Ryall: We'll give our fans bragging rights
The Sydney ‘Classico’ is fast becoming the hottest ticket in town with a sell-out crowd expected to flock to Allianz Stadium.
Last season Sydney FC enjoyed bragging rights against their bitter rivals with two wins and a draw, and Ryall says playing in front of their home fans will give the Sky Blues an extra advantage.
“I’m really excited, it’s a massive game for the fans and the players,” he said. “I’ve experienced it before and it’s always a big game. The players are definitely up for it and I’m looking forward to the occasion.
“I’m expecting a tough match, I think it will be a tight match. We are at home and we’ve got a lot of motivation to win in front of our fans so we can give them bragging rights. I think that’s enough for us to get over the top.”
The Wanderers are virtually a new side from the team that finished second last on the A-League table last season. During the off season 17 players have left and 10 new signings have come in.
Ryall, a constant in the Sydney defence during the last six seasons, singled out one of the Wanderers midfield lynchpins as someone the Sky Blues backline will need to watch.
“We’ve had a look at them and they haven’t had the best of starts,” the rightback said. “But there is definitely quality in that squad. They will give us a tough match and we are definitely expecting that.
“I think Mitch Nichols has been very good and they’ve got some really good pace out wide. Knowing Tony Popovic and his style they are going to be hard to break down.
“He’s a good coach and he’ll set up a game plan to play against us. They could play a different style but there is a lot of quality players there that we must be wary of.”
During the tail end of last A-League season much was made of the Graham Arnold’s effect at the club and the change of culture he brought - on and off the field.
At 26, Ryall is Sydney’s second most capped player, behind Terry McFlynn and equal with captain Alex Brosque with 131 A-League games played for the club.
Now in his seventh season at the harbour club, Ryall has seen many coaches come and go giving him valuable insight into the shift in direction since Arnold’s arrival.
“At the beginning it was a little bit different, he said.
“He was so intense when he first came in, and training was so hard, and it was a little bit different to what we were used to. Now we understand, that’s what he expects.
“It’s just a matter of getting the work in and if everyone is fit and healthy then I am sure we will be going close to winning the league next year.”
Ryall was also keen to emphasise that even though changes were made, previous to Arnold’s arrival Sydney FC was still run professionally.
“I’m not going to completely rubbish the past before Arnie came because it was still good,” he said.
“Scott Barlow has put in a lot of effort into making this club the best in Australia. Having to improve aspects is OK given how big the club is.
“I wouldn’t say that the club wasn’t great before because it was. It’s just that we’re going down a different path and a different direction under Arnie and culture is a big thing to him and that has definitely changed.”