There are no guarantees in life, but foundation player Tarek Elrich has promised Wanderers members and fans one thing: “Come out, support the boys and give your all because we will always give our all for you.”
As the return to the club’s spirtual home at Bankwest Stadum and the Hyundai A-league opener against the Cenral Coast Mariners on Saturday 12 October looms large, Elrich has sensed a “massive feeling” all around for the new season.
“We are in a much better space these days. It was difficult being away from home but now we are back at Parramatta and we are ready to turn it into a fortress again. It is massive to be back here, it is our home, and I know the fans feel the same,” said Elrich.
“I know when I have spoken to rival players over the years they have told me coming to Parramatta to play was the best thing and they always looked forward to it.”
The veteran defender, now in his second stint with the Red & Black, said playing the Mariners in the opening game of the season back in 2012 brings back wonderful memories.
While he didn’t make the match day squad for that game Elrich, one of the first players signed by the fledgling club, recalled the nerves among the players in the dressing room as none of them had any idea of the starting line-up.
“No-one knew who was going to be in the starting line-up. Unfortunately, I was one of the players who didn’t make it, but I remember that first season for all the good things, going on a roll and winning games back to back, the happy days coming to training and the fans coming out in great numbers to support us,” explained Elrich.
“The stand out was travelling to Newcastle, winning 3-0 away from home and being crowned the Premiers in our first season … that was an incredible achievement and a big moment for everyone at the club.”
Elrich is confident there is more success just around the corner for the Wanderers.
“The club has had success with the Premier’s Plate and the Asian Champions League, but we want more,” said Elrich.
“Unfortunately, that grand final trophy has eluded us … I don’t think we deserve to be on the wrong end of that.
“So, the target is for more silverware. We have recruited well and have good, quality young players coming through the Academy system.
“Those young players are fitting straight in so that means we have 28 players at training and every one of them is fighting for a spot. It is a very healthy competition at training.”