Sydney FC captain Alex Brosque wrote his name into the annuls of Sydney Derby folklore when he scored that dramatic match winner to help Sydney FC beat the Western Sydney Wanderers back in round two and is determined the club can do it again tonight at Wanderland.
Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold stoked the rivalry mid-week with claims that the atmosphere at Parramatta Stadium is not that intimidating.
Using the same skill that Brosque shows on the field to get past opposition players, the Socceroo showed great ability to avoid adding any further fuel to the fire when he politely declined to add any of his own thoughts to Arnold’s pre-match comments.
“I guess I can’t comment on that because I haven’t played there before,” Brosque said.
“I am expecting it to be difficult, I’m expecting it to be very loud, very hostile is what I’ve heard the place is like.
“The fans are right there on top of the pitch pretty much, it’s 90% Wanderers fans. At most other stadiums you generally get a lot of away support if you are lucky.”
The Wanderers have not won a game yet so far in season ten of the A League, and Brosque says that the Sky Blues are in no mood to provide the home team with a chance to resurrect their season.
“Of all games to lose this is not the one you want to lose,” Brosque said.
“Generally that can spur on the away team, and it can be a bit of a burden on the home team who are under a fair bit of pressure, hopefully that works in our advantage.
“It’s one of those matches where the form guide gets thrown out the window for this one. It’s a match where they (Western Sydney Wanderers) have a lot to gain from a game like this.
“Not only can they knock off a big rival of theirs, not only they can do it at home but they can get their season back on track, if they were to win. So we need to be prepared for that and we definitely will be. We will obviously want to wreck their party.
“We’ll take a lot of confidence from the way that we beat them as well. No matter how the game is going we still have it in us to come back. Definitely the Wanders and Sydney FC is a huge rivalry at the moment in the A League. “
Brosque is a Western Sydney local and scoring the winning goal against the Wanderers as captain of the club in his first ever Sydney Derby is a moment that the 31-year-old will cherish for a long time.
“Definitely in terms of my career looking back, that’s definitely up there,” Brosque said.
“For me when I came home and being from Western Sydney, there has been a lot of friendly banter amongst family and friends about the Wanderers and Sydney how big it was going to be.
“I definitely felt it was a different sort of game that whole week the whole lead up even in the off-season just preparing for round two and what it was going to be like to score in such a manner with a couple of minutes left in my first derby was very special.”
Being made captain of Sydney FC could have added an extra burden on Brosque's shoulders but he has relished the responsibility so far.
“At first I thought it would be more difficult than I thought it has been,” Brosque saod.
“I think when I took it on and when I was asked by the coaching staff if I’d do it, the one thing I they told me was not to change anything, was that they were happy for me to be captain for a reason, to continue what I was doing and not to think there was any more pressure on me or anything like that.
“We’ve got a good leadership group amongst the team that really helped me along. When results are going your way it always makes things a little bit easier as well.”
Brosque says that the influence of Arnold is an important reason why Sydney FC has made a great start to the season.
“Plain and simple he (Arnold) is the reason why the team’s travelling how we are, how the team has changed and it’s been seen in a certain way,” Brosque said.
“Ever since he’s taken the role he’s changed everything from simple little things to the way the players think to the way the players act and the entire culture and mentality within the club and that is showing on the field.
“He knows how to keep them happy which is what any footballer would tell you, it’s a difficult thing keeping 20 whinging footballers happy. And he’s got everyone wanting to play for him which is very important.”
Although the league is only seven rounds old the top four is starting to take shape and Brosque believes that Sydney FC are in the mix as early season favourites for the title.
“I think Melbourne is playing great football, along with Adelaide as well and Perth, they’ re all finding ways to win games and I think we are up there with them,” Brosque said.
“We‘ve had two draws against Melbourne and Adelaide, we’ve got Perth coming up next week. I think that will be another good test.
“I definitely think we are contenders I think we have to see ourselves as contenders otherwise there is no point doing what we are doing.
"I think the way pre-season has gone and the way we are playing the way we know we can play, hopefully that means we can carry one and win and play the way that we have been and be there at the end of the year.”
The close relationship between Brosque and the Sydney FC fans was reflected when the Socceroo was involved in the memorial for William "Dogga Dog" Duran, one of the founding members of the Cove, who passed away in January, 2012.
Brosque says he was moved by the heart warming event as he had a personal relationship with Duran.
"It was a very, very emotional, obviously I knew the man who passed away,” Brosque said.
“It was very difficult, emotional; it was a little bit of everything. I was obviously excited that I was sitting in the Cove.
“As a player we see them every week and see what they bring to us. And how much they mean to the team to be able to get the experience and sit there.
“Obviously it was not an ideal situation; it was a lot of mixed emotions, when I look back at photos and just even remember about the day it was very special.
“The way the Sydney FC team came towards the Cove arm in arm it was fantastic, it was a great day,” finished an emotional Brosque.
Con Stamocostas is an Australian football writer. Check out Episode Three of his latest A- League Football Snobcast with co-host Rob Toddler.comments