Western Sydney Wanderers searching for newest football superstars

When Leena Khamis first started playing football, there was no such thing as the W-League.

“Back in my day there was only young Matildas, which was under 19s, 20s and then Matildas — there was nothing under that,” she said.

While things have changed a lot since then, the 34-year-old striker, who plays for the Western Sydney Wanderers Football Club, says a new program designed to uncover a new generation of women’s football superstars in Western Sydney will be a game changer.

“The training camp that they’ve got coming up for young girls 14 to 17, it’s awesome. I wish I had that at that age,” she said.

“Just to get exposure, to get recognition, to get recognised and to keep striving to be a Wanderer female player one day.

Thirty young women between the ages of 14 to 17 will be selected during open trials in late April to take part in the free 20-week Future Wander Women development program.

It’s a way of giving girls — particularly those living in Western Sydney — a chance to uncover and develop their football skills.

The program itself will kick off Wednesday, May 5 at the Western Sydney Wanderers home ground in Blacktown.

Ms Khamis grew up in Minto in the Campbelltown Local Government Area and has played 13 seasons in the W-League.

“I grew up in the West. I’m a Westie. I’ve lived and breathed out here so it’s like I’m playing at home.

“Some girls go overseas — they’ve got that dream to go overseas. But playing at home in front of friends and family and fans — we love playing — we love football and to play at the top level — you can’t wait for it year in year out.

‘Just so happy’

Bryleeh Henry, 17, from Penrith also feels she’s living the dream. She recounted the moment she found out she was selected for her first professional contract at the Western Sydney Wanderers.

Close-up of Bryleeh Henry wearing her club jersey
Western Sydney Wanderers FC striker, Bryleeh Henry, says walking out onto the football field is the best feeling in the world.(

ABC Radio Sydney: Dayvis Heyne


“My dad was in the car and he was just trying to be quiet but he was throwing his hands up in the air and then he started crying,” she said.

“When I got off the phone, I started crying and called my mum and we went home and we were up till two o’clock that night — we were just so happy.”

The centre forward hopes to follow in the footsteps of fellow striker, Sam Kerr.

She says her parents sacrificed a great deal to get her to training when she was growing up, and it was hard on the family financially.

“I just hope I can make them proud and make it worth it in the end.”

Future superstars

Former Socceroo and head coach for the Western Sydney Wanderers Women’s team, Dean Heffernan, said the free initiative would offer opportunities to girls who could build a foundation in football with an eye to joining the academy in the future.

Dean Heffernan
Western Sydney Wanderers W-League head coach Dean Heffernan says it can be daunting for girls to get ahead in the current environment.(

ABC Radio Sydney: Dayvis Heyne


“I think for girls in the current environment it can be quite daunting and difficult for them to find a pathway to be able to express themselves and be the best they can be,” he said.

He said scouts would be looking for players who had a good attitude and raw talent — true future superstars.

“You’ve got to love the game, first and foremost, because you can handle setbacks then. And when you have setbacks, if you love something enough, you can always come back.

“We want people all over Western Sydney to be able to come and take up this opportunity because a lot of kids around Western Sydney don’t often get an opportunity to train and play at the Wanderers, let alone young girls in that age bracket.

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Relentless City post club record sixth win in a row over Wanderers

Melbourne City’s relentless march towards the top of the A-League table continued in ruthless fashion when they swept aside Western City Wanderers 4-1 on Friday night to register a club-record sixth win in a row.

They dominated their opponents throughout and are now just one point behind league leaders Central Coast, although they have a game in hand.

Melbourne City’s Jamie Maclaren is challenged by Daniel Wilmering of the Wanderers on Friday night.Credit:Getty Images

This was a game which once again showcased City’s pace, power and technical ability – but it was also notable for several fiery clashes between both managers, City’s Paddy Kisnorbo and the Wanderers’ Carl Robinson, over on-field incidents which the latter took exception to.

