Dylan Wenzel-Halls is armed and ready to aid Western United as they prepare for battle.
The attacker put the game to bed against Victory, cementing Western United’s spot in their first A-League Men Grand Final. This Saturday night, the Green and Black will face Melbourne City in their most significant game to date.
“[The A-League] Grand Final is the pinnacle of Australian football,” Wenzel-Halls said. “To play in a grand final will be a special moment for me and my family.”
It will also be Wenzel-Hall’s debut in the league’s climatical fixture after he suffered many early exits with former club Brisbane Roar.
This year’s grand final is speculated to surpass initial expectations concerning crowd numbers. Figures estimating 15,000 to 18,000 attendees are floating around the keen ears of A-League watchers.
Wenzel-Halls sounded grateful for the extraordinary experience he will inevitably undergo this weekend.
“I can’t wait for the opportunity to play in front of a nice healthy crowd,” Wenzel-Halls added.
“Everyone always makes the cliché comment that [finals] don’t come around all the time, and it’s true.
“There are many players that don’t ever get to play in a grand final. So, I’m lucky enough this weekend that I’ll be a part of a grand final. It’s very exciting.”
Western United’s appearance in the grand final has surprised many A-League fans, with many admitting they never would’ve expected such an event to occur.
Wenzel-Halls noted how John Aloisi’s managerial philosophy has highlighted Western United’s success throughout the season and has been an intrinsic feature of their flourishing finals run.
“The biggest thing that the boss implemented when his come in is his brand of football is [playing] a fast-paced, attacking, aggressive game while still being defensively minded and very solid.”
The consistent implementation of Aloisi’s tactics in each game this season has allowed Western United to perfect their craft to a tee.
Western United admirably demonstrated a culmination of their destructive game style in their decisive 4-1 win over Victory. The game provided great insight into how Western prefer to play on big stages akin to the A-League Grand Final.
“I think we were in control and had a lot of the ball [against Victory]. We kept them quite tame from our defensive point of view,” Wenzel-Halls explained.
“To go 1-1 then 2-1 down [on aggregate], we’re just so proud that we didn’t drop our heads or panic. We continued to play to our structures and trusted and believed that we were good enough to overcome [the deficit].”
Wenzel-Halls played an integral part in Western United’s success in the second leg against Victory.
The striker had assisted Aleksandar Prijović’s equaliser and also bagged one himself in the 90+9 minute, providing the club with another step towards the embellishing toilet seat.
“This club is very ambitious, so for us, it’s massive, especially considering how hard we’ve worked or season.
“We’re just all buzzing for the fans and the club itself. So, we’re going to go out there and give ourselves every opportunity to have a good game this weekend.
“It’s going to be a special moment for the club, fans, and players.”
Grand finals are tremendous occasions at any level of football.
Playing on the grandest stage in Australia with fans cheering and jeering to their heart’s content, it would be incredibly challenging to keep a cool head on the night no matter the preparations and procedures taken beforehand.
Wenzel-Halls tried to explain the “it’s just another game” mentality his squad has employed but admits the emotions will start to flow through as the kick-off timer draws closer to zero.
“We’ve played three games against Melbourne City in the season and remained undefeated [against them].
“The biggest thing for us is that we need to just treat it as if it’s another game and to play the game and not the occasion.
“City are going to be up for it as well. They’ve played in a few grand finals themselves, and everyone knows the importance of these games and how special they can be.
“But everyone’s buzzing. There’s a high around the team because we’ve just come off a massive win [against Victory], and everyone knows how special grand finals are.”
“There are no nerves as of yet, but I’m sure closer to the game, I’ll start to feel those butterflies.”