There’s a reason Sunday’s game between the Wellington Phoenix and Western United FC has been labelled one of the five ‘blockbuster fixtures’ to kick-off the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 Season.
It’s got intrigue, excitement and entertainment in spades. The return of a hero in Andrew Durante and with plenty of fresh new faces in both sides who are hungry to make their mark.
It’s been touted by media as an instant, must-see rivalry - between New Zealand’s only side in the Aussie-dominated Hyundai A-League, versus a new Melbourne club led by last season’s Phoenix coach, Mark Rudan.
And Mark isn’t the only familiar face in Western United’s lineup, with Wellington Phoenix stalwart Andrew Durante also making the trip to his old home ground for 11 seasons, alongside midfielder Max Burgess and goalkeeper Filip Kurto.
For the Wellington Phoenix, there’s plenty to be excited about heading into their opening game of the season. A new playing strip, a family-friendly kick off time of 6pm, and a plethora of new faces – from ex-Socceroos Coach Ufuk Talay to imports David Ball, Ulises Davila and Matti Steinmann. In total, 12 Players are in line to make their Wellington Phoenix debut for the club this Sunday.
Head Coach Ufuk Talay predicts that Mark Rudan bringing back a team featuring several ex-Phoenix players will add some extra ‘spice’ to the already juicy round one fixture.
"Bringing Mark back to Wellington will be great and I'm sure he'll get a good reception from the fans hopefully positive or the other way around, I'm not too sure, but it's a great way to start the season," said Talay.
“This could herald the beginning of the Phoenix's first genuine rivalry, which is great for the fans and the league.”
Sunday, 13 October 2019
Wellington Phoenix v Western United FC
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-Off: 6:00pm (Local) (4:00pm (AEDT))
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant Referee 1: Lance Greenshields
Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Ilievski
Fourth Official: Stephen Lucas
VAR: Nick Waldron
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 3:30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 7 (New Zealand), Kayo Sports (www.kayosports.com.au) and MyFootball Live App, Live Fast and Data Free for Telstra mobile customers
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #WELvWUN
Wellington Phoenix Squad
Goalkeepers: 1. Stefan MARINOVIC (GK), 20. Oliver SAIL (GK)
Defenders: 2. Liam MCGING, 3. Luke DEVERE, 4. Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI, 13. Liberato CACACE, 16. Louis FENTON, 17. Callan ELLIOT, 23. Walter SCOTT, 27. Steven TAYLOR (c),
Midfielders: 5. Matti STEINMANN, 6. Tim PAYNE, 8. Cameron DEVLIN, 14. Alex RUFER
Forwards: 7. Reno PISCOPO, 9. David BALL, 10. Ulises DAVILA, 11. Jaushua SOTIRIO, 21.Callum MCCOWATT, 31. Ben WAINE
**2-4 to be omitted**
Western United FC Squad
1.Filip KURTO (gk), 2.Aaron CALVER, 4.Andrew DURANTE, 5.Dylan PIERIAS, 6.Connor CHAPMAN, 8.Panagiotis KONE, 9.Apostolos STAMATELOPOULOS, 10.Scott MCDONALD, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Dario JERTEC, 13.Ivan VUJICA, 14.Max BURGESS, 15.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 17.Joshua CAVALLO, 18.Besart BERISHA, 19.Joshua RISDON, 20.James DELIANOV (gk), 22.Ersan GULUM, 23.Alessandro DIAMANTI (c), 24.Thiel IRADUKUNDA
**2-4 to be omitted**
Unavailable: 25.Luke DUZEL (International Duty)