Lachie Wales hailed the investment and effort put into Western United as a big reason why the Club has reached it’s first ever A-League Men Grand Final.
The 24-year-old netted the go-ahead goal in Western United’s semi-final tie against Melbourne Victory and was on cloud nine after the final whistle, praising the ambition of the Club’s ownership in getting to this point.
“It’s awesome. The owner wants to invest money, he wants to buy a stadium. This is what football needs in this country, people that are going to put their hard-earned money into it and there’s 30 blokes here that are ripper guys that would do anything for the club,” he said.
Wales has enjoyed career-best form throughout the 2021/22 season, scoring his first ever hat-trick in a win over Perth Glory and notching up six assists, the highest single-season total of his career.
Alongside his teammates, Wales has been chasing silverware with Western United since day one of this campaign and credited the hard work of the players and coaches.
“It’s unreal. We worked so hard all year and we had a little dip there at the end of the season and couldn’t get the minor premierships, and it’s a credit to these lads and the coaching staff,” he said.
The former Central Coast Mariners product had to wait to find his first goals of the season and waited again to score arguably the biggest of his career in Saturday’s semi-final second leg win.
With the aggregate score locked at 2-2, Wales stepped onto Aleksandar Prijovic’s delicate lay off and thumped the ball into the roof of the net via a deflection from Matthew Spiranovic.
“To be fair I got a bit lucky with the deflection but I’ll take it. It’s just awesome, these boys are absolute legends and I love them and hopefully we can go one better next week,” he said of the goal.
Western United’s defensive unit received the bulk of the team’s praise throughout the season, and Wales admitted it was about time the forwards flipped the script by scoring four in a big semi-final.
“It’s good for us attackers. All the defenders have been getting the credit all year, so I said to them this week that it’s time for us to pull our finger out. We got the four goals, it’s awesome I can’t believe it,” he said.
After losing the first leg 1-0, there was plenty of food for thought for John Aloisi about how to approach the second leg.
He remained adamant that sticking to the same principles was the best way to go, and Wales said that was the message given to the players ahead of the return leg.
“The biggest thing was remain calm, stick to our structure. A lot of the press said we need to do something different – we didn’t do anything different tonight, we just stood up in the big moments which they did the night before. It’s awesome for this Club, it’s unreal,” he said.
Wales suffered Grand Final heartache in 2020 with Melbourne City, and he will now look to avenge those demons against them with Western United on Saturday May 28.
Kick-off is at 7:45pm at AAMI Park and tickets are on sale today at 11am for Western United members and 5pm for general public. Get your tickets now for the chance to witness history, and Go Harder with Western United for the Grand Final.