Western Sydney Wanderers’ Round 4 A-League match against Brisbane Roar is likely to be Tarek Elrich’s 250th game in the competition.
Interestingly, the memorable occasion will take place in an area Elrich has never visited, even after 31 years.
The Wanderers and Brisbane will visit rural New South Wales town Mudgee, which will host its first ever A-League match.
The teams will play at Glen Willow Regional Sports Stadium, boasting a capacity of some 10,000 people.
Perennial nomads, the match marks the Wanderers’ first ‘home’ game of the campaign, still with time to pass before they move into their refurbished home in Parramatta.
It is a fresh experience even for a player that has seen plenty in the A-League across spells with Newcastle Jets, Adelaide United and the Wanderers.
“It’s good for us to be reaching out to these areas, there’s not many football games that happen there so it’s great to see our club going out there,” Elrich said.
“From what I’m hearing, there’ll be a sellout crowd which will be great for us and hopefully we can win some fans over as well.
“The beauty of being a footballer, you get to go to these places, you take it for granted sometimes in Australia, you don’t really venture out of your comfort zone to see these small little pockets, these beautiful places.
“It’s great that we get the opportunity to go to Mudgee. I’ve never been so it’s something different for me and I’m sure the boys are looking forward to it.”
In his A-League career, Elrich has claimed one championship, two premierships and three Socceroos caps.
Against Brisbane, the Wanderers will be looking to back up their first win of the campaign – a 3-0 triumph against Wellington Phoenix – with victory over winless Brisbane.
Despite taking two points in two draws from the opening three weeks, Wanderers boss Markus Babbel refused to take the Roar lightly.
“This is a difficult game for us, it’s a good side. They have quality,” the German said.
“It is the next big challenge for us to show our performance. We know the strengths and we know the weaknesses of Brisbane, but it’s up to us.
“What can we do on the pitch? Can we show what we were talking about the whole week? Can we play our match plan on the pitch?
“Theory is one thing but to practice on the pitch is another. Brisbane have not had the best results until now but we want to keep going.
“We want to show it again. It’s not our home ground so another away game, more or less for us. If we can show our performance, I’m optimistic we can get a result.”
Meanwhile, the Wanderers confirmed on Thursday they had re-signed prospect Kosta Grozos.
The promising central-midfielder, aged 18, signed his first ever professional deal, a two-year contract.
Grozos featured for the Wanderers in their run to the 2018 FFA Cup semi-finals.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling that I’ve never felt before in my life, signing my first senior contract, and to have another two years at the club is amazing,” Grozos said.
“My goal is to play in as many games as I can for the club and hopefully we can qualify for the Asian Champions League next year as well.
“The coach just wants the best from us and for us to leave everything we have out on the pitch.
“All the experienced boys that have played at the highest level like Oriol Riera, Alex Baumjohann and Roly Bonevacia, everything I watch and everything they do, I take into account in everything I do.”