Bernie Ibini on the Wanderers pre-season preparations and becoming an example to the next generation.
It's been over five weeks of tough pre-season training sessions for the Red & Black who have been put through their paces at the Wanderers Centre of Football in Blacktown.
With the majority of the squad now at training, Ibini has praised his teammates attitude and work ethic over the last few weeks.
"It's been good, it's been a lot of hard work but it's been enjoyable," said Ibini.
"Pre-season is always going to be tough and always hurts, but's expected and the environment has been great so far.
"All the boys have been super happy and are all loving being back.
"It's unfortunate that a few boys can't come in at the moment but I'm sure they're doing their program and doing their bit, so once they are able to come in we can link up together and continue building."
Ibini had a mixed first season at the club in 2020/21.
After missing pre-season preparations with his teammates and signing with the club in mid-December right before the season kicked off, the powerful forward started in 14 matches, had three assists, and scored four goals.
An impressive ratio considering the disjointed nature of his arrival in Western Sydney.
For the striker, the upcoming season will now be about using pre-season preparations as a platform to find consistent form in the coming season.
"Last season, I had a slow start," Ibini admitted.
"I didn't do a pre-season at all, so I'm just looking forward to having now a pre-season under my belt and hitting the ground running. As well as being with the team from the beginning.
"I just want to play a lot more games than I did last season and try to be more influential than I was last year.
"I'm just looking to have a good pre-season, stay fit, stay healthy and continue from there."
As one of the more experienced players in the team this season, Ibini is leaning on his leadership skills to help influence the next generation of Wanderers, especially those that play in his position.
"I definitely now want to show that I'm a leader in the team," said Ibini.
"I am getting a bit older now, as much as I hate to admit it, so I just want to lead from the front.
"I am one of the guys that was here last season and one of the older boys, so I just want to show that sort of leadership and do the right things.
"I am someone who prides myself on training properly and giving my all in games.
"So you need to click with ones (younger players) in your position so I’ve just been trying to help young Rocky (Alex Badolato) out a little bit just to encourage him, speak to him and Ale Lopane as well.
"They’ve all come a long way and they’re doing well, I just remember when I was that age that training was tough.
"If you lose one. Ball, you try to lose your head a little bit so just trying to give them positive encouragement."