Pre-season predictions? It's anyone's guess, writes Adam Peacock.
A little confession.
Pre-season predictions. Um, really we (the media) don’t… ahh… really know. Shock, ay.
We try to pick apart each squad, look at last year, look at the draw, factor in the AFC Champions League for the lucky/unlucky few, and try to decipher if playing in the Greek League is better than the Polish and/or Saudi and/or Spanish second division.
And then deal with the odd curveball, like the ripper thrown by Tony Popovic last Sunday morning. So much has been written and spoken about Popovic’s decision to bail to Turkey in the past week, with the most important side-effect – how the team responds – about to play out in front of us.
No point in saying IT WILL or IT WON’T hinder chances until we know more of the man coming in. More pressing is finding the answer to how professional the players are.
So where Wanderers fit in this edition of the Hyundai A-League has been clouded further. And it was nowhere near clear in the first place.
Seriously, a 10 team comp with a salary cap and imports coming from every part of the world is a recipe for complete and utter confusion.
Pick the top six? Bloody hell, don’t ask me. I’m just keen to see the season evolve.
Sure, it’s an educated (not a high level of education) guess.
Not going to go through each team one by one because really, Wanderers are all you care about.
Recruitment? Looks good on paper, which makes it the first piece of an unsolvable puzzle.
Depth? They’ve as much as the Mariana Trench.
Twenty players in the squad have played decent minutes at Hyundai A-League or in a high-level league... 20!
So, like Vinnie Chase at a house party, whoever the new boss is has options, so many damn options.
Pre-season has been solid, which indicates the squad has gelled, though the image of Blacktown City causing a litany of problems in the second part of their Westfield FFA Cup Quarter Final epic is hard to unsee.
Just an aberration (not too bad, they did win!) Or worrisome signs? All guesswork, really.
For one player this season is vital for not only himself but his club.
He's not a marquee, import or played for his country at senior level.
Hard to think he's 26. He'd surely still have to show ID.
On a football pitch, last season was his best and it was no coincidence Wanderers had their best spell when he and Terry Antonis combined in midfield. Young legs propelled the side forward.
With Antonis going back to Europe, and the talented Chris Herd looking to rescue a career, Baccus has a platform to take more steps in the right direction.
Playing this possession-based style, he'll be on the ball a lot, and expected to get creative with it, driving forward into space, then joining in again.
Time and time again last season, Wanderers' attacking players were isolated, surrounded by packed defenders. Baccus can break that open.
So. There's a prediction! If Kearyn Baccus has his best year, chances are Wanderers will have a good season.
No guarantees, of course. We got another reminder last Sunday morning they don't exist in the Hyundai A-League.