Top-level sport is all about concentration – and at a critical moment, when they still held a lead they had done little to justify, the Wanderers were undone when they switched off just after the half-hour mark to concede an equaliser.

City striker Jamie Maclaren was awarded a controversial free kick as he advanced towards the visitors’ goal and play was stopped and the set piece ordered.

Wanderers goalkeeper Daniel Margush was well off his line trying to organise his defenders when City winger Craig Noone asked referee Alex King if he could resume play.

Answered in the affirmative, the quick-thinking Englishman swiftly chipped a well-flighted shot over the flailing Margush to make it 1-1.

Melbourne City coach Patrick Kisnorbo and Wanderers coach Carl Robinson exchange words.

Melbourne City coach Patrick Kisnorbo and Wanderers coach Carl Robinson exchange words.Credit:Getty Images

Cue Robinson’s outrage, the fuming Wanderers boss confronting Kisnorbo, with Fox sideline commentator Archie Thompson reporting that he had accused Maclaren of cheating to win the set piece.

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Duke fires Wanderers to A-League victory

A brace either side of halftime from Mitchell Duke made sure the VAR system didn’t have the decisive say, with surging Western Sydney Wanderers scoring a 3-0 home A-League win over Perth.

The second-placed Wanderers third straight win and their first in 10 games against Glory since 2017, moved them to within three points of Central Coast Mariners.

Coach Carl Robinson regarded it as probably their best performance of the season and attributed their form to increasing self belief.

Three times in 11 first-half minutes at Bankwest Stadium, the Wanderers had the ball in the net but all were ruled offside.

All three calls appeared correct, though two of them were line ball, with the offside Wanderers player on both occasions just fractionally ahead of the ball

Bernie Ibini had the first two rubbed out and Duke the third, but the latter ensured the Wanderers persistent attacks were rewarded.

In the second minute of added time at the end of the first half, Duke powered an unstoppable header into the net from a James Troisi cross.

Duke doubled the lead in the 47th minute, when he raced onto a pass from Keanu Baccus and blasted a fierce shot past Perth goalkeeper Liam Reddy from just inside the area.

The Wanderers sealed the win with a third goal, courtesy of some love from the VAR.

Troisi tapped in from close range, though it was originally ruled offside before being overturned on review.

Duke almost completed a hat-trick when he was put clear again in the 63rd minute, but he slid the ball wide from a tough angle and was substituted a couple of minutes later.

Even before the goals and the VAR decisions, the Wanderers had plenty of chances with Ibini twice denied from close range by Reddy, who also produced a fine diving save to deny Duke.

“I thought we played exceptional in the first half and could have, should have, maybe, been two or three goals up if it wasn’t for VAR,” Robinson said.

“I asked the boys to respond at halftime because the game was certainly in the balance against a very good team and they did.

“The first ten minutes of the second half obviously put the game out of sight.”

Perth, who looked vulnerable whenever the ball was played in behind them, started the game well.

In the first 10 minutes, Bruno Fornaroli had a shot tipped around the post by Wanderers’ goalkeeper Daniel Margush and had another attempt blocked and Nick D’Agostino fizzed a shot just wide.

They also had number of shots in the final half-hour, but coach Richard Garcia lamented the inconsistency of his younger players and repeated errors when opposing teams counter attack.

“We definitely lacked intensity, but at the moment we are carrying our experience in four or five senior guys,” Garcia said.

“From there we are counting on these young guys to be consistent and at the moment they are not.”

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Western Sydney Wanderers beat Wellington Phoenix 4-3 in Bankwest Stadium epic

The A-League has dished up yet another classic, with a late salvo from Kwame Yeboah steering the Western Sydney Wanderers to an epic 4-3 victory over Wellington Phoenix.

It’s been a season like no other, and Monday night’s rollercoaster clash at Bankwest Stadium was just the latest example of the entertainment value the competition keeps on delivering, week after week, world-class goal after world-class goal.

