Newly signed Wanderer Michael Thwaite has spoken about his delight about returning to the place he first began his professional footballing journey.
Thwaite was a fresh-faced 19-year-old when he inked his first professional contract with Marconi Stallions in the National Soccer League back in 2002.
His two-year stint with the Fairfield based club would prove to be a launching pad for the tall defender, who by then was also a youth international with Australia.
The Cairns-raised Thwaite spent five years in Romania, Poland and Norway before he returned home to play in the Hyundai A-League.
As he prepares for what will be his ninth season in the Hyundai A-League Thwaite says coming back to Western Sydney carries special importance for him.
"It's pretty much full circle for myself. I just feel like I owe something to Western Sydney which is where it all started for me," Thwaite said.
"I remember being a teenager from Cairns coming to the big smoke of Sydney.
"My first contract was under Rale Rasic at Marconi and I think most of my money was spent on train tickets because I was studying full time at the University of Sydney while I was playing in the NSL and I didn’t have a car."
In his most recent stint in the Hyundai A-League, Thwaite spent four seasons at Perth Glory before he linked up with Liaoning Whowin in China last season.
After 25 matches and three goals in the Chinese Super League, Thwaite has his sights set on hitting the ground running at his new home.
"I'm very big on goal setting and I've got my personal goals, like how many games I want to be playing and how many clean sheets I want to be keeping. When I've spoken to Tony, that's how he operates as well.
"I want to play in a Grand Final and Tony and the team have regularly done that, so that's a big goal of mine."
Thwaite is a veteran of 183 Hyundai A-League games, 11 of which have been played against the Wanderers.
Having had come to face-to-face with the Red & Black and their passionate supporters, Thwaite says he's glad to be on the home side now.
"I certainly copped a lot of stick from Wanderers fans but it wasn't in a Derby-type sense.
"It will be really great to have those fans on my side now."