Appiah: The heartache ends

Western Sydney Wanderers winger Kwabena Appiah says his teammates have learned from the painful experience of last year’s A-League grand final and are keen to put that heartache behind them.

Appiah is one of the options available to coach Tony Popovic with Mark Bridge ruled out through injury.

The young attacker has been included in the Wanderer’s 19-man squad for Sunday’s match and is motivated to make up for last year’s disappointing 2-0 decider loss to the Mariners.

“We learned a lot from last season's grand final,” Appiah said.

“There was a lot of heartache. The preparation's going well. All the boys are kicking on but we're relaxed.

"All the players want to win this, you never know when another final comes around. We've got a second bite at the cherry. We’re hungry to win this one.”

The Wanderers have met the Roar three times this season but have yet to register a victory over the Queensland side, with a loss at Suncorp and two draws at Pirtek Stadium.

Twenty-one year old Appiah, who has made 10 A-League appearances this season, believes the results of the previous meetings will matter little on Sunday.

“The score hasn’t really indicated how those games went,” he said. “It doesn’t bother us, as long as the performances are there.”

The New Zealand-born attacker missed the start of this A-League season after suffering a stress fracture in his right leg.

He made his first appearance in round 10 against the Melbourne Heart, but has featured in five of the Wanderers’ six Asian Champions League games and was recently named as the Visy AFC Champions League Player of the Tournament.

“It’s been a bit of an interesting season, I was out for a while,” Appiah said.

“It’s hard, you’re off the pace [when you get back playing]. But I'm coming good. I just need to work on that final ball, my decision-making. All the boys that have come in for the Asian Champions League have done well.

“I thought [Labinot] Haliti or [Jason] Trifiro could have won it. I was excited and honoured to win the award.”

Appiah, who won a National Youth League title with the Mariners in 2012, has enjoyed the Wanderers’ Asian campaign.

“It’s been very fun, very enjoyable,” he said. “Testing as well. Now we're in the round of 16 against top opposition, we're looking forward to it. We’re taking it one game at a time, anything's possible.”

For now all eyes are on Suncorp Stadium on Sunday. Thomas Broich and Besart Berisha have been highlighted as the lynchpins of the Roar’s well-oiled machine but Appiah believes they have weapons all over the park.

“It's a massive game at Suncorp against such a quality team,” he said. “They've got quality all over the park. Luke Brattan, he's one of the best passers in the league. They're dangerous in all areas.”