Defiance and perseverance: Tom Beadling on his first season in Western Sydney

“I passed the ball, then my quad just ripped and I knew straight away that it wasn’t good.”

Tom Beadling is describing the injury he received in a pre-season game that went from being a temporary layoff to seeing him miss nearly two-thirds of the season.

“I was told that maybe it would only be a few weeks, a month, nothing too major. So in my head, it was like ‘right, just get my head down for a few weeks, work hard, and I can get back to where I was.’ And then it was difficult because that time kept pushing on and on and on.”

Beadling and medical staff at the Wanderers tried multiple methods to get him back on the pitch, but it became clear when speaking to medical experts that Beadling’s injury was an unusual one.

“I literally tried everything bar surgery, to help. (I got) injections, blood infusions, electrotherapy. I tried everything to get back as soon as possible and it just wouldn’t (heal).

“I remember I went to see the best tendon tear specialist in Sydney, and he’d never seen a tear like this before. So his advice was just to shut down until May, which I didn’t want to do obviously.”

It was especially galling for Beadling, as he was enjoying a pre-season where he was returning to Australia for the first time in more than 10 years.

Born in England, Beadling and his family moved to Australia when he was a child.

“I moved to Australia when I was around 10 for a few years with the whole family, and then moved back to England at 13 or 14.

“It was only a few years but we loved it here and I loved it as a kid. Thankfully I got the passport, so when the option came to come back, it was no brainer.”

Beadling felt that a pre-season team trip to the Gold Coast helped the team gel on the pitch, but also bond and become closer off it.

“He (head coach Marko Rudan) created that culture from day one. Boys will stay behind for hours just spending time with each other (Getting) coffee, (playing) cards and two touch.

“We’re a strong, tight knit group. And that shows how close we were… it’s important because if you can get that right off the pitch I think it helps a lot on the pitch.”

Through perseverance and support from staff at the Wanderers, Beadling was able to defy expectations and made the bench for the first time in the February Sydney Derby at a packed CommBank Stadium. He was soon thrust into the action after 21 minutes when captain Marcelo went off injured.

“I loved my first game because I’d waited a long time after the injury, and it was the Derby.

“Although we got beat – and you never want to lose those games – But for me, that was my first appearance for the club, at home in a derby in front of 30,000 fans, that was special for me.”

Beadling almost became an instant hero when he lashed the ball home with a volley in the box, but it was pulled back because he was offside.

His quality and versatility was evident by the fact he played in 10 of the last 12 matches of the season as the Wanderers qualified for the Finals for the first time in six seasons.

Whilst the club wasn’t able to win silverware, the feeling that the team could have achieved more has brought Beadling back for the next two seasons.

“I feel like there’s unfinished business especially with the way the season ended for us.

“I really enjoyed my time here last year and I want that to continue. I want to win something here and to end it how we did last season was an underachievement.”