Western United played its first pair of matches in Hobart and John Aloisi heaped praise on the occasion after a bumper crowd filled North Hobart Oval on Saturday.
Following a 2-0 win over Brisbane Roar in the Liberty A-League Women clash, Aloisi’s Isuzu UTE A-League Men side played out a thrilling encounter against Sydney FC, winning 1-0.
Alessandro Diamanti’s world-class finish sent the crowd into raptures late on, but Aloisi said the support for the Club all weekend long had been noticeable.
“The atmosphere was brilliant. The crowd gives you energy, and to have so many people here supporting us gave the boys a lift,” he said.
“I’m sure if we play here again they’ll be back in even more numbers because of the atmosphere. It’d be a highlight for a lot of these people because they wouldn’t have seen an A-League game before.”
Even though the match had Western United fixtured as the home side, the interstate travel and hotel accommodation might have made it feel like an away game for the playing group.
That wasn’t the case for Aloisi, though, who said the crowd support and welcome that the Club received in Hobart ensured that it felt just like home.
“It does (feel like home) because of the crowd, because of the way that we’re treated and the way we feel when they accept us. Everyone from our Club is here as well so it feels like home,” he said.
But for Aloisi and for Western United as a whole, it was always about more than simply playing two home matches in Hobart.
The Socceroos legend has been part of some of the most significant moments in growing Australian football, and he said that mission is still the main goal.
“We’re just glad we can help grow the game here. Not only with the game but also open training sessions, the women’s side playing before us and winning, and then also the clinics we’ve been able to hold here,” he said.
“That’s great for the kids that are coming through. It gives them something to dream about, hopefully playing either for the Western United women’s team or the men’s team, or even the Matildas or Socceroos.
“That’s what it’s all about. We’ve got a big part to play, not only our club but everyone involved in our game, to keep growing the game, get people interested and get kids playing the sport.”
Western United will return to Tasmania next month for a Friday night meeting with Wellington Phoenix at UTAS Stadium in Launceston on February 17.