One Wollongong man has Macarthur FC fit and firing as they look to continue their dream start to the Asian Football Confederation Cup on Thursday night.
Having already claimed comfortable wins over Shan United (3-0) and Cebu (8-2), the Bulls are hungry to make it three from three when they face Phnom Pehn Crown.
Illawarra's Brendan Wyatt - who is Macarthur FC's physiotherapist - has joined the squad on their trip to Cambodia, with the sides to battle in the country's capital city, Phnom Pehn. Wyatt has been with the A-League club for over a year, having previously enjoyed a stint with the Wellington Phoenix's women's team when they were based in Wollongong due to COVID.
His key roles at the Bulls include working with players on a day-to-day basis, assisting with key area points such as monitoring daily wellness, screening, strapping and treatment, as well as working with players undergoing rehabilitation.
Wyatt also records GPS data, runs warm-ups and helps in other way possible on game day.
Speaking ahead of a connecting flight to Cambodia, Wyatt told the Mercury that the Bulls were primed and ready ahead of their clash with Phnom Pehn.
"Our preparation has been extremely good thus far. We've already played two AFC Cup games and we're carrying a good run of form into our next game," he said.
"The conditions in AFC games are very different - it's very warm, humid and wet - so we've tried to manipulate the factors available to us to try and mimic what they'll be exposed to. As one of the medial staff, my role is simple to try and prepare the players physically as best as possible, help maximise training and game loads, as well as making sure the players are strong, robust and durable enough to sustain a congested season.
"But I'm a small cog in the big wheel and among the other football ops staff, we all work together to try and chase this AFC Cup success."
The Phnom Pehn clash continues a busy schedule for Macarthur, who kicked off their A-League Men's campaign with a 1-1 draw with the Roar last Saturday. They will then race home to take on the Mariners in round two on Sunday.
Despite the distractions - and lots of travel - Wyatt believes are well placed for success in the AFC Cup.
"We're aiming to win it, no less. We believe that we have the playing group and preparation to go as far as possible in this AFC Cup and that's the approach we've adopted throughout pre-season," he said.
"We worked extremely hard last season to win the Australia Cup and make this a possibility, so now we just need to take each game as it comes and take the opportunity with both hands and build into what is hopefully a successful season in both the AFC and A-League competitions respectively."
Wyatt himself is also a keen player, with the New Zealand-born talent finding a home for himself in the District League. He joined Balgownie ahead of the 2022 season before representing University of Wollongong this year.
The utility is now off to his third club, with Berkeley Sports announcing on Monday night that they had signed him for their 2024 campaign. It continues a busy off-season for the Goats under new head coach Glenn Dorrian, with Tarrawanna sharpshooter Kane Dorian also joining the club, while they have re-signed the likes of Nuno Pires and Aaron Trevisi.
Wyatt, who played under Dorrian at the Rangers in 2022, said he was excited about Berkeley's prospects for next year.
"The opportunity to step up, lead from the front and do so with a clean slate was ultimately the challenge I was seeking and why I wanted to come on board," he said.
"I think we can continue to build on the foundation and success from last season. Berkeley had a strong team and campaign, and hopefully with a few key additions we can go one step further."
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