The 2022/23 Isuzu UTE A-League Men season is just four days away and Western United is primed and ready to defend its Championship title.
John Aloisi’s men returned to training at the beginning of July and have been working up to speed ahead of the league opener on Friday October 7, a blockbuster Grand Final rematch against Melbourne City.
The squad is fit and ready to go again for the new campaign, with a number of players standing out during the pre-season.
Youngster Nicolas Milanovic has been excellent in the pre-season period, with a couple of particularly exceptional performances in more recent friendlies.
The No.26 began the off-season period with a start and an assured 76-minute display against Melbourne Victory in the Australia Cup.
Milanovic followed that up soon after with a fierce strike against St.Albans Saints before starring performances in the final two pre-season friendlies.
The 20-year-old bagged a hat-trick and an assist against Oakleigh Cannons before coming off the bench against Central Coast Mariners to great effect days later, with an assist and a hockey assist to help United score a come-from-behind 2-1 win.
The pre-season performances give Milanovic a platform to continue growing under Aloisi, with the potential for more minutes in the A-League Men this season.
After playing a major role throughout the 2022 Finals Series, Dylan Wenzel-Halls has continued that form with a superb goal-scoring record in pre-season.
United’s No.9 also found his first goal against St.Albans and netted a brace in a 6-0 win over Pascoe Vale just three days later.
The Green and Black came from behind to avoid defeat against A-League Men opposition three times in pre-season, and Wenzel-Halls was instrumental in one of them.
With United trailing Adelaide United 2-0 at half-time, Wenzel-Halls stood up to score twice and assist namesake Dylan Pierias as Aloisi’s men finished 3-2 winners.
After a solid debut season in the West, Wenzel-Halls will be hoping to build on his pre-season form and continue finding the net in the A-League Men in 2022/23.
After one of his strongest seasons in the A-League Men, Connor Pain will be out to play an important role once again in 2022/23.
The left-winger put in a fine display against Melbourne Victory and scored against Sydney United 58 in the Round of 16 with a lovely volley.
In between those two games, Pain had a major impact in a friendly against Bulleen Lions, winning a penalty, which Steven Lustica converted, and teeing up Lachie Wales as United earned a 3-0 win.
The ever-reliable Pain rounded out his pre-season with the winning goal against Central Coast, applying a trademark volleyed finish to a Wales to carry strong momentum into the upcoming campaign.