Duke hungry to turn around Derby history

Wanderers captain Mitchell Duke said it's a scary feeling to think that there is still so much improvement to come from the team ahead of the top-of-the-table Sydney Derby clash at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday night. 

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As much as he is delighted with the club’s unbeaten start in the opening two rounds of the Hyundai A-League season, Duke admitted they are still some way from reaching their peak.

“We are happy to be the underdogs. Sydney deserve to be favourites as they have dominated the last few years,” Duke told Laurie Daley and Dave Stanley on the Big Sports Breakfast this morning.

“That just makes us hungrier. We are back on our home ground, where we have been away from for the last three seasons, so it’s all for us to take.

“If it is anything to go by in the first two games, we are not at our best peak and we will only get better which is a scary thing.

“Sydney will have a game on their hands and I reckon we can take them out.”



Duke said it is a much different Wanderers side to previous seasons, explaining that the club has done very well in the off-season recruitment.

“We have recruited really well. There is a lot of experienced players right through the spine of the team,” the inspirational attacker said.

“(Goalkeeper) Daniel Lopar, Dylan McGowan, Matt Jurman, Pirmin Schwegler and Alex Meier have strengthened us all through the centre of the pitch.

“Alex and Pirmin played years and years in the German Bundesliga, a top league in Europe and for them to bring their quality and experience to us is a huge help.

“We have a really strong structure at the back. The defence has improved since last season and that is a massive boost. We attacked well last season and created a lot of chances but we were always conceding goals. That is not happening this year.”


According to Duke, the squad is now mentally a lot tougher. 

“That’s it. All the boys are a bit hungrier and out to prove a point given the last few seasons,” he replied when it was suggested there is a stronger resolve at the club.

“The boss (head coach Markus Babbel) has set a certain expectation as well. We just go out each game pretty much with a winning mentality and not to let any team dominate us.

“We have set targets for the season and that is to be top of the table.”