Youngsters in for shock, says Elrich

April 16, 2013
By Angela Habashy

Western Sydney right back Tarek Elrich knows exactly what to expect come Sunday's A-League grand final and says his younger teammates are in for a rude shock.

Elrich is one of six former Newcastle Jets players at the Wanderers and one of four who were part of the 2008 championship-winning side that beat the Central Coast in the grand final that year.

The 26-year old, along with fellow defender Adam D'Aappuzo and goalkeeper Ante Covic, all played in the triumphant Jets side for which striker Mark Bridge scored the winner in the 1-0 victory.

Now all will don the red and black of the Wanderers when they face the Mariners again in the decider at Allianz Stadium on Sunday.

"The young boys are going to be in for a big shock," Elrich said on Tuesday.

"I remember when I was young and I walked out in that stadium seeing the 15 to 20,000 fans screaming and jumping around and flags everywhere, it gave me goose bumps and I was a bit nervous.

"But I'm sure the young boys here will hold themselves well ... (coach Tony) Popovic has drilled into all of us that it's just another game.

"But if they do need any advice I'll be the first one to help."

Elrich was among several players, including his former Jets teammates, all given the label of 'reject' when released by their previous clubs.

But he says their loss has been the Wanderers' gain.

Elrich also said proving those people wrong will make winning this championship even sweeter.

"You can compare both grand finals but I think this one is more of a fairytale," he said.

"And with a lot of people saying we weren't wanted by our clubs ... I think winning this grand final will mean that bit more."

Elrich has only started twice in 10 appearances for the Wanderers this season.

But with first-choice right back Jerome Polenz aggravating his quad injury in Friday's 2-0 win over Brisbane, he could be in line for a rare starting-11 spot.

"In my eyes Polenz has been the best right back in the league," he said.

"But if I do get called upon I'll make sure I'm as ready as I can be."