An acrobatic Kwame Yeboah celebrates what turned out to be the winner in Monday’s A-League thriller between Western Sydney and Wellington.Credit:Getty

The Phoenix had pulled ahead on three separate occasions, only for the Wanderers to claw back each time – before Yeboah had the final say in the 84th minute, sweeping home a cutback from Nicolai Mueller to seal a vital three points and complete a come-from-behind win that few Wanderers fans will forget any time soon.

There was, of course, a dramatic late twist: Wellington’s Israeli international striker Tomer Hemed seemed to have scored a dramatic equaliser deep in stoppage time, but the VAR ruled that his left shoulder had just strayed offside as he latched onto a hopeful ball forward from a teammate.

A dejected Tomer Hemed after the injury-time goal that wasn’t.

A dejected Tomer Hemed after the injury-time goal that wasn’t.Credit:Getty

It was a bitter ending for the Phoenix, who were perhaps the better side but were unable to repel the waves of desperate attacking movements from Western Sydney.

When the full-time whistle eventually sounded – eight minutes past the regulation 90 – there was little else to do but breathe in deeply and attempt to understand what on earth had just unfolded.

Capping off the dreamlike quality of the fixture was the atmosphere. There was only a small crowd in at Parramatta, but it was loud – not only were the Red and Black Bloc behind one set of goals as per usual, but Wellington had two groups of active supporters at the other end.

One was the crew of Mexican expats who have been following the displaced Phoenix all season – or, more specifically, their captain Ulises Davila, who is from Mexico, and whose presence inspired them to jump on board with the Kiwi side.

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Jamie Maclaren at double as depleted Melbourne City down woeful Western Sydney Wanderers

“We were literally in the tunnel when we made the change with [Naoki] Tsubaki coming in [for Berenguer]. But with the way we play, the way we do things, players are across it. I won’t say it was a simple change – it can be a disruptive time – but it’s full credit to Tsubaki, full credit to the team who stuck to what we said we wanted to do.

“Hopefully [Kisnorbo] enjoyed watching it on the TV back in the hotel room. We spoke to him before the game … the messages were the same, it just came from a different person.”

The Wanderers, in stark contrast, were woeful, slumping to consecutive losses – both at home – for the first time under coach Carl Robinson’s reign.

Simon Cox and Rostyn Griffiths battle for a high ball.Credit:Getty

After a promising start to the season Western Sydney has now won just once in their last five outings – a 2-0 triumph over bottom-placed Melbourne Victory – despite boasting arguably the strongest and deepest squad in the A-League, and appear to be regressing at a time when they should be building.

“It’s disappointing, without a doubt. There’s no point hiding away from it, because with two wins you’re in a good position, but two defeats and everyone thinks it’s the end of the world,” Robinson said.

“What I’ll say is, we’re the same team we were four days ago – let’s not get carried away here. I won’t get carried away.

“But you can’t defend like that. We’re in professional sports here. You can look for excuses … I won’t do that. Individually we need to be better, collectively we need to be better.”

Maclaren gave City a deserved lead in just the sixth minute, with City’s high press snuffing out an errant pass from Keanu Baccus as the Wanderers tried to play out from defence.

Craig Noone pounced immediately, feeding the ball to straight Maclaren who produced an expert left-footed finish past Daniel Margush.

The night didn’t get much better for Baccus, who was yellow carded for diving in an attempt to win the penalty and then substituted out of the match at half-time for Jordon Mutch.

City could and should have been further in front by that point, with Andrew Nabbout coming closest to extending their lead on the half-hour mark after a darting run down the right, but his shot slammed into the right post.

Maclaren eventually made it 2-0 in the 54th minute from the penalty spot after the video assistant referee spotted a handball by James Troisi, who was turning and lifted his arms to protect his face from being hit by the ball as it was crossed into the box.

Robinson fumed with the decision post-match, saying Troisi claimed the ball came off his leg first and that it wasn’t enough of a “clear and obvious” error for the VAR to step in, before complaining about general inconsistencies in refereeing across the A-League.

