They’re the department of youth and they have the power.
If this match proved anything, it was the Wanderers have an impressive stable of youth coming through their system.
The fun has returned at the Western Sydney Wanderers – who recorded their first away win against the Victory since 2013 and their first ever at Marvel Stadium – as they head into next week’s Sydney derby undefeated.
Despite the presence of Mitchell Duke and Alexander Meier up-front, it was the swift and training-like combination between Nick Sullivan and Mohammed Adam who set up Keanu Baccus for the opening goal in the 54th minute.
Baccus’ well-timed strike from outside the box was the end product of a passage of play orchestrated by two players under the age of 21 – with the goal scorer also falling under this bracket.
Four of Markus Babbel’s starting line-up were under the age of 22, while five of his bench were under 20.
Before long the Wanderers would double their lead through Meier – whose left-footed lob over Lawrence Thomas from outside the area in the 62nd minute was perhaps foreshadowed by a spectacular volley in the first half which was ruled out.
While head coach Markus Babbel was pleased with the win, he says he was most impressed by the response and belief shown by the team in the second half.
“First 15 minutes I wasn’t happy because we had too much respect,” he said.
“Then we started playing our game, we defended well but also on the ball created some really good chances and in the second half because the boys were believing we could get a result here.
“That was for me more important than the win [was] the reaction in the half time dressing room.
“The boys honestly believed we can get a result here and this is the right way.”
The same could not be said for Melbourne Victory, who only have one goal after 180 minutes of football.
Despite showing more urgency in attack in comparison to last week’s derby, head coach Marco Kurz admits the team must improve on their conviction in the attacking third.
“We had some good moments after set-pieces, we were close to finish in the first game as well,” he said.
“We must be clearer and sometimes a little more killer instinct in the box, but the boys when you saw the game, fought until the end.
“After the changes I think we had control in the game, a lot of transitions a lot of power in the game but at the end we didn’t score the equaliser and that’s the reason we lost the game.”
Melbourne Victory travel to face the Brisbane Roar next Friday while the Wanderers host Sydney FC in the first Sydney derby at Bankwest Stadium.