Defiant Wanderers coach not giving in

Ed Jackson |

Western Sydney won’t have a better chance to kickstart an ailing A-League Men campaign than they did against an undermanned Brisbane Roar.

Instead, they could only serve up a performance that wasn’t just unacceptable, but abysmal.

It may have been the Wanderers’ first fixture since January 9 but they turned up at Moreton Daily Stadium on Saturday full of talent – ex-Premier League players Tomer Hemed and Jack Rodwell, Socceroo Dimi Petratos, and young guns Ramy Najjarine and Keanu Baccus.

While injured captain Rhys Williams was absent, those at coach Carl Robinson’s disposal, albeit lacking match sharpness, should have been enough to overcome a Roar team last on the ladder and dealing with COVID-19 and injury crises.

Instead, it was the hosts, with midfielders Jay O’Shea and Rahmat Akbari playing as a makeshift strike duo, who ran out 3-0 victors with Nikola Mileusnic bagging a double and Akbari notching his first ALM goal in his 54th appearance.

Defeat leaves the Wanderers second-last on the ladder with just one win in seven games.

A draw or a win for Newcastle in Sunday’s game against Adelaide will leave Robinson’s team dead last.

Just how much longer the Welshman gets at the club as they stare down the barrel of a fifth season without finals is, by his own admission, out of his hands.

What won’t happen, he insists, is him giving up on the position.

Robinson refused to sugar-coat the disappointment of Saturday’s performance but believes those same players who failed to deliver against the Roar have what it takes to bounce back in Wednesday’s home game against Perth Glory.

“It’s important that you have people who’ve got the experience of the players you named because they’ve been there, they’ve done it,” Robinson said.

“They understand that it is a game. They understand what they need to do to try and get themselves out a little bit a hole and we’re in a little bit of a hole at the moment and there’s no shying away from it.

“You can’t hide and blame. That’s not the culture that we try and create or gets you anywhere.

“I’m not going to give in.”