“We had the head of the referees down to us, because I wanted to speak to him about a number of incidents – not just this year but in previous years,” Robinson said.


“And he was good, he was very good, he told us everything probably I want to hear. But … the clear and obvious we talk about, there was a decision today, the referee’s stood seven yards away and the VAR gets involved. Is it clear and obvious? It has to be 100 per cent, which is stated. It was not 100 per cent.

“So again, I’ll call him tomorrow and he’ll tell me the same thing, tell me what I want to hear. I’ve been in the game for a long time … it’s actually making me not enjoy football and that’s a shame.”

The inevitable second-half surge from the Wanderers, after the introduction of Bernie Ibini and Bruce Kamau off the bench, was well contained by City.

The hosts’ best chance came in the 71st minute, when Kamau headed Thomas Aquilina’s volley-cum-cross on target, but Thomas Glover produced a terrific reaction save to keep it out.

The Wanderers face Western United – led by in-form veterans Alessandro Diamanti and Besart Berisha – on Sunday, while City have a derby against Melbourne Victory to come on Saturday night.

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NTFL Wanderers v St Marys TIO Stadium carpark fight, brawl, reaction

The latest in a series of violent incidents at AFL Northern Territory games this season has prompted a furious reaction from league boss Stuart Totham.

Totham is fuming after a violent brawl erupted in the carpark at Darwin’s TIO Stadium following an under-18s girls game between St Mary’s and Wanderers on Saturday.

The NT News reports a 17-year-old girl was taken to hospital with a chipped vertebrae and possible concussion after on-field arguments between the teams escalated after the match.

Emergency services were called at 12.30pm after a large group of players and spectators began fighting following St Mary’s 10.20 (80) to 1.1 (7) win.

“After being informed of the reported incidents at TIO Stadium yesterday, AFLNT have had enough of this disgraceful conduct at the footy. It is not acceptable and it has to stop now,” Totham said in a statement.

“Footy is an enjoyable, passionate pursuit and one many people invest their time into. We offer a safe place for participants to play the game of AFL and for the community to come and watch. We want to keep it that way. To be confronted with this type of poor conduct is totally unacceptable.

“This is not only about the incident at TIO Stadium yesterday afternoon but following a number of incidents of poor behaviour both on match day and outside of footy. Footy is not a place to come and settle a score.

“Individuals involved in these incidents need to accept responsibility and consequences. If they want to continue to be part of our game, changes need to be made or we will encourage these individuals to do something else. If you wish to continue this behaviour, you are not welcome at the footy and those individuals and clubs can expect harsh sanctions.

“With regard to the incident at TIO Stadium yesterday, I will be personally reaching out to every club president to ensure this message is heard. AFLNT will also work closely with police, clubs and others to ensure we understand all that occurred yesterday. If any further action is required, we will comment further at the appropriate time.”

A post on St Mary’s Instagram page congratulated their team on securing top spot on the ladder and added: “We are very proud of this group of young women for the way they conduct themselves on and off the field.”

In a statement, Wanderers president Jeromo Cubillo acknowledged an incident had taken place “outside the grounds” but said he would not comment further “until we have all the facts”.

“Wanderers Football Club does not condone violence in any form within our club. While we await the AFLNT investigation, we will continue to support our members through the incident.

The members involved in the incident are co-operating with the club and the AFLNT during the investigation,” he said.

“The club asked our players, supporters and members to refrain from engaging in any social media commentary. As this isn’t helpful as not all the facts have been laid out.”

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Chorley 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers: Vitinha’s superb goal sees Wolves past non-league opponents

Non-league Chorley were unable to emulate the heroes from 1986 by causing an FA Cup sensation against Wolves – but the National League North side came away with all the credit from their fourth-round tie at Victory Park.

