When Wanderers skipper and central defender Marcelo went down with injury just 25 minutes into their match against Newcastle, former Shellharbour junior Alex Bonetig did not have much time to be nervous as he was about to be thrust into his professional debut by coach Marko Rudan.
After working on his game every day for the majority of his life, it was a moment that the 20-year-old had been waiting on for longer than he could remember.
"I didn't have much time to get nervous or anything because Marcelo went down with a groin issue and I had about five minutes to get warm and get out there," he told the Mercury.
I didn't have much time to get nervous or anything because Marcelo went down with a groin issue and I had about five minutes to get warm and get out there.- - Alex Bonetig
"So I wasn't that nervous or anything. But I enjoyed every bit of it. I thought I did quite well on the ball, off the ball I've got to fix a few defensive things but that just comes with game time and stuff like that. I had a good bunch of boys around me especially Tomi Mcrela at centre-back, he was always talking to me which really helped me throughout the game."
Despite battling an ankle injury of his own this week - which he suffered in the draw against the Jets - Bonetig could well be in line to start Western Sydney's next match on Saturday evening away to high-flying Mariners.
"I've got my own little problem after I rolled my ankle on the weekend," he said.
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The Wanderers are enjoying a resurgence under Rudan, the side sitting third on the table heading into Saturday night.
A win away in Gosford this weekend would see the side leapfrog Central Coast into second.
The side are searching for a return to finals football for the first time since the 2016-17 season.
In other A-League Men's news, former Wollongong junior and Socceroo Mile Sterjovski will take charge of his first game as coach of Macarthur Bulls when they take on defending champions Western United in Campbelltown on Saturday night.
Sterjovski's appointment came after the Bulls agreed to part ways with former coach Dwight Yorke following an outburst in the dressing rooms following their 1-0 loss away to Adelaide last round.
The 48-year-old joined Macarthur in their inaugural season in 2020, taking charge of the club's youth team in the NSW NPL1, as well as assisting inaugural head coach Ante Milicic between 2020 and 2022.
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