Cornthwaite’s Corner: Round 16

Robbie Cornthwaite has given his view on the Reds leading into Round 16.
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Another memorable moment at Coopers Stadium from a young, exciting star. We’ve had our fair share over the years.

I’m sure everyone has their own memorable moment at home when a young, raw talent bursts onto the scene, grabbing the attention of the Australian football public.

From Nathan Burns and Mathew Leckie to Al Hassan and Mohammad Toure, Nestory has truly written his name alongside some of United’s most exciting players to watch. Yes, he can score goals; he said so himself, but at 16-years-old it’s his unpredictability that makes him so dangerous.

After the game, he received praise for his honest and frank post-game assessment of his own performance. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m not completely sure he meant what he said. He spoke about his work rate and how it must be better.

For me, work rate is about mindset and desire. If he was saying he knew he didn’t give 100 per cent, then that’s a concern. I’m sure what he meant was that there were things or actions he wanted to do but couldn’t due to his lack of fitness or ability to repeat an effort. That, to me, is not work rate; that’s building up a fitness base that enables you to give everything you have at all moments. Knowing when to rest in a game comes with experience, and I’m sure as he gets older and has more kilometres in his legs, he’ll be able to sustain effort for longer.

Post-match, I watched him run with the players who had little or no game time, and he was behind in nearly every run. Not all players have the same level of aerobic capabilities, and he needs to play to his strengths. Obviously, Carl Veart is aware of this, and despite calls for Nestory to start games, some from me, he knows what the boy is capable of. He’s a special player, and I watch with interest to see how far he can go.

As for the game, the win was vital.

Keeping momentum headed in the right direction. Carl said it – his team was a little lucky, and I tend to agree. At times, they were impatient with the ball and looked vulnerable to a fleet-footed attack. In the end, put three points in the top pocket and move on.

This week’s match against Western United is the perfect opportunity for Ibusuki to find his shooting boots. This fixture has produced a lot of goals over its short life, and Western look like a shell of the team they were last year. It only takes one game to turn things around in this league, but Adelaide again must find its ruthless streak.

Without George Blackwood, Hiroshi Ibusuki is the only recognised striker on the books, and he hasn’t scored in his past nine appearances. Yes, it’s great when the rest of the team chips in with goals, but you need your number nine to bang them in if you want to be a serious threat.

United needs to get more numbers in the box. On the weekend, Hiroshi was largely outnumbered and never had a clear run or jump at the ball. Even if the cross had been perfect, it would have been difficult to finish under so much pressure.

Adelaide have brought in a few players to strengthen the midfield, which became even more necessary after the injury to Juande plus losing Bernardo, Jonny Yull, and Panashe Madanha to the Young Socceroos.

Bernardo is a tough one to swallow after missing the entire season so far. He’s finally fit, and the club loses him straight away for another month. You want your best players to have an opportunity to shine at the highest level, but it would have been nice to have him back on the wing for the rest of the season.

Lastly, it was a lovely touch to see the boys walking out in the “Juande 28” shirts prior to the match. I don’t know the Spaniard and have had very little to do with him, but even I’ve been in awe of his positivity and upbeat outlook over the past week or so.

You can see why he’s such a valued member of the team and that he will continue to play his part this season and beyond.

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