Abby Smith has been at the Wanderers for less than two months but the talented American goalkeeper has quickly embraced the culture of the club and Western Sydney.
It will be there for all to see tomorrow night when the Wanderers play Sydney FC in the first Westfield W-League Sydney Derby of the season and the first to be played at Wanderland – Bankwest Stadium.
“As a rivalry, it is super big,” said Smith.
“We have these rivalries back in the States and it is the same here. This game means a lot to the heart for Western Sydney members and fans.
“For the players, we have the crest on and that means a lot for us going out and playing the hardest we can and proving we are here to make a difference and to make club history.
“That’s something that we are really set on doing and going into the game focussed and I think it is going to make a big difference.”
Despite her short time here, Smith has fitted in superbly at the Wanderers and has earned accolades for her sure and safe qualities as a goalkeeper, giving the team plenty of confidence.
For midfielder Amy Harrison, this will be her first taste of a Sydney Derby in a Red & Black jersey.
Harrison spent seven seasons at Sydney FC and played in a number of Derbies before shifting to the Wanderers at the start of the season.
Harrison, a two-time W-League championship winner, has been in excellent form and has formed a terrific combination with Republic of Ireland star Denise O’Sullivan.
The Matildas star understands the impact of the Sydney Derby and has recognized there will be plenty of emotion on the night.
“Obviously it is inevitable that it will have that emotion attached to it,” said Harrison.
“But, it is what it is.
“(Assistant coach Michael Beauchamp) Megzy has been helping me a lot this week with being at Sydney and now the Wanderers … just treating it the same as I would any other game game.
“But, I guess winning would just mean a little more this week.”
Harrison said playing the Derby at Bankwest Stadium will be “massive”.
“The ground, the whole stadium, I literally can’t fault it and to have a Derby there is so much more special,” said Harrison.
“Thinking back to all the Derbies I have played in, the one at the top of my head is the probably the one at ANZ because of the spectacle and this one will be no different.”
Having spent seven seasons at Sydney, the 23-year-old understandably has huge respect for her former club. Sydney have won four of their opening five games and sit second on the table.
“Sydney are a great team, they always have been and always probably will be,” added Harrison.
“They have had a very strong start and look sharp, but so much confidence goes into my team whether they are on the pitch, on the bench or in the stands.
“Our coaching staff prepare us so well, so the confidence is right up there.
“We have had our best start ever and want to keep that going no matter who we play, but a Derby means a little more and I am sure everyone will give that little bit more this week.”