5 things we learnt against Perth Glory

The Wanderers’ unbeaten run almost came to an end against a stoic Perth Glory on the weekend, here’s what we learnt in the 2-2 draw.

Kids go free for the Wanderers v Jets match on Christmas Eve. Tickets available here.
 
Wanderers show heart in fight back
 
The Wanderers have been used to making their opponents chase the game during their rampant seven game winning streak but they were faced with a different challenge against Perth on Saturday when they went behind twice – including in the opening two minutes.

Brendon Santalab celebration

 
Although a stunning late comeback gave them a 2-1 win away at Newcastle in November, there were shades of Round 1’s loss to Brisbane with the side forced to respond to an early deficit.
 
Tony Popovic will be proud of the way the team did this not once but twice on Saturday to preserve an eight-match unbeaten run.
 
Hours on the training ground pay off
 
Some of the most exhilarating moments of the game we all love are often generated by the unstructured brilliance of individuals so when thankless hours of training ground work culminates to perfection on game day, credit must go where credit is due.
Brendon Santalab’s finish from an inventive and intricately executed corner routine highlights some of the subtle philosophical changes that have worked wonders all over the pitch this season, and shows the team have more than a few tricks up their sleeves to punish unwary opponents.
 
Squad depth set to be tested as rotation looms
 
Knowing the busy festive schedule is imminent, the Wanderers opted to give the pack its first significant shuffle of the season with Jacob Pepper, Brendon Santalab and Jaushua Sotirio all coming in for Dimas, Romeo Castelen and Mark Bridge.

Jacob Pepper Perth Glory

 
The opportunity to rest a few tired legs and nurse some aches and pains didn’t backfire for the Red & Black, with Pepper, Santalab and Sotirio all picking up some valuable minutes that will hold them in good stead for the Christmas and New Year period.
 
Signing of the season Nichols a class above
 
It was another spectacular rescue job from man of the moment Mitch Nichols as the Wanderers’ number six scored his sixth goal of the season to earn a valuable point. If he continues in this vein much longer a call-up to the national team will remain firmly on the agenda with his work ethic, ability to make things happen and a newfound precision in front of goal all highlights in his remarkable rise
Vidosic nearing return to full fitness
 
The Australian marquee has missed his last two pre-seasons and has therefore been managed carefully by Tony Popovic during the first half of the 2015/2016 campaign. But with 90 minutes against Glory under his belt (his first full 90 since playing Perth in Round 4) a patient Vidosic could be nearing a return to top form.

Dario Vidosic Perth Glory

 
With Mitch Nichols in the form of his career, Vidosic has travelled under the radar this season but has made a valuable, if less audible contribution from his supporting role that has seen the partnership down the left flank with Scott Jamieson blossom into one of the side’s most dangerous attacking outlets. A fully fit Vidosic looms on the horizon, something that could potentially take an already peerless Wanderers midfield to a new level.