In what is now his third season in the Hyundai A-League, Kearyn Baccus is proving himself to be one of the Red & Black's most important players.
Making it in football can more often than not come down to opportunity.
It takes patience, persistence and a healthy dose of luck.
It’s something that Kearyn Baccus would know more than most.
Having paid his dues both here and overseas, and bided his time when others were holding the spotlight, the 25-year-old midfielder has at last come into his own this season, winning the plaudits of pundits and fans alike.
The South African-born Baccus has featured in all but two games this Hyundai A-League season, starting in 14 of the 22 he's played.
Compare that to his first two seasons at the Club—where he managed a combined four starts—and you can see the sort of faith Tony Popovic is now placing in the number 15.
“He just keeps getting better and better," Popovic said of Baccus last month.
"He’s really maturing into a very good footballer. The talent’s always been there and now we’re seeing a very consistent side of his game.”
The midfield metronome enjoys a passing accuracy of 87.3% so far this season (among the highest of any player in the league), and coupled with his two assists and the 13 goal scoring chances he’s created, you can begin to understand just how influential he’s been for the Red & Black this campaign.
It’s arguably career-best form and is a just reward for a player who has taken the long road to the top.
After impressing as a Blacktown City junior and Sydney FC youth player, Baccus joined French outfit Le Mans back in 2010.
Though it would prove to be a testing time for the youngster and after two seasons, he returned to Australia with Perth Glory.
Injury and fitness however would limit his chances in Western Australia and Baccus soon found himself back in the state league.
It’s a step down that signals the end for many footballers in this country, though to his credit, Baccus began to rediscover the sort of potential that saw him represent Australia at U17 and U20 level.
His form was enough to peak the interest of Tony Popovic, who in November 2014 signed the midfielder to an injury replacement deal and then shortly later a full squad contract.
Ever since, Baccus has been slowly been honing his game, waiting for the chance to prove his worth.
It’s clear from the way he’s carried himself this season, that he’s not prepared to let the foot off the pedal any time soon.
With a finals place to secure and an Asian Champions League campaign to pursue, there’s room for Baccus to really cement himself as one of the cornerstones of this Wanderers outfit.
And if his career so far is indicative of anything, it’s that he’ll stop at nothing to reach that level.