COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the sporting world.

From suspended seasons to bubbles, the pandemic has forced leagues around the world to shuffle the deck in order to start and complete their respective seasons.

Many athletes have found the ‘hub environment’ difficult with players relocating for indefinite periods away from friends and family.

However, Western United embraced the hub format and finished the A-League season with a flurry which almost culminated in a run to the Grand Final.

Dylan Pierias was one of the players who ventured up north to Sydney and believes the character of their squad shone through as they coped with the unprecedented situation.

“Going into the hub was hard for everybody and it was 49-50 days we were in there for,” Pierias said on Breakfast on FNR.

“It really showed the character and the culture of the team, we at Western United try to build a really good culture and I think we have a really good group of boys,

“We don’t have cliques in our team or ‘they’re a group’ and ‘they’re a group’, everybody is friends and the hub helped make us realise what team we are and we showed it in the games,

“For me it was hard, missing your family and not being home but you have got to do what you have to do sometimes and I think we showed the league what team we are on the field.”

Pierias started the season opener against Adelaide United as Socceroo Josh Risdon recovers from a gruesome leg injury.

The twenty-year-old performed admirably in a rare starting opportunity for the side after many appearances off the bench in a variety of roles.

“Last year I was coming off the bench quite a bit, I am quite a versatile player, I can play in a few positions,” Pierias said.

“This year with Josh Risdon getting an injury it’s given me a chance to start and he did a fantastic job last year with so many goals and assists,

“Big shoes to feel but I am confident in myself and the staff have given me confidence so I am excited to play a few more games.”

Western United take on Pierias’ former team Melbourne City next Saturday night at AAMI Park as they look to come away with their first win of the new campaign.

“We were yet to beat them last year so we really want to get this win,” Pierias said.

“Especially after that draw against Adelaide we want a win on the board and there’s always a bit of a rivalry when it’s against the Melbourne teams and stuff like that,

“To have crowds back as well at AAMI Park, it’s exciting.”

Nick D’Urbano