Welcome to FOX Sports’ live coverage of Western United’s A-League debut, as the competition’s 11th team make their long-awaited competitive bow.
United travel to Wellington Phoenix, with kick-off set for 4pm (AEDT) on Sunday.
Follow all the action on FOX Sports channel 505 from 3.30pm (AEDT), stream live on Kayo — or follow along in our live blog below!
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It’s very much a case of new and old in this enticing opening round fixture.
A brand-new squad — Western United — have looked towards experienced veterans for their maiden campaign, with seven of their anticipated first-team players in their 30s.
Wellington are also entering a new era in their club history, under new coach Ufuk Talay and skipper Steven Taylor.
But there’s one thing that links these two clubs together and makes it all the more enthralling: Western United’s coach Mark Rudan.
Rudan shocked Phoenix in May when he walked out on the Kiwi club to become United’s first-ever coach.
Things got worse when Rudan poached captain Andrew Durante, rising midfield talent Max Burgess, and the A-League’s keeper of the year Filip Kurto. Three of Phoenix’s key players each joined their former coach in crossing the ditch to the league’s newest side.
Phoenix were so keen to make amends that they officially requested Rudan’s first match in the A-League with Western United would be against them.
Now Wellington are out to ensure their former coach’s first competitive clash with his new side ends in defeat.
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Phoenix’s new captain Steven Taylor exclusively told foxsports.com.au “On Sunday I hope we absolutely batter them.
“It’s going to be hostile, you know the rivalry with Mark Rudan leaving,” Taylor said.
“Before the game I’ll be wishing them all the best for the season but when kick-off time comes it’s war.”
For his part, Rudan claims he’s ready for the boo boys.
“I’m big and ugly enough to take all the punches.
“Every good story has a villain and a hero. I guess I’m the villain for one side.
It could be the start of a brand-new rivalry — and it’s all down to one man.
Wellington Phoenix v Western United
Sunday 13 October, 4.00pm AEDT (6.00pm NZT)
Broadcast: Fox Sports 505 from 3.30pm AEDT.
Stream: LIVE on Kayo Sports
Match centre: All the stats you need
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