Western Sydney Wanderers full-back Adam D’Apuzzo will play his 150th game in Sunday’s Grand Final and says it’s the perfect time to end his record for most A-League games without a goal for an outfield player.
The 27-year-old heads into the decider against Brisbane Roar at a sold-out Suncorp Stadium after a rock solid display in last week’s semi-final win over Central Coast.
The milestone man played 102 matches for Newcastle Jets, including the triumphant 2008 Grand Final, and will make his 48th appearance for Wanderers on Sunday, yet he’s still been unable to score a goal.
Twitter was alive with discussion about betting options for Grand Final goalscorers on Thursday, with D’Apuzzo’s name thrown up along with his milestone much to his surprise.
“I didn’t even realize it was my 150th appearance, but I’d like to get a goal, why not?” D’Apuzzo laughed when speaking to FourFourTwo after training on Thursday.
“It’d be a nice combination - the Grand Final, my 150th and my first A-League goal. It’s definitely the perfect time to do it.”
But the unassuming D’Apuzzo insisted he wouldn’t be making any mad dashes forward or hanging around at set-pieces, rather he’d focus on his usual role.
“I want to do my role for the team,” he said. “Everyone knows to the nth degree their role on the field. I’m told to the last detail what I need to do and I'll stick to it.”
On a more serious note, D’Apuzzo revealed his determination to win another A-League championship, having missed last year’s Grand Final.
After quitting professional football, D’Apuzzo was convinced by coach Tony Popovic to give up a budding career as an accountant to play in Wanderers’ inaugural side and was a regular during the season before suffering a foot injury late in the campaign which kept him out of the finals.
“It killed me last year, I shed a little tear when I was ruled out,” D’Apuzzo said.
“I was determined more than ever to, one, ensure we got there and, two, get the result we didn’t last year.
“It’d be a massive achievement in my own career, to have left the game, come back and be able to win another grand final.”
Having missed last year’s decider, D’Apuzzo admitted he had spoken to injury doubt Mark Bridge earlier this week about his progress on his ankle complaint and how he was handling the situation.
However, D’Apuzzo was unsure if Bridge would play, despite not being named in the squad.
It is expected Bridge will fly with the squad to Brisbane on Saturday morning and be given every chance to prove his fitness.
Meanwhile, the A-League confirmed on Thursday that the Grand Final had sold out and D’Apuzzo hailed the loyal band of travelling Wanderers supporters, with approximately 9,000 WSW fans predicted to attend.
“The ones that get there, it’s a great effort, with limited flights,” he said.
“All the fans who drive there and make the effort, hats off to them. We more than appreciate it.
“Any support we get will be amazing. I’m sure whoever’s there will be louder than the Roar supporters.”comments