Test For Phoenix


Andrew Durante will get a taste for how things have changed when he leads his Wellington Phoenix team on to Parramatta Stadium on Sunday.

Durante played at the ground for Parramatta Power during his formative years when games would attract 1000 to 1200 spectators – and the team was top of the league.

On Sunday the Phoenix will walk into a seething cauldron and a capacity crowd whipped up to fever pitch with their Western Sydney Wanderers heroes on a fantastic eight-straight winning run.

“It will be an intimidating atmosphere but that is what football is all about,” Durante said after the Phoenix completed their final training run on Saturday.
“It will be a great spectacle for all the players involved and it is really important that we start well and hopefully score the first goal.

“When we score first we generally hold on to the lead, or at least don-t get beat.

“Confidence is a big thing and I-m sure the Wanderers will come at us with all guns blazing in front of their vocal fans.”

Durante said it is important that his team continues where they left off in the 1-0 win over Melbourne Heart last weekend.

“That was a really pleasing performance and we should have won by a bigger margin,” he said.

“It has to be more of the same. We have to go out and enjoy ourselves, be positive in what we do and work hard for each other.

“We-ve had some good sessions this week and the boys seem more relaxed and are enjoying themselves again.

“It is more like it used to be at the club.”

The Phoenix will be without suspended striker Stein Huysegems, but his absence is offset by the return from injury of former Melbourne Victory player Isaka Cernak.

A likely Phoenix line up is: Glen Moss, Manny Muscat, Andrew Durante (captain), Ben Sigmund, Tony Lochhead, Leo Bertos, Vince Lia, Isaka Cernak, Jeremy Brockie, Corey Gameiro and Paul Ifill, Substitutes: Tyler Boyd, Louis Fenton, Dani Sanchez, Mark Paston.