Vitinha’s superb 30-yard shot after 12 minutes proved enough to secure an all-Premier League tie against Arsenal or Southampton at Molineux in the fifth round.

But Nuno Espirito Santo’s side were less than impressive against their part-time opponents.

Chorley had the first shot of the match through Elliot Newby, and after Vitinha had struck his first Wolves goal with the visitors’ only shot on target, it was the hosts who had the best chances.

Crucially, they also pocketed around £120,000 in prize money, plus TV fees, to sustain them through what could be a difficult period after their league was suspended for two weeks amid funding concerns earlier in the day.

“If you are going to lose, I would prefer to lose to a goal like that than a scruffy goal,” said Chorley boss Jamie Vermiglio.

“I am proud of what we have done for our community, my kids at school will remember that their head teacher got this far in the FA Cup. Hopefully it can inspire some of them.

“We are approaching up to half a million [in earnings from the cup run], we have people who are isolating, and those players have given them a little bit of happiness.

“If it is 2-0 or 3-0 at half-time the game is done and people are turning their TVs off. That did not happen. I felt we were in the game. Every player was outstanding.”

Night to remember for Chorley

If this does end up being Chorley’s last game of the season, it is one they will remember for some time, not only for the action on the pitch but also for the huge volley of fireworks that went off behind the main stand minutes into the contest.

For visiting Wolves, it was a step into the unknown. Their starting line-up got changed in the away dressing room, while their substitutes – European Championship winner Rui Patricio and Spain international Adama Traore among them – readied themselves in a sponsors’ lounge.

Seemingly those starting the game on the bench got the better deal.

Wolves boss Nuno paid Chorley the compliment of picking a strong starting line-up, including £35.6m record signing Fabio Silva and England international Conor Coady.

And had this match been played in more imposing surroundings, it could have been mistaken for one of those Premier League games where one side sits back, challenges the opposition to break them down and then hits them on the counter.

Wolves’ return of 76% possession and one shot on target, set against Chorley’s five shots on target, suggests home manager Vermiglio got his tactics spot on.

Indeed, had Andy Halls, a personal trainer by day, not had his goal-bound header tipped over by John Ruddy after an hour, Chorley might have forced a different outcome.

“The scene was set for us to lose this game,” said Nuno. “John Ruddy did his job, everybody knows his quality. He helped us to win the game.”

It was nevertheless a typically English FA Cup tie, enlivened by Vermiglio yelling “nothing wrong with that” when two Wolves players went down under agricultural challenges, and then laughing in Traore’s face amid a brief skirmish.

It was fantastic knockabout stuff. Sadly, the enduring disappointment was that other than staff, media and stewards, no-one was there in person to witness it.

Portuguese prowess – the stats

  • Wolves have reached the FA Cup fifth round in three of the last five seasons, as many as in the 21 seasons prior to this.
  • Premier League teams have progressed from 45 of their 47 FA Cup ties against non-league teams (96%), with only Norwich vs Luton in 2013 and Burnley vs Lincoln in 2017 failing to progress.
  • Separated by 120 years and 362 days, Chorley have lost both of their FA Cup games against top-flight opponents, losing against Notts County in January 1900 and Wolves.
  • Vitinha became the 32nd different Wolves player to score a goal for Nuno Espirito Santo in all competitions and the 11th different Portuguese player to do so, with what was his third shot in his 12th appearance.
  • Since the start of 2017-18, Wolves have had 11 different Portuguese scorers – more than twice as many as any other English league team in that time (Nottingham Forest, five).

What’s next?

Wolves are next in action against Chelsea in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, 27 January (18:00 GMT).



