Massive clear-out: Wanderers stars exit
After just three years, a Premiership (2012-13) and Asian Championship (2014), the club almost returns to year zero with a further 10 departures.
Exciting young guns Kerem Bulut and, as expected, Tomi Juric have parted company with the outfit following the conclusion of their contracts.
Club mainstays and foundation players Iacopo La Rocca, veteran goalkeeper and AFC Champions League hero Ante Covic and Jason Trifiro are out.
Also gone are Antony Golec, Nikita Rukavytsya, Nick Ward, Nick Kalmar and Adrian Madaschi.
Fan favourite, Tomi Juric who scored on debut and went on to notch up 17 goals in 51 appearances – including the winner in the AFC Champions League final – said the club would remain special to him.
“It is definitely a place I’ll keep close to my heart and I’d like to thank everyone for their time and support over the years and hopefully it is not the last time I will be in the Red and Black,” Juric told the club's website.
After the enormous success on the domestic and continental front, the Wanderers suffered a horror 2014/15 A-League campaign, barely escaping the wooden spoon.
La Rocca who joined from Grasshopper Zurich in Switzerland, scoring eight goals in 78 appearances said it was time for a change.
“After three years it’s time to start a new challenge,” said the Joe Marston medallist.
“I would like to say thank you to everyone, all the supporters, my teammates and the staff. In just three years we achieved something special not just for the Wanderers and Western Sydney, but for all of Australia.”
Covic – a key figure in the club’s blistering early success – picked up the Hyundai A-League Goalkeeper of the Year and AFC Champions League Most Valuable Player during his three years with the Wanderers.
One of the club’s most crucial signings, the 39-year-old custodian joined after being released by Melbourne Victory and made a record 97 appearances for the Red and Black in the domestic comp, ACL and FIFA Club World Cup.
Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas thanked all the departing players for their contribution.
“The departing players have served this club well and we wish them all the very best in the next chapter of their professional lives,” Tsatsimas said.
“The players that helped us to win our AFC Champions League crown will forever be synonymous with this club and embedded in our history.
“In particular I would like to thank our foundation players Iacopo La Rocca, Ante Covic and Jason Trifiro for their contribution to the Wanderers from our inaugural season.
“These players have served this club with distinction on and off the field – their contribution to the region, to the making of this club and to our on-field results cannot be diminished.”
Golec, who joined the Wanderers for their inaugural ACL campaign added: “My time at the Wanderers has been fantastic, I’ve loved every minute of it. To leave as an Asian Champion is something that probably won’t happen again outside of this club,” Golec.
“Moving on was a tough decision to make and I had a few sleepless nights but I’m grateful I got to play for such a prestigious club. I made many friends from the staff and players who I’ll remain close with.”
Forwards Nikita Rukavytsya and Kerem Bulut both signed for the 2014/15 season, Bulut joining in January.
The cull of the club's attack will mean a lot of activity in the striker market during the off-season.