They’ve knocked off their local rivals in their opening A-League encounter and that’s heightening talk of the Macarthur Bulls replicating the feats of the team they conquered in their first derby, Western Sydney, and contending for the championship in their first season.
A commanding squad on paper was able to click on the pitch at the first time of asking despite several players not featuring in a competitive game for over six months as they left Bankwest Stadium with a 1-0 win and the first three points in their history.
But their inaugural coach Ante Milicic is refusing to embrace any of the discussion that they can challenge for the A-League title straight away.
“Nah, I’m actually not having any of it because I don’t know what that’s based on. It’s just opinion, it’s coffee shop talk,” Milicic said.
“There are so many games to go.
“Our players and staff have their own internal expectations. Yes, we’ll enjoy it but let’s not get carried away, the world has shown that there can be a lot of twists and turns and in Australian football, you always get them as well.”
While Socceroos Mark Milligan and, in particular, Adam Federici shone for the competition new boys, one of the heart-warming stories to emerge from the triumph is that of winger Lachie Rose, who was hugely impressive on his A-League debut after being plucked from relative obscurity.
“Rose is a different one because he didn’t even come from NPL1, he came from NPL2, but we saw something in him, he came in and trained well and did well in the friendly games.”
“He’s just a kid that’s good at football, good at Aussie Rules, good at surfing.
“He’s just a natural athlete and it was a big night for him. I’m so pleased that he put in a big performance.”
New Wanderers coach Carl Robinson, meanwhile, criticised the free-kick call that led to Macarthur’s first-ever goal and the eventual winner from Spanish substitute Benat Etxebbaria but welcomed the competitiveness of the Western Sydney Derby and the league’s newest rivalry.
“It’s great. You want rivalries, you want storylines, you want drama, you want controversy,” he said.
“They’ll be delighted, we’re disappointed because it’s on our turf. Inside, I’m quietly fuming but you have to conduct yourself with dignity when you lose.”