has joined the club. He isn’t here for a holiday and has brought back lessons he learnt in Japan on what is required to get on the park every week. Likewise with Yeboah who has improved in the time away in Germany. These guys will carry our mental strength and team into the new season with the young guns forcing their way in.

You’d think Bridge finally being fit and wanting to savour his last couple months in the WSW playing group will also add more healthy competition for places. So AB10 needs to self motivate himself to get back on the park for the remainder of the season.

Best – Reira Back on the Scoresheet
Much maligned Riera (from fans and the media) scored two great goals to put us 3-1 ahead. Personally I think some of the pundits have been overly harsh on Riera who has found it difficult to adjust to a terrible team around him and a style of play that doesn’t alway suit him. If he was lazy and didn’t want to be here, Babbel would have dropped him like he did AB10 and just played Majok or Roberts up front.

Riera still plays a box to box striker, probably still have the most defensive headers in the entire team combined. So to say he is lazy is ignorant. A lazy player was Pio or Borda and even Cejudo who quite obviously didn’t want to be here or put in the work. Riera is far from that. A part of me is disappointed he won’t be here next season to play in a proper stadium and bang in goals. But he still has scored the most goals in the team this season and is 3rd overall in Wanderers top scorers list. In two seasons with not a strong team around him. That is a feat in itself.

Best – Duke of Western Sydney
A huge positive from the past month has been Mitch Duke coming in with urgency and passion that we’ve been lacking, arguably, all season. Every time he comes on, he fires up those around him and never gives up. This is what we’ve wanted. This week he got his first start and in the opening 20 minutes, was the only one shooting – and was rewarded with a goal.
His post match interview was very telling also. Stating that after the 1-5 loss to Newcastle the entire team had a session and talked through things, wrote down short term goals to change the culture and the onfield results.
We’ve been undefeated since.

Worst – Still Not Sure About Defence
I wasn’t sure about Kamau being listed as a right back. My fears continued when Kamau was turned inside out for Brisbane’s goal. They kept attacking his side due to his inexperience in that position. Apparently Tate Russell had muscle tightness during the week and Babbel didn’t want to risk him. I’m fine with that because the last thing we need is to have more key injuries. Our defence is getting better but I’m still not overly confident in it. Sometimes we lack pace, other times we show some old school WSW last ditch defending. It’s definitely an area Babbel has to address in the off season.

Best – Tass Making Claims
The huge positive is that Tass Mourdoukoutas is forcing his way into the starting lineup. The kid has shown maturity to lead the backline and has taken his chance with both hands to give Babbel a headache in selection. Future captain in my eyes and we need to keep a kid like him with the club for a number of years. Maybe we’ll see him partner Ziegler next season or at least in the off season.

Worst – Half the Visas Missing
Llorente, AB10, Ziggler all missing this week. All for various reasons. Out of favour, not training hard enough or injured long term. It’s been that kind of season for our Visa signings with only Roly and Riera being consistently in the lineup. It’s definitely an area Babbel has to seriously address in the “summer” because we all know Visa signings are key for successful seasons in the A-League.

Best – Can the Impossible Happen?
#10inaRow (undefeated). Can it happen? Is it possible? It’s going to be an interesting couple of months where we play half the teams above us and can close the gap. It would be hilarious in some respects if we sneak into the Top 6 based on a late surge but a couple of the teams above us (namely City) are losing form in a big way and could slip out.
Regardless if we do the impossible, we need to finish the season strong leading into next season to bring us all some hope, yet again.

See you space cowboy…

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