Russell on shake-up and Macarthur

Every revolution brings winners and losers and Western Sydney’s A-League Men shake-up has been a boon for defender Tate Russell.

Russell had been limited to cameo appearances off the bench this season before making his first start against Melbourne Victory on February 16, when the full-back popped up with a goal in the 2-0 win.

Since then Russell has started two of the Wanderers’ past three matches, including last weekend’s 2-0 win over Sydney FC, as the Red and Black give themselves a chance of a shot at finals in the back half of the season under Mark Rudan.

“With a different coach there’s a different philosophy in the way he wants to play and styles and stuff like that,” Russell told AAP.

“When I got my chance it was important for me to take it.”

Russell says for all the frustration he experienced while he was overlooked, he’s come out of the experience in a better place and ready to make the most of the opportunity that’s now in front of him.

“In terms of my mentality, it’s definitely changed a lot and I’ve learnt, not just as a player but as a person,” he said.

“When you get knocked down, you’ve got to get back up.

“There were good days and bad, as there always is, but you’ve got to keep going and trying to stay as consistent as you can.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 16: Tate Russell of the Wanderers celebrates scoring a goal during the A-League Men’s match between Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne Victory at CommBank Stadium, on February 16, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

Under Rudan, the Wanderers have won three of their past seven fixtures.

They still sit 10th on the ladder after 14 games but are just six points outside the top six with 12 matches left.

Next up is another Sydney derby, this time against Macarthur FC on Saturday – a match without the history of their rivalry with Sydney FC but one that Wanderers academy product Russell looks forward to.

You can get your tickets to the match here.

“They’re just down the road from us so that’s the one we want to win as well now, as you could say a second derby,” Russell said.

“I’ve been at the Wanderers for years now so this is where my heart lies so to win this game for us is more important to me.”