He may have not been a part of Perth Glory’s first wooden spoon in the A-League, but Ryan Williams understands the club’s desire to forget about the horror season.
Perth’s shocking 3-3-8 start to the 2021/22 season saw the sacking of coach Richard Garcia before Ruben Zadkovich took over as caretaker coach who only managed to lead the club to one further win last season.
Knowing the only way to go was up this season, Williams said Perth have approached it by not reminiscing on the last.
“If you had it up on a whiteboard, we got an eraser and just rubbed it all out to move forward,” Williams told The Inner Sanctum.
“The club is in a rebuilding stage. Last season was the first time we ever picked up the wooden spoon. It’s something we are really, unhappy about.”
Despite the challenges Zadkovich faced while interim coach, he was awarded the coaching contract for the upcoming season even with his poor record commencing in the role.
Williams said it was “unfair” to judge those matches as part of Zadkovich’s managerial career under the club’s situation at the time which saw many of its players including Bruno Fornaroli, Daniel Sturridge, Brandon O’Neill, Kosuke Ota and Adrian Sardinero missing due to injuries.
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“It would be unfair to say that was part of his managerial career under those circumstances, it was something 14 or 15 injuries at one point, it was pretty much the youth players,” he said.
“He’s a really good coach and we’ve got a really good set of coaching staff. That’s been really important to us and having us super ready for the season to put it lightly.”
Williams said the entire club had worked tirelessly during the off-season to improve on last season’s performance and while the objective this season is to play good football, the players want to ensure they shows the football community they’re hard workers.
He believed the 2021/22 season was able to bring the team together and build a stronger connection going forward.
“I think it’s going to bring us closer as a team; we’re close already but we’ve got a really, really, really good set of lads and everyone is fun,” he said.
“But when it comes down to it, everyone is willing to put their bodies on the lines, so I think it’s really going to make us stronger.
“Sometimes that’s 80-90 per cent of the game and if there’s one thing you’ll never say, it’s us Perth boys don’t work hard.
“That’s the message we want to get across and don’t get me wrong we want to try and play some good football and we will, but first and foremost it’s about the energy and character.”
While Perth have spent its first off-season with Zadkovich officially at the helm focusing on its rebuild, it also had to find a resolution for where it would play its home games while renovation works continued at HBF Park.
It was only determined last week that the club would play its first five fixtures away, before returning to Macedonia Park mid-November for its first game in front of a home crowd.
Having spent his football career over in England, Williams said he tried to ignore the outside noise which was brought upon by the ground decisions.
“I just tried and ignore it to be honest, it’s something that I haven’t really come across in my career. The clubs I’ve been at, they’ve always had a ground,” he said.
“It’s a bit different here in Australia obviously because the main sport is AFL, they’ve run for so many years that they have property essentially.
“I know we have to go away for the first lot of games, but I think its January and February where we have seven home games at Macedonian Park which will be different but could work to our advantage.
“I’m just happy that we get to be in Perth.”
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