Formation 5-3-2

  • 1Urwin
  • 2BirchBooked at 86mins
  • 4Halls
  • 5Leather
  • 6BainesSubstituted forMillerat 84′minutes
  • 13ShentonSubstituted forHenleyat 84′minutes
  • 8Calveley
  • 12TomlinsonBooked at 36mins
  • 11Newby
  • 27HallSubstituted forSmithat 87′minutes
  • 9CardwellBooked at 89mins


  • 3Smith
  • 7Miller
  • 14Henley
  • 15Putnam
  • 16Garratt
  • 17Malakai
  • 19Roberts
  • 21Dutton
  • 25Birchall


Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 21Ruddy
  • 15Boly
  • 16CoadyBooked at 63mins
  • 49Kilman
  • 2Hoever
  • 32Dendoncker
  • 28João MoutinhoSubstituted forNevesat 68′minutes
  • 3Aït-Nouri
  • 20VitinhaSubstituted forTraoréat 69′minutes
  • 17Fábio Silva
  • 23CutroneSubstituted forNetoat 68′minutes


  • 7Neto
  • 8Neves
  • 11Rui Patrício
  • 22Nélson Semedo
  • 37Traoré
  • 42Richards
  • 54Otasowie
  • 57Lonwijk
  • 60Corbeanu

Live Text

  • You can stream five fourth-round games live on the BBC this weekend, including Liverpool’s trip to Manchester United. Find out more here.

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Nicolai Muller strikes late against macho Central Coast Mariners to lift Western Sydney Wanderers to summit

Their long-suffering supporters are on board too, filling Central Coast Stadium to its allowed 25 per cent of capacity while booing former favourite Ziggy Gordon – who walked out on the club barely a month after signing a contract extension – every time he touched the ball.

The Wanderers were backing up just three days after their 1-1 derby draw with Sydney FC and looked a tad lethargic. But they grew into the match in the second half and will be delighted to have snatched the win, which lifts them to the top of the ladder.

They now have two wins and a draw from Carl Robinson’s first four games in charge.

Teenager Mark Natta was handed a debut start by Robinson as a replacement for Wanderers skipper Dylan McGowan, who strained his ankle in the derby but played through it and will now miss several weeks.

Natta, 18, acquitted himself well in the face of a physical onslaught from the Mariners, which was unsurprisingly spearheaded by Matt Simon across an utterly absorbing first half.


Simon was subbed off after an hour but with a less tolerant referee than Kurt Arms in charge, the 34-year-old Mariners legend’s night would have ended much sooner.

Just after the 30-minute mark, Simon gave a serve to ex-teammate Gordon, pointing and shouting in the Scotsman’s face as he lay prone on the turf after the pair competed for an aerial contest. There were suspicions Simon may have stuck a boot into Gordon’s stomach but the VAR saw no reason to intervene.

Three minutes later, Simon was yellow-carded after throwing his arm back at Keanu Baccus as he attempted to shield the ball, catching the Wanderers midfielder in the face.

Baccus played for the send-off, and Simon was fortunate Ams wasn’t interested – and even luckier he got away with an earlier lunge on Baccus without a booking.

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A-league 2021: Sydney FC vs Western Sydney Wanderers

It took five minutes for James Troisi to turn from villain to hero as he made amends to earn the Western Sydney Wanderers a share of the spoils against fierce rivals Sydney FC.

The 26th edition of the Sydney derby dished up everything from missed chances and a contentious penalty, to a costly blunder, but the 1-1 draw at Stadium Australia was probably the fairest result.

It does mean reigning champions Sydney haven’t beaten their rivals in the last five derbies, while the Wanderers showed in the second half just how much they have already improved under Carl Robinson after they fought back from being a goal down in what they felt was controversial circumstances when a penalty gave the Sky Blues the lead.

“A very harsh decision. I don’t think it was a penalty,” Robinson said.

“Is it a mistake? In my eyes, yes, that’s a very, very harsh penalty which we had to deal with.”

Unsurprisingly, Steve Corica was adamant it was the right call.

“He (Troisi) put his arm up to block Ninko,” Corica said.

“It was definitely a penalty.”

Sydney’s goal might have come from the spot, but their lead on the hour mark was no less than they deserved.

Moments after Nicolai Muller chipped his effort over the crossbar after spotting Andrew Redmayne off his line, the Sky Blues were back down the other end.

Milos Ninkovic wasn’t really going anywhere, but he was bodychecked by Troisi on the edge of the box. Soft, yes, but a penalty nevertheless and one that Kosta Barbarouses converted to put the Sky Blues in front.

But Troisi made up for his gaffe five minutes later when a rarely seen Redmayne fumble – a calamity by his standards – gifted the Wanderers forward a tap-in to level the scores in the 68th minute.

It had been goalless for an hour at Stadium Australia, then two were scored in five minutes to inject a nervous energy into the crowd.

Troisi’s goal also helped the Wanderers move up a few gears. As Sydney faltered in the final 20 minutes in much the same way as they did against Wellington two weeks ago, momentum swung the Wanderers way. The visitors edged possession and chances in the second half, but a winner eluded them.

In the first half slick passing from both sides saw a number of chances created, but neither team could find the finishing touch.

The Sky Blues set the tone, frequently getting behind the Wanderers defence and forcing Daniel Margush into a number of fine saves.

It was end-to-end stuff for most of the half – the Wanderers had a chance cleared off the line, while Trent Buhagiar saw his shot thunder off the post – but in the end Sydney’s dominant first half was cancelled out by the Wanderers dominant second.


There is, more often than not, some controversy when the referee points to the spot and when the key moment in a derby is a penalty, there is bound to be debate. James Troisi felt it was the wrong call when referee Alex King pointed to the spot after he bodychecked Milos Ninkovic on the edge of the box. Ninkovic was looking for it and Troisi felt he had no chance of getting out of the way, but he also made little attempt to follow the ball.


Andrew Redmayne rarely puts a glove wrong, but he’ll have a few sleepless nights after he gifted James Troisi and the Wanderers their equaliser. After Sydney’s defence were caught napping, Redmayne fumbled the ball in front of Tate Russell, who passed it to Troisi to guide it into an empty net.


The Sydney derby has always been an occasion for the fans and Stadium Australia returned to some semblance of normality for the 26th edition of it. Though no chanting was allowed, there was a definite energy as rival fans streamed into the stadium to enjoy another entertaining encounter.

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Wanderers could lose Simon Cox

Western Sydney Wanderers coach Carl Robinson has a potential dilemma looming over his key striker Simon Cox, who is set to become a father for the first time next month.

With the Ireland international’s partner soon due to give birth in the UK, should Cox decide to fly back for the arrival of his child, it could severely affect his A-League future, with his Wanderers contract expiring at the end of the season.

The 33-year-old forward played a key role in Western Sydney’s 2-1 triumph over Newcastle on Friday night, laying on the pass for Tate Russell to smash home what would ultimately prove the Wanderers’ match-winner.

With quarantine required should he decide to return to England for the birth, Cox now faces an enormous call on his future.

“Obviously he needs to speak to the club bosses because it’s his first child and a very important moment for the family, but we also know the climate with COVID and restrictions and the UK is getting worse and worse at the moment,” Robinson said.

“It’s not as simple as jumping on a plane and coming back so there’s a lot of factors.

“I’m a family-oriented coach. He’s starting a family and I’m sure he wants to be there for the birth of his child but if he decides not to, I fully respect that as well because he’s paid to play professional football.”

Meanwhile, interim Newcastle coach Craig Deans is yet to have a discussion with the club hierarchy over taking over the head coaching job on a permanent basis.

Deans has suffered back-to-back losses to open the season while the club’s A-League licence has been stripped from previous owner Martin Lee and handed to a consortium of other A-League club owners.

“I haven’t had that conversation yet. Obviously, I’d be keen to stay around but people are going to look at results,” Deans said.

“It’s all right to say you played OK but it’s a business about winning, so I need to perform the same as the players.

“That decision will be made by other people and I haven’t had a conversation about that at this point in time.”

Former Jets coach Gary van Egmond has been linked with a return to